Actually, I'm a righteous citizen. Paying my taxbills, never feeling the urge for shoplifting and being polite to strangers must make me even look boring!
Mostly I'm feeling comfortable by this because those 'rules' make sense to me.
But beware of guidelines or rules that strongly 'advise' me not to do something. It makes me curious. Why not, who says so and what will happen if.............?
So, reading the recipe of this beautiful Italian loaf I felt something itching. According to the instructions this bread shouldn't be slashed. Why not and what will happen if I do slash this loaf?
Will it explode and will my kitchen ceiling be covered with thousand pieces of sticky dough or will it collapse with a soft sigh till a flat pancake?
To me, slashing the dough is the finishing touch but for this special occasion I'll behave and slash only one of the loafs; I've got to find out.
Pane Francese; if only for the name.................
This bread with the beautiful name, is the excellent choice of the Bread Baking Babe Sara of I like to cook. Her two bread looked so inviting that it's impossible not to respond to this challenge.
1/4 cup sourdough starter unfed (mine is 100%)
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup bread flour (I've added 2 tbs. extra because Elvis isn't a stiff starter)
In a bowl, dissolve the starter in the warm water. Stir it very well and add the breadflour. Knead it by hand till you get a soft but still sticky dough. Leave the dough in an oiled container till doubled in size. This took about 5 hours.
all of the levain
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cup bread flour
Take a bowl and fill it with a half cup warm water. Rip the levain in pieces and add them to the water with a half cup of the flour. Stir it as long as if needed to make a smooth batter. Add the remaining flour gradually and knead the dough a few minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, leave it covered an let is rise until doubled in size. This will take 3-5 hours. After this, take the dough out of the bowl and flatten it without slamming. Take 1/4 cup of the dough to save it as the next chef. Let this next chef ferment at roomtemperature for 3 hours and put it well covered in the fridge.
all of the second stage levain
3/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups bread flour
Take again a bowl with the 3/4 cup warm water and cut the levain in pieces. Dissolve the pieces levain in the water and add the salt and 1 1/2 cup of the bread flour. Knead the dough again until it's soft and smooth. Just add as much flour as needed for a dough that is not too sticky. Return the dough to the bowl again and leave it covered to rise. At this stage, I left it in the fridge for the night. The next morning, I took it out of the fridge and left it in the bowl still covered at roomtemperature. When I came home after working, the dough had doubled in size.
Turn the dough onto the working surface and cut it in two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a tight ball and transfer it to a floured banneton or baking sheet. Cover each bowl with oiled plastic and leave it for the last rise. This time my two loafs didn't rise as much as I'd expected and after a whole night I decided just to bake them. The first one (without slashing) turned out as an almost white coloured flat loaf.
The second one must show the difference between slashing or not. Slashing it, I immediately understood why slashing is not the kind of way to treat this dough. It felt as if slashing in chewing gum and it seemed impossible to make a nice straight cut. Both loafs were baked 35 minutes in the oven at 40 dgr. F.
Was there any difference? No. Well, only on the outside but they had equal sizes, tasted the same and had both small holes. The loafs tasted more tangy because of the longer fermentation time.
Thank you Sara. It was fun making the chef and for me this was the first time to work with old dough.