Thursday, March 27, 2014

springtide bread

ok, hands down, this bread wins the award for 'best tasting'. i wanted to name this post 'holy crap!' however, that seemed gauche. but man alive and holy crap! was this bread delicious. not only that, but the crumb was the most tender that i have ever baked up.

you know that spring has pounced upon us, yeah, so you should be seeing lots of 'green garlic', or young garlic, at the farmer's market. what is it? well, it's actually young garlic before the cloves form. it looks a lot like a large scallion or a small leek. the flavor is fresh and spicy. not as hot as mature garlic, more peppery, perhaps zesty is a good word to describe it.

i am so glad that we are moving into the warm seasons. i usually grumble some because i'm a bit of a fog and cold weather girl. slate gray skies make me feel at home. but this year i feel restless. i feel like i want some sort of change, hence the blog name change, and i have a few other irons in the fire too. my life has lost some luster of late. its become ordinary, and i need to spice things up. speaking of spice, this week's bread has a little spice too.

springtide bread: a farro boule with green garlic, lucques olives, aleppo pepper & thyme

the aleppo pepper was a last minute inspiration, mostly because i love to say that word, aleppo, and it happened to be right there when i opened the cupboard the morning i was set to mix up the dough. it's also just really good. aleppo is all the fruity flavor of the pepper, with very little heat. in fact, for those of you who are sensitive to heat, you will not get scalded at all with this loaf. i promise. and i suggest that you try your best to seek it out, wherever you are, because it really makes this bread unique, so unique, in fact, that i was going to call it a night with a good french film but decided instead to share this post.

i wanted to do something interesting and fun, flour-wise, so i chose farro as the dominant flour here. i got some of these lovely berries from the peeps over at mendocino grain project. it's a cooperative, right, so you have to buy a grain share (there are some small markets up that way that sell mendocino's grains, but they are fiercely local, so don't expect to ever see their stuff at whole foods l.a., or s.f., or anywhere beyond a stone's throw from their region). the farro milled up so loverlee, and the flavor contribution (it weighs in as 40% of the total flour) made me want to work with it again right away. i paired it with 30% heartland mills 80% high extraction flour and 30% bread flour, in goes the sweated green garlic, a few lucques olives, a glug of olive oil, a sprinkling of both aleppo (aleppo....) pepper and thyme, and my friend christina and i both agreed that it was one of those 'yeah, let's do this one again, and soon' breads. i learned my lesson and baked up two loaves this time so we each got one to enjoy over the next few days.

the crust was soft and lovely with just a hint of brittleness, and i cannot begin to aptly describe the tenderness of the crumb. the knife sliced through it with the ease of slicing through butter. just lovely. the flavor of the farro was nutty and fresh. because we sweat the green garlic first, it tames its wild bite and finds harmony with the grain. the aleppo pepper adds an earthy and somewhat fruity element to the loaf, the thyme is a back note, and i must mention the olive oil. i used california olive ranch's 'arbequina' olive oil. an incredible extra virgin, peppery, fruity with distinct minerality, this oil is usually reserved for dressing salads or pesto. i have a few bottles of each of their oils, and i have to say, once you try it, you will never waste your time on cheaper olive oils. just a side note, california olive ranch uses only sustainably (obviously california) grown olives to produce their oils, and they are bottled within hours after picking. seriously, once you have their olive oil you will never bother with anything else.

springtide bread, with california olive ranch's 'arbequina' olive oil

aside from sharing bread with you guys today, i wanted to let you know how much i appreciate all of the lovely emails and comments i have been getting from you since i changed the blog name and address. thank you all for following me on this path. thank you for applauding my effort and bravery to wear my own boots (you emailers know who you are). it was a hard decision to set out on my own, but i feel that what i am doing deserves its own identity, and i am so glad that you think so too.

now, without further hubbub, here is your springtide bread. may it mark the unfolding of a beautiful new path for us all, one filled with lots of fabulous experiments and findings. may it be a symbol of many lovely things to come.

springtide bread

makes two loaves, one for yourself, one to share

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:

20g 100% dark rye, 100% hydration starter
150g h2o
150g freshly stone milled bluebird grain farms dark rye flour

Mix up the above to a slurry and ferment. Mine fermented for 9 hours.


All of the levain
760g h2o
400g freshly stone milled farro flour, i milled mine from mendocino grain project's farro
300g heartland mills high-extraction flour
300g KA organic bread flour
30g california olive ranch's 'arbequina' olive oil
266g luques olives, relieved of their pits (to arrive at this amount, you will need approximately 450 olives weighed with the pits)
246g green garlic that you have sliced and sweated (to arrive at this amount, i needed about 10 bulbs)
1 tsp aleppo pepper
leaves from about 6 sprigs of thyme
24g kosher salt

When the levain is at its peak, mix it with the flours and h2o until you reach a shaggy mass. Autolyse for 1 hour 15 minutes.

During the autolyse, prepare the green garlic. Slice and rinse will. They are very sandy. Get into a cooking vessel with glug of good olive oil, and sweat the mass of them down over a medium fire. You only want them to go soft, avoiding any color.

They should retain a bit of bite when they are finished, and be vibrant green. Spread them out on a plate and pop in the freezer so they are cool enough to be added to the dough.

Now pit the olives by slicing the meat from the pit (an olive/cherry pitter does not work well with this olive). I find that using a bird beak knife works best for this task. Set them aside. Mince your thyme. Set aside. Now turn your attention back to your dough.

After the autolyse, squish the salt into the dough so that it is thoroughly incorporated, then knead in the aleppo pepper, the thyme and olive oil. Keep kneading until you reach a smooth mass. Now fold in the green garlic and olives, trying to keep the bits within the dough as much as you can. It's fine if a few specks peek through, but by the end of the bulk, the majority of it should be encased in the dough or it will burn on bake day.

Now begin your 4-hour bulk fermentation (mine was actually 4 hours and 50 minutes because I got caught up in a French film, but yours can be 4 hours. It's fine). Here you will perform a series of turns until the dough really starts to expand and feel tight. You will intuitively know that this is the time to stop your turns. I only performed turns for 2 hours of the 4 hour and 50 minute bulk fermentation and let the dough ferment untouched for the remainder of the bulk. Room temp this time round, as it was evening and quite cool enough.

After the bulk fermentation, scrape the dough onto a worktable that you have dusted with brown rice flour, divide, and gather the two doughs into loose rounds. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.

After the bench, shape them into taut boules and pop into bannetons or bowls lined with a linens that have been first dusted with brown rice flour. Get it into the fridge and ferment. mine went for 18 hours 30 minutes.


One hour before you plan to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, installed with a baking stone and both halves of two combo cookers.

After the hour preheat and one at a time, 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 (if you have over dusted, now is the time to brush away any loose flour with a pastry brush. I know, I have been the victim of some snowy loaves too. No harm. We live and learn).

Snip or score the dough, the slide it into the shallow end of the combo cooker. Cover with the fat end, slide into the oven. Repeat with the second boule.

Now steam the loaves at 500 degrees for 15 minutes. After 15, turn the oven down to 475 and bake for another 15. After the steam, remove the lids and bask in the glow of your perfectly steamed loaves.

Finally, bake till chestnut brown. Take the internal temp to 210 - 212 degrees.

Allow to cool for at least an hour, preferably two, before slicing. However, I sliced after an hour because I needed to snap some pics before it grew too dark, and the bread was fabulous!

to the staff of life!

this bread was shared with lovely susan at wild yeast blog.


  1. Wow, this looks fantastic! I wish I had read this in time to add this to my Sunday loaves. BTW I have started feeding my starter three times the day before and it has definitely been giving me a lot more loft!

    1. Josh, there is always next Sunday! I am so pleased to hear that the 3 a day feedings are helping. Remember, in bakeries, they feed these things nonstop. So feed away!



  2. You are so talented. That bread looks fabulous but then all your bread is. I now have three loaves under my belt and have the 4th underway. I've stumbled across a local flour mill not more than 5 miles from where I live which I never knew existed. It claims to be the only working water mill in the county and produces small quantities of stone ground whole meal, rye and spelt. More of a tourist attraction than a full blown flour mill I think. I emailed them last night and they've come back really interested. Seems they have a fully equipped bakery which is lying idle......................bloody hell.

    1. Awww, aren't you sweet. Talented? Hm. Maybe just hungry. And word on the street is that I make bread, so the demands for it are rolling in.

      This is excellent news! About the flour mill. Aren't you a lucky chap! Those are the only three flours that you need to make a full life of bread baking. And the fact that they have a fully equipped bakery? I think, my dear, that professional baking may be in the stars for you. Not many of us would have such an opportunity hurled at our feed. Take it as a sign, and follow your fate.



    2. (maybe I should pack my bags and we can make a go of it together ;)

    3. considering I've just buggered up the last loaf, that might be a plan :) They actually rang me this afternoon and I'm meeting up next week. I did explain that I was at the most a keen amateur but they reckon it would be a great place to learn. I think they just want someone baking bread in the mill - it's been a mill since 1300. They did have a baker who specialised in 6 types of biscuit. He became so popular that he moved to an industrial estate, ended up employing 40 staff and went into liquidation last week. Too big, too fast I guess and in a world recession. They've suggested I take over just a small part of the bakery and possibly expanding once I've built up a customer base........and learnt to bloody bake!

  3. you ever been to lil' old England? It's all mediaeval castles and roman forts where I live. You'd love it :) A free holiday! I can picture you working in a 14th century water mill. I'm not even sure what equipment is there but it's cheap enough to buy second hand. Infact there is a liquidation sale about to happen in the next week or so. As I said it's more geared up to tourists rather than a fully working mill - more educational. Possibly why they're interested in me - apart from my incredible bread making skills.....ahem. I used to work big organic kitchen gardens and glasshouses owned by the aristocracy and regularly gave talks to assembled ranks of UK peerages - Dukes, Duchesses and the to grow an organic carrot lol I've also worked with kids a lot as a wild life ranger in the Outer Hebrides ( never take a group of 40 girl guides on a woodland walk - I was lucky to escape with my life) and wrote the weekly gardening column and presented a radio prog on organic gardening. I have a face for radio. Just need to hone my sour dough bread making skills. Seriously though, if you're feeling adventurous............................

  4. Hi. New reader (and baker) here. This looks terrific, and really tasty. I need to try this! But, not sure I will be successful in finding green garlic where I live. Would you have any thoughts on what (or whether) might make a reasonable substitute? Love the blog, and thanks in advance.

    1. Hm. Try one of my green onion loaves. You can find a formula for it on my Tartine Bread Experiment blog :) Or, there is the roasted garlic bread on this blog which is also fabulous.


  5. Wou, looks fabulous.I would have question related to the basic technique. I would like to rattade the dough in the balk for overnight. Is it possible without turns? Any advice or exoerience how to replace the bulk turns? Thank you!

  6. Hi, it looks great. I would have a general question. How can I make the bulk fermantation overnight without turns? Do you have any experience? Giving a second third shaping would replace the bulk turns? Thank you in advance for your thoughts!

    1. i've never done a bulk overnight fermentation. and i don't think that multiple shapings replace bulk fermentation/turns. that's a whole different process that organizes the gluten strands over the duration of bulk. shaping simply shapes.


Hey. So, I answer all of my comments, but it may take me a few days to get to it. Go ahead and leave a comment or ask a question and I will respond the best I can!