On day two of Wheatstalk 2012, attendees got a taste of what it was like to compete in the bread category of the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, as coach Jeff Yankellow and competitor Mike Zakowski shared stories and formulas from the international competition, in which Team USA placed second overall behind Japan.
One of the breads Zakowski prepared was a ryebatta (used in the levain category), which gets its name because it combines a wet--80 percent hydration--ciabatta-like bread with the complex flavor and texture of rye flour and cracked rye.
"Our focus with the competition was flavor--we tried to find a balance between flavor and performance," Yankellow said. "The flavor of the ryebatta is not offensive, and focuses on the characteristics of the wheat. Using a wet dough shows our abilities with ciabatta and working with rye shows our skill with other flours besides white."
Zakowski preshaped the dough it in a long cylinder before dusting the seam with rye flour and placing it seam-side down in a ring mould basket lined with linen and dusted with Type 85 flour. The rounds were overturned before baking so the seam faced up, effectively taking the place of scoring the bread. The end product had a toothsome crust with free-form cracks and fairly open crumb with light acidity, which was balanced by the sweetness of a small amount of honey.
"It's a tricky bread; it took a lot of trial and error," Yankellow said. He added that the purpose of demonstrating these complex formulas was not just so the attendees would go home and try to replicate them. "We want you to leave here not just knowing how to make three of the breads from the Coupe, but also with some new techniques, science and knowledge. We want you to leave here energized to try something new. We're pushing fermentation and hydration and making it work at those levels."