Monday, 16 June 2014

Burgundy Grape Cluster Bread

The Bread of the Month for the Bread Baking Babes is Beaujolais Bread from A Passion for Bread by Lionel Vatinet.

Beaujolais Bread

Beaujolais is a red wine from the Beaujolais Region of France. Beaujolais is part of what’s considered the Burgundy wine region, but instead of using Pinot Noir grapes like the rest of the region, Beaujolais is made from the fruity Gamay grape.

Every year, on the third Thursday in November, at one past midnight, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau are shipped around the world. This event marks the first fruits of the harvest of Beaujolais Nouveau.

These wines are barely given time to ferment so they are easy-to-drink, fruity wines that are as close to white wine as you can get. The wines go well with food, especially ham and cheese and even Thanksgiving fare (the event falls close to Thanksgiving in the U.S.)

In his book, Lionel shares how he spent his youth surrounded by a vineyard at his grandparents’ lovely stone house near the Rhone region of France. He created Beaujolais Bread, which is shaped like a grape cluster and filled with salami, to pay homage to the first grape harvest of the year.

To celebrate the release of Beaujolais Nouveau each year, Lionel recommends that you serve this bread and invite guests to pull off a “grape” to enjoy with their glass of wine.


Burgundy “Grape Cluster” Bread

Beaujolais BreadI called my version Burgundy Grape Cluster Bread because I used Pinot Noir instead of Beaujolais. I couldn’t find any Beaujolais. The Pinot Noir was described as “lush and velvety” so I pictured a lush and velvety, burgundy-colored dough.


Adapted from A Passion for Bread by Lionel Vatinet

Makes: 1 large cluster of rolls

Ingredient Volume Weight Baker’s %
Home-milled white whole wheat flour* ~3 1/2 cups 550 grams, sifted = 452 grams 100%
Fine Sea salt 1 1/2 teaspoon 9 grams 2 %
Instant yeast 1 1/4 teaspoon 4 grams 1 %
Honey 1 tablespoon 21 grams 5%
Beaujolais Wine 1 1/4 cups, plus 2 tbsps. 320 grams 71%
Salami, room temperature, cut into 1/4 cubes ~1 cup 113 grams 25%

* I used 82% extraction flour. Extraction means the bran and germ are extracted from the whole grain flour to get to a lighter flour that is closer to the coarseness of regular bread flour. To do this, I milled white whole wheat berries into bread flour, then I took 550 grams and sifted it twice using a sieve. I ended up with 452 grams of flour.



Mixing the Dough:

Mix together the flour, salt & yeast in a large bowl. Add in the honey and incorporate into the dry ingredients using your hands or a Danish dough whisk. Make a well in the center of the dough and gradually add in the wine, in a slow, steady stream. 


Rotate the bowl as you add in the wine and mix the dough using your other hand. It might seem like you need three hands for this but it comes together fairly easily. Use a dough scraper to scrape the dough off your fingers and to gather all of the ingredients into a dough.  It will be slightly wet and sticky.

Transfer the dough to a clean work surface. The dough will be sticky, but resist the temptation to add flour to the work surface or the dough.

Lionel’s method for kneading wet dough:

He always says, “Your hands are your memory!”  If you use a stand mixer, you won’t know how the dough feels. You need to pay attention to how it feels as it comes together.

Hold hands, palms facing up, at opposite sides of the dough mass. Slide your fingers under the dough and lift the dough an inch or so from the surface. Squeeze your thumbs and index fingers together to form a tight OK sign through the dough.

While holding the OK sign, continue to curl thumbs and index fingers tightly together to pinch off a portion of dough. Working as quickly and smoothly as possible, moving the dough mass in approximately 1 to 1.5 inch increments, until the entire dough mass has been worked through. You should begin to feel the dough coming together.

Turn dough a quarter turn and continue lifting, pinching and turning until it begins to take on an identifiable shape and becomes less and less sticky; taking anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.  Resist the urge to add flour. A scraper is useful in collecting all the dough off the work area. Consider the dough kneaded when it forms into a ball. The dough should be soft, pliable and hold it’s shape; it should not be stiff and dry.

Form dough into ball: using both hands, lift front and fold over, quickly dropping it down to the counter. Repeat 4-5 times until a ball is formed. Use the scraper to ensure all the dough is gathered. Using the palms of your hands, flatten the dough ball into a rectangle. Scatter the salami evenly down the middle. Wrap the sides up and over salami, pinch dough together, turn and repeat until the salami is incorporated.

Form into a ball. Again lifting from the front, fold it over onto itself in one movement then dropping down onto the counter. Repeat 4 to 5 times until ball forms. Using your scraper to be sure all the dough is gathered. The dough should no longer be sticky. If it continues to be sticky repeat the folding process until it is no longer sticky.


Beaujolais-Bread-9-1 Beaujolais-Bread-9-2
Beaujolais-Bread-9-3 Beaujolais-Bread-9-6

Bulk Fermentation

Due to the addition of the wine, the fermentation time is extended to three hours.

Place the dough, seam side down in a large container and cover with plastic wrap. He recommends that you can use a glass container so you can watch the dough will its rising.

Let the dough ferment in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.

Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Remove the dough from the container and place it onto floured surface. Pat it into a thick square using your fingers. Lift the two right corners and fold into the center patting the seam lightly. Lift the left two corners and fold into the center lightly patting the seam down. Repeat with the top two corners and the bottom two corners meeting in the middle patting down the seams.

Return the dough to the bowl seam side down, cover and return to a warm draft free place for about an hour. Repeat this process one more time. Total Time: three hours.


Scrape the dough onto the counter and allow to rest 30 seconds.

If the dough is very sticky at this point dust your hands with flour but do not add additional flour. Use the bench scraper to lift the dough if it sticks to the counter but do not pull and do not stretch the dough. Press the dough into a rectangle 12 inches x 5 inches. Be sure the dough is not sticking to the counter by lifting it to gently up. Cut the dough into 16 equal pieces with the bench scraper.


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Roll 15 pieces into a small ball shape for rolls, the last piece will become the grapevine. Create a triangle by setting four balls together in a line followed by a line of three balls then two balls and finally one ball. Angle the remaining four balls to one side of the triangle so that the entire piece resembles a large cluster of grapes with the smaller one to the side.

With the last piece of dough roll it into a rope about 10 inches long and shape it into a curved grape vine shape that you attach to the top of the grape cluster. Dust with flour.


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Final fermentation

Final fermentation may take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. Set the timer so that you can record the time it takes for the final fermentation. If the dough over proofs, it will be unusable.

Place the baking sheet in a warm, draft free place. Determine if the dough is ready to be baked by uncovering and making a small indentation in the center of the role with your fingertip. The dough is ready to be baked if the indentation slowly and evenly disappears.


Prepare the oven for hearth baking by placing a baking stone on the bottom rack and a iron skillet on the top rack of the oven. 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. for at least 20 minutes.

Carefully slide the parchment paper (with the rolls on it) onto the pre-heated baking stone and remove the baking sheet. Place three to four ice cubes in the iron skillet to generate steam.

Bake until the bread is golden brown and has a thick crust. The total bake time should be about 25 to 30 minutes.

Transfer the cluster to a cooling rack for at least one hour to cool.

Beaujolais Bread


Thanks to Tanna for choosing this beautiful bread for our bake this month.


Check out how the other creative Babes handled the dough:

The Bread Baking Babes (current dozen) are:

Would you like to be a Bread Baking Buddy? Just make the Beaujolais Bread and then send Tanna your link  (refer to the info in her announcement post).  Submissions are due by June 29th.  Once you've posted, you'll receive a Buddy badge for baking along.

I hope you will join us!

Happy Baking!


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