A few weeks ago, I did a Daniel Leader bread, Raisin Pumpernickel, to be specific. And recently, I was popping around on The Fresh Loaf and I found another Leader bread, this one Pierre Nury’s Rustic Auvergne Light Rye, which is one of the breads out of Leader’s newest book, Local Breads. Nury is one of France’s premier bakers, having been granted its Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, an award presented only to the nation’s finest craftsmen. The loaf looked interesting, in that it’s a French bread, but more in the tradition of an Italian ciabatta, and containing a bit of rye (just enough that you know you’re eating something not 100% white flour.). Since my other recent ciabatta attempts were quite successful and fun, I thought, why not!
I baked this one up with no surprises, and it was splendid – and as with almost all of my home creations which turn out well, I’d thought I’d share it with you – but why repeat a transcription of the recipe when zolablue has so graciously done so already on The Fresh Loaf. So, I think I’ll simply give you my baking notes, which bakers all know are as important as are the instructions themselves.
Immediately, you need to know that zolablue starts you off by making a firm levain, by using another firm levain – you’re simply building the levain. But what if you don’t have any firm levain? If you were using Leader’s book, he would direct you to a week long process of development – Sure! So, if you don’t happen to have any firm levain, do what I did, and probably what zolablue also did, and just make up one the day before.
If you’ve never worked with a really wet dough before, it may take a little getting used to. This is not a hand-knead, which is good since it takes a hell-of-a-lot longer to knead than do most breads – this requires a stand mixer, and 14+ minutes on the machine, maybe even longer. And this dough is really sticky (another reason why the machine is good!) – it’ll never come away from the bowl. And once the machine kneading is done, let me suggest that you use a covered tub as your proofing environment – with a really wet dough, you can liberally oil the inside of the tub and slide the dough into it – the tub also makes it easier to do the needed stretches, folds, and turns. Once you try it, you’ll see.
This dough will take forever to get going. Leader remarks throughout the recipe regarding this fact – probably because he is fearing that you’ll think midway that his recipe is a failure. But when the dough exits its overnight fermentation, you may notice a nice dough growth (I did!), even though Leader once again tells you that the dough “will not rise”. Regardless, do not be concerned, for this is one of those doughs that has amazing oven spring. However, if you get a nice rise during the fermentation phase, the oven spring will be less (No you can’t have both!).
Another joy of working with these uber wet doughs is that you do not need any artistry when it comes time to form the loaf – all you do is drench your dough with flour, cut it into two parts, and stretch it out a bit – it’ll even look better if you mess up during this process – Really! No scoring necessary – Really!
Yes, I think once you’ve done one or two of these breads, you will no longer have a fear of wet dough, and you will know just how easy it is to get those huge holes! And this stuff is just about the best sandwich bread going – tons of flavor, nice crisp and chewy crust, and a soft, moist crumb – it’s got it all.
Ya’ wann’a try it? The recipe is at the top of this post, or just use this link.
Have fun – I know you will.