The beauty of this recipe (the original recipe is called Pain au Levain in the book and doesn’t contain wild rice) is that you make the dough and stick it in the fridge where you can keep it for up to four days until you are ready to use it. That fit right into my schedule for this week. I suppose other recipes in the book feature the same approach (which has already been the subject of a few books in the last couple of years) but I can’t vouch for it.
I followed the method but adapted the formula somewhat, replacing some of the all-purpose flour by white whole wheat in the final dough and adding cooked wild rice for texture as well as some olive oil to improve the shelf life and to counterbalance the drying effect the wild rice might have on the crumb. I also baked the bread inside a Dutch oven to avoid having to preheat the oven.
Reinhart gives the option to add 7 g of commercial yeast to the dough but I chose not to go that way.
The crumb is a bit tighter than what I was expecting considering the soft consistency of the dough but that might be due to the weight of the rice and/or the addition of white whole wheat. The taste of the levain comes through very nicely and is actually complemented by the flavor of the wild rice.
Since wild rice is native to North America, I think this loaf would be quite at home on the Thanksgiving table. More authentic than frozen Parker dinner rolls anyhow… Although, besides corn bread in one shape or another, I have no clue what kind of bread the pilgrims actually put on the table, do you?
For the starter
71 g firm mother starter (65% hydration)
142 g unbleached all-purpose flour
85 g white whole wheat flour
151 g water at room temperature
For the final dough
All of the starter (458 g)
312 g water @ 95ºF/35ºC
304 g unbleached all-purpose flour
150 g white wholewheat flour
130 g wild rice, cooked, drained and cooled down
19 g olive oil
17 g salt
To make the starter
- Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl
- Using a large spoon, stir for about 2 minutes until well blended
- Transfer to lightly floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds
- Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave at room temperature 6 to 8 hours or until about one and a half time its original size (Reinhart says that if you plan to use the starter the same day, you should let it increase to twice its original size but that if you plan to use it later, now would be a good time to put it in the fridge) (in my case, the starter was mixed between 8 and 9 AM, kept at room temperature and used to make the final dough around 5 PM)
To make the final dough
- Cut the starter in a dozen pieces and put it in the bowl of the mixer
- Add the water, mix until incorporated
- Add the flour and the salt (Reinhart doesn’t have us do an autolyse. I’ll do it next time though just to see what kind of a difference it makes in the final product)
- Mix at low speed for 3 minutes and let the dough rest 5 minutes
- Resume mixing for 3 minutes, adding water as necessary
- Add the wild rice and the olive oil
- Continue mixing at low speed until incorporated
- Put the dough on the counter and knead it by hand for a few seconds
- Form a ball and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes uncovered, then do a stretch and fold, reaching under the front end of the dough, stretching it out, then folding it back onto the top of the dough. Do this from the back end, then from each side, then flip the dough over and tuck it into a ball
- Cover the dough and let it rest 10 minutes
- Repeat this entire folding process two more times, completing all repetitions within 30 minutes
- Immediately form the dough into a ball, place it in a clean, lightly oiled bowl large enough to contain it when doubled in size and cover the bowl tightly
- Let the dough sit at room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate it (the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days)
On baking day
- Remove dough from the refrigerator at least 4 hours before baking, shaping it after 2 hours
- Let it rest shaped and covered on a flour-dusted parchment paper inside a cold Dutch oven (cast iron or other oven-resistant material)
- When the dough is ready, dust it with flour and score it, then cover the Dutch oven again and place it inside the cold oven
- Turn on the oven to 470ºF/243ºC and bake for 45 minutes
- After 45 minutes, take the Dutch oven out of the oven and the loaf out of the Dutch oven and place it back in the oven on a hot baking stone (my stone always stays in the oven, so it is hot whenever the oven is on)
- Lower the oven temperature to 450 and bake another 10-15 minutes or until the bread’s internal temperature reaches 210ºF/99ºC
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.