Pâte Fermentée from ‘The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook’

Every week, Yahoo Food spotlights a cookbook that stands out from all the rest. This week’s cookbook is The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and Julia Turshen. Read more about Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week here.

Photograph by Jennifer May

by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and Julia Turshen

Makes about 1¼ cups (risen and deflated)

Pâte fermentée is an ingredient in many recipes in the lean and enriched doughs chapters. You need to make it eight to 24 hours before you bake your bread. This extra step extends fermentation time and allows you to achieve a light, flavorful loaf with less yeast. Pâte fermentée contains the ingredients of simple French bread dough—flour, water, yeast, and salt—so, in a pinch, you could bake and eat it. Unlike other types of pre-ferments, such as levain, pâte fermentée does not impart a sour flavor to the bread. Instead it adds depth of flavor and extends the shelf life of your bread. If you make bread often, you can save the trimmings from lean doughs to use in your pâte fermentée. More likely, if you are making a Rustic Batard, Traditional Challah, or any number of the breads in this book, you will mix a batch of the pâte fermentée the day before, then refrigerate it until you are ready to bake.

½ cup plus 1 teaspoon lukewarm water
⅔ teaspoon active dry yeast
1⅓ cups plus 1 tablespoon bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt 

Put the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, then add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes until combined into a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

Refrigerate the mixture for a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 24. (There is no need to return it to room temperature before using.) 

If you’re measuring the pâte fermentée rather than weighing it, be sure to deflate it with a wooden spoon or with floured fingertips before measuring.

Reprinted with permission from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and Julia Turshen (Clarkson Potter).

The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and Julia Turshen. (Photo: Jennifer May)

For baking inspiration check out our Pinterest 

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