Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pane Nero: Rye Bread from Bolzano

Ever get a craving for a certain kind of sandwich, say, because the eggman inexplicably left two flats of eggs at your doorstep instead of the usual one? Yep, egg salad it is. Just in time too, I had a craving. But to have a simple egg salad sandwich, you have to have the right bread. I like a light rye, a bit of bite and attitude, without overwhelming the filling.

This recipe starts with a sponge, a pre-ferment that gets all nice and yeasty and excited while you go on with other tasks, like sleeping and trying to figure out what to do with sixty eggs.

Easy to put together, this pane nero is the perfect vehicle for my egg salad sandwich. Hey, between that and the omelettes yesterday, that's half a flat down!
bbd #37 - Bread made with sponge or pre-ferment hosted by Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen
Pane Nero
Rye Bread from Bolzano
adapted from Carol Field, The Italian Baker
You can taste a strong German influence in the dark rye of Bolzano, just as the city, tight against the high Alps near the border of the country, is still at least as Middle European as it is Italian. Street signs and shop names are in both German and Italian, and the alpine look of the architecture is a continual reminder that the city was part of the south Tirol of Austria before World War 1. Rye thrives in these cold northern regions where wheat cannot grow. This bread is traditionally flavoured with caraway seeds and put to rise in bannetons. 
Rye breads are always made with some wheat flour so that they will rise nicely, for there isn't much gluten in rye flour to hold the bubbles of fermenting gasses. Because rye always makes sticky doughs, be prepared with your dough scraper at hand.
Makes 2 loaves

Sponge
4¼ tsp active dry yeast or 30 grams fresh
1½ cups warm water
2 cups plus 2 tsp (250 grams) rye flour
Stir the yeast into the water in your stand mixer bowl. Let stand 10 minutes until lively. Stir in flour until completely incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 3 hours or up to overnight. The longer it ferments, the stronger the taste will be.

Dough
1 cup water, room temperature
1 Tbsp malt syrup
2 cups plus 2 tsp (250 grams) rye flour
3¾ cups (500 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp slat
2½ tsp caraway seeds
Mix all the ingredients, including the sponge, in a stand mixer on low until fully incorporated. Mix on medium for 3 minutes and then move to a lightly floured board to finish kneading. Shape into a boule and let rise, covered, until doubled in shape - 1½-2½ hours.
Divide in two and shape into oval loaves, roll in cornmeal lightly and let rise, covered, until doubled - about 1½ hours.
Preheat oven with baking stone to 425°F.
Slash loaves with a lame.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Cool on racks.

This bread has been Yeastspotted!
Bread Baking Day #37 - Bread made with sponge or pre-ferment (last day of submission March 1st, 2011)