Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Making Bread in UFOs



Dear Reader. LORD! Have I a discovery for you! I've been avoiding using a clay bread maker for, like, ever. I was always under the impression that you can't heat them over 400 or something like that. Well, that doesn't do us a lot of good, we, the bread bad asses with our cast iron implements and renegade ways. Clay is for bowls, not for bread baking. Pshaw on those bakers then!

Well, I happened upon a nice one from Emerson Creek Pottery, like a reeeeeeaaaalllly REALLY nice one. And the best thing about it is that it's totally lead free, eco-friendly and locally made (well, United States local). My giant cloche arrived a month ago on my birthday. I remember that much because I was shocked that UPS was working on a holiday. No, I'm not kidding. It took me a minute to realize that the whole universe didn't take the day off for my birthday. When I yanked it out of the box, I was immediately impressed by its weight, this thing has some serious heft, and the fact that it looked like a flying saucer. It is absolutely big enough for our standard loaves, as you can see from the photo above...


And it's so, I don't know, smooth, yeah? With its high dome like an old man in want of youth. The shallow part of it is gorgeous, thick and round with tall sides. I figured if it cracked I could Crazy Glue it back together and use it as a cheese plate. Or a plate to deposit wallet and keys and crap upon entering the house. Or a hub cap, should my life continue down this path of destitution.

All of that was very fine indeed, alas, all that I had read about clay.... thus, it sat on my table and I would eye it suspiciously when I passed, shoving it back further and further into the corner with the shriveling pomegranate and cobwebby lamp, maybe I even said some mean things to it. But forget about that. This weekend I decided to just do it. F it. If it cracks, SO.WHAT. Life is short. Crack some stuff without apology.

Onward.

I set about some dough. For good measure, on bake day, I soaked the contraption for a couple few hours, though I don't know if you need to do that. I lost the pamphlet it came with, and I didn't want to log onto the net to see if that was an appropriate thing to do. I just thought: naked clay, water absorption, instant steam oven, and went with my hunch. I also put another combo cooker in the oven just in case the bald man's flying saucer head exploded or disintegrated.

What happened next is a clay miracle. Wait, what's better than a miracle? There has to be something. This thing, this flying saucer made the best bread. Ever. The crust was thin and shattery as Christmas ornament glass, the crumb lofty and light and it tasted exquisite. Some of the best tasting bread I've made all year. And, drumroll, the thing did not crack nor turn to ash when I slid it into the oven and preheated it to 500 degrees.


I'm hooked. I've graduated from bad ass iron pan girl to smooth bald head baker girl and I'm thrilled that I put aside my prejudice and tried something new.

Never mind the bread that I baked. It was just the standard weekly loaf that we all make. The most important things for you to know are that, as I mentioned, I did soak the thing, and even if it doesn't need it, how in the world can extra steam hurt our bread? I slid it into the cold oven, as we do our combos, and heated it for an hour at 500 degrees. When I overturned the dough onto the hot plate, I did so with several layers of parchment paper, instead of only one layer as per usual, just to safeguard against possible shock of cold dough on the hot plate. I did the steam for 15 at 500, turned the oven down to 475 and steamed for another 15, then took off the dome for the remainder of the bake at 475.

I must also note that the bottom stayed golden as well. No burning. As you will agree, there is nothing better than a golden bottom to our perfectly baked loaves.


This thing is about to get some serious mileage. You can pick up yours here. I think they're around $65. Yay! A fun new bread toy! Lemme know if you get one and what you think of it. If you've ever had any doubts about using clay, banish them. I can't speak for the other brands, but Emerson Creek Pottery is the serious hookup for bread cloches that won't crack at 500 degrees. Their website says 425 is the max, but losing the pamphlet/not going to their website to look up how to operate this contraption were the best moments of laziness and disorganization I've ever had.

Here's hoping for many more cosmic bakes with my new baker 🛸. I couldn't be more thrilled! (p.s., I've eaten a half a bar of chocolate writing this post. Note to self: write more blog posts).

To the staff of life!


THE X-FILES

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

12 grams

12g bread

Hey everyone. So, first I want to say thank you to all of the people who took the time to send me sweet notes of sympathy. Losing my baby girl has been the single hardest thing I have ever had to endure (and I have endured plenty). Thumbelina was my partner for 16.5 years, and losing her has changed my life profoundly. Rather than simply feel shattered for her loss, I've gone inward to look at our time together and extend my absolute gratitude to her for being a teacher, a guide, a best friend and the love of my life. It has been an honor to be her custodian, and frankly, now that she's no longer here, I wonder if, rather, she has been mine. I have needed her as much as she has needed me, make no mistake. She was a beautiful ray of light, my little bean, and I wish for one more day, just one more, to tell her what she has meant to me, because 16.5 years just didn't seem like enough time.

These days I'm a zombie half the time. I went to the farmer's market Sunday and I swear I couldn't tell the difference between a zucchini and a cucumber, my mind was so occupied with thoughts of Thumbelina. I have been keeping myself busy with my clothing line, which has helped keep me from descending into total despair. A few days ago, I decided to bake bread. This is where you come in, dear reader, and in a moment you will see why I needed to share this post tout de suite.


How many of you, in a slumber, have gone to mix up your levain, only to realize that you've actually mixed up the dough instead with your 12g nugget of starter? Show of hands. I can't lie. I have done this on more than one occasion, and in the past, I have just scraped the dough mistake into the trash. But this time I decided to see what would happen if I just went ahead. Let me clarify: on levain day, I plopped 12g of starter into my bowl, with 360g of water and 500g of flour (50g of spelt + 450g BRM all purpose). As soon as I started squishing up the mass, I caught myself. Seriously, Francis-Olive!? Wake up girl! I was about to toss it in the bin and just mix up a batch of levain, but instead, I decided to let it ride. Why not? I just lost my best friend. I'm floating on fumes, what have I to lose? A few grams of flour and smidge of time?

Here's what happened next: bread. Honest to god, BREAD, and a damn fine loaf at that. This loaf, from 12g of starter. That brings me to the power of your starter. Love it well, friends, I know you do. This loaf is a testament that it can do amazing things if you love it and take care of it.


Here's what I did:

I erroneously mixed up 12g of starter with the flour and water as mentioned. I let the dough go for 7 hours, room temp, untouched. After 7 hours, I added my salt -- oh, and here's what it looked like before I added the salt (10g):


As you can see, this showed serious promise. I thought, with a very big smile, a rare sight these days, I must forge on!

Then I did a 5 hour bulk with turns, lets say, every half hour for the first 3 hours, and refrigerated for the last hour and a half or so because it was warm here.

Man alive. Bread. From a bit of starter the size of a brazil nut. Incidentally, the final fermentation was 18 hours, and the bake as usual, 500 deg. lidded for 15, 475 deg. lidded for 15, and without the lid for the final 30, also at 475 deg. This cuts out 7 or 8 hours of levain time, and makes a mild loaf with a shattery crust. I actually baked two loaves so we could do a side-by-side taste test, the second loaf I did up the usual way with a proper levain and the same weights of flour and water as our 12g bread. The proof, we all know, is in the flavor and texture, and honestly, we could not tell the difference between the two, and my BF actually said he liked the 12g best. Both had super tender crumbs, shattery crust and gorgeous flavor. Neither sour. And no one would ever be the wiser if I presented them with this 12g loaf.


I have to admit, Thumbelina ate half of the bread I've baked this past 9 years, probably more. I never bought store-bought dog treats. Ever. She got bread and peanut butter or just plain bread for her snacks, and she loved it. Feeding her was a joy. The bread would come out of the oven, I would slice it, you know, the sound of that first crunchy slice, and she would come charging from the deepest slumber and stand at my knee in satisfied anticipation. She always got the first slice. Always. A huge slice. The best slice. The heel. And she would go tearing off with it, devouring it in moments. In less than an hour, she and I would have absolutely gone through half the loaf. These are memories of her. My Thumbelina Bean. My precious girl who had cancer for 8 long years and never knew a moment of pain despite. She died in my arms naturally, and she rests on a gorgeous ranch in Santa Barbara with wonderful friends and their dogs and horses and chickens running amok. She lived in heaven on earth here with me, and she is living the dream of all dog dreams for the rest of her wiggly little eternity. I miss her so. I love her more than I could ever describe. Make this bread. She made this accident happen. If I had not been so tired, so overwhelmed by grief for losing her, I would not have this to share.

Be well, friends, and love those in your life more than you think you can bear. I hope you have the same happy accidents with your 12g breads.

xo

To the staff of life, and to Thumbelina Bean, who made mine a life worth living for as long as she could.



THE OUTTAKES

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Yin and Yang

Yin & Yang

Y'all. This post is more of an update than anything. I know you all come to the net to look for new breads to make (Yin & Yang recipe below, and OMG, it's simple, but it's AMAZING), but also as a means of connectivity. None of us know each other. In the internet age, one has to wonder how much of one's own self we really know. We get lost in putting up this persona, giving the world what we think it wants and in this, we lose ourselves. This is what I've been contemplating for a while, and I've come to this: the net can be used to hone our creative selves, or it can suck us into a meaningless abyss. S'up to you to decide where you want to be.

I stopped posting so long ago because I felt the pressure of having to produce. For whom? That's the thing, and that's what my hiatus brought me to. We don't have to do anything for anyone at all. Ever. Well, except if you have kids, right, then you have to take care of them. I say this with certainty because I was one of those kids who was not taken care of by her parents, and it sucked (I doubt if you are baking bread that you would be the kind of person who would neglect your own kids, but the insight might be worthwhile nonetheless). Barring parental responsibility, we don't need to post daily or weekly to appease anyone at all. Our exchanges are little gifts to one another: my posts to you, your comments and viewership in exchange. It's very Buddhist, that. Non-attachment. No expectations. Finding joy in being without desire. There should be zero expectation, right, if you are doing something out of kindness, then the kindness extends beyond unreasonable expectation. This is what I have had to remind myself of because I've been busy and I don't have so much time to post regularly. If I'm not careful, I'm at risk of feeling guilty, or that I'm letting you all down.

Here's what. I'm in two schools pursing two completely separate educations. I am going to school full time for fashion design, and also full time to get my Classical Pilates certification. When I say that this is difficult, it's an understatement. My day begins at 2:50 a.m. and I go to bed around 10 to achieve all that I need to in order to realize both of these passions (my father said that I always did things the hard way). Pilates is the single most challenging thing that I have ever experienced in my life, fashion design demands more still. I have had to cram 5 levels of classical Pilates training into my body in 8 months, training to that level takes people YEARS to achieve. Fashion design is full time. The school that I'm going to is a 'fast track' school, which means that we cram 4 years of college into 2 years. I was not going to return to school for fashion, but my favorite instructor, Mr. N., is teaching draping, and he is, hands down, the single most inspirational educator that I've had the privilege to learn from. I could not miss this class, though by all rights I should not be doing fashion at all, what with Pilates and the demands of it. Short story: I. Am. Busy. I operate on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. So, I apologize if my posts seem spotty. Not that I need to explain myself, but I want to, because you, dear reader, though I don't know you, are important to me. Humanity is important to me. Sharing simple things that I have learned, things that have made my life sweeter (baking bread), is important to me. If I can help relieve you of any tedium (and bad bread days are so tedious, I know this well), then I am happy to be here for you. Being open and kind and connected is important to me.



Bread is a sanctuary that during busy times, I have to fight for. For instance, today I had to bake Deanna's bread, go to draping class for 5 hours, go to pilates at 4am, do homework, walk the dog, clean the kitchen (forget about the laundry today, please, let there be one more clean shirt to wear tomorrow), run some errands, put oil in my car, dash out to buy thread... To write a post in order to keep an audience is, well, overwhelming. I bake weekly, but I don't alway have time to share what I've done. And now there are things that I want to share, but because I am putting new recipes into a book, I can't, and it seems as though my bread life is tenuous if you check my blog. Crickets here, I know. But there is a reason why things have been so quiet on my end, and now you know.

So I say this to you, dear reader, the ones who have my back, the ones who returned after my long break, the ones who don't 'unfollow me' because I haven't thrown up visual evidence of my baking life on Instagram this week, those who privately email me and ask me for help or let me know how much my blog means to them: this is for you. The bread book that I'm writing (on top of all the aforementioned) is for you. You are the die-hards that make me keep pushing on. You are the ones who make me realize that what I write about is important, even if only for a small audience. If I can touch only a few of you, David, Daniel, Alex, Argh128, Matt, Michalis, Alexandra, Joe B. Jr., Maurizio, and the 225 'followers' on my Instagram page, this blog is for you, and a small audience is fine by me. In an era of rapid expansion and increase, I am happy to keep my circle small and intimate, connected and real.

I wanted to post today to tell you that I'm busy for a reason. I've never had a chance to do something just for me. My whole life has been given over to others. I won't go into detail, but I will say this, what is left of my precious life is my own. My time is my own. My interests will be pursued. I have found love and light, purpose and peace. I have fought hard and won a battle that damn near took my life. But I am here at the page when I can be, and I am happy for it. Baking and sharing with you is so special and I love it beyond reason. This blog is one of my passions, and I have loved it for coming up on 9 years. I thank those of you who are, like me, living for connectivity and significance when the world demands that we give ourselves over to externalities that prevent us from living viscerally, intentionally, and authentically.

Here is your yin & yang bread. A simple one, but one that is feeding my good friend Deanna who has given me a little treasure that will change my life. Thank you sister. And thank you dear reader, for meeting me back at the page no matter how seldom, for supporting me and being my ear. If it was not for the little thank you notes for posting silly things like digestive biscuits (Alex!) and humble loaves, I would have no presence on the net at all.

xo


YIN & YANG


This formula makes one loaf

MAKE YOUR LEVAIN

3 or 4 days before you make your levain, kick it into high-gear by feeding it 2x a day. On levain day, you will need:

12g 100% hydration dark rye starter (I mill my own flour for this, but you don't have to)
75g freshly milled rye flour
75g h2o

Mix the levain ingredients together until you reach a paste. Mine fermented for 8 hours.


levain, fully realized

DOUGH DAY

You will need:

400g h2o

400g Giusto's Artisan flour (BRM artisan/all purpose or even KA bread/all purpose are fine stand ins)
100g dark rye flour (again, I mill my own, but you don't have to)
10g kosher salt, I used Diamond
All of the levain
70g toasted hulled white sesame seeds
25g black sesame seeds
15g toasted sesame seed oil

For the linen:
lots of black sesame seeds for coating the yin half of the loaf
lots of brown (unhulled white) sesame seeds for coating the yang half of the loaf

When your levain is properly fermented, mix together the levain the flours and the h2o until you reach a shaggy mass. Autolyse for 1 hour 30 minutes

After the autolyse, the dough should have expanded a bit. Squish the salt and oil into the dough until it's fully incorporated, then fold in the 70g toasted white sesame seeds and 25g black sesame seeds. Work the dough into a smooth mass. Now it's time for the 3.5-hour bulk fermentation.

Every half hour, perform a series of turns, taking care not to deflate the dough as you near the end of bulk. You will likely stop your turns somewhere around 2 hours into the bulk. For the remaining bulk, leave it untouched. If it's super warm where you are, feel free to pop it in the fridge for the last hour of bulk to slow the fermentation. 

When bulk fermentation is accomplished, turn the dough out onto a workspace dusted with brown rice flour, and shape into a loose round. Let it rest. Mine rested for 10 minutes. 

During the bench, spread out a thick layer of raw sesame seeds, black and white, to form a yin and yang pattern on your linen (see picture below).

After the bench, shape the dough into a taut boule. and carefully place it onto the yin/yang decorated linen. Fold up the sides carefully and pop into a bowl seam-side up.

Pop in the fridge and ferment. Mine fermented for 20 hours

BAKE DAY

Preheat the oven to 500 with a dutch oven and baking stone inside.

Unearth the dough by placing a sheet of parchment over the mouth of the dough bowl, then place a peel over this and quickly invert the bowl so that the dough ends up sitting on the paper and the peel, seam side down.

Slash the dough at the perimeter of the boule, taking care so that you don't mar the yin & yang sesame pattern, then slide it into the shallow half of the hot dutchie. Yes. A crap load of sesame seeds will come pouring out of the bowl. Try to collect as many as you can and put them in a bowl. Eat them. I do. they are high in calcium.

Cover with the fat half, slide it into the oven, and steam for 15 minutes at this temp, then turn the oven down to 450 and steam for another 15 minutes.

After the steam, remove the fat end of the dutchie, then stack the pan over its mouth to create a buffer between the hot stone and the bread. This will help keep the bottom of your bread from blackening.

Toggle the oven between 425 an 450 until the boule is baked to desired darkness, or between 210-220 degrees.

Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.

Eat any excess sesame seeds that slide off the loaf after the bake. They're amazing.

To the staff of life!


Pictorial Evidence of Real Time Things

 toasted


 yin and yang on linen

 20 hour final fermentation

 on the parchment, ready for the bake


 a successful steam

 will ya look at that crumb?

yin/yang/balance/love/light/authenticity/wholeness

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sidebar Sunday: Digestive Biscuits

Digestive Biscuits

Wait. Are you like me? Sunday rolls around, you tumble out of bed and twist the oven knob to some middling temp, 325? 360? you don't know what you're baking yet, but you know you're baking something. It is Sunday after all. And it's a chilly one too. All the better.

I have been dying, DYING to make digestive biscuits. You know what they are? Scotch things, wholemeal and just sweet enough. Thought to aid in digestion because of the baking soda, which, oddly, this recipe has none of. Nevertheless, they taste exactly as you would imagine: wheaty, nutty, simple and amazing, if you like that sort of thing. Here's what, sweet eaters fall into two camps, the gooey sticky lovers, and the slightly sweet and simple fans. I fall into the second. Caramel and frosty things are not my cup of tea. Things like that magic cake that was running wild for a while? Yeah, no. Too sweet and rich and makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it. I should clarify, this does not include ganache, which is not really frosting at all, rather, spreadable truffles and should be its own food group.

Here is the recipe for these wheaten things. They come together in 5 minutes and bake in 15. Unlikely that they will aid in digestion but tasty nonetheless. This is one for second camp folks. Feel free to dip them in ganache.


Digestive Biscuits


100g oats, coarsely ground (I ground rolled oats with a coarse setting on my Komo, but you can blitz them in a food processor)
100g whole wheat flour
105g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
50g coconut sugar
1 - 2 TB milk (I used homemade almond milk, worked a treat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the ov to 350. Whisk together the flours, sugar, b. powder and salt, then work the butter into the flour mixture by pinching and rubbing between your fingers till you arrive at a crumbly mass. Add the milk and incorporate into the dough just until it comes together, and only use as much milk as you need to pull it all together. Don't overwork. You don't want tough digestive biscuits.

Wrap the dough in plastic and stow it in the fridge for 20 minutes. After the 20, spread wholemeal flour on the counter and roll out the dough to about 3/16" thickness.

Using a 2 1/2" round cutter, cut out rounds and lay them onto a sheet pan that you've lined with either a Silpat sheet or a piece of parchment paper. They don't spread much. You can get 15-20 on a sheet pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. You'll only get 2 sheet pans out of this recipe. I think I got like 33, but I was eating them as I was laying them out too cool and may have lost count. Plus I rolled mine too thinly.

You can pull together the scraps, refrigerate and re-roll them once. After the second rolling, you can bake up the scraps for nibbling as you putz about the kitchen this lovely, lazy Sunday.

Happy Sunday y'all!

 pinch, pinch, pinch till crumbly

 just pulled together

 roll, not too thinly, the thickness is a cross between a shortbread cookie and a cracker. I feel mine could have been a wee bit thicker...

they really dont spread much at all. I could easily have added another row in here


Adapted from Little Loaf Blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Onion and Earth

Onion and Earth

I think bread-baking is a sign of intelligence, inherent magical abilities, and a deep-rooted love of humanity. Think about it, you first have to bring something inert to life, then you have to sustain it for, like, ever, then you use this new life to feed people you love/don't love/know/may not know, right? I don't know about you, but I bake bread for anyone who shows any interest in what I do.

Random person whom I may or may not know: OMG, I LOVE bread!
Me: I'll make you a loaf, are you allergic to nuts/how do you feel about olives?

Any opportunity to bake bread is, well, an opportunity to bake bread, and one that I rarely pass up. Speaking of not being able to pass up an opportunity to bake bread, this week has been a doozy. 10 loaves baked on top of a really busy school schedule, and by now you know that I've started work writing the bread book so...

I've been experimenting with some things. Indeed there are predecessors to today's loaf. Ugly things that came out tasting heavenly. There is such a thing as too-high-hydration, you know. It's funny, when people first start baking bread, everyone wants to be the high-hydration badass until they realize that, well, not every dough should be so hydrated that you can pour it into a glass and drink it. In fact, it's downright wearying to have to wrestle with those things. Plus, too much hydration will give you a very flat bread. The finesse, we find, comes from just enough hydration for a particular bread so that it sings its own unique song.


I know you've been with me on this journey long enough to know that potato bread is tricky. At first mixup, the dough is hard. Like an egg. Like a football. Wait, do you have an ostrich egg? I do. It's like that. Hard and cream-colored and oval.

An egg of dough

You have to use a cool hand with the hydration at mixup because the potato releases A LOT of water, and if you've added a wee bit more than you should have then you're... well, you know what you are. The hard little egg becomes a soft and lovely dough after autolyse, and your bread is a thing of such remarkable glory. The crumb, oh, the crumb!


Anyway, a few sloppy loaves this week. Hydration too high. They were insanely delectable, but looked like the elephant man. We ate them with our eyes shut.

I baked this week's bread in our new Fourneau, which frankly, I've no idea how I've lived without for so long (Fourneau, why you take so long??)

My friend Ania calls this loaf 'Indian bread' because there are nigella seeds in it. 'Hey, what's that Indian bread you made, you know, the one with the seeds?' Layers and layers of laughter. It's a thing that I schemed up one afternoon after spying a dirty russet in my fruit bowl on the table. Potato bread is, hands down, my absolute favorite bread (I might say this about all my breads...). I contemplated this potato, baked it up, wondered what I would bring to the blog when I spotted my friend Joe's post wherein he had just baked up a potato chive thing. Joe and I are always on the same baking page, so weird, halfway across the world and we're both baking potatoes unbeknownst. Anyway, I thought, clever Joe, you know, the whole baked potato and chive thing. I began to think of the nostalgic loveliness of baked potato and allium, and I had been wanting to do a caramelized onion bread for a while so... Immediately then the little seeds popped into my head, et voila! the idea for today's bake.


It's incredible, this bread. The texture is ethereal, the flavor sublime. Nigella seeds are intriguing. The little obsidian things look like sooty sesame seeds but taste of, hold on, onion and earth. I know. Weird, right? But seriously, it's worth seeking them out. And don't cheat and use black sesame seeds for this loaf. It will not be Indian bread. It'll be onion bread with sesame seeds. Here is what my Parisian friend said after having received half of it: I rarely ate such a good bread (and I'm french). Merci! Très tendre aussi... délicieux! His name is François and he's super duper Français, so he would know since bread-savvy is sort of in his DNA.

For this loaf I used home-milled sprouted spelt for nuttiness, Giusto's flour because it's the bomb, russet potatoes (Joe uses Yukon Gold), a giant yellow onion, and Nigella, the queen of seeds. Please do not be tempted to increase the hydration at dough makeup. It WILL be a hard little egg of a thing, but trust, it will slacken to the right consistency at the finish of autolyse. In fact, the onions will increase the hydration even further, so, this dough ends up pushing hydration to the limits. Have a look at this post here if you need convincing.

With warnings in place, and Sunday at our feet, I give you Onion and Earth.

ONION AND EARTH


LEVAIN DAY

12g 100% rye starter
75g freshly stoneground sprouted spelt flour
75g h2o

Mix all of this up together until you arrive at a medium viscosity paste. Ferment until it gets loose and bubbly, active looking. Mine went for 7 hours


DOUGH DAY

400g Giusto's Artisan Bread Flour
100g freshly stoneground sprouted spelt flour
300g h2o
216g caramelized onions
150g russet potato, riced
14g nigella seeds, soaked in hot water for about an hour
10g salt

About 2.5 hours before dough mixup, bake your potato. It will take about an hour and a half to roast a huge potato, then another 45 minutes to cool and rice. You will need a potato that weighs at least 225g to arrive at the 150g that you need for this loaf. My potato was over 500g, hence the hour and a half.

When the levain has successfully fermented, dissolve it in the 300g of water then add the flours and the cooled, riced potato. Squish all of this up. The dough will be quite firm. Resist the temptation to add more water. You will be surprised after autolyse how much water the potatoes release into the dough. You can always increase hydration after autolyse if you think it needs more water. But remember, you will be adding the onions which provide hydration and make the dough a challenge to work with.

Autolyse this potato egg for 1.5 hours.

After autolyse, you will see how slack the dough has become. Squish the salt and drained nigella seeds into the dough. If your potato was not as watery as mine, now is the time to add some h2o, but do so in small increments, say, 5g - 7g at a time, but again, remember the onion factor. Trust me, it will get more extensible/slack when you start doing your turns, and you might be sorry you added all that h2o.

BULK FERMENTATION

The remainder of your bulk fermentation should be 3.5 hours (remember, we autolysed for 1.5 hours already, we always want to do 5 hours bulk TOTAL, so, if you do a shorter/longer autolyse, you would adjust the rest of the bulk according to the length of your autolyse).

A half hour after you add the salt and seeds, perform a series of turns. A half hour after this, do another series. Another half hour later, add your onions using the photos below as guidance. Rather than squishing them into the dough, we fold them in. So, lay a layer of onions over the dough, fold a flap of dough over this layer, then add more onions and repeat this folding and adding until all of the onions have been added to the dough, and you end with a flap of dough so that all of the onions are encased. I think I got mine in there with three layers of onions...

Please note how slack the dough has gotten during autolyse, from hard little egg to this...

After you've added the onions, let the dough ferment untouched for the remainder of bulk.

After the bulk, scrape the dough onto a worktable that has been dusted with rice flour. Pull in the sides to make a loose round and bench for 10 minutes.

After the bench, shape though dough into a batard (lord, I am STILL working on my batard shaping). The dough will be very soft and you may wonder if this will work at all. It will. Trust.

Pop the batard into a banneton that has been lined with a linen piece dusty with rice flour. Pop the dough into the fridge and ferment for 17 hours.

BAKE DAY

One hour before you plan to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, this that has been outfitted with your Fourneau oven (including its little door). Make sure that its been situated to one side of the oven because you will be pulling the steamed loaf out of the Fourneau after the steam and baking it out on the stone outside of the oven. (I have found that my wet doughs spread to touch the sides of the Fourneau and will burn if you leave it in there. If you are making doughs with lower hydration/smaller loaves that do not touch the sides of the oven, you may do your entire bake inside the Fourneau).


Onward.

When the oven is preheated place a triple layer piece of parchment over the mouth of the banneton (the triple layer will prevent a burned bottom), invert the dough onto a peel, or, if you have the metal tray with the silicone mat that comes with the Fourneau 2.0, invert onto this. Remove the banneton and cloth, score the dough and slide into your Fourneau oven, installing its little door. ** If using the metal tray/silicone mat, you will slide this whole thing into the Fourneau, if you don't have this, slide the dough and all its parchment layers into the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes at 500 degrees. After 15 minutes, lower the temp to 425 and bake for 15 more. After this 15, pull the loaf out of the Fourneau oven and slide it onto the stone next to it (if using the metal tray/silicone, slide that out and bake the loaf out on this, same if you are using parchment). Don't worry, the shape has set during steam. The Fourneau has captured it so that it won't spread anymore. IF you have noticed that your bread is NOT touching the sides of the oven at all, then you don't have to pull it out of the Fourneau. It can bake out where it is. 

Slide back into the oven. Potato bread browns quickly, and more so because of the sweet onions, so you may have to drop the oven temp to 400 degrees. Use your shrewd eye. Bake for another 30 minutes, or even another 40 minutes to ensure that it's baked through. The internal temp of the dough will be 210-215 degrees. Spin the dough a couple of times while it is baking for even browning. You will get a seriously caramelized crust when all is said and done. Oh man, so good!

Cool at least 2 hours before slicing.

To the staff of life!

THE EARTHY EXTRAS