Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Russian Rye Starter

When I was up in Tallahassee at Betsy's, we stopped by New Leaf Whole Foods a local food co-op.  While I was there I figured I would go browse through the bulk food section and see what kind of flours they had.  I was hoping to find a nice hard red winter or maybe some spelt flour but what really caught my eye was whole rye for $0.99/lb.  I bagged up 5 lbs to take home.

I've had a dried Russian starter for awhile now but I havn't activated it since I've been wanting to make it a pure rye starter, getting fed only rye flour.  Now that I had the rye flour it was time to play.

I started the Russian starter by first soaking 1 tablespoon of it in warm water in a small jelly mason jar.  Think baby bottle wrist test warm.  After it softened up I started feeding it one tablespoon of rye flour.  The first two days of it's life it's feeding schedule was 1 tablespoon of warm water and rye flour twice a day, one in the morning while I was making coffee and once at night after I had all the dinner dishes done.  On day 3 I noticed regular bubbling forming on the top of the starter so I increased the feedings to 1/2 cup of each after moving the start to a 1 quart plastic container whose previous live was holding soup from a take out Chinese food place.  They make wonderful containers for left overs among other things.  I have one that I use for just for rising small batches of starter and I have the outside marked in 1 cup increments up to two cups.
I've heard that this Russian starter is very active, thus good for dark heavy breads, but I wasn't ready for what I was about to witness.  Verrrrrrry active stuff this Russian starter.  After I was sure it was nice and fed, I threw one cup in its new home and put it in the fridge to rest while I took off for a 4 day weekend of cycling and camping.
Monday on my return I pulled it out of the fridge and fed it 1/2 cup of rye flour and warm water in my marked feeding container.

12 o'clock

12:30 pm

1 o'clock

1:30 pm

As you can see in the pictures, it was about ready to overflow the container in less than 2 hours.

The recipe I plan to use is a New York Deli style with sauted onions in it.

New York Deli Rye 2

2 cups proofed sourdough starter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups rye flour
1 cup white bread flour
You may add 2 T. caraway seeds, if you wish...I did

To proof your starter, feed it with equal parts of flour and water, cover
loosely and let it sit overnight or up to 12 hours (longer proof=sourer flavor).
At this point, measure out your 2 cups of starter into mixing bowl and proceed
with recipe.

Saute onions in olive oil until they become translucent.
Remove from heat and add butter, water and salt.
Cool to lukewarm (85 degrees F) and stir into starter.
Add the rye flour and mix well.

Getting ready to mix it all up

Add the white flour gradually, until it is too stiff to mix by hand. I used very little of the white flour just using it to flour the work surface.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead in enough remaining flour until dough is satiny. This is a very sticky dough.

Shape into an elongate loaf.  I shaped it as a round.

Place on baking sheet and let rise, covered, in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours,
or until about doubled in bulk (rising time will vary according to your starter,
but it takes longer than breads made with commercial yeast).

This dough didn't rise much

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Make diagonal slashes in top of loaf with a razor blade or very sharp knife.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

The finished product

I had a slice with the spaghetti dinner I cooked tonight and although the bread wasn't very tall it was still very soft and moist with a great crust.  The onion added a wonderful finishing flavor to it.  I plan to try this one again soon and try it in a pan to see what it does.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

From sweet to extra sour

I've been wanting some really extra sour, sourdough bread so I've been doing a little research on it and decided to give it a try.
I started with one tablespoon of SDI SF sourdough starter in a glass jar on the 5th of this month and I have been slowly building it up.  For the 1st week I was feeding it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, 1 tablespoon (8 g) of all purpose flour and 2 teaspoons of warm water (10 g).
The beginning of second week I started doubling the amounts I fed it (2 tbl spoon of flour (16 g) & 4 tsp spoons (20 g) water.  On Wednesday morning of the second week I increased the amount again to 1/2 cup of each (65 g flour, 118 g water).

After the Wednesday morning feeding, week 2

I plan to feed it the same amount on Wednesday night and then on Thursday morning I plan to pour out half and continue feeding it 1/2 cups of flour and water.
Friday is baking day for this batch.  I plan to use Bob's Basic Sourdough Recipe to make the loaves.

On Friday I was scheduled to head out to Tallahassee to a friends house so I had to take the dough that I had made from the starter with me.  The dough was on it's initial rise and I was concerned that it would overflow the rising bucket before I could get to where I was going.  It did rise quite a bit more than I would have liked but, as it turned out, it didn't affect the final loaves.
Once I got to Betsy's house and got settled in for the weekend, I formed the loaves and put them in a couple of bread pans for the final rise.   I wish I would have taken some pictures of the finished loaves, they turned out beautiful.  Betsy has a wonderful new stove that seals up much tighter than my old stove and it really retained the moisture.  I had a custard cup of water on the bottom of the stove to cook.

The loaves turned out fantastic and we had them with a pasta dinner the following night and made french toast on Sunday morning with what was left of them.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Florida Friendship Bread?

I've never seen any Amish in Florida but this latest batch of Amish Friendship Bread has a tropical Florida bent to it.  I have a night time 200K bike ride coming up this weekend so I thought I would make something for the other riders with a tropical flavor to take along for the ride.

I took the standard Amish Friendship Bread recipe and went just a little wild on it by adding 1/2c of shredded coconut,  3oz of macadamia nuts, 1/2 can of crushed pineapple and just when I thought I was done, I noticed 2 bananas on my counter top that looked like they had just a day or two of useful life left in them so they got smushed up and tossed in also.


Instead of baking all this in 2 standard loaf pans, which would make serving a little more difficult on a bicycle, I opted to make individual loaves for everyone on the ride.
 Each loaf before baking was 260 g

A handful of tropical paradise

I split one of these with Ms Donna and she came back and told me that I don't need to be sharing these with anyone, and wanted to know where I put the rest of them.  I'll take that as a "yes these are pretty darn tastee" response.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sourdough French Bread

With the success of the last loaf that I cooked in the dutch oven, I've decided to try my hand at a free formed french bread loaf or two.
The recipe/formula is simplicity in itself and comes from Richard Packham.  Being that this is a Richard Packham recipe it's only fair that I use the Richard Packham 1965 San Francisco Starter to make it.  I refreshed/fed a couple of starters earlier this week and his just happened to be one of them.  After renewing a cup and putting it in the fridge, I kept the remainder out on the counter and I have been feeding it a couple of times a day for the last 3 days so it is very active.  My last reduction and feeding of it left just enough active starter for this recipe.  Perfect.

Sourdough French Bread
by Richard Packham

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh starter
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (236 g)
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt (3 g) I increased to 1 tablespoon
  • 4 to 5 cups of flour
Mix all ingredients and knead well until dough is smooth and very stiff.  Let stand covered until double.  Shape into two round or oblong loaves.  I plan to make a pair of rounds.
Place on greased cookie sheets.  For this step I'm going to use my terra cotta baking tile.  Let rise until double in size.  Slash the tops with a very sharp knife.
Ready for the oven

Bake 35 minutes or until done at 425F.  During the first half of the baking time, spray the oven every ten minutes with water (or leave a pan of water in the oven while baking).  I actually use both sometimes but in this instance I plan to just put a pan of water on the bottom of the oven.

The finished products