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Struan Bread

Mar 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

we're off for our 30th annual ski week at what has long ago become our favorite of all ski resorts: deer valley in utah!

a few years ago, my husband had an accident skiing that prevented him from accompanying me on the slopes for the rest of the week. in all these years of marriage, i had never skied without him so it felt very odd and lonely navigating the mountain on my own. i decided to take a short break and check out the food at the snowflake lodge. somehow, inevitably, i found myself in the kitchen and that put an end to any possible loneliness at deer valley! letty flatt, who is in charge of all bakery operations at the many restaurants at deer valley, also took charge of me! on her time off we skied together and she introduced me to double black diamonds that i could handle with ease. on the chair lift we exchanged bake-talk and royal icinged (baker's cement) a lasting friendship.

last year, at a marvelous dinner at mariposa--the high-end restaurant on the mountain--we were served a bread that both my husband and i adored. it was, of course, letty's, but she immediately credited peter reinhart for the original recipe. comparing the two i saw that letty had used 5 times the polenta. i decided to double the original amount of polenta but also added 90 grams more flour. neither letty nor i added the optional 3 tablespoons of cooked brown rice simply because i didn't feel like making rice just to make this bread and found it was so delicious without it i've yet to try it with the rice--but i will.

struan_loaf.jpg

the first time i made this bread back at low altitude in new york city i e-mailed peter immediately saying i was proud to be in the same profession as he. he graciously e-mailed back thanking me for reminding him about one of his very favorite breads--which is now mine as well. and as toast it is unequaled. toasting seems to bring out the sweet nuttiness of the grains. the texture is--well--perfect is the word that comes to mind. judge for yourselves by the photo. and the golden specks of coarse polenta add a jewel like quality. it doesn't get better than spread with sweet butter but the other night i served it for dinner spread with mustard mayonnaise and filled with sardines sprinkled with lemon juice. it deserved the glass of trimbach frederique emile alsatian riesling that accompanied it. gloriously simple and wholly satisfying.

struan_slice.jpg
Click to see the flecks!

as i now am inclined to do with most of my breads, i've added a small amount of old stiff sourdough starter (the consistency of bread dough) to increase shelf life and add depth of flavor and extra moistness. if you chose not to add the starter decrease the salt by 1/8th teaspoon.

Click to view the recipe

Oven Temperature: 350°F.
Baking Time:  50 minutes or til 190°F

Struan Bread

Makes: A 9 inch by 4 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch high loaf
33.8 ounces / 959 grams

EQUIPMENT: a 9 x 5 inch bread pan, lightly greased

Soaker

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

 

volume

ounces

grams

coarse polenta

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons

2 ounces

56 grams

rolled oats

1/4 cup

.

18 grams

wheat bran

2 tablespoons

.

7 grams

water, hot

1/4 liquid cup

2 ounces

59 grams

1) Make the soaker
In a small bowl, combine the polenta, oats, and wheat bran and add the water. cover and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. (or put in pilot light oven 3 hours)


Dough Starter (Sponge)

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

 

volume

ounces

grams

water, room temperature (70 to 90°F.)

3/4 liquid cups

6.25 ounces

177 grams

3 day old sourdough starter

torn into pieces

 

39 grams

half unbleached all-purpose flour, half  bread flour

3 cups divided

 

468 grams

2) Make the starter
In a medium bowl (mixer bowl if using a stand mixer), whisk together the water, starter, and 100 grams of the flour for about 3 minutes, until very smooth. Scrape it into the bread machine container if using a bread machine and sprinkle the remaining 368 grams of flour on top. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment at cool room temperature overnight. (Alternatively, add 1/4 teaspoon on the yeast with the flour and let it sit 1 up to 4 hours at room temperature.)

Dough

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

 

volume

ounces

grams

light brown sugar

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons

1.25 ounces

35 grams

honey

1 1/2 tablespoons

1 ounce

30 grams

buttermilk

1/2 liquid cup

4.2 ounces

121 grams

instant yeast

2 teaspoons

.

6.4 grams

salt at 2%

2  1/4 teaspoons

 

13.5 grams

optional: poppy seeds

about 1 tablespoon

.

.

3) Make the dough
Add the soaker, brown sugar, honey, and buttermilk, and mix 3 minutes (in the stand mixer, with the dough hook mix on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened to form a rough dough.) Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
Continue mixing on low speed while adding the yeast. In bread machine start the kneading cycle or in the stand mixer raise the speed to #4 and add the salt. Knead for about 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, and just be very sticky. If it is not at all sticky spray it with a little water and knead it. (The dough should weigh about 35.6 ounces / 1010 grams.)

4) Let the dough rise
Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into an 2 quart dough rising container or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark where double the height would be (2 quarts). Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 75°F to 80°F.) for 30 minutes until puffy. Set it on a floured counter and flour the top. Give it 2 business letter folds, stretching it to develop the gluten. It should no longer be sticky to the touch. Set it back in the oiled container and allow it to rise until doubled from the original height (to 2 quarts) 40 minutes to 1 hour.
           
5) Shape the dough and let it rise
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press it down to flatten it slightly. If you want to make a rectangular shaped loaf, gently press or lightly roll the dough with a rolling pin into a wide rectangle. (The long side of the dough should be facing towards you.) The exact size is not important at this point.  The dough is VERY elastic. Press the dough with your fingertips to deflate any large bubbles (I). Place it in the prepared loaf pan (no more than 1/2 inch from the top of the pan—in a 7 cup pan, when pressed down it is 3/4 inch from the top).

Cover the shaped dough with a large container or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until almost doubled and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in. In the loaf pan the highest point will be 1 1/2 inches higher than the sides of the pan, 1 to 1 1/2 hours).

6) Bake the bread
Mist the dough with water, sprinkle with the poppy seeds if desired, and quickly but gently set the pan on the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 40-50 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read minimum 190°F., maximum 211°F). Halfway through baking, turn the pan halfway around for even baking.

Comments

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REPLY

Jonette, I've often made it just using regular cornmeal. I think it would be fine either way.

Beth

REPLY

I just got the Brother Juniper's book and am anxious to make the Struan bread but can not find the polenta which I understand is coarse ground cornmeal. All I can find is fine ground cornmeal. Has anyone else had this problem and what did you use as a substitute? Thanks for any suggestions.

REPLY

Paul Benshoof
Paul Benshoof
03/30/2009 08:51 AM

I made this bread yesterday and I have to say--honestly--that I don't think I have ever tasted a better bread. It was simply amazing. Thank you, Peter Reinhart, and thank you, Rose, for you adaptation of his incredible creation.

Paul

REPLY

not having old sourdough bread starter to begin with, what should I use instead?

also, I'd like to have more fresh ground wheat and less of the unbleached flour and bread flour, what would be a great combination to achieve the same result?

REPLY

When you feed a sourdough starter, you normally throw half of it out. When Rose says old starter, it is the part that you would throw out. When I feed, instead of throwing it away now, I keep it in a container in the freezer and use it in other breads. The recipe for sourdough starter is in the bread bible.

REPLY

Hi people, new here. I need to ask what the starter is. In the Struan Bread recipe, it's says for the starter (sponge) and then in the ingredients, for it, is says use 3 day old sourdough starter??? What is this, I've seen it for other recipes on this site but never a recipe for it, that I could find. Are all these starters sourdough or are there different starters for different recipes?

REPLY

p.s. Having just read Rose's method, I think I'll try that the next time for the struan (I mean the mixing, business folds, etc.) It will be interesting to see if I can see a difference.

Beth

REPLY

I made the struan (multi-grain transitional) from Reinhart's whole grain bread book on Wednesday. Having tried it previously in the more thoroughly whole wheat version, I had already decided I wouldn't be doing any more totally whole wheat until I can get some freshly ground - my first loaves were too dense. At any rate, in the Reinhart whole grain book, he encourages people to "throw in" just a combination of grains up to a certain weight. This time I decided to use "refreshed" sourdough instead of using a biga (he calls for a soaker and a biga), and I used only white bread flour in the sourdough. In the soaker I included some cooked grains for the first time, as well as oats, wheat germ, and flaxseed meal, and I forget what else. I had bought 10-grain cereal in preparation for Rose's tyrolean torpedo, so I cooked some of that up, about a quarter of a cup of the dry mix. Reinhart doesn't specify polenta in this recipe, and I couldn't find my cornmeal, so none of that went in, though I will use some next time. The dough was rather wet, because I may have used too much water with the 10-grain. But the main point is that having previously made a ciabatta, I figured that a wet dough was not such a bad thing, so I left it that way (when I had previously made it with a lot of whole wheat flour it wasn't wet at all). End result: it spread a lot as a free form loaf, but was amazingly delicious. It was so much better than my previous attempts, and was really bread "bliss." It far surpassed what I can buy locally. Of course the ciabatta was also this satisfying (if not more, in a different way), but it's wonderful knowing that "healthy" can taste this good. I will definitely try polenta next, as I love the crunch it gives to things.
The bread adventure continues!
Beth

By the way, the hearth bread was a big hit at the potluck last week.

REPLY

you're right! that's the charles perry i was suspecting you were. but i was right in my assumption that you're a pro!

REPLY

Charles Perry
Charles Perry
12/ 8/2006 12:18 AM

I don't believe we have met. I am a retired chef and sometime writer of cat stories for children and adults who can suspend their disbelief.

I am not the Charles Perry who writes on food for the LA Times. A few years ago some editor got my e-mail and was insisting that I get an overdue draft of a column anthology submitted. That was the first I knew that my name was famous in some food circles.

Perhaps you have met my cat, Ticker. She has won several several regional sourdough starter tasting contests. She is also retired. After she won the National contest she announced that she had nothing left to prove and that was the end of her competitive tasting career.

Ticker currently hangs around the rec.food.sourdough newgroup. She comments that you are a voice of reason on the Bread Bakers List.

Regards,

Charles

REPLY

interesting! yes---it's a great bread. glad you enjoyed it.
are you the charles perry i know or is your name a coincidence so to speak?

REPLY

Charles Perry
Charles Perry
12/ 7/2006 04:52 PM

Thank you for posting this recipe. This is very tasty bread. I think it will be my new favorite.

I used all Harvest King flour because I was too lazy to go to the basement freezer for a bag of all-purpose. I like the feel of dough made with the HK flour. It is nice and soft.

I also rearranged the procedure so that the bread could be raised with just sourdough and eliminated the yeast. It takes a little longer, but works just fine.

Thanks again,

Charles

REPLY

charles, thanks for calling my attention to this. i'll be sure to fix it soon if i can figure out how or ask my blog master!
the grams are correct but the ounces aren't for those items.
the salt is correct--only 2% if you calculated int he oats and polenta as you suspected.

REPLY

Charles Perry
Charles Perry
12/ 4/2006 02:48 PM

I believe that there must be a misprint in a least acouple of the ounce measuments. 1/4 cup of hot water can not weigh 11.2 Oz. and 1/2 cup of buttermilk must weigh more than .75 Oz.

Does it really need 2& 1/4 teaspoons of salt for 3 cups of flour? I would be inclined to use a bit less unless the polenta and oats make the recipe require that much.

Regards,

Charles

REPLY

in answer to your hydration ?: 66%

here's a previous entry i made on this blog regarding this question "Do you have any other use for excess sourdough starter aside from giving it to friends?"

Yes! When I feed my starter, if I know i'm going to bake a hearth bread within the next 3 days, instead of throwing out the excess, without refreshing or feeding it I simply refrigerate up to 1/3 cup starter (about 2.75 ounces / 75 grams) per loaf.

Just before adding the salt to the dough, I tear the starter into about 8 pieces and knead it into the dough. The starter dough adds extra depth of flavor and moisture, and also speeds the fermentation (rising) slightly even in a dough using the usual amount of instant yeast. (You should also add an extra 1/8 teaspoon plus 1/16th teaspoon of salt to balance this extra amount of dough--less if using less starter dough.) The starter dough serves as a "preferment" making it possible to use the quicker "direct" method of mixing the dough. (Simply combine the flour and yeast from the sponge or biga in the recipe with the flour and yeast for the dough.)

REPLY

Like you, I have started started adding a little sourdough to the sponge of all of my breads recently. I love the way it tastes, and my kids much prefer it. What hydration do you keep your stiff starter at? I keep mine at 100% hydration, which is more like a batter for storage. Do you have a standard method for adding starter to a published recipe?

I love Struan bread. I am excited to try your version of the recipe.

Tim

REPLY

coarse polenta: 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
rolled oats: 1/4 cup
wheat bran: 2 tablespoons

REPLY

for those of you who prefer it, i'll be adding the volume for the grains asap!

REPLY

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