It is 15 September, and schools started today after the summer. Waiting for the bus, I was passed by parents with immaculately dressed children, pulling shiny new trolley backpacks. It is still warm, but summer clothes are on the wane, at least in our neighbourhood. Women are wearing more black, definitely less pastels, but with tiny chic sweaters, or little scarves draped against the morning chill (19C). There was also a small bus strike today, so things are back to normal. The next strike, announced for 1 October, will be more noticeable – unless the weather forecast is really bad, in which case the strike may be postponed. Always an adventure!
Anyway, back to bread. I had great intentions of reviving my sourdough starter this weekend, but Sunday arrived, with no progress. My sourdough starter has been abandoned in the fridge since mid-August. We got home late after trying a new pizzeria (Pizzeria Ostiense, with piazzaioli who used to work at Da Remo in Testaccio – excellent thin Roman pizza both places) and I simply forgot….. So I made Nigella’s Ricotta Hotcakes for Sunday breakfast, and baked this loaf instead, slightly impromptu.
September oatmeal bread with cracked wheat
50 grammes oatmeal
50 grammes cracked wheat
50 grammes golden flax seeds
150 ml boiling water
300 grammes white wheat flour (I used 00)
140 grammes whole wheat flour
60 grammes rye flour
(Alternately, just use 200 grammes wholewheat flour)
2 tsp dry yeast (10 grammes or so)
400 grammes water
8 grammes salt
Pour boiling water over the cracked wheat, oatmeal and flax seeds. I use golden flax seeds, but regular brown ones would be great here too. Soak for an hour or so. Alternately soak this all the night before in cold water, if you are a bit more organized. I was not.
Now, add dried yeast and salt and water. Mix well, then add salt. Leave to rest ten minutes, then fold dough. Leave to rise for an hour or two, depending on your kitchen temperature. It is 27C here midday, so it was quick. Fold again, and shape dough. Move it to a banneton, covered (I used baking parchment in the banneton, with a plastic shower cap to cover it. Leave to rise for 1-2 hours, until it has risen nicely.
Pre-heat oven to 230C. Slash the top of the dough, 4-5 cuts, and lift the dough over to a shallow baking tin. It is a sticky dough. Bake 45 min or so, uncovered, until the loaf looks golden brown and done. Remove from oven and cool before slicing.
Notes: This was proofed a bit too long, as I had to wait for the washing machine to finish before turning the oven on. Oh, the joys of Roman electricity…. It is like rock, paper, scissors, but with washing machine, dishwasher, oven, iron ….. And the electric kettle trumps everything. Two of anything, and the fuse blows. We are used to running everything in sequence. Still, the bread was tasty, though not the prettiest loaf, and very good for sandwiches. I might try this again in small loaf tins. And I WILL feed my starter soon!