Pain Cordon de Bourgogne
The Cord of Poverty
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This loaf has it all. Great dough, great flavor, and; slashing not required! A rope of twisted dough, placed parallel on top of the loaf, magically takes care of that. And it has great visual appeal. The long twisted strand of dough is like an umbilical cord. Where it touches the dough, it folds open. It's almost hard not to have associations with life, birth and fertility when looking at it.
The origins of the bread go way back to the time of the crusades, to Vézelay, France. It was from this Christian enclave that people left for the 2nd and 3rd crusades. Among the many monastic orders around Vézelay, there were the 'cordeliers', followers of Francis of Assisi. They were called that because of the simple rope they knotted around their robes, as a symbol of poverty. They also used the rope for bread making. They marked the bread with it, and proofed the dough, draping it lengthwise over the cord, thus achieving a nice 'grigne' without any actual slashing of the dough. What would they use to hold up their robes while baking...
Somewhere along the line the actual rope was replaced with the doughy version. I think we all know why...
Pain Cordon de Bourgogne
300 gr. bread flour
125 gr. high extraction flour
75 gr. rye flour
First make the flour mix; weigh out all the flours accurately and sift all of them together.
150 gr. active wheat starter (100% hydration)
100 gr. flour mix
90 gr. lukewarm water
20 gr. buttermilk
4 gr. fresh yeast (or 1½ gr. dry active yeast)
Dissolve the (fresh) yeast into the lukewarm water and leave to rest for 15 minutes. If using dry yeast, you can continue to the next step right after the yeast has dissolved.
Add the yeasted water and the buttermilk to the 150 gr. of active starter. Stir until it goes all frothy. Add the flour mix and stir it all together into a mushy porridge. Leave this, covered, at room temperature for about 1½ hours. It will be ready when it goes all bubbly and has doubled, or even tripled in volume.
400 gr. flour mix
40 gr. buttermilk
170 gr. water
12.8 gr salt
Stir the water and buttermilk through the poolish. Add the flour and mix it into a rough dough with the back of a wooden spoon. Cover and leave to autolyse for about 30 minutes.
Knead the salt through the dough, either by hand or in a stand mixer. About three minutes. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.
Knead the dough for another minute or so and cover and rest for 15 more minutes.
Knead the dough one last time for about a minute, or 2 minutes by hand. Form into a ball, cover and let the dough rest for another hour or until the dough has more or less doubled in bulk.
Put a baking stone in the lower third of your oven and preheat it to 240°C
Turn out the dough on your work surface and cut about 75 grams of dough off the dough, shape it into a small ball and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Flatten the dough into a rectangle, and shape it into a batard.
Dust your proofing basket royally with rye flour.
Roll the small ball out into two strands of dough, flour them lightly and twist them around each other. The cord should cover the entire length of the dough.
Place the cord in your proofing basket, centered and hanging over the far ends. Place the dough, seam side up on the cord. Cover and rest until doubled in bulk, about 1½-2 hours. When you poke the dough with your finger, and it returns slowly, your bread is ready to go into the oven. If it springs back within a few seconds, leave it to rest a little longer. When you poke your dough and the dent doesn't spring back at all.... you have over proofed your dough. Keep an eye on it, and remember; under proofing is a more common occurrence than over proofing.
Spray the walls of your oven with some water.
Transfer the loaf from the basket onto a peel. Bake it on the stone for 15 minutes on 240°C, then lower the temperature to 210°C, and bake for a further 30 minutes until the crust is nice and dark.
ma petite cantine
sweet & sour