While the rest of the world may be striving to recreate Chad Robertson's cult status country bread, the breads that caught my attention when I first read through his Tartine Book No. 3 were his dense pan loaves, resembling my favorite German Volkornbrot. I adapted his toasted barley loaf recipe to my pantry supplies from Lonesome Whistle Farm and Camas Country Mill, using cooked emmer (instead of barley), flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and Red Fife wheat flour instead of spelt and einkorn.
Packed full with all this particulate matter, the dough felt like wet concrete, as the recipe describes. And although never destined to rise above the rims of the baking pan, it achieved the lofty goal of living up to my German bread memories. My starter and I will be moving on to attempt some airier levain breads, inspired by a recent visit from wheat breeder Stephen Jones, who runs what the New York Times describes as "a Wonka-esque wonderland for crusty, airy-crumbed experimentation," but I know I'll be returning to this seeded pan loaf recipe again for its dense delivery of flavor.
Seeded Emmer Pan Loaf
adapted from the Toasted Barley Loaf from Tartine Book No. 3
200 g emmer berries cooked in 400 g cold water
250 g Red Fife or other high protein whole grain flour
157 g buttermilk
10 g dark malt syrup
238 g water
155 g leaven (well fed bread starter, described here)
8 g fine sea salt
102 g flax seeds
52 g sesame seeds
45 g sunflower seeds
1. Two days before you will bake the bread, give your stater an extra feeding halfway through its 24 hour cycle to make it extra active. Also go ahead and cook your emmer berries, simmering and covered, for about 40 minutes, until they have absorbed all the liquid. If you like, you could toast the emmer berries on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes before cooking. Cool completely before using.
2. Start the dough the morning of the day before you will bake the bread. In a large bowl, combine the leaven with the buttermilk, malt syrup, and water, and mix by hand to incorporate. Add the flour and mix by hand until thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest, covered, in the bowl for 30 minutes (this is the autolysis step). Add the salt, cooked emmer, and seeds and continue mixing by hand until incorporated. The dough should have the feel of wet concrete.
3. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen fowl and let rise at warm room temperature for about 3 hours (this is the first proofing). Every 45 minutes or so, fold the dough to strengthen the gluten network, either with your hands as shown here, or if you are less ambitious, with a scraper as shown here.
4. Butter a loaf pan very well. Scoop the dough into the pan and smooth the top with wet hands. Let the dough rise in the pan, uncovered, at a warm room temperature. Cover the pan with a clean, dry kitchen towel and let rise overnight in the refrigerator (this is the second proofing).
5. The next day, preheat the oven to 425 degrees C. Use a pair of scissors to make shallow cuts in the top of the loaf to score and brush with water. Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 210 degrees F. Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for at least half a day before cutting. The bread keeps well for up to one week properly wrapped.