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.
Whole Wheat Sourdough Roasted Mushroom Bread
- 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!)
- 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
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.
(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.)