This Week’s Breadly Adventures

Rosemary

If you hadn’t already noticed, I bore easily.

That (among other reasons) is why I will (most likely) never work in a professional kitchen.  I can’t do the same things over and over again or else I go stir crazy.

As much can be said about my exploits in my home kitchen.  I typically make a loaf of bread and a sweet of some kind for work each week, but after a week or two I have to move on to something else or I start to get lazy and don’t want to bother anymore.

I’ve been feeling that way about bread baking lately, so I’m making a conscious effort to challenge myself with a new recipe each week.  Through that mantra I came out with the ciabatta and roasted tomato foccacias, both of which have been mighty tasty.  I would’ve been happy enough to bake another batch of ciabatta this week, but I decided to stretch myself and pick something different.

From my go-to bread cookbook Local Breads by Daniel Leader, I selected an Italian regional loaf called a filone that looked promising.  With a light, bubbly, biga-infused crust, this bread is shot through and through with freshly chopped rosemary.

Biga

It’s really an easy bread to make.  First, you prepare a biga the day before you intend to do your baking and let it activate in the fridge.  Just before I was making this bread I ran out of my regular hard white flour while working on a Daring Kitchen challenge, so this loaf of bread was prepared using the red fife wheat I picked up at the farmer’s market a few months ago.  Red fife wheat is scrumptious, but a bit more challenging to work with.  Even though it was milled very fine, it has a coarse, almost cornmealy texture that translates through to the finished dough.  It also tends to tinge whatever is being baked with a slightly reddish beige cast.

Starter

Next, you rehydrate the biga by mixing it into a measure of water so that it becomes watered down and clumpy.  To that you add the rest of the ingredients, then allow it to mix for a good 10 to 12 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.  Because of the red fife’s unique texture, the bread dough never got to be quite as smooth or elastic as I would’ve hoped.

Dough

The dough then goes for a two hour rest, at which time it’s supposed to double in size and will become decidedly spongy.  Note how the colour that the red fife gives to the dough makes it appear baked.

Proofed

Once the dough has rested, it gets shaped into two slightly rustic loaves and proofs for another hour, covered in a tea towel.

Baked

Before you know it, it’s time to bake, and these loaves are placed directly on a baker’s stone until they are burnished and golden caramel brown.  The red fife made it more difficult to judge a properly baked shade, so I just left them in for about 40 minutes.  Once done, the bread does have that slightly homely, greyish tone reminiscent of a whole wheat Wonder bread.  The scent that emanates from the bread is absolutely heavenly, though.  Even through the blah-ish colour, you can still detect flecks of vibrantly green rosemary needles, perfuming the whole loaf with their astringent scent.  Yum!  I’d definitely make it again.

Until next time…


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One Response to “This Week’s Breadly Adventures”

  1. [...] together was pretty straightforward, but it clued me in to an error I’d made last week.  The rosemary filone I’d made was crusty and delicious, but I couldn’t figure out why it had ended up so [...]

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