Thursday, December 3, 2009
Couronne for Thanksgiving
This crown-shaped loaf is made with a chef starter, which is fermented for at least 2 days and up to a week; the longer it is left, the more it will develop the characteristic sourdough flavor.
For the Chef
1/4 tsp instant yeast
50 grams/1/2 cup bread flour
45 ml/3 Tbs water
For the 1st Refreshment
65 ml/4-1/2 Tbs water
115 grams/1 cup bread flour
For the Couronne Dough
240 ml/1 generous cup cold water
325 grams/scant 3 cups bread flour plus extra for dusting
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp rapid rise instant yeast
(Note: I adjusted this recipe to use my 50/50 poolish from the refrigerator.)
(Note: I adjusted this recipe to use 20 grams each of butter, sugar, and powdered buttermilk to provide a finer crumb for this meal.)
Prepare the Chef several days in advance. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl using a metal spoon, cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for several days.
Prepare the refreshment by breaking the crust on the chef and adding the water and flour for the refreshment. Mix thoroughly and recover with the plastic wrap. Leave on the counter for 2 days.
To make the dough, mix the refreshed chef with the cold water, then stir in the salt, sugar and yeast. Stir in the flour until the dough is together, then knead for 5 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand until the dough is elastic and no longer sticky. Turn out the dough from the mixer and knead into a ball. Grease a bowl and place the dough into the bowl, turning to cover the dough ball with oil, then cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until doubled.
Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured bench. Shape the dough into a flat round, then open the center and pull the dough into a large donut shape. The center should be 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Use a dish that will fit into the hole and grease it on the outside to prevent the dough from sticking to it. Cover your peel with parchment, then transfer the donut to the parchment. Place the greased dish in the hole and cover the whole thing with greased plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes to an hour or until almost doubled.
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Prepare the oven for baking bread. I use tiles on the grid in the lower 1/3 of the oven or the pizza stone in the upper 1/3 of the oven. I use a cast iron frying pan in the bottom of the oven. I put one cup of hot water in the long nosed pitcher to add to the frying pan when the bread is placed in the oven.
When doubled, remove the plastic wrap, flour the surface of the couronne, and slash the dough 4 times around the donut. Slide the dough on the parchment into the oven onto the tiles or pizza stone (lower 1/3 of the oven), pour the water into the frying pan and close the oven door. Bake 35-40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Adapted from "The Bread and Bread Machine Bible," p386.