For this week’s edition of The Kitchen Pass, we get up close and personal with our company’s resident bread maker, Jonas. He tells us a bit about how he got into cooking, where he draws his inspiration from, and why working in a tightly run kitchen appeals to him. If you've had the chance to taste his delicious loaves (as we hope you have!) you can tell Jonas puts care and consideration into everything he bakes. Lucky for us, he’s decided to share one of his favourite recipes so you can try your hand at bread making as well. Enjoy!
JG: I got into baking after spending years training in some great kitchens in Toronto and London. The habits I've picked up from being part of tight kitchens are invaluable. I have always appreciated working in disciplined, organized environments and that is what I found special about baking. Each day you begin from scratch; you can't rely on whatever you've made before to prove yourself so it becomes a new challenge every morning. The qualities that help you with consistency are experience and organization. It’s very methodical and therapeutic having a terrific bake but it requires having a great rhythm in your shift. Tasks have to fit seamlessly. When one dough is ready to shape, the other almost ready to pull from the oven, and if you’re a few minutes from mixing your next dough, things are looking good. Baking is all about efficiency.
I get inspired by travelling and tasting foods from different cultures. My favourites are gözleme in Istanbul, baguettes in Strasbourg, and khachapuri in Tiblisi. I love that on the corner of any side street, right beside a dimly lit oven, a baker will be using flour yeast salt and water just a little bit differently than the next guy, giving it unique characteristics, texture and taste. Bread is fundamental- it connects everyone.
One of the most eye opening places to explore for me was Tartine in San Fran. I spent a few weeks working with the wonderfully influential crew at Bar Tartine. The latest bread I'm obsessed with is inspired by them: roasted buckwheat and white whole wheat. The toasted earthy notes of the buckwheat groats infuse the dough as it's proofing, and the white whole wheat lends a bit of sweetness to the loaf. After it's baked and you crack through the crust, you're left with a rich nutty aroma. I usually eat a slice as a late night snack, toasted with a bit of butter, sautéed kale and goat Beemster.
Recipe: 1300g. Bread Flour 100g. Buckwheat Flour 150g. Whole Wheat Flour 450g. White Whole Wheat 80g. Poolish Pre-ferment Starter 450g. Levain 50g. Salt 200g. Toasted Buckwheat Groats 1550g. Water
Method: After your sourdough leaven is nice and ripe you mix flours, leaven, poolish and water. Let it sit in a covered container for 40 mins. Then add salt and adjust the hydration. It really depends on the flour you're using. You can run anywhere from 76-86% water to flour weight. It should feel smooth and stretchy, but not rip. Then fold the dough once every 40 minutes for about 3.5 hours. It should be about 2/3 larger. I tip the dough out on to the counter and cut it into 1250g. loaves, nice and gently rounded. Allow a small bench rest of 30-40 mins before your final shape, stretching so that the edges are nice and taught but not tearing. Then put the loaves in a basket lined with rice flour in the fridge over night. The next morning they come out of the fridge and stay at room temp while the oven is coming up to temperature. About 500F. Just before the oven gets loaded, the wooden peels get a small dusting of rice and whole wheat flours to help prevent the bottom from colouring too much. Then into the oven with a good blast of steam. I lower the temp to around 425F. The loaf should fill out nicely, and not collapse. If it does, it can usually be attributed to proofing too long or not shaping it properly. When the internal temp reaches 200, they are ready to come out and cool on a rack. It should give you enough time to run to the shop, grab a bunch of black kale and Beemster, and be back as soon as it's ready to slice!