Pear sourdough bread
Prep Time: 20 minutes active + fermentation and leavening time
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Keywords: bake bread Asian pears wheat flour
Ingredients (1 boule / round loaf)
- 50 g sourdough starter, refreshed previously, if stored in the refrigerator
- 100 g water
- 100 g King Arthur Flour all-purpose flour (this is the flour I always use to make bread)
- 180 g Asian pears Nijisseiki (a.k.a., 20th Century), possibly organic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary needles
- 220 g pre-ferment (sourdough starter) prepared in advance with the ingredients listed above
- 220 ml water at 85 F / 30 C
- 0.4 g / 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
- 40 g stone-ground whole-wheat flour + 35 g sprouted whole-wheat flour OR 75 g stone-ground whole-wheat flour
- 295 g King Arthur Flour all-purpose flour
- 5 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 g fine sea salt
InstructionsPrepare the preferment
Prepare the preferment 10-12 hours before starting to make the bread, prepare the preferment: weigh the ingredients in a container, stir well with a fork, cover and let ferment at room temperature in a draft-free place. (Adjust the timing as needed for your starter and your room temperature so that by the time you start making bread the preferment is bubbly active.)Prepare the pears
Shortly before starting the dough preparation, rinse pears well, quarter, core and cut into small dice, about 1/4-3/8 inch / 0.5-1 cm. You should end up with 160 g diced pears.
Add the chopped rosemary to the pears.Prepare the dough
I start making the bread early in the morning, so I am sure the bread will be baked and thoroughly cooled by dinner time.
In a bowl, mix preferment (sourdough starter), water and instant yeast. The small amount of yeast I use helps keep the leavening process within a predictable time frame in the cool environment of our house.
Add the flours and stir with a wooden spoon or a dough whisk.
Add pears, rosemary and olive oil and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Sprinkle salt on the surface.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rest 5 minutes. In the meantime, oil well a plastic tub with lid where you will transfer the dough when fully mixed.
Wet the spoon (if using it) and mix dough until it is homogeneous.
Transfer the dough to the oiled tub. With wet hands, letter-fold the dough and then flip it to oil the surface. This is your time 0. Cover the tub and let rest for 45 minutes.
This very nice video on The SF Baking Institute website describes and shows a couple of important techniques I apply to bread dough.
1. Stretching and folding: as Mac says in the video, the stretching part is of fundamental importance in gluten development
2. Pre-shaping and shaping rounds (useful for later)
The video is not long, but if you don't have time to watch it in its entirety, you can start at 4':30" and watch about 8 minutes until Mac shows how to shape a boule.
A) Stretch and letter-fold the dough in the tub, rotate 90 degrees then stretch and letter-fold again. Flip the dough so it is seam side down.
B) Cover and let rest for 45 minutes.
Repeat A and B two more times, at which point you will be at time 3 hours.
Check gluten development by stretching a corner of the dough to make a windowpane. If you don't get a windowpane, let dough ferment a little longer.Shape the bread
Lightly flour your working surface and transfer dough onto it. Use a bench scraper to help you move and turn the dough.
Gently pat dough to degas. Fold corners of dough towards the center, flip (so it is seam side down) and pre-shape into a boule on an unfloured section of your working surface, which offers some resistance (see video at 8'). Move the round towards you then back with a slight rotation, all the while tucking dough underneath. Bring a bit of tension to the dough, but not as much as you will later, during shaping.
Let the pre-shaped round rest for 20 minutes, covered (I leave it on the kneading board and cover it with the plastic tub turned upside down).
In the meantime, cut a square of parchment paper (approx. 14-inch / 36 cm long). Lightly oil the bottom of a lidded cast-iron Dutch oven so that the parchment paper does not stick to it. I used my 5-Qt one; a 4.5-Qt one should work as well.
Flip the dough (so it is seam side up) and flatten lightly, then fold corners of dough towards the center. Flip (so it is seam side down) and shape into a boule on an unfloured section of your working surface, which offers some resistance (see video at 12'). Move the round towards you then back with a slight rotation, all the while tucking dough underneath. Bring tension to the dough, but do not overdo or the surface will tear.
Gently transfer the shaped dough to the center of the prepared parchment paper. Pick up the paper by the corners and transfer to the Dutch oven. Cover (a clean shower cap works well for this) and let dough rest until doubled in size (also, until a dimple made on the dough with your fingertip persists), in my case about 3 hours, depending on the room temperature.Prepare the oven and bake the bread
When the dough is almost ready, preheat the oven to 500 F / 260 C.
Uncover the dough, score the surface according to your preference, lightly mist the dough's surface, place the lid on the Dutch oven and place in the hot oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 475 F / 245 C. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid from the Dutch oven and lower the temperature to 450 F / 230 C.
Bake for an additional 15 minutes. At this point, check the bread's internal temperature: if it is 210 F / 99 C, it is ready. Otherwise, continue baking for another 2 minutes, then check again.
Carefully extract the bread out of the Dutch oven using the parchment paper flaps to lift it up. Place on a rack to cool. Restrain your desire to go at the bread with your knife: let it cool completely, at least two hours, then slice and feast on it with all your senses.