Ingredients

225g pears
550ml warm water
15g salt
500g organic white bread flour
200g organic rye flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
rolled oats, to sprinkle on top
FOR THE LEVAIN
1 tablespoon sourdough starter (from your local artisan bakery)
100ml water
100g organic rye flour
FOR THE SOAKER
100g raisins
80g rolled oats
160ml water

Instructions

1.Mix the levain and the soaker the day before, to allow good fermentation – this should take 12-16 hours at room temperature, but could be plus or minus 2 hours if it is warmer or cooler.
2.Mix all the levain ingredients in a bowl, cover with a breathable fabric cover or a lid with a small air hole and set aside overnight.
3.Follow the same method for the soaker, using a separate bowl.
4.Cut the pears into 2cm cubes and roast for 5-8 minutes at 180°C or until just softened but not starting to dry out.
5.The following day, check the levain – it should be airy and bubbly while still having some texture and structure.
6.Put the warm water into a large mixing bowl, add 200g of the rye levain, the salt and flours.
7.Mix until there are no dry clumps and scrape down the sides to incorporate until you have a shaggy dough.
8.Cover and rest for about half an hour.
9.Uncover the dough and add the soaker, roasted pears and spices, using your fingers to pierce the dough and evenly distribute the ingredients.
10.At this stage being rough with the dough is OK, as long as everything is well combined.
11.Wetting your hands, work carefully from each corner of the dough and fold it half way over on itself as if you were closing a book.
12.The dough should be smoother now and you should feel its resistance when you stretch it over itself.
13.Rest for half an hour.
14.Repeat this process for another hour, folding every half an hour; a total of three folds.
15.Grease two 1kg loaf tins.
16.Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flour your hands and the top of the dough liberally.
17.Carefully divide the dough in half and, working with the full length of the dough facing you, tuck the ends in slightly.
18.Now with the end of the dough facing you, fold this one-third into the middle, then use both hands to roll the dough up and away from you while retaining some friction.
19.Seal the seam of the dough by pinching it along the line where the two edges have met.
20.Place the loaves seam-side down in the tins.
21.Spray the tops of the loaves with water and then sprinkle with rolled oats.
22.Cover and leave in a warm place for 1½ -2 hours or until at least doubled in size.
23.During this time heat the oven to 180°C.
24.Once the loaves are ready, place them in the oven; if you have a lid or flush-fitting tray place this on top for the first 30 minutes of baking, then remove and bake a further 20-30 minutes until the loaves are well coloured.
25.To get a nice crust on the bottom and sides you may want to remove them from their tins and return to the oven.
26.Let cool completely before slicing, a minimum of 6 hours though overnight is ideal.
27.Slices can be frozen in an airtight bag.

Recipes Jack O’Donnell / Photography Amber-Jayne Bain

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