|Einkorn Hazelnut Levain à la Forkish|
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A while ago I needed to add another book from my Amazon wish list to qualify for free shipping. More or less randomly, I picked Ken Forkish’s: “Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast” – the price was right!
When I started leafing through the book, I was intrigued by his approach to kneading – or, better, not kneading the dough. From Dan Lepard’s Pumpkin Whey Bread I knew that very brief kneading (30 seconds), followed by some folds, can be sufficient to process some doughs – but pinching?
|Walnut Levain – my first take at Forkish’s breads.|
Usually I don’t mix my doughs by hand (my skin is very dry) so I used a large wooden spoon for stirring flour and water together.
But Forkish is right, using your hands is much faster, and you have less cleanup afterwards.
During the pinching and folding process, the dough behaved exactly as it should: rising, then leveling out after each fold, calling for the next round.
And getting more elastic and smoother after each turn!
Forkish’s descriptions are precise, and detailed, but, nevertheless, there were stumbling blocks on the way, and it took more than one trial to finally master the whole process.
Why the waste? You are supposed to build a huge amount of levain, only to use a small percentage of it for your final dough – the rest goes in the trash. Sure, flour and water don’t cost much, but this is definitely not my idea of frugality and environmental consciousness!
The rationale behind this waste? Beats me. The breads taste great, even when made without all this splurging. Does a loaf, made with just as much levain as needed, taste any different from one where the starter came out of a big bucket? Hard to believe!
Sticky wicket: if you don’t flour the rising basket really, really well (whether lined, or not), this can happen:
Don’t think you can ease the proofed bread with your usual gentle coaxing from the basket. Forget your good manners – your dough needs slapping! After the sticky wicket of breads that stubbornly clung, and then deflated in the extraction process, I finally checked YouTube.
|A bread that turned into a flounder (Overnight Brownie)|
And there it was: I saw master baker Forkish slamming the banneton with gusto on the counter – brutal force did the trick! After this eye-opener I was less timid, and the breads finally let go.
Soft skin vs. hot pot. Not afraid of third degree burns, Ken Forkish places the bread smoothly into the Dutch oven. Others, with less experience, might not be so lucky. But there is an easy way out: the paper sling!
|Use parchment paper for a painless transfer (Overnight White)|
This worked well for other DO breads I baked, like Aroma Bread. Therefore, save your skin – use parchment for a painless transfer.
Once these snafus were overcome, every bread I made from “Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast”, plus my “à la Forkish” variations, turned out great.
“Bold baked” crust, holey crumb, and extraordinary taste – my random pick to fill my shopping cart at Amazon became one of my favorite baking books!
A&B Naturals, my favorite food store (they sell my breads!) just started carrying Einkorn flour, and I love hazelnuts. This is the formula I came up with, combining both in a loaf à la Forkish.
I include the first step – refreshing your starter to make a Forkish levain – and a time schedule.
EINKORN HAZELNUT LEVAIN
1. Step: Forkish’s basic levain
12 g mature levain (your default)
48 g water (90ºF/32ºC)
48 g bread or AP flour
12 g whole wheat
2. Step: Levain (24 hours later)
12 g of the Forkish levain
48 g water (90ºF/32ºC)
48 g bread flour
12 g Einkorn flour
302 g bread flour
138 g Einkorn flour
342 g water (90ºF/32ºC)
113 g hazelnuts, toasted, halved, or very coarsely chopped
11 g salt
120 g levain (all)*)
*) Following Forkish’s recommendation I use a little more levain because my kitchen is usually cooler than 70ºF/21ºC (120 g instead of 108 g)
7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Feed your default starter to turn it into a Forkish Levain. (With this small amount the hydration of your starter doesn’t matter too much, if it’s between 75 and 100%.)
7:00 – 9:00 a.m. (24 hours after feeding your mature starter à la Forkish)
Refresh levain. Cover, and leave at room temperature for 7 – 9 hours.
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
In large bowl, mix flours and water by hand, until all flour is hydrated. Cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.
|Adding levain and salt|
|Pinching the dough…|
|…then folding it|
Sprinkle salt over flour mixture and add levain. Prepare a bowl with water (for dipping your hands.) With (wet) hands, fold dough from sides over to the center, then, working like a pincer, pinch dough several times, alternating with folding, until dough is smooth, about 5 – 6 times. (DDT: 77º-78ºF/25º-26ºC.)
Let dough rest for 10 minutes, then incorporate nuts the same way.
|Incorporating nuts (Forkish’s Walnut Levain)|
Fold dough three times more, twice at 20 minute intervals, the last time before going to bed. Leave, well covered, at room temperature overnight.
|Dough should have tripled overnight (Forkish’s Field Blend #2)|
After 12-15 hours the dough should have tripled. Prepare a very generously floured rising basket.
Transfer dough to a floured area on an (otherwise unfloured) work surface. With floured hands, gently fold sides towards the middle to make a round. (The flour “skin” on the underside prevents sticking.)
|Folding sides over to make a round|
|Flip package over and shape into a ball (Overnight Blondie)|
Place dough round, seam side down, in proofing basket, sprinkle generously with flour, cover well, and proof for about 3 – 4 hours.
|Bubbly ball in banneton|
3/4 hours before baking, place Dutch oven (with lid) on the middle rack, and preheat oven to 475ºF/245ºC.
|Nice rise: the dough should at least double in size (Overnight Brownie)|
|Dimple should remain visible (Einkorn Hazelnut Levain)|
The dough should at least double in size, use the finger poke test to decide whether it is ready to be baked.
Finger poke test:
Gently press a dimple with your finger in the dough – it should still be a bit elastic, but not fill up again, and stay visible.
Place parchment paper on counter and place bread on it, smacking the banneton energetically on the counter! Cut off the 4 corners of the paper to make a sling.
|Proofed bread on a parchment paper sling|
Remove hot DO from oven, and put bread (with the paper) into it. Replace the lid.
Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid, and bake it for 20 – 25 minutes more, or until bread is medium to dark brown (internal temperature 210ºF/99ºC).
|Forkish likes the “bold bake” – me too! (Overnight Blondie)|
Tilt Dutch oven to slide bread out (the paper is now too brittle to serve as sling), and let loaf cool on wire rack. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
|Einkorn Hazelnut Levain|