CURRY TURMERIC SOURDOUGH

Bewitching Kitchen is a food blog and I like to keep it focused on the subject with only small detours into two passions of mine: science and fitness. I must say, though that a couple of recent posts by bloggers I follow echoed deeply inside me, so I share them with you. First, I invite you to read A Texan New Yorker’s take on chili. I must make that recipe in honor of a family I admire and already miss immensely. Then, please stop by Cecilia’s site, who just published a post called “I am an immigrant.”  While you are reading it, keep in mind that I am one, one who got her green card and naturalization through long, complex processes several years ago. Her article is a very well-written piece describing the pleasure and pain associated with leaving your home country and starting all over somewhere else. I firmly believe that we are stronger when we are together. That prejudice and divisiveness should be fought against.

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When we have friends over, I love to welcome them with a loaf of homemade bread. I did that when our friends Denise and Helio stayed with us over a weekend (see my post here), and last month did it again when our friend Cindy stopped by briefly on her road trip from St Louis to Oklahoma. I made a batch of parsnip hummus and thought that a loaf of sourdough with a subtle hint of Middle Eastern spices could be a good option to enjoy it with it.  I did not want to add anything else to the bread, was hoping for a nice, golden crumb, with no nuts or goodies to distract from the spice components.  I know you cannot judge if I succeeded as far as taste is concerned, but what do you think of its looks?

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CURRY TURMERIC SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

200g sourdough starter
325g cold water
450g white bread flour
50g spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ tsp fine sea salt

In a large bowl, whisk the sourdough starter with the water. Add the flours, spices and salt. Stir until you have a soft, sticky mass. Cover the bowl and leave it for 10 minutes. Perform a series of quick kneads, 10 seconds or so, making sure you incorporate as much of dried bits of flour as possible, but if something remains stuck to the bowl, don’t worry about it.  Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the dough to a slightly oiled surface. Wash and dry the bowl, Coat it very lightly with oil.  Knead the dough again for a quick 10 second period and put it back in the clean, oiled bowl.  Wait 30 minutes.  Perform another cycle of kneading, or if you prefer, use the folding method, in which you stretch one side of the dough way up in the air, bring it over the full extension of the dough, turn it, repeat it four or five times from all directions.  Wait 1 hour, with the dough covered lightly.  Perform another series of kneading or folding.  Wait one more hour, knead again.  Wait 2 hours, divide the dough in two, and shape each half in a round or oblong shape.

Place in an appropriate containers lightly coated with flour, seam side down. Leave them for a final proof for 4 hours.

Invert the dough on parchment paper, slash the surface, and bake at 435 F with initial steam for a total of 45 minutes. I like to use a Dutch oven covered for the first 25 minutes, then remove the lid and allow the bread to brown uncovered for the final 20 minutes.

Cool the bread on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositecurry

 

Comments: Such a pleasure to work with this dough!  All soft and bubbly, with the delicate scent of curry… I actually made two loaves, and decided to shape one as a batard, a shape I find very tricky to achieve. You can see, there is room for improvement…

siblings

My batard formed a little bulge in one side, and I also would prefer a more pointed edge. Well, gotta keep trying. Still tasted pretty amazing, and as we all know, beauty is skin deep. HA!

 

crumb

The mandatory crumb shot!  What I love the most about this bread is the smell not only while it baked, but when a slice is gently warmed in the toaster oven next day. The hummus went perfectly well with it, but it was superb as a player in the ultra fashionable avocado toast.  I smashed a slice of ripe avocado over the bread, sprinkled drops of lime juice and a light dust with Tajin. Sorry, no pictures, I think the blogosphere is already crowded with avocado toast photos, no need for me to add yet another one.  But, do try it if you make this bread.

curry-turmeric-sourdough-from-bewitching-kitchen

I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

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SPICY COTIJA & BLACK OLIVE SOURDOUGH

OCTOBER 16th IS WORLD BREAD DAY!

Sometimes I like a pure sourdough bread, one that allows just the flavor of the flour (a little rye is mandatory) to come through. Other times I get into a daring mode and try to come up with unusual or at least new to me combinations.  I’ve made a sourdough before with some Sriracha in the dough, and loved the outcome.  I decided to repeat it in this formula, but also included Mexican cheese (Cotija, a favorite of mine), and some special black olives that were on sale at our grocery store. To take the bread into a deeper Mexican path, I included some cornmeal in the formula too.  I love to see the olives peeking through the crust. Like Pavlov’s pup, I start to salivate…

cotija-sourdough
SPICY COTIJA AND BLACK OLIVE SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

for the levain:
15 g starter at 100% hydration
23 g water
23 g flour

for the soaker:
23g cornmeal (coarse)
75g boiling water
(mix and cool to room temperature before incorporating in the dough)

for the dough:
60 g levain
140 g water
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
all the soaker made as above
33 g spelt flour
208 g bread flour
6 g salt
80 g Cotija cheese in chunks
50 g black olives, pitted, diced fine.

Add starter to water and Sriracha, mix well. Add all flours, but leave salt behind. Incorporate the mixture into a shaggy mass, and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Add salt and mix well, it should get a little smoother.

Bulk rise the dough for a total of 5 hours, with folds every 45 minutes (4 times). Shape, retard in the fridge overnight. Bake at 450 F with initial steam. I removed shaped loaf from the fridge one hour before baking time.  Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: I kept the cheese and the olives in reasonably large pieces. When you do that, the crumb structure won’t be particularly open, but I like the way the cheese gets very assertive in flavor once you bite into a piece. If you are a beginner at bread baking, cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to handle the dough. As you become more comfortable with the folding method, you can be more daring.  Particularly when adding nuts, it can be a bit of a challenge to fold the dough. But, once you shape and allow it to go for te final proof, all the goodies inside will find their perfect spot to be.

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Phil made a full meal for himself the following evening resting a very tasty pan-fried red snapper on it, then crowning the whole thing with avocado slices. A sprinkle of black pepper and a squirt of lime juice on top, he was a very happy camper. I even got to try a bite…

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I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

spicy-cotija-sourdough-from-bewitching-kitchen

 

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SOURDOUGH LOAF WITH CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS

I blogged on a similar sourdough last year, but this is a slightly different version, with a bit of semolina and whole wheat flour. I baked this bread for a very special occasion, the visit of dear friends I had not seen in 15 years!  A cute story behind our friendship needs to be told.  Back in 1995. When I moved from Paris to Norman to join the University of Oklahoma, a colleague from our department insisted I should meet Denise, a Brazilian graduate student from the College of Education.  It so happens that I’m not that wild about this type of arranged meeting.  I don’t know exactly why, maybe I simply prefer to meet people naturally and make connections independently of the place where they were born. And guess what? Denise felt exactly like me about the whole thing. But we both liked that Professor very much, and decided what the heck, let’s just give this a try. To make a long story short, we “clicked” in a way that we could not have anticipated in a million years!  Our friendship continued after she, her husband Hélio and three kids (now three adults) emigrated permanently to England a few years later. Hélio now travels to Texas on a regular basis for work, and that made it easier for them to plan a quick visit to our neck of the woods. Fifteen years!  Hard to believe time passed so quickly… Denise loves cranberries, so this bread was a natural choice to welcome them to our home. She also loves white chocolate, but that story shall be left for another post…

denise-sourdough

DENISE’S SOURDOUGH WITH CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

For the starter (you won’t use everything)
30 g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
55 g water
45 g all-purpose flour

For the dough:
65 g starter (about half of starter prepared)
220 g water
160 g semolina flour
120 g bread flour
35 g whole wheat flour
7 g sea salt
80 g dried cranberries
50 g toasted walnut pieces

Make your starter 12 hours before you intend to prepare the dough. Let it ferment at room temperature.

To the appropriate amount of starter (65 g, remember you are not using the full amount made) add the water and mix gently to dissolve it. No need to completely dissolve the starter at this point. Add the flours and mix, allow it to sit with the water for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough, mix it by folding several times, to incorporate the salt. Add the cranberries and the walnuts, mix them gently. Allow the dough to ferment for 5 hours. Fold 5 times at 30 minute intervals. That will take you to 2.5 hours fermentation. Allow the dough to ferment for 2.5 more hours undisturbed.

Shape the dough as a ball, place it in the fridge overnight. Remove it from the fridge one hour before baking, as you heat the oven. Invert the shaped loaf on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper for easy transfer to the oven.

Bake at 450 F with initial steam for 20 minutes, reduce temperature to 425 F and bake for about 25 more minutes. Use your favorite method to generate steam, I like a covered Dutch oven with the lid moist with water before covering the bread. After 30 minutes I open the lid to allow the bread to brown. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: I am always a bit anxious when it comes to baking bread for special friends. I want it to be perfect, delicious, awesome, but sourdough is a harsh mistress… You can make one perfect loaf, use the same starter, the same recipe a couple of days later and open the oven to find a bread that turned out more like a flat pancake. Usually still very tasty, but… well, you get my point. I made this bread the day before they arrived, so that if it was not worthy of my friends, I could have time for a plan B: a frantic drive to the grocery store. Imagine that!  But to my relief it all had a happy ending. A beautiful marriage between cranberries and walnuts, nice balance of whole wheat with regular flour so that the bread itself had a nice texture and taste.  Perfect with goat cheese, but even just a little butter will work well.  Honestly, even naked it’s great. The bread. Obviously.

I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

 

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FOCACCIA WITH GRAPES, ROQUEFORT AND TRUFFLED HONEY

Truffled honey. Can I get a group OMG going? I hope so… that stuff could probably be under a list of controlled substances…  I better use mine up before it does makes into the list.  But back to the focaccia. I wanted to bake something for a departmental get-together, scheduled for a Thursday evening. Weather forecast for that week was high 90’s, low 100’s, so turning the oven at 450F seemed wrong on many levels. But the weekend before we got a little break with some rain and cooler temps, so I decided to get the baking out of the way as early as possible on Saturday, then freeze my production until showtime.  I also wanted something a little different from the same old same old, and a grape focaccia came to mind. In Tuscany, it is called  a Schiacciata con l’Uva, a name that beats grape focaccia into submission. I found a recipe at epicurious, but ended up winging it myself. Rebel is my middle name.

Grape Focaccia

FOCACCIA WITH GRAPES, ROQUEFORT & TRUFFLED HONEY
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

3/4 cup very warm water
1/8 cup milk, full-fat
1  teaspoons sugar
1 + 1/2  teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil for dough plus more to spread
seedless black grapes
Roquefort cheese, crumbled
dried thyme to taste (or fresh)
Maldon salt flakes
truffled honey (or regular honey)

In the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer stir the warm water, milk, sugar, and yeast.  Add the flour, salt and  Add the flour, salt olive oil (2 tablespoons) to the bowl, then knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead it by hand briefly, a minute or so longer.

Place the dough inside an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 90 minutes. It will more than double, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Brush a half-sheet baking pan with olive oil, transfer the risen dough into it, and allow it to rest for a few minutes to relax the gluten. Add olive oil on top (about 3 tablespoons)  and spread the dough to cover the baking sheet.  Cover it again and let it sit for 45 minutes at room temperature.  While the focaccia is in its second rise, turn the oven to 450F.

Top the dough with grapes sliced in half, the crumbled Roquefort cheese, thyme, add coarse salt all over, then drizzle the surface with a little truffled honey.  Do not add too much, as the flavor is very potent.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. If the top is getting too dark, reduce the temperature to 425 F after 10 minutes.

Cool it on a rack before slicing in squares.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: Before anyone criticizes me for taking liberties with the thickness of the schiacciata, let me state upfront that I like my focaccia to be thick and pillowy. If you want to stick to tradition, stretch the dough to the extension of a full baking sheet instead of half.  It will then be thinner and crispy. The combination of grapes with blue cheese is a classic, but when truffled honey was added to it, I’d say I hit that one out of the park. And I don’t even like baseball!  One word of caution, the stuff is potent. When you open the bottle, the intensity of the truffle smell will surprise you. Use it sparingly or it will overpower every other flavor in the focaccia. Of course, if you don’t have truffled honey, use a regular honey instead.  Maybe you own a bottle of truffle oil? In that case, put a small amount of it to use, maybe mix a few drops with regular honey… I suppose that could work well too.

pieces

Grab a piece or four… and be happy!

Grape Focaccia, from Bewitching Kitchen

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DAN LEPARD SIMPLE WHITE LOAF

I suppose most of my readers know that I am crazy for sourdough bread. But there’s something to be said for a simple, straightforward loaf that is a breeze to make and will be so much better than anything store-bought. Granted, it won’t stay good for as long because you won’t be adding preservatives to it, but isn’t that a bonus?  This recipe from Dan Lepard is simplicity in itself. Think of the usual suspects, flour, water, salt, and yeast, with a smidgen of butter that will contribute with flavor and improve texture. Anyone can make this bread, beginners, experienced bakers, children, yeast-o-phobes. All you need is a loaf pan, although you could conceivably shape it free form and bake it on a stone or baking sheet.

Simple White Loaf

 

SIMPLE WHITE LOAF – RECIPE OVERVIEW

The recipe calls for a sponge, which is simply a very liquid mixture of water, flour, and commercial yeast,  allowed to ferment for a couple of hours or overnight. The longer you allow the sponge to ferment, the better. I’ve made this bread after overnight “spongification” or after 2 hours, both worked quite well.

Once your sponge is ready, you will add the rest of the flour to the dough, a little softened butter,  and do the minimal kneading technique 10 minutes after mixing the dough, again at 25 minutes, and one final time at 40 minutes (timing is quite flexible).  A final 30 minute-proofing and you’ll be ready to shape the loaf.

The shaped loaf sits for 90 minutes, gets slashed and baked for about 45 minutes.

The full recipe can be found in Short and Sweet. You might be able to find it also through a google search.

For my review of his book, click here.

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This simple recipe can be adapted in many ways. Dan himself used whey liquid from fresh mozzarella as part of the water in the recipe and loved the slight “tang” in the bread. One person who discussed this recipe in a Facebook page mentioned that a little soy sauce together with the water does wonders. Quite intriguing, I should try that at some point, probably reducing a little the amount of salt as soy contributes with some.

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Slightly toasted, it is perfect to go with pretty much anything you’d like… from sliced ham to jams, or a smear of butter with Maldon sea salt flakes… heaven! I made this recipe three times so far, and after we enjoy it on the day of baking, I wrap 4 slices together and freeze them. Within 10 minutes at room temperature and a brief encounter with our small Breville oven, they are as good as freshly baked.

Before I leave, allow me to share a link to  the best 10 breads to have in your repertoire according to Dan Lepard. I was happy to see several that I made (and blogged about) included in his list.  

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AUBERGE PECAN-WALNUT BREAD

BBBuddybadgemarch2016Every once in a while I see a recipe and get “the itch.”  It will not leave my mind until I make it. Not only I catch myself thinking about it in the middle of the day, but I often dream about it. In my dreams, I might gather the ingredients and jump into action, or sometimes get into an almost nightmare mode in which I cannot read the ingredients or find them in my pantry. The mind works in odd ways. I have no idea why some recipes do this to me, but the most recent example was the Auberge Walnut Bread blogged by Karen, as part of the Bread Baking Babes group. It is a fun virtual event, also happens monthly as The Secret Recipe Club, but in this case a member of the group picks one bread recipe and everyone makes it. This month’s bread was chosen by  Elizabeth, hostess of From OUR Kitchen.  I highly recommend you stop by and indulge in her blog. She is hilariously witty, and keeps a wonderful site!  Back to BBB, I have thought about joining the group because c’mon, who would not like to be a “Babe?” However, I don’t think I can handle another monthly commitment. Instead, I watch them from a safe distance and marvel at all the breads they bake.  Until  now, that is.  When I saw Karen’s post, I got the itch, and because it is a bread that doesn’t require a sourdough starter, I made it right away. You should too. You won’t need to knead it by hand, you won’t need to fold it, baby it, watch it, nothing. It is one of the easiest bread recipes to tackle, and the result will blow your mind: a soft, moist, flavorful crumb, with a darker color than you would expect from a bread made only with white flour. Smells amazing as it bakes, tastes amazing with anything you’d like to pair it with.  But I advise a little blue cheese.  To quote Karen

Oh Em Gee…   😉

Auberge Pecan Walnut Bread

AUBERGE PECAN-WALNUT BREAD
(slightly modified from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

120 grams pecan pieces
50 grams walnut pieces
7 grams (one package) active dry yeast
85 grams (1/4 cup) honey (I used acacia)
320 grams (1 + 1/3 cups) warm water
30 grams (2 tablespoons) olive oil
500 grams (3 + 3/4 cups) bread flour
7.5 grams (1 + 1/2 tsp fine sea salt)
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Heat the oven to 400 F. Spread the pecan and walnut pieces in a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 7 minutes. Let them cool. Pulse them in a food processor until you have both crumbs and medium pieces.
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In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast, honey, and warm water. Stir and let stand for about 10 minutes. Add the olive oil, flour, sea salt, and walnut pieces. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until the ingredients are combined. Knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes, until the dough is fairly smooth. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 75 minutes.
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Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out without deflating it.  Shape the dough into a ball and place in a floured banneton for the final rise. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 60 minutes.  While it rises, heat the oven, with a baking stone (if you have one) on the middle rack, to 400 degrees F.  When the dough has doubled, invert it on a sheet of parchment paper, slash the surface with a razor blade and quickly place it over the baking stone.  Use your favorite method to generate steam (I invert the lid of a Dutch oven slightly moist and bake the bread covered for about 20 minutes). Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 40 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.
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ENJOY!
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to print the recipe, click here
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Comments:
As you know, I love sourdough baking, but there’s something wonderful about having a loaf of bread cooling less than 3 hours after gathering the flour.  In fact, the dough was quite fast to rise, it did not need 75 minutes for the bulk fermentation, in 65 min it was more than doubled, so I shaped it. And instead of allowing a full hour for the final rise, I decided it was good and ready at the 50 min mark.  I toasted the nuts the evening before, and added them to the food processor right before mixing the dough. Easy as pie, except for the fact that the goal was to make a walnut bread and it turned into a pecan bread with a hint of walnuts.  It is my personal saga, a perverse Flour-Vinegar-Nut trilogy. When it comes to those items, I am always stumped by the difference between what “I think I have”, and what “I do have” in the pantry.  But, I can tell you that pecans worked very well, and the bread tasted terrific! Very moist, I am sure it would have lasted for several days at room temperature, but since it’s just the two of us, on the second day it was sliced and frozen for   future enjoyment.
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Auberge Pecan Walnut Bread2
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Elizabeth, it was great to “meet” you! Looking forward to following your adventures… And of course, Karen, you never cease to inspire me with your bread baking and cooking in general… Nice to have one more recipe from your site showcased in the Bewitching Kitchen…

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HAZELNUT BLUE CHEESE SOURDOUGH

I am very excited about this bread, because I came up with the formula myself. Well, that is not completely true, as we all follow the footsteps of more experienced folks. Sometimes a dear Grandma, a favorite cookbook author or celebrity chef (excuse me while I try to control my eye roll, the word celebrity does that to me. Every. Single. Time). Back to the bread in question. I had hazelnuts in my mind and thought they would be wonderful added to a rustic sourdough bread. I also had a small amount of blue cheese in the fridge (Bleu d’Auvergne, to be precise), and decided that they could interact nicely with the hazelnuts in the bread environment.  I used a very basic recipe that did not need any special type of starter.  A little spelt flour for added pizzazz. And there you have it, a sourdough bread to call my own. But I would be thrilled if you make it in your kitchen too…

Hazelnut Blue Cheese Sourdough
HAZELNUT BLUE CHEESE SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

125 g  sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
250 g water, warm to the touch
300 g bread flour
75 g spelt flour
7 g salt
60 g roasted hazelnuts, chopped in large pieces
50 g blue cheese (I used Bleu d’Auvergne)

Add the active starter to a large bowl, mix it with the water until it dissolves more or less smoothly. Add the flours and briefly do a few kneading moves to form a shaggy mess.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough and incorporate by kneading lightly and folding the dough on itself.  You can keep the dough in the bowl, or transfer to a surface.  After 20-30 seconds of kneading/folding, cover the dough again and let it sit for 40 minutes.

Add the hazelnuts and blue cheese to the dough and repeat cycles of quick kneading/folding two more times, spacing them by 45 minutes.   If the dough doesn’t seem to have enough strength, incorporate one more cycle of folding. After the final kneading cycle, let the dough sit for 20 to 30 minutes, shape it as a round or oval loaf, place it in a banneton with the seam side up and leave it at room temperature  30 minutes longer. Place it in the fridge overnight, lightly covered with a plastic wrap (oil the surface that will be in contact with the dough).

Remove the dough from the fridge 1 hour before baking, while the oven heats to 450 F. If using a Dutch oven, place it in the cold oven as you turn it on. Invert the bread out of the banneton (the easiest way to do it is over a parchment paper on a flat baking sheet), quickly slash it and place it in the Dutch oven. To generate steam, cover the pan with the lid that you rinsed under the sink, allowing some water to be retained on the surface. Bake the bread covered for 30 minutes, remove cover, and allow it to fully bake (reducing the temperature to 425F if the bread seems to be browning too fast) for about 15 minutes longer.  Remove to a rack to cool completely before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments:  The blue cheese I used was quite strong, and until I tasted a slice of this bread I was quite worried. The smell as it baked was so intense, I thought that adding the cheese was overkill. Well, I was wrong. No need to worry at all. The cheese pretty much melted throughout the crumb, and gave it sort of background of flavor, almost smoky, although it could be the roasted hazelnuts speaking. Hard to tell. I love the way the crumb delicately involved each piece of nut, like little eggs in a nest.  And the taste? Incredible. I had to pat myself in the back for this bread, even if my parents insisted that modesty is one of the most important qualities of a human being. A pat in the back is not that bad, right? It’s  not as if I’m bragging to the world about it… what? Is that what blogging is about?  But, but, but… will you look at this crumb?

CrumbShot2

If that’s not a pat-in-the-back crumb, I don’t know what is… 

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