I always take my starter out of the refrigerator and give it a double feeding before I plan to use it. I tend to give it a small feeding once it comes to room temperature, and then a regular-size feeding about 12 hours or so before I’ll be using it. For this bread, a small amount of starter was mixed with bread flour and water to form a liquid levain 12 to 16 hours before the dough was mixed. To start the dough, oats were soaked in water for a few minutes before bread flour, whole wheat flour, water, commercial yeast, and the liquid levain were added to the bowl of the stand mixer and mixed with the dough hook. After the mixture came together, I left it to sit, covered with a towel, for about 15 minutes. Then, I added salt and a little more water and mixed for a few minutes before adding the golden raisins. I turned the dough out of the bowl, kneaded it for a few minutes and then placed it in a wide, oiled bowl which I covered with plastic. After one hour, I gave the dough a fold and turn in the bowl, and left it to ferment for about another hour. The dough was then divided into two pieces and shaped into round loaves. The loaves were covered with a towel and left to rise for an hour. I was able to fit both loaves on my baking stone, so they baked together for 45 minutes total with steam for first ten minutes.
In this book, Jeffrey Hamelman writes “well-made breads never possess their finest aroma or flavor until they have cooled completely.” So, I waited. And, wondered. Finally, when I cut into a loaf I found those big, golden raisins speckled all about the bread just as they should be, and the crunchy crust gave way to a tender crumb with subtle nuttiness from the whole wheat and oats. The anxiety had ended for another delicious bread adventure.
I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting where you’ll find some seriously well-made bread.
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