Saturday, February 5, 2011
It is interesting that when you think of European breads, you invariably think of French or Italian breads and yet, long before either became famous, the best breads in Europe came from Vienna. It is here, in the days of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire (not last week, mind you) that French and Italian bakers came to learn the tricks of the trade. Both went on to greatness, of course but Vienna bread is the source of it all. It is here that bakers learned the advantages of wet pre-ferments and long, overnight, cold fermentations. Mostly the bakers were from Poland, and hence the term poolish (a very wet pre-ferment using equal quantities of water and flour) which was employed by them.
This bread uses the overnight pre-ferment called pate fermentee as well as a long fermentation the next day. The bread goes through two rises. When it finally comes out of the oven, it has a slightly chewy crust and a fairly dense crumb, denser than the open crumb we are used to from French and Italian breads. It can be baked as a loaf, perfect for sandwiches, or rolls, or even, as I have done here, in the more traditional batard shape. Sort of like a torpedo. The slight tanginess in the flavor makes it a perfect bread for both cheese or cold cuts. You won't be sorry, believe me. This recipe is adapted from the recipe for Vienna bread in Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, a truly extraordinary baking book, and a must for anyone serious about baking bread!
Here's What You'll Need:
for the pate fermentee:
1 1/8 cups (140g) AP flour
1 1/8 cups (140g) bread flour or
2 1/4 cups (280g) AP flour or bread flour
3/4 tsp (5g) salt
1/2 tsp (1.5g) yeast
3/4 cup to 3/4cup + 2 Tbs (170-200ml) warm water
Mix together the flours with the salt and yeast. Then add the water while stirring until you have a rather 'shaggy' dough. You may need to add the extra water to bring it all together.
Remove the dough to a floured surface then knead it for a few minuted until the dough is smooth and slightly, not sticky. Place this dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it ferment for at least 4 hours at room temperature. At the end of this period, you can proceed directly to making the bread. Or, as I did, you can 'punch down' the dough, place it back in the bowl, covered and place it in the refrigerator overnight. I really believe it makes for better tasting bread.
the next day...
to make the bread:
2 1/3 cups (370g) pate fermentee
2 2/3 cups (340g) AP flour
1 Tbs (14g) sugar
1 tsp (7g) salt
1 tsp (3g) yeast
1 large egg
1 Tbs butter or margarine at room temperature or melted
3/4 cup + 2 Tbs (170-200ml) warm water
Here's What You'll Need to Do:
If you refrigerated the pate fermentee, remove it from the refrigerator, cut it into about 10 pieces then let it come to room temperature, covered, for about an hour before using it. Then...
Stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Then add the pate fermentee, egg, butter or margarine and 3/4 cups (170ml) of the water. Add extra water if needed, then continue mixing until you have a smooth dough. Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is very smooth and supple.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover. Let it rise until doubled in bulk for 2 hours. If it doubles before this, de-gas the dough and let it keep fermenting for the full two hours.
Shape the dough into rolls (about 12) or loaves (2) or as I have done here, into the traditional batard shape. Cover and let it rise for an additional 30 minutes.
Just before placing the bread in the oven, score the loaves and spray them with water. Sprinkle them with flour.
At the end of the 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 450F (220C). Just before placing the bread in the oven, place an empty pan in the oven and pour a cup of boiling water into it closing the door quickly. Then spray the oven walls with water to create a very steamy environment.
Place the bread in the oven, reduce the heat to 400F (200C) then bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, rotate the baking sheet to ensure even baking. Bake an additional 18-20 minutes at this temperature.
Cool on a rack to room temperature.
Posted by breadmanTalking at 12:00 AM