Mexican ‘Pan de los muertos’, two ‘straight’ breads and a fruit tart
After many months, I have baked loaves from straight dough again, besides my pretty regular Zopf. I had refreshed my starters on Friday, but then the weekend presented itself in a way that I just couldn't keep up with a lengthy sourdough schedule, so in the fridge they went again, unused.
Yesterday, on Sunday, I made a "Pan de los muertos," a sweet and enriched bread traditionally baked on November 1st and 2nd in Mexico. One of our neighbors is from Mexico, but nor he nor his wife (who is American) have ever tried to bake this bread, thus to say thank you for so many little neighborly services, I made them a loaf (and one for ourselves). My yeast wasn't behaving properly and during fermentation, the dough hardly rose (I wasn't entirely sure if it was the yeast or the heavy buttery and eggy dough). However, it still turned out pretty well, and the taste was fabulous. The recipe called for orange blossom water and since I didn't have that, I added a little bit of rose syrup (something my Indian husband cannot live without). Result: the dough turned slightly red-orange (really pretty) and the flavor, also from the zest of a lemon, was simply amazing.
The top represents a skull and the sides are bones...
Today, while working from home, I looked through "Bread" in search of straight recipes and ended up trying the Semolina Bread with a Soaker (without the fennel seeds, p. 244) and the Five-Grain Bread (p. 238). I halved both recipes, thus producing only one loaf of each. My only changes to the recipes: I added 100g of discard sourdough starter to each (plus a little extra salt, since I increased the dough amount), thinking if nothing else, it might add some flavor.
For the durum flour called for in the recipe I used chapati flour (also called atta flour) that we still have from my mother-in-law's visit this past summer. It is a type of whole wheat flour made from durum wheat, high in protein, yellow in color. I just don't know if this is the same as what is used in semolina breads (despite researching it); anyhow it turned out pretty well and is very tasty.
Both of them were easy to make while grading online speaking assignments and papers.
Last week I needed to use up some plums (the very last of the season) and baked this rustic tart. I just love these fruit tarts, so quickly made and so tasty, not too sweet, just wonderful. Now I always add 1/3 to ½ cup of corn flour to my dough (pâte brisée), recommended by my French friend Sophie - I really like the extra crunch this produces.