The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Flour Tortillas

When I was growing up in South Texas we had this neighbor who would, on Saturday afternoons, make her tortillas for the week.  Believe me, I made friends with her children so I could make myself available for tortilla day.  I think she enjoyed my enthusiasm and always had a few extra tortillas for me to take home. 

They were sublime!  My family would fight over them, and no matter how many she sent home with me they were always gone before dinner.  My mom asked for the recipe, yet no matter how my mother pleaded, or bartered with her own secret recipes, she refused to give up her recipe.

Eventually we moved to North Texas and that ended my weekly tortilla gorge.  It seemed I was destined to eat rubbery store-bought substitutes for the rest of my life.  I survived on them until a few years ago when I was reminded, quite by accident at a local Tex-Mex place, of our neighbor and her delicious tortillas.   I watched as the woman behind the counter rolled and cooked beautiful tortillas and I thought, why couldn't I do that too?

I had quite a bit of culinary know-how, and I had the internet which would surely hold the key to delicious tortillas, right?

You would be surprised!

I tested a number of recipes for tortillas with all manner of ingredients.  Some had vegetable oil, others butter, and some had vegetable shortening.  They used a variety of flours from regular all-purpose to bread flour to even cake flour.  Some used milk, others water.  None of them turned out the way I wanted. 

I discovered pretty early that all-purpose was the flour to use.  It developed a moderate amount of gluten so the tortillas were chewy but not tough.  The liquid I had the most success with was milk.  Water works fine, but the cooked tortillas are not as soft as when you use milk.  As for fat, that was more tricky.  Butter burned too easily and the vegetable oil gave the tortillas an odd texture.  Vegetable shortening left the tortillas with an almost fishy smell, which happens when the shortening gets too hot.

I despaired that I would never find what I was looking for when, while looking at the shortening shelf at the grocery store, I remembered one thing from the Saturday's at my neighbors.  Manteca!!  That is lard to be specific.  So, with my tub of lard in hand, I went back to the kitchen and tried one of the more successful recipes with the lard and ... EUREKA!  I had it.

Now, this is the point where I am supposed to be sorry that I like lard, that I know it is supposed to be evil, and gross, and made from animals.  I'm not.  No, I am PROUD to say I cook with lard.  Using lard I can make tortillas that make people beg.   Some have offered me cash to make them a batch.  I'm not kidding.  Lard adds a depth of flavor with out any funky aftertaste.  It has a high smoke point so it does not scorch, and it lasts for a really long time in the pantry.  It is also versatile.   I use it combined with butter in my pie crusts.  But that is an entry for another day.   

Flour Tortillas   Makes 12

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup warm milk, or water

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the lard and mix until it is well combined and the mixture looks grainy.

Add the warm milk and mix until a smooth ball of dough forms, about 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll the pieces into balls. 

Cover and let rest 30 minutes.

Once rested, roll the balls of dough into 6″ to 7″ tortillas. 

Cook on a griddle, or in a heavy pan, over medium heat until golden brown and puffy.

Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel while the rest cook.

Enjoy!  Or, allow them to cool and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge.  They last for five days ... if you can keep from eating them hot off the griddle.

Posted on www.evilshenanigans.com - 2/18/2009

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Pain de Campagne

Pain_de_CampagneBatard

Pain_de_CampagneBatard

Pain_de_CampagneGrigne

Pain_de_CampagneGrigne 

Pain_de_CampagneCrumb

Pain_de_CampagneCrumb 

The formula for this bâtard is derived from that for Anis Bouabsa's baguettes, as shared with TFL by Janedo. Jane prompted me to add some sourdough starter, and this resulted in a big improvement, to my taste. We had also discussed adding some rye flour to the dough. Jane said she and her family really liked the result. The addition of rye and sourdough makes this more like a pain de campagne, which is traditionally shaped as a boule or  bâtard. The result of my mental meandering follows:

 

Formula

Active starter ........................100 gms

KAF French Style Flour.......450 gms

Guisto's Rye Flour..................50 gms

Water......................................370 gms

Instant yeast............................1/4 tsp

Salt............................................10 gms

 

Mixing

In a large bowl, mix the active starter with the water to dissolve it. Add the flours and stir to form a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let rest (autolyse) for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the yeast over the dough and mix with a plastic scraper. Then sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix.

Using the plastic scraper, stretch and fold the dough 20 times, rotating the bowl 1/5 turn between each stroke. Cover tightly. Repeat this stretch and fold procedure 20 minutes later and, again, after another 20 minutes.

 

Fermentation

After the third series of stretches and folds, scape the dough into a lightly oiled 2 quart/2 liter container and cover tightly. (I use a 2 quart glass measuring pitcher with a tightly fitting plastic lid manufactured by Anchor Glass.) Immediately place in the refrigerator and leave it there for 21 hours. (In this time, my dough doubles in volume and is full of bubbles. YMMV.)

 

Dividing and Shaping

(I chose to make one very large bâtard, but you could divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces and make smaller bâtards, boules or baguettes. Or, you could just cut the dough and not shape it further to make pains rustiques.)

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and scrape it gently onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle. To pre-shape for  a bâtard, fold the near edge up just past the center of the dough and seal the edge by gently pressing the two layers together with the ulnar (little finger) edge of your hand or the heel of your hand, whichever works best for you. Then, bring the far edge of the dough gently just over the sealed edge and seal the new seam as described.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30-60 minutes, with the seams facing up. (The time will depend on ambient temperature and how active your starter is. The dough should have risen slightly, but not much.)

To shape a bâtard, fold the near edge of the dough and seal the edge, as before. Now, take the far edge of the dough and bring it towards you all the way to the work surface and seal the seam with the heel of your hand. Rotate the loaf gently toward you 1/4 turn so the last seam you formed is against the work surface and roll the loaf back and forth, with minimal downward pressure, to further seal the seam. Then, with the palms of both hands resting softly on the loaf, roll it back and forth to shape a bâtard. Start with both hands in the middle of the loaf and move them outward as you roll the loaf, slightly increasing the pressure as you move outward, so the bâtard ends up with the middle highest and the ends pointed .

 

Preheating the oven

Place a baking stone on the middle rack and both a cast iron skillet and a metal loaf pan (or equivalent receptacles of your choosing) on the bottom shelf.  Heat the oven to 500F. (I like to pre-heat the baking stone for an hour. I think I get better oven spring. Since I expected a 30 minute rest after pre-shaping and a 45 minute proofing, I turned on the oven 15 minutes after I had pre-shaped the loaf.) I put a kettle of water to boil 10 minutes before baking.

 

Proofing

After shaping the loaf, transfer it to parchment paper liberally dusted with semolina. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and/or a kitchen towel. Proof until the loaf has expanded to about 1-1/2 times it's original size. (This turned out to be 30 minutes for me.) Do not over-proof, if you want good oven-spring and bloom!

 

Baking

Put about a cup full of ice cubes in the loaf pan on the bottom shelf of the oven and close the door.

Slip a peel or cookie sheet under the parchment paper holding the loaf. Uncover the loaf. Score it. (The bâtard was scored with a serrated tomato knife. The knife was held with its blade at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf. One swift end-to-end cut was made, about 1/2 inch deep.)

Transfer the loaf and parchment paper to the baking stone, pour one cup of boiling water into the skillet, and close the oven door. Turn the oven down to 460F.

After 15 minutes, remove the loaf pan and the skillet from the oven. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, if it is browning unevenly. Close the oven door.

Bake for another 15 minutes, then remove the loaf and place on a cooling rack. Check for doneness. (Nice crust color. Internal temperature of at least 205F. Hollow sound when you thump the bottom of the loaf.) If necessary, return to loaf to the oven to bake longer.

 

Cooling

Cool on a rack for two hours before slicing.

 

Comments

I got very good oven spring and bloom. This loaf has an ear by which you could carry it around. It sang to me while cooling. The crust is nice and crunchy. The crumb is well aerated and almost "fluffy" in texture, but with tender chewiness. The taste is just plain good. It is minimally sour. Based on my half-vast experience, I'd say it is fairly representative of a French Pain de Campagne, the major difference being that it is less dense than the ones I recall. 

 This is, for me, not merely a good "novelty" bread. It could join San Francisco Sourdough and Jewish Sour Rye as an "everyday" bread I would enjoy having all the time.  The method is good for those of us who work outside the home. It can be mixed in the evening and baked in time for a late dinner the next night. 

 

Enjoy!

 David 

zainaba22's picture
zainaba22

Pita Bread

I post this recipe before for JMonkey, you can see it here.

 

1 Tablespoon yeast.
1 Tablespoon honey or sugar .
2 1\2 cup warm water.
3 cups white flour.
1 1\2 cups whole wheat flour.
2 teaspoon salt.
2 Tablespoons olive oil.

1)Preheat the oven to 550 degrees.

2)Combine yeast,honey and 1\2 cup water in bowl,cover,stand in warm place about 10 minutes or until mixture is frothy.

3)place all ingredients + yeast mixture in the bowl of mixer ,beat 10 minutes to make a soft dough.

4)Divide dough into 12 pieces.

5)Shape each piece into a ball .cover,let rise in warm place until doubled in size ,about 1 hour.

6)Roll each to a 16 cm round.

7)The old method i bake Pita Bread on hot baking surface for 1 minute per side.

8)The new method I bake pita bread on wire rack over baking pan for 2-3 minutes.you can see it here.

zainab

http://arabicbites.blogspot.com/



 


bwraith's picture
bwraith

Whole Grain Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Whole Grain Sourdough Sandwich Bread Loaves


This bread is an attempt to improve on the results from a previous blog entry. This one also has a spelt levain, but it was designed to rise overnight with only a small quantity of 90% hydration white flour starter added. The levain was added to the dough when it was not very ripe, before it had peaked and dipped. The percentage of fermented flour is about 32%, but the less ripe starter results in flavor and dough handling more like what you would expect if you used a lower percentage of fermented flour. The whole spelt flour contributes a characteristic nutty, slightly sweet flavor to the bread. I was very happy with the flavor resulting from this combination of flours and plan to use it more often for this bread and for my favorite mixed grain miche recipe. The hydration is about 83%, which for a whole grain bread is not enough to make it very wet or difficult to handle. However, it is a slightly slack and sticky dough. It should spread out only a little bit after sitting on the counter, not like a very wet ciabatta dough that might spread out more quickly and more or less pour out of the bowl until it has been folded more.


Whole Grain Sourdough Sandwich Bread Crumb


I have posted some photos, videos of my version of doing a "French Fold" and of periodic "Folding" during bulk fermentation, and also a spreadsheet with some further information such as baker's percentages, fermented flour percentages, and hydration.


Ingredients:


Firm Levain:



  • 90% hydration storage starter 11g (0.4 oz) (use any healthy active sourdough starter here, ideally contributing the same amount of fermented flour, e.g. use more like 9 grams of 60% hydration firm starter)

  • whole spelt flour 298g (10.5 oz)

  • water 184g (6.5 oz)


Overnight Soak Ingredients:



  • malt syrup 40g (1.4 oz)

  • diastatic malt powder 5g (.16 oz)

  • whole red wheat flour 397g (14 oz)

  • whole white wheat flour 170g (6 oz)

  • KA rye blend 57g (2 oz)

  • water 581g (20.5 oz)


Final Dough Ingredients:



  • overnight soak from above

  • firm levain from above

  • salt 17g (.6 oz)

  • olive oil 28g (1 oz)


Levain


Mix levain ingredients the night before you plan to bake. The levain is designed to rise by about double in 10 hours at a temperature of 75F. Adjust accordingly if you have different temperatures. It is not a problem if the levain rises by more than double or peaks and dips. However, if it is allowed to ripen too much, you may experience a sluggish rise or other symptoms similar to overproofing sourdough, since the amount of fermented flour contributed by this recipe is fairly high. I added this levain when it had a little more than doubled, but it was clearly not at its peak yet.


Overnight Soak


Mix all the flour and other dry ingredients for the overnight soak together well, so they are fully integrated and uniformly distributed. Mix the malt syrup and water so that the malt syrup is fully dissolved and well distributed in the water. Pour the water into the bowl and use a dough scraper to work around the bowl and mix the flour and water well enough to fully and uniformly hydrate the flour. This should be very easy and take only a couple of minutes of mixing. You can also use a mixer, but use very slow settings and do not overdo it. The idea is to just mix the ingredients. Cover and put in the refrigerator.


Mix Final Dough (next morning)


Chop up the levain into small pieces about the size of marshmallows. Wet your hands and rub the counter with water. Pour the dough from the overnight soak out onto the counter and spread it out like a pizza. Distribute the pieces of levain evenly across the dough. Press them in with the heel of you hand. Roll up the dough in one direction, then the other. Allow it to rest for a few minutes. Again wet your hands and the counter if it needs it. Spread out the dough again like a pizza. Evenly spread the salt and the oil over the surface of the dough and press it into the dough again with the heel of your hand. Roll up the dough in one direction, then the other. Let it rest a few minutes. Spread it out one more time like a pizza. Work across the dough pressing the heels of your hands deep into the dough to integrate any oil and salt that may not have already been well integrated into the dough. Roll up the dough in one direction, then the other.


Let rest for 15 minutes.


Do two or three "French Folds", as shown in the video. Note that this is a good technique for developing the gluten in a wet dough that may not respond well to conventional kneading. Also, note, when I say two or three, I mean literally about 10 seconds, like two repetitions of the motion, as shown in the video. That is all the "kneading" that was done to make this bread. Place the dough in a covered bucket or bowl to rise.


Bulk Fermentation and Periodic Folding


The dough should rise by double in about 4 hours at 75F, but the folding will degas the dough somewhat, so lean toward less than double, depending on how much you are degassing the dough while folding. Also, adjust accordingly if your temperature is different or your starter is faster or slower. Try not to let this dough ferment too long. The high percentage of fermented flour in the dough and the spelt flour will conspire against you if you allow the dough to rise for too long. If in doubt, stop the bulk fermentation and go on to shaping, even if the dough doesn't rise by double.


Fold the dough about three times approximately on the hour, as shown in the "Folding" video. If the dough appears to be wet enough to relax significantly before one hour, then fold sooner. If the dough appears to be fairly stiff and holding its shape or is hard to stretch when you fold it, then fold less often or fewer times.


Shaping


Create sandwich loaves using a typical batard technique or whatever method you prefer. Place loaves in typical loaf pans that are about 9 inches long by 4.5 inches wide. I sprayed the pans lightly with oil beforehand to avoid any sticking.


Final Proof


Allow loaves to rise by roughly double in about 2.5 hours at 75F. Again, adjust your proofing time as necessary for different temperatures or different starter. Once again, avoid overproofing, which is easier to do inadvertently with less tolerant spelt flour and the higher percentage of fermented flour in this recipe.


Bake


I slashed the loaves and baked them from a cold start for 1 hour and 5 minutes at 400F after proofing for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Although the dough is not as wet as some, it still should be thoroughly baked. Otherwise the crumb will be overly moist and the crust will become soggy.


Cool


When the loaves are done, remove them from the pans and allow them to cool on a rack. Do not cut into them, if you can resist, at least until they are no longer warm to the touch.


Results


I was very pleased with the flavor of this bread. The sourdough flavor from the spelt starter is delicious, there is no bitter flavor of whole wheat that I can detect, and the spelt adds a unique and mild flavor. The bread toasts very well and carries any type of topping, since the crumb is open and light but not so irregular that honey or other wet ingredients fall right through it.

isand66's picture
isand66

Hamburger Onion Parmesan Buns

We bought some chicken Buffalo style sliders the other day so I wanted to make some tasty buns to go with them.  The buns needed to be hearty enough to hold the burgers and the fixings as well as soft enough like a hamburger bun needs to be.

I adapted a recipe from KAF and made several changes including the flour types and changes and additions in several ingredients.  I added some dried onions and some Parmesan powder to give it a little extra flavor and just enough honey to round out the flavor profile.

These would have been perfect had I not left them in the oven a few minutes too long since I was working at the same time I was baking these.  One of the benefits of working from home but also one of the possible pitfalls.  In any case these tasted great and made perfect burger buns and sandwich rolls as well.  If you try these you will not be disappointed, of that I can guarantee you.

The European style flour I used has a small percentage of white whole wheat flour and malt which along with the Spelt flour and Durum flour really gave these rolls some excellent flavor.

Hamburger-Onion-Rolls

Directions

Bring the milk up to a boil in a heavy-duty sauce pan and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.  Take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature before using.

In the mean time leave your butter out at room temperature or soften in your microwave.

Mix flours with yeast to combine.  Next add remainder of the ingredients and mix on low for 1 minute and then for 9 minutes at speed number 2 and 1 minute at speed number 3.  You want to mix/knead until you develop a nice thin window pane which will ensure that the rolls end up nice and soft.

Take the dough out of your mixer and form it into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl or dough rising bucket.  Make sure to cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature of if you have a proofer set it to 82 degrees and let it rise until doubled.  It took me about 1 hour to double in my proofer.

Next gently deflate the dough and form into rolls and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Cover with a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour until the rolls have almost doubled in size and pass the poke test.

NoSeedsRisen

Around 30 minutes before ready to bake the rolls, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and prepare your oven for steam as well.  I use a heavy-duty pan in the bottom shelf of my oven and pour 1 cup of boiling water in right before placing the rolls in the oven.

Right before you are ready to bake the rolls prepare an egg wash, paint your rolls and add  your topping of choice.

Seeded-Risen-Rolls

Seededclosup

Bake the rolls at 450 degrees for the first 5 minutes and lower the oven to 425 degrees until they are nice and brown.  Just make sure that they don't turn into charcoal like mine almost did :).

These should take about 25 minutes to cook thoroughly.  When done  let them cool on wire rack for at least half an hour before digging in if you can wait that long.

Crumb

IMG_0130
Cleopatra didn't mind the "dark" rolls at all....
sortachef's picture
sortachef

Real Italian Hoagie Rolls

Homemade Hoagie Rolls fresh from the Oven


 


Real Italian Hoagie Rolls


 


After a week in the Philly area rediscovering my local sandwich joints, I came back to Seattle with the fresh taste of hoagie rolls lingering in my mouth. Over the next few weeks, with some hints from the folks at the Conshohocken Italian Bakery, I managed to replicate them.


I'd had Conshohocken Bakery's rolls at Pudge's, famous for steaks and hoagies in Blue Bell, PA. My first attempts came out more like baguettes, and so I tweaked the humidity and the flour content, but once I got close the cross-section of my rolls were not super round, and the bite was still too dense.


One morning I called the people at Conshohocken Bakery (voted #1 Italian bakery in the region) and told them what I was doing. Their head baker listened to my techniques and sorted a few things out.  


So here you go, sandwich rolls that are as close to authentic East Coast sandwich rolls as you're ever likely to get in a home kitchen. Call them what you want: torpedos, hoagie rolls, subs or zeps. In any case, I think you'll agree they make the best sandwiches around!


 


Makes 6 rolls, 9" long


14 hours for overnight rise (8 hours for fast rise)


 


2 teaspoons dry yeast (+ 1 teaspoon for fast rise)


4 teaspoons sugar


½ cup water at 100°


 


14 ounces (2 ¾ cups) unbleached all purpose flour


6 ounces (1¼ cup) High Gluten flour


2½ teaspoons salt


¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid, available as Fruit Fresh


2/3 cup whey*


2/3 cup water at 100°


 


½ cup extra flour for bench work


2 Tablespoons of cornmeal or semolina to coat pans


 


Necessary for producing high-rising rolls:


2 heavyweight cookie sheets or jelly roll pans


6 quarry tiles to line oven rack, or a pizza stone


A good spray bottle to create steam in your oven


A humid 80° environment


 


*To make whey: 32 ounces of plain low-fat yogurt will yield 2/3 cup whey in about 2 hours. Line a strainer with paper towels or several layers of cheese cloth and set it over a pan or shallow bowl. Pour in the yogurt, cover lightly and set it to do its stuff in the refrigerator. The whey will drain from the yogurt and collect in the bowl. Measure carefully before adding.


(The resulting strained yogurt is great drizzled with honey for breakfast. You can also mix it with shredded cucumber, salt, garlic and thyme to make tatziki - our favorite Greek dip.)


 


Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, stir together yeast, sugar and ½ cup of warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes until foam forms on the mixture. Add 20 ounces of flour, salt, ascorbic acid, whey and water and mix to form a cohesive mass, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary.


Knead for 10 minutes, using as little extra flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking to your counter and hands. Clean out the mixing bowl.


 


First rise: You can start these rolls in the morning (using an extra teaspoon of yeast in the dough) and let rise, lightly covered, for 4 ½ hours at room temperature. In order to have the rolls ready for lunchtime, however, it's best to make your dough the evening before and let it rise, covered, in a 55° environment overnight. Set the dough at room temperature for an hour or two in the morning before continuing. By this time either method will yield dough that has roughly tripled in bulk.


 


Second rise: Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Push the dough into a fat snake and fold it into thirds. Gently push the dough into a fat snake shape again, letting it rest for a few minutes as it resists. This method will elongate the gluten, yielding the best rolls. Fold in thirds, put back in the mixing bowl, cover lightly and let sit at room temperature (70°) for 1½ hours, until nearly doubled in bulk.


 


Shape the rolls: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape into a snake again, tucking the long outer edge over itself and squeezing in to the bottom seam by using your fingers. Your emphasis from here on out is to create a gluten cloak, a continuous skin on the top and sides of the rolls.


When the snake of dough is about 2 feet long, cut it in half. Form each half into an 18" snake and cut it into three equal pieces. You will now have 6 portions of dough, each weighing between 6 and 6½ ounces. Tuck into cigar shapes and let them rest for 15 minutes.


Sprinkle cornmeal onto the cookie sheets or jellyroll pans and have them handy. Warm your 80° humid environment. (See Creating an 80° Environment at the bottom of Aunt Marie's Dinner Rolls.) Your environment should include a pan of hot water.


After your rolls have rested, flatten them somewhat to expel the largest gas bubbles, and then fold them gently into torpedoes of dough that are 9" long. Pull the gluten cloak over each roll evenly and tuck into one long seam. Put three rolls on each pan, seam-side down onto the cornmeal.


 


Third rise and preheat: Let finished rolls rise for 1 hour to 1 hours 10 minutes in an 80° humid environment. Line the center rack in your oven with a pizza stone or quarry tiles and preheat the oven to 450° a half hour into this rise. Have a good spray bottle with water in it beside the oven.


 


Bake with steam: Put a pan of the fully risen rolls directly on the quarry tiles or pizza stone and quickly spray the hot sides and bottom of the oven with 6 or 7 squirts of water. Clap the door shut to keep in the heat and the steam. Bake rolls for 10 minutes without opening the oven door. Turn oven off for 2 more minutes, and then remove rolls to a rack to cool. (As oven temperatures and spray bottles vary, your results may as well. Rolls are ready when the crust is medium brown.)


 


Repeat with the other pan of rolls.


 


When rolls have cooled, split them and pile on your favorite sandwich ingredients. My favorite Ham Hoagie is shown below. Enjoy!


 


Many thanks to the Conshohocken Italian Bakery for advice on this recipe. If you live nearby, run - don't walk - to their bakery.


 


Copyright © 2011 by Don Hogeland.  For original post, sandwich stories and more photos go to  http://www.woodfiredkitchen.com/?p=1657


 


Ham Hoagie made the a Real Italian Hoagie Roll


Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Banana Pain au Levain

I am not a fan of bananas but every now and then for my kids I make banana muffins, banana bread (quick bread), banana pancakes and cakes, and banana milk shake and smoothie just to remind myself why people like bananas.  Whenever the bananas in my house have gone sesame (ie, growing freckles), the motherly cook's instincts in me start eyeing on them.  I never force my kids to eat any fruit or vegetables.  That's why the house ends up having so many unlikely combinations of chutney and jams.


Now, I have not come across bananas in a savory, or at least non-sweet, combination with flour.  What if I inject that lovely banana flavor (not to me!) into the crumb of a sourdough bread and use it for sandwiches or just toasts?  Would it work?  No harm trying.


Step one:  I started with four very large ripe bananas (475 grams).  My idea was to use bananas as hydration for final dough.  To puree bananas in my blender efficiently, I need to add some sort of liquid, and I chose to add 20% of banana weight in water (95 grams).  I got 570 grams of banana puree.  In addition to that, I had 100 g of diced banana to put in separately.


Step two:  To decide on a dough hydration percentage.  I picked 65%.  For this I needed to make an assumption as to the solids to liquid ratio in the bananas - my guesses were 35% to 65% (like pumpkin). 


Step three:  To calculate how much flour and starter that I would need for the given amount of banana puree.


Step four:  To work back to see if the figures match up before starting on the dough.  


Well, was I in a hurry?  I didn't go through Step Four properly. Immediately after I got the preliminary flour and starter figures, I poured my banana puree over the starter eagerly and began mixing!! 


                                  


The formula that I used is as follows:


Formula for Banana Pain au Levain 



  • 570 g mature starter at 75% hydration (5% rye flour)

  • 570 g flour (5% rye and the balance white flour)

  • 570 g banana puree (made up of 475 g banana and 95 g of water)

  • 100 g extra banana diced

  • 18 g salt


Total dough weight was 1.8 kg and approximate dough hydration was 80% (not 65% as I set out to do)**!! 


**Assuming bananas were 65% liquid, total dough hydration from the above formula was:



  • (475 + 100) x 65% = 374, being hydration from bananas

  • 374 + 95 = 469, being hydration from banana plus water added to make up the banana puree

  • 570 / 175% x 75% = 244, being water content in starter

  • 244 + 469 = 713, being total hydration

  • 570 / 175% x 100% = 326, being flour content in starter

  • 326 + 570 = 896, being total flour

  • 713 / 896 = 80%, being total dough hydration


No wonder the dough felt very wet and sticky and 3 sets of stretch & folds were needed during bulk fermentation for dough strength.  This dough was very difficult to shape.  An ample dusting of flour on the work bench and quick, swift movement and minimalist handling during shaping were necessary.


Procedure



  1. Bulk fermentation 2 + 1/2 hours with 3 sets of stretch & folds of 30 - 40 strokes each, including autolyse of 20 minutes.

  2. Divide into two doughs of 900 g each.

  3. Proof for 2 hours.

  4. Retard in the refrigerator for 10 hours (I found with this recipe that the retarding process was essential because during the first few hours of the fermentation the dough appeared very sluggish.  It was almost as if my starter was finding it tough adjusting to bananas, but in any event, after many hours of retardation in the fridge, the dough rose nicely.)

  5. Bake with steam at 210C / 410F (lower temperature than usual due to sugar content in bananas) for 20 minutes then another 25 minutes at 190C / 375F (Note: I baked one dough at a time. Lower heat and longer baking appear to be the way to go. Under higher temperature, the crust would just burn.)


 


      


 


                                                         


 


       


 


My daughter said this bread smells heavenly-banana.  I don't know if that is possible but I have to admit that, for a person who doesn't like to eat banana, I find this sourdough very delightful.  It is incredibly moist - a slice of this bread on your palm weighs heavily.   The effect of bananas on dough is probably not dissimilar to potatoes on dough.  It is also very chewy and sour (at least medium strength of sourness to me).  There was no trace of the sweetness from bananas left in the bread. 


My son had a great idea - he spread peanut paste on a slice of this bread and grilled it.  It tastes amazing:


                                                       


 


Well, if you are interested to try this formula, I would suggest a lower hydration for easier shaping and handling of the dough.  Below I calculate for you an approx. 72% hydration dough formula for a dough weight of 864 grams:


Formula for Banana Pain au Levain @ approx. 72% dough hydration



  • 285 g starter @75% hydration

  • 285 g flour (5%, or 14 g, rye flour and the balance 271 g white flour)

  • 285 g banana puree (made up of 245 g banana and 40 g water)

  • 9 g salt


If it is done right, I believe the simplicity of this formula allows the natural flavor of fermented flour come through and it is in the spirit of what Pain au Levain is about.


   


Happy baking!


Shiao-Ping

Section I: Introduction

There are few things that smell quite as good as a loaf of bread baking in the oven. But there are other benefits beyond just that lovely smell of baking your own bread. It’s cheaper, tastier, and, more often than not, healthier than buying it from the store.


Our goal with this e-book is to help amateur bakers produce the kind of bread that they would most like to pull from their ovens. We hope that it helps you.

meedo's picture
meedo

chocolate faces

For the dough:

3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon yeast

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup milk powder

1/2 cup butter or 1/4 cup oil

1 cup water

For Filling:

chocolate chip (each face take about 6 pieces)

For Glaze:

 One egg yolk + 2 tablespoon milk + 1 teaspoon vanilla

And some melted chocolate chip to drew the eyes and mouth .

1-Make the dough by mixing all the ingredients , Turn out on to a floured surface ,Knead it to get a nice smoth and elastic (about 8 to 10 minutes). Place in a bowl ,Cover ,let rise in a warm place till double ( about 1 hour).

2-Cut the dough to 64 equal pieces , Flat each one with your hand , And fill it with 6 pieces of chocolate chip , close it and shape it to a nice round ball. Place it in a baking sheet ,Brush it with the Glazed , then take a small piece of dough to make round nose.

3-Let it rise about 30 minutes, Bake in 350 Oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.

4-Let it coll for 10 minutes ,Then drew the eyes and mouth . And serve 

Makes 63 faces.

Lesson Five: Ten Tips for Better French Bread

I've been baking something along the lines of what Americans call French Bread (a simple bread containing flour, salt, yeast, and water baked directly on a hearth or baking stone) almost every weekend for over a year now. Sometimes I bake more than one batch a weekend.

Over these 50 or 60 batches of bread there has been consistent improvement in the quality of my breads. Certainly there have been failures but, without question, I've gotten a lot better. Compare the tightness of the crumb of the breads I baked in my early lessons with the openness of my recent loaves. Much closer to what French Bread is supposed to be.

Through trial-and-error, by reading a lot of good baking books, and through numerous discussions with folks on this site I've learned a number of things worth passing on to other folks who want to try making artisan bread at home. Most of these rules hold true whether you are trying to bake pain sur poolish, pain de campagne, Ciabatta, or a rustic bread by any other name. Keep these tips in mind and bake regularly and you'll be making top notch artisan breads (whatever you want to call them) in no time.

Without further ado, the list:

Ten Tips For Better French Bread

10. Use Good Ingredients

9. Use a Preferment

8. Autolyse

7. The Wetter, The Better

6. Folding & Shaping

5. Slow Rise

4. Scoring

3. Bake with High Heat

2. Use a Baking Stone

1. Steam the Oven

0. Practice!

On to Number 10: Use Good Ingredients.

Pages