I originally planned to enter this for BBD #83 for a bread with special flour but I'm pressed for time and did not make it to the deadline so maybe it was really meant for BBD #84. Thanks to Susanne for a great theme of sandwich bread for this month: https://magentratzerl.net/2016/06/06/bread-baking-day-84-sandwichbrot/ and to Zorra for coming up with this great monthly challenge: http://www.kochtopf.me/bbd-breadbakingday. Sandwich bread is my favorite type of bread to make because it is hearty and homey and the standard bread in our house. Discovering so much more techniques, I now strive to improve our favorite house bread. Lover’s BreadOnce upon a time in Ancient China, there were lovers both of noble descent who truly love each other. On their rare dates, they would meet at a stone bridge to take a stroll under the romantic moonlight and eat at their favorite place, a special bread. The owner of the place was truly ahead of their time, baked bread in decorative shapes with sticky rice and beans were sold and became a favorite among the people.
This bread was mainly inspired by the painting and music here. The painting is so finely crafted with textures and colors as if it was real. The music also really fits the melancholic mood; I almost cried when I listened to it for the first time. The painting reveals different stories depending on the interpreter's mind; I see a longing for true love rather than unrecruited love. When I was in the university, this is my calming music whenever I'm having a review for an exam. Played with rain and thunder effects, it is much more calming and much more real. With the painting and music in my mind, I was able to form a story and a formula for a bread that will fit the setting.
During that time as frequent attacks from neighboring states often transpire, all men ages 17 and up are required to partake in a three-year mandatory military service. The man was stationed to guard and protect the northern border. One night on the last year of his service, their camp was savagely attacked by enemies injuring hundreds, luckily they defended the area and defeated the enemy but he was not one of the lucky ones able to return. When the news came to the lady, she was stricken with sorrow and grief and did not know what to do, they were almost getting married. For her loyalty to him and their true love, she vowed to never marry which surprisingly her family agreed to.One rainy dusk while walking, she saw that same stone bridge where they use to meet during those rare chances and saw two young lovers much like them. She remembered her lover only to realize he is not there anymore and again felt the cold and melancholy so to cheer herself up she decided to go to their favorite place and eat the bread they used to love. At least with that bread she feels he is still with her filling her heart with good memories and bliss.
I could make the story more dramatic, you know adding various classic elements and archetypes for this kind of love stories but this is not a writer's blog so I focused on the bread. :) When I heard the music and saw the art, I just can't take them off of my head, imaging various scenarios in my mind like clothing, architecture and FOOD. I thought of various Asian ingredients and incorporated them into a bread. Rice and beans immediately came to mind as they are classic combinations especially in East Asian cuisine.
I thought of roasted soybean flour because I think it's unique and it is seldom used for other purposes than rice cakes. In Japan, mochi served and/or dusted with kinako
just like injeolmi with konggaru
in Korea but in China, the same combination of sticky rice and roasted soybean flour is much more dramatic, called San Da Pao (
三大炮) meaning three cannon shots, watch it here
at 04:22 and find out more here
. It must be very entertaining during ancient times, they even found a way to make food a form of entertainment maybe because there were only a few during those times.
A bread containing sticky rice and roasted bean flour made with sourdough BAKED in a tin with a decorative shape is what I thought of a revolutionary bread that fits the period and setting of the painting if it was true. The oval shape of these sandwich breads is my signature so do not steal it! :P 東愛 Dong Ai means Eastern Love and I think it surely fits the theme of this bread.
I couldn't find roasted soybean flour so I made my own adaptation. Mung beans are probably the second or third most popular bean in East Asia and it is widely available here so that's what I used. I soaked it, steamed it and mashed it. The resulting paste was cooked in a pan until dry and powdery then further roasted until brown then finally sifted to remove any big bits. It smells very fragrant and nutty.
Rice is the staple in most of Asia and in our country as well. I have made a bread with rice before so I decided to do it again this time leaning towards more on oriental flavors, meaning no milk or butter. I made a sticky rice roux again but instead of milk or water, I used rice washing for it; it is common practice here to use it in lieu of water for soups for a more delicious result so I brought it here too. If you make rice, you know what I mean, the first wash removes the dirt and dust and you throw that away; the second rinse, that's what you want to keep, clean but with still a lot of starch.
Here is the sticky rice flour mixed with the rice washing and honey. I originally planned to use a saccharified starch sweetener like maltose or rice syrup because I feel it's more authentic but I can't find it so I used honey since I reckoned it is of medical importance in Oriental medicine and it tastes good too compared to just sugar.
Here is the finished sticky rice roux. It will provide a specific chew and moisture retention to the bread.
A day before mixing, I fed Zhou Clementine from her cold sleep and fast and proceeded to make the levain the next day. A fortnight and half without feeding, she grew more than triple in 12 hours. The levain ripened and became more than double in 6 hours. She is smelling very fragrant and sour. This is just her second loaf and I want to understand her more because her first was not that good so I did not include even a bit of instant yeast, This a fairly complex bread for me purely raised with a sourdough starter. I heard enriched breads are not really sourdough friendly especially for a young starter but I still continued.
Here are the ingredients before mixing. Anti-clockwise: Roasted mung bean flour, strong flour, sticky rice roux, levain, and salt.
I kneaded it adjusting the rice washing bit by bit and kneaded until the gluten is developed then I added some oil to soften the crumb. I'm surprised that I was still able to pull a relatively strong windowpane despite the large amount of sticky rice flour. The bulk fermentation took 6 hours at room temperature and then to the refrigerator overnight. I found that Zhou Clementine likes a long warm bulk fermentation to be just shy of doubled. I thought that all of the enrichment was too much for her because the growth is not that obvious as I'm used to when using instant yeast but I still continued and believed.
Here is the dough next day. Nicely doubled and fragrant, no yeasty smell, just sweet sour aroma.
I divided it into 3 and shaped them differently before proofing them in my special tins. I wish I took a photo of them before proofing so you could see the strength of my starter. The bulk fermentation was long but the final proof was fast and Zhou Clementine raised them just fine in 3 hours.
The first one is a two pieced coiled loaf.
The next one is three pieced loaf but instead of rolling them, I twisted each dough piece like a twist doughnut.
The last one is a braided loaf.
Here they are altogether.
They were baked in my clay pot for 40 minutes, flipping them in the 20 minute mark. I will provide a recipe for to try it but be aware I'm not sure if these are the exact amounts I used but this is what I will use if I have a scale and an oven. Sorry too, I'm terrible at math especially baker's math because I almost do not use it. RECIPE IN THEORY:
100% - Total Flour - 80% white strong flour 20% sticky rice flour (If you're skeptical, scale it to 10% I believe it will still make a difference then adjust the balance of the flour) (NOTE: 15% of the strong flour is pre-fermented}
70% - Rice washing or water (The water for feeding the starter and making the levain is taken from this amount) (NOTE: 70% of the water is used to make the sticky rice roux, the remaining water or "adjustment water" is used to adjust the dough consistency during the final mixing)
15% - Roasted mung bean flour (Use kinako (roasted soybean flour) if you don't want to go through the trouble of making your own bean flour and you can find it, that's what I originally wanted to use)
1.8% - Sea salt
7% Honey (If using other sweeteners, amounts may need to be varied)
7% Oil (Any neutral flavored oil)PROCEDURE:
1. The day before making the dough, refresh the starter if necessary and make the levain. Leave at room temperature for 8-12 hours until doubled. You can use it immediately or refrigerate it for another 12 hours or use any levain schedule you are used to.
2. Make the sticky rice roux by combining water, honey and sticky rice flour and cook over low heat until thick. Cool. Although similar in principle to a tang zhong, as sticky rice roux will behave very differently. A tang zhong is porridge like but this one will be like mochi when done.
3. Mix the flours and salt then the roux, levain and the remaining water until combined. The roux will be a little difficult to incorporate at first and the dough will seem dry so you need to adjust the water but do not add too much, the dough will be soft when all are nicely incorporated and extra water will lead to a very slack dough which you do not want. A soft and a little sticky dough is what you want.
4. Knead until medium gluten development then add the oil and knead until incorporated and the dough is able to pass a windowpane. The windowpane maybe thick because of the gluten lowering sticky rice and will be studded with mung bean grains (if you do not use kinako) because it is not as fine as the flours. I do not know what will the kneading process be like in a mixer because I don't have one so make your own adjustments.
5. Bulk rise ar 82F for 6 hours the refrigerate overnight. Shape into a sandwich loaf the next day and proof at 88F for 3 hours until almost tripled, You know your starter so stick to how your starter raises your bread.
6. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes or until loaf registers to the right temperature
*NOTE: Maybe I used 250-280g of total flour and it fits an 8X4 (9X4 or 8X5 or 9X5, sorry again, I'm not use to standard pan sizes). loaf pan.
*With your equipment and experience, I'm sure you'll do a better job than me. I'm curious how they will look if they will be baked in a standard oven.
When I opened the clay pot, a sweet wheaty smell with notes of peanut butter and yogurt wafted in the air. It was also raining the day when I made it just like in the painting.
Crust is thin and soft at the sides and thick and crunchy at the top and bottom and a little charred on some areas.
Crumb is very nice and again very difficult to describe. Soft and fluffy but chewy, light but has dense feel. Unlike super market bread that morphs into a little solid block when squeezed, this one? Squeeze it hard and see it slowly come back to it's shape. The sticky rice gave it a very special texture, soft but chewy and resistant. gives in at first but fights back a little for a satisfying texture like saying to your face: you're eating bread not air but still it's fluffy and familiar. See? I'm running out of words again, I think you just have to try it to know what I'm talking about.
Crumb when pulled: See the fluffiness and softness!
Crumb when sliced: It's very fine and looks like there is some whole grain in it because of the color. If I don't have a good serrated knife, I would have been in trouble because its texture makes it difficult to slice.
Slice it thick or thin to suit your preference,
The taste is tangy and nutty like there was peanut butter in it. My recent favorite of a thick smear of peanut butter on sourdough bread is answered with this bread, I don't know what's with it but it's so good. It easily approximates a PB&J sandwich even without the PB.
I don't know if this will surprise you but this are mini loaves and they are really small, small enough to fit on the palm of your hand!
I stored it at room temperature for 2 days just to test things out. I don't know if the increased keeping qualities of sourdough is a benefit because we finish the loaf faster because of the added and better flavor.
After 2 days at room temperature, it didn't lose any of its shreddable quality. It was still fluffy and soft!
It also toasts very well. Perfect for breakfast because of the energy from the wheat, rice and honey and the protein from the beans, and also you only need to eat a small amount to feel satisfied so perfect for those on the go that doesn't have much time to eat.
My first choice to eat with this toast is some bananas and honey because it will go well with the nutty flavor but a little bit honey is already fine.
For the complete bean experience, with some sweetened mung bean paste.
Or both mung bean paste and honey if you're packing some serious load of energy.