We managed to overcome everything that happened to us in the past year and for better or worse, we pick ourselves up and by the lords we bake bread. In that respect, how different is it from any other day?
I’ll tell you how.
Today (well last night) was my first foray into baking with a sourdough culture!
I’m by no means an adept baker but I just adore any and all things sticky and fermented.
For Yule 2016, dear co-author Sturgeon gifted me a copy of Stanley Ginsberg’s The Rye Baker and to be honest I was so amazed and stunned by the descriptions and method that I psyched myself out and the book was left to sit on the shelf for a full year.
Full of energy and well, hunger, I pulled out the dehydrated Alaska culture from also 2016 and just dove right in.
Not one to meddle halfway, I chose 2 recipes from the volume to bake. The New York City Corn Rye (Kornbroyt) and a Spanish Pan Gallego de Centeno.
For anyone like myself who was put off by the process of sourdough sponges, multiple ferments, steam trays, multiple types of rye and other wheat flours PLEASE DO NOT BE! I assure you are a couple of steps ahead of me already as you are likely to have an oven with a dial in which one can control temperature. I don’t always recommend my own method of cooking with fire (yes the only oven I have is a wood burning one) which makes the process just a little more finicky.
This method requires a stand-mixer with a dough hook as the second ferment requires being mixed for 30+ minutes. This can be done by hand but requires a whole other level of participation.
Also if you’ve reached sourdough level of interest, I would assume you own a scale. Measuring ingredients results in more consistent and precise results that are more easily duplicated from one session to the next. The recipe uses weight in grams.
Pan Gallego de Centeno (p.107)
…The night before …
In a medium sized bowl, combine the following ingredients.
- 170 g Rye flour
- 170 g Water
- 17 g Sourdough starter
Cover the bowl with a towel and/or plate and place it in a discreet location at room temperature overnight. The dough will ferment and bubble to double in size.
Once the 12 hours has passed, the sponge is ready for the remaining ingredients.
.. The day of ..
- 285 g Water
- 300 g Bread flour
- 357 g Rye sponge (all of yesterday’s mix)
- 65 g Rye flour
- 9 g salt
- 1 g instant yeast
Add the water, bread and rye flours to yesterday’s predough in the stand mixer bowl and combine by hand (using a wooden spoon).
Insert the bowl into the stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, mix the dough for 3 minutes or until well incorporated.
Remove the paddle attachment and cover the bowl to let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Add the salt and yeast and mix at low speed (never higher than 2 on a Kitchen Aid) using the dough hook for 30 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly; half an hour. So set your timer, crank the radio (I like VPR) and work on your seed order, take a self with your mixer and use the hashtag #bakersconfidential.
- Remove the hook and let ferment covered for an additional 2 – 2.5 hours or until doubled in size.
- On a well-floured surface, fold the dough towards you, turning it 1/4 and folding again. Repeat until the dough is smooth and seamless. Flip it onto a parchment-lined cast iron or baking pan.
.. While the final dough is covered & proofing for an additional 10 minutes ..
- Place baking rack to the middle of the oven with a steam pan on the lower shelf.
- Heat oven to 430F.
- Bake with steam for 15 minutes. Remove the steam pan and decrease heat to 390F.
- Continue to bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and resonates with that satisfying thump when tapped.
- Remove from pan to a wire cooling rack. As tempting as it may be to eat hot out of the oven and wait until the loaf has cooled completely before slicing.
This bread makes an occasion out of a Peasant Lunch. Serve lightly toasted with a generous portion of baked beans, sauerkraut, raw butter, sprouted seeds, and just a touch of haskap preserve.
A nice balsamic dipping sauce
Combine in a small dipping bowl.
- Equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil (This is a good place to use any infused extra virgin olive oils such as red pepper, basil, or truffle)
- Dice a clove of garlic, add a dash of oregano and sumac and just a pinch of salt.