Bread in the shape of a stunning crown is just one of many creative ways to express not only a baker's signature, but also a culture's traditions. The ancient art of bread making is once again so uniquely evidenced with simple steps of shaping and molding this stunning French bread, called Couronne Bordelaise. Definitely a beautiful and delicious showstopper perfect to serve at any occasion, celebration, or meal. Let's get started!
450 grams pasta di riporto / leftover dough from a previous bake (optional)
18 grams salt
PreheatThe Gusto Wood Oven to 475°F - 246°C and place two empty pans inside to preheat. These will be used to create steam for baking the Couronne.
Pour most of the water in a large bowl. Make sure to reserve just a little water to incorporate the salt later on.
Add the 'pasta di riporto' or left over dough from a previous bake to the water. Brake it up by massaging the dough while squeezing it in the water with both hands. Adding the 'pasta di riporto' is totally optional, but it adds great depth of flavor and is also an additional leavening agent.
Add the yeast to the mixture as well, and stir. The yeast will quickly hydrate and dissolve.
Incorporate the flour into the water and bring everything together until all dry flour is no longer visible and the dough is somewhat shaggy in appearance. Cover and allow the dough to rest for about 15 minutes.
Stretch and fold the dough, cover, and allow it to rest for an additional 15 minutes.
Pour the small amount of leftover water over the dough, and sprinkle the salt over the entire surface. Pinch the dough with both hands to incorporate the salt, as shown in the video.
Cover the dough and allow it to rest for an additional 15 minutes.
When time is up, transfer the dough on the lightly floured work surface and work it for 2-3 minutes.
Finally place the dough back into the bowl, cover it and allow to rise in the refrigerator overnight.
The following day, remove the dough from the refrigerator.
Dust the work surface lightly with flour and transfer the dough on top.
Since the amount of dough is enough for two Couronne, divide the dough into fourteen 100 grams balls (7 small balls for each Couronne), and two 150 grams balls (these will be placed in the center of the Couronne). Some dough will be leftover and can be used either for the 'pasta di riporto' for your next bake, or perfect for two small pizzas for dinner.
Shape each small piece into tight dough balls. Do the same with the two large pieces, as shown in the video.
Now place one of the large dough balls on a dusted work surface. Arrange seven of the small ones around the big one leaving ample space to rise without touching. It should resemble a flower. Do the same with the second one.
Lightly dust the tight dough balls with flour and cover them with a cloth to keep them from forming a dry skin. Allow them to rise at room temperature for about one hour.
Flour the Couronne proofing basket, or banneton. Set aside.
Once the dough has been able to rise, roll out each large center ball into a thin, round disk. Place the rolled out dough over the raised part of the banneton, as shown in the video. Make sure that the disk stretches all the way to the midway point between the cup and the edge of the proofing basket.
Carefully brush olive oil only around the edge of the rolled out dough, as shown in the video. This will allow the edge to lift up and separate creating thus the resemblance of a crown.
Reshape the rest of the dough balls to create once again good strength and structure. Place each small dough ball onto the stretched out disk with the bottom looking up.
Lightly dust the surface once again, cover, and allow to rise one more time for about 35 minutes.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, then gently, but quickly flip the two basket onto the lined baking pan.
Place steam into the cooking chamber by pouring hot water in the preheated pans previously placed in the oven.
Immediately slide the pan with the two Couronne inside the oven and bake for 15 minutes. At this point remove the pans containing the water and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until the crust becomes a nice golden brown. Enjoy!