Sunday, July 15, 2012

Olive Levain with Whole Rye Flour


The finished Olive Levain with my favorite box pattern

I happened to receive a wonderful gift of some delightful turkish oil cured olives. So what better to make with them than a nice Olive Levain. This is another bread that comes from Jeffrey Hamelman's book "Bread". I have made this bread in the past, but I made three minor changes to this bread. This bread calls for the use of olives at 25% percent of total weight, but I increased the olives to 31%. Also this bread calls for the use of 10% whole wheat flour, but since my 25 pound bag of whole wheat berries is gone, I used whole rye flour instead. The last change was that I used a stiff levain starter rather than a liquid levain starter. This will change the acidity of the final product in way that I cannot tell until l do a taste test to compare them. I will have to run this experimental taste test in the future. I will have to get some of my tasters to help me with this project.

This is a bread which lends itself to dough retarding. This means that the dough is mixed and  fermented. It is then shaped and is allowed to rise in a cooler environment. This allows for slower fermentation, which allows for the flavor from the olives inside the dough to permeate the dough. Since this dough calls for this phase of extended fermentation, I prepared the sourdough build in the morning rather than the night before, and timed the production so that I would be able to retard the dough while I was sleeping. When I retard dough, I use a wooden board and drape a moistened towel over the dough. Although the towel seemed to get quite cold, the dough still increased in size considerably. It is important to note that the length of the retarding process depends on the temperature of the environment in which it is prepared. A bread retarded at 45 degrees could sit for as long as 18 hours and a bread at 50 degrees may go for as little as five or six hours.

Another thing to consider about this bread is the amount of salt used. Since the olives contribute a significant amount of sodium, a lower percentage of salt is used. One other note is that the olives MUST be pitted! Even if they are "pitted", check them to make sure. The last thing you want to do is to break your tooth biting into this crusty loaf. Once the olives have been weighed, wrap them in a dish towel and place a weight on top of them. This will remove any excess water from the olives. If this is not done, you will find the dough to be too wet, and also stained by the purple pigment in the olives. If you take the time to drain the fluid from the olives you will find that the loafs inner appearance will be much superior. The same thing can happen with pecans. If you cut them too small, or you place them in the dough at the beginning of the mix, they tend to give the dough a purplish color.



Once all of the ingredients are scaled, all of the ingredients are added to the mixing bowl except for the olives. The dough is first mixed on first speed for three minutes and then on second speed for three more minutes. Once the dough achieves a smooth consistency, the olives are added and the dough is mixed at first speed until the olives are dispersed uniformly throughout the dough.

The dough after mixing on second speed, the contribution of the olives helps to dry the dough up considerably, and also add lovely color and flavor. 
2 minute break: Jerry Garcia guitar solo rendering me completely incapable of higher level thinking (I have posted the show of the week, but to be honest its more like the show of the year! CHECK IT OUT

This dough is then given two and a half hours to ferment. About half way through this process, the dough is folded. If necessary you can fold the dough twice. If this is the case, I suggest folding at 50 minute intervals.

The dough is then shaped into an oblong or a round and is placed on a dusted peel and allowed to retard for 5-18 hours.

I woke up and immediately removed the bread from the fridge and I BLASTED my oven. Since the dough is going to be cold, and it will take a considerable time to warm up. The hotter you can get your baking stone the better off you are. I gave the oven about an hour to get really hot. I then scored the bread quickly, again using the box pattern. The bread is placed in the oven and the oven is steamed. Then after about five minutes I lowered the oven to 460 degrees for the rest of the bake, which was in total, about 40 minutes.

A close up of the crust

Next Up Sourdough Rye
Bake On
-DW

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