Let’s Celebrate Autumn

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If you live in the U.S., anywhere in the U.S., there is a season when all normal activity takes a timeout to make room for that special local something that’s about to come into season – some lucky areas have dozens of special “seasons”, some only a few – but no matter where you reside, I know there are times of the year when your local foods become all important for a short period of time – and then they are gone for another year. It’s our life cycle playing out – not only do we take part in it, we are part of it!

So, what is it where you live right now? Well, the easy answer is, whatever you’re thinking about right now! And what is it where I live? Answer: mushrooms. Here in the northwest, autumn means mushroom season – the return of the rains also means the annual return of many kinds of mushrooms. Some people couldn’t care less, and never give it another thought – but some, me included, eagerly await mushroom season, and look forward to not only gathering lots of them, but also the opportunity of making all sorts of good things to eat using mushrooms.

And for a bread baker, that necessarily means making a mushroom bread of course – but what kind? Well, being a person who goes through phases (don’t we all?) I can’t help combining my latest mushroom preservation – see it here – and a very basic sourdough formula. I like this basic dough because it’s a loaf that goes together quickly -for a sourdough- and without a lot of fuss or bother. But, it’s a bread that will support and even bring attention to a supplementary ingredient – not all breads will do that.

You may choose to use any type of mushroom in this baking – or any other type of complementary ingredient for that matter, such as olives, cheese, sausage, whatever. I’m finding it to be a friendly and forgiving preparation, but perhaps that says more about the current state of my starter than it does about the formula. BTW, depending on the health/strength of your current starter, the times below may need a little adjusting.

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Whole Wheat Sourdough Roasted Mushroom Bread

Ingredients:

  • 554 g all purpose white flour
  • 327 g whole wheat flour
  • 198 g sourdough starter
  • 16 g salt
  • 507 g water
  • about 170 – 227 g roasted mushrooms (feel free to use less – or more!)

Process:

  • Mix flours, starter, salt and water (by hand or on stand mixer) for 2-3 minutes slowly
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes
  • Mix on stand mixer at medium for 2 -3 minutes, or hand knead for 5 -6 minutes
  • In a separate bowl, add 1 Tbs of flour to the roasted mushrooms and mix well
  • Add mushrooms to dough, and mix on medium speed for two minutes until well incorporated, or hand knead them into the dough until well incorporated
  • Remove dough to a bench/board and cover with a towel
  • Allow to rest for 15 minutes and fold/stretch – cover with towel
  • Rest again for 15 minutes and fold/stretch – cover with towel
  • Allow to rest for 45minutes and fold/stretch – cover with towel
  • Repeat another 45 minute rest and a final fold/stretch
  • Cover dough and allow it to rise for 1 ½ – 2 hours
  • Divide into two loaves, or shape into only one larger loaf – form using your preferred process
  • Give final proofing of 2 -3 hours, or place in fridge overnight
  • Preheat oven to 430 F
  • Use a pan with boiling water in the bottom of your oven when baking begins, and/or misting
  • Bake 10 min. at 430 F
  • Lower oven temp to 400 F and continue baking for another 40-45 minutes
  • Bread is done when internal temp registers 205 F or better

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This is a great bread for entertaining or a dinner party – it really shines on its own – but I love it as a sandwich bread as well. And perhaps surprisingly, I find it holds its own in the morning with a sweet jam and your first cup of coffee, even enhancing the experience. However, I must share what I feel is it’s premier use – to make the best French toast ever! Until you’ve tried this version of French toast, you haven’t had the ultimate French toast experience.

I hope you’ll give this bread a try.

Because I believe this is a noble and worthy loaf, I’ll be submitting it to Susan at Wild Yeast for the upcoming session of YeastSpotting.  Check it out.

(Update 11/16/09:  I’ve changed the amount of flours in this recipe, as I had made an error in transcribing the recipe from one place to another – my apologies to anyone who attempted to make this bread with the previous recipe – it wouldn’t have been impossible, but at 78% hydration, a bit difficult to work with.  I’ve adjusted it to 62% hydration – much more manageable.)

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About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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10 Responses to Let’s Celebrate Autumn

  1. John Askew says:

    Well done, Dr.! Really enjoy your work. Take care….

  2. drfugawe says:

    Always enjoy your visits, my friend – visit often.

    Hey, I’ve been wondering how come you don’t blog? Certainly you have lots to talk about – and it’s fun!

  3. MC says:

    Wow, John! That is a stunning bread. I’d never have thought of putting chanterelles in bread but I bet it tastes divine! I am very jealous of all these mushrooms in your freezer. Growing up in France, I remember fall as an enchantingly yummy season but around where I live, what seems to be the main crop right now is leaves and more leaves (although their color can’t be beat).

  4. Mimi says:

    That is one gorgeous bread! It’s so funny, as I read your sentence about what people normally put in sourdough, my mind instantly said sausage and mushroom bread! Can you tell that I am in a pizza making mood today??

  5. jgrill says:

    That looks interesting and I will try it soon. Here in the Southeast, we don’t have a “mushroom season” that I am aware of. so I will make do with whatever I can find at the supermarket.
    Another good bread for French toast is (day or two old) Normandy beaten bread from Bernard Clayton’s “The Breads of France.”

  6. drfugawe says:

    Many thanks to my visitors for your comments:

    MC, our freezers allow us all to eat locally all fall and winter long – enjoy that summer bounty!

    Mimi, sounds like a great idea! Today is football day hereabouts and our Ducks and Beavers do noble battle in defense of our borders, and Sausage and Mushroom Pizza sounds perfect.

    Jeff, I have only one Clayton book, “Breads”, and it’s a good one – he gives me hope that somehow we avocational bakers can rise to the place where anytime we want, we can go bake anything we wish, and it’ll be perfect!

  7. I am envious of your access to so many wild chanterelles! We used to gather them in Vermont and they grow here in California too but not in my neighborhood. I too would never have thought of making bread with them, but now that you mention it, it sounds wonderful.

  8. drfugawe says:

    Hi Susan,
    If the truth be known, you guys have more mushrooms in your area than do we – and I go 20 miles to my fav picking ground – so I’d bet you can find lots within 20 miles – right? CA’s problem is, if what I’m hearing is correct, some pretty restrictive access laws/rules re state/govt lands – I think we’re lucky because we have none of that silliness.

    I appreciate your visits, Susan.

  9. Linda Groover says:

    to the baker: I am a novice so I am doing a lot of assuming on this recipe. By fold/stretch do you mean kneed? I added flour every time..Correct? How much total flour with the kneeding? It has been hours so not finished yet! I’ll let you know. Linda

  10. drfugawe says:

    Linda,
    Thanks for your comment. Welcome to the world of baking – are you using a sourdough? Fascinating stuff.

    Folding/Stretching is an alternative to kneading, and is a kinder, gentler form of dough manipulation – it is used primarily with wetter doughs that may be more difficult to knead in a classic way – and it essentially is just what it sounds like, the dough is grabbed at one end, lifted and stretched, and turned over in the process. With these doughs, it is best not to add lots of flour during this process, since that will change the character of the final loaf – with these wet, rustic breads, the baker’s goal is to develop an interior crumb with big holes – the bigger, the better – but that means the dough must be wet. So “fold and stretch” was developed to work with those wet doughs.

    Would love to know how this loaf turned out – Hope you are having fun and success in your baking.
    Visit often.
    john

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