when my tortano was baking, my house was perfumed with the heady aroma of cheese, onions, briny olives; and some looming, prescience swore that the result was going to be worth sharing, so i am writing this before i've even cut into the glorious ring.
i chose rye for the base of my tortano because it resonated, yeah? using some rather high hydration, the dough was easy to shape. i just bought a bag of sprouted rye from 'to your health', and i have to say, whilst i do appreciate bob's red mill, no rye compares to 'to your health' sprouted rye. the flavor, the aroma, the texture. nonpareil.
i had read through some other formulae for tortano, but they all used commercial yeast, and thus, required a very short fermentation time. i decided to just devise my own thing, et voila! this ring fermented in the fridge for 18 hours. i figured that if you're going to serve up a crown, the bread of it should be just as worthy as the filling. et, mon dieu! is it ever. as i'm writing this, i've broken into it... just had a bit of it... and lordee b. it is so good, it's ridiculous! fully gelatinized dough, a perfect marriage with the filling.
speaking of lordee b., a tortano is an italian ring usually made during easter, and usually filled with some sort of cheese and salty pork thing. it's a special occasion bread, see. and how fortuitous that this post should come a stone's throw from that hallowed holiday in celebration of redivivus.
you will start this endeavor like any other sourdough bread -- the bulk fermentation and all that. after the bench, instead of shaping into a boule, you will stretch the dough into a rectangle, fill it with goodies, then fold it up, round it into a ring and ferment it in the fridge. c'est simple. vraiment.
without further blather, here is the rhyme and reason for your tortano.
THE NIGHT BEFORE DOUGH DAY
45g 100% hydration, 100% rye starter
100g *TYH sprouted rye flour
mix the above until you reach a smooth, thick paste. ferment it overnight. mine fermented for 8 hours.
*just a note on to your health sprouted rye. it's so great, it will make you wonder why you ever used any other rye. but know that it is a serious flour, and very thirsty, so if you decide to use it for your starter and/or your levain, it will produce a rather 'hearty' end result. that is to say, if you feel so inclined, add a few more drops of water to loosen it. i don't. i like a stiff starter and levain. so, if you don't add more water, know that this stiff starter and levain will work beautifully. if you DO decide to add a few more drops of water to adjust to your new flour, make sure you make a note of it and be consistent with this addition as long as you are using this flour. you want to always know what hydration your starter and your levain is, in case something goes wrong (or right!), you want to always be able to account for that end result so that you can repeat it, or fix it as necessary. finally, to your health flour, ordered directly from their online shop, is milled to order. you can get it at whole foods now. its prohibitively expensive, so my suggestion is to always buy it online. at least that way, when you are ordering it, it is milled to order just for you. if you get it at whole foods, even though a superlative product, it will be milled in advance. just some thoughts, suggestion, ideas...
245g rye levian
400g KA A/P flour
100g TYH sprouted rye flour
380g h2o (TYH sprouted rye flour is rather thirsty)
439g caramelized onions (i started with 3 large yellow onions, and they cooked down to the aforementioned weight)
106g whole kalamata olives, (niçoise would be a great substitute)
155g 15 month aged comté, sliced (gruyère would be a lovely substitute)
13g kosher salt
a few sprigs of thyme
mix the levain, flours and h2o until you reach a smooth amalgamation. autolyse 1 hour. after the 1 hour autolyse, squish the salt and olive oil into the dough until it is uniformly distributed. form into a smooth ball. the bulk fermentation begins.
it will be hard, but wait a full hour before slicing so the filling doesn't ooze out.
this post has been exhibited on Susan's wild yeast blog.