Slow and clean bread is yours to be enjoyed at the Orange Home Grown Farmer’s & Artisans Market every Saturday!
Patrick Jeannette aka GrampyPats (almost famous) Sourdoughs waxes eloquently while describing his bread making process. He’s been around the world learning the trade and exchanges information frequently with his online baking guild. His most recent trip was to Cortona, Italy, a Tuscan town, where he baked bread in a wood fired village oven built in 700 AD that hadn’t been baked in for over 200 years. This village oven is located between church and the olive grove and Vineyard where Patrick’s friends live. Back in the day, women prepared the dough, and mark it with their family insignia. The baker would bake it and those preservative-free 4.4 to 9 pound loaves would last 2 weeks.
Consider that this ancient oven hadn’t been used in 12 generations. Undaunted and well read on the subject, Patrick built the olive wood fire at 6:30 am and waited until the temperature rose to 900 degrees. Then he scraped all the wood and ash off its brick floor, thoroughly cleaned it out and when the internal temp was 560f stuck 16 loaves in and closed the oven door. As he patiently waited, shuffled the loaves around, and an hour and a half later, produced 16 loaves of rustic miche, which is French in name, and is baked in many parts of Europe.
Old world bread is whole grain and prepared over days. It’s not the same as present day bread that’s been stripped and chemically enriched. The simple ingredient list includes:
• 100% organic whole grain King Arthur Type 65 Wheat Flour, 65% wheat berry, bran and wheat germ preserved and 100% Organic Whole grain Rye.
• Alkaline water 9.7 pH (Patrick has his own alkaline system- he gets 20% more rise with alkaline water)
• Sourdough starter* and Sicilian sea salt
*Patrick uses a 140 year old gold rush (1878) starter from Ketchikan, Alaska gifted .20 kgms to him in 1986. San Francisco sourdough only dates back to 1949. Patrick always keeps 6 lbs on hand and has to keep feeding it.
The day before baking, all are mixed together for a short 5 minutes to make initial dough and then goes through a process that’s called autolyse. The autolyse sits for about 20 minutes while the flour and water interact, then starter and salt are added for the final mix. You can touch the dough, and see it’s alive, even bubbling a bit from the CO2 being generated by the yeast. It’s cool to see boule in it’s fermentation stage.
Bread connoisseurs will note the distinction between a San Francisco bay and fog yeast, and New York City yeast, and his Alaskan yeast made in Old Towne Orange because different lactobacillus in microclimates and water create distinct flavors.
The dough is then divided and shaped into boule then placed in a banneton or proofing basket made in France. Historically, the basket was wrapped willow in France. The basket has separation and is dusted with flour so it doesn’t stick, these create the lines on baked bread.
The dough is placed in a retarder, which is a refrigerator set at 39 degrees for another 14 hours. The dough will still rise and double in size and in the morning, he will turn it over and bake on hot stone in the oven at 440 degrees for 60 minutes. Patrick’s bread involves three fermentations. All in all, the fermentation process takes 48 hours start to finish.
This natural bread doesn’t require refrigeration because sourdough starter is a natural preservative, so his bread can last two weeks without mold, unless it’s 105 in the shade like today!
Grampy Pat’s miche bread is a hot item at the market. He’s been selling out since he started offering it. He recommends slathering it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, topping it with avocado and a little salt and pepper. It’s also good toasted with peanut butter.
These days, bread’s been demonized, because it’s made with a quick process, and the grains are stripped of everything that’s good, then chemically enriched. Grampy Pat’s bread is probiotic, and it’s a complex carbohydrate, a stable carb, that doesn’t turn to sugar right away, so no sugar spike.