Absolutely perfect for this time of the year, this is a bread that does not require a sourdough starter, but uses a sponge instead, so you will need two days to make it happen in your kitchen. The recipe comes from a cookbook I am quite fond of, Pastry Love, by Joanne Chang. It is available online, so I will share that link and give you just a brief overview of the recipe.
For the sponge, you will need to mix 140g flour with 1 cup water + 1/8 tsp yeast, leave 2 hours at room temperature then refrigerate overnight. Use that to make the dough as described in the site (it is the third recipe shared, scroll down to find it).
I made only half of the recipe, but the bread turned out so delicious, I regretted not going for the two loaves that it makes. It freezes super well also, so I strongly advise you to go for the full amount as published in the site I shared.
I don’t think the bread is particularly beautiful to look at, because all the goodies make for a rough, rustic look, but it compensates by far in the taste department. Absolutely wonderful with a little blue cheese.
I intend to make a sourdough version with the same flavors very soon, but for those who don’t keep a starter around, this bread has a very similar complexity of flavor, thanks to the sponge made the day before. Give it a try before the holiday season is over…
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