Maurizio's 50-50 WW, alfanso style
Other than on his The Perfect Loaf site, I can’t remember where I saw Maurizio’s 50-50 WW SD posted by anyone. I warehoused the formula until this week. Not being a big fan of bread that leans too heavily on WW, I was cautious about this one. I generally find that they taste a little too “earthy” for me. I decided to tinker with this a bit. I added ~12% chopped figs and ~12% pecans to the dough on the first Letter Fold. And therefore Maurizio’s 50-50 WW became Alfanso’s 50-50 WW with figs and pecans.
Maurizio uses a combination of higher gluten AP flours than I do, but my KA WW has a little more protein than his Guisto’s Stoneground WW does, so all in all, it seems to be a somewhat even trade. Mixing this by hand with French Folds yields an unsurprisingly super slack dough. It comes in at ~89% hydration, a region that I've rarely ever visited, or even come anywhere close to. And it took the majority of the 5 Letter Folds to tighten up. Into retard and then a late night shaping where the dough was much more cooperative. but still quite wet and slack.
From experience I know that I generally do not get a big grigne from oven spring nor much of an open crumb when there is a rather large quantity of fruit & nuts. And especially when there is high hydration, as this monster has. The additions to the dough have a tendency to weigh the dough down and interrupt what would probably be a more open crumb. So there was some initial disappointment in the mid-bake outcome when I released the steam - until I remembered those few minor, but important details.
It is a lovely bread with a nice crispy crust and a soft crumb. The figs were added to provide some sweetness to the mix, but they should have been chopped up smaller. I may visit this bread very soon again, next time without the fruit or nuts. I’m curious as to how the final product will play out and whether I can attain some of the beauty that Maurizio produces for his bread.
These were pretty big batards for me. The smaller was ~600g and the larger ~1000g (and there's a reason for that).
One funny shaping incident: I originally shaped 3 baguettes and the smaller batard, couched them, and then went to retard. Somewhere about a half hour later I realized that the baguettes were not the best solution for so much additive. And so the retarded dough was un-retarded, the 3 baguette were un-couched, balled together and then reformed and shaped into the larger batard before going back on the couche to join the other. A little crazed, but it seemed to work.