Julia gave me a thermometer, designed to not only show the temperature, but give advice on the effects of temperature on humans. For instance my house is now below 16 (actually it's around 10 degrees C) at this temperature I read "There is a risk of heart attack or a stroke or even hypothermia if exposure is prolonged". My bigger concern is whether or not my dough was going to rise. For me, well it's just a case of putting on more layers.
The bread, which finally came out of the oven late last night, had a lovely appearance, good oven spring, and a glorious colour, the flavour this morning is equally good, fuller rather than more sour, delicious. I can't recommend living in the cold, but somehow if you find a way to slow down the fermentation of dough by reducing the temperature, the result is very worthwhile.
for the ferment,
100g of starter from the fridge
200g of strong white flour
200g of water.
for the main dough,
all of the ferment
1,000g of strong white flour
700g of water
20g of salt.
I began by mixing the starter with the ferment ingredients and leaving it all at room temperature, in this case around 10 degrees for 14 hours. I then added the flour and water from the main dough ingredient list, omitting the salt. I mixed until thoroughly combined into a very soft dough. I went to bed. The following morning, expecting the dough to have risen overnight to the rim of the bowl, I found it sluggish and only half way up. I added the salt and mixed thoroughly before placing the dough in a clear plastic box to rise over the next few hours. I stretched and folded the dough within the box once every couple of hours, for the next 8 hours. Finally it showed signs of growth, good gluten development and signs of large bubbles. I formed the dough into three loaves and placed them in my moulds having floured them well with rice flour. I left them for at least another 6 hours before finally baking in a hot oven, 220 degrees C, for 30 minutes.
Notes: Better bakers than I will know a lot about how temperature produces different flavours based on enzymes etc. but at this point I am reminded how strong an organism yeast is, I just need to remember that I always need to keep an eye on what's happening to the dough, temperature is a guide as to what to expect, but nothing beats observation.
My daughter Hedd ( a Welsh name, pronounced Hathe to rhyme with bathe) is coming home tomorrow so the heating will be on!