THE DEVIL’S BREAD

For those who like it really hot…

Diablo Bread

It’s been a while since I blogged about bread, in fact I have a nice bread post waiting patiently in a long line to show up here, but last weekend I stumbled upon a very interesting recipe, and made it right away. I  simply could not wait to share because it’s so unusual and intriguing. A very simple no-knead dough using instant yeast, but here is the devilish twist: the dough is flavored with red pepper flakes and…. ready for this? Sriracha sauce!  Can you imagine it? Now, I am a certified Sriracha-cheerleader, but never imagined adding it to bread. Apparently no one had, until DeKay did a search in google for Sriracha and no-knead bread, and came up empty-handed. He took matters into his own hands (sorry, lousy pun), and made this version.  I could not wait to try it. It turned out awesome, and I think any Sriracha lover will fall in love with the devil after trying a piece.  Ok, if not with the devil himself, definitely with his bread..  But, before I give you the recipe, let me share a cartoon that cracked me up the other day. Perfect!

(Photo credit: Benjamin Schwartz/The New Yorker Collection/The Cartoon Bank)

Conde Nast TagID: cncartoons031905/Photo via Conde Nast

Conde Nast TagID: cncartoons031905/Photo via Conde Nast

THE DIABLO BREAD
(adapted from The Mad Scientist Labs)

400 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
7 grams table salt
1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
260 grams cool water (55 – 65 °F)
60 grams (4 tablespoons) Sriracha sauce (go for it!)
Wheat bran for dusting

Mix the flour. salt, yeast, and pepper flakes together in a medium-sized bowl. Add in the water and Sriracha sauce. Mix using a wooden spoon or your hand until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough is sticky. This should only take 30 seconds or so. Add more water if the dough seems too dry.

Transfer the dough to another bowl lightly oiled or sprayed with cooking spray. Leave one hour at room temperature, remove the dough to a lightly flour surface and knead it 8 to 10 times.  Place it back in  the bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature for 3 more hours.  Place it in the refrigerator overnight (about 12 hours).   Remove the dough from the fridge,  dump it into a lightly floured surface, and shape it as a ball.  Place it in a banneton or another appropriate container seam side up, dusted with wheat bran for its final proofing, two hours at room temperature.

Heat the oven to 450 F.  After the shaped bread proofed for 2 hours, invert it on a sheet of parchment paper, so that the seam side is now down. Slash the surface with a serrated knife, and place it in the oven, using your favorite method to generate steam (I bake my bread inside a large Dutch oven, and cover it with a wet lid).

After 30 minutes, open the lid and allow the bread to brown for 10 to 15 minutes longer.  You can lower the oven to 425 F in case it is browning too fast.

Once the loaf is a nice dark brown, take it out of the pan and set it on a wire rack to cool for at least an hour.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Be honest with me. Have you ever seen a more awe-inducing color of a bread dough in your whole life? I know, you can hardly continue reading, you want to run away and call your family and close friends over, then your neighbors, and anyone else wandering the streets.  It is pure Sriracha beauty. My dear friend Denise saw this photo and said “you expect to see a flamingo flying out of the dough any minute”. I could not have said it better myself.

My basic change to the recipe was to take it from “no-knead” to “minimal knead.”  I’ve made enough no-knead breads to realize that just one small cycle of minimal kneading or folding does wonders to improve the texture of the crumb.  It is almost as though with no kneading whatsoever you’ll get a slightly harsher crumb, not very well structured.  One cycle of kneading gives the dough a little extra body that pays off in the final product.  Of course, you can skip it and go for a completely knead-free production, you won’t hurt my feelings…

The smell as this bread baked was something!  Sriracha on opioids. I fully agree with  DeKay on the taste, though. It is not overly spicy, baking seems to mellow some of its peppery nature, but make no mistake, it is hot. If you don’t like Sriracha, this bread is not for you. As to the red pepper flakes, I think I like the amount I added, not more.  Every once in a while you bite into a flake and get that hush of heat that lasts just a second or two.  Perfect.   I think this bread would be great paired with a bowl of chili in the winter, but if you toast it lightly and add some tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and run it under the broiler for a minute it is sinful.  Sinful. But then again, what else could you expect from The Bread of the Devil

 ;-)

Crumb1If you’ve been naughty enough, you can have several slices….

ONE YEAR AGO: Heart of Palm Salad Skewers

TWO YEARS AGO: Potluck Frittata and Lavoisier

THREE YEARS AGO: Home-made Corn Tortillas

FOUR YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Peanut Sauce

FIVE YEARS AGO: Brigadeiros: A Brazilian Party!

SIX YEARS AGO: Lemony Asparagus

FOCACCIA WITH A THRILL

When Phil and I sat down to plan the menu for our recent reception, the first thing he suggested was focaccia. Why? Because it is a crowd pleaser and I can make it in my sleep. But Sally’s mind works in mysterious ways. Instead of sticking with my tried and true recipe – the focaccia I blogged about when the Bewitching Kitchen was only 5 days old – I decided to try a completely new recipe. What enticed me was  its overnight rise in the fridge and with it, the promise of a sharper, more complex flavor.  Big risk? Maybe.  But, I am here to share with you great news:  I like this version even better than “the old one”.  The texture turned out perfect, and the taste was just the way I like it, with a very subtle hint of sourness, but mild enough that the focaccia paired well with all sorts of cheeses and dips.  The recipe published in Fine Cooking, comes with a big name behind it, Peter Reinhart. He knows his way around bread, and this formula proves the point.

IMG_0096OVERNIGHT HERBED FOCACCIA
(adapted from Peter Reinhart’s recipe, through Fine Cooking)

1 lb. 9 oz. (5-1/2 cups) unbleached bread flour
2-1/2 cups cold water (about 55°F)
2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar (1 oz.)
2 tsp. table salt or 3-1/2 tsp. kosher salt (1/2 oz.)
1 packet (1/4 oz.) instant yeast
10 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Dried Italian herbs (I used Pasta Sprinkle mix from Penzey’s)
Sea salt or kosher salt for sprinkling

The day before baking, mix the dough and let it spend the night in the refrigerator. Combine the flour, water, sugar, salt, and yeast in the large bowl of a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment, not the dough hook). Slowly mix until the ingredients form a ball around the paddle, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium low for another 3 minutes. Stop the machine to scrape the dough off the hook; let the dough rest for 5 minutes and then mix on medium low for another 3 minutes, until it’s relatively smooth.

Coat a bowl large enough to hold the dough when it doubles in size with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and rotate the dough to coat it with the oil. Hold the bowl steady with one hand. Wet the other hand in water, grasp the dough and stretch it to nearly twice its size. Lay the stretched section back over the dough. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn and repeat this stretch-and-fold technique. Do this two more times so that you have rotated the bowl a full 360 degrees and stretched and folded the dough four times. Drizzle 1 Tbs. of the olive oil over the dough and flip it over. Wrap the bowl well with plastic and refrigerate it overnight, or for at least 8 to 10 hours.

Shape the focaccia: Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator and start shaping the focaccia 2 to 3 hours before you intend to bake it. The dough will have nearly doubled in size. Cover a 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and coat the surface with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Gently slide a rubber spatula or a dough scraper under the dough and guide it out of the bowl onto the center of the pan.

Drizzle 2 Tbs. of the olive oil on top of the dough. Dimple the entire dough surface, working from the center to the edges, pressing your fingertips straight down to create hollows in the dough while gently pushing the dough down and out toward the edges of the pan. At first you might only be able to spread the dough to cover about one-half to three-quarters of the pan. Don’t force the dough when it begins to resist you. Set it aside to rest for 20 minutes. The oil will prevent a crust from forming.

After letting the dough rest, drizzle another 2 Tbs. olive oil over the dough’s surface and dimple again. This time, you will be able to push the dough to fill or almost fill the entire pan. It should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. If it doesn’t stay in the corners, don’t worry; the dough will fill the corners as it rises. Cover the dough loosely with oiled plastic wrap, put the pan on a rack to let air circulate around it, and let the dough rise at room temperature until it’s about 1-1/2 times its original size and swells to the rim of the pan. This will take 2 to 3 hours, depending on the temperature of the room. Thirty minutes before baking, heat your oven to 475°F.

Bake the focaccia: Just before baking, gently remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle a few pinches of salt and dried herbs of your choice over the dough. Put the pan in the middle of the hot oven and reduce the heat to 450°F. After 15 minutes, rotate the pan to ensure even baking. Set a cooling rack over a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment (to catch drippings). Use a metal spatula to release the dough from the sides of the pan. Slide the spatula under one end of the focaccia and jiggle it out of the pan onto the rack. If any oil remains in the pan, pour it evenly over the focaccia’s surface. Carefully remove the parchment or silicone liner from beneath the focaccia. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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This dough was a pleasure to work with! I highly recommend this recipe if you have yeast-phobia, because it is simple, straightforward, and it will work perfectly no matter your skill level as a bread baker, I promise. If I had extra time, I would have made a rosemary-infused oil, but the dried herbs worked very well. You can use dried oregano, dried thyme, or get a mixture ready to use as I did.  Fines Herbes, Herbes de Provence, they can all work well topping the focaccia.

compositenewSO, WHERE IS THE THRILL?

BuckBoy

Did you call me, Mom? 

The Saturday before our reception was one of my busiest cooking days ever. Still, when I took the focaccia out of the oven, I decided to do a quick run to the recycling center, to dump our glass waste. Buck is my buddy for these outings, the only one who likes to ride in the car with me (Oscar has the shakes whenever faced with a drive).  Got there early, no one around,  so I mentally patted myself on the back: “Great job, Sally, you can park right by the glass container spot, in and out in 30 seconds. You rock!”  So I got off the car and left the engine running, my handbag inside with Buck. Rush out, rush back, done! Done? Not so fast. It was more like “rush out, rush back, shock and horror!  The doors were locked! Buck must have jumped on the switch when I left and locked them. If you lock one side from the inside, both doors get locked. I know, perverse technology. Big, huge shiver up and down my spine. The drama unfolded as I entered the recycling office in complete panic, barely able to form complete sentences, begging to use their phone to call for help… This HUGE guy sweet as a teddy bear said “maybe I’ll be able to help you….” – and he comes out with a bunch of gadgets worthy of a professional burglar… a little inflatable black plastic bag that he pushed through the door and pumped just enough to get a little opening, then a big wire – he manipulated it like a pro to hit the control to bring the window down. Of course, Buck is going NUTS inside, in complete disapproval of that humongous human being next to his Mom and messing with the pickup truck….

My life doesn’t have that many dull moments, I tell ya! It was a wild, wild ride…. So, my advice for you: never ever EVER leave your car running with a dog inside. Lesson painfully learned, but with a happy ending. All things considered, it could have been much worse…  

FocacciaPiecesWe are ready to party! What about you?

 

ONE YEAR AGO:  Raspberry Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

TWO YEARS AGO: Chocolate Mousse “Légère comme une plumme”

THREE YEARS AGO: Black Olive Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO: Buttermilk Cluster 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Farfalle, Farfalle

ONE GIFT, THREE BREADS!

As I recently mentioned, Celia sent me a perfect birthday gift last month. I shared with you my first homework under the guidance of Josey Baker, a loaf of his Olive Bread. It was a super simple no-knead recipe. So simple that a 5-year old under the influence of too much candy and a cup of coffee stolen from Mom would be able to make without any problem.  The following weekend I baked a variation of that loaf with sesame seeds in the dough.  But, that time I decided to incorporate one cycle of folding at the end of proofing.  Just that single cycle of folding gave quite a bit more structure to the bread, so consider doing that if you like to experiment with his recipes. And, here it is…

BREAD NUMBER ONE:  SESAME LOAF

Josey suggests coating the bread in sesame seeds before baking, but I did not do that because I find that many seeds go to waste as they fall off during baking. Also, I prefer the texture of the crust without them. The little seeds you see here and there are just saying hello from inside the dough. Be polite and say hello back to them, ok?

Sesame Loaf2

You can find the recipe, published with permission from Josey Baker, by following this link.

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BREAD NUMBER TWO: BLACK PEPPER ASIAGO CHEESE SOURDOUGH

It was time for me to go the whole nine yards putting my sourdough starter to work after a long hiatus in the freezer. What could be better than a very unusual formula using black pepper and chunks of Parmigiano in the dough? I modified it slightly, using Asiago cheese instead, and adding almost twice the amount of cheese called for in his formula.  Part of it shredded, most of it in small chunks.  Take a look at my baby, as it cooled over the rack:

ASIAGOSourdough
and the crumb…. did you notice the chunks of cheese in all their glory? how about the tiny pepper specks?

Crumb22

 

This was a pretty spectacular loaf of bread. I had never thought of adding black pepper to bread dough, but it provided a very mysterious taste, not clearly associated with pepper. That flavor intensified in the following days, by the way.  A winner. Definitely a winner. This bread baking adventure got me soooo excited that I baked another loaf next day, can you imagine that?  So, without further ado…

BREAD NUMBER THREE: HEARTH SOURDOUGH

gift

This was a special loaf because I baked it for a colleague from the Department of Biology. She is originally from Germany and often complains that it’s impossible to find great bread in our town. Ok, we do have a Panera, but I imagine she shares the same views we do on their breads. Barely ok.  Nothing to compare with those incredibly delicious, hearty breads from bakeries in Europe.  So, Phil thought we should surprise her by baking a special sourdough loaf as a gift.  Once my Black Pepper Asiago bread turned out so well, I immediately mixed another batch of dough, but kept it simple just to be safe. On a Monday morning, 5am, there I was baking this loaf, which stayed overnight in the fridge after shaping. As I said before, Josey provides all types of alternative schedules to allow you to bake bread.  You can find a slightly modified version of the recipe with a jump here.

I can tell you that nothing beats the smile of a person who is at the receiving end of a loaf of bread, still warm from the oven!  Especially when she had no idea it was coming. A great way to start our week…

I hope you enjoyed this triple bread series. Of course, I should thank Celia once again for her gift that ended up introducing me to Josey Baker’s world.

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Life is good!

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Chestnut Flour Sourdough Loaf

TWO YEARS AGO: Kinpira Gobo and Japanese Home Cooking

THREE YEARS AGO: Walnut Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO: Thai Chicken Curry

FIVE YEARS AGO: Zen and the art of risotto

JOSEY BAKER’S OLIVE BREAD

You would think that I’m done talking about gifts. Sorry, there is one more, a super special gift received from Celia, the bread baking Goddess Extraordinaire from Australia, hostess of the equally extraordinaire food blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  She found out that it was my birthday last month (full disclosure: I told her), and sent me a bread cookbook: Josey Baker Bread.   I was traveling at the time, but could not wait to get my hands on some flour, salt, and yeast to put my gift to use.  Of course, my first thought was sourdough, but we’ve been so busy lately, that every Wednesday would come and go, and I never remembered to revive my starter, hibernating in a – 20°C freezer.  Finally, I could not wait any longer, and tried one of the simpler recipes using commercial yeast.  This is by far one of the easiest breads you can make. All it takes is preparing a pre-ferment with whole-wheat flour, allowing that to sit at room temperature overnight, then proceed with a no-knead formula next day.

unnamed-12

OVERVIEW OF THE RECIPE: to make this bread, you will start by mixing whole wheat flour with water and a little commercial yeast.  That mixture will bubble away overnight, and will be part of the final dough, which contains only white flour, a little salt, lemon zest, fresh rosemary, and of course black olives.  I actually omitted the rosemary because I did not have any at home then.  I increased the amount of lemon zest, but other than that the recipe was followed to a T.

It is essentially a no-knead bread, with a very flexible schedule as far as preparing the dough and baking it. This is one of the things I loved the most about his cookbook: Josey offers a timetable for all his recipes, so that you can adjust making bread to your own schedule, no matter how busy you are. If you rather stay up late to bake, follow one particular timing. If you prefer to bake first thing in the morning, follow another one. Baking in the end of the afternoon? At lunch time? It’s all doable. Part of the beauty of working with yeast. If you are new to bread baking, this book will be perfect for you, because it totally demystifies the process. Reading the book is the closest thing to having a class on bread baking given by a pro who behaves more like a friend, not a snotty professor. Yeap, that is what Josey Baker’s book is all about.

If you want the full recipe, it is available online, reprinted with permission from Josey on this site.

 

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For a no-knead bread, the crumb has quite a nice structure, and the taste is wonderful!  The lemon zest was very prominent, and I think rosemary would make this bread perfect. But I would never substitute dried rosemary because I dislike its texture. In fact, one of the spices I rarely use in dried form is rosemary for that very reason.  Unless it is part of mixes such as Herbes de Provence, but in that case it is pretty much pulverized and the drawback of harsh texture is eliminated. Still, get your hands on some fresh rosemary, grab your bag of flour and make this bread. The smell while it bakes is out of this world delicious! And refrain from grabbing one of those olives that will be peeking on the surface of the loaf.  It is bad bread etiquette, and resisting that temptation builds character. HA!

Celia, thanks so much for the thoughtful gift! Special friends make getting one year older “almost’ painless…
😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Almonds, a Cookbook Review

TWO YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Shrimp Curry

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2012

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Dutch Tiger

FIVE YEARS AGO: Banana Bread

 

FOCACCIA WITH CHILE AND COTIJA CHEESE

A while ago – June 2013, to be precise – I made a type of Italy-meets-Mexico-focaccia using a sauce with tomatillos. It turned out so tasty that I wanted to re-visit the same type of fusion cuisine again. It took me a while, but here is my second take on the subject.  I used my default recipe for the dough, topped with a mixture of olive oil, avocado oil, New Mexico chiles, and Cotija cheese. Some sun-dried tomatoes for a bit of concentrated sweetness, and voilà…

IMG_6521FOCACCIA WITH CHILE AND COTIJA CHEESE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 recipe of focaccia dough
Green New Mexico chiles, thinly sliced
Cotija cheese, crumbled (you can use feta, or even Mozzarella)
sun-dried tomatoes
olive oil
avocado oil
salt & pepper

Open the dough on a well-oiled baking dish, stretching with your hands, and making plenty of dimples all over its surface.

Add a good coating of olive and avocado oil, mixed about 50:50. Distribute the slices of chile, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes all over the dough.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bake as directed in the original foccacia post.

Cut in slices and serve.

ENJOY!

I am not offering a printable version, since the main recipe for the dough is from a previous post. The toppings don’t really need any type of precise measurement, so add as much or as little of each component you feel like. Black olives could be wonderful too, by the way…

prebaked
For the chiles, I used the brand featured in this post, a gift from our friends V & K. They have amazing flavor, and of course go very well with Cotija cheese, one of those matches made in heaven.  Like V & K.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

The focaccia squares freeze well, I like to wrap 3 to 4 squares in small packages and enjoy them for weeks. Simply remove from the freezer 30 minutes before your meal, and heat them in a low oven until warm and fragrant.

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…

ONE YEAR AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti 

TWO YEARS AGO: Leaving on a jet plane

THREE YEARS AGO: Crispy Herb-Crusted Halibut

FOUR YEARS AGO: Almond Butter Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Bonjour!

KEN FORKISH’S WARM SPOT SOURDOUGH

First bread post of 2015!  Not the first bake of the year, because this was made for Phil’s birthday on the last week of December. He chose the whole menu, which consisted of oysters on the half-shell as a first course, and clam chowder as the main dish. Also according to his request, no dessert to keep things moderate.  Perfect for me.  The bread was all that bowl of chowdah needed to shine in its creamy glory!

Warm Spot Sourdough1

WARM SPOT SOURDOUGH

I am not going to share the full recipe (from Ken Forkish’s book Flour Water Salt Yeast), but you can find it online with a visit to Karen’s site. And don’t just limit yourself to that recipe,  look around and be amazed by her talent. Just a recent example: she tackled Pretzel Rolls, the traditional Laugenbrötchen. That is on my mile-long list of things to try this year. Now, back to my sourdough…

A little walk through the method… The bread takes three days to prepare, but don’t let that intimidate you. It is worth your time. The interesting twist in the recipe is keeping your sourdough starter at a higher temperature of fermentation, around 85 F. During the winter that can be a challenge, but I am the lucky owner of a bread proofing box. Problem solved. Because the starter ferments at a higher temperature you will need to refresh it more often than usual, but as I mentioned in my previous sourdough post, Ken is particularly helpful in laying out a nice schedule for each of his recipes.

After the bulk fermentation, in which I gave four folding cycles to the dough, the bread is shaped, and retarded in the fridge overnight. From the fridge it goes straight into the hot oven, no need to bring it to room temperature.

One of the things I did differently in this bake was to flour my banetton, cover it with plastic wrap (Saran Wrap type), flour the plastic and place the shaped dough for its final proof, seam side UP (going against Ken’s usual method).  Next morning, I inverted the bread on parchment paper, slashed the surface and baked it with my normal method of steam (Dutch oven covered with a wet lid).  Ken likes to allow his breads to open naturally, so he proofs the shaped loaf with the seam side down, then simply inverts it on the baking sheet without slashing. I did this on my first time making this recipe a couple of months ago, and even though the bread tasted as good as this one, it failed to open in a more dramatic way.  Take a look:

FirstLoaf

Maybe it is just a matter of personal preference, but I rather help the bread open in a more defined way.  One more remark before I go: I liked the use of the plastic wrap because it gave me extra confidence removing the bread from the banetton. I’ve had too many situations of dough sticking and compromising the shape of the loaf in the end.  I suspect my skills to shape the loaf and generate enough surface tension need improvement. Until then, I will be using this trick, and if you had problems with dough sticking give it a try…

The bread had good oven spring, the crust was just the way we love it!

CrumbCRUMB SHOT

So there we have it, another birthday celebration, with good music, juicy oysters, delicious bread, and a warming bowl of soup, all in the comfort of our home!  Life is good…

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…

ONE YEAR AGO: Bran Muffins, Rainbows, and a wonderful surprise!

TWO YEARS AGO: Cider-Marinated Pork Kebabs

THREE YEARS AGO: Golden Age Granola

FOUR  YEARS AGO: Mushroom Souffle for Two

FIVE YEARS AGO: Stollen

KEN FORKISH’S PAIN AU BACON

PainAuBacon2It’s been a while since I baked a loaf of sourdough bread. A quick browse through my archives proves this sad turn of events: October 13th was my last adventure in the Land of the Wild Yeast. But, with so much going on, trips, busy schedule, I was forced to let my starter sleeping in the freezer a lot longer than I expected.  Finally, the second weekend of December shaped up as a perfect opportunity to resume bread baking. The weekend schedule seemed flexible enough – just a cocktail party Saturday night – and the perfect weather to crank the oven up all the way to 450 F.  Sometimes a tropical being is forced to find positive aspects in outside temperatures falling below 60 F.  I sat down next to our fireplace with quite a few of my bread cookbooks, and went through the very elaborate process of choosing which recipe to work on.  Keep in mind that if I have to dress up for a party, my outfit is decided in 5 minutes, accessories included. But choosing a sourdough bread takes me hours. And I mean  hours  in the strict sense of the term, in which 1 hour equals 360 seconds.  After intense mental struggle, I picked a winner from Ken Forkish’s book “Flour Water Salt Yeast“.   It was worth all the pacing back and forth, the many stick-it notes, and the snide remarks of the husband asking if I needed another couch to spread some more cookbooks. Very uncalled for. Obviously, I can only endure this type of treatment because I am an easy-going, serene, and forgiving human being. PainAuBacon1PAIN AU BACON
(recipe reprinted with permission from Ken Forkish)

Makes one loaf.

for the levain:
50 g mature active sourdough starter
200 g unbleached all-purpose flour
50 g whole wheat flour
200 g lukewarm water

for the final dough:
432 g unbleached all-purpose flour
8 g whole wheat flour
343 g water (warmed to about 90 degrees F)
10 g fine sea salt
250 g (about 1/2 pound) bacon, fried to crispy, and then crumbled
1 T reserved bacon fat
108 g of the levain
.
Mix the levain ingredients in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for about 10 hours, until bubbly. In a large bowl mix the flours and water by hand until just incorporated. Cover and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes (that is the autolyse step).
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Sprinkle the salt all over the flour mixture, then add the levain.  Using wet hands to prevent the dough from sticking, mix the dough by pinching it to distribute the salt. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
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Spread the bacon fat over the dough and add the crumbled bacon. Using the pincer method alternating with folding, mix all of the ingredients in the bucket. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 30 minutes. In the next 2 hours, stretch and fold the dough 4 times, every 30 minutes. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 12 hours, until about tripled in volume.

Gently shape the dough into a loose boule. Flour a banneton,  shape the dough into a medium tight ball and place it seam side down into the proofing banneton. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let the loaves proof for about 4 hours, depending on the room temperature.

About 45 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 475 degrees F with an empty covered Dutch oven placed on the middle rack.

Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid. Place a piece of parchment over the banneton with the proofed bread inside, and a flat baking sheet over it. Flip the dough over, remove the basket, and place the shaped boule in the Dutch oven using the parchment to help move it. The paper can stay in during baking.  Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the hot oven.  Wet the lid of the Dutch oven, and quickly use it to cover it. Alternatively, you can use your own favorite method to generate steam during baking.

Bake covered for 30 minutes, and then uncover it and bake it for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the interior of the bread reaches 205 to 210 degrees F and the bread is a deep brown.

Cool on a rack completely before devouring it…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments:  After such a long time away from my starter, I get a little anxious when baking a loaf like this.  I was particularly worried about leaving the dough to ferment at room temperature for 12 hours, something I had never done before.  But, the dough behaved exactly as Ken mentioned in the book.  Take a look at these couple of shots:

Before…
Before

After…
After

A very nice, soft, bubbly dough, quite easy to work with and shape as a boule.
Proofing

One of the things I love about Ken’s book, is that he offers a sample timeframe for all recipes. Just for fun, I include my notes, prepared the night before. On top you see his suggestion of timing, and as I move along, I jot down my actual timing, adapted to fit my schedule. If you have the book, you may notice I actually halved the recipe to make a single loaf instead of two.

Notes(click to enlarge, if so desired)

The subtle smell of bacon while the bread baked was wonderful!  I made this bread especially to share with my youngest stepson and our great friends from Oklahoma who were coming to visit us the following weekend. So, the bread cooled completely over a rack, rested for a day, and the following morning I sliced it and froze the slices, in small packages.  It is a perfect way to have bread as good as freshly baked at a moment’s notice.

Here is the mandatory crumb shot…
CrumbShot

And the slices on their way to the freezer…

Bagged

This was a superb loaf of bread!  In fact, when we served it – alongside a hearty pasta with Bolognese sauce – it was hard to believe that bacon was the only ingredient added. It tasted very complex, almost as if a mixture of nuts were also incorporated into the dough. Salty, spicy, and smoky at the same time.

Ken, thank you for allowing me to publish the recipe for one of the most flavorful loaves of bread I ever made!I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!

maracujaDad and son enjoying a nice passion fruit “caipirinha”…

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