Thierry Delabre is a funny French chap I discovered I don’t know how, but he’s on my Facebook page and I look at his culinary adventures with wonder. Since he discovered bread-making some time ago, it’s taken over his life in a big way. He’s kitted out his kitchen with all sorts of shiny new tools, orders flours by the bags and even delivers breads by post to friends! He’s a talented pastry chef and cook too, a real Epicurean gourmet, and has even gone on to make cooking videos. A generous soul whose love of food and life (aren’t the two mutually indispensable) just jumps off the page. I don’t know how to link to his FB but here’s the Envie de bien manger website for which he makes cooking videos. Looking at him, you’d think he’s been making food shows forever for a living ;))
Not long ago, he posted about a T80 (that’s semi-wholewheat flour) meule he made and what caught my eye was the quantity of leaven in it. I’m always drawn to breads made with more leaven not just for taste reasons but also because I get to use more of the fed leaven. The big bag of locally milled T80 from Moulin des Moissons fell nicely into place. (I would love to visit them one day.)
The first time I made this bread, I used water kefir in place of water (yes, tsk tsk, I know, I should have kept to the recipe, at least the first time round). It was a very wet dough and I mangled the shaping. But the taste…oh goodness…even Bob sat up. I’ve mentioned how it seems to me that water kefir can impart a softness and lightness to breads. The crumb was almost cake-like, and it seemed to bring out all the qualities of the wheat. It was just incredibly tasty bread that I was eating out of hand.
I recently made it again but this time with water and a very different method from my usual. Although it was very good indeed, it was not as mind-blowing as the last one. Further experiments are due.
I don’t think Thierry will mind my sharing his formula with you, so here goes:
1 kg T80
2g Fresh yeast
Autolyse with water and T80 for 30 mins-1 hr max. He refrigerates dough during the autolyse.
Add the rest of the ingredients, mix on 1st speed for 8 mins.
Trickle in 30-50g of cold water during another 2 mins of mixing (bassinage).
1st proof for 3 hours, with a very gentle folding every hour (i.e. two folds), taking care not to degas.
Divide and shape roughly and place in bannetons.
2nd proof: 16 hours in fridge (4-6 degrees celsius).
Bake cold from fridge.
At that time, I didn’t have Thierry’s method and I wasn’t even aware he adds a bit of yeast. So due to the emergency situation in the kitchen brought about by the detection of a rodent (YIKES!!), I ended up
– autolysing water, flour and leaven for almost 2hrs
-mixing everything minus fresh yeast till dough cleared bowl (I only added 20g of extra water)
– a couple of folds for an hr
– cold first proof in fridge for 21 hours
– divided and shaped direct from fridge
-baked after one hour at room temp
The dough had puffed up nicely in the fridge but was slightly lacking in strength, although not as much as I would have thought. The advantage of this method was that I could use my barely used couche, instead of bannetons, since the dough doesn’t sit out long enough for it to flop and lose all semblance of form. Also it was much easier to shape the cold dough i.e. less flour used.
Bench note to myself:
– try Thierry’s method
– try long cold proof again??? But this time with folds in between?? Would that work??
– try with water kefir again!