Perry “Teary” Bread

I saw this video on dmsnyder's blog and been obsessing about this new shaping technique. My usual shaping is very simple – shaping dough into a ball and then adjusting shape to fit my banneton, I will get around to video-ing it at some stage.
But I really like the shape this video creates, and Mr Ranty has been asking me to try it out.
Instead of sticking to a tried and true recipe and changing the shape, I’ve decided to try out a new recipe too – what the hell :)

I bought a bottle of perry – pear cider – and thought it would add a nice flavour to my bread, not gonna add any extra fancy ingredients, want to see what that does to the texture and flavour.

Perry “Teary” Bread

220 g white starter (100% hydration)
220 g pear cider, “perry”
70 g water
350 g white flour
100 g wholemeal flour
50 g light rye flour
1 ½ tsp salt

Mix everything but the salt in a mixer for 6 minutes on speed one, cover with a tea towel and leave to autolise for 20 minutes. Add salt and mix for two more minutes on speed 2. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and do three stretch and folds over the next hour and a half. Leave (covered) to ferment at room temperature for further two to three hours. The dough has started showing some signs of life by this stage, not doubling or anything, but definitely looking a bit puffy. I would have liked to leave it to proof for a bit longer, but it was getting close to midnight, and I wanted to retard it in the fridge overnight, so I decided to shape it anyway.
Ah, the shaping… my first free-shaped loaf for quite a while, I am so used to using bannetons, that free shaping what somewhat challenging. Well, my pre-shaped loaf looked nothing like the one in the video – I did manage to get pointy ends, but it didn’t have that nice round-ish shape, it was looking more like a fat sausage with two pointy ends. I decided to be optimistic, and plonked my shaped loaf into a baking tray (lined with baking parchment, to stop it from sticking), covered it with a giant rubbish bag to prevent the dough from forming a hard crust, and placed it in the fridge overnight.
I’ve also set the oven to start pre-heating itself an hour before my alarm goes off, so I can bake the bread first thing in the morning. For some strange reason I woke up at 5 am, looked at the clock and decided to go back to sleep. Then I thought, hold on, if I take the dough out of the fridge now, it will warm up to room temperature by the time I actually have to get up. Up I go, quick trip to the kitchen, dough out, back to bed – I am pretty sure I was asleep the whole time I was doing it too :)
So, when alarm did go off, I checked my dough, and it did look all puffy – happy with the volume it gained overnight, very disappointed with the shape – the pointy bits have disappeared completely, and I was left with a somewhat ugly shaped loaf. Oh well, what can you do? Still half asleep I slashed it (not particularly well as you can see from the photo) and in it goes to be baked. Bake for 20 minutes with steam at 210C, rotate and bake for further 20 minutes at 200C.

An ugly looking loaf turned into even uglier looking bread – got a real nasty tear at the bottom of the loaf, and the slashing is looking awful!! At least I need to know the areas I need to improve on :)

Gonna try is later tonight to see what it actually tastes like, I have big hopes for the taste, seeing as the look let me down.
I think the dough might need to be a bit less hydrated – its around 66% now (see my previous posts about hydration calculation), and I think it should be closer to 55%, a typical hydration of French bread. I was hoping that extra wholemeal and rye flour would absorb the extra liquid, but it didn’t work that way. I probably try making a smaller loaf next time too, or make two separate loaves out of the amount of dough above, to make the shaping a bit easier.

The taste is actually quite nice, not much of a pear flaour (but I didn't really expect it), very good crust and nice and chewy texture.


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