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Lemon Zest

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freerk's picture
freerk

When was that again?

I'm always a bit confused about Easter.

I'm never sure when it's going to happen. Last year it was at the end of April. This year it's the 8th! As usual, I visit the Wiki Easter page in an attempt to, for once and for all, understand about full moons, spring equinoxes, Julian and Gregorian calendars and... well, that's usually where I give up.

Just hit me with it when it comes along! I usually start shifting gear when people actually start buying the chocolate eggs, -bunnies, and other Easter paraphernalia that have been patiently sitting on the supermarket shelves ever since the X-mas deco was chucked out.

With Easter shifting so violently all over the April calendar, and all the related holidays shifting with it, it is my most likely season for a good old "showing up at work on a national holiday"-experience.

Most of all I'm a bit confused about Easter itself. I have some distinct associations ingrained in my gray matter and gene pool. 

Friendly Fire

This one is in the genes I'm afraid. A bonfire is a Northern European's traditional way of chasing away the winter demons and welcoming back the light. The sight of a big pile of wood waiting to turn bonfire in the middle of a field somewhere when visiting my family for Easter up North, where the tradition still lives on, never fails to get me all revved up with anticipation. As a kid the bonfires seemed a multitude of impressions bigger and more awesome. The smells and intense heat have remained equally intoxicating.   This year there is a small village in the East trying to beat their own Guinness World Record. They have a live web cam, so you can see the biggest ever bonfire  go up in flames if you want to, and who wouldn't! Nothing like a good friendly fire.

Chicken on a Stick

Another strong  association with Easter is the Palm Sunday Parade. It involved a bread roll shaped like a rooster on top of a decorated cross. It's eye was a currant that came off quite easy. I was the kind of kid looking up all the time to make sure my rooster wasn't going blind up there on his stick.

Much later I realized the full meaning of this (literal) crossover tradition. Eggs, oranges and roosters; all pagan "finally-it-is-spring-again"-symbols mingled in with Christian symbols like (palm)leaves and the cross Christ died on. The rooster became associated with the bread Jesus broke at Last Supper and even with the rooster crowing after Peter denied knowing Jesus three times on Good Friday. Eggs doubled as symbols of spring as well as a symbol of new life (Easter Sunday).

Blissfully unaware of all of this, I was most of all concerned with my currant-eyed rooster and oranges surviving the parade. My mother once told me her story. When she was a kid, right after world war II, oranges were the stuff dreams were made off. And then; lo and behold; the first Easter came around that she proudly paraded around her chicken on a stick with two shiny oranges pinned on both ends.

My mother was of course as proud as a peacock. As soon as she came home, she took the oranges off carefully and put them in a box, carefully wrapped, guarding it with her life, to admire and eat later.

When she finally gave into her desire to eat her precious jewels, she found them dried out and wasted in her beautiful box. I consider it one of my more important lessons in life.

All Together Now

And then you realize that Jewish Pesach and Christian Easter share a whole lot of history as well, and were at one time the same thing. Christian Easter allegedly gets its name from the Saxon Goddess Eastre, the spring goddess. The Netherlands is a linguistic border in the Northern regions of Europe. All around us, geographically speaking, there is talk of "Ostern" or "Easter", but the Dutch have stuck with French & Latin influences and celebrate "Pasen", like the Flemish their "Paas", the French their "Paques" and the Italian their "Pasqua".

So what are we celebrating? The return of the light, the resurrection of Christ AND the end of slavery and thus freedom regained. That's a whole lot of celebrating! Let's turn to the Italians to provide us with the necessary festive bread. The message of this bread is simple: Peace! All of the above celebrations will benefit from that beautiful word, even if the tulip named after it at the tulip exhibition certainly isn't going to win any big prizes soon, except for maybe in the category awkward yet true...


Colomba Pasquale

For the peeps who rather watch things than read, here we go!


Ingredients

550 gr / 22.9 oz bread flour

8½ gr / 0.2 oz salt

4 eggs

1 x 120 gr / 4.2 oz soft butter

2 x 40 gr / 1.4 oz soft butter

120 gr /  4.2 oz whole milk

150 gr /  5.2 oz sugar

75 gr / 2.6 oz candied lemon peel

75 gr / 2.6 oz candied orange peel

50 gr / 1.7 oz of small pearl sugar

Method 

Home made orange/lemon peel

The day before; Wash and peel the skins of two oranges (or lemons). Cut into thin strips. Cover them with water, bring to a quick boil, simmer for 5 minutes and then drain. Put fresh cold water in the pan, and repeat this twice.

Then dissolve 450 gr / 15.9 oz sugar in 435 gr / 15.3 oz of water. Add 1 TBS of lemon juice. Simmer the orange peels in the sugar syrup for about 1 - 1½ hrs until translucent. Drain and dry the peels over night on a cooling rack. The next day put 100 gr / 3.5 oz of sugar in a plastic bag, add the peels and toss around to cover them well. Cut into little cubes and put aside until needed in the dough. If you want to shape your Pasquale in the traditional way, you might want to browse around for sturdy card board that can be cut into the shape of a (rudimentary) dove. The amount of risen dough yielded from this recipe gives you two medium sized loafs when baked in standard bread pans.

 

The starter

Mix 12 gr / 0.4 oz of instant yeast with 100 gr / 5.3 oz of flour and add just enough water to make the dough come together; 2-4 TBS. Cover and let rest at room temp until the stiff dough has turned puffy; about 45 minutes. Alternatively; try submerging your ball of dough in warm (30° C / 86° F) water.

Your starter is ready to go when it floats to the surface! (I finally tried this method, and it really works...)

The dough

Combine flour, salt, sugar and candied lemon peel, mix together. Then add the eggs, a little at a time until incorporated. Add 120 gr / 4.2 oz soft butter in pieces and mix. When the dough gets dry, add the milk and the starter dough. Mix very well on low-medium speed until you have a firm and elastic dough. Depending on what sort of flour you are using, you might have to add a few extra TBS of flour, or hold back a little of the milk to get the right consistency.

First rise

Transfer the mixed dough to an oiled bowl. Cover the dough and let it rest until increased in volume by ⅓.

Second rise

When the dough has risen by a third, turn it out into the mixer bowl again. Add 40 gr / 1.4 oz of soft butter and the orange peel in portions. Mix until well distributed. Transfer the dough to an oiled container once again, and this time leave it to rise until doubled in volume.

Third rise

Transfer the dough to the mixer one last time to incorporate the last 40 gr / 1.4 oz of soft butter. Mix it in and transfer the dough to your mold or bread pan(s). In Italy the traditional Colomba Pasquale mold is easily found. Outside of Italy that might be a bit of a problem. If you are dead set on shaping it the traditional way, you might have to get your card board and scissors out to put one together yourself. Don't worry about making it neat; the more "rustic" your "bricolage"-mold looks, the more rustic your Colomba will look as well.

Cover and let the dough proof one final time.

Making the topping

200 gr / 7.0 oz sugar

80 gr / 2.8 oz ground almonds

3 egg whites

¼ TSP of almond extract

almond flakes

pearl sugar (optional, but very pretty)

confectioners sugar

When the dough has almost fully proofed (poke it with a wet finger; if the dough springs back immediately, you are not there yet. If the dent fills back slowly, you are on the money and ready to go on) continue making the topping. First, preheat your oven to 200°C/ 390°F.

In a fat free mixer bowl, whip up a meringue using three egg whites. Fold in the sugar and the ground almonds and spread out evenly over the dough when using the traditional mold or bread pans. Sprinkle royally with flaked almonds and pearl sugar.

 

(Alternatively; if you are using a dove mold, you will first have to bake the bread in the mold and then add the topping to it after taking it out of the mold. You can put it back in the oven to make the meringue set and brown the almonds on top).

Put the Colomba on a rack in the middle of a preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes on 200°C/ 390°F. Then lower the temp to 170°C/335°F and bake for 35-45 minutes more until nice and golden on top. Make sure to rotate the loaf halfway the bake to ensure even browning. Keep an eye on the top; if it goes too fast, you can cover it with foil to prevent burning.

When your Colomba is done, let it cool completely before taking it out of the mold.

The first day it tastes great, the second day, it tastes better, so making this Pasquale ahead of the Easter festivities is no problem at all!

Make sure to like us on Facebook, we need your support to make that 6 part documentary on real bread! And if you want to see more bread making videos, make sure to visit the BreadLab hannel on YouTube.

Peace!

Freerk

 

 

 

Librarian's picture
Librarian

Austrian Easter bread, farmer's recipe


 


It is that time of the year again, where I can't wait for the taste of sweet bread with smoked meats, hardboiled eggs and


freshly grated horseraddish. It is very traditional to eat this kind of bread for the Easter holidays, some even put raisins


in it and there is a much softer almost no crumb version out there. Oddly everyone seems to fancy the contrast of


meat/radish/horseradish on a very sweet bread, but only for the holidays. It is a tradition,what can I say. My mom


scored this recipe from a farmer and she called me very excited to try this. I thoght it was about time to not only soak in


so many wonderful reciped but share a somewhat special and different one. So this is the 2nd year I have a go at it,


I have gotten a bit tired of the neverending sourdough fermentation times and my inability to keep track of time.  


This although is very different , it is a straightforward bread, you do not need a lot of time for it, and since it is so


enriched it does not benefit from long fermentation periods. I forgot how much fun it is to work with live yeast and


the sensational rise you get out of it, i doubt there can be a good sourdough version of this bread it is jsut perfect the way it is:


If former easterbread disappointed you because it was too soft, too little crust for you then you really


should try this it will reward you with a mouthwatering smell in your kitchen and a great aftertaste for your tastebuds


besides it is a LOT of fun to work with such a potent dough without all the wait usually included :)


 


Ingredients:


1000 g of bread flour


500ml of milk ( regular version, no skim milk )


130g of softened butter


1 lemon ( organic )


40g of live yeast


6 tablespoons of sugar


1 tablespoon of salt


lard ( from the pork )



 


 


I got very lucky these days finding the right kind of flour, more so because it is also very cheap it seems to have


an extreme tendency for perfect gluten development. Here bread flours are marked W700 this one is marked the


same way but milled a bit rougher than all the rest and binds very well. I recommend flour just like that.


 



 


To get started warm up the milk just a tad over handwarm, take a small bowl and dissolve first the sugar then


the live yeast in it. It is important to work with warm milk be careful to not get it too hot to kill off the yeast.


I followed a little discussion some time ago on sugar/yeast yes no.... All you need to do 


is take 2 bowls add yeast into it once with sugar, once without and observe. I always add the sugar it helps


your bacteria much faster along the way :) Let me prove that point, i started halfway with the bowl,


5 min later....


If you do not have live yeast I believe the correct formula is 2/3 dry yeast and 1/3 instant yeast instead


of the ammount of live yeast:


 



Pour the yeast and rest of the milk into the center of the bowl add the softened butter and one skin of a zested big lemon


be generous when you grate your lemon , add the salt and knead by hand, it is a fun dough to do so, once the dough is


firm and it should be firm, add one scooped table spoon of pork lard it will make the dough very silky and tasty.


I do not recommend omitting the lard and lemon since these 2 ingredients are what make this bread so special....


In the meantime put your oven on 180 degree Fahrenheit. As I mentioned before this dough does not benefit from


long fermentation and that is exactly the fun part for a change. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at


least to double( better triple ) in size within an hour at room temperature, the dough should be warm from the warm


milk still and smell sweet/lemon like, an awesome smell :). Here is my dough not even after 40 min, it tripled:



 


Knead the dough down to original size, a technique I almost never see in American recipes but very common here, is to do


exactly that, a double rise. Since time is no issue we can help the process along with our oven at 180F( 80celsius). Once the


dough is kneaded down divide in 3 parts and generously slash an X on top. Since this dough is highly active, try getting some


surface tension onto it as described in Peter Reinhards BBA. I kind of failed here a bit as you can see later. I didnt have a


baking stone nor did I find the right rack as I baked at my friends house. I would definitly use a stone if i I had one there...


There is no need to prepare the oven for hearth baking whatsoever even for phase 2:


 



 


I had to wait maybe 10 minutes till this happened at only 180 . Guess I did not build up enough surface tension.




Once doubled in the oven slide out the rack and cover the breads with a 50% egg yolk 50% milk mixture, crank up


the oven to 370 degrees Fahrenheit /  180 degrees Celsius


and slide the bread right back in, no need to wait till it reaches that temperature. Wait until the bread is golden


brown and makes a hollow sound when tapped.  I use hot air surround fan setting, if you do not have one


add 10 degrees.


 


Here is a shot of the final result, last year I had the height a bit better under control, you can also make the surface


more even when shaping, I did not bother it gives the bread a rustic look, and it is a farmer's recipe after all.




 


Here is a comparison shot the next day between an enriched sourdough I created ( curd cheese as enrichment/


pumkin seeds) You can see there definitly is a crumb and crust on this bread, much different than the storebought


ones that feel and taste like sweet Mc Donalds buns. This is one of the few breads that once taken out does not


benefit much from being toasted it will stay fresh quite a while and goes great with jam but also with the ingredients


I mentioned within the introduction. A special tip would be butter/hardboiled egg and some grounded horseraddish on top.


If you decide to make this bread I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Submitted to the YeastSpotting page


 



 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 



LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

Lemon Rosemary Sourdough

I saw a post here on The Fresh Loaf  by someone looking for a formula for a Lemon Rosemary bread.  This combination sounded really good to me so I decided to give it a try.  First I had to decided how much Lemon Zest and Rosemary to put into the bread and I decided to try for about 2% for each of them.  Then I decided that I would use up the last of my bread flour and use some fresh milled whole wheat and rye.  I figured on a hydration of 70% and that the percentage of the sourdough preferment would be 20%.  It is summer time here and the temperatures have been hot so I figured less preferment would slow things down a little bit.  I now had a plan on how I was going to make this bread now I'll tell you how it went.

 The first night I made my first build of the preferment.

1st Build  Grams  Percent 
 Starter 50% 
 Flour 14  100% 
 Water 50% 
 Total 28 

200% 

 The next morning I add more flour and water to the preferment for the 2nd build.

2nd Build  Grams  Percent 
 1st build 28 54% 
 Flour 51 100% 
 Water 36 70% 
Total 114 

224% 


When I got home from work the afternoon I mixed the dough up as follows.  

 Dough Formula Grams  Percent 
 Flour* 571  100% 
 Water 400  70.05% 
 Salt 10  1.75% 
 Preferment 114  19.96% 
 Rosemary 11  1.93 
 Lemon Zest 12  2.10% 
 Olive Oil 11  1.93% 
 Total 1129  197.72% 

*Flours  Grams  Percent 
 Bread Flour 445  77.93% 
 Whole Wheat 69  12.08% 
 Rye 57  9.98% 
  First I dissolved the preferment into the water and then  mixed in the bread flour.  I let this sit while I went and milled my wheat and rye flours.  Next the wheat and rye flours were mixed in and the dough was let sit for 30 minutes.  We have Rosemary growing in the yard so I went and picked enough for 11 grams and then chopped it up into small bits.  I used a small grater to make Lemon Zest from one lemon and ended up with 12 grams.  I added the Lemon Zest, Rosemary, Salt and the Lemon Pepper infused Olive Oil all at the same time.  The rosemary went in first and my first reaction was it was going to just over power the bread.  The Lemon Zest went in last and after that all I could smell was lemon.  This seemed like it was going to be one powerful bread.  I mixed the dough until the gluten developed.  Then the dough was turned out into an oiled bowl and placed in the wine cellar for a cool ferment.  Four hours later I placed the bowl in the refrigerator so I could cook it when I got home from work the next day.  I checked the dough in the morning before I went to work and it had raised up to touch the plate that I place on top of the bowl.  When I got home that day the dough was lifting the plate off of the bowl.  I set the bowl out and let the dough warm up for two hours.  Then I turned out the dough on to a floured work surface and folded the dough over on itself to get some flour on all the surfaces of the dough.  When I looked at the dough after I did this the dough looked so nice I just want to bake it like that without shaping it any more.  I figured that if I rolled it over onto some parchment paper that it just might work.  Then I put the dough into a counche and turned the oven on to 460°F to preheat it.  I used a cast iron roasting pan to bake this bread in so it is oiled and preheated in the oven too.  When the oven gets up to temperature I place the dough in the pan and cook it with the lid on for 25 minutes and then the last 15 minutes without the lid.  The bread had great oven spring and just looked wonderful to me when I pulled it out.  The aroma of the bread just filled the house but now I had to get some sleep.  Cutting the bread would have to wait for the next day at work were my coworkers are my bread testers.   My testers really liked the bread.  They were eating great big slabs of the bread all day long.  I told my boss what kind of bread that I had made and she said she didn't like Lemon Rosemary.  Later a coworker tells my boss how great it tastes and talks her into trying a slice of it.  My boss then emails me telling me how great the bread is.  There were many great compliments on this bread, it was just incredible.

 

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