Last Breads of 2021

Field Blend #1.1
Country Brown Levain

If my notes are complete, I baked sourdough bread 17 times last year; that’s 34 loaves. A few days before New Year, I decided to go out in a blaze of glory, and also do some compare and contrast with different recipes, as a way to learn and improve my technique. Here is the 2021 Bread Log.

It’s interesting to note that for the first 9 months of the year, I made Tartine-style breads. Then, for some reason not obvious to me at the time, I switched to Ken Forkish formulations and techniques — similar, but not identical. The last breads of the year were two of Ken Forkish’s recipes: Field Blend #1 (a hybrid bread with 1/2 tsp. of added yeast, along with the levain), and Overnight Country Brown (pure levain, no added yeast, providing a slower, longer dough development).

I renamed the Field Blend version as #1.1, to denote my alteration which added rye and spelt flours to replace some of the bread flour. I find that the combination of spelt and rye flours in a 2:1 ratio adds extensibility to the dough, making it easier and more productive to stretch the dough for better gluten development.

I usually freeze one full loaf from each recipe, and then freeze about half of the bread I expect to use less frequently, as well. In this case I liked the Field Blend better, so I cut up some of the Country Brown and froze the other half of it. It’s still an attractive bread, though, and it contains a good deal more whole wheat flour for flavor and health.

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