The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

occhi di Santa Lucia

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ejm's picture
ejm

I made these loaves for Bread Baking Day #6.

wild bread with rye and sesame seeds © ejm January 2008

When shaping freeform bread, I usually shape it in boules because that's what I know how to do. But there is a request for shaped breads, specifically NOT "batard, boule or baguette" for Bread Baking Day #6.

I took a look through our bread baking cookbooks to find some traditional shapes for bread. Lo and behold, there was that same sideways "S" shape in Pane Sicialano in The Italian Baker by Carol Field.

Considering the difficulties I've been having with our wild starter and bread making lately, there's no way I was going to try that particular recipe again right now!

Then I remembered reading (where WAS it?!) that any bread can be put into any shape. How handy is that?

So I mixed up our wild bread recipe, but this time, added just a little bit of dark rye flour and sprinkled sesame seeds on top of the loaves just after shaping the loaves. I also added a tiny bit (1/16 tsp) of active dry yeast to the bread, because I'm so nervous that our starter isn't strong enough.

I formed one of the loaves into a crescent and one into the sideways 'S' shape Lucia shape sideways 'S', one of the traditional shapes for Lucia bread.

Happily, the occhi shaped dough expanded nicely. I had to assume that the crescent shaped one was risen enough too. Both were rather flat when I put them in the oven. But I was very happy (read "very relieved") that both did get some oven spring and turned out to be relatively presentable.

The results? Delicious!

I'm amazed at how the flavour of the rye comes through. The bread was quite firm in the crust with lots of un-uniform holes. In the somewhat chewy crumb, there was just a hint of sourness.

Here is the recipe I used:

If you would like to participate Bread Baking Day #6

The deadline for BBD#06 is 1 February 2008. For complete details on how to participate, please go to:

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