Holey Bread Holy grail, holey grail.

JohnD's picture

It’s a great
fashion, and I really like the look of massively irregular wildly holey bread.
Its an extravagant swagger, the “wild yeasts’, being wild…unruly youth on bread

Once I got paranoid because I started making this really regular-textured crusty sourdough bread. It was soft and dense, but light to eat while beautifully crusty, and I could always manage to eat more. It was really good bread, but it looked like a bakery conglomerate had cracked the code of making sourdough bread that was soft and delicious to almost anybody, but the flavour still made you notice you were eating it.It was strangely alarming, and I put in place steps to crank up the holey texture. Racing leavens… Soft soft doughs, well developed, folded and tensed…. plenty of initial oven heat. At last id got some crazy paving happening with the texture. Trouble is I like it the other way. My son was menacingly obsessive with fermenting a fine white froth to the top of the tin, then getting a modest oven spring, but a fine yellow slice of bread …a white high top…even, regular ferment from top to bottom, with minimum  large alveolation… “cakey”.You will see it in pre-WW2 bread manuals. The ideal for a tin bread. Nutritious, tasty but not overpowering a decent piece to eat, suggesting numerous classic sandwich structures, and more inventive ones…a traditional sandwich like this offers is a perfect meal sometimes. The holey stuff..its often tough, from viagra wheat flours and shiny with gluten. More than melt in your mouth/cakey, it is chewy. But it can taste… minimally…sometimes with that gummy taste of cardboard characteristic of many strong flours, especially when underfermented, or lately with that ever so slight “dirty” taste of vitamin C metabolites. Its more like that “modern” “French bread” from the 60`s. EH? Funny. To my mind, its best suited to a wood-fired oven, which develops better flavour, texture and crust than the clammy oversteamed taste/texture/shiny crust of the ovens designed to replicate the brick one.Manipulation of technique, using a softer flour produces a much better-tasting holey bread, the crust tasting more of wheat and the texture more delicate…there is more cakey crumb between the large holes, which helps hold butter/oil. This is a more traditional sourdough, as the stronger wheats available today, which enable the “more hole than crumb” style bread, were rare in the past, and if available, blended rather than used as a single flour.But this is not sandwich territory. And especially not anything like breakfast toast with butter and honey unless you like to lick it from the plate or your sleeve …. the holes. Mega-holey bread is  ONLY for soups and stews..or butterless toast…prefers olive oil to coat it please….even then it will drip on you, and everywhere.But it’s the same bread essentially as the white high top…flour/leaven/water/salt, isn’t it?. To make bread we  use the bakers codes, simply, the 4 “T`s”..Time-Texture-Temperature-Transcendence…. The major parameters of change…more or less of each, and in relation to each other, determine the style of bread…this is manipulation of technique…and transcendence because extraordinary phenomena sometimes govern a situation, these range from a power failure which cuts out your ever-so-expensive retarder-prover, to a hex placed on you by a competitor, to a mistaken measurement/weight/temperature because you were thinking about the argument with your loved one, or you had too much to dream last night,etc ……. and a tiny decision snowballs…or it doesn’t, and it should….stuck in a routine?John DownesThe Natural Tucker Bread Bookby John DownesHyland House Melb. 1983.Consultation inquiries: Artisan Baker Association (ABA)Email. [email protected]Web. www.artisanbaker.com.au 


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