Rosemary Arkatena Twist
This is the Arkatena bread from Bread Matters  by Andrew Whitley, except with rosemary instead of fennel, more salt, more heat, steam, an autolyse, some stretching and folding, and a shortcut using my own starter to create a chickpea starter. The chickpea, aka garbanzo, aka gram flour is the unique feature of this bread.
I feel like I stuck to the spirit of this bread even if I didn’t stick to the letter of the formula. The only really substantive change was the switch from fennel to rosemary. I meant to use fennel up until the last minute. I have nothing against fennel, it’s just not something I get really excited about. When I remembered the bit in the book that says fennel probably isn’t used in the original bread on which this one is based, well, out went the fennel. I really do like rosemary and it seemed like a good fit for this loaf so, in went the rosemary.
The dough was strong and not particularly wet so I couldn’t resist shaping it with a twist. I might add more water in future tinkering.
The rest of the changes were made for the sake of habit and convenience. Reworking the formula took some wrangling because the book has you make a chickpea starter from scratch and then make loads of extra leaven during the builds. I’ve included the numbers I came up with. I left out the nitty-gritty details of the process – best to check the book for that and then modify as you will.
If you don’t have this book it is worth taking a look at. Mr. Whitley is refreshingly blunt, even if you don’t agree with every last thing he has to say. “Constructive neglect” – brilliant! Steaming “a fruitless exercise” – you underestimate me, sir! One nice takeaway from this book is to worry less and go with what works. It is good to be reminded of that once in a while. It is, after all, your bread.
This is one tangy bread. Maybe it was the long, cool leaven builds. Quick, warm fermentation might yield a different result. Right out of the oven it reminded me of hummus with lots of lemon juice. Good stuff. The chickpea flavor faded over time but still lends its unique tang to the bread. The rosemary flavor comes through nicely. I think I'll be baking this one again!