I’ve been a Facebook Friend of Luisa Jane Rusconi for several years and have found her a good source of ideas for theft. Not sure how she would describe herself but probably Swiss/Italian and as such has access to traditions and cultures beyond my own limited sphere.

When I responded to a photo she posted last week saying that looked like my type of bread, she sent me the recipe with orders to “spread the bread love”. So that’s what I’m doing.

Bracidèla is a bread from Grisons, a Swiss canton where rye predominates (so I am told).

This is the recipe she sent:

 166 g semi-white flour
2 g dry yeast
180 g water
prefermented-dough is incubated for 8 to 18 hours.

240 g water
160 g rye flour
160 g semi-white flour
5 g yeast
10 g salt
3 g aniseed

Knead the ingredients.

After the dough has risen, which takes 30 to 45 minutes, it is given the shape of a doughnut. It is necessary to give the dough the typical shape of poschiavino homemade bread, the doughnut, by rolling a 600g piece of dough with the palms of the hands. The result is a sausage about 35 cm long. This is curved and the ends are joined by pressing them together to form a doughnut.

The individual doughnuts are placed on the boards of a special rack and covered with a cloth to allow the dough to continue rising for 15 to 30 minutes.

Make two deep cuts on the three sides of the bread.

For baking in an electric oven, count about 40 minutes at 200° C.

So, you’ll be surprised to hear, the first thing I did was convert it to sourdough.

I put together a formula based on the weights supplied by Luisa Jane (ignoring the yeast weights). Had to adjust the flour weights upwards a little. The recipe calls for the dough to be divided into 600g pieces so the table above just gives you the amounts for a single loaf.

The bread is in two stages, a prefermented dough which is added to the main dough after maturing for 8-18 hours. So, the evening before the main mix, I refreshed my starter and made up the preferment (which is so similar to my starter that I’ve called it Starter 1).

The Strong Bread Flour has 15% bran added and the Rye is home milled wholemeal. Starter (2) is 100% hydration.

Next morning: my usual hand mix: 3×10 kneads at 5 minute intervals, 4 hours fermentation with hourly folds. Divide the dough, roll the pieces, join the ends to form a circle, prove for 3½ hours. Slashed and baked for 45 minutes in the Pico, 250C top-220C bottom, steam for first 15 minutes.

Being a professional cynic I wasn’t expecting anything special, in fact I thought the bread would probably be quite heavy. But it was amazingly good: light, thin crispy crust, soft open crumb, good flavour – with that hint of aniseed.

Plus it looks good.

For a sourdough version it would make sense to amalgamate the two starters from the beginning which is what I’ll do next time.

I think I owe you a favour Luisa Jane Rusconi. The rise of the sourdough preacher.

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