As I mentioned in a recent email, I have begun to experiment with some new ingredients, including chocolate, Matcha (Ground green tea) and and Smoked Spelt, whose use I have learned about from my network of obsessed bakers from around the globe.
However, there is no getting away from the excellence of working with and eating an organic white sourdough loaf. I haven't made one for you a while so it's high time that I delivered.
This Saturday's Bake
I will bake an organic white sourdough bread using a dough made with 70% stiff levain. A stiffer levain (One that has the consistency of a very stiff pie dough due to a low water content) ferments more slowly and imparts a deeper flavor to the loaf.
The 70% refers to the percentage of the final flour amount that that the levain is a proportion of; this is a very high percentage. In a stiff levain, the yeast and bacteria propagate more slowly through the water-flour mixture so you need more of it in the final dough mixture to get the same total organism count as you would in other recipes.
Some doughs have as little as 15% levain, typically one with a lot more water. The yeast and bacteria in this kind of levain develop much more quickly that what I will be using this weekend, so the recipe doesn't need a high percentage of levain to proof properly.
More than you ever wanted to know about how your bread is made.
I have written elsewhere about what amazing things seeds are. Little space capsules with everything a plant needs to reproduce itself, all the nutrients and genetic material to propagate and a program (in the seed's DNA) on what do when. Makes our Mars Rovers look pretty simple.
This Saturday's Bake
I will bake a Multi grain Sour loaf for you, which has a mix of berries (e.g. Wheat, rye) and seeds (e.g. Sunflower, flax, fennel) soaked before hand to soften and then mixed in the final dough. The resulting bread has a moderately dense crumb and a nutty taste.
These days I seem to be running a little behind.
A quick note about the bread I will bake for your Saturday. I am going make fresh ground Spelt bread (40%) with some High Extraction and Organic White flour. The latter adds some gluten (Spelt is low in gluten) and an so helps the bread rise a bit more than it would otherwise.
Spelt is one of the ancient grains that has had a resurgence in popularity recently - it is high in protein and fiber and was used extensively from the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages, with references to it in literature here and there (the bible, Dante's Divine Comedy). It is considered a subspecies of regular wheat and has its origins, like many of our bread grains from Northeast of the Black Sea in the Caucasus, in present day Georgia.
I test baked this recipe last week and its result is a hearty, but not heavy loaf. Excellent with cheese and a glass of red wine.
I hope you enjoy it.
Your Canadian Baker