We spent last week in Oklahoma, which gave me the opportunity to bake bread in a normal oven.  After some severe brainstorming over the recipe, I settled on a country rye from Tartine, one of my favorite bread books.  It calls for a sourdough starter with a 50:50 mixture of white and whole wheat flours, and the dough itself has a small amount of rye. Usually I’d retard the loaf overnight in the fridge (as recommended), but this time I baked it just 3 hours after the final shaping.   The oven rise was impressive, the bread almost exploded out of the slashes!  It’s a vision that makes me so happy…   😉

(adapted from Tartine)

For the leaven (8 hours before making the dough):
1 Tbs sourdough starter, very active
140ml water
70g white bread flour
70g whole wheat flour

For the dough:
100g of leaven (save the rest)
400ml water at 75 F
415g bread flour
85g rye flour
10g salt

Pour the water in a large bowl, add the leaven (only 100g of it) and mix to dissolve.  Add the two different flours, mix with your hands to form a shaggy mass. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for 40 minutes.  Sprinkle the salt on top of the dough and knead to mix it.

Let the dough go through a bulk rise of 3 hours, folding the dough at every 30 minutes.  Pre-shape the dough as a ball, let it rest undisturbed for 20 minutes, then shape it in its final round shape, place it in a round container with the seam up for 3 hours  (you can also retard the dough in the fridge for 12 to 16 hours).

Bake for 45 minutes in a 450 F oven,  with steam during the first 25 minutes.  Allow it to completely cool before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For the first time I baked this type of bread without weighing the ingredients, because my balance stayed in the nano-kitchen.  I was a bit nervous, but I used a conversion table and it worked just fine. The more I bake with wild yeast, the more convinced I am that technique trumps the proportions of ingredients. For example, folding the dough enough times during fermentation, and creating proper surface tension in the final shaping have a huge impact on the final product.   My advice is to practice, practice, and practice some more. I still struggle with scoring the bread, never feeling confident with the razor blade in my hand. What bothers me is that the scoring is so… final!  Once you slash the surface, you can only hope you did it right.  😉

The crumb was a little less open than that of a bread exclusively made from white flour,  and the taste reminded me of a Poilane miche, but less dense.  It’s a bread for a ham sandwich, or one with which you can mop up the juices of a hearty pot roast, or perfect to toast and enjoy with a little Brie cheese.

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event… make sure to stop by and amaze yourself with all the tempting breads.

ONE YEAR AGO: My New Favorite Tomato Sauce

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This bread closes a personal saga with a long-awaited happy ending.   Since we moved to LA I’ve been searching for a way to bake the bread we enjoy the most:  the rustic sourdough boule.  When you only have a small electric (toaster) oven, baking this bread becomes tricky,  to say the least.  After 11 unsuccessful attempts, I finally conquered my virtual Mt.Everest and stuck my flag  in the summit!

(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

235 g active sourdough starter  (75% hydration)
275 ml water at room temperature
400 g bread flour
65 g whole wheat flour
10 g salt

Pour the water into a bowl, add the sourdough starter and dissolve it.  Add the flours and the salt, then roughly mix all the ingredients together to form a shaggy mass.  No need to incorporate it as a smooth dough at this point.  Cover the bowl and let it stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.  Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a smooth surface rubbed with a small amount of vegetable oil.    Quickly knead the dough for 20-30 seconds, incorporating all the dried bits of flour that are clinging to it .   Wash the bowl or transfer to another, clean bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl, add to the kneading surface (slightly coated with oil if needed), knead for 20 seconds (second kneading cycle).  Place the dough back in the bowl, leave it resting for 45 minutes more.  Proceed with a third kneading cycle, place the dough in the bowl for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl, shape roughly into a ball, let it rest 15 minutes, and form it into the final shape, making sure to generate good surface tension.  Place the ball, seam side up, in a well floured round basket and let it rise at room temperature for 3 hours.  Forty-five minutes before baking,  heat your oven to 450F with a round pizza stone inside.

Invert the dough over a piece of parchment paper on a peel or cookie sheet, slash the top with a razor blade, and place in the oven. Position a Dutch oven inverted on top of it (fill it with very hot water, then dump the water and use it to cover your bread).  Bake covered for 35 minutes, then CAREFULLY uncover the bread and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more (or until internal temperature is over 200F).  If the top browns too much lower the temperature to 425F, and cover the surface with aluminum foil.

Cool for at least one hour before slicing and…


to print the full recipe, click here

to see my timetable for this bread, click here

to print your own timetable for future use, click here

Comments: I’ve baked many breads in the past 3 years, but none gave me the thrill of this one, because it was my very last attempt! I was ready to throw in the towel and conclude that a rustic sourdough cannot be done in the nano-kitchen. What made it possible was creating the correct enclosure to bake the bread for the first 30 minutes.  For our Breville, a round pizza stone and a Le Creuset-wannabe (found at a Ross store  a couple of months ago) served the purpose quite well.

Normally I’d add a small amount of rye flour to the dough, but I couldn’t  find it last weekend, so I used only regular whole-wheat.  This is probably the largest bread you can bake in a Breville, and I intend to try a slightly smaller version in the near future.  I used regular kneading for this bread, but made a second loaf a couple of days later folding the dough instead, with similar results.  You can use whatever technique you feel most comfortable with.

Variation: Follow this recipe to the point of the final shaping as a “boule,” then retard it in the fridge overnight.  Next day, bring it to room temperature 2 hours before baking.

I am excited to send this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGOVienna Bread

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