Monday, April 16, 2018

Bread Madness

There is a certain kind of madness that sometimes takes over when a true baker discovers wild yeast and the whole art of sourdough. There is this feeling of 'so many breads to bake and so little time', so it is difficult to choose which one to bake first. Fermented flour, water and wild yeasts work together to create a starter that can be used to lift up and flavor entire loaves of delicious fresh bread. The best ones have a subtle tang that is a lovely counterpoint to the mellow wheat or rye flavors of the flour used in the bread. Bread Baking Babes are up for almost any bread baking, so here we go.

This month our wonderful, enthusiastic Kitchen of the Month Elizabeth of Blog from OUR Kitchen, has chosen a deep brown loaf that features sourdough starter, wheat and bran, a Lariano-style bread. This is a lovely choice! The methods used to create it are similar to the Polenta loaf we baked in January found HERE, so again be sure to allow plenty of time for the wild yeasties to do their magic. This kind of bread baking can be a method to use to de-stress, using the rhythms of feeding, kneading and folding and waiting for the next fold as a way to slow down and become in sync with a simpler way of living. The bonus is amazing bread that you didn't have to pay $10 for.       

That said, we had a rainy day recently and I had a yen for freshly baked bread, so I decided to see if I could bake this bread...well, my version of less than a day. I used some dried active yeast and flour and water to make a starter...not sour and not wild yeast, but still full of active yeasties. I mixed the first small starter with the Leavener ingredients called for in the recipe and let that sit and ferment until the float test worked. Then I used my stand mixer to mix the dough and I let it rise in my rising container, shaped it and let the round rise on a bran dusted sheet of parchment, pre-heated the cast iron dutch oven as the recipe directs and baked it in that with the lid on. The dutch oven had been placed on a baking stone, so when I took the lid off, I took the loaf out and placed it directly on the hot baking stone. This meant that my loaf had a very nice dark brown bottom crust. Not the same as a gorgeous dark brown top crust, but my oven really has a problem with getting top crusts really browned, so we had to go with the bottom one being dark brown.

This is a delicious bread with a full wheat flavor. My crumb is not as open as it would have been if I had taken the long way home, so to speak, but it was good bread and done before I went to bed...although not in time for dinner. In the morning I had some toasted to go with my one was spectacular. This makes great toast!

Thanks Elizabeth for a lovely recipe. When I have more patience I'll make it the slow way and I'm sure it will be even better.

To be a Buddy, make the bread (recipe follows), email Elizabeth with your URL and a photo and she will send you a cool Buddy Badge. Here is what Elizabeth wrote on her blog about being a Buddy:
"Lariano-style bread is delicious! And we know you'll want to make it! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make Lariano-style bread - remember that it only takes 5 days to create a starter - in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it - what you didn't like or what you liked) before April 29th. Please type "BBB April 2018 Bread" in the subject heading of your email.

Please not that it is not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Due to the ephemeral nature of Facebook's posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please email if you want to be included. Even if you don't have a blog, email Elizabeth to be included in the round up.

Be sure to check out the other Bread Baking Babes to see the great breads that they baked this month!

Lariano-style Bread
based on the recipe for Truccio Sare' in The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook by Jim Lahey

35 gm room temperature water
5 gm 100% hydration starter from fridge (or mix 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast with 1/4 cup tepid water and let sit for 10 minutes, then mix in 1/4 cup flour and let sit at least an hour)
50 gem 100% whole wheat flour

20 gm leavener (the rest goes back into a jar in the fridge for another baking session)
275 gm room temperature water
100 gm whole wheat flour, sifted after weighing
4 gm wheat germ
10 gm flax seed, finely ground
290 gm unbleached all-purpose flour
25 gm room temperature water
8 gm salt

1) Leavener: On the evening before baking the bread, put the leavener ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Using your dough whisk or a wooden spoon, mix the leavener ingredients until all the flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave overnight in the oven with only the light turned on - until it becomes bubbly and frothy like mousse.

2) Dough: On the morning of the day you will be baking the bread: When a small forkful of the leavener floats in a small bowl of room temperature water, you can go ahead and mix the dough. If the leavener doesn't float, stir in a little more flour and water...even amounts by weight...cover with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes more. Changes are that it will now float.

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Set the bran aside for after shaping. Add wheat germ and ground flaxseed to the flour. Pour 275 gm (275 ml) room temperature water into the bowl. Add all the leavener. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to mix these ingredients to make a rough dough. Cover the dough with a plate and leave on the counter for about 40 minutes. This resting period allows the protein and starch in the flour to absorb the water, swell, and then relax into a cohesive mass.

3) Salt: In a small bowl whisk the salt into the final 25 gm (25 ml) room temperature water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough.

4) Kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl. This way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it's coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

5) Stretching and folding: After 30 minutes after adding the salt, run your dough-working hand under water. Reach down along the side of the bowl and lift and stretch the dough straight up and almost out of the bowl. Fold it over itself to the other side of the bowl. Turn the bowl and repeat until it's a little difficult to stretch the dough any more. You'll notice that the dough feels significantly smoother. Cover with a plate and leave on the counter for 30 minutes.

6) More Folding: Repeat the stretch and folding step 2 or 3 more times, leaving it to sit 30 minutes between folding sessions. Notice the dough starts to get billowy, soft and aerated with gas. Turn the dough more gently to avoid pressing gas out of the dough as you get near the end. A well-developed dough releases from the sides of the bowl when you do the turns. Volume will have increased by 20 to 30 percent. More air bubbles will form along the sides of the bowl. These are all signs that the dough is ready to be shaped.

At this point Elizabeth directs how to prepare a brot-form and how to shape using that. For those directions, please go to her blog.

7) Shaping: If you don't have a brotform, coat a parchment covered cookie sheet with bran. Shape the dough into a ball and place it seam side down onto the bran. Scatter a little more bran on top before covering the shaped loaf loosely with a clean tea towel. Let sit at room temperature until it has almost doubled in size.

8) Baking: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put either a covered cast-iron dutch oven or a cast-iron frying pan and stainless steel bowl that fits it into the oven when you start to preheat it. The bread will bake in the dutch oven or skillet and the lid of the dutch oven  or the stainless steel bowl on top of the skillet will create a min-oven that will trap moisture and help the loaf rise. It usually takes about 15 minutes at a minimum to preheat the oven.

When oven is fully preheated, place the parchment paper and loaf into the dutch oven or skillet and quickly use a lame, scissors, or a serrated knife to score the bread with a single line in the center. Use pot holders/oven mitts as the lid and pan will be very hot. Return covered pan to the oven and reduce heat to 400 degrees F. Bake 60-80 minutes, removing the lid or bowl half-way through baking. The bread is done when the crust is a deep golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If desired, you can remove the bread when you remove the lid and let the bread cook on the oven rack or a baking stone.

9) Cooling: When the bread has finished baking, remove it from the pan and allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating; the bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven, so let it cool. After it has cooled completely, turn the oven to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes, then turn it off. Put the bread in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.


  1. It's great to know that it works when you use commercial yeast too. Lovely looking bread, Elle!

  2. Oh I adore poached eggs on toast! I bet it was fabulous that way!

  3. Ah, thank you for the reminder, I'll have mine with poached eggs in the morning!
    Your write up makes me think I should have given my bread a final kick with some yeast.

  4. Sometimes you just want bread today!! Great adaptation!

  5. Rainy days need fresh bread.... I would have been bad and eaten some fresh from the oven before I went to bed lol

  6. Rainy days and baking bread definitely go together. You did a great job making it work for your schedule. I think your crumb looks wonderful!