Two Christmases ago we were staying in Bath which is Sue’s home town and it was even colder than it is here now. I found a copy of Dan Leader’s Local Breads and bought it because I can’t pass by bread books. It’s written for beginners but I thought the methods were hopelessly overcomplicated but then bread books either suit you or they don’t. Basically he wanders round Europe in awe of all these master bakers whose traditions fade back into the mists of time. Sadly they always seem to be hiding in the mists of time when I try to buy a loaf in France.
Anyway the one recipe I was interested in was the Seigle d’Auvergne because it had this weird method which involves pouring hot water at 46C over the starter – a temperature which would cause most bakers to worry about the survival of their yeast. Never got round to it.
Then, last May, we had a quick week in Nice and the mists of time cleared long enough for us to find an excellent baker at the West End of the Flower Market and, even though it’s nowhere near the Auvergne, he did a fantastic Seigle d’.
During the past two years of baking for sale I haven’t really had the energy to try out new recipes except on baking days and then anything has to pretty much fit into the routine of overnight fermentation plus four hours prove the following day. This is more an hour plus an hour plus two hours. So when I came to try it out, even though I realised it wasn’t going to work, I followed the method exactly, ended up with a cannon ball and binned it.
Fortunately, idling through the forum on the Australian sourdough site (www.soughdough.com), I found a post by a guy who styled himself LeadDog who said that the Dan Leader book had a number of errors in it, but he’d actually gone to the trouble to sort out the method.
So, top of my list now I’ve got a bit of space in France, was LeadDog’s version of the Seigle d’Auvergne. I had to guess 46C (just a bit uncomfortable for my hand to dangle in) and wet rye is a sod when you’ve only got a soup spoon for mixing and a table knife as a scraper, but I was well pleased with the result.
LeadDog (whose name is Duane Jardine from Paso Robles, California) has his recipe posted at http://sourdough.com/blog/leaddog/classic-auvergne-dark-rye and also on his own blog at http://oakflatsourdough.homeunix.com/index.php/2009/Bread/classic-auvergne-dark-rye.html
Thank you, Duane.