Did a great variation on our classic mixed grain: inverted the bulk/retardation ferments and added a coating of sesame seeds.
Boris was over at my place a few weeks back and commented on my mixed grain bread just out of the oven. I was all pleased and proud to show off, but… “Looks good mate, but its a bit dense.” What I thought was a fine crumb turned out to be crummy. The good thing about Boris is that he’s not just an armchair critic: he’s an expert that offers solutions for every problem he diagnoses.
True to form, he suggested that I should try inverting the bulk fermentation and retardation. This would reduce the early acid build up during a longer bulk fermentation in the fridge and allow the gluten to form better bonding structures giving a more flexible but robust dough and subsequently more volume during baking.
So, using my trusty bread boss app, I copied the classic mixed grain recipe and changed the alarms so that the dough went straight into the fridge after I finished mixing and developing. I turned it every 3 hours: basically I took it out of the fridge; stretched it out quite long and folded it over; did this a couple of times before rolling back into a ball and back into the fridge. I was surprised how stiff it was due to the cold, but it did stretch out quite a bit. It was left in the fridge overnight, so I only got to turn it over 3 times (I wasn’t going to get up at 3am just to turn the dough – those days are over;)
Next morning I removed it from the fridge for an hour before scaling and rounding for the intermediate proof (30 minutes); then molding into baskets for the final proof of 6 hours (this could vary depending on how long in the fridge – I had mine in the fridge for 13 hours). One thing I’m still learning is how to know if the dough is 45 minutes from being ready for baking (45 minutes is how long it takes to preheat my oven).
The other big difference was to roll the shaped dough in sesame seeds. After molding I lightly sprayed the dough with water and then rolled it in a tray of sesame seeds. I probably could have skipped the spray of water as the dough was quite sticky coming out of the fridge cold and getting a little condensation on it. You just have to judge for yourself based on your conditions. After that they sat in the bannetons for the final proof.
The results were fantastic! Great volume and lovely tasting. Of course if you don’t like sesame seeds then skip that and use poppy seeds or flax/linseed or whatever takes your fancy – I just happen to love the subtle flavor of sesame.
Here is the recipe: