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Essential's Columbia Bread


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Essential Bakery's Columbia or is it?

Three rounds of raisin bread is enough and since I am plodding through Maggie Glezers book, I decided to make Essential's Columbia but the problem was that I did not have enough time to make the starter so I settled on a yeasted version. The bread is named after the Columbia River. Speaking of which, it is to my eternal regret not to have visited the Columbia River Gorge when I was working in the US. The composition of flour was the same but certainly not the leavening. So I am hard pressed to decide if this is really the real McCoy. Technically, it is not but depending on the taste of this one, I will make the real one on one of this weekend.

The flours I used this time round was of British origin and boy, are they different from good old US flour. The water absorption of British flour was definitely lesser than that of US flour and since I was so used to the hydration levels of US flour, I had to muster all my skills to make it work. The flour composition as specified in the books are 90% of white flour. Actually, the book specified a combination of bread and AP flour. The bread has 8% whole-wheat from Shipton Mills given to me by a generous friend and 2% rye and 3% toasted wheat-germ. I modified the hydration significantly and this proved unwise. Firstly, I was not familiar with British flour and secondly, I changed the hydration arbitrarily based on my experience with American flour.

I also tried something new during the loading this time round. I steamed the oven and switched it off before loading the dough. By the time the third loaf was in, the first 2 were flat as pancakes but they redeemed themselves by having tremendous oven spring.




This site was last updated 02/07/07