This is an exciting bread I have been baking all year. Its striking visual aspect of black on yellow rewards the eyes followed by the two tastes of nuanced squid-ink with pine nuts and saffron-onion-potato in highly hydrated dough wrapped around an outstanding potato-garlic pudding. Although it sells very well, making this dough is always a study in patience and dough fortitude for me as I fight the primal thoughts of wallowing in a giant batch of mud.
I’ve been doing bumble bee breads for some time now, here is a blog entry from long ago. This baking session, I made over twenty loaves. The key for me is to get this dough on trays to proof as fast as possible. I’ve also found that flouring the bottom of the dough dulls the colors more than I liked. Here is a video of the bench-mixing process. The potatoes and onions were already cooked with the saffron and fell apart nicely in the dough.
and here is more…
After the kneading, I let the dough rest then it was time for the cutting. This is where the high hydration became an asset. I’ve found that strips of different filled dough adhere nicely (given enough time to proof).
The oiled trays were filled with the strips, covered with wrap and I put them into a cold fermentation stage for almost 48 hours.
When I pulled the cold fermented dough out, I was able to cut sqaure (ish) strips. The tough part about this process is not getting too much of the black dough in the yellow. It is a constant battle with sticky gnarly dough but is worth it. Once I got the squares cut, I filled a line of ground Yukon Gold potato and roasted garlic pudding inside the square topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.
Now is the fold; the most crucial part of making this batard.
After a gentle roll and lift. I adjusted the batard and let it proof on a parchment fitted tray.
I made three slits in each loaf to let the steam out.
I am very happy with the bullet-shape of these batards after cooking at 550 degrees. Then I completed with some stingers.
My friends at Cantrell Honey sold me some great light Russian Olive honey and I infused a boatload of Paper Lantern chilies at 130 degrees. This honey luxury heaven turned into a hellish sweetness that made me beg for mercy but kept me coming back for more like a workout with a good Dominatrix without the whip marks… just sayin’!
In each slit, I put a large chunk of Cantrell honeycomb for shits and giggles with the stingers of Paper Lantern infused honey as… the stingers!
Once cooled, the crumb exhibited a moist cakeness, (Is that a word?) without giving up the irregular cell structure of a great bread. The pudding brought a nice éclair-like texture with a garlicky savor of potato and matched well with the pignoli and especially the saffron. This bread, as they say these days, “has a lot going on.”
So, until I bake some more bumble bee batard this spring, I’ll just have to deal with the dull, drab brown crunch of pizza and bread crumbs.