Monday, May 7, 2012

Sourdough Raisin Bread

In the words of Chef Brian Erskine, this bread is "A Love Song"
I am currently listening to the show of the week, and it is a nice one! Plenty of Phil, so check back in a few days for that! 

I just got back from bringing this bread to some of my eaters, one of which is my mentor Brett, I brought him half a loaf of bread, which could have made about 4 good sized slices. The intention was for him to share it with his wife and his children, but he ate the whole thing, right before my eyes! He just bit right into it, it just warmed my soul! 
"Bread for your self is a material question, bread for your neighbor is a spiritual one"

This is hands down one of my favorite breads. I have made it at least five times before and I am excited to let you know that I will be baking this bread for a 5 course meal that I will be preparing with some of my Medical Dietetic colleagues on March 20th at Jorgensen Farms in Ohio. Here is a link to the event. Plated Dinner with Medical Dietetics  Although the price is a bit steep, diners will not be disappointed at this event. Jorgensen Farms, is a CSA in the Columbus Area. The owner of the farm is also responsible for starting up the Clintonville Farmers Market, just north of where I live.

I am really excited to be working with them. Although, the menu is, for lack of a better word, a bit "odd". I expect it to be a great success and I know that the 22 loves of bread that I will be baking are going to be wonderful. I will be baking these sourdough raisin breads along with sourdough multigrain breads. I think that both of these breads will satisfy all of the bread lovers out there. The light, sweet and almost nutty taste of the sourdough raisin breads will please those who lean more towards sweeter, more challah-like breads. And the multigrain sourdough loaves will offer the crunchy-folks a bread, that will satisfy their needs for crunch, seeds and whole grains. 

This bread calls for sultans, or golden raisins. Because I did not want to spend 4 dollars for raisins for the trial run for this bread, I will be baking it with golden raisins. I find that golden raisins offer a sweeter and fruitier addition in breads. It will be a perfect complement to the final menu. Also the yellowish golden color will be very pleasing to the eye. This bread also contains some rolled oats, which will add a nice texture to this bread. I really love the flavor of oats, and their presence in this bread will provide a very nice balance. 

The ripe levain


This bread is made with a liquid levain, so the sourdough build is very loose. It is 125% hydrated and 15% of the total flour is pre-fermented in the build. This loaf definitely lends itself to a liquid levain, because the nutty flavors that are produced by a higher hydration in the sourdough build pair perfectly with the oats and raisins in this bread formula. 


Look at the gluten

This is so cool. After scraping all of the build out of the bowl, I filled it with water very quickly, I know this looks like soap bubbles, but this is actually the microorganism bubbling in the bowl. Look at all that yeast action! This quite a prosperous colony! 

20% of the flour in this bread is whole wheat (which I ground just before baking). The whole wheat flour really adds a nice touch to this bread. Without it, the bread would be lacking in substance. 20% is the perfect amount of whole wheat flour if you are looking for a bread which is light on the palate, but still earthy and rustic in appearance and mouth feel. This is also a good place to start if you are trying to get your family to eat more whole grains and more fiber. Start slow! One of my favorite sayings is "baby steps". If you want to add fiber to your family's diet, do not take huge steps because your little ones will notice the difference and will find the breads bitter and not enjoyable. Remember.....Baby steps.

I just turned the oven down to 430 degrees, to prevent the raisins in the bread from carbonizing, and I took a peek at the loaves, and they look wonderful. I think I will have to see if Michael Jubinsky for Stone Turtle Baking has made this bread, because I think his bread students would love this one. 

I took several pictures of the mixing process, so I will provide them here


It is important to soak the oats briefly in water because it softens them up and helps to reduce their sharpness. It will also allow the gluten to develop more during the mixing process. DO NOT skip this step because you will find the texture of the oats to be coarse and unappealing.


Here is the levain once it was combined with the water
I also always try to combine the levain build and the water because it helps to distribute the yeast throughout the dough. It may not be necessary, but I do it anyways. Granted this is harder to do with a stiff levain and often times you have to simply add it to the dough in chunks as it is coming together. 

After three minutes on first speed

After three minutes on second speed
After mixing on second speed for three minutes, add about 1/4 of the raisins to the dough.  Continue mixing for about 30 seconds. Then add another 1/4 of the raisins, continue mixing, and repeat this process until all of the raisins are spread uniformly throughout the dough. 



This bread calls for 1 teaspoons of yeast, but since the levain was pumping, I only used 3/4 of a teaspoon. This also allowed me to ferment the dough for 90 minutes rather than just 60 minutes, which gives me 30 more minutes to build the flavor. 

After bulk fermentation, I divided the dough into three pieces. I made one large piece and two medium sized pieces so that I was able to bake two medium sized loaves and one very large loaf. The large loaf is for my colleagues to sample tomorrow at the trial run of our final menu. 
I baked these in laof pans because at the farm meal I am going to be making close to twenty breads and I will only have one baking stone.
I am very pleased with the way this bread came out. It looks just perfect and I think people are going to love it!

This is the size of what Brett ate in one setting...I forgot to take pictures of the breads prior to cutting into them!
Cant wait to make this with those golden raisins. There are so many raisins in each and every slice.

Bake On
-DW

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