Though I have attended a writing residency at this same college in Santa Fe three times, eaten in the college cafeteria three times a day for ten days in each of the three visits–that is 90 times I have had a chance to see this poster on the wall of the cafeteria—and only today do I marvel that Joe Ortiz, the writer of my favorite baking book, is responsible for the bread art. How beautiful to see the rest of a room by its reflection in a glass of bread.
Here is one of my latest projects out of Joe Ortiz’s book. Fair warning: when I was mixing together the ingredients, I felt more like I might be making a fancy dinner for a flock of birds. Most of the ingredients here are basically birdseed.
adapted from The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz
(makes 1 round 3 1/2 pound loaf)
Soy bean mixture
1/2 cup organic (dried) soy beans (85 g)
1 cup boiling water (235 g)
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons; 1/4 oz) active dry yeast (1 1/2 tsp) OR one and half cups of sourdough starter
2 1/2 cups warm water (2 1/4 cup = 533 g)
1 cup organic rye flour (100 g)
1 cup organic whole wheat flour (130 g)
1 1/2 cups organic unbleached white (or all-purpose) flour (180 g)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (60 g)
All of the starter from the previous step
3 cups organic, unbleached white (or all-purpose) flour (420 g)
1 tablespoon sea salt (2 tsp)
1 tablespoon ground caraway seeds (1 tsp)
1/4 cup organic flax seeds (37 g)
1/2 cup organic millet (100 g)
All of the soy mixture
Glaze: 1 whole egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk
Place them in a small bowl, cover them with the boiling water, and let them soak for 10 minutes. Drain the beans and let them cool. Process the beans in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until they roughly chopped.
Place the beans on a cookie sheet and roast them in a preheated 350°F oven between 15 and 20 minutes, until they are completely dried out. Set them aside.
Prepare the sponge/poolish:
First proof the yeast, in a large bowl, in 1 cup of the warm water. When it is creamy, mix in 1 1/4 cups warm water and slowly add the rye flour, whole wheat flour, and 1½ cups of white flour by handfuls while stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon.
Set the batter aside, in a large bowl, covered with a dish towel, for between 8 and 10 hours or overnight.
Make the dough:
Proof the yeast in the warm water, add it to the risen sponge, and mix the two together. Start adding the flour, handful by handful, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. After all but 1 cup of the flour has been added (this will take about 10 minutes), turn the dough out onto your worktable, sprinkle the salt and the ground caraway over the dough, and incorporate them by kneading the dough for about 5 minutes while adding the last of the flour. The dough should be very moist.
Set the dough aside, covered, to rise for 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.
Flatten out the dough again and then shape it into a round loaf. This loaf is best proofed in a canvas-lined basket and then baked on a baking stone in the oven. It can also be placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let the loaf rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
Glaze the loaf with the egg and milk mixture and bake it in a preheated 425°F oven for between 30 and 35 minutes.