Following my first experiment, I wanted to try essentially the same thing using the overnight sponge method, hoping to develop more flavour and more of an open texture.
This time, I decided to leave the butter out, because with a dough containing both cocoa and treacle, there was a danger of making it too cake-like.
I ordered a variety of flours from the flour bin, and decided on this occasion to use their multi-grain mix along with a dark rye flour.
The overnight sponge was made with rye flour, a half teaspoon of yeast, and – experimentally – breadcrumbs from the last Viking loaf I made, soaked in milk. This was a suggestion from commenter Rashbre, a technique used in German rye breads. I spoke to one of the German teachers at school about this, too. I pre-cooked the milk in the microwave and then used it to soak the breadcrumbs I made in my blender from the end bit of the last Viking loaf, which I had set aside for this purpose. I made a double batch of sponge, so I used 300g of dark rye altogether, along with about 250 ml of milk.
It wasn’t very dough-like. This you expect with rye flour, which doesn’t have enough gluten in it. It didn’t look very inspiring, and didn’t seem to do much. I made it around 4pm on Friday evening, and even by the time I went to bed it didn’t appear to be alive in the way some dough starters are.
Got up this morning and split the starter in two. Had it done anything overnight? It didn’t look like it had, but it sure smelled fermented. It smelt great, in fact, like a proper sourdough, which gave me confidence going forward.
I made two batches. The first with 280g 100% 8-Grain Flour Mix added to the rye starter, along with a tablespoon of cocoa and one of treacle. Around two teaspoons of fast-action yeast, 250 ml water, and (once the dough was looking stretchy in the mixer) 1 1/2 tsp salt. You should add water in stages, because this was a wet dough. I left it on the wet side, though I did add a couple of tbsp of flour bin Type 55 French bread flour, too.
The second batch was made with half 8-Grain and half Type 55. To the first batch, I added a handful of caraway seeds (often added to rye recipes); to the second a handful of toasted sunflower seeds.
The dough took off like gangbusters, which was a surprise. I know the Flourbin put vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in their French bread flour, but both batches seemed to rise at similar rates, so they were just raring to go. I shaped both batches into loaves: one in a tin, the other not, and left them to rise a second time.
Haven’t tasted the second loaf yet, but the one above was great. A lovely mixture of flavours with the occasional burst of caraway.
- Home-made viking loaf, attempt #1 (frequentlyarsed.wordpress.com)