A while ago, I tried to make a loaf that resembled one of my favorites, Della Fattoria's Rosemary-Meyer Lemon bread. It turned out pretty well, although it didn't exactly measure up to my memory of the bread. On my last flour run to Central Milling in Petaluma, I decided to make a slight detour and stop at the Della Fattoria bakery to remind myself what it tasted like before I attempted to make it again.
It was a disappointment. My memory was probably clouded, but it was nothing like I remembered it. The crust was soft, the crumb was dense as if it had little oven spring, and the taste was generally flat. It seemed as if they tried to squeeze in just one more bake in their WFO before it cooled too much, but the timing was off. Or maybe, now that I am more happy with my own bread baking, I just like the taste of what I make better. One thing that I learned, though, was that their bread included olive oil, something that I missed the first time.
I decided to make another attempt at a Rosemary-Meyer Lemon bread of my own. I modified the sourdough recipe I have been using lately (already a modification of David's SFSD). Instead of spelt flour, I used 10% rye. The addition of 4% extra virgin olive oil changes the flavor to something reminiscent of a focaccia, but the crumb is more sourdough-like. The results were pretty satisfying.
My standard starter is 100% hydration, wheat only starter. It is fed with Central Milling Artisan Baker's Craft (ABC) flour and is refrigerated between bakes. Before use it is warmed to RT and fed at least twice in 24 hours until very active. For the final build I used about 11.5B-% rye and kept the hydration at 77%. The overall hydration is 67%. Just after scoring I sprinkled some Maldon salt (the flakey kind) into the spreading scores and peeled into the oven.
It has a nice sourdough tang, and the flavors of the rosemary and the lemon are evident but not overpowering. The crust is dark golden and chewy. I tried to avoid a very bold bake by slightly lowering the temperature because it might overwhelm the lemon. The formula for this bread is:
I have become fond of using bran instead of corn meal or semolina on the peel to transfer loaves into the oven after learning about it for Genzano Country Bread in Local Breads by Daniel Leader.
Here are some photos of the crumb. The loaf was very airy and much less dense than it seemed considering the size of bread. The mouth feel was a bit less creamy than I was looking for, and the sourdough tang was too much for the other flavors, so no doubt there will be another iteration.
San Francisco is having a very warm fall this year. After the rains in the early part of the week, it has been warm and sunny. When I went to pick the lemons for the bread, the buzzing of bees was all around, no doubt responding to the wonderful fragrance of the blossoms. I managed to capture one of our fertilizing friends starting the 2013 crop of lemons.
Thanks for reading.