Hello and YES! This is the blog formerly known as the Tartine Bread Experiment. Please visit me there for a very fun, very satisfying bread journey. That is where all the magic began...
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So, today I have an ingenious discovery to share. I actually had been wanting to perform this fancy maneuver for a while now, but every time I make a fruity nutty bread I forget. Here, let me explain. Whenever I make fruity nutty loaves I am never keen on the 'saltiness' of the surrounding bread. I have tried lowering the salt, but then you just have bland bread surrounding the little nuggets of fruit. And I'm not really that taken with adding sweeteners to my bread, I mean, I have no serious objection to it, but it's not something that I want to do on the regular. In comes the grand idea: what if I used the dried fruit soaking liquid as the water for my bread? Ingenious. Yeah.
I had this idea a while ago. Wait, I'm totally not kidding, it was actually about two years ago. But since this is not a bread that I make often, I always forget about it. Well, this time I didn't forget and man-oh-MAN, did it work like a dream! Our Sweetie Pie was ever so gently sweetened by the soaking liquid, like, everything was magically pulled together. The crumb was nice and tender, the sweetish bread in harmony with the fruit and nuts, the crust was shattery and fabulous. Another winner for our repertoire, and I dare say, you don't have to wait for the cold months to appreciate this jeweled beauty. She will be divine in clement weather and beneath harsher skies alike.
Have a look.
So, I have been feeding my starter 3x a day. Two days before you plan to make your Sweetie Pie, levain, kick your starter into high gear by feeding it 4x a day. It loves this intense feeding schedule, and will reward you with lofty loaves.
10g 100% hydration starter, kicked into high gear as mentioned above
75g freshly stoneground white whole wheat flour, I used Bluebird Grain Farms wheat berries
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 15 minutes.
100g freshly stoneground hard white spring wheat, I used Bluebird Grain Farms
275g Giusto's Artisan flour
125g Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo high extraction flour
150g sweet potato, baked and sent through a ricer
280g raisin water (*see note below)
75g toasted pecans
100g golden sultanas & 100g Thompson's seedless raisins soaked in 300g hot water
Early on dough day, bake your sweet potato(es). They should be soft when pierced with a knife and will ooze their sugars. Speaking of, make sure you lay down some parchment or the potato sugar will fall to the oven floor and cause a horrible, smoking mess. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and send them through a ricer. Set aside to cool completely before adding to the dough.
While the potatoes are roasting, soak your raisins in the 300g of hot water. Leave those raisins in there till the water goes cool. This is going to be the water that you use for your bread, so do not discard it.
* When the raisins are plumped and the water is cool, fish them out with scrupulously clean hands and squeeze them firmly, letting the excess water fall back into the vessel where they were plumping. Set those raisins aside. Weigh the water. Mine came to 244g, so I added 36g to this for a total amount of 280g of water for our dough.
When the levain has successfully fermented, dissolve it in the sweet water then add the flours and the cooled, riced, sweet potato. Squish all of this up and autolyse for one hour.
After autolyse, squish the salt into the dough until it is thoroughly incorporated.
Bulk fermentation time. 4 hours, as usual, perform your turns every 20 minutes for the first hour. After this hour, add the raisins and toasted pecans. Stretch and fold the dough so that it all of the fruit and nuts are completely enveloped. Now perform your turns every half hour for the next hour and a half so that the fruit and nuts become totally distributed throughout the dough. Try to keep as much of it in the dough as possible, because whatever is exposed on bake day will burn. And yes, I know, the dough is so full of goodies that it's challenging to turn, but employ a ginger hand, and once you feel that the fruit and nuts are incorporated, you can stop turning and let the dough ferment, unmolested, for whatever remains of the 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 rest for 10 minutes.
After the bench, shape the dough into a boule.
Pop the boule into a banneton or a bowl that has been lined with a linen piece dusty with rice flour.
I swear by my 4.5 quart Kitchenaid mixer bowls. Perfect size and shape to ferment the loaves. I have four of them solely for this cause. You can get them for about thirty bucks on eBay. Pop the dough into the fridge and ferment for 12 hours.
One hour before you plan to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, this that has been outfitted with your stone and combo cooker, both halves.
When the oven is preheated (full hour! no cheats!) pull the dough out of the refrigerator. It should have expanded nicely.
Place a piece of parchment over the mouth of the bowl, invert the bowl onto a peel and remove the bowl and cloth. Now is the time to brush away any excess rice flour so you don't end up with a snowy loaf.
Slash or snip the dough in a pattern of your choosing, then slide the dough into the shallow half of the combo cooker, pop on the lid and bake for 15 minutes at 500 degrees. After 15 minutes, lower the temp to 475 and bake for 15 more. After this 15, take the lid off of the combo cooker, and nestle the shallow half into its mouth. This will create a buffer between the hot stone and the bread's butt, and keep it from burning. Ohh and ahh at your oven spring and your perfectly steamed loaf.
Slide back into the oven and toggle the temp between 475 and 450 degrees. Sweet potato bread browns quickly, and loaves with fruit brown especially quickly because of the added sugars. You may have to bake on the lower (450 degrees) end so don't end up with a burned exterior and undercooked crumb. Spin the pan a couple of times while it is baking for even browning. And you will get a seriously caramelized crust when all is said and done. Take the loaf to 210 degrees. With breads containing such ample amounts of fruit, you want to be sure that it is thoroughly baked. I use my Thermapen to ensure that I arrive at the right temp before pulling it from the oven.
Cool at least 2 hours before slicing.
To the staff of life!
(This sweetie pie has been shared at wild yeast blog's yeast spotting)