Some years ago I made a bread from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book in which yogurt was used as a simple way to add some sourness to the bread. I remade this bread earlier this week following the instructions, and was disappointed by it. It was OK, but nothing special. I decided to remake the same basic bread, but handling it more like I usually make bread. Thus I replaced the all-purpose flour with high gluten flour, replaced some of the flour and water with sourdough starter, reduced the yeast and increasing the rising time, increased the temperature and shortened the baking time, and provided steam at the beginning of the bake. The differences are pretty dramatic between the second attempt (photo at the top) and the first attempt (photo immediately below.
Here is a picture directly comparing the first attempt on the left and the second attempt on the right. Notice the greater rise and better crumb structure on the second attempt.
1 tsp. yeast
8 oz. 50/50 sourdough starter (i.e. 4 oz. of flour and 4 oz. of water by weight)
1 cup yogurt
4.33 oz. (1 cup) rye flour
9 oz. (2 cups + 1 Tbs.) high gluten flour
1-1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbs. toasted wheat germ (optional)
Start making the dough the day before the bake.
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid stand mixture, and mix with a dough hook until a relatively smooth dough is formed. Periodically scrape down the sides with a spatula to ensure that all the flour is well incorporated. Knead the dough briefly on a smooth unfloored surface until a smooth dough is formed. Put the dough into a doubling container and place overnight in a refrigerator.
The next day, remove the doubling container from the refrigerator and place it on a kitchen counter until the dough has doubled. Punch down the dough, form it into a ball, and place it in a well-floured banneton (a wicker bowl which imparts a nice design on the bread). Allow to double. About half an hour before the second rising is finished, place a baking stone or steel in the middle shelf of the oven and a 12-inch cash iron frying pan in the lower shelf of the oven. Heat the oven to 475 degrees.
When the dough has completed its second rise and the oven is fully hot, boil about a cup of water. Put a piece of baking parchment on the top of the banneton, and reverse the dough on to the baking parchment. Score the dough with a sharp knife in an x-pattern, about ½ inch deep. Put the bread and baking parchment in the oven on the baking steel. Pour the boiling water into the frying pan (being careful to avoid scalding) and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 18 minutes until the crust is deeply browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove the bread from the oven and put it on a wire rack, allowing it to fully cool before cutting it.