It’s Time for Bread

It’s high time I share some bread recipes with you. I still have some free days before my new job (tsss! it will last only until the next year…) starts so I’m conscious of the fact that I will soon have less time for… time-consuming recipes. Yes, I DO mean sourdough and poolish! So, come on, let’s bake! Moreover, the second bread recipe is a traditional Basque bread that can be later used in… soup! Remember that Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup I once made? This is a Spanish version of a bread soup, this time loaded with garlic, and you can find it here.

But let’s start with a sourdough loaf, loaded with dried fruit. Ok-ok, I know it’s still summer in our hemisphere (and even here the sunny days are suddenly back!) but why not sweeten up your daily bread with some dried grapes and cherries? I promise, that will be very tasty!

So, this Fruited Sourdough Sandwich Bread  from www.kingarthurflour.com made with a sourdough starter, by the way it might be fed or unfed which can ease the thing up a bit, has added a new twist to my sourdough baking. This is not a black bread and the dried fruits make it sweeter than a salty kind of rye bread I usually tend to turn all my sourdough loaves in. Anyway, as I do not have any other sourdough starter except for my rye culture, this bread also had that rye-ish flavour about it.

My parents are a bit special about the sweetness etc., so this bread seemed to them more appropriate for breakfast (i.e. white bread) than to accompany their meals, but I think a bit of sweetness never spoils a dinner or lunch! And I guess I’m also gradually growing more tolerant towards the use of sweet things there where a typical Soviet person would never expect it, like that sweet & sour red currant sauce I’ve made recently or the amazing lemony potatoes I’m going to talk soon (mmmm!!).

{the photo shows some Russian grapes on the right… well, they were apparently devoid of sun during their growth, so I just used them in Grape Sour Cream Coffee Cake from www.cdkitchen.com}

My changes to the recipe were aimed at eliminating the excess sweetness which might occur if you opt to put 4 Tbs of sugar (I used only 1 tsp, the minimum). However, it seems that my choice of dried fruits – less raisins + dried cherries – added sweetness instead. I did not use the listed apple in the dough and added some whole coriander seeds for a nice effect, by the way. I also could not keep myself from boosting the dough with some rye bran+ whole wheat flour. As I was quite sure in the power of my sourdough (hmm, sounds weird but it was true!), I added less instant yeast than suggested.

As for the rising times for the dough, I had to leave it a bit longer than 90 minutes for the first rise as I added less yeast but in the end the loaf rose alright, although it was quite a tight one when cutting in. I also slashed the top before baking. I LOVE King Arthur Flour recipes even though I have never seen / purchase / used any of their products, but I can say that their recipes almost always prove to be exceptionally trustworthy!

I’m certain that the bread will be easy to bake even for those not much into the sourdough baking. And the choice of fruits is up to you!

Now, let’s leave the USA to turn to a smaller spot on the map, to the Basque region. Here’s what they are supposed to be eating there:

This long and crusty Zopako (or Basque Soup Bread) taken from www.guardian.co.uk is a complete success, although it will take some time to make (an overnight poolish). But then, after your effort there will be a real artisan loaf ready to be made into any type of sandwiches! Here is one with a slice of suluguni cheese on top (not a very successful version of suluguni, though, too young and thus too soft).

I still have those packages of German bio spelt and wheat bran bought in my favourite gourmet supermarket, so along with some wholewheat flour I added them to the all purpose flour. I prefer knowing there’s something healthy in what I’m eating, it’s easier to indulge oneself without much remorse, haha =) Look, the bran is visible in the crumb:

The result: the long loaf is wonderfully soft inside and crunchy outside. I love the air holes in the crumb and that shape achieved with a rolling pin run across the loaf before baking. I did not use my Soup Bread for soup, though, so my loaf was a potential soup bread =) There’s still a piece of it remaining but I’ve already cooked some mung bean soup (a new thing for our family, the first time we are tasting these tiny green beans!).

Don’t get fooled by the size of the loaf – this bread will not last long on your table!

G.

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