Friday, 15 July 2011

Patience is... delicious.

When travelling through Niagara region, we love to stop at one of our favourite cheese places - Upper Canada Cheese Company. They make beautiful cheeses and have a gourmet shop attached. Yeah, it's pricey, but we don't go there everyday. Last time we went we got some Comfort Cream and Cottage Gold, and since we were already going nuts with the budget, I treated us to an eight dollar loaf of artisanal bread.

Crazy right? Generally I bake all of our bread but we were on the road and I wasn't going to put my gourmet cheese on cheap grocery store "artisan bread". Besides, I wanted to see what this hand-crafted bread was like and how mine stood up.

It was an olive levain. It was delicious. I knew there and then that I still had a ways to go in my breaducation.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I made this one. It is damned close. I am happy. Scratch that, I am overjoyed. I also have put away close to a loaf in not too many hours. I'm pretty sure I am half made out of bread. The rest is evenly divided into cheese, wine, and ice cream. I'm okay with that.

The secret to the success of this bread is in the long, slow, ferment. You start with your sourdough culture, you build it up. The next day you make the dough and form the loaves. Then you let the loaves rest another day before baking, for a total of three days. Then you eat it all in ecstatic abandon. It's worth it. It's totally worth it.

Olive Levain
adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread
for the Mellow Bakers

The first night:

Levain build
Bread flour - 5.8 oz
Water - 7.2 oz
Mature sourdough culture - 1.2 oz

Combine these ingredients well in a small/med bowl. Cover with plastic and let sit out overnight to brew. (12-16 hours)

Kalamata olives would stand out more. Use what you like.
The next day:

Final dough
Bread flour - 1 lb, 7 oz
Whole-wheat flour - 3.2 oz
Water - 13 oz
Salt - 0.5 oz
Instant dry yeast - 1 tsp
Levain - all
Olives (pitted) - 8 oz (I used a jar of stuffed Manzillas)

Add all of the ingredients, except olives, into your stand mixer bowl. Mix on low 3 minutes to combine. Add olives. Mix on low 3 more minutes to combine. Adjust hydration as necessary. (flour & water)

Turn out onto lightly floured board and form into a nice ball. Let rise, covered, on the counter for 1¼ hours. Fold in onto itself and let rise for another 1¼ hours.

Form into 2 loaves. Retard loaves in fridge for 24 hours. (I used my Chicago Metallic French loaf form, lined with parchment, to keep the shape)

The third day:

Preheat oven to 440°F, with baking stone.
Slash and bake from fridge for 40-45 minutes.
Let cool on wire racks.

This bread has been Yeastspotted!