The Fresh Loaf

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Pane Nero di Castelvetrano in the Wood-fired Oven

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ananda's picture
ananda

Pane Nero di Castelvetrano in the Wood-fired Oven

Pane Nero di Castelvetrano in the Wood-fired Oven

I still have some of the unique wholegrain durum flour which Giuseppe kindly brought back from Sicily for me back in late July.   The bread is known as “Black Bread” [Pane Nero] on account of it being baked in traditional brick ovens fired using tinder-dry olive wood.   The first time I baked this bread, I blew my electric oven up; the second time I made one good loaf and totally burnt the top of the second loaf, and smoked the house out.   I still haven’t got the hang of the top heat in my SMEG oven.   The grill setting is the only aspect of this oven which is not impressive.   Meantime, my wood-fired oven has been re-vamped and is now in great working order.   So, I returned to this very traditional bread, with our holiday to Sicily now just 3 weeks away….woo hoo!!

I increased the Tumminia flour to 30%, but dropped the small element of rye sour.   I also decided to use only Gilchesters’ flour in the final dough, rather than mixing it with strong industrial white flour, meaning 40% of the total flour; organic and untampered traditional Sativa wheat milled to very fine flour which is ambitiously marketed as “Pizza/Ciabatta Flour”!!   This means that 70% of the flour in the grist can reasonably be described as weak.   Thus, I reverted to using only a wheat leaven to raise the dough, made with Carrs Special CC, an excellent quality Strong White Flour, for the remaining 30% of flour in the formula.

 

I began with 80g of levain from stock and built it over 24 hours with 2 refreshments to end up with almost 1500g.   Formula and recipe details shown below:

 

Material

Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1. Wheat Levain – refreshed, above

 

 

Carrs Special CC Flour

30

900

Water

18

540

TOTAL

48

1440

 

 

 

2. Soaker

 

 

Tumminia Flour

30

900

Salt

1.8

54

Water

50

1500

TOTAL

81.8

2454

 

 

 

3. Final Dough

 

 

Wheat Levain [from 1. above]

48

1440

Soaker [from 2. above]

81.8

2454

Gilchesters Pizza/Ciabatta Flour

40

1200

TOTAL

169.8

5094

 

 

 

% pre-fermented flour

30

-

% overall hydration

68

-

FACTOR

30

-

 

Method:

  • Prepare the leaven with the final refreshment and make the soaker.
  • Add the white flour to the soaker first of all to form an undeveloped dough.   Mix the levain into this and develop this gently for 10 minutes.    Rest for 5 minutes, then mix a further 10 minutes.   An electric dough mixer would be a bonus, but I’m mixing by hand still!
  • Bulk proof for 2½ hours with a stretch and fold after 1 and 2 hours.
  • Scale and divide.   I made 1 loaf @ 600g, 2 @ 750g and 2 just short of 1500g.   Mould each dough piece round, and place upside down in prepared bannetons.
  • Final proof, covered, for 2½ hours.
  • Tip out each loaf onto the peel, score the top and mist with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake in a HOT wood-fired oven.
  • Cool on wires

 

One of the large loaves tipped right over in the oven, so it baked upside down.   The smaller loaves baked 40 minutes and the large loaves took one hour.

Very tasty loaves, rustic and traditional!   There is the sweetness which Nico mentions coming from the Tumminia, giving perfect balance to the use of the leaven.   The bake from the hot oven yields full flavour in the crust.

Photographs are attached below.

 

I have a busy few weeks’ ahead, and expect some enjoyable times.   Alison’s sister, Mandy is arriving today from New Zealand with her husband and young son today for a fortnight’s visit.   They have come primarily to celebrate the 80th Birthdays of Alison’s father and step-mother…next weekend at a big gathering of friends and family.   We have a family escape the following weekend at a country house hotel before Mandy flies back to New Zealand.   After that we fly to Sicily for a week’s holiday the following weekend!

However, I need to make some more rye bread, so may get chance to post again next weekend.

All good wishes

Andy

Comments

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Andy, I can almost hear them crackling over here.

That crust is truly mouthwatering.

I followed your recent posts with great pleasure.

Have a good family-time,

Juergen

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Juergen,

Lovely to hear from you and thank you for your generous words.

I took one of the loaves for us all to enjoy with dips and salad yesterday afternoon at the old Coach House where Mandy and family are staying.   The bread knife we had was hopeless, so it was a bit of a struggle to cut cleanly.   I just about managed

All good wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

of your five loaves baking in the oven.   I'm glad to see that you were able to use your WFO for this bread as apparently that is how it should be baked.   Your visiting family will think it is worth the trip just to sample some of that bread, it looks so good.   And then perhaps you will be able to see what the Sicilian bakers make of the Tumminia flour.   -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

I'm really pleased to be able to capture the oven in use Varda.   I just wish my photography skills could do more justice to the end result.

I am so looking forward to uncovering the traditional breads of the NW corner of Sicily.   From what Giuseppe said of his time in the more commercial East of the island, the trend is very much towards fluffy white nonsense.   I really hope to find "the real thing".

Thank you, as ever for your kind words.

Very best wishes

Andy

Salilah's picture
Salilah

Really lovely - and good for you for mixing / kneading by hand for 5kg of dough! (aargh)

Hope you have a lovely holiday - we went to Lake Como for a week, and the bread was dreadful, all very very white, little rolls with a nice pattern but no flavour at all, yuck...

Look forward to seeing the photos from the holiday (the bread ones, obviously!)

cheers
S

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Sali,

I probably told you this during the TFL bread course in Newcastle:

When we ran the Red Herring bakery all the dough was mixed using a combination of machine to form the dough, the 15-20 minutes by hand on the bench.   We used Little Salkeld Watermill flour exclusively.   The dough mixer held 15kg of dough.   we did one mix, then another straightaway afterwards.   then we put the 2 mixes together to develop on the bench....6 times what I did here.

For all that, to me the hardest part is combining the ingredients in the first place.   Developing the dough is easy if you get the first bits right!

Thank you for all your kind words

Very best wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy,

I've been looking forward to seeing the WFO fired Pane Nero since you mentioned it last week. It looks marvelous, though the crust colour is lighter than I would have thought with having baked it in the WFO. Perhaps it's lighting effects since in some of the photos it appears quite dark and others it doesn't. Neither here nor there as it's a terrific looking loaf just the way it is, from the splintering crust to the feathery looking open crumb .  A whoo hoo worthy loaf for sure! I meant to ask you last time, what you do as far steam for the oven, if anything?

Sounds like you have some enjoyable and relaxing days ahead to forward to before having to hunker down for the winter.

Wishing you the best,

Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,

Yes indeed, I am very pleased with the quality of both crust and crumb, and the influence of the brick oven is only positive, as you would expect.

They should indeed be darker.   However, if I made them true to style, I don't think my audience would be so keen to eat them....especially Alison!

The photos are indeed deceptive.   The large loaf, which is the one I sliced into for the crumb shots, and is seen back right in the oven shot, is actually pretty dark.   It went in the oven first and baked a full hour too.   It weighs best part of 1.5kg!   The smaller loaves are not so dark, but more intentionally really.

I did get held up from setting the loaves as my activities are generating local interest.   Neighbours are now turning up to investigate what's going on....and try to scrounge a loaf off me too!   Given the guy supplies firewood, we came to a favourable arrangement on that one....barter!

Hunker down?   We're not big fans of winter really; and it has been so bad here for the last 2 years too.

Lovely to hear from you

Very best wishes

Andy

wally's picture
wally

Nice looking loaves, Andy. I love the crumb you've achieved.

Happy wfo baking for the family visit!

Larry

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Larry,

It is always so good to hear from you

All good wishes

Andy

Syd's picture
Syd

Beautiful baking, as always, Andy.  Wish you a most enjoyable holiday.

All the best,

Syd

ananda's picture
ananda

for your very kind words Syd

All good wishes

Andy

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Really nice bake there Andy

The great contrast colour of the crust colour and almost roasted sesame seeds and the quite white looking  open texture of the crumb is quite dramatic,  i can see you are loving the WFO. So was the roll over peel handling error or dough sticking the problem?

Good luck on your holidays are you breaking new ground or have you been there before, perhaps you will be visiting NZ before to long Perth makes a great stopover, we speak english and the natives are friendly! 

regards Yozza

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Yozza,

Yes, my peel isn't weighty enough to support a full-sized miche style loaf, and so it rolled off the end as I reached toward the back of the oven!!!   I confess!

The crumb is surprisingly light given that 30% of the flour is wholegrain durum.   Whilst it is finely ground, the Gilchesters can hardly be described as white flour, either!   I'm really glad you picked up these contrasts, as they are certainly visible my end.   I wasn't sure it had come through on the photos.   I took most of them outside, which is always a bonus; but I'm no David Bailey, that's for sure!!!

Only problem with visiting the Antipodean is that it would have to be in your winter time.   I know the weather is better than the UK [that's not saying much!], but when we go away in July and August, we really like to go where it's hot.   This is a very unusual year for us on the holiday front.

Thank you for your wize and generous words

Very best wishes

Andy

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi  Andy here is 3 peels that i made  using ply wood from the carpentry and joinery boys next door.

I had to bring them back from the WFO  as some of the dozy students were using the one that has burn marks on it to shovel out burning embers!!! I had a purpose built raking tool alongside the oven but they didnt use that!

 

Another really useful tool is the peel rest that  you place the peel handle on whilst loading the peel especially usefull if you have 18 dough pieces to slide into the oven,  I made that from a cut down coat and hat stand, a T shape with a little turn up at the ends so the handle doesn't fall off. I will have to find the pictures and add them later.

I found them so have now  added them,  the 2 tools are  at the side of the oven you will notice the peel rest is the same height as the hearth and if you are loading on your own and want to get them in quick it is in valuable especially when you have to remember first in last out, plus if you get them all in quick and get the door closed all the moisture is captured aiding the lift with a full oven. 

regards Yozza

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Derek, I so wish I had carpentry expertise and other such useful skills.

Alas, I am definitely not a "handyman"

I have long since accepted this major shortcoming!

Best wishes

Andy

yozzause's picture
yozzause

The advantages of working at a college with mixed trades

ananda's picture
ananda

Hairdressers and Beauty Therapists are the other dominant forces at the College in Leeds!!!

Take care Derek

Andy

yozzause's picture
yozzause

WE have them too , and other than the occasional beard trim for an assesssment not of a great deal of use to me, being of little hair and even less beauty

ananda's picture
ananda

Particularly for Franko, this one.   Apologies, I forgot to respond to this question.

Using steam in the oven requires quite a bit of care.   I found myself in quite a hurry to prepare the oven, as the loaves were ready to bake and I still had a lot of embers burning down.

I did manage to clean the oven reasonably well, but not perfectly.   Hence the use of foil; although this isn't really ideal and I have been pointed to better alternatives by lumos and Sylvia...thanks again, both.

The trouble with adding hot water for steam tends to mean it catches all the dust which can then contaminate the loaves.

So, I need to ensure the oven is scuffled properly.   Actually, what I really need is a larger raking tool which allows me to pull the ash from the fire properly.   Then scuffling will be much easier.

Regards steam, I have been wrapping a wet tea towel over the back of the oven door to wedge it in place.   After 5 minutes I have soaked the towel a second time.   This is quite a good "stop-gap" measure.

However, my brother has some good ideas on steam sources and I hope we can pursue these shortly.   I'll report back on this in future posts.

Best wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Andy!

Now I recall you mentioning the towel draped over the door technique from a previous post. It sounds like a tricky problem to solve steam v dust, and I'll be interested to hear what sort of solution you and your brother come up with. This is all going in my notes for when I eventually build my own WFO.

Best Wishes,

Franko

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I can't believe I almost missed your gorgeous post..it's been in and out all month it seems.  

Your breads are gorgeous and I can taste the flavor of the bread from the deep wfo oven bake into the crusty loaves...Oh my, no wonder the neighbors are out and about your baking : )

 Your not the only one that's flipped a loaf over in the oven..if I understand that right : )  my round new pizza paddle has helped there, I warped my old one by sticking it in a bucket of water to cool it down.

Your planned trip and family sounds fantastic....I have a 'Mandy' too!  Have a wonderful time.

Well, I'm being rushed out the door again..your wfo oven breads, make me want to have some time to bake.

Sylvia

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Sylvia,
I only posted this on Sunday afternoon, so it's not even been up 2 days yet; that's not late to the party!

Welcome along, anyway, it's always good to catch your appreciative comments

Very best wishes
Andy

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Andy, another excellent bread! I'm happy to know that the Timilia is finally delivering its promises. Your post confirms me that with 30% very strong flour it's possible to obtain a regular and open crumb when mixed with other weak flours, a proportion that  I often missed.

Sicily is a nice place to collect good stuff for the future :-)

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Nico,

Many thanks for your comments.

This time round, I got to thinking that it must be possible to use more weak flour in this formula, given that I'd made a Gilchesters loaf with 73% weak local flour.

We have discussed and agreed on the important contribution made by strong flour in a stiff levain.   That seems to be the basic premise of both these breads; the Pane Nero and the Gilchester Miche

Very good to hear from you...and I am reminded to make more rye bread, having arrived home from Leeds with a new bag of Bacheldre Dark Rye!

Very best wishes

Andy