Sunday 4th March,
Here we go again! :-)
Beginning at 9.15am (bit more organised this time!) I combined 450g wholemeal flour and 500g of water into a sloppy dough, covered it with a dry teatowel and left it on the worktop.
2.00pm: Added 5g fresh yeast and 30g (ml) cold water and gave the gloopy mix a vigorous mixing for about thirty seconds, to ensure the yeast properly reaches all parts. My 'D-shaped spatula with handle' is particularly useful for this:
|Just flour and water at this stage|
|Now it's bursting with life - the yeast is doing its work|
|Doesn't look much, does it?|
This is always a sticky dough, and this was pretty sticky - it was taking me longer than usual (more short kneadings than is normally the case) to get it to a stage where it could be shaped. But eventually, after I'd reached that stage, I realised what I'd done.
So I added the 100g wholemeal, with 60g of water and another 5g of yeast (it was getting late and I was up against the clock) and kneaded it all together. Eventually I was happy with it and shaped it into rolls.
I've decided to reduce the size of my rolls, somewhat, so I divided the dough into 14 instead of 12 and shaped into rolls:
|Need to huddle them together somewhat so that they would fit under my roasting tray - using the 'undercover' method|
|They were weighed off at approximately 104g each - and, after baking and cooling they weighed between 84 and 98g. The ones in the middle, of course, lost the most moisture.|
The next batch I make, after freezing, I'll take, along with one from this batch, to a group of friends and do a blind tasting with them.
Hopefully, I'll get my maths right next time!
[More to come]
Saturday 18th February
Had to make some more rolls today, so I thought I'd have another go at an autolyse.
Starting at 7.10 in the evening I mixed 550g Dove's wholemeal with 485ml of water and left it for a couple of hours.
Later than I meant to, around 9 o'clock I added 8g of salt, 60g of flax seeds and the rest of the liquid - 55ml which included 10g of fresh yeast, plus 50g EVOO.
I couldn't understand why it was so wet - for over an hour I was giving it a short knead, leaving it for ten minutes, kneading again, etc, and eventually I thought, "I'll have to go with this." To test if it was OK once moulded, I shaped a roll and left it for ten minutes. It was fine.
I then started weighing out the rolls - divide the dough into six pieces, weigh them around 220g then divide each piece into two before shaping. Puzzlingly, I found I was about 100g light??
Only then did I realise that I hadn't added the usual 150g of white flour I was supposed to add, to give me a hydration of 70% (700g flour + 60g ground flaxseeds to 535ml water).
Stupidly, instead of working out that I needed around 60g flour and 40g water, I added some white flour without measuring it - so then I had to keep adding water to achieve a workable dough. Eventually, after much faffing about I got it to my liking.
The mix ended up about 60g heavier than my usual, so my rolls will be bigger by an extra 5g.
I then went ahead and proved and baked them - under cover as is my wont - and I'll check them tomorrow to see if there is any difference in flavour.
I didn't come back as I intended - but I have to report that, while I could detect no difference in flavour, they did seem to be a tad bigger and lighter than my usual rolls. However, since there are so many variables (especially the way I mishandled the ingredients) that I can't say it was down to the autolyse process. More work to be done!
Friday, 9th December
In a recent conversation on the BBC Food message board about the effects of adding salt to a dough and when you should add it, the subject of the autolyse method of making bread came up.
I first have to say that, experienced bread baker as I am, I’ve not looked closely at this method of preparing a bread dough before.
Reading about the explosive increase of flavour experienced by users of method I knew I’d have to investigate further – which meant a side by side trial!:(
(I have to say the bloke who’s method I’m following – perhaps mistakenly – is full of contradictions. We’ll come to them later.)
So: needing to make a side-by-side trial, whilst making a batch of rolls to take up to my daughter for my weekend trip to London, I divided my dough in two.
30g of ground flaxseeds (this is how I get my Omegas)
all mixed together – 50g of the mix set aside with 4g of salt added (the handful the author describes)
To the remainder I added:
269g of yeast liquid – including 4g fresh yeast
30g of ground flaxseeds
all mixed together – 50g of the mix set aside
To the remainder I added:
266g of yeast liquid – including 4g fresh yeast
I mixed each of these into a dough, then left them – for about 30 minutes. When I came to add the rest of the flour – in one case – and the flour and salt in another, I mixed the flour into the dough and left it. I have to say that the dough – despite using the same amount of water as I usually do – came together in a much less sticky dough.
I have to say I could find no difference in flavour between the two batches. The flavour overall is excellent - but then, it always is!
Here's another conversation where adding salt whilst autolysing doesn't seem to make any difference.
Tonight I'm comparing half a batch of rolls using the autolyse method with half using my usual 'several short kneadings' method of making bread.