Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear Bread,

I know that you're feeling dejected lately, because I haven't been flirting with you as much as I did when we first met, and you might even think that the magic is gone. But nothing could be further from the truth, Bread, and I still find you attractive. I really do. The truth is, I just need a little space, that's all, so that I can focus on ordering my life. You see how hard I've been working at making a beautiful home for us so that when our friends come over I can show you off like any good girlfriend would. And when that time comes, you know you will be the star of the evening, because of your rye sense of humor, and because it's you, Bread, it's you who make my life so much more complete than it ever was before we met. All of my friends can see how happy I am with you. It must be the way that I look at you and savor everything about you.

Listen Bread, I know you've heard the rumors, about the way I've been coquetting all over mangia tutta di maiale and food52, but they just aren't true. I mostly talk about you when I'm with them, about how much I love you, even when you're crusty and temperamental, maybe especially then.

Nothing can come between us, Bread, I'm committed to this relationship. We made it past the honeymoon stage, and now it's time to set some boundaries and install a schedule of quality time if this thing is gonna work. And it will work. I just need a little more time to figure out how you will fit into my life. Just know, Bread, that you are my staff, but if it's proof that you want I'll give you all that you knead.

I gotta go now. But I'll see you Sunday, right? You'll make me that sourdough pizza I've been dreaming about? I can't wait, Bread, to hear your beautiful song once again.



City Bread In A Rye Mood

320g KA bread flour
80g Arrowhead Mills rye
350g ice water
100g starter
10g salt

115g black, oil-cured olives
10g marjoram

Mix flours, ice water and starter. Autolyse in fridge 40 minutes. Incorporate salt. Refrigerate 20 hours. (= 20 hrs, this includes autolyse time)

Next day, pull out of fridge and ferment countertop for 2.5 hours with 4 series of turns at 0, 30, 60, 90 minutes. Added 115g black oil cured olives and 10g fresh marjoram leaves at turn #2. Let ferment untouched for the last hour. (= 22.5 hrs)

Back in fridge to ferment for another 12 hours (= 34.5 hrs)

Out of fridge. Shape. Linen-lined Banneton. Proof on counter for 1.5 hours (= 36 hours)

During last half hour of proofing, preheated oven to 500 with the cast iron combo cooker inside, then lowered to 475 as soon as the loaf went in. Baked the rye in cast iron combo cooker with lid for 30 minutes, then the remainder of the time without. I believe the total baking time was about an hour.


Crust: Medium shatter. My oven is wonky, so the crust came out a tad thicker than I had planned. I love a super brittle crust. Blasted oven! Crumb: big, beautiful, airy holes. Flavor: Extraordinary. Aroma: Heavenly. Dough temperament: Unruly! Hydration needs to be pulled back. That's why I didn't post formulae for the fig loaf. The temperament of the wheat was super simple, but I want more loft, which is why I didn't post the formulae for it. Worry factor when fermenting: The rye expanded steadily, as did the wheat. The fig was slow to expand at first, but then expanded steadily.

To the staff of life!

This post was submitted to YeastSpotting.
Here's a little slice of what I experimented with along with the rye. I am going to keep fiddling with fermentation times and formulae and post them when they're right. Whatever that means.

Have a look:

 Fig marjoram...

 and its interior

 100% whole wheat with olive oil, rosemary and chili flake...

 and its interior

 Fig and olive rye

The gang's all here!


  1. your dear bread letter is so awesome.



  2. this bread looks great and the fig/marjoram combo looks and sounds amazing. I wish I could get my hands on a combo cooker here, really curious how it would turn out v. using a plain dutch oven (makes for unattractive bottom-halves and the occasional stuck loaf)

    your verdict style makes so much sense - would it be okay if I duplicate it on BPD?

  3. that is a great post!

    - oscar

  4. Hey Daily Bread,

    I will be reposting exact measurements and techniques for the fig in the next post. Probably this upcoming weekend, which are my baking days. It was really figgy and includes a maceration of the fruit and some spice that you might want to know about. Just know that the marjoram got lost in the loaf, so I probably wouldn't bother doing it again. I think the woodier, more resinous herbs work best like rosemary. I actually use the combo cooker most often, but have a couple of plain old dutch ovens that I also use in rotation on baking day so I can make several loaves at a time and I have lovely results every time. I've used enamel coated and non coated, and it doesn't seem to make a difference, as long as you get a good seal. Wait a minute, come to think of it, I did have one stuck loaf situation with a cheap enamel coated cast iron pot, because it didn't appreciate the 500 degree preheat, but the more expensive ones seem fine. Of course! Here is a link to amazon, where you will find loads of combo cookers and they are relatively cheap.

    Thank you so much for appreciating my content style and signature verdict at the bottom of my posts. I love how we can make our sites reflect our personal writing styles. I think that mine makes Tartine quite unique too!

  5. Love your letter and your breads! Great post...

  6. i hope you + b stay together.

    Syd Kato

  7. Thank you mc.farine. I am also a fan of your blog and frequent it often ; )



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