This weekends baking...

This weekend, I did a pretty large bake. I did the old standbys of oat bran-flax bread and challah. I tried a different braiding pattern for the challah this time. In Hamelman's book, he describes a "Winston Knot". The loaf on the lower right is my attempt at it. I like the size of loaf it makes but I din't roll out the strands long enough. By the time I got it into shape, they got a little smashed together. Will have to try it again.

This week, my King Arthur order came with my new "pet". I ordered some of their sour dough culture so I could start experimenting with different sour dough recipes. I have already built it up into 2 separate levain starters. One is traditional white flour which I have nicknamed "Renee".

The other I am in the process of converting to a rye levain which I have nicknamed "Heidi". I think I will be keeping them both as stiff levains at about 80% hydration. According to Hamelman, stiffer levains will develop a stronger sour flavor which is my goal. Instead of throwing out some of the levain with the last feeding of "Heidi", I decided to take a try at a plain old Pain au Levain and tried the recipe from Peter Reinhart's "Bread Bakers Apprentice".

I cheated a little because I spiked the final dough with some instant yeast to accomidate my schedule. Otherwise it would have been a 4 hr ferment and a 2 hr proof. Adding the yeast cut things down to 90minutes and 60 minutes. Bread turned out pretty well with just a hint of sour flavor. Let the experimentation begin...

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