In “Flour Water Salt Yeast,” Ken Forkish includes a section about creating a dough that you can call your own. When I first read that section, I was still very new at making bread and to be honest, I was fairly skeptical about getting to the point of making a dough I could call my own. I was still completely overwhelmed by the process and couldn’t fathom having “my own” dough recipe.
So I followed Ken’s advice and made the recipes strictly according to how they were written – probably about 20 times. Then I started to get a feel for working with dough and started experimenting with hydration levels and flour blends and such. Some folks might think that that’s not much practice before experimenting, but I’m fairly experienced in the kitchen and once I did it about 20 times, it was enough repetition to start exploring.
Fast-forward a few months later, and I think I’ve found my “master” flour blend which is an 80-20 bread/whole wheat flour (fine ground) combination. I’ve made several loaves with this combination over the last couple of weeks, and I absolutely love the results I’m getting! I moved to including more whole grain into my diet because of health reasons, but the texture that whole grain brings is magnificent.
The cool thing is that my 20% whole wheat portion is like my joker card. I can use it in a straight dough, or I use it to make a poolish.
I’m not going to stop tweaking; in fact, Ken Forkish promotes this. But I’m very jazzed that I found a foundation!