Last year a very good friend of mine named Fred died suddenly. One of the things we enjoyed doing was talking and eating bread. I even got him started in sourdough bread making so when he died I felt it was only fitting to make a special bread and name it after him. It tool me about a year and a half before I cooked up this bread but I think it is worthy of the name. Here is a picture to get you started.
When I did the Whole Wheat Injera I stumbled on to an idea that I had never pursused before and that was the use of high hydration preferments. The Injera has a hydration of 175% and it has flavors that are just wonderful. This got me to thinking about how I could get those flavors into a loaf of bread. I started by making bread with a preferment at 175% and 20% of the weight of the flour. That made a normal bread so I wondered what would happen if all the water for the dough was in the preferment of 175%. That is what is so different about this bread there is no water added to the dough like other breads I have made all the water comes with the preferment. Check out the expansion in the slash from the dough expanding like I have never seen in any other bread I have made.
You can tell it continues to expand as it cooks by the middle being darker and the edges are light in color. You can even see some of the bubbles right there in the slash. I have never picked up a bread that has ever felt like this, my fingers press into the bread like it is soft yet the crust is explosively crisp. I have been making the bread for a few weeks now so I believe it can be repeated. Here is the formula.
Preferment 175% Hydration
The preferment I made using home ground flour that had the big pieces sifted out. That flour is added to two grams of my storage starter and the water. I started by letting that ferment for 24 hours before using now I'm using it after 36 hours which is the flavor I like the best so far. You can adjust the flavor of the bread by how long you let the preferment sit out before using it. I think I'll try 48 hours some day but suspect it will be to long. The water seperates in the preferment and I have noticed that after a while the flour floats to the top of the of the water. I don't mix the preferemnt up as there are some glutten strands that have developed and I don't want to break them up. Next the Bread flour and preferment are mixed together into a shaggy mass and let sit for 30 mins to an hour then the salt is added. I do one or two streatch folds depending on how I feel. From here on out there is nothing different than what you would do for any other bread that you would bake. Mine was shaped and fermented in an oval basket. I bake it in the oven at 460° for 45 minutes and the first 30 minutes are under a roasting pan to help steam the bread.
The bread tastes great and I love the flavors it has. I think this is going to be my new lunch bread. There are so many directions you can go with this idea this is only just the begining. For those of you who are wondering what the overall hydration is, it is 68%.