The Fresh Loaf

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Polenta Pepita Sourdough

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wassisname's picture
wassisname

Polenta Pepita Sourdough

I haven't made this bread in a long time but it is a real treat, and gets devoured as treats tend to do.  The precise formula doesn’t really matter so much with this bread – any light sourdough will do - it is the addition of polenta and pepitas (aka, pumpkin seeds, “polenta pepita” is just more fun to say) that makes the magic.  The combination is featured in Tartine Bread with the addition of rosemary and corn oil but I’ve never tried it that way.  I like the versatility of this herbless version.  A little cranberry sauce on a toasted slice really sings.

 Marcus

  

 

Day One-

Build starter and ferment for 8-10 hours.

Prep the polenta – mix with boiling water and leave to soak 8-10 hours. Use plenty of water, the excess will be discarded before the polenta is added to the dough.

Day Two-

Lightly toast the pepitas if desired.  Allow time to cool before adding them to the dough.

Drain the polenta.

Mix flour, water and polenta.  Autolyse 20 minutes.

Add the starter and salt.  Knead about 2 minutes to incorporate

Stretch and fold about every 15 minutes until the gluten is developed.  Add the pepitas on the second or third round.  I think I did five rounds of S&F, but this varies depending on the flour so I go by the feel of the dough rather than a set number.

Total bulk ferment was about 4 hours at 76⁰F.  Final ferment was about 2 hours.

Bake at 450⁰F for 45 minutes total.  Steam the first 15 minutes.

 

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

looking loaf of light corn bread (not the sweet southern kind) with pumpkin seeds.  It looks terrific and has to be tasty.  Beautiful inside and out!  Semolina would be good in this too?

Happy baking

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks, dabrownman!  I bet semolina would suit this bread nicely, I'll have to make a note of that.  It could probably handle a higher percentage of polenta as well if a reasonably strong bread flour is used.  The flour I have at the moment isn't particularly strong so I tried to go easy all around.

Marcus

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

semolina and it turned out great.

Anna

wassisname's picture
wassisname

That's good to hear, Anna.  My semolina experience is pretty limited, how much did you use and did you have to do much adjusting? 

Marcus

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

Page 198 of The Bread Baker's Apprentice with the pate fermentee page 105. Let me know if you do not have the book. But I doubt, it tastes any better than your beautiful Polenta Pepita :)

anna

wassisname's picture
wassisname

That book is actually one that I don't have, but I did a TFL search and found some good info.  I'm liking this idea more and more!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Oooh... lovely. Would you mind if I featured this on the homepage for a bit?

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks, Floyd, it would be an honor!

Marcus

ananda's picture
ananda

Love the colour of the crust Marcus;

I'd go "herbless" too!

Very best wishes

Andy

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, Andy!  But now I've got to get back to ogling all of your latest Alnwick Farmers' Market offerings.  What a table!

Marcus

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

What a pretty color ! Your ingredients and technique certainly paid of in "gold". c

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, trailrunner!  I do like the way the polenta stands out in the crumb.  It makes for a nice change from the various shades of brown I usually get from the nuts and seeds in my bread.

Marcus

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Hey Marcus.  Nice loaves!  You really hit it perfectly as far as sourdough goes.  Enjoy these for the next few days...or hours :)

John

wassisname's picture
wassisname

They really are going fast, John.  I put some away in the freezer but out it came the very next morning!  Those times when the loaves work out just right sure are nice.  Thanks!

Marcus 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Mike can say that three times in row, fast : )  

What a nice combo for an end of summer, beginning of fall kind of bread.  Lovely crust and crumb and very tasty looking too!  

I couldn't remember what pepita's were and now I know...just bought a container of the tiny pepita's.  

Nicely written up!

Sylvia

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Heh, heh, that is a tough one to say!  Maybe this was my subconscious crying out for fall and the end of the unusually monsoon-ish heat and humidity we've been putting up with lately.  Thanks for the kind words, Sylvia!

Marcus

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Bookmarked.

Truly lovely loaves. That yellow hued crumb, with sparse pumpkin seeds, is simply irresistible. When I have the time, I'll try out your formula. 

Keep up the great bakes!

Zita

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you so much, Zita!  I would love to see your take on it.

Marcus

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful loaves Marcus.  Perfect crumb and crust and I'm sure the taste must be just as good.

Regards

Ian

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks, Ian!  This one has proven to be more popular than most of my breads here at the house.  I'll be coming back to it again soon I think.

Marcus

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

I would have thought I'd looked at every page of the Tartine book but somehow missed this one. Thanks for showing what a great loaf it makes! Looking forward to trying it soon.

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, gmabaking!  Yeah, he kind of sneaks it in there with the variations.  I love the crumb shot that accompanies it.  It's a great variation that could work with all kinds of doughs, definitely worth a try!

Marcus

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Those are truly beauties, Marcus. 

-Khalid

 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, Khalid!

Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

I can't wait to try it!

Just to be sure: polenta is cornmeal and pepitas are sunflower seeds, is that correct?

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks VB!  Polenta is a variety of cornmeal - actually "corn grits" is the other description on the bag (Bob's Red Mill brand).  It is more coarse than regular cornmeal. And pepitas are pumpkin seeds, raw and unsalted.  Enjoy!

Marcus

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Marcus,
Your golden-yellow bread is so pretty.
Bookmarking your post so I remember, the next time I'm soaking seeds, to soak some polenta as well!
Cranberry sauce on toast? Never tried it - our Canadian Thanksgiving is only a month away, and here you are with this gorgeous bread and a good idea for using the extra cranberry sauce (I always make too much!) at holiday time. Thank you!
:^) breadsong

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, breadsong.  The polenta does give a nice, slightly sweet contrast to the seeds - definitely worth a try! 

Don't get me started on cranberry sauce!  It's pretty much a year round thing for me.  I'll just scoop it up with crackers in a pinch, but maybe that's just me :)

Marcus

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

That is some beautiful bread. I'm still full from lunch, but I'm getting hungry looking at those beautiful slices! Cranberry sauce on a toasted slice? Okay, I better get off of here. When I get home, I'm gonna have to slice off some of my recently baked and toast it up, although it won't compare...

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Yes, this site can be cruel like that.  It sends me running to the kitchen all the time.  Thanks, David!

Marcus

hanseata's picture
hanseata

After baking Dan Lepard's Pumpkin Whey Bread I have to try its beautiful "cousin", too. I love pumpkin seeds in bread.

And I agree with you, I prefer versatile breads that are neither too sweet to eat with ham or too savory to eat with jam.

Happy baking,

Karin

 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thank you, Karin.  Now I really do have pumpkin on the brain!  I don't know what it is about pumpkin seeds, but I think they have surpassed even walnuts as my favorite nut/seed for bread.  Speaking of versatility, I used the last few slices of this for French toast... yum.

Marcus

ralphyo's picture
ralphyo

I want to make this recipe - looks very interesting.  I do have two questions for clarification though.  First, wondering what "WW starter" is?  If something special, can I substitute my everyday 70% hydration sourdough starter?  Second is regarding the weight of polenta.  Is the weight given the dry weight of the polenta or the weight to use after soaking?  Thanks.  Results look wonderful!

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks, ralphyo.  The "WW" is for whole wheat since that is the flour I feed my starter.  The amount of whole wheat this adds to the final dough is trivial so your starter will be fine.  Also, I keep my starter at 70%-75% hydration, so that's not an issue either.

The weight given for the polenta is for prepared polenta, not dry.  I realize this is not the norm for a bread formula, but in this case I feel like figuring the dry weight plus a seperate water weight into the formula makes things unneccesarily complicated.  I always make more than I need and throw the extra in my cereal or something.  Good luck!

Marcus

 

ralphyo's picture
ralphyo

thanks Marcus.  just as I thought.  I actually couldn't wait and made as I thought it probably should go.  Turned out great!  my new favorite.

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Glad to hear it worked out for you!

bread basket's picture
bread basket

Hi Markus, your bread is truly beautiful. I made it last week and it turned out great: a light delicate crumb, yet chewy at the end and a beautiful crust. Yesterday I decided to make it again and looked at your formula and realised that I had used 135gr. dry polenta plus the soaking liquid plus but not all the additional water...........lol made for a VERY VERY wet dough! But I managed and the bread came out terrific. Did not get much oven spring though, thought because I did not steam properly. Looking at the posts this morning, I see that my suspicion was right: 135gr soaked polenta, like you said.

I am in the process of making it again and decided to add as much polenta to bring my dough up to 2500gr. I adjust water according to the dough. I will bake this one in bread pans since people here like square bread :) I will post some pics when done. Thanks again for this formula.

Barbara

PS the dough feels already good after 2 S&F. very soft but not as wet as my first one.

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks, Barbara.  Sorry for the confusion on the polenta.  I'm glad the bread still came out OK! I know it's not the usual way to put a formula together, but it seemed simpler in this case, especially if you feel like using a bit more or less polenta.  I confess that I always have to look at it twice to make sure I'm following my own directions correctly. 

It sounds like all the extra polenta turned out to be a happy accident, though!  I'll have to try that next time.  I look forward to seeing your panned version!

Marcus

bread basket's picture
bread basket

My panned polenta bread without pepitas. I have not yet made out the formula but the SOAKED polenta is around 45%. I use as initial starter my rye starter. The dough rose very quickly. I did 2 S&F , bulk fermentation was short of 3 hours. I don't know anymore the time of the final fermentation, I think about 1.5 hours. The bread came out square :) and soft: my hubby loves it :)!

Here a pic of my 1. loaf made according to Markus formula (135gr dry polenta soaked). a very very wet dough but I loved the crumb and the crust (raised in a basket).

This is my kind of bread! Crumb very delicate, crust very crunchy.

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Both versions look terrific!  I'd say you handled the wet, wet dough just right - love that crumb.

I envy your panned loaf!  I don't know why, but my panned loaves usually end either in disappointment or flat out disaster.  I may have to get back on the horse one of these days and give this dough a try.  My daughter likes her breads soft, too.  I bet she would love a panned version of this!

Thanks for sharing your loaves, bread basket!

Marcus

meirp's picture
meirp

I more or less followed your recipe. I had to under-compensate on the water due to the extra water from the soaked polenta, but I managed using the feel of the dough. The result was excellent - one loaf was swallowed by a family of 5 within a few hours- :-)

The rise was pretty good, considering the extra corn-meal - less than a regular wheat bread - but the added crunchy corn texture more than makes up for it.

I'll be adding this one to my regulars. Thanks for posting it!

Meir

 

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Your loaf looks great, Meir!  And apologies for the delayed response, winter craziness has begun here.

I'm glad your family enjoyed it... and quickly!  It is an easy flavor combo to like - certainly one of my favorites.

It is a good lesson in "feel" for me too.  Even after repeated bakes I've found that the polenta doesn't always hydrate exactly the way I expect.  Or maybe that's just me.

Marcus

edtayl's picture
edtayl

What a beautiful loaf Marcus! I'm trying this one myself today. I too have some polenta-related confusion. Here in the UK there are 2 types of polenta widely available, an instant version (common) and a "proper" polenta (takes hours to cook). I assumed perhaps wrongly that we are to use the instant version. So i soaked 153g of my regular supermarket instant polenta, but then (as other posters state) I realised that you only need 153g soaked (wet) quantity. Given that instant polenta is usually cooked at a 1>4 parts ratio of water, I guess maybe you would put roughly 30g of dry polenta in a bowl and cover with approx 120g boiling water? Does that sound about right? Also in terms of draining, the resulting mush after 10 hours of soaking is not really that drainable. So I'm just going in with 153g of the soupy starchy soaked polenta I have and allowing it to up the hydration a little (which might be no bad thing). I'd love to see you update the polenta part of the instructions sometime with some more info to cover my beginner-level questions, cos I love sourdough, I love pumpkin seeds & I love polenta!!!! Thank you!

Edward

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Interesting polenta dilemma… I have only ever seen/used one type of polenta but here are my thoughts anyway.

According to the package, the polenta I use calls for 1 cup polenta to 3 cups water, which works out to about 1:5 by weight, and a cooking time of about 5 minutes with a 5 minute rest. This sounds closer to the instant you have, though I am intrigued by the “proper” variety. When cooked (I just made a test pot) it soaks up all of the liquid and when cool makes a fairly stiff porridge. You could prepare it this way and not by soaking, in which case the effect on the final dough hydration would be minimal. There will be some evaporation so I would advise making more than you need and then snacking on the rest (polenta topped with pumpkin seeds and honey is very tasty and will whet your appetite for the bread to come!). If you do cook it I recommend using it soon after it has cooled to avoid clumps, more on that below.

I chose overnight soaking, rather than cooking, partly for convenience – this way it was ready to go in the morning when I put the dough together and didn’t need to be cooled. I also wanted to retain as much texture as possible and felt that softening by soaking would be gentler than full cooking. In retrospect, I don’t really think there is all that much difference.

If you do soak overnight I would recommend more water than the package instructions call for because if the polenta soaks up all of the water overnight it can turn into one big polenta clod and it will be difficult to mix into the dough without leaving clumps. I learned this the hard way just recently. If the polenta is getting too soupy/starchy you might try using cold water in the soaker instead of boiling. It may take some tinkering to find the method that works best for you and the particular polenta you are using.

Well, that’s more than I ever thought I would have to say about polenta. Hope that helps, and happy baking!

Marcus