This is my second and third attempts at making this bread. I really love the sweetness the dates impart to this bread so I’ve been meaning to make it again for a while. Version 2 I made last week and I rushed the dough into the oven and it was definitely under-proofed. It had some nice fissures and the crumb was much tighter than it should have been. It still tasted good but I had to make it again the right way.
The third time it came out much better and was worth making it again.
I changed some of the flour from the first bake and used Durum instead of Einkorn Wheat and also added some Spelt.
If you can try to bake this one, I highly recommend it. The dates add a wonderful sweetness to the bread and create a dark crust. This a perfect bread with cheese or great for a steak sandwich.
I used a 2 step build for the starter mixing Durum flour with a Hard White Whole Wheat.
I’m still learning the BreadStorm program and I broke out the water and flour in the seed starter separately. Hopefully it calculated it correctly.
The dates are simmered in part of the water used for the main dough and instead of chopping them up like I did last time, I just mushed them a little in the bowl which worked out fine.
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 used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.
Mix the flour and water with all of the levain from step 1 and let it sit at room temperature again until it is doubled. At this point you can either use it right away or put it in the refrigerator and use it the next 1 to 2 days.
Make sure there are no pits in the dates and do not trust the package like I did which claimed they were pitted dates. Simmer the dates in 226 grams of water until they are soft. After you remove them from the heat, add 100 grams of cold water and let the dates sit until they come back down to room temperature.
Main Dough Procedure
Mix the flours with the remainder of the water for about 1 minute. Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour. Next add the dates, butter and salt and mix on low for 2 minutes and speed #2 for another 2 minutes or by hand for about 6 minutes. You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable. 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. (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).
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 Miche for this bake.
The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it’s size at most. 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 500 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 205 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.