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:
Formula [% of flour]
1. Wheat Levain – refreshed, above
Carrs Special CC Flour
3. Final Dough
Wheat Levain [from 1. above]
Soaker [from 2. above]
Gilchesters Pizza/Ciabatta Flour
% pre-fermented flour
% overall hydration
- 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