Polenta Sourdough with Toasted Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds
I felt it was time to revisit some of the recipes that I have made in the past and Ru’s Polenta Sourdough was one that I really liked and wanted to play around with a bit. So this is my second version of her recipe.
330 g of Selkirk wheat berries (this is a 1950s hard red spring wheat variety)
110 g of cornmeal
300 g of boiling water
770 g of unbleached flour
50 g ground flax
100 g raw sunflower seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan
100 g raw pumpkin seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan
575 g water
22 g pink Himalayan salt
35 g kefir
360 g levain (100% hydration)(Instructions included below)
- A couple of night before making the dough, mill the Selkirk wheat berries and sift out the bran. Mill the bran again on a finer setting. Reserve all of the bran for the levain. Remove 143 g of the sifted flour for the main dough and reserve the rest of it for the levain.
- The morning before making the dough, start building the levain as follows: Build #1: 16 g starter, 31 g water, 31 g bran Let rest 8-10 hours. You won’t see any activity, so don’t worry. Just leave it alone. Build #2: 62 g each of water and sifted flour. Let rest overnight. Build #3: 94 g each of water and sifted flour. Place in a warm spot. It is ready to use once it doubles. Mine doubled in a couple of hours but I used it after about 4 hours.
- The night before, soak the 110 g of cornmeal in 300 g of boiling water. Let rest covered overnight.
- A couple of hour before the levain is ready, mix the the 143 g of sifted Selkirk flour with 770 g of unbleached flour, 50 g ground flax seeds, 100 g each of toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- Pour 575 g of water into the the soaking polenta and loosen the whole mess with a whisk. This will take some time. There may be a few little lumps left but keep at it until it is all loosened. If you don’t, you will find huge lumps of cornmeal in your dough. Don’t ask me how I know that!
- Pour the cornmeal/water mixture into the flour/seed blend and mix well until all of the flour is hydrated. Let autolyse for a couple of hours until the levain is ready.
- Add 22 g salt, 35 g kefir and 360 g of levain to the dough. Mix very well and then do 100 stretches and folds in the bowl/bucket. This really is more like kneading in the bowl rather than true stretches and folds but it helps develop the gluten and it distributes the levain and the salt.
- Place in a warm spot and give two sets of folds one hour apart. Let rise until 50-60% risen and you can see bubbles at the edge of the bucket. The dough should feel solid but full of air.
- Divide into 3 loaves and do a very loose pre-shape. Do not degas the dough. Let rest for 30 minutes. Do a final shape by cinching the dough. Once again, do not degas the dough. Place seam side down in rice/AP floured bannetons and cover. Let rise on counter at room temperature for 45 minutes and then put to bed for the night in the fridge.
- The next morning, heat the oven to 475 F with the Dutch ovens inside for at least 45 minutes. Place parchment rounds on the bottom of the pots and gently drop the boules inside seam side up. Cover and drop the temperature to 450 F, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove lids, and bake for another 20 minutes at 400 F or until the insides measure 205 F.
- Cool for at least a couple of hours before cutting and enjoying!
The oven spring wasn’t what I would wish for. I am guessing that it was slightly over proofed. The photo is deceiving. The loaf doesn't look like that in real life.
Next time, I think I would reduce the rest time to 15 minutes and then skip the room temperature proof and put directly into the fridge. I also retarded it for longer than usual (about 13-14 hours) and the amount of prefermented flour was more than usual as well. So live and learn. I know it will taste good. Crumb shot to come later.
This is a more accurate photo of the oven spring.