I have always admired the artisan bread bakers who managed to produce those very rustic looking breads with huge air holes in the crumb. Not that I particularly care to eat this type of bread as one cannot spread anything on the crumb, and the holes are so large that it’s not much good for soaking up gravy! Nevertheless, it’s a challenge to be able to produce such crumbs, and when I discovered that it involves a long process to obtain these results, I was initially hesitant to start experimenting. But this time, I thought I’d give it a try! Why not? So one morning, I decided to use the blue butterfly flower water extract just for the dramatic effect it may have on the crumb. This is what I did.
For the blue water, I used 8g of the dried blue butterfly pea flowers in 445g water and boiled this for 10 minutes. Allow this to cool. Then measure out 277g for the dough. This would be 77% hydration.
Total Flour 360g.
36g Japanese high grade bread flour (10%) 1/4 tsp dried yeast (0.75g)
36g whole wheat flour (10%) 1 tbs. Coconut syrup
288g Bread flour. (80%) 2 tsp pink Himalayan salt.
Mix the flours thoroughly together, and add in the blue water, ( leaving about 10 ml to use later with the dried yeast) and let the dough autolysis for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, mix in 1/4 tsp (0.75g) dried yeast with the remaining blue water; 1 tbs coconut syrup, and mix these into the dough.
Finally add in the pink Himalayan salt 6g (1.6% or 2 tsp.) Knead in the salt into the dough.
When done, do light folds every 45 minutes for 4 sets.
Then coil folds every 45 minutes for 3 to 4 sets.
Lastly, transfer the dough on to a well-floured surface and pre-shape it and let it rest 20 minutes. I then did a final shaping of the dough, placed the shaped dough into a well floured banneton and allowed bulk proofing for 2 hours. I think 4 hours would have been better, but it was already late into the night! I would prefer 4 to 5 hours of bulk proofing as I think the crumb would then have larger holes.
I then placed the dough into the refrigerator and let this retard for 18 hours.
Next day, remove the dough from the banneton onto baking paper, slash and place the dough into a very hot dutch oven which has been preheated to 260˚C. Bake with the cover on for 20 minutes at 260˚C, and then with the cover off at 205˚C. The bread should be done then. Let the loaf cool down completely before slicing.
The blue flower dye extract cooling.
The blue water mixed with the dough.
Pre-shaped dough resting.
Shaped dough in banneton.
After 18 hours retarding.
Ready for slashing.
The slashing could be better. This is the baked boule waiting to be sliced.
A close-up of the sliced crumb. The holes are not as large as I would like them to be, and I think the longer bulk ferment would do this. But this is so far the most airy crumb I have baked!