The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

PalwithnoovenP's blog

PalwithnoovenP's picture

This is the continuation of my sourdough viennoiserie series. This time I used AP flour for the dough. I also have some milk that is going to expire so that's what I used as the liquid. For all the levain builds I also used milk as the liquid and fed it with AP. 

Zhou Clementine seems to like milk and AP! She was very active, maybe the hot temperature (29°C) could add to that too. She started at just a quarter of the container this was the result just after 4 hours! I'm not use to my  levain being white in colour due to the milk and the bleached flour.

The dough is made with AP flour, milk,salt and oil. I also made it wetter than before for easier handling and to use the last bit of milk. I bulk fermented it at room temperature for 3 hours. Most croissant recipes do not do this but I have to because from past experience, my starter does not want to be put straight into the cold. The dough will be underfermented and the final proof will be very very long and the results will just be not good.

The dough doubled, and it was shaped into a square and put an hour in the freezer and 3 hours in the fridge. I have made my butter block earlier. I gave it un tour double et un tour simple then an overnight rest. The dough is still a bit too strong but much more cooperative than the last 2 times. I wonder if it's the sourdough and/or the bulk ferment that made it strong despite the use of AP.

The next day, I divided the dough into 2. The divided both into 3. For the first batch I filled them with the leftover crème pâtissière from my last bake and simply folded them over without any crimping. I mangled one and it was ripped but I still managed to pull it enough to cover the pastry cream.

They were baked super dark almost burnt because I got sidetracked and forgot to take them earlier but they were still delicious with a very very little bitter aftertaste to cut through the rich sweet custard. The crumb is not still not that good but it was soft and the crust was super crispy, shattery and flaky. 

For the second batch, I shaped them into petits bâtons. 

I proofed them eggwashed really well and they reached this point in just 3 hours at 31°C. I think this is really the best batch, the layers were clearly defined and this is the most expanded and jiggly batch that I've made. Maybe the secret is the super active levain and high room temperature.

They were baked in my clay pot for 20 minutes over live fire; flipped after 10 minutes. Two of them baked darker maybe because they were directly above the fire. No butter leaked and the spring and shape were good despite being flipped.

The crumb is definitely better! More open but there are still layers that stuck together because my lamination struggle due to the still strong dough. Next time I will knead less and let time develop the strength. Both versions taste a little richer than my previous attempts because of the milk, they were a bit softer too but just as crispy and flaky! Of course, the taste can't be beaten. Tangy and so so buttery! As I've said the sourdough tang seems to modify the buttery taste and make it more buttery.

Look at how flaky that crust is!

I'm also happy that the honeycomb look is starting to form and be obvious especially in this photos.

The new Miss Universe is... France!

Félicitations ! Miss France won Miss Universe here in my country in Manila (and Steve Harvey got it right!) so I think these French inspired treats are a perfect way to celebrate this moment historique ! When our country was eliminated, may dad and I rooted for France. Also, as a someone learning the French language, I listened to her carefully to see if I can understand even a little of what she will say and I find it cool that I was able to understand about 50% of what she said even though it was fast with many "modern" glidings like with je + verb (sorry, language loving part of myself is just taking over here) like in the "je pense" part. We're still very proud of our very own Miss Philippines!

À la prochaine !

Hanggang sa susunod!

Until next time!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Another laminated sourdough, as I've said I want to practice lamination in this short cold weather so here is another variation. This is a treat that you either love or hate! I'm a raisin lover (while some really detest raisins and I don't know why) and I love raisin bread in all forms so I decided to try this super deluxe version.

I want to call this Pain au Levain aux Raisins but I don't know which characteristic defines it more: the au levain or the aux raisins so I don't know which one should come first like Pain aux Raisins au Levain;  and the au could also be replaced with avec like Pain au Levain avec Raisins (should I add des or les?) but I feel the first one is the most appropriate but these names may also not may any sense! :P So I just stuck with a simple one.

I did my first levain build at night and let it sit for 12 hours, then the next morning I did the second build and let it sit for 5 hours. With the right schedule this time, the levain was very active! :P I then mixed it with bread flour, water, salt and oil until I have a non-sticky dough and kneaded it just until smooth. I made it wetter than last time and kneaded shorter. Then it goes  to a 3 hour bulk ferment at 27°C. Bulk ferment should not be too long for laminated doughs otherwise the dough will be too strong and difficult to roll out but from my experience my starter doesn't like a cold bulk ferment so I did a bulk ferment but kneaded less to avoid messing things up.

The dough did not double but it clearly increased in size. I then shaped it into a square the put it in the freezer for 2 hours for it to get cold. This "shaping into a square" is akin to a stretch and fold and adds further strength to the dough. I then made my butter block and put it in the freezer too for 15 minutes then to the fridge.

As before I only gave it 2 turns, un tour double et un tour simple. The dough despite being wetter and kneaded less is still too strong for laminating using just a steel pipe on a chopping board. I think I still messed with the  lamination and the butter layers were destroyed but at least it's better than last time!

I said this is a deluxe version of raisin bread because aside from being made with laminated dough, it also filled with custard and plumped up raisins. You can plump the raisins in any liquid like orange juice, syrups, liquors like rum or brandy but I wanted to try the simplest method so I just used plain hot water.

La crème pâtissière

Raisins plumped in water for 24 hours almost look like grapes!

Half of the dough was rolled out, spread with custard, then scattered with raisins, rolled into a log the cut into 6 with a sharp knife. This scene is already making me salivate, it feels like I'm working in a bakery.

I put it in my mini llaneras to proof. I spread some softened butter and sprinkled sugar on 3 of the llaneras as I've seen this variation for caramelized edges. It was a little cold that day so the proofing time was a little long, 4 hours. This time they were proofed right I think, they really expanded well and the layers are very obvious in the following pictures; proofed and unproofed.

These are the ones without sugar. The llaneras were just greased.

The were eggwashed the baked in my clay pot for 18 minutes using live fire. I tried to flip some them but the filling fell so I just let the others cook only on one side that's why the tops were pale but the bottom was really flaky and crispy. The ones with caramelized sugar are a little difficult to unmould because they got sticky and stuck a little to the llaneras.

Don't you just love this tempting scene? All puffed up with the butter boiling! 

Crumb is still a little dense and bread like but the crust was very thin, flaky and crispy! And the taste, wow! Very delicious, the sourdough tang made it taste more buttery! The raisins are very juicy and taste like an intensely flavored grape that goes well with the silky vanilla custard. Texture can still improve a lot but the taste beats anything bought at that store. It was getting dark so I used some artificial light here. :)

As I love the combination honey-raisin too, I made another variation with the other half of the dough with the raisins soaked in honey. They were shaped into bâtons too so they were readily distinguishable from the classic ones.

Honey soaked raisins did not plump up as much. I don't know if macerating them longer will do.

I divided this portion into 3 pieces. 2 spoonfuls of the custard was spread along with a generous amount of drained honey soaked raisins. I really like them overfilled like in pains au chocolat but this softer filling is a little more difficult to roll evenly and nicely.

They were also proofed for 4 hours in my greased llaneras. Here are also some proofed and unproofed photos. The difference was not very obvious in the pictures, they were almost overproofed I think which is good. They almost look hollow, expanded very well with defined layers.

                                                     The Llanera Army

          ...Proofed and ready to be baked!

I think these photos are unnecessary but I'm really amused with them so I decided to include them! :P The set-up is like a bakery assembly line. 

The honey raisin bâtons were baked for 10 minutes over live fire then flipped and baked for another 10 minutes still on live fire then another 5-7 minutes over embers.

Crumb is also a little dense and bread like (another use of artificial light here :P) but still separates when eaten and the crust is good. Flavor is the same as the first one, tangy that seems more buttery. The raisins are chewier and exploding with honey flavor which the custard also absorbed. Both versions rock!

I don't know what caused them to be dense. either the lamination struggle because of the very strong dough or the flipping. Maybe the dough is too dry too and some butter leaked during proofing because of too high a temperature; but no butter leaked during baking because they were proofed right. Another experiment to be made, maybe I'll try it with AP flour and knead less and make the dough a little wetter. See you all!

By the way, Miss Universe being held here is big news where the reigning Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach gets to pass her crown here in her homeland. We wish to watch all the beautiful candidates just for the experience but we can't even if the venue is near. Anyway, here is a "shocking" trivia told by my dad; the very first Miss Universe (1952) Armi Kuusela married a Filipino. I checked it and its true; she even surrendered her crown and did not finish her reign to marry him. My dad knows a lot of things. :) And that's your trivia of the day! :P

PalwithnoovenP's picture

My sourdough version of my croissants and pains au chocolat last year. Again, it was inspired by txfarmer's marvelous SD corissants but I want to make it 100% sourdough and I can't and don't measure precisely. Last year's version made with instant yeast was definitely prettier but this SD one had a couple of mishaps along the way so I can say it was still a successful bake to start the year! I made them in the shape of the pain au chocolat for a more even browning because that shape provides more surface area in contact with the llanera and not to mention faster and easier to shape in this hot climate. Since you cannot call them croissants because they are not crescents and calling a bread without chocolate pain au chocolat is senseless, I decided to call them petits bâtons or little sticks; I hope that makes sense! :P

I planned to split the process in 3 days. Make the dough and butter block on the first day; complete the lamination on the second day; and shape and bake on the third day. I planned to use a young (4-5 hour old one) levain to lessen the sourness in the final breads but you know at some point in our lives, we enter a zombie-like state because of stress and lack of sleep and do some things that we had no idea why we had done it; before the first day, I refreshed my starter and after 4 hours, I built my levain and fermented it for 12 hours at room temperature. Only when I woke up the next day that I realized that I should have done the the reverse! The result, a slow levain! Then a sudden trip that fell on the "baking" day, I have to complete the turns and bake at the same time on the second day. Everything was rushed so most of the steps did not go smoothly and resulted in some failures but with any croissant failure, it was still delicious.

Made the dough (Bread flour, water, levain, salt and oil) at night and underwent bulk fermentation for 3 hours before going into the fridge. I was in a zombie-like state again that night that I made a long bulk ferment and even made the dough too dry resulting in a very strong dough that is hard to roll out.

Next morning, I woke up at 10 AM and performed the first turn. After a 1 hour rest in the fridge, I performed the second turn. I only performed 2 turns, un tour double et un tour simple (at 27°C / 82°F). Because the dough was too strong, 1 hour is not enough to relax the gluten so I struggled a bit in the turns but as I said before, my steel pipe and large hands are great help and I was able to roll the dough to desired dimensions. 

The turns are complete and they are ready to be shaped.

After another hour, I shaped them like pains au chocolat and proofed them for 4 hours before baking. The dough was resisting in the final roll-out so I was able to roll it only to a short length then divided into 3 so they were short and fat and do not look like sticks that much. :D Now this is where the slow levain becomes a problem, before 3 hours is enough for my breads to be fully proofed but it's already getting dark and I don't want to cook outside in the dark and cold. 

We just saw another five-foot elapid near the outside kitchen just days before and that snake has a reputation for being very venomous so we want to be extra careful so I decided to bake them even though they were underproofed.

You can clearly see they were underproofed. They should have really expanded and the layers should have been clearly defined if they were fully proofed,

I eggwashed them and baked them in my clay pot for 20 minutes, flipped after 10 minutes. One more problem is I didn't remove the pebbles from the last bake, I thought they would provide thermal mass to help the croissants spring but I was wrong, they provided an "even" controlled heat  that delayed spring; works well for lean hearth loaves to avoid burning and provide a slow controlled sping, bad for croissants where you want a sudden burst of heat to make the butter boil and puff instantly. It's the reason why the ones in the first picture are denser, not evenly browned and has more pooled butter underneath (well it's a given because they were underproofed). The next batch without the pebbles were much better; flakier, lighter, more evenly browned with less butter pooling. Most of them unrolled and lost their shape, maybe it's because of underproofing as well.

At least the layering was obvious! I haven't had the chance to take a picture of the crumb because my phone ran out of battery; we didn't wait for it to charge anymore because these are best freshly baked. It's not bad at all, of course not honeycomb like and slightly bready but still light and flakes easily. The crust is crispy and shatters at one's touch. What I like most is how the flavor improved! The aroma was not that "yeasty kind" it a special sourdough aroma and the taste is complex; sweet and tangy that works well with the heavenly buttery flavor. For those who enjoy sourdough bread with butter, you will really like this!

I hope it will be better next time with the right timing, planning and a better state of mind! :P You will see more viennoiseries and more that require lamination from me for a short while because it will be cold (21°C-24°C) here for 2 months (the only two cold months out of twelve!) so I just have to take advantage of it! It's hot during the day (27°C-32°C) which is perfect for maturing the levain, bulk fermentation and proofing then doing lamination during the night.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

This is my yard sourdough before. I just gave it a nicer name, "Bakuran" means yard in Filipino and I called it that way because all of the influences of this bread came from our Bakuran. It is my best and favorite bread this year so I made another batch before new year. In the whole 2016, I haven't made a bâtard so before the year ends I shaped my favorite breads into bâtards!

I built my levain in 3 builds, it was very active and triples in 4 hours! This levain is literally escaping out of its house!

I divided the dough into 2 to make 2 small loaves and I proofed them in this festive bowls, straight out of the box. They were employed first for sourdough bread rather than, like, salad; how cool is that? They were lined with a handkerchief and dusted with sticky rice flour.

I got too excited and made the scoring too deep in one of them! I need to practice more!

They were baked in my clay pot for 30 minutes each again on a banana leaf over heated pebbles. I burnt the other one because I utilized some live fire. The pretty one was baked using only embers, I think that is the secret in clay pot baking!

Here is the pretty one!

The other bâtard...

I cooked some soup too so I used some bread flour in the loaves because I will pair them with some soup so the bread won't disintegrate. They were perfect!

We ate the one on the right for dinner and here is the crumb. It was soft, chewy, and moist. The crust was crispy and and slightly slightly chewy. I will let the photos do the talking! :D It was so messy to cut! The taste is sweet with a slight tang! Very delicious with the soup!

Our simple New Year meal.

I think Filipinos have the weirdest interpretations of "western" dishes. We call this soup sopas (probably from the Spanish sopa) and it is the Filipino version of Minestrone and/or chicken noodle soup. It is made with macaroni (or any pasta actually; we used penne because we could not find any macaroni), chicken, carrots, cabbage,and evaporated milk. It is seasoned with fish sauce and black pepper. Milk and fish sauce? It is really weird for some people but it tastes really good to us! I think our sweet spaghetti and cheese ice cream are the weirdest; they are the most hated of my American and other friends who have a "western" upbringing. I love them all! The soup is especially comforting because it's cold here, about 25°C.

And of course, you gotta have leche flan for dessert! Smooth, dense, rich, and creamy!

It's 11:59 PM here right now! It will be 2017 already! So Happy New Year to all of You! 

Manigong Bagong Taon sa inyong lahat! 

新年快乐!     新年快樂!

Bonne année à tous!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I should have posted this yesterday but I was just feeling uninspired to write anything. This is also my first bake without Pochi, our very loyal and loving dog. He was our only dog when I started baking. I am still saddened as I type this but at least we are moving on.

Exactly 2 weeks ago, he was gone; Saturday noon, he just did not eat his lunch and we noticed his nose was dry so we took him to the vet immediately. Upon arrival at the vet's office, he does not even like to walk, I had to lift/carry him inside but part of it is because it's not dad (his true pack leader) that accompanied him to the vet. He was diagnosed with a cold/respiratory infection so he received 2 shots, one to fight infection and another to boost his appetite. We even bought him his medicines, some energy drink, prescription diet dog food (canned liver) and regular dog food. I had to lift him again to the vehicle before leaving the clinic. I remembered to lighten my mood, I practiced my "French lessons" and I suddenly understood the use of lequel and all of its forms; so I will always remember that that day on our way home with Pochi, I finally understood all of the French relative pronouns! :) As soon as we arrived home, my dad played with him, groomed him and did all of their usual bonding activities; he was FINE. My dad then fed him some regular dog food to see if he will eat it and he finished it all! Even without the canned liver! Then he also finished his energy drink, he was energetic and wagging his tail all the time.  He had gastrointestinal problems before and he does not have any appetite for days so we are slightly relieved and confident that he will recover.

That night, he was let into the house (they have their own house outside to keep their fur from accumulating in the house because we may be allergic) and he slept by my dad's side while he watched TV. At 9:00 PM he lay down his old resting place in the kitchen on his cushion. We are not worrying as much as earlier because he showed signs of recovery. Until at 11:25 while watching TV, we heard cry like barks so my dad rushed to the kitchen thinking that our cat might be provoking him then my dad shouted "His is going!", my mom and I rushed to the kitchen and called his name, he is stretched out there already urinated involuntarily, breathing with difficulty, and his tongue dark and bluish gray; and one last breath and he's gone. It's like he just called us one last time to bid his last farewell. :( My mom cried a lot at that very moment; at 11:30 our friend, guard and companion was gone which is really unexpected because he is really well fed and nourished that he didn't even loss any muscle mass (he is 17 kg) and he is very active and barks, plays and runs really well; he didn't even become lethargic or whatsoever, he just didn't eat his lunch that day; he haven't even taken a single pill from his medicines that is due for the next day and that makes it all the more saddening and crippling. We hardly slept that night, I slept at 2:55 AM and woke up just before 6:00 AM. We buried him that morning near our date tree.

It still sad but not that sad anymore partly because we still have our 2 dogs (both Labradors), our longing and love for Pochi, we channeled in them. Of course, the yard is quieter than ever for we lost the baritone in the barking trio!

Pochi is the one on the left, Bimbo is the black lab and Fedra is the yellow lab.

As I said, we miss everything about him; his barks, his banging on the door, the wagging of his tail, the way he lies down to get his belly rubbed, and his pure display of love. What we miss most is how accurate his barks are, with a clear distinction between people and other dogs/ animals. He never misses when someone enters and he never barks when there is nothing to bark at! Fedra is in the backyard leaving Bimbo the sole watch dog in the front yard; he is very playful and sometimes a little lazy to bark. Pochi is the most serious one only displaying playfulness when dad is around and although he is neutered, he is the most aggressive one! He has also the most number of tricks. Fedra is playful too but knows when to take matters seriously, just like me that's why she is my dog. They're are all very intelligent, affectionate and loving.

Do you know Cooking with Dog? It is a Japanese food channel that I follow. Recently I also learnt that Francis, the show's cute poodle host was gone too. It made me sadder too because I followed their channel over the years and I feel that I lost another dog who gives me joy.

I'm sorry if the first few paragraphs are about our dog. I just want to feel a little lighter because we miss him and I know we have some dog lovers here too. During my university days, when I was kneading my dough for my first loaf of bread, he was in the kitchen witnessing my first venture into baking. Until my graduation, it was him who greets me in the kitchen when I proceed to knead some dough before going to school. I'm just glad that I have a few pictures and videos of him as a remembrance, that's more than enough.

He really loves getting up on windows to get a good vantage point for manning the yard.


Back to the calzones (I'm actually hesistating to call these "Calzones" because they look far from the real thing); it is the same dough as my yard sourdough, my best and favorite bread. AP flour autolysed in the fridge for 20 hours, the combined with a 12 hour old levain fed with bread flour and salt, gently mixed until incorporated, allowed to rest for an hour then given 3 stretch and folds one hour a part with a total bulk ferment at room temperature of 4 hours. It was then divided into 6 pieces, shaped into rounds and allowed to rest in the fridge for 12 hours.

I meant these calzones more as an hors d'oeuvre (I still don't know how to pronounce this despite studying some French! :P) than a main dish so they are smaller and I drew the flavor combination from a classic starter, baked brie! I'm always amazed by the leaking cheese with nuts and/or fruit preserves whether it is encased in puff pastry or not.

I used this fruit preserves made by dad. I don't know its name in English but it is sweet and tangy, perfect with some cheese! This is something that you can't buy, you have to make it yourself or have someone give one they made themselves to you. I chopped them up and mixed it with the syrup. I used some sharp cheddar for the cheese component because I really love how the salty, sweet and tangy play together but you could certainly use other cheeses like an Edam, a brie, cream cheese, a goat or even a blue!.

I pat the dough flat using just my hands, the dough was very extensible. On half of it, I spread a teaspoon of the preserves and one slice of cheese. I only use a little amount of cheese because the cheddar I used was particularly salty. I got overly excited about this folding and crimping thing of the calzones that I forgot to take a picture of the assembly before folding the calzones.

Then they went straight to the clay pot without any proofing at all; same set-up baked on a banana leaf over heated pebbles in a clay pot over a wood fire. Again I didn't take any pictures because I was attending to some errands at the time. They were baked on a open fire for 5 minutes then flipped and baked for another 5 minutes; 10 minutes total baking time.

The charm of these calzones is all about their rustic look. I didn't go for a darker bake, just a few browned and charred spots is fine. I could fry this but the taste of the dough, the preserves and the cheese will shine more if there is no oil masking them. Here are some close-ups:

The crust is crispy on the outside and a little chewy on the inside with a sweet wheaty flavor and a slight tang. The cheese is nicely melted and just the right amount for the saltiness to complement the sweetness and tang of the fruit preserves. The dough and the fillings complement each other well. A very nice way to start a meal.

I was really overwhelmed by the response to this humble little challenge of mine. It is one of the rare times where I feel valued by other people. I could cry again while typing or saying this but you don't know how much it means to me! A big, warm, and sincere THANK YOU to all of those who participated in the no oven bread bake challenge! 

MARAMING SALAMAT SA INYONG LAHAT!!! Napasaya ninyo talaga ako!!!

Happy No Oven baking!


PalwithnoovenP's picture

Some bread baking enthusiasts including me have no access to ovens that's why they cannot really do what they want or truly practice their craft.  So on December 16, 2016 let us encourage and uplift them by showing them that an oven isn't 100% necessary to make great bread; that they could do what they want and be happy with what they make.


On December 16, 2016 post a bread that you made without using an oven here.

  • No oven means any method without using one. Your bread could be fried, steamed, cooked on a skillet, cooked in a grill or even in a dutch oven with coals. Be free and creative with your method.

  • Your bread could be unleavened or leavened; quick or yeasted; made with instant yeast or sourdough.

  • You can post earlier or later than December 16. No problems!

I hope a few of you would be interested to join in this little challenge. All of the breads you've seen here are made without an oven, so I know you can too! You can device a way to cook bread without an oven or make a bread that doesn't need an oven like donuts, steamed buns, bannock, welsh cakes, tortillas, naan, English muffins, crumpets. pepper cakes and many more.

See you!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I hope this is not late for homemade bread day. There was no internet connection for several days, finally there is a connection now. I may not post for a while because our internet service provider scheduled a wide repair and maintenance, we're not sure if we will be affected. I'm going to keep this post short and sweet, the connection could be cut off anytime! I will surely repeat this bread and make a more "dramatic" post in the future. I missed uncle Dab's Mandela challenge last time and I don't want to miss this one now.

This is the bread of the countryside, of our yard. I named it yard sourdough because like many breads named after a place,; the starter was made here, the bread was made here and the baking method was based on primitive cooking styles from here.

What characterizes this bread? No measurements, all by feel, a super long autolyze (longer than 16 hours), a firm starter (or a starter that favors acetic acid production), and a long cold proof. It is baked in a clay pot on a banana leaf over heated pebbles. Our place is famous for it's vinegar all over the country so that's why I emphasized the use of a firm starter or one that favor acetic acid to keep the connection to our home.

I autolyzed some AP flour and water longer than 16 hours in the fridge. Unlike others who use ice water for a cold autolyse, I just use room temperature water to jump start the enzymatic reactions and just let the dough catch up with the cold in the fridge. I let the dough warm up for an hour before incorporating the 12 hour old levain (fed with BF, it smells lovely vinegar already) built using 2 builds. I incorporated it using gentle folds and let it rest for an hour. The dough is dry that you can pick it up in one hand or even just 3 finger and it won't droop or tear. After an hour, I gave it a stretch and fold did the same for the next 3 hours, 1 hour apart. After the stretch and folds were done, I let it rest for an hour at room temperature then an hour on the fridge.

I've been wanting to bake seam-side up for the longest time so I did not miss the opportunity here. For me it makes the loaf look more rustic, and rustic is what our home is all about. After the 1 hour rest in the fridge, I pre-shaped it into a tight boule and let it rest for 30 minutes and shape it this way. Place the dough seam-side up; give it a light degassing; give the edges an extra degassing/flattening and fold the edges as shown here starting at 0:32. Put in the cloth lined proofing basket dusted with corn starch and flour seam-side down and put it straight in the fridge for a 12 hour retarded proof.

I know, triangle proofing baskets are rare, I can't even find round ones in my area so I made a makeshift proofing basket from a legal size folder. I used "trusted" origami skills and made a tetrahedron and it worked!

Here is the dough after 12 hours in the fridge. I think it is just proofed right. It is already seam-side up in the photo. It is baked on the clay pot for 20 minutes over a live fire and the next 10 minutes on embers. I "skewered" it on a fork and the top now facing the pebbles browned for an additional 10 minutes.

This is what I'm talking about, baked on a banana leaf over heated pebbles. This photo was taken after 20 minutes. The seams have started to open although one didn't and instead a weak spot on the side opened. The crust is nicely gelatinized. am I using the correct term?

I underestimated the thermal mass of the pebbles (they are even gathered from our yard) so the bottom and a little of the top got a little burnt, I should have used the embers earlier to avoid this but I think it's okay because I've seen some more charred breads like Jim Lahey's Truccione Sare.  If you look closely at the bottom, you can clearly see the pebble marks.

Some close-ups of the crust. The crust was crunchy for the first 6 hours then softened at night. It was flavorful with caramelized notes. It even had some blisters!

Some of the crumb shots are out of focus so I just included all of them. The big hole in the middle came from the fork I suppose and not from the shaping.

It was so good this is what was left in just half a day!

The crumb reminds me of David Snyder's old school San Francisco Sourdough. It is tight because of the low hydration but its is moist and soft with a little bit of chew. It is my favorite crumb texture so far. The aroma is heavenly, toasty and sweet with the unmistakable scent of the banana leaves. The flavor is super sweet like there is some added sugar and although made with only white flour, I could still taste some notes of the wheat. From all of the sweetness is a background of a mild tang. It is mild in my taste but definitely tastes like vinegar.

Definitely a bread worth repeating. I'm gonna tweak this bread further and I'm sure it's going to be a regular in the house. Gonna check your entries later. See you all!

Happy Homemade Bread Day!!!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Park Tae Young's first loaf. She has "Korean" roots so what's better than use her in a bread with Korean flavors. This is just an improved version of my Pane Yaksik, the very first bread I baked in 2016. This time I made it my persimmon yeast water and a more complete cast of yaksik add-ins. Yaksik (藥食/약식) is a traditional Korean sweet dish made by steaming glutinous rice, honey, nuts and dried fruits. Yak (藥)  in Korean means medicine and Sik (食) means food so yaksik literally means medicinal food. I incorporated its unusual flavours in this bread.

I made a levain using my YW and strong flour; I don't know what is the hydration but I just added flour until it was like a thick batter. I fermented it for 12 hours and it became slightly more than double.

The add-ins in their "unprocessed" form. Anti-clockwise from top left: Jujubes, golden raisins, sunflower seeds, and dried persimmon. Pine nuts are the traditional thing for yaksik but I can't find it so I substituted sunflower seeds because I read long time ago that it is a good substitute and I've been doing it for years. Chestnuts too are traditional in yaksik but they are not yet in season.

Jaaaaaaaaan! They are prepared now. The dried persimmon was soaked in boiling water then cut into small pieces, the sunflowers seeds were shelled one by one and the jujubes were deseeded and cut in half so the beautiful red color pops in the loaf.

The seasoning sauce. Brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, cinnamon and sesame oil. I reduced the brown sugar to 1/3 from the original recipe and increased the amount honey to complete the total amount of sugar because it is the honey that makes yaksik "medicine". Half of the sauce will go in the dough and half is for soaking the fruits. I added some extra soy sauce to the dough; there is no salt in the dough, it all comes from the soy sauce. It is very fragrant and strong from the cinnamon and sesame oil. I didn't taste it in it's pure form like before, I already learnt the hard way! :) 

The fruits soaking in the sauce. They look so glorious with all that sheen!

The dough is simple. Strong flour, water, YW levain, seasoning sauce, and oil. I kneaded it until it passed the windowpane test and then I added the fruits and I knead the dough some more until they are incorporated then an overnight bulk rise at room temperature. since it is already getting colder. Like before, it rose nicely; the soy sauce and cinnamon had no ill effects.

I shaped it into a round and plopped it in my circular tin and proofed it for 3 hours or until double. Before baking, it was brushed with a mixture of egg yolk and soy sauce. I baked it for 30 minutes in my clay pot; 20 minutes with live fire and the last 10 minutes on embers.

The bread does not have a very tall profile because the tin was relatively wider than it is tall and I pressed the dough really flat. It is also a bit lopsided because of it's position in the clay pot.

Here is the top. It is not smooth, in fact very bumpy from the large amount of add-ins.

It was immediately devoured so no crumb shot. :( I had some left over dough and baked it in stainless steel glasses. Unfortunately, the center was gummy because I pulled them too early because of their size. I should have let them cook the same time as the large one.

The crust is very thin and delicate and the crumb is soft though the commercial yeast version is a tad softer and fluffier. I'll try to make the crumb fluffier and more feathery next time, perhaps by adding a bit more oil.

The flavour still rocks! Like before notes of peanut butter, chocolate and cinnamon wafted in the air when I opened the clay pot. No sour note, honey flavor dominates along with complexity of the fruits with the soy sauce providing a slight savory note but not enough to reveal itself, sesame oil and sunflower seeds make it very nutty and the cinnamon provides a familiar flavor in the background. I hope I'm not just repeating what I wrote before. ;-) Textures also play well; the chewy persimmon, the soft jujubes, the plump and juicy raisins, and the crunchy sunflower seeds! It's a sublime combination!

I wonder what will be its flavor if I make it with sourdough and/or some whole wheat flour. I hope I could try it soon.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Meet Park Tae Young, my persimmon yeast water!

After sourdough, I promised myself I will try yeast water. Although it took many months, here she is finally. Ready to raise breads with a different character. I documented another journey of my baking life so I hope you enjoy.

Many TFLers here have used yeast water and posted their beautiful breads made with it. It's really an old thing here and when I read it before I really wanted to try it. I waited so many years before giving it a try, I'm lucky because many have formalized the yeast water method by that time.

Uncle Dab has great tutorial about yeast water here YW Primer. Even though I followed his steps, I always fail just like my SD journey, in fact its 3 times already that I failed. All those attempts, I used raisins because I read it is one of the most reliable fruits for yeast water but I forgot that the only ones available here are oiled raisins so maybe that's what was hindering my success. Determined to succeed, this time I took a different route.

This yeast water is inspired by and named after my Korean friend Park Tae Young who is also fond of dried persimmons. Actually we became friends because of food, 90% of the time we talk about food; Korean or not, sweet or savory. It is how we discovered that we both like dried persimmons and became closer than ever. We often share this snack, even through photos as she is in Korea now.

Dried persimmons have a unique taste; like honeyed apples but different. They're fragrant and sweet but are very chewy and hard. The outside bloom looks like molds but I read they're just sugars from the pulp that migrated to the surface while drying into a delicate white bloom. Maybe there's yeast in there too. Any fruit or dried fruit can be used for YW but skin on and unwashed are the best, so I decided to use my favorite dried fruit for this. We got this beautiful dried persimmons from Chinatown a couple of months ago, They're a little expensive and we seldom have them because it's only 3 times a year at most that we go to Chinatown (because of the distance and heavy traffic) so they must be put to good use.

Average temperature from start to finish is 82 F.

I just removed the seed in the middle and cut the persimmons into little pieces and fill the jar with water three quarters full. No measuring or whatsoever. I didn't boil (to make sure that only the yeast in the fruits survives) my water like before. I just used it straight from the faucet. Before I was overly careful but now, anything goes because I feel that this is a success. I shook the jar and opened the lid twice on the first day.

Yes, miracles do happen! It is when I don't show any obsessive compulsive behavior that I succeed! The next day, it was already bubbling and active. There was a "psssh" sound when I opened the tight lid. Before it was already 7 days and yet there is no activity! Because it was already active, I didn't put honey anymore as prescribed by uncle Dab for the third day but I continued shaking and opening the lid for the next couple of days.

Here is the top view before shaking on the second day.

I kept the jar submerged halfway in water to keep ants at bay. I think ants are of the reasons too for my failures because they introduce bacteria and other microorganisms in the yeast water I'm trying to culture. Well I cannot blame them because who can resist the sweet fragrant liquid that flows down the sides of the jar when it is shaken.

Here is she is on the third day. Nothing much has changed, she is still bubbly and active but the persimmon pieces look much softer and the aroma of honeyed apples became stronger.

I shook and opened the jar for the next 4 days and here is she is by the 7th day. The "psssh" and fizzing sounds are much louder and the aroma is not unlike that of fresh persimmons. 

The top looks like a thick smoothie but settles and becomes homogeneous after shaking.

Here is close-up shot of the bubbles on the side indicating that she is very active.

Since we seldom buy dried persimmons and my yeast water could be all used up before we buy the next pack to refresh her, every yeast water that I make from dried persimmons; I will call Park Tae Young (朴泰映). Her English name is Claire Park so I guess I could fondly call my yeast water Claire sometimes. :-)

A letter that my friend wrote me, I wish I could read Hangul!

Park Tae Young and Zhou Clementine together. My bread workforce and friends in the kitchen!

Happy Yeast Water Baking!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Old Shanghai (老上海- lǎo shàng hǎi), the 1930's Shanghai is one of my favorite eras in history just like old Manila. There's no's other era in my opinion where flair and flamboyance meet sophistication and class! It has this certain charm that's difficult to describe and resist. The fusion of East and West just harmonizes with each other; the buildings, the bridges, the alleys, the vehicles, the qipaos/cheongsams, everything! Shanghai was not called Paris of the East for no reason. If time travel will ever come true, it is sure to be one of the eras I will go back to!

This bread is inspired by my love for the Old Shanghai era and my desire to experience what was life back there. Of course, it was a fusion city so the food there must have influences from the west. First, bread- wheat is not the staple in some parts of China and from research Chinese breads before that time are only steamed breads and baked flat breads. Sourdough known as lǎo miǎn (老麵 )is also used to leaven bread of any kind in China as commercial yeast was not yet available at that time. The breads were very basic too with probably only 4 ingredients just like European breads because they were meant as staple food.

Here is what I came up with, a bread made with Chinese ingredients using western techniques. I thought of Chinese flavors that will complement each other. I love lychees for their special flavor and they're one of the famous Chinese fruits so I decided to use them then a bolder flavor so I thought of Mandarin oranges, their flavor packs a little punch but not overpowering so that's the combination that I thought. Finally, I decided to use Jasmine tea, one of the famous teas in China for the liquid because it has this delicate floral aroma that will go well with lychees and mandarin oranges for a triple layered Chinese flavour profile.

The bread is still made with sourdough for a little bit of European and Chinese tradition and BAKED in a PAN because at that time those ideas were new and most likely to become trendy. A revolutionary and fashionable bread at that period, that's what exactly this bread is!

*Another coincidence October 16 is World Bread Day, I'm sad I wasn't able to join when it was still active. They're on a break now but I will still celebrate it with this bread.

The dough has both bread and AP flour for a balance of chewiness and tenderness. I autolyzed it with the jasmine tea for 2 hours at room temperature. The dough is dark because of the tea. The jasmine tea need to be fairly strong for it to come through in the finished bread. A tip for brewing strong tea: Increase the amount of tea, not the brewing time!

After the autolyze, I added the levain and salt and gave it 30 slap and folds. I gave it 2 more sets of 30 slap and folds each one hour apart. The dough became smooth and silky.

After two hours, I incorporate the lychees and mandarins by a stretch and fold. I gave it 2 more sets of stretch and folds to evenly distribute the fruits and add strength. The bulk fermentation is 6 hours in total then it went into the fridge overnight. Zhou Clementine likes a long warm bulk fermentation for her to raise the dough properly. The dough could have a retarded cold bulk ferment, a short and warm proofing, or another retarded proofing. You could certainly fit the dough to any schedule but you cannot mess with long warm bulk ferment, after that it will be a breeze.

Here is the dough the next morning. I used canned lychees and mandarins because fresh ones are not yet in season. I forgot how much water they contain and made the dough extremely watery, much like a ciabatta!

I tried to shape it into a log on a liberally floured surface but it was futile so I just dumped the whole thing into the greased and floured loaf pan and proofed it at room temperature for 2.5 hours.

Here it is after the final proof. The pan is more than 80% full and the dough is very bubbly. I'm just amazed with my starter's strength. I'm so excited to bake it as I slide the lid onto the pan.

I baked it in a frying pan over a wood fire rotating the pan at regular intervals, that's where the lid comes in handy; it's mainly conduction that cooks the bread. Because of the high water content of the dough I baked it for 1 hour and 20 minutes. An hour with live fire, the rest just embers and here are the results.

The crust is slightly crisp and soft and studded with oranges and lychees everywhere. A perfumey fragrance filled the air when I slid the the lid off to release the bread. This is the most fragrant bread I have ever baked.

The crumb is slightly open but even maybe because I mangled the dough while "shaping". The crumb is soft and moist because of the fruits but it is certainly not underdone. What I'm most amazed with is the colours of the crumb as seen in the close up. I mean, just look at it! The tang was just right, and lychees and mandarin oranges taste wonderful together with the subtle jasmine aroma. A very delicious bread!

Sorry, but I just can't get this scene out of my mind that this bread is served as a snack or as a house special at a hip lounge in Old Shanghai so I tried my best to make it happen. . Coincidentally, The table where the bread lies is made from lychee wood! I also use lychee firewood to cook this bread, I only used 4 "sticks" and they were enough for the entire cooking time because they produce a roaring stable and long fire! Lychee is if my memory serves me right, is the 6th heaviest and densest wood in the world and comes with a vibrant red color without staining. The wood is from our yard, maybe more than a hundred years old because my dad told me that when my great grandfather came here, it was already a huge tree providing shade! It was starting to decay two years ago so we had it cut down and made into furniture.

The name 夜上海 (Ye Shang Hai) means Shanghai nights and reflects the vibrant, decadent, and luxurious culture of Old Shanghai (of course there is a dark side to all of this and that's not the one I find amazing about this era) much like the adventurous nature of this bread. I thought of the name after I listened to the song Ye Shang Hai by arguably the most famous diva of the era, the golden voice of Old Shanghai: Zhou Xuan. Here is the song  周璇- 夜上海 complete with translations and background and a video showing what the era was like.

This is my wild imagination of sitting in a lounge indulging in this bread and a mocktail (I don't drink! :P) while listening to Zhou Xuan and other jazzy music letting the hours pass by. Here are a couple more of classic hits from the era that I like to listen to, maybe you can too if you have time. 周璇-花樣的年華周璇 - 月圓花好 / 周璇 - 何日君再來 / 周璇 - 陋巷之春 / 白光 - 桃李爭春 / 李香蘭 -夜來香. Most of them are by Zhou Xuan because she is my favorite singer of this era, most of the songs here too were covered by Teresa Teng, my favorite singer of Chinese songs. This is my weird side again, I like them because they have an old and lovely feel quite unlike the many songs of today and it also helped me in learning the Chinese language.

With this picture, I remembered the film In the Mood for Love. It is set in 1960's Hong Kong but the feel is like 1930's Shanghai. It is also one of the reasons I learnt to love Cantonese and learn some words. The restaurant and dining scenes there looks like this one; watch it someday, it's a great film.

This one even looks like a sepia photograph!

This is a long post because it is full of my personal aspirations and I'm just so happy about this bread. Someday I will make a bread that is dedicated to Old Manila too. Thank you very much!


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