Baking, Savory

Rustic Bread

[info]prosewitch has me thinking about rustic bread. She mentioned something about a sourdough ciabatta-like loaf that she put together the other day, and I suppose that it just sort of put me in that kind of mood.
So I got out my sourdough starter, threw in a tiny bit of rye, and this is what came out: home made pane rustico. The crumb isn’t quite as open as I would like. It isn’t like those ciabattas that you see with great gigantic holes. But it’s not bad in that regard, and as far as taste goes, it’s a real winner. It’s not too salty or sour or sweet. It tastes a little bit like rye but not too much. Overall, it’s just right.

For the pre-ferment:

200g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
100g water
50g white flour
50g rye flour

In a mixing bowl, combine all of these ingredients and leave out on the counter, covered, for 24 hours.

The Dough:

30g Vital Wheat Gluten flour
220g White Flour
160g Water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt

Add all but 40 grams of the water to your preferment, and using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture for about three minutes in order to thoroughly aerate (this is a neat method devised for home bakers by Steve Brandt at Bread Cetera). Add all of the flour, and switching to the dough hook, mix until you have a nice ball of dough. Knead for about 2 minutes, then add the remainder of the water, and knead for about 5 more minutes.

Allow the dough to rest for 15-20 minutes, and then mix in the salt and olive oil, and knead at medium speed for 6 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, but stick at the bottom.

Ball the dough and transfer to an oiled bowl, allowing it to rise for 4-6 hours, or until it has tripled. Set the oven to 500F. Then turn the dough out onto a floured bread board, and handling it as little as possible, fold it over a couple of times into an oblong shape. Transfer to a floured pizza paddle, and allow to proof for about an hour.

Use your favorite method to get the oven nice and steamy, and then slide your dough onto your pizza stone. Turn the oven down to 450, and allow it to cook for 30-35 minutes.

The results are what you see above. Remember to let the bread cool before you cut into it.