Wednesday, October 28, 2015

An Einkorn experiment

I decided to combine this month's baking challenge with my new acquisition of all purpose einkorn flour.  The results were not what I was looking for, but still very interesting.  My hot dog buns were moist and tender with a fine crumb, but they didn't keep well and weren't strong enough to hold up to the actual dog and were better just toasted and eaten as a roll.  I think einkorn is just too delicate for use with the tangzhong method which was the challenge.  Tangzhong incorporates a flour starch gel or roux into a bread dough to give loft and springiness.  This water roux is a mixture of one part flour to five parts water by weight, that you stir and cook until the starches in the flour bind and the mixture thickens. It happens very quickly at right around 149-150°F, or 65°C.  After covering and cooling down to a warm temperature, you simply add the tangzhong to your recipe.  I calculated the proportion of flour and water that I could replace from the bun recipe I was using to be at most 7% for the roux.  I also used spelt for the tangzhong since it has the same amount of starch as regular flour where einkorn has less.  My dough ended up not nearly as sticky as it should and I added a couple tablespoons more water as well as forgetting the salt and adding it in much later.  Probably overworked that delicate einkorn gluten a bit.  The dough was actually very nice to work with and I will be trying out many more recipes with it, but I want to try the tangzhong again with regular flour so I don't have to worry about my loaf failing.  Do go and check out the results for a traditional use of tangzhong at the host kitchen's post.  And even though it wasn't perfect, look at the pretty crumb in my rolls!

Einkorn Buns
makes 6 (this is a half batch)

360 g einkorn flour (I used 335 g einkorn + 25 g spelt for tangzhong)
5 g (1 tsp) sea salt
1 1/8 tsp instant yeast
30 g olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
148 g water or milk (I used 22 g water + 126 g milk for tangzhong)

(Though I don't recommend the tangzhong for einkorn, I did bring it together by mixing the milk and spelt and stirring constantly over medium heat until it thickened at 150º.  Then I incorporated it into the dough.)
Combine water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and let stand for a few minutes.  In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.  Add oil and eggs to yeast mixture and beat it well with a fork or whisk.  Pour the liquids into the flour and bring together with a wooden spoon.  Knead by hand in the bowl until rough and sticky, then rest for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto floured surface and do two folds with a 15 minute rest in between them.  Cover and proof for 2 hours.  Divide dough into 6 pieces and form into hot dog or hamburger buns.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover.  Proof for one hour, being careful not to over proof.  Bake in a 390ºF oven for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool before slicing open.