Italian-San Joaquin Sourdough
Yesterday, I made Chicken Cacciatore for tonight, when my sisters would be at our house for dinner. It seemed to me I should be serving some sort of Italian bread with this dinner. I didn't really feel like tackling a brand new recipe, although there are a number of Italian breads on my “to bake” list. I thought about the sourdough version of Reinhart's Italian bread from BBA which I have made many times and enjoyed. However, once the idea of formulating an “Italian version” of my San Joaquin Sourdough occurred to me, I knew that's what I was going to make.
I was delighted with the result, although I don't know that anyone more knowledgable than I regarding Italian breads would recognize it as in any way “Italian.”
Fine durum flour
Diastatic malt powder
Active Liquid levain
In a large bowl, disperse the levain in the water.
Add the flours, sugar and malt to the liquid and mix to a shaggy mass.
Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20-60 minutes.
Add the salt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. (Note: I squish the dough with my hands until it comes back together, then do stretch and folds in the bowl until it forms a smooth ball and the oil appears completely incorporated.)
Transfer the dough to a 2 quart lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl tightly.
After 30 minutes, do 20 stretch and folds in the bowl. Repeat 3 more times at 30 minute intervals.
Refrigerate for 12-36 hours.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to warm up for 1-2 hour.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape as rounds. Cover with a clean towel or plasti-crap and let rest for one hour.
Shape as boules or bâtards and proof en couche or in bannetons for about 45 minutes. (Note: Optionally, if proofing en couche, roll the loaves on damp paper towels then in a tray of sesame seeds. Alternatively, you can brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. If proofing in bannetons, you would use the second method but after transferring the loaves to a peel, just before baking.)
One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.
Transfer the loves to the baking stone. Steam the oven, and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.
After 12 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. (Note: What I actually do at this point is switch to convection bake and turn the oven down to 435ºF for the remainder of the bake.) Continue baking for another 12-15 minutes or until the loaves are nicely browned and the internal temperature is at least 205ºF.
Turn off the oven, but leave the loaves on the baking stone and the oven door ajar for another 5-10 minutes to dry the crust.
Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.
The crust was chewy except for the ear and bottom crust which were nicely crunchy. The crumb was nice and chewy-tender. The crust flavor was sweet and nutty with the sesame flavor we always enjoy. The crumb was sweet and nutty. Absent the rye flour and with the addition of the oil, sugar, malt and durum flour, the flavor was delightful but very different from that of the San Joaquin Sourdough.
The four of us consumed 2/3 of a loaf with dinner. When I was going to slice some more, sister Ruth told me she would prefer to save it for breakfast toast. Her proposal prevailed.
I'm sure this will make delicious toast, even competing with the Hamelman 5-grain Levain I also baked this afternoon.
Submitted to YeastSpotting