This post could easily be called “Ode to Farine”. There is so much about the person behind the bread blog Farine, our beloved MC, that I would like to say, that this post could easily become a poem. But since people reading are mostly interested in recipes and formulas, I will instead stick to this particular loaf, based on MC’s recipe (or “formula”, like bakers and bread nerds call it).
I have been longing to make this bread for a whole year and now that is August again, and blueberries are abundant, I finally resolved in making it. What is special about this loaf is the addition of fresh berries to the dough. And since blueberries can be on the tangy side, applesauce and dry milk are also added to the dough, thing I would never ever have thought of doing before MC beautiful article on Farine. This loaf is made for the most by spelt flour, which gives a particular consistency, taste, and color to the bread. And to complete the already fascinating combination, chia seeds are added, too.
The dough is highly hydrated (there is a high percentage of water) and requires manual handling with several folds. In the original version, fermentation started at room temperature and was completed in the fridge.
I had to make things a little different from the original, for necessity rather than will to change something which was already perfect.
First, the flours: here in Sweden we have a very coarse, dark, whole-grain spelt flour and a more finely ground whole-grain spelt flour. Indeed the “white spelt” we have is sifted whole-grain, not a real white flour. I used 30% of the heavy whole-grain spelt and 45% of the sifted whole-grain spelt. Therefore, this bread is made for 75% of whole-grain spelt, but it is heavier than a 75% whole grain made entirely with finely ground flours (easily found in US) and definitely heavier than a spelt bread made with real white spelt. That is why I added some bread flour to the dough, because a 100% spelt bread like that of MC, given the flours I had at hand, would not have had the open crumb I was after.
Second, I made a longer than planned autolysis (had to do home chores rather than mixing), and after finally combining remaining ingredients (salt, applesauce and fresh blueberries) I had to leave the dough and go out because of one unexpected sunny day. Seeing my disappointment, our 4 and 1/2 year old said “I know why you don’t like the sun! It’s because when the sun is out you can’t stay home and if you are not home you can’t make bread!”. So I did the cool fermentation in the fridge at the beginning instead. Once back home, I took the dough out and started to fold frantically to give structure. The dough was a monster: sticky and not at all elastic. It needed some heavy strokes but the fresh blueberries were making the task very difficult. My berries were probably too ripe and tended to break easily during the folds. I added more water to the already wet dough because I could feel that parts of it were not fully hydrated (and also MC suggested to add water during the folds, following a system called “incremental hydration”). Seriously, I was almost ready to throw the all sticky thing in the garbage bin. But… I perseverated. And after the final proofing in heavily floured baskets the dough was looking firm, keeping its shape. Oh how I love bread!
More changes to the original recipe: I used a dutch oven method for baking. I did that considering the high percentage of whole wheat, which made me want an extra boost for the final rising (the dutch oven method makes for increased oven spring). I also cooked the loaves for much longer than the in the original method. The bread was so heavy and moist, just like a Danish bread, and did not become lighter when cooked through. Also, I sliced and took pictures in the morning, just a few hours after the evening baking. The crumb was still too wet. Only in the evening the bread reached perfection, therefore I recommend not cutting the loaves before 24 hours have elapsed. Anyway… the bread turned out beautiful, and the taste is out of this world. I enjoyed it with honey, salted butter, fig jam, and cream cheese (each at different times and on different slices). Thank you MC for this absolutely unique and wonderful bread (complete recipe below).
And… I am happy to participate to the sparkling monthly showcase of my talented friend Wisla, Sourdough and Yeast.