One of my favorite breads is my Sourdough Date Bread which was inspired by my good friend Khalid. Since I recently picked up some fresh dates from the supermarket the other day I figured it was time to try it again but with some slight modifications.
I didn’t buy enough dates so I had to reduce the amount used slightly which didn’t seem to make that much of a difference. I also used a higher percentage of French Style flour which I recently purchased from KAF. I really love working with this flour so I wanted to use a higher amount than before while also removing the Spelt and Durum flour but keeping the freshly ground whole wheat.
The final change was to add some chocolate raspberry balsamic vinegar to bump up the flavors a little. I thought this would add a little more sweetness to the bread and compliment the dates well.
The final bread came out excellent with a nice dark crust from the sugars in the dates and wonderful sweet and tangy flavor which goes well with just about anything. The crumb was nice and moist as well.
Please note: the dates are simmered in part of the water used for the main dough and instead of chopping them up I just mushed them a little in the bowl which worked out fine.
Download BreadStorm .bun file here.
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 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 205 degrees. (Note: since I made one large bread I needed to lower the oven further to 425 F. for about half of the baking time to prevent the crust from burning).
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/.