The Fresh Loaf

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PalwithnoovenP's blog

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!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Hey! I'm back! I just had a HUGE culinary failure 2 months ago and since then I haven't baked or cooked anything until last week. My failure was so huge and heartbreaking that just talking about it makes me sad. I kept myself busy so I could move on but there are always reasons to celebrate so I made these gifts to give to some significant persons to me.

I just took another Chinese proficiency test . If you're familiar with Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), that's what I took. I passed level 4 that includes 1200 vocabulary; 600 new words and 600 old words from the previous 3 levels. I wasn't paying attention to the date of the exam and only became aware of it 10 days before the actual examination date with zero knowledge of the new vocabulary. The old words; I have no problem because they're already engraved in my brain. I studied by myself  for 7 days and asked for help from my teacher and friend before. Imagine what work out my brain had for a week!

To repay her kindness and make some kind of memory of our friendship I made some hopia for her. The day before the exam instead of reviewing, I spent the whole afternoon to make hopia filled with homemade red bean paste, I know your familiar with these from my old posts. Having a cold also doesn't help! I made ways to keep everything sanitary. Fortunately before dark the hopia were ready and already boxed. That night my headache was so severe I didn't even bother to open my notes and I just said to myself that if I don't pass there is always a next time.

The morning before the exam I tied the boxes with ribbons and tried my best to write a short message in Chinese. I know my writing is not the best but at least I tried. She is from Mainland China so I used simplified characters, that's also the system used in the proficiency test. I don't have much issues in speaking and reading Chinese but writing is another story for me. What are written here are just two ways to say "Thank you very much!" and my Chinese name.

The test was difficult and I did not even finish the writing part. I'm just happy it's all finished in the end. In fact I already conditioned my mind in the beginning that I went there just to give my gift. She was surprised when I presented her my gift.  She said " How did you make it?!" "Come over here I have some pretty mooncakes from a friend!" (Hopia is similar to some styles of mooncake in China. This is a variant of the 酥皮月饼 su pi yue bing Flaky Mooncake.)  All of the conversations are in Mandarin. The other teachers were surprised too! They said it's so delicious on par or even better than the ones they have in China. They even said a man who can cook well can marry a beautiful girl in China! :P They really appreciated it and I'm so happy!

She was so happy so unexpectedly, she gave me a gift too! A mat and a brush to practice Chinese calligraphy. Water is used as an ink and fades as it dries allowing the mat to be used over and over again. What a practical and eco-friendly way to practice calligraphy; writing which is the skill I struggle the most. She showed me how to use and wrote my name on it. Oh my! The writing was so beautiful! Bear with me because I'm still practicing.

Here is my Chinese name that I wrote on it.

After a few moments, it fades.

Here is a comparison.

 Here are some more of my practice characters.

I love you

Thank you in Traditional and Simplified script. Although most of my friends are from the mainland and I use simplified characters to communicate with them, I also study traditional characters myself because those are what are used in our country. I just love them both.

I really love her gift and I will always remember her when I use it. Her colleague maybe because of the deliciousness of the hopia also gave me a gift even though we don't know each other that much; it's a book with a talking pen that will read every passage in the book so you have a pronunciation and audio guide.

My beautiful and kind teacher/friend with me. 

She lives in this ancient beautiful town in Hunan. I want to go there someday. I really have this thing for places with ancient feel; the houses, the stone bridge, the river.

I checked the results of the test and I passed! It was really a miracle thank God! 180 is the passing score for the 300 item test; with only 10 days of review, making hopia instead of having a review before the big day and a cold and headache on the day of the exam, I still managed to score 207! We're just overwhelmed even my parents who really support me in my Chinese studies. I'm planning to take level 5 next time, another hard work because 1,300 new vocabulary will be added! I hope I will pass that too.


Another gift this time for an old friend.

I met with an old friend from my high school days too. It has been 4 years since we last saw each other. We were classmates when we were freshmen in high school but we do not talk much, it's only at the end of the school year where our friendship blossomed. We were one of the "loners" in the class who do not have a "fixed" set of friends and we found console in each other. We would talk on the phone four hours during the summer breaks from night till the wee hours of the morning! I guess it's just because we have the same interests, hobbies and likes. By our sophomore years we were no longer classmates, I was move to class 2 from class 1 of the special curriculum because my grades weren't good enough; well, still good but not enough to make the cut for class 1. It was new world for me because basically half of the class was gone and a new half  from the old class 2 replaced them. We were ranked individually to determine the final classes. Even though that's the case we still continued our friendship even the long telephone talks. Though I had new friends, there was no one that can understand me like her.

We graduated and she was the class valedictorian with an average of 94.XX, I was 77th out of 80 students with a grade of 90.I can't remember; most grades were just separated by decimal numbers. She went to the University of the Philippines to study Industrial Pharmacy; I also passed the university's entrance exam but it's for another campus for a degree in Nutrition. I didn't pursue it because it was too far away and I really want to take something related to hospitality.

4 years later we already had our degrees when she randomly just greeted me on my birthday this year. We chatted a lot (a long chat is the evidence that we really missed each other) and she asked me if I want to meet her because she will come here to our hometown in a few days. I said Yes! Of course! So we set the date, time and venue of our "mini reunion". She asked me to bring anything that I cooked for her. She just wants to taste any of my concoctions because she was curious every time I posted something.

I don't have a lot of ingredients that time and knowing that anyone who tastes my hopia smiles and raves about it, I said I will make hopia for her. She was amazed just as she heard it because she always thought that the little treat is never made but always bought. This hopia is filled with peeled split mung beans, what we call here as yellow mung bean paste. I made the mung bean paste a day before and made the pastry on the day of our reunion to  ensure freshness. These are 4 large pieces and because we both like mixing sweet and savory flavors I made the 2 plain and the other 2 with chopped salted egg.

When we met were so happy, we barely contained ourselves. On our way to the food court she immediately asked about my promise hopia and as soon as we are seated I gave it to her and we both experience a sense of bliss. She devoured a piece (the one with salted egg) immediately and encourage me to turn it into a business  because to her the taste, the appearance, and presentation was perfect.

We talked for 4 hours as she goes through another piece of hopia this time more slowly. We did a lot of catching up and talked about a wide range of topics about the fields we studied. Here are just some samples. First we talked about yeasts like candida and lactobacilli, it was our opening topic because it's related to her microorganism study and my baking. :P Then it went wild as we talked about molds like aspergillus oryzae, a. flavus, a. niger, penicillum species. Then we talked about toxicology related things like aflatoxin B1 G1, ochratoxin, neurotoxin, hemotoxin, and other stuff. Then our high school memories and nostalgia, then anime, then our future plans, then her thesis about bacteriophages, then about languages we study like the derivation of meaning of Chinese characters; I taught her a little French and Mandarin then she taught me some Japanese, we even sang old and foreign language songs before we end our short reunion. Now you know how crazy we are and why we found completeness in each other. Throughout our stay, 4 or 5 groups of people sat next to us and as you can imagine, hearing all those crazy things from us; all of them gave us weird looks but we don't care! That's what make us happy!

Of course, the last thing we did was to take some souvenir photos!

My genius friend Charleen! We understand each other like no other!

Thank you very much!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

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: and to Zorra for coming up with this great monthly challenge: 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.

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.

Beautiful Chinese Music - Bamboo Flute

                                                                           Lover’s Bread

Once 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.

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. 


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)


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.


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