The Fresh Loaf

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Michel Suas' Mountain Bread (Switzerland) - Advanced Bread and Pastry

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holds99's picture
holds99

Michel Suas' Mountain Bread (Switzerland) - Advanced Bread and Pastry

The following is taken from Michel Suas' description of mountain bread (page 223, Advanced Bread and Pastry): "Combining rye levain and white flour this bread began as a staple in the mountainous regions of Switzerland.  The long shelf life created by the sourdough process was an adantage in a time and place when bread was baked only once a week.  The hole in the middle of the crown [I didn't make a hole in the middle of the crown because I don't have a clue as to how to do that--will research the issue later] was used to hang the mountain bread to a pole fixed high on the wall to store the bread safely."  Hmmm.  Maybe hanging it from the pole is to keep it away from the kids until breakfast is ready.

Anyway, I doubled Mr. Suas' "test" formula and made 4 lbs of dough (2 X two pound boules).  As can be seen in the photo below I used linen lined bannetons, generously dusted with a mixture of 50% AP flour and 50% rice flour.  This bread tastes great, with a hint of sourness and terrific flavor.

Howard

Michel Suas Mountain Bread (Switzerland) - Advanced Bread and Pastry

Michel Suas Mountain Bread (Switzerland) - Advanced Bread and Pastry

Comments

Eli's picture
Eli

Those are beautiful and a great crumb!!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

They look good Howard!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Howard.

Those look really good. Another rye bread to check out.


David

holds99's picture
holds99

Eli, Eric and David

Thanks for your kind words.  This formula is rather wet but produces a great tasting loaf with good crust and crumb. 

After mixing the levain and setting it aside for overnight fermentation, I mixed the whole wheat and the bread flour (for the final dough) with the water (for the final dough) and let it sit overnight at room temp. then the following morning used my KA to mix the levain and the final dough mixture, along with yeast and salt, until the levain had been thoroughly incorporated into the final dough.  Then continued mixing by hand using Bertinet's "slap and fold".  Suas calls for 1 fold during a 2 hour bulk fermentation.  I did 3 stretch and folds during the the first hour (@ 20 minute intervals) for the 2 hour bulk fermentation.  His times (fermentation and baking) are right on, at least for my oven.

David, FYI it's not really a rye bread per se.  He uses rye in the levain (a small amount of rye starter and med. rye flour).  However, for the final dough mixture he calls for a small amount of whole wheat flour (approx. 15%) mixed with bread flour (approx. 85%). 

Hope this helps.

Howard

holds99's picture
holds99

I did some searching and found a site: Breads From Switzerland where they described this bread.  It's called Graubunden.  Interesting.  Now to figure out where to get a banneton or learn the method for making the hole in the center.  Guess if you get snowed in at that cabin in the Alps it's always good to have a couple of loaves of Graubunden stashed away :>)

 Swiss Mountain Bread - GraubundenSwiss Mountain Bread - Graubunden

Graubünden  A ring-shaped bread, known locally as Brascidela or Bracciadella, made of a mixture of rye and wheat flour. There's a good reason for the shape: it made them easier to hang up. Traditionally the loaves were left under the eaves to dry for days or even weeks, and were then edible for months to come.

Howard

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I know of two methods for making a ring or "couronne" shaped loaf: The first is to punch a hole in the middle of the fermented dough. Flatten tbe dough somewhat on the bench, then punch a home in the middle. (One traditional method is to do this with your elbow.) Then stretch the dough by holding it up and rotating it in your hands, letting gravity stretch it, not unlike you might stretch pizza dough. The second method is to roll the dough into a long cylinder, as you might do for a piece you are going to braid, then bring the ends together and seal them.

There are bannetons made for proofing couronnes. They are round with a raised middle of the bottom. I have raised couronnes just on a linen couche.


David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Could be that the style of house designed the bread shape?  Let me expound.  The houses are built using solid stone walls and wooden beams.  At the end of each beam, a hole is made (to the outside) in the masonry so the ends of the wooden beams can air and not rot. (They built to last at least a few hundred years -- massive building 101.)  This handy square hole can easily be used to hold a round peg and still allow air to circulate to the wood. These holes and baseball bat sized pegs are used to hang ladders (and other tools all through the alpine regions) as well and appear on the outside of houses corresponding to inside floors and ceilings, a row of holes just under the eaves. If you know that many of the old mountain houses used to have the stall and animals under them, you might think the bread was hung outside just under the eaves to keep it out of harms way and to keep it fresh. Mooooo! Up to youuu.

The bread no longer has to be made this way but it has become a traditional shape for the Alpine areas.

Mini O

holds99's picture
holds99

What interesting information.  This is the type of information I was looking for yesterday when I found www.swissworld.org and the writeup on the various breads of Switzerland.  You should be a writer for their site...I'm serious.

I remember seeing some of those mountain houses.  As I recall some of them had stones on the roof to hold the shingles in place??? 

Thanks much for your explanation (and humor "Moooo...") and for sharing.

Howard

holds99's picture
holds99

The dough for this bread, at least the way mine turned out, is really wet, similar to ciabatta.  But I plan to make it again in the near future and will try punching a hole in the middle, as you suggested, with heavily floured hands and see how that works.  I like the idea of the elbow technique but I'm afraid I would end up looking like the Pillsbury dough boy.  The couronne shaped bannetons sound like the ideal way to go but they're expensive.  I let you know how it goes next time round.

Howard

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

I'm a little bit late with a comment Howard, but as Swiss and with a lot of friends in Graubünden I had to do it.


Graubünden is a Swiss canton like e.g. Florida is a state in the US. It is in the beautiful Swiss mountains and of course a lot smaller then any US state.


Your bread is part of the cantonale breads of Switzerland.


Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Hi Howard,
Susan from Wild Yeast shows a makeshift model that you can try before investing in a true couronne banneton. Although I know you love those kitchen toys! Your loaves look great!

http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2008/01/31/shape-crown-couronne/

Betty

holds99's picture
holds99

Thanks for your kind words on the loaves. 

You're right, I'm a kitchen toy addict.  Do you think there's a 12 step program to help beat this addiction?  Secretly I really don't want to kick the habit.  I'm thinking about investing in a couronne banneton.  I just need to make up some lie about all the things I'm going to bake when I get my hands on it.  :>)

Thanks for sending the link to Susan's Wild Yeast site. I'll check it out.  Actually, Charlene and I were having a discussion this morning about how I could rig up something that would create a hole in the center.  I was thinking about a can with parchement rolled around the outside inserted into the middle of the dough.  Hey, on second thought, that couronne banneton is looking better and better.

Howard

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Howard, I hope you will check out Susan's site because she gives directions for a lovely couronne as well as showing how to create the pseudo banneton - she has the real thing and says there is no difference in the result. I found a suitable basket in a thrift store but haven't tried it yet - I'm betting you could do it! A.

holds99's picture
holds99

Annie,

I did check out Susan's site and copied the instructions for creating a "psuedo banneton".  It looks pretty easy and it's sure a lot cheaper than buying a linen lined couronne banneton.  Next time I make the mountain bread I use Susan's technique and post some photos.  Thanks for your note.  Hope all is well with you and your cat.

Howard

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi Howard,


And my apologies for such a belated reply! I've read the bread theory part of ABAP, and have been marking recipes that I'd like to try. This is most definitely one of them! Congratulations on those gorgeous loaves. Extraordinary crumb and a delightful rustic appearance!


Suas uses a slightly different bakers percentages than Hamelman's setup that I am used to, so I'm in the middle of translating this recipe into my spreadsheet (which follows Hamelman's layout, with an overall recipe, a sourdough part and then the final dough). Now, I'm a bit curious about this specific recipe, and I hope you can help me out since you've already made a successful batch.


If I've transcribed everything correctly, it seems that Suas is only putting about 15% of the total flour in the rye sourdough (15% of the overall flour weight corresponds to 40% of the flour weight in the final dough). If I'm understanding his layout correctly, this sourdough is built in a single step, and left to ripen for 8 hours. My question is if this enough to leaven the dough? Based on my spreadsheet, the overall formula is made up of 72% wheat, 15% rye and 13% whole wheat flour.


There is a tiny amount of commercial yeast in there as well, but since it's such a minuscule amount, I'd like to leave it out completely. I'm not really confident that a 1-step rye sourdough, made up of 15% of the total flour, is sufficient to leaven this dough in the assigned 2 hour bulk fermentation... Do you recall how you put the dough together, and how much volume it had gained after the first fermentation, Howard?


Thanks in advance, and once more, love the look of those loaves!

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Howard,
Based on your excellent! example of Mr. Suas' Mountain Bread, I've been wanting to try making some.
Having had the opportunity to try this formula, I found the flavor absolutely incredible.
I made only the 'test' quantity, shaped into two smallish rings. The first ring was consumed within hours of baking - once we tasted it, we couldn't leave it alone!
The second ring was a gift for my neighbor (who is originally from Switzerland - I wanted to make her a Swiss bread - how nice to see so many other beautiful Swiss breads pictured in the replies to your post).
I must have mishandled the dough somewhere along the line during this process, as the bread didn't get the spring I'd hoped for during baking...but felt the bread's flavor was compensation for its appearance (at least I hope my neighbor thinks so!).
 
:^) from breadsong