Big Bear’s Bread has been a real popular bread, I have had many emails about it. I wanted to try the same formula, but try to shorten the preferment time and add some grains/seeds. Since that is what I like (the grains/seeds), I thought I would call this variation, “Lady Bear’s Bread.”
You start with the basic BBB formula here: Big Bear’s Bread. Because of the added grains/seeds mixture, this formula will make slightly over 4.5 lbs of dough.
Instead of ice water and a cool ferment though, add regular cool water and ferment the biga-like preferment for three hours, folding once each hour at room temperature. Then place the dough into a covered container and refrigerate it overnight.
Next day, in the afternoon, weigh out 5 oz/141g seeds and grains and add to 8 oz/226g of boiling water (I used 2 oz of cracked wheat, 1 oz each of sunflower seeds, flax seeds and millet seeds). Boil the grain/seed mixture for one minute and then allowed the mixture to cool completely.
As the seed/grain mixture is cooling, Take out the biga-like dough from the refrigerator and uncover it. Allow it to warm up to room temperature for an hour. Then once the seed/grain mixture is cool add it, with the slurry, to the biga dough preferment:
- 7 oz/198g warm water
- .7 oz /19g salt
- 4 oz /113g bread flour
After adding the slurry and the grain/seed mixture to the dough, mix it into the big-like preferment using gentle folding, stretching motions.
It will not fold in well at first, and your dough will be stringy, ropey for a while. Do not try to make a smooth dough at this point. Allow the dough to set and fold it each hour for three more hours. By the time the three hours is up, the dough will be smooth, well incorporated and silky, sticky feeling. It is a wonderful dough.
Once the three hours ferment is done, divide your dough and preshape into rounds or batards. I made four loaves weighing just slightly over one pound each. Let the dough bench rest for 15 minutes and then final shape. Place your dough into bannetons or lines baskets which have been floured. Then cover the dough, basket and all with a plastic bag and retard in the refrigerator overnight.
Next day take out your loaves, staggered 30 minutes apart and let them final proof for about two hours.
When ready, slash, spray with water once all over and bake at 450F degrees (on a baking stone) for 15 minutes covered with a roasting pan lid. After the 15 minutes, take off the lid and bake for 15 – 20 minutes more, until nicely browned and hollow sounding when you tap the loaf on the bottom or your bread thermometer reaches 200F- 205F degrees.
I hope you enjoyed Big Bear’s Bread, if you did, try Lady Bear’s Bread… and no.. there will be no Baby Bear’s Bread… maybe a Grandbaby Bears Bread though….
Keep baking… it will keep you happy… there is a Baguette Challenge going on at the sourdough forum in July… you might want to check it out.