100% Whole Wheat Sourdough with Egg 93% hydration
I’ve tried adding an egg to my standard country sourdough but hadn’t tried adding one to a 100% whole wheat sourdough. Given the benefits of an egg in bread, leavening, lightness of crumb, fluffiness and thin crisp crust, a bread that is 100% whole wheat should theoretically greatly benefit from the addition of an egg.
I also wanted to try a 5 min score. For those who haven’t heard of this before, the idea is that if your dough is possibly overproofed and at risk for collapsing upon scoring, bake the dough for 5 min without steam. So for a dutch oven bake, do so without a lid for 5 mins, then take the bread out of the dutch oven, score it and then place it back in the dutch oven this time with the lid on and continue your bake.
For those like me who prefer an open bake, bake without steam for 5 mins, then score and put it back in the oven with the addition of steam. I didn’t really need to do the 5 min score with this bake and one thing I don’t like about it is the appearance of the crust when done this way. I usually score, then brush water on the crust. When doing the 5 min score, you don’t brush water on the crust. So I find that there is some residual rice flour on the crust that doesn’t get washed away by brushing on water that gives the crust a less appetizing appearance to me. I think detracted from this bake. Also, it is a waste of time doing any decorative scoring as it won’t open up since the crust is partially set by the 5 mins without steam.
I added an additional 10 g of bassinage water so the total hydration of this loaf was 93%.
Taking all the flour, I sifted it through the #40 sieve extracting about 47 g of large course bran flakes from 470 g of the stoneground organic whole wheat flour. I then added 97 g of boiling filtered water to the bran as a scald. I sprinkled the salt onto the bran and it was left to cool overnight.
The stiff levain was built and left to ferment overnight at 74ºF.
The next morning the egg and water were added to the bowl of my Ankarsrum Assistent and mixed by spatula. Next the levain was added cutting it up into small pieces with the spatula. Then the sifted flour was added to the bowl and mixed until there was no dry flour. After 10 mins of rest the mixer was started. After good gluten development the hold back water was added in several aliquots. 10 g of water more than in the spreadsheet was added during bassinage since the dough felt very strong. Once bassinage was completed gluten development was very good. Finally the scalded bran and salt was added until the bran well well incorporated. The pH was 5.62 at this point.
A bench letterfold was performed and the aliquot jar set up as well as an aliquot of dough for pH measurement.
Every 30 mins a coil fold was performed until the dough felt strong and was holding its shape well.
Aim to shape went rise 40-50% or pH fall of 1.0. This dough reached 50% rise but only had a 0.83 fall in pH. Used my starter that has been converted to a while flour fed starter. It has greater rise with less fall in pH.
Warm final proof and aim to bake at a pH fall of a further 0.3. In this case I allowed a rise of 96% and then placed the dough into the freezer while the oven finished preheating.
I will do a 5 mins score. To do this the dough is turned out onto a piece of parchment and transferred to the oven without scoring baking at 450°F. After 5 mins in the oven the dough is taken out and then scored and brushed with water. Then steam baking starts for 20 mins at 450°F. The steam gear is then removed and baking continues at 425°F for 20-30 mins rotating as needed.
I believe the egg did as advertised, the loaf had great lift, the crumb was light, the crust thinner than expected and for a 100% whole wheat loaf the crumb was fairly open. I will try this again and without the 5 min score that may have affected the bloom.
Another note, I have switched back to using my own starter which I changed to feeding bread flour. It is now rising more than the starter I was kindly gifted by Alan when given the same ratio of feeds. It is also displaying the same characteristics of less sour tang and more rise for the change in pH. For this bake, this bread turned out to be far less sour than any of my previous similar bakes, granted none of them had the egg in it which does raise the pH a bit. But still, I used to bake after a drop in pH of 1.3 and perhaps get a total rise of 80%. For this bake, the pH drop was 1.14 and the rise was 100%. I suspect this is mostly due to the characteristics imparted from my starter being fed bread flour.