My wife requested an Italian style bread to go with her lasagna for this weekends belated holiday dinner with my family. I couldn’t just make a simple Italian bread of course, so I made a new version of an older formula I posted about early last year. This is loosely based on Peter Reinhart’s Italian bread from BBA where he uses a biga which I replaced with a durum based starter. I also used some freshly milled white hard wheat, freshly milled spelt and rye flours along with KAF French style and Durum.
I used part buttermilk and water similar to my original formula and some olive oil and honey to round it out.
The end result was a nice tasty loaf with a fairly open crumb and nice crisp crust, perfect for mopping up some home made tomato sauce.
Mix all the Levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled. I usually do this the night before.
Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.
Main Dough Procedure
Mix the flours, buttermilk and water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute. Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes. Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), olive oil, and honey and mix on low for 6 minutes. Next remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds. Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold. Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold. After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.
When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove the dough and shape as desired. I made 1 large boule shape. Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature. Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.
Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam. I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf. I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.
Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.
After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 210 degrees.
Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.
This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here: http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/.