Very, Very Cherry Bread
I have made several variations of breads with cherries with different formulas and flour combinations. While several of them were very good, none of them really tasted exactly like I was craving. I wanted a soft tender crumb with a strong cherry flavor without being overpowering.
Well, I think this time I hit the mark. This version using a cherry flavored Yeast Water levain came out exactly like I had hoped. I kept the flour combination mainly on the light side so the flour would not be underwhelmed by the fresh chopped cherries and the Yeast Water levain along with some cherry balsamic vinegar really combined to make this the perfect bread for breakfast with some cheese or an omelet. I urge you to try this one as I know you won't be disappointed.
I used a three stage building process to make a 100% hydration Yeast Water starter, adding a little durum flour for good measure I the last build. My Yeast Water reacted very kindly to the addition of fresh cherries a few days before making this bread and was nice and bubbly and looked like a red fruit cocktail almost enticing enough to drink.
Levain Directions Build 1
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. (Note: I used my proofer set at 85 degrees).
Levain Directions Build 2
Add all the ingredients listed to the levain from Build 1 and mix well. Let it sit in your proofer or a warm place about 85 degrees for 4-5 hours until the starter is nice and bubbly and has doubled in size.
Levain Directions Build 3
Add the durum flour and remaining Yeast Water to the existing levain and mix well. Let it sit covered in your proofer or at room temperature until it doubles in size. It only took about 4 hours in my proofer.
Main Dough Procedure
Mix the flours, all of the levain 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, olive oil, Cherry Balsamic and mix on low for 4 minutes. Next add the cherries which have been pitted and chopped into medium size and mix on low-speed for another 2 minute to incorporate the cherries evenly. 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. (Note: I used my proofer set at 80 degrees). 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. ( I used my proofer set at 80 degrees F.) Remove the dough and shape as desired. Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel.
I put the dough in my proofer set at 85 degrees F. The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature or it will take 1.5 hours in the proofer. 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. (Note: I didn't refresh the rice flour in one of my bannetons so I ended up sticking a bit and the rectangular dough deflated a little bit due to my stupidity but still had some nice oven spring.)
After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees. Let the bread bake for around 30 to 40 minutes until they are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 200-205 degrees F.
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.
I hope you enjoy some of my wives succulent baskets.