Monday, May 26, 2008

Sourdough Bread With Ancho Pepper And Corn

This bread has the most wonderful colour from the addition of 1 teaspoon of Ancho chili powder. Ancho chilies have a sweet, smoky flavour and only a mild heat, making them perfect for a sandwich loaf. I suspect this bread will be excellent toasted with the corn meal in the recipe to provide texture.

You Will Need:

For The Sponge:

1 cup fed starter

3 cups all purpose flour

2 cups water-room temp

For The Dough:

All of starter

1-cup cornmeal

1-teaspoon ancho chili powder

1-tablespoon salt

1-tablespoon sugar

2-3 cups all-purpose flour (or more)

3 cups fresh cut corn (just take a knife and scrape it off the cobs)

Egg Wash:

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Combine fed starter with two cups water and stir to break it up. Add the flour and mix quickly. The dough will be shaggy. Cover and let soak 2-6 hours (I did three and a half). The longer the soak, the more sour flavour it will develop.

To the starter add the sugar, salt and chili powder. Mix in half of the corn. Begin adding the flour a cup at a time, alternating with remaining corn. You will want to work in most of the corn, don't worry about the flour. If it is too sticky to knead, add more. The dough will feel tacky (due to the cornmeal) and slightly "squishy" but it shouldn't stick. Knead it a good ten minutes, poking the corn kernels back in when they pop out. Don't use a mixer for this or you'll break up all the corn.

When your dough is kneaded, place it in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Sourdough takes longer and even on a hot day here, it took three hours. Be patient; let it do what sourdough does. When your dough is doubled, punch it down and let it rest for 30 minutes. This would be a good time to wash the dishes and butter your baking pans.

Divide dough in two, shape and place in buttered pans. Cover with a towel (plastic will stick too much) and let rise until almost doubled-about another 2 hours. Halfway through second rise, begin preheating oven to 400 degrees F.

Brush loaves generously with egg wash and bake twenty minutes. Rotate and continue baking another 10-20 minutes or until a deep golden colour and sounds hollow when rapped. For loaves of this type I like them to test to an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees F. but use your sense too. If the loaves seem done and sound hollow, pull them out. Generally, a few extra minutes in the oven is better than too few.

Cool completely before slicing (resist the temptation as sourdough really needs to settle a bit before fully developing the sour flavour and desired texture. Just be patient-go do the rest of the dishes while you wait.

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