Couronne experiments

I’m loving the ring shaped loaf at the moment. It’s also called a couronne apparently, though I don’t know much about the real thing from France. I did this one summer 2010:

Couronne Aug 2010

Annoyingly, I didn’t make a record of it at the time and I can’t remember where I got the recipe.

Recently, however, I learned this version, which was referred to as a “French crown”. This is scaled for a 1kg loaf:
536g Flour (100%)
311g Water (58%)
5g Fresh yeast (1%)
5g Sugar (1%)
11g Salt (1.9%)
134g White leaven (25%)

It used a 2-4 hour fermentation time, and created a nice plump, white version. It also uses a French white flour – apparently, to recreate this softer flour in the UK, we can do a blend of strong white and plain flours.

I want to develop a version that uses more natural leaven (or sourdough starter), a longer fermenation and isn’t 100% white flour. I’ve also been experimenting with overnight proving in the fridge.

Here’s what I’ve been using.

Sponge:
170g strong white flour
100g rye flour
310g water
200g white leaven (mine’s currently made with 50/50 water/flour)
[I’ve also been adding a little yeast – 1g ADY or easyblend, or 2g fresh; hey sourdough purists, I’m experimenting!]

I’ve been leaving this sponge for around 9 to 16 hours, then making up a dough by adding:
100g strong white flour
170g plain flour
11g salt

I’ve been kneading for around 10 mins, then leaving it half an hour, and giving it a quick knead. I’ve also done a few folds.

On one occasion, I proved it for a few hours, then shaped the ring, and left that to for its final prove overnight in the fridge. Took it out, left it for around two hours to bring the dough temp up again, then baked it. It was very nice, with a decent irregular crumb, chewy crust and low-to-middling sourness.

Couronne 25 Mar 11 2

On a second occasion, I made up the dough, kneaded it, then proved it overnight in the fridge. In the morning, I left it to warm to ambient temp (around 17-18C), then gave it a few folds, shaped it, and gave it a final prove of a few hours, then baked. This is the result for that one:

Couronne 31 Mar 11 2

Or here it is cut:

Couronne 31 Mar 11

Sorry, it’s a rough phone photo, but you can see the nice irregular crumb again.

When I get this just right, I reckon it just might be my signature loaf.

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