Below is a slice of home-baked cider raisin apple bread with a morsel of foie gras on a lettuce leaf bed, topped with apple quince compote. In one way it's a simple set of flavors. In another way it's complex. Either way, it's delicious.
Below are some loaves adapted to levain without any added yeast. In general, my definitive focal point always seems to be on flour protein and hydration, as fermentation is key to any bread baking.
Wheat and kamut
Definitely more water for this, and going to use lower protein wheat, tweak it.
Sprouted multigrain soaker
A crusty and tight loaf, also more hydration and maybe making a porridge with sprouted grain next try?
Pane di lievito naturale
This loaf has a very firm double fed leavain. In preparing it, feeling it was dry I kept adding water till the dough felt, as heard from a baker years ago, "something between mashed potatoe and soft as your ear lobe." I really need to up the hydro on these dough's again and incoprorate less mixing, less folds, just good long proof and water.
When my new batch durum grain arrived, I milled and sifted it to fine semola rimacinata flour. My first bake was a Sicilian bread with sourdough and olive oil. I used my stock levain of wheat, with the durum making up the rest of the dough's flour. The loaf below was retarded overnight, and had a low profile, but the crumb and taste were superb.
Revisiting formulas from my early baking days, I went back to a bread combining cider, raisin and apples. Originally learning this bread at Bouley bakery, it's made with a cider poolish along with a bit of levain. At Bouley, they would use apple to garnish on top, leaving lovely golden loaves. Below is my reincarnation of this great bread. This version used dried apples that were soaked with the raisins in water, preventing them from burning.
Back to the drawing board with my recent explorations of pane comune, I went with my more hydrated stock levain of one hundred percent hydration. I then upped my previous calculations on my trusty BreadStorm® and went to 70 percent hydration.
This time I slashed a double grigne instead of going the rustic route. When we cut into it for Thanksgiving - to be eaten with buttery gravalax - I found a more open and moist crumb. It tasted amazing. You know it's good when your mother tells you, not just once but twice. Yes!!!
Call me Dr. Frankenstein of bakers, disassembling and then reassembling bread formulas, a percent here, a percentage there. Beauty or monsters, you never know. Take this recent loaf. Considering James Lahey's Sullivan Street version of pane di comune, a beautiful brown bread, my imagination started to roam. Specifically, it led me to this alternative on YouTube, which turned out to be lacking in water and produced a parched sourdough loaf.
Bread slicing isn't the most difficult task; basically it is a back-and-forth motion. Simple, right? But when I spotted this antique Danish slicer, I had to get it. It's ideal for rugged and dense breads, designed and engineered for performance. And I did give it a couple wacks on some pretty hard rye and spelt loaves, as well as a fresh baked levain bread. Some of my bread buddies poo-pooed me for it; others drooled and cheered me on. It'll be sort of a conversation piece in my arsenal of food toys. You should hear its "swish." Powerful.
Milk bread (pain au lait) is less difficult to make than a brioche. And though its texture is similar (but less buttery) it can tak the place to make pain au raisin or pain au chocolat, it's a great substitute for either, especially when slathered with homemade chocolate spreads. I am sure that you could do many othervariations, but I kept these simple and classic, as I love using the scissor cuts and sprinkling them with pearl sugar.
Rimacinata is a term for the finest milled semolina flour (aka durum). Using my new mill, I started out with a pasta grade semolina flour (Bob's Red Mill); 70% semola and the rest wheat. The goal was to create home-made rimacinata. "
I left the dough to retard overnight after a long bulk proof. The next day I popped it into the oven and got a golden hued crust. The crumb was tight but open. It was also chewy. Before baking, it could have used a warm up period to adjust to the oven heat, but I was satisfied that this method can work when you don't have real rimacinata.