The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mixed-leavens, Polenta and Pumpkin Seeds

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wassisname's picture
wassisname

Mixed-leavens, Polenta and Pumpkin Seeds

I don’t usually get much time to bake during the holidays, but when I was asked to bake some bread to go with Christmas dinner how could I possibly refuse?  This was the perfect opportunity to try Andy’s mixed leaven formula.  It’s the sort of bread that will go with just about anything and the overnight  bulk ferment suited my schedule perfectly.  The only major change I made was to bulk ferment in a 60°F part of the house rather than in the refrigerator to accommodate my seasonally sluggish starter.

I scaled the formula to make four kilos of dough for four loaves.  That is definitely the limit for my largest mixing bowl.  Though twice the size of my usual batch of dough it was a really nice amount to knead by hand. 

In search of that beautiful, even crumb Andy’s loaves have I gave the dough a long, gentle knead.  I may have overdone it a bit as the crumb came out tighter than I was expecting, but the texture was wonderfully soft and springy.  No complaints there!  The flavor was excellent.  The bread kept very well.  I’ll be baking this one again!

Just to keep things interesting I added polenta and toasted pumpkin seeds to two of the loaves at the end of kneading.  I have come to love this combination – highly recommended.

Marcus

Comments

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Looking good Marcus,

I love the crust colour you get when using the two leavens ... the polenta and sunflower would be a great combination.

Hope you had a great Christmas ... best wishes for the new year.

Cheers,
Phil 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks Phil.  The mixed-leaven approach opens up a lot of possibilities, even with the same formula.  Can't wait to experiment some more!

Marc

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Going by the pics, the sort you can't wait to tear into. Great bake to start the year!

Cheers
Ross

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you Ross.  I'm glad I made four loaves because it really didn't last long!

Marcus

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

They look delicious.  The crumb is very inviting.  

Happy New Years Day!

Sylvia 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, Sylvia!

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Marcus,
Those breads look like they are bursting with flavor, with the burnished color of the crust and the addition of polenta and pumpkin seeds. Yum.
:^) from breadsong

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, breadsong, this method really creates great flavor, especially with the overnight ferment.  With extra goodies thrown in it's just... well, you hit the nail on the head - Yum!

Marcus

lumos's picture
lumos

Happy 2012, Marcus!

Beautiful loaves.  Especially like the lovely crumb of pumpkin seeded one.  Must've tasted good, too.  Did you add some extra water for those two loaves with added polenta?

 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, lumos!  The polenta/pumpkin loaf did pick-up some extra water from the polenta, which helped the crumb a bit, I think.  I mixed the polenta with boiling water and let it soak for 8 hrs or so and drained off the extra water before adding it to the dough.  Mixing it in at the end of the knead was a bit of a chore, but well worth it!

Marcus

lumos's picture
lumos

8 hr soaking is a great tip. Thanks!

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Polenta, and Pampkin seeds...hmmmm sounds very tasty, Marcus!

Beautiful Loaves, all of them.

Happy New year!

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks Khalid!  I can't recommend that combination enough, and it works in all kinds of doughs.   Happy New Year!

Marcus

varda's picture
varda

It's worth it for the alliteration alone.   The loaves look great and the crumb is terrific with such a cool color.   -Varda

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks Varda!  If I called it polenta & pumpkin seed pain au levain would that be too much?  Maybe a little. :)

Marcus

Syd's picture
Syd

That's great looking bread, Marcus. 

Best,

Syd

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you so much, Syd!

Marcus

Franko's picture
Franko

MmmMmm!

Very nice looking loaves Marcus. Polenta is an addition I've used several times myself and have always enjoyed the extra flavour it brings, but as well for how it can soften the crumb and give it a bit more moisture. Pairing it with toasted pumpkin seeds is a brilliant choice. Looking forward to more of your exceptional baking in the New Year.

All the best,

Franko 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks Franko!  The polenta is more subtle than most additions (nothing subtle about the pumpkin seeds, though!) but as you say, it really adds something to the bread. 

Marcus

hanseata's picture
hanseata

This bread from Andy's blog is on my to-do list, too. I like your polenta and pumkin seed addition - can you specify the amounts, Marcus? I understand you used corn grits = polenta grind. Or did you cook it first?

Great looking loaves,

Karin

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you Karin, this is definitely one to try.  As for the amounts, I wasn't super-precise on this bake but 10%-12% of the flour weight is a good place to start with the pumpkin seeds, and 12%-15% for the polenta (that's prepared weight, not dry weight).   I didn't include the polenta as part of the flour weight because it brings its own water and I was too lazy to do the math, just don't start with a really wet dough and you should be OK.   The polenta was prepared by mixing it with boiling water and letting it soak for about 8 hrs, longer would probably be even better.  I haven't tried really cooking it because I'm afraid I would lose some of the texture.  I used Bob's Red Mill Corn Grits aka Polenta (very coarse) and the finished weight was about double the dry weight... more or less.   I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Marcus