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Pain de méteil

Méteil is the word that French speaking people are using to designate a mix of cereals. For bread, this is referring mainly to the mix of wheat and rye. Originally this word referred to crops of mixed grains with the target to benefit from the lands that were not rich enough. The weather influenced the development of one or another cereal guaranteeing in the end that at least one would have been successful. This practice lost its popularity with the technological progress and of course with the people preferences in choosing the white bread as a luxury one.

Pain de méteil was usually sold much cheaper as it was not reaching the qualities of the pure white wheat or pure rye bread. Little did they know back then that the healthiest bread was not made from white wheat flour.

With time, the word remained in the language and with the new wave of rediscovering our ancient flavors, it gets more and more popularity (maybe not in the sense of the crops mix but in the flour mix).

I saw long time this braided bread and I had it on my wish list to make. When you say méteil, people now think of 50% wheat and 50% rye and I followed these proportions as well. Hydration of this bread can vary between 65% to 80% but keep in mind that due to the high content of rye, this bread is much denser. The gluten of the rye is very weak and does not mirror the properties of a white strong wheat flour when it is kneaded / raised. The dough is rather a paste than a dough. You cannot stretch it properly and you can barely fold it. It deflates very easily when shaped in a more advance stage in proofing so better to handle the dough early in the fermentation.

You might notice a lot of disadvantages but wait... did I mention that for this bread I used only organic flours that make this bread very healthy? Did I mention that this bread combined the flavor of whole wheat with the one of rye? It might be denser but it is healthy and very tasty. The aroma of the rye is strong in this bread and despite the long known fame designating this bread as a low quality one,  what you get is a very rich bread.

Hard to describe the taste and aroma of this bread and as I do not sell the breads that I make, the only option for you it to make one yourself. ( unless you find a special boulangerie from where to buy it )

Here is the recipe...

Ingredients:

  • 175g rye sourdough (100% hydration)
  • 475g organic demi-gris flour (can be replaced with whole wheat flour or 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour)
  • 475g organic rye flour
  • 640g water
  • 18g salt

Directions:

  1. [Day 1, Friday, 22:00] Scaling. Start by measuring the ingredients. 
  2. Immediately after,  mix water with only demi-gris flour. Mix just until well combined. 
    Cover the bowl with a lid to avoid the dough to dry at its surface. Leave the dough for the autolyse overnight.
  3. [Day 2, Saturday, 10:00] Sourdough starter + rye flour. The next morning, add the rye flour and the starter over the dough and knead for 8 minutes with a standing mixer or by hand. Then, leave the dough to relax for 30 minutes.
  4. [Day 2, Saturday, 10:30] Salt. Incorporate the salt and knead for 5 minutes with the standing mixer. Then cover the bowl and let the dough to relax for 30 minutes.
  5. [Day 2, Saturday, 11:00] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl, put it on a floured table board and divide it in 2. Stretch and fold each piece as you can and place them in 2 bowls. Let them sit covered for 2 hours at 27ºC.
  6. [Day 2, Saturday, 13:00] Shaping this bread is more special. You need to fold the dough from one side, rotate and roll to form a cone. Then, with a rolling pin stretch the base. Cut the stretched part in 3 on the long side, and then again each part in 2 but not to the very end. Braid the 3 parts and flip them over the remaining cone. Place the loaves on baking sheets and support them with a towel to control its shape during proofing. Let the loaves raise for 2 hours at 27ºC. This is the final fermentation phase.
  7. [Day 2, Saturday, 15:00] Preheat the oven with a baking stone inside until it reaches 270ºC. This takes about 45 minutes for me. Under the stone, place some lava rocks in an old pan that will be use to create steam. Bake at 270ºC on the hot stone for 15 minutes. For steaming, pour 150g of hot water on the hot lava rocks to create steam. Close the oven door as quickly as possible to capture the steam inside. Be careful at this step as the hot steam can cause burns. As a trick, I use a teapot to pour water far from the hand. No ventilator should be turned on in the oven in this first phase as you need to keep the steam inside the oven. After these 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 220ºC, turn on the ventilator of the oven to release the steam and continue to bake for 30 minutes.     
  8. [Day 3, Saturday, 15:45] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches the room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course.
  9. [Day 3, Sunday, 17:45] Cut. Now you are ready to cut and eat the bread. Do you want to try it? 

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