Fig/Date & Walnut near-disaster
This was inspired by Rushuyama's beautiful Fig & Walnut multigrain posted a few years ago here. I scaled the ingredients to 70% of the original to make one larger loaf. I didn't have any spelt on hand (we love spelt and it disappears) so subbed in some Kamut, used freshly and finely ground durum instead of semolina, and I added chopped date along with the chopped figs, since I didn't have enough of the latter. The durum, Kamut, and Red Fife were all freshly ground.
This is my second attempt at this loaf; first version (a boule) came out flattened on top owing to a mishap when flipping the dough from banneton to parchment lined peel. I flipped it without first removing the shower-cap cover on the banneton. D'ough! Had to then unflip it, then remove the cap, and re-flip it. The top of the dough stuck to the plastic. [This was a new mistake for me; hopefully I won't make it again!]. The bread was tasty, however.
This time I remembered to remove the plastic cover. BUT....when I opened the oven to remove the pre-heated oblong clay baker, gobs of smoke *billowed* out, choking me and setting off the smoke alarms. My husband had made pizza earlier that evening and been a little too enthusiastic with the sauce and cheese, which had overflowed onto the racks and bottom of the oven. There was *no* way I could bake with the oven in that condition. Unfortunately, I had already flipped the dough onto parchment and scored it. Again, there was unflipping and reflipping of the dough back into, then out of, then back into the banneton as I pondered my options. Much swearing and cursing ensued, in my head anyway. It all seemed to be a disaster, one comprised of high quality, freshly ground ingredients.
Long story short, my husband, a nurse, recognized my distress, sprang into action, scraped off the smoking gunk, reheated the oven and baker, and 20 minutes later I was able to bake the loaf. The results are excellent.
Note: I proofed the loaf on the counter for 45 minutes, then put it into the fridge for another 5 or so hours. I then baked it at 475 F in a pre-heated, covered clay baker for 30 mins, and at 450 degrees for 12 mins w/cover off.
My version based on the original:
Day 1 (evening)
Mix levain, let sit on counter until next AM. I used slightly less starter than
the original calls for, hoping to slow things down a bit.
mix flours, 340 g water (I held back 40 g to mix in levain & salt). Autolyse 1 hr.
Add levain, mix & let sit 20 mins. Use held-back H2O
add salt w/held-back H2O, mix 5-6 mins
fold in nuts and figs/dates
bulk 4 hours, w/3 stretch and folds
Preshape and bench rest 30 mins
Shape and proof on counter for 45 mins
Place in banneton, cover, and into refrigerator
Preheat clay baker in oven
take dough out of fridge, remove plastic (!), flip onto parchment lined peel, score
Discover oven is billowing smoke. Panic.
Potentially damage gluten structure and scoring by flipping dough back into banneton.
Panic, change mind, and reflip dough out of and back into banneton. Return to fridge.
Despair. Open doors and windows to clear smoke and quiet alarms.
Communicate dire situation to husband despite mute panic.
Husband jumps into action and somehow fixes the situation in less than 20 minutes.
Flip dough onto parchment. Re-score gently. Move to clay baker, bake @ 30 mins at 475
Remove top, lower heat to 450 F.
Remove loaf from oven, check temp, and leave to cool on rack overnight.