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Floydm

I am still trying to develop a recipe for cream buns something like the scones from Murchies in Victoria, BC (see my previous posts on the topic here and here).  What I baked yesterday turned out awfully good and, if memory serves me right, is along the same lines of what they serve at Murchies.


Cream Buns


Cream Buns


Cream Buns


It is worth mentioning that I've been using my Lesson 1 recipe as the basis for this, with substitutions (milk and cream for the water, add some sugar, etc).  Though by itself that recipe is nothing special and one I've abandoned baking as it is written there, it still is frequently my starting point for experimentation.


My recipes was roughly:


3 cups bread flour


1/3 cup sugar


1/2 cup warm milk


3/4 cups warm heavy cream


1 1/2 teaspoon salt


2 heaping teaspoons instant yeast


1/2 cup dried currents


I started with less liquid than that  (1/2 cup of each) but the dough got pretty tight, so I poured in more cream and worked the dough with wet hands until it got to a state I was comfortable with. 


I mixed it in my standmixer for quite a decent time, 8-10 minutes I'd guess.  I gave 90 minutes for the bulk fermentation, cut and shaped the dough, and then another 60 minute final rise.  I baked them around 25 minutes at 375.


Looking back at my photo of the Murchies scone, they were a bit yellower.  perhaps I'll add an egg or some butter the next time I try to make these so they come out more brioche-y.  These were very good though, both hot out of the oven and for breakfast the next day.


*      *      *


While making these I remembered that one of my favorite baked items in France this summer, the little Briochette they sold in the grocery stores there, are fairly similar to these.  There is the assumption here that the way to appeal to Americans is to make things sickly sweet.  I could be wrong, but it seems like there is a missed opportunity here: were I a purveyor of baked items I'd try putting out something soft, less sweet, and with a good shelf life, something that a parent wouldn't feel guilty feeding their child.  The closest thing I can find in grocery stores around here are the King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, which our kids devour every time we buy them.   Sprinkle in little bits of chocolate, currents, raisins, or dried cranberries, maybe come out with a whole grain version -- Moore's Flour Mill in Ukiah, CA used to make these whole wheat raisin buns that were to die for -- and I think you'd have a real winner.

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Floydm

I think I fed my sourdough starter once this summer.  I thought for sure it was a goner, but I fed it last Saturday night and, lo and behold, Sunday morning it had nearly tripled in size.  It baked a great looking loaf.


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Floydm

As I mentioned the last time I posted, after a visit there I decided I needed to figure out how approximate the scones at Murchie's in Victoria, BC.  I tried two recipes last weekend that were very similar except one was yeasted and the other was unyeasted.  The unyeasted one came out very good and, while light and creamy, had the crumbly consistency I typically experience with scones.



I used the cream scone recipe here but substituted currents for the cranberries.   


For the yeasted recipe, I came up with something like this saffron bun recipe, leaving out the saffron and using cream instead of milk and butter.



These were delicious but too rich and heavy.  Next time I'd use maybe half cream and half milk and bump up the amount of yeast I use.


I'm pretty sure now that Murchie's scones are not traditional baking powder raised scones but instead yeasted cream buns.  They really nail it so that they both taste light and rich at the same time.  It is going to take a few more tries, but I think I'm heading in the right direction.

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Floydm

We just spent a weekend up in Victoria BC. 



As you can see, it was beautiful.  We had a great time.  I have a new obsession now though:



The current scones at Murchie's Tea & Coffee (on the right) were unbelievably good.  We had them with tea in the afternoon the day we got there and I had to go back to have another the next morning.  So light and totally different than the biscuit-like scones I am used to.  


I've been told that using cream that is already whipped and folding it into the dry ingredients is the secret to scones like these. I will figure out how to bake them or something very like them... oh yes, I will... and share my findings here.

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Floydm

Actually a few of these are from Montpellier too, like the first few:









Macarons are all the rage.



This bakery had the dark baguettes set aside for people like me who like them that way.




Breakfast.


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Floydm

We just got back from our first trip to Europe with kids, our first trip overseas in nearly twelve years. We spent most of it in southern France but flew in and out of Paris.


As you can imagine, I made all kinds of plans for hitting bakeries while passing through Paris.  We got in on a Sunday and left Paris early Monday though, so most bakeries were closed.  We did find one that was open in the neighborhood we were staying in, which was on Rue de Lombards, one of the gayer streets in gay Paris.  Coincidentally it was also pride weekend, so the bakery was baking up special treats.



We headed to Montpellier after that, where I had a lot of really good though not incredible bread.  I wasn't so envious of the quality of the bread, which was comparable to what you can find in a good bakery here, as I was the abundance:  whereas we have four or maybe five good bakeries in all of Portland, every five or ten blocks in Montpellier there were decent bakeries.  Every the baguettes they sold in the grocery stores were quite good.  And cheap.  And I really loved these:



Nothing fancy, obviously, but mildly sweet chocolate brioche that you can find in every grocery?  I'm extremely envious.  I wish we had breakfast buns readily available that weren't as syrupy sweet as doughnuts or Danishs.  The closest thing I can thing of here is Kings Hawaiian Sweet Bread which is quite good but not the same.




When we returned to Paris I tried to arrange to hit some of the better known bakeries but didn't have much luck.  We got sandwiches from Pain D'Epis and I snapped a few photos but it was the middle of the day and we were headed to Les Invalides, so I didn't buy any of their breads.  They were nice looking though.








Julien was the bakery we went to the most.




Gosselin, which I tried to visit. Unfortunately it was being remodeled.





Oh yeah, and I wanted to head over to Poilâne on our final day in Paris but opted to take the kids to the Pompidou instead, but noticed they had Poilâne bread in the local grocery store.  So I tried it this way.



 

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Floydm

I was preparing to make a couple of loaves of French Bread this weekend when I noticed we had some pesto sauce in the fridge that I needed to use up.  I went ahead and dumped it into the mixer to see what would happen.




Well, it definitely turned green.  The flavor?  Not bad, but not as compelling as I'd hoped.  It  seems like something is missing... maybe bits of sun-dried tomatoes?  Or cubes of mozzarella and salami mixed in?  Or parmesan cheese melted and browned on top?  I'm not sure.  It is worth further experimentation with this, but I don't feel like I've struck gold yet. 


My formula (or at least my notes, since this was one of those "measuring everything by the handful" kinds of recipes).


Preferment:


1 cup AP flour


1 cup water


1/8 teaspoon instant yeast


 


Final dough:


All the Preferment


16 oz AP flour


10 oz water


1 teaspoon salt (less than normal since I figured there was quite a bit in the pesto)


1 teaspoon instant yeast


1 cup pesto sauce


Enough additional flour to make the ingredients bind together properly (which in my case was nearly 1 1/2 more cups, but it would be less if your pesto was less runny).


 


 

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Floydm

Today was the first time since before the Haiti earthquake that I was able to bake much of anything. 


Today's breads


I baked a three seed sourdough (poppy, sesame, and flax) and an Italian bread (a pinch of yeast, some sourdough starter, and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil).  Both batches turned out very well and my starter proved to be amazingly resilient.


BTW, remember the fundraising tool I was working on for Mercy Corps that community members here helped test back in the fall?  It got written up in the NY Times a couple of months ago.  Thank you again to everyone who helped with it.  It has been a tremendous success and helped fund a lot of excellent projects we are doing in Haiti.   

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Floydm

Thank you to the many TFL community members who have shown support for Mercy Corps' response to the disaster in Haiti.  Your support means a great deal to me. 


Overall we've had tremendous support from donors on this one.  It you hit Amazon.com today you'll see they are listing us as the preferred charity.


On another note: remember how I was saying TFL was exactly 5 years old yesterday?  Some members contacted me about having a hard time reaching the site this morning.  Guess how long I registered the domain "thefreshloaf.com" for?  5 years.  Can you figure out who forgot to renew their domain?  Geez, what a dumb thing to do.  Happily no one snatched it up and the domain has been renewed, so thefreshloaf.com should be safe for another five years.

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Floydm

This evening I was planning on doing a longer post about how I set up and made the first post on TFL 5 years ago today and how I couldn't have imagined that it'd blossom into what it has become.  I was also going to share photos of a cute little bakery in my hometown that my mother sent me, but as you've likely heard a terrible earthquake hit Haiti this afternoon and my employer, Mercy Corps, is scrambling to organize a response to the earthquake.  We of the fundraising team are doing all we can to raise funds promptly and get the word out that we and partner agencies are responding immediately.  So I'll keep it short and just note the anniversary, offer my sincerest prayers for the people in Port-au-Prince, and take it as another reminder to count my blessings at every opportunity.


Floyd

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