Monday 3 September 2012

Prior's Flour Bread

I popped along to Foster's Mill at Swaffham Prior the other day to pick up some of their excellent organic white bread flour. The sails were being driven around by the wind that had picked up and inside, where the miller, Jonathan was busy weighing out flour, the milling mechanism was moaning and rattling. It may not be on my doorstep, being 33 miles from my home but I am certainly fortunate to be able to find and use such high quality organic flour, freshly milled.

My first batch of bread with this new flour was very satisfactory, I shall make the next batch a little less wet and I shall develop the gluten a little more, but this is just tweaking, the flavour is outstanding.

For activating the starter
100g of starter from the fridge
100g of Prior's white bread flour
100g of water

For the ferment
All the activated starter
50g of Strong whole wheat flour
150g of Prior's white bread flour
200g of water

For the final dough
All the ferment
1,000g of Strong white flour
500g of water
20g of salt

Activating the starter; take 100g of starter from the fridge, add 100g of Prior's white bread flour and 100g of water, stir well and leave covered for 2 hours.

When the surface is showing some activity, a few bubbles, add the remaining ferment ingredients and mix well to introduce some air. Leave covered for at least 4 to 6 hours, this will depend almost entirely on temperature.

When the ferment is showing good signs of activity see fig 1 add all of the flour and water for the main dough, omit the salt at this stage and leave covered to rise for 8 hours.

After the bulk rising period, add the salt and knead well for 5-10 minutes to develop the gluten.

Leave the dough, covered, to rise for and hour. Stretch and fold the dough to further develop the gluten. Repeat the stretching and folding two more times at 1 hourly intervals.

Divide and shape the dough into 3 battard loaves and place seam side up on a well floured linen cloth to rise for 2-3 hours until nearly doubled in size.

Slash the loaves and bake in a hot oven 220 degrees C for 30 - 35 minutes. I transfer my loaves onto a pre-heated cast iron flat griddle and bake them one at a time, moving the loaf onto a different shelf in the oven after 15 minutes in order to re-use the griddle, a pizza stone will serve the same purpose.

This bread has the creamy beige colour you find in bread baked using unbleached white flour; it most resembles the pain l'ancienne I found when visiting Hedd's childhood friend Camille in Marseille. Pain l'ancienne is her father Phillipe's favourite bread and for me discovering it, helped to fuel my drive to bake this type of bread for myself.

The amounts described above are the ones I used for baking this batch of bread but as I mentioned I will reduce the water in the final dough to 450g for the next batch.

I understand Bakery Bits is now selling Prior's flour.

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