I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to post what I've baked for a while, so this post is going to lump everything I've done for the past couple weeks in one - mainly for my own reference. In this issue:
Colomba di Pasqua
Black Rye w Raisins & Walnuts
Normandy Apple Bread
The campus market started the week after Easter so I had made some more Colomba di Pasqua ("Easter Dove"), and an interesting black rye with raisins and walnuts for the first market.
Colomba di Pasqua:
This recipe came from KAF. It isn't really in my nature to follow recipes to the letter so in addition to the recommended ingredients I also made a batch with sourdough starter instead of the biga with commercial yeast. For my natural leavened version I just used 50g of mature starter in place of the yeast for the biga.Then added a portion of commercial yeast as instructed in the final mix.
Both versions made nice dough and rose well (sourdough on the left & yeast on the right below). My shaping could have been more skillful but making birds out of bread is asking a lot. The weather was cold and damp when I was making these and they needed substantially more time to rise than the recipe suggested (by several hours). I made a total of 4 small (~500g) and 2 large (1000g) loaves & this used all of the candied orange peel that I made from 4 large oranges.
I was quite happy with how both types came out. The yeasted version had a little bit better texture, but the sourdough version probably could get there too if I had given it more time to rise (you can see it is the less bubbly one in the 1st image). The flavor was very nice for both, but most agreed that the sourdough version was slightly better.
As you can see the texture is quite nice. I only have a picture from the sourdough version but they were pretty similar. Someday I hope to achieve a super fluffy Italian holiday bread (perhaps this one next?), but until then I'm pretty happy with this and everyone seemed to really like it.
Black Rye with Raisins & Walnuts:
This one was by request but I'm glad I did it because it was an interesting bread to make and it tasted great. The dough was based on the "Black Bread" recipe in Hamelman's Bread (which I am diligently working my way through). I used an altus that I had made earlier (rather than the old bread soaker in the recipe), and added 5oz (~16%) each of raisins & walnuts, as well as 3oz (~8%) molasses, and an additional 7oz of coffee (to compensate for my drier version of the old bread soaker).
The dough was overproofed because I was not paying close attention to the timing in the recipe, due to my experience with the previous Easter bread. It was salvageable though and I baked it anyway. The result was a bit dense, but still very good & with a rich black color that I was very happy with. Next time I will pay better attention to the dough as it rises.
This is another one from Hamelman's book. I wasn't to excited about it really, since it seems kinda plain. I used Saco cultured buttermilk powder, rather than real buttermilk - which I'm sure would improve the bread. It makes a nice soft crumbed sandwich bread that has a slight pleasant sweetness and toasts well.
I was excited to use my new extra large pullman pan to bake it in though! I was looking for a way to efficiently bake as many loaves as possible at one time with limited oven capacity and I got a good deal on some 16" strap pans. After a 2h bulk fermentation, I shaped all 3lbs of dough from this recipe into a single long loaf, rolled it in flaked barley, and left it to rise in the pan until it was nearly at the top (~1h). Baked at "450F" for about an hour and the result was lovely.
Focaccia - 2 types:
At the first market I had a request for this Focaccia, so I made a few trays for this week's market. The dough is a basic no-knead deal and after 24h of doing its thing I had a bubbling vat of goodness. With a little work I turned it into a manageable mass that I divided into thirds.
I let those rest for an hour or so at ~70F, before shaping to the oiled sheet pans. Despite plenty of rest it kept pulling back and resisted shaping. I had to give it another rest before I could get it to fill the pan. I did use a 50-50 mix of bread flour and AP flour, so that may explain the extra strength. I added the toppings and after another hour or so baked at "450F" for 30m.
I had also been meaning to try the Genoese Focaccia from Viva Focaccia that my Father & Uncle both had been urging me to try. So, I figured I'd use this opportunity to compare the 2 types. For this dough I also used a 50-50 mix of bread flour and AP flour. I mixed and handled as instructed and the result was a beautiful silky smooth dough. This was divided 3 ways and given the same recommended rise time before topping.
The no-knead version was ok, but I thought it was too thick and bready. The Genoese version was amazing, with a light airy texture that held the olive oil and toppings well without feeling greasy. The no-knead version (topped with olives in the photos) appeared to have risen better in the tray, but that was really just because each portion was 850g as compared to 550g for the Viva-Focaccia recipe. Next time I might make it a bit thicker, but I will definitely make the Genoese focaccia again.
Normandy Apple Bread:
This week's selection from my favorite recipe book. I followed the recipe as written but I didn't have enough apples for all of the dough so I did a portion of with raisins and walnuts instead. It took pretty much a whole bag of apples (peeled, diced & dried) for a 3lb batch of dough. I wanted to make a lot of this one though, to fill my new pans and have plenty for the market (nice weather was in the forecast)!
I made 4 free form loaves from the apple version & put the raisin walnut version into 16" loaf pans (with enough left for 3 small boules). The results were very good. A nice light open crumb with a thin crisp crust. The cider gives a subtle but noticeable sweetness and the dried apples were little bursts of intense sweetness scattered throughout. This would make a great selection for a fall harvest event!
Ok, that's all for now. Many thanks to anyone who bothered to read this far.