Today was a day off from work, and so a day for baking for myself. Ah!
I had promised a friend at my local pub a loaf of Jeffrey Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain, a delightful all-naturally leavened bread with rolled oats, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds as well as rye and whole wheat flours.
I had mixed the dough along with my ripened sourdough starter the previous day, allowing a three hour fermentation with two folds, and then refrigerated the dough overnight to so it would gain a more tangy flavor from the levain (sourdough).
This morning I took the fermented dough out of the refrigerator, shaped it into two bâtards, each about 1 1/2 lbs, and placed them in my linen couche to proof. It took about four hours for the loaves to rise, and in the meantime I turned to making baguettes.
Last night I mixed up a poolish and left it to ripen overnight.
This morning I added the poolish to flour, water, salt and yeast and mixed the baguette dough. Its primary fermentation is about two hours, with one fold to increase its strength after one hour.
The baguettes were then preshaped, allowed to rest briefly and formed and placed on the couche to proof for about one hour.
Here's one of them after proofing:
I placed a pan with steaming water into my pre-heated oven, and scored the baguettes with hopes of realizing nice grignes or 'ears' that open up from the cuts made on the loaf.
Into a 460° F oven they went for 24 minutes. What emerged were two pretty nice looking baguettes whose cuts had opened nicely, giving me the hoped-for grignes.
Here are a couple shots of the 'ears' up close:
At this point my bâtards of the Five Grain levain had nicely proofed, and it was time to slash and bake them.
Because this particular bread has a high hydration (for its thirsty seeds), Hamelman commends a lengthy bake. In this case, the two 1 1/2 pound loaves were baked at 450° F for about 45 minutes.
Here is what emerged:
And with that it was time for a bit of lunch featuring one of the freshly baked baguettes.
The crumb is not as open as I had hoped for:
But with some nice gruyere and a little butter and Smithfield ham, it was a delightful way to wrap up a day's (off) baking!