“The immaculate white crumb, velvety to the touch, its brioche-like aroma of sweet butter…the divine fragrance and brittle crunch of the toasted slice, the … ”
Well. That could have been a good start to a serious effort on making toast bread at home. Instead, I must have gone all romantic.
It’s the rare baker who takes a loaf of toast bread out of his oven and proudly announces: “I have made this.” The least I can do, is to offer my report on how I tried to solve, or rather overcome, a problem of unparalleled importance: How to bake toast bread that browns nicely when toasted.
If you have ever made toast bread and have no idea what my problem is, you must be doing something right. Every time I have made a toasting loaf it took on color poorly. Blame the silly contraption called “Toaster”! But commercial toast bread browned fine. So it had to be the recipe. And everything else.
I consulted Jeffrey Hamelman’s “Bread – A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes”. Apparently I had no other choice than to trust a Non-British baker on a very British wheaten loaf. But it was an easy choice, because “Bread” is a marvelous book.
First, the only big thing I changed in the recipe was the amount of water. Because heating water takes energy, any moisture in the breadcrumb will delay the browning of the bread. (Try roasting a wet marshmallow.)
A bold bake seemed mandatory.
Finally, a procedure probably less important, when the bread had cooled, I sliced it and bagged it to let more water escape from the crumb. I began toasting the next day. The toasting was a success, the bread itself was underproved and in the oven it displayed a lift not commonly attributed to toast, resulting in, well, “anisotropies”.
Toast Bread is good bread. But until the next picnic, I’ll make do with some “Korntaler”.
Toast Bread (1 small loaf)
- 150g plain white flour (50%)
- 150g strong white flour (50%)
- 190g water (63%)
- 6g butter, soft (2%)
- 3g sugar (1%)
- A pinch of malt powder (0.1%)
- 5g fresh yeast (1.6%)
- 6g salt (2%)
Autolyse: Combine the flours with the water, add the butter, sugar and malt powder. Mix to a shaggy mass. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Add the yeast and the salt, mix on 2nd speed for 3 minutes. Finish kneading by hand. The dough should be smooth.
Bulk Fermentation: 2 hours. Fold once after 1 hour.
Final Fermentation: 1-1.5 hours
Bake at 220°C for 35 minutes. Carefully take the bread out of the pan. Turn off oven and return the bread for additional 10 minutes in order to dry the crust in a receding heat. Let cool, slice it and store loosely in a plastic bag. Toast the next day or use as sandwich loaf right away.
P.S. Funny, that big holes appear when not expected, nor wanted.