Photography and Recipe by Claudia Anton, The Sugarologist www.thesugarologist.com

Makes enough for one large round bread wreath and one smaller loaf

This bread is made using a pre-ferment technique which helps produce more flavour and structure to the loaf by proving a portion of the total dough overnight at a cool temperature. I like to use organic ingredients where I can, but if you can’t source these it will still work out absolutely fine.  It is pretty big and will feed a large gathering of people while leaving enough for a little sample loaf to snack on.

Ingredients

For the Pre-ferment:

380g organic bread flour
105g organic rye flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon raw sugar
7g (1 sachet) dried instant yeast
400ml lukewarm water (28-30 deg C)

For the bread dough:

1 quantity pre-ferment (see above)
380g organic bread flour
105g organic rye flour
7g instant dry yeast (1 sachet)
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar
3-4 teaspoons ground cardamon seeds
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
zest of one large orange
350ml lukewarm water
1 cup dried blueberries (if you can get hold of dried lingonberries, a mix of half-dried blueberries and half dried lingonberries is also very yummy)
Juice of one orange

To dust the proving basket:

100g plain flour
100g rice flour   – mixed together

extra flour for dusting

Method

To make the pre-ferment.

Start the bread 8-12 hours before.
In a large bowl mix together the bread and rye flour, salt, sugar and yeast.
Use a whisk to combine all the dry ingredients together well.
Make a well in the centre and add the warm water. Use a spoon or spatula to mix the water with the flour until most of the dry ingredients are wet.
Using a dough hook attachment, knead the dough using a stand mixer on medium speed for 6 minutes until smooth. You may need to stop and scrape the dough down from time to time. It will be quite a wet dough.
Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand in the bowl by lifting and stretching and folding it until smooth.
Move the dough to an oiled large bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour. Knock down the dough before refrigerating it overnight for 8-12 hours.

Soak the dried fruit in orange juice and leave it overnight in the fridge. Take it out the morning of baking to come to room temperature.

 

The next day:

Take the pre-ferment out of the fridge an hour before making the rest of the dough.
Toast the coriander seeds in a heavy fry pan over medium heat. Allow to cool before grinding them using either a spice mill or mortar and pestle. (ground coriander can also be used but will have a less intense flavour)

For the dough:

In a large bowl combine the bread and rye flour, salt, sugar, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, orange zest and yeast.
Mix well with a whisk until combined.
Make a well in the centre and add the pre-ferment dough followed by the water.
Mix by hand initially to moisten the dry ingredients – this stops flour flying up everywhere when using a stand mixer.
Knead the dough using a stand mixer on medium setting for 6 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
This step can also be done by hand, kneading the mixture either in a bowl or on a floured bench until smooth and elastic. It will take about 8 minutes. The mixture will be quite moist.
Move the dough into an oiled large container and allow to prove in a warm place, covered in cling film or a damp towel until doubled. (1-2 hours)
Drain the soaked berries on paper towel.
Dust a ring-shaped proving basket liberally with a mixture of 50% plain and 50% rice flour.
Preheat the oven to 250 deg C. Place either a baking stone, a heavy oven tray, or upturned fitted oven tray in the oven to preheat in the centre of the oven
Place a rack above this to hold a baking tray or pan of water, and place the empty pan on the rack to heat up.
When the dough has risen sufficiently, gently empty it onto a floured bench and mix in the blueberries until they are evenly distributed.
Measure six, 250g balls of dough using a scale. Using floured hands, form six smooth balls by gathering up the edges of the dough toward the centre and pressing them together.
Turn the balls over and gently cup and roll them on a bench until the top surface is smooth and tight.
Any leftover dough can be shaped into a boule or baton.
Gently roll the smooth side of the balls in plain flour before placing them, smooth side down, around the proving basket ring.
Allow the dough to prove for 30-60 minutes until visibly risen. (about 1 and a 1/2 times its volume).
On a flat tray, place a large piece of baking paper. Sprinkle lightly with flour.
Gently turn out the ring/wreath of dough onto the paper lined tray.
Use a scoring lame or razor blade to carefully cut a ring on top of the wreath, and a vertical slit on the side of each ball.
Slide the wreath along with the paper onto the hot stone or tray in the oven.
Quickly pour a cup of water into the hot pan above the bread.
Close the door for a few seconds then open and throw another cup of water in the base of the oven. This can be repeated again after a short period.
Bake at 250 deg C for 20 minutes.
Turn down the oven to 230 deg C and bake for another 10-15 minutes until well browned and hollow when tapped.
Cool the wreath on a wire rack before cutting. Don’t be tempted to cut it too soon, allow it to sit at least half an hour first.
This bread is delicious still warm with plenty of butter and can be eaten with savoury or sweet toppings. Blue cheese or a soft brie also go particularly well. Any leftovers are great for toasting.