Cilantro Cassidy and the Sundance Ham

For the bread of the week I’ve got an outlaw guaranteed to turn heads, with a taste that will make you smile. You’ll love the melding flavor profiles of lemon, smoky ham and fresh cilantro of this fougasse.

Avalanche General Manager Joel Fair showing off one of these great fougasse.

First, I took a butt-load of cilantro (stems and all) and threw it, unchopped, into a mass of 30 percent high-gluten flour, 40 percent poolish (made with 80 percent spelt flour), and 20 percent of my  Levain (or starter) that I fed for a week prior.

All I needed to complete this already wet dough was the 10 percent water, salt, commercial yeast for the kick, olive oil and a little help from an organic barley malt  to make this an Avalanche bread thrill.

The ham is from my friend Rich Blazer at Harmony Hollow farms. He’s got some awesome Heritage pork and hams and is an Athens Farmers Market stalwart, especially here in winter.

Okay Mr. Goon, so what does this bread taste like?

The first bite sends the spicy cilantro off his horse and into the mailcar.

Then the lemon zest blasts the safe into smithereens.

These strong flavors have the loot. The salty Sundance ham rides beside the railcar, with its meaty texture, and saves them both. Dag, whose shoes are those?

Altogether this bread releases a broad range of flavor: spicy, steely, salty and refreshing, all in a heavily-hydrated dough I’ve aged for two days, affording the gluten net to strengthen around the ham, zest and cilantro. This time also enables more gas to form, thus producing a killer crumb structure. (Joel’s checking it out below.)

Stop on by sometime to try this bodacious fougasse… but please don’t bring the Mexican Army.

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