All The Alliums
When your boyfriend says: babe, I think this is my absolute favorite bread. It's so good, even the dog loves it.
Anyway. It's springtime! So, spring onions and green garlic. Let me clarify: it's springtime in L.A. It turns out that we decided not to invite winter to the party of seasons this year. A consensus was taken and we all said NEIN! So, green garlic in February and piles of purple spring onions with bright green tails.
When this bread bakes, the house fills up with the most luscious, savory, oniony perfume. It's like all the good things in life rolled into an ambrosial aroma.
I made a bunch of these crazy things. The first two rounds were amazing. Super soft, aromatic crumb and golden crust! But the very center collapsed a bit, and I was after a boule, not a focaccia, silly thing, so I scaled back on the allium a bit and got/maintained lovely oven spring. The first loaves were scattered with some allium strands that I had roasted as the oven was preheating, hence the lovely maintained color.
Belle of the ball...
I left the second round 'plain', so you could see what it looks like 'unadorned'. Beautiful just the same, but sort of a show stopper when you go the extra mile, don't you think?
Cindarella before the shoe
The thing about this bread is that it's a little tricky to make, from dough through the bake. DO NOT be tempted to add any more of the sweated allium mixture than what is called for here. It is already on the brink of 'could be too wet', and don't increase hydration of the dough at dough makeup. 325g IS low, yes, but all of the allium makes up for that hydration when you add it later.
As long as you heed all the weirdy-pants advice, you will be on your way to springtime happiness!
Oh, and you have to trust me on this, but don't leave off the allium tangle atop the dough. I know it appears burned, but trust me, it tastes like toasty leeks. Kind of like a garlic/onion bagel. I mean, do what you want. You could leave them off and it would be fine. But I like the toasty tangle. We killed these loaves. So good. Soooo, sooo good...
The texture of today's bread is cloud-soft. It's almost like a focaccia. It's the kind of loaf you would see at a farmer's market. You get one, it's amazing, you dream about next Sunday when you can get another. I am a fan of leeks in bread as witnessed here and here.
I know, I know. It sounds flippin' weird, all that allium, and that crazy tangle atop. But MAN ALIVE! is this bread awesome. If you don't believe me, ask my bf's dog, and he'll tell you a thing or two about what's good.
To the staff of life!
* I use Great River Milling Co. hard red wheat for the whole wheat in this bread, and I feed my starter home milled Great River Milling Co. Rye. See the link below for the wheat that I buy...
Two days before you plan to make your levain, throw your starter into overdrive by feeding it three times each day for two full days. On the third day, build your levain:
12g 100% dark rye, 100% hydration starter
75g home milled hard red whole wheat flour
Mine fermented for about 7 hours
All of the levain
- 325g h2o
- 425g Giusto's Artisan flour
- 75g home milled hard red whole wheat flour (I use Great River Milling Co. hard red wheat)
- 274g mixed allium, weighed before cooking. Here is my breakdown:
-75g green garlic
-74g spring onion
- 10g kosher salt
- 9g extra virgin olive oil, I use California Olive Ranch
- A tangle of alliums to spread over your linen (I'm sorry, I didn't weigh what I used...), cut into batons
When the levain is at its peak, mix it with the flours and h2o until you reach a shaggy mass. Autolyse for 1.5 hours, but you can autolyse for 1 hour with fine results (in this case, though, your remaining bulk fermentation will be 4 hours, as we always want 5 hours for bulk). At this time, slice up your alliums and sweat until very soft. Take it low and slow. Set aside to thoroughly cool. If you haven't done this in time to be cool enough to add to your bread, spread the allium mixture on a plate and pop in the freezer for 10 minutes. This is what I usually do.
After the autolyse, squish the salt into the dough so that it is thoroughly incorporated, then fold in the allium mixture. Now begin your 3.5-hour bulk fermentation. Here you will perform a series of turns until the dough really starts to expand. You will intuitively know that this is the time to stop your turns. But for this dough, I folded 30 minutes after I added the salt and allium mixture, then 30 minutes later, then 30 minutes after that. I left it alone after that.
Now let the dough ferment for the remainder of the bulk.
After the bulk fermentation, scrape the dough onto a worktable that you have dusted with brown rice flour, gather it into a loose round and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Before you get your dough into its bowl, line it with 4 layers of paper towels to absorb the moisture that will seep from the dough. Set aside. Spread a thin layer of rice flour over your linen cloth, then spread the allium batons over this.
After the dough has rested, shape it into a taut boule, by pulling in the sides, and pop it onto the awaiting cloth (SMOOTH SIDE UP) that has been dusted with the rice flour and scattered with the allium match sticks. You want it smooth side up because you will not be scoring this loaf. On bake day, the loaf will burst open naturally at the folds.
Pop it into the bowl that has been lined with paper towels and get it into the fridge. Ferment 18 hours.
One hour before you plan to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, installed with a baking stone and both halves of your combo cooker. If you plan to scatter the loaves with more allium strands, now is the time to roast them. Just slice a bit of whatever you have into matchsticks, toss in olive oil and a pinch of salt, spread out on a sheet tray and pop in the oven to roast. Set aside when done...
After the hour preheat, remove the dough bowl from the fridge, place a piece of parchment over the mouth of it, then a pizza peel on top of this, now flip the whole thing over so that the dough ends up on top of the parchment and peel. Remove the linen and the paper towels if they have tumbled out.
Slide the dough into the shallow end of the combo cooker. Cover with the fat end and steam the loaf at 500 degrees for 15 minutes. Now turn the oven down to 475 and steam for another 15. After the steam, remove the lid, nestle the pan holding the bread over the mouth of the combo cooker lid. This provides a buffer from the oven floor so you NEVER get burnt bread bottoms. Lower the temp to 450 and bake for another 15 minutes. Rotate the pan, and lower the oven to 400, bake for another 18 minutes. Rotate the pan again, turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake for a final 12 minutes for a total of 1 hour 15 minutes of baking (the last 12 minutes of the bake is the time to scatter the loaves with the allium you roasted earlier if you are using them).
Take the internal temp to at least 218 degrees. It would not be a mistake to bake for a total of 1 hour 20 minutes to ensure thorough baking. In this case, bake for an additional 5 minutes at 375. Don't worry about burning the bread. At this low temp, it will bake out but won't burn.
Allow to cool for at least two hours before slicing.
Final fermentation SMOOTH SIDE UP, resting on allium bed;
notice the paper towel layers beneath the linen...
notice the paper towel layers beneath the linen...
THE VANITY SHOTS