The shape of a bread is probably the best indicator of its provenance and ingredients, short of having the recipe in hand. Shaped like a stick and scored decoratively? Probably a French baguette with nothing more than flour, salt, water, and yeast. Flat, wide, and heavily floured? Probably an Italian ciabatta, hydrated much more than your standard dough. Looks like a gigantic Hershey’s Kisses? Uh, wheat, rye, and cornmeal sourdough from Galicia?
So Pan Gallego de Centeno is not exactly iconic to most people outside of Galicia. What can I say? I like trying out obscure regional recipes.
One look at the picture above and it’s immediately obvious that it bears no resemblance to Hershey’s Kisses. It looked fine just before baking (see below), until it decided to explode once settled on the hot baking stone.
Even if it didn’t look as I hoped it would, the crusty results were good enough for me. The burst top turned into a crisp crust with varying degrees of burnt edges; it was easily the most enjoyable part. The interior was fluffy, chewy, and lightly scented with caraway, arguably the best spice to complement rye breads. The small amounts of cornmeal were noticeable only towards the end of chewing, giving the loaf a nice textural finish that lingers until the next bite.
Pan Gallego de Centeno
Galician Rye Bread
makes one large round loaf
- This formula was adapted with major adjustments to the amounts of salt (cut in half) and the baking time (more than doubled). The following formula stays true to the hydration in the original recipe but the instructions were completely revised to use Peter Reinhart’s epoxy method.
For the Soaker:
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams dark rye flour 2 1/2 cups 11.25 319 cornmeal 1/2 cup 2.25 64 salt 1/2 tbsp water, room temperature 1 1/4 cups 10 284
Mix the soaker ingredients until evenly hydrated. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
For the Wild Yeast Starter:
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams starter (100% hydration) 4.5 128 bread flour 3 1/2 cups 15.75 447 water, room temperature 1 scant cup 7.75 220
Mix the wild yeast starter ingredients until a shaggy ball of dough is formed. Knead the wild yeast starter for about 2 minutes or until evenly distributed.
Place the wild yeast starter in a bowl and cover. Let rise at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours or until doubled in size.
Remove the wild yeast starter from the bowl and knead lightly to degas. Return to the bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Let the wild yeast starter sit at room temperature for 2 hours before using in the final dough.
Final Dough Formula:
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams all of the soaker, cut into small pieces all of the wild yeast starter, cut into small pieces bread flour 1/2 cup 2.25 64 salt 1/2 tbsp instant yeast 4 1/2 tsp .5 14 lard, softened or olive oil 2 tbsp 1 28 caraway seeds 2 tsp
Final Dough Instructions:
Mix Mix all of the ingredients until evenly incorporated Knead 8 to 10 minutes Rest 5 minutes Knead 1 minute to further strengthen the gluten Bulk Ferment 45 to 60 minutes at room temperature in a lightly oiled bowl, or until 1 1/2 times its size Pre-Shape tear drop shape or a boule with a twisted top
Preshaped Galician Rye dough
Rest 5 minutes Shape If pre-shaped into a teardrop, make a round loaf, such that the pointed end is on top. If pre-shaped into a boule, make a twist in the center to form the Galician "cap." Final Proof approximately 45 to 60 minutes at room temperature Preheat Oven 475ºF/246ºC
Will it hold its shape?
Steam 1 cup of boiling water poured in a heavy steam pan (preferably cast iron) Bake Lower the temperature immediately to 425ºF/218ºC. Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the loaf if necessary and lower the heat to 350ºF/177ºC. Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until richly brown on all sides and the loaf registers at least 200ºF/93ºC in the center. Cool At least 2 hours