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News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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MadAboutB8

 


Easter is almost here and it means the long weekend is not far away. Easter is the longest holiday in Australia and it is even longer this year. The Easter Monday falls on our national public holiday, Anzac Day. So, we end up with 5-day long weekend. I'm so looking forwards to the short break and mini getaway.


These poor buns have been through lots of trauma. I didn't know that my convection oven was broken until after I put the buns in the oven (it actually heated to 70c, enough to kill the yeast grrrr). So, I pulled the buns out after few or five minutes and retarded them overnight, hoping that I could sort out the oven issue and bake them the next day.


Well, the oven (convection mode) was still broken...and I had to bake the bread using grill mode (well, grilling bread won't work, breads will be burnt before it's cooked!), then cover them tin with the foil after 5 minutes, then turn the tin upside-down to bake the bottom of the bun. Yes, they've been through a lot. Lest not forget, they were retarded after they had been in the 70C oven for few minutes. So, I am glad that these bun are still edible.


In fact, they tasted lovely regardless. I love Hot Cross Bun and can have them all-year round, Easter or not. I love the spices in the bun, fruits and peels. It's gorgeous.



I used Hamelman's recipe from Bread cookbook and changed it somewhat. I included sourdough starter (15% of total weight), replaced 10% of bread flour with whole wheat flour, using raisin instead of currants, using mixed candied peels instead of chopped citrus zest. I also changed the paste recipe somewhat (omit egg and reduce the amount of butter, and reduce the total amount of the paste suggested by Hamelman by 50%). I also used my homemade apricot jam mixed with water as a glaze instead of simple sugar syrup.


This is a very good recipe producing flavoursome Hot Cross Buns. I will have to redeem myself and give these buns what they deserve (proper dough handling and baking mode),  I will have to make these again before Easter.


Full post and recipe is here.


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

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MadAboutB8


Somehow, durum flour eluded me. I thought that fine semolina was durum flour (given that they're both comes from durum wheat). I thought durum flour was called fine semolina in Australia. 


Thank to Sylvia (SylviaH) for pointing it out in her blog post together with pictures that they're totally different. I then just knew that I had made semolina bread all along with fine semolina thinking that I got the right ingredient (mind you, the breads tasted lovely and the crumb strucdture was fine with fine semolina as well). 


So, I was very excited when I finally found the durum flour at an Italian grocer. First recipe that comes to my mind was pugliese.


I used the recipe from Peter Rienhart's BBA, with 40% durum flour. The dough hydration is 77% without considering mashed potato. I also included about 20% mashed potato in the recipe (recipe only calls for 12% but I got the more from the left-over). So, the effective hydration could very well be close to 90% if taking into account the liquid from mashed potato.


This was the wettest dough I worked with so far. It was far too wet to knead, so I had to do the stretch and fold in the bowl for a number of times to develop the dough strength. It was fascinating to see the dough structure changed from pancake-like structure, to develop membrane and bond together. Ahh, the wonder of wheat!



The bread was lovely and chewy. Semolina tasted somewhat different from wheat, it's nuttier and sweeter. I also wonder what the flavour profile would be like if made using sourdough culture instead of yeast?



For full blog post and recipe, you can find it here.


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com 

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MadAboutB8


I was still trying to use up the coconut that was approaching its use-by date. Apart from making Cherry Ripe macarson the other week, I was thinking about coconut bread.


Trying to replicate the coconut bread from an Asian bakery that we love (it's buttery bread with random moist coconut filling throughout), I was thinking about making the bread into babka-shape with the coconut butter filling. I also made half of the batch into coconut rolls baked in a muffin pan.



This might not sound like traditional babka with one layer twisted dough, coconut filling and no struesel, it probably looks like one. Babka style shaping does make the bread pleasing to the eyes.


My house were filled with the wonderful aroma of coconut when the bread was being baked. With its sweet, creamy and toasty aroma, coconut is one of the most aromatically appetising food item, in my opinion.


Full post and recipe can be found here.


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

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MadAboutB8


My effort to try finishing some of our massive bag of potatoes continues. This time I was hoping to use up 2 kg in one go.


I love potato and rosemary in bread (they're great as pizza topping as well). Potato gives tender and mild sweetness to the crumb. Rosemary gives fantastic aroma to the bread. The two work together perfectly.


I adapted recipe from Peter Reinhart's BBA. I also included some cheddar cheese into the bread rolls and reduce the amount of salt by 40% as a result. Less salt in the recipe made the fermentation so much faster. I was surprised at how much effect salt has in the fermentation.


We had the rolls with potato soup, which worked perfectly. It might sound like a potato overload, bread & soup. However, the potato taste in bread was rather subtle, it's hardly noticeable.


The recipe and more photoes are here.



Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

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MadAboutB8

Continue my weekend baking with rye bread. This weekend's bake was sourdough rye with walnuts and raisins. The bread has 35% rye flour. The recipe came from Hamelman's Bread cookbook.


I followed Hamelman's recipe by including commercial yeast and skip my usual overnight dough retardation. One of the advantages of including commercial yeast is a a shorter fermentation schedule. It only took 3.5 hrs to have the fresh loaves from the mixing.


I increased Hamelman's recipe to 2 kg for two 1-kg loaves (about 25% increase from Hamelman's recipe). This bread is flavoursome with natural sweetness from raisin, crunch from walnut and earthiness from rye. It was great toasted (the walnut aroma was wonderful when toasted).


More photos and recipe can be found here.


 




Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com


 


 

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MadAboutB8

My mission to practice making croissants continues. Fourth-time was indeed a charm. I was quite happy with the result and felt that I was on the right track. There could be a number of factors contributing to better outcomes this week.





  • Different butter - I used Danish style cultured butter this week. The butter texture is different. It was much more pliable, softer and creamier, which, in my opinion, made it easier to laminate into the dough.

  • Practice make perfect - though I'm not anything near perfect, but practice does help tremendously. I started to get into the rhythm and know what I should do and don't.

  • Room temperature - the week before, room temp was sitting around 28C. This week it was a comfortable 20c range. It made all the different with laminating the dough, the butter stay solid without melting.

  • I rolled the dough more carefully and rested the laminated dough frequently during the rolling of each turn. I also rested the dough longer between each turn (1 hr this week against 20 minutes last week's).


As I like trying new recipes, I made half of the croissant dough into bear claw, a croissant pastry filled with frangipane and shape like a bear foot. The recipe comes from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook. It tastes lovely with nice almond flavour and moist interior.



I also had lots of croissant dough scrap from all the trimmings. Instead of throwing that in the bin (which I hate to do), I made them into a pesto croissant baguette. Though, the baguette wasn't as flaky as croissants (given that they were dough scrap bundled together), I was surprise that it was reasonably flaky and tasted rather nice.


 


For a more photo and recipes, you can find it here.


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com


 


 


 


 

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MadAboutB8


Another weekend baking with 20% rye bread. This time I made the bread using white starter. I still continued retarding the shaped loaved overnight. I was aiming to reduce the sour flavour in the bread I made last weekend (same 20% rye and retardation, but with rye sourdough starter).


I also added chia seeds into the dough. Chia seed was turned into gel after they were soaked, and the gel turned into liquid when baked (I believe). This made the bread really moist and chewy. The bread turned out nicely with good oven spring. I was happy with the taste using white starter. It didn't have the same strong sour flavour as last week's.



I baked two loaves, one in pan and the other as a free-standing loaf. They were both baked at the same time, same temperature. It's widely recommended to bake the bread in loaf pan at slightly lower temperature (to get the softer crust and not to overbrowning them, perhaps). However, baking the loaf-pan at the same temperature as a hearth bread worked fine for me as well. The crust was soft with a good oven bloom. The crumb was also relatively open and moist. I believe it worked as the bread is lean bread, without sugar or fat. So, it didn't have any overbrowning issues as a result.



I also tried new steaming method from Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread book. This steaming method was in the baguette baking section. He suggested this method as the baguette won't fit into the combo cooker. Soaking wet towels were place in the tray while the oven is preheated. The wet towels are removed after 15 mins of baking. I combined this method with my usual, boiling water in cast iron pan. This method had created a lots, lots of steam. So much so that my smoke alarm went off, and kept going off everytime I opened the oven. It also gave a nice shiny crust, shinier than usual for me.



For a full post and recipe, you can find it here.


 Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

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MadAboutB8


My learning path of baking with rye flour continues from last week where I started baking light rye sourdough with 15% rye flour. This week I increased the rye percentage to 20% and added sunflower seeds and grains (millet and pearl barley) to the bread.


The method and recipes were largely similar to last week's. I also continued retarding the dough overnight. So far, there has been no issues with retarding low percentage rye bread. The loaves turned out nicely with nice and open crumbs, no gummy texture issue of overfermenting.



However, these breads were quite acidic, which I was not sure if it was due to the higher rye percentage & long fermentation. Or if it was something to do with the starter. Or if it was double effect of long fermentation and caraway seeds that lift sour flavour in rye. I plan to do a bit more experimenting this weekend, by removing caraway seeds and change the starter to see if the bread will remain highly acidic.


Note: if you like a sour sour sourdough, you would like this bread. I personally like bread with a balance of flavour. Though, my partner quite enjoyed this bread.


Full post and recipe can be found here.


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

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MadAboutB8

It's the third time lucky for me making croissant. Well, sort of.


I think my third time yielded decent croissants but they are still far from what I want to achieve. I'm now on the mission to practice making croissants every week until I can make it well. My partner is quite pleased to learn this, as well as our neighbors who are more than happy to be guinea pigs.


There are some issues with this bake. The temperature was too warm to work with butter and dough lamination. So, I ended up chilling the laminated dough overnight, then shape the croissants first thing in the morning when room temp was around 27C. The dough was fully fermented and butter was set, which made it a little difficult to roll. This could contribute to my not-so-flaky croissants.


I used the recipe from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook and halved the recipe. The recipe used pre-ferment and has about 58% hydration. I also made pain au jambon (inspired by the same menu item at Tartine Bakery) using half of the croissants. Pain au jambon tasted very good. Because ham and cheese were rolled inside croissants, it infused the flavours into the pastry and created nice internal moisture, the salty buttery goodness.


Recipes and more pictures can be found here.


 With me-made strawberry jam, perfect for breakfast


 


 Pain au jambon, inspired by Tartine Bakery


 my croissant and Mr Chad Robinson's


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

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MadAboutB8

I have just started to move to Sourdough Rye bread section of Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread book after baking from the book for several months. I like the flavour that rye adds to the bread, the tang and acidic taste.


All recipes from rye bread section of the book require instant yeast in addition to sourdough starter, which I was so curious that I put a post in TFL asking what are the reasons behind it and if rye dough can be retarded (Hamelman didn't' give an option to retard any of rye dough in his book). I usually retard the dough in the evening and bake in the morning as it suits my schedule better and long fermentation provides better flavour. 


Thanks to Mini, Andy (ananda) and Sam Fromartz who gave wonderful advices to the post. I'm new to working with rye flour, those insightful advices were really helpful for me getting on the right rye track.


Light rye bread with 15% rye flour sounds like a good choice to start my rye-learning-path. The bread also contains 1.6% of caraway seeds, which lift the sour flavour of the bread even more.


I followed Hamelman's recipe roughly. I did retard the dough overnight so I omitted the yeast, increase percentage of rye sour in the starter built and increase fermentation time to compensate this.


I have to admit, even though I was assured by Mini that bread with 15% rye  can be easily retarded, after I retarded the dough, I was in bed thinking and wondering if the bread would be alright, what if it was over-fermented and turned gummy texture. First thing when I got up was to check on the doughs. It was a huge relief to see that the dough was alright, phew.


The bread turned out nicely with nice and open crumb and I am happy to report that this type of rye bread can be retarded.


More details and recipe are here.



I also made Portuguese Custard Tart last weekend, with home-made puff pastry. I usually made rough puff pastry instead of the classic one as it is much quicker and less complicated, yet the end result is relatively similar, the same buttery and flaky goodness with 50% less work.


The pastry post is here.



The puff pastry was also used for making chorizo pissaladière (the French take on Italian pizza).


 Rough puff pastry gives a decent layers with much less work


The pastry post is here.


Sue


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

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