Pain Cordon de Bourgogne is quite magical. A couple of pieces of the dough are twisted together, placed in the bottom of the banneton or brotform, and the shaped loaf is place on top of it. After the loaf is inverted and placed in the oven, the twisted dough "cordon" (cord) creates a natural place for the bread to split open without the need for slashing.
Its origin comes from the followers of Francis of Assisi, and the name comes from the cordeliers, the men who tied their humble robes with cords as a symbol of poverty (the Bread Lab).
With most crusty breads, you need to choose where you'd like the loaf to split open where baking, and to do that, you slash the unbaked loaf with a razor or sharp knife just prior to baking it. Alternatively, you can just let the loaf decide for itself where to split open (which can sometimes result in side blowouts).
In the case of this bread, the cord causes the bread to split on either side of it. Why does it do that? I'm not sure why, but check out this video from BreadLab. It's pretty magical.
The original recipe calls for "high extraction" flour. To create this flour, you sift whole wheat flour to remove much of the bran. If you don't have the patience for that, you can substitute a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and white flour.
To create a steam environment, I baked this on a baking stone and covered it for the first 20 minutes with an upside down disposable foil baking pan sprayed with water. This was the first time I tried this method, and I was really happy with the results.
My friend Ralph from The Netherlands introduced this bread to the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook group. The bread is soft and flavorful, and makes amazing sandwiches and toast. It's perfect for hot corned beef or pastrami.
Pain Cordon de Bourgogne
Adapted from Bread Lab
300 grams bread flour
125 grams high extraction flour, or a 50/50 mix of white and whole wheat flour
75 grams rye flour
Place all of the flour mix ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to combine.
150 grams 100% hydration sourdough starter
100 grams of the Flour Mix
90 grams of lukewarm water
20 grams of buttermilk
1 1/2 g instant yeast
Mix all of the poolish ingredients together, cover, and let rest for about 90 minutes, until bubbly and doubled in size.
40 grams buttermilk
170 grams water
400 grams of the Four Mix
12.8 grams salt
- Add the buttermilk and water to the poolish and stir.
- Pour the ingredients into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and add the flour. Mix into a rough dough with your hand or a large spoon. Cover and let rest for about 30 minutes.
- Add the salt to the dough and and mix it in by hand or in a stand mixer for about 3 minutes. Cover and let rest for about 15 minutes.
- Knead the dough again for about a minute with the mixer, or two minutes by hand.
- Form the dough into a ball, cover it, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
- Place a baking stone in the lower third of your oven, and preheat it to 475 degrees F.
- Remove about 75 grams of the dough, shape it into a ball, and set it aside.
- Shape the rest of the dough into a batard or boule.
- Dust your proofing basket with lots of flour (Ralph recommends rye flour).
- Divide the small ball of dough into two pieces and roll them out to thin strands that will run the entire length of your basket. Twist the two pieces around each other to look like a rope or cord. Place the cord along the bottom of the basket with the ends draped over the sides.
- Place the loaf, seam side up, on top of the cord and fold the ends of the cord over the dough. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 60 to 120 minutes. You will know when it is ready when you poke it with a floured finger. If it springs back immediately, it still needs some time. If it comes back slowly, it is ready. If it doesn't come back at all, you have over proofed the dough (bake it anyway, but handle gently so it doesn't deflate).
- Place the dough onto a parchment lined peel and place it on the baking stone. Cover with the foil baking pan or a large metal bowl. Alternatively, you can set up your oven with a steam pan and add a cup of hot water right after loading the bread.
- Bake the loaf for 20 minutes at 475 degrees F, remove the cover, and reduce the oven temperature to 410 degrees F, and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is well browned and the interior of the bread reaches at least 200 to 205 degrees F.
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