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Domaine de l'Arlot bread

Posted by michele round on March 15, 2008.

Someone once asked me, knowing I was a keen cook, if I shared my recipes.

I smiled wryly because it would be hard to hold anything back after nearly nine years of writing a weekly column. It was an innocent but curious question because I don’t know anyone genuinely passionate about food who wants to keep anything secret that would deny pleasure to others. Keen cooks love to share, whether it’s food, experiences or great ideas.

This bread recipe comes from Domaine de l’Arlot in Burgundy (France) where it is made every day by the lady of the house, Madame de Smet. Madame, as you might imagine, entertains a lot of visitors to the highly acclaimed Domaine and needs food preparation to be as easy as pouring great wine. Now the recipe is yours to share because on a trip to attend a New Zealand Pinot Noir Conference I was given the recipe by Joan of Aurum Wines whose son Brook worked at Domaine de l’Arlot for a time and returned home clutching the recipe.

The cleverness of Domaine de l’Arlot’s bread is that you don’t have to knead it, nor wait around for the loaves to prove. The dough is made quite wet, leavened by a generous amount of yeast and proved in the fridge overnight. Next day you just take the bowl from the fridge, let it come to room temperature, form the sticky dough into rustic shapes and pop it in a cold oven set to 220C. As the oven heats up the bread proves. Fifty minutes later – eh voila! – a fabulously rustic French/Italian style bread with chewy texture and big holes, brilliant with a piece of ripe Brie and glass of, appropriately, pinot noir.

I’m going to make this bread, again and again, using different brand flours, a little more or less water depending on weather conditions, adjusting the time spent out of the fridge before shaping and experimenting with other shapes until Domaine de l’Arlot’s bread is truly at one with my local conditions. I trust that you’ll want to do the same.

The Recipe

Domaine de l’Arlot’s bread

1 kg strong unbleached bread flour (Lowan’s is good)
1 tbsp instant yeast
1 tbsp salt (please don’t be tempted to use less)
950ml lukewarm water
extra flour for dusting and shaping
Place the flour, yeast and salt in a very large bowl. Mix in the water to make a quite wet, sticky dough. Use your hands to mix around well. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.
Next day, take the bowl from the fridge and leave it to come back to room temperature. Prepare two flat trays by lining with baking paper and sprinkling generously with flour.
Using a dough scraper remove the dough from the bowl to a floured bench. Cut the dough in half. With floured hands lightly shape each piece into a round. Place the dough on floured trays and press/pull lightly into flattish ciabatta shapes. Flip them over so that the wrinkled, floured sides are now on top. Place the trays in a cold, fan-forced oven set to 220C. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on wire racks.

Pinot Shop is located in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia at 135 Paterson Street down at the river end near Cataract Gorge, Stillwater Restaurant and The Mill Providore. We specialise in the best of premium pinot noir as grown so beautifully in the cool climes of Tasmania, New Zealand and southern parts of the big Australian continent. Our love for pinot extends to its sibling styles pinot gris and grigio and fizzy cousins sparkling wine and Champagne, even when they don’t contain pinot noir. That’s not to say we’ve become too exclusive - we also stock an interesting range of delicious wines for those (rare) times when you’re not drinking pinot…
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