>> Friday, April 24, 2009
Look at the silly title. Maybe to call the post "all-round kitchen leftovers bread" or even "crisis bread", because of using up leftovers, would have been more accurate.
The shapeless thing is because it hardly has any shape, you can see it in the picture. I didn't feel like deflating the fermented dough very much, so I just folded it like a ciabatta, but without much interest. I had a lazy day. Another one. The leftover thing comes from using a mix of a white spelt leftover from a 5 kg sack, mixed with semi-whole rye and spelt, Dutch sourdough and last but not least, some Viña Mayor red wine which had been standing in my fridge for ages. It's not that I don't like wine, but it lately doesn't seem to agree with me and my partner-in-crime prefers beer... damn him. Mr. Lepard, the king of leftovers usage, would be very proud of me.
And... I told myself I could bake half the bread in the artifact that's shown in the picture, just to pass the time. The German name is "Römertopf", the same as the trademark. The meaning is "roman pot", quite nice. As far as I've read it's quite common in Germany. My mother got it as a gift thousands of years ago. She didn't find it interesting to use, so she passed it to me. She knows I love kitchen gear. So far I have used it mostly for roasting chickens. The result is delicious, they get a perfect browned and crispy skin, in spite of the lid, and you get plenty of sauce.
As in any clay pot the heat is well distributed and being that you must soak it in water for 10 minutes before putting it in the oven, all these moisture is supposed to be released inside the pot to keep the food tender and juicy.
Therefore, on a beautiful and warm April night I got down to work... ahem. I'm giving the formula but I don't know what for, it makes no sense:
Leftovers sourdough bread with wine
I put everything into my stand mixer (my precioussssss), except the salt, and I mixed it just to blend. I left it to stand for some 10 minutes and then I added the salt. After some brief shakes I left it in an oiled bowl, well covered with a night cap, to proof overnight in the fridge. By the way, after the advice of Nils the Great, I added the wine cold from the fridge.
The next day I took it out of the fridge and left it to temper at around 9 AM. Then I left it ferment for 5 hours, till 2 PM, with an intermediate folding exactly like a love letter. I never get these kind of dough, with spelt and rye, to grow much, so I never quite know when to stop the fermentation. I divided the dough in two parts and folded them like ciabattas, more or less, trying to deflate them as little as possible, and left them standing for another hour. Then to the oven for 45 minutes, previously heated up to 250 ºC. I put then one in the Römertopf (which had been lying in the oven after soaking) and the other one on the tiles in my oven. The latter got 4 water sprays along the first 10 minutes baking. The result is plain to be seen: The loaf in the pot looks wonderful, it's ripped in the middle without any score and has a white floured surface. And I can tell you I got my glasses all misted up when I opened the pot because of the amount of steam inside. The load outside the pot was a lot uglier, too toasted on some sides, and the flour on the surface is not apparent because of the water spraying, I guess. Also the loaf opened down under, uneducated behaviour, what an ill-mannered loaf.
And... the bread is delicious, with a more airy crumb than ever before, I guess because of the added gluten, I don't know. The crust is perfect for me, neither too soft nor too hard, crispy, crispy... mmmm so thrilling. I've already had two slices and I only regret that I've run out of butter, damn damn damn. It has the sour flavour of sourdough, but I hardly notice the taste of wine, it's not even evident in the color. My fear to add too much wine was pointless. Next time I will soak the bread in wine... hics.