The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recipe for or thoughts on Italian chestnut flour and potato bread (Casola Marocca)?

dorothydean's picture
dorothydean

Recipe for or thoughts on Italian chestnut flour and potato bread (Casola Marocca)?

I'm searching for a recipe for a bread described on the "Ark of Taste" section of the Slow Food web site--an amazing-sounding bread made with chestnut flour, wheat flour, and a little bit of potato, with milk and olive oil. The bread is called Casola Marocca. I've also seen it online as Marocca di Casole.


http://www.slowfoodfoundation.org/eng/arca/dettaglio.lasso?cod=496&prs=PR_037


I can't find a recipe, even in Italian. I'm wondering if anyone has one or has any advice on where to look, and/or, if this general description from the Slow Food site suggests any particular proportions that might work. 


thanks for reading--any help hugely appreciated! 


here's the descrip from the site: 


The bread is made by mixing finely sieved chestnut flour with wheat flour and a couple of boiled mashed potatoes, which give it its spongy texture. Extra virgin olive oil, yeast dissolved in milk, a piece of culture yeast and water are then added. The dough is broken into round, 20 cm loaves which are left to rise for over 1 hour. After baking them for at least 1 hour in the wood oven - at a lower temperature than the one used for common bread - the dark brown bread, with an intense chestnut smell and a pleasant sweet note, is ready for consumption.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Since this doesn't appear to be drawing any hits, and before this thread drops out of sight, here is one version, with a short, broken English, google translated intro and directions. Happy baking!


http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=it&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.notedicioccolato.it%2Findex.php%3FArt%3D5027&act=url


Marocca Casola  
March 18, 2007 
 
a loaf of country tradition chestnut flour was available much longer? of the white, wheat fact fits badly to the area.   Outside the habits of the families was linked to the period of collecting chestnuts, potatoes in the dough keep the coffee for more?   days and to enrich it added a little milk and oil.
The result? a dark bread, spicy and low-leavened, but taste really special.  
 
Ingredients:



350gr  chestnut flour 
150gr  wheat flour 
60gr    potato 
60ml   milk 
20ml   oil 
10gr    salt 
5gr      yeast 
150gr  sourdough 
80ml   water 
 
 
 First? necessary to boil the potatoes that have to be mashed with a fork and mix with olive oil.
You then mix the two flours and add the yeast, water and milk, only at a later time the mashed potatoes (and cooled) and salt.  Loaves are formed with a diameter of about 15 or 20 cm, with these doses there are two, that must be made to rise for about 1 hour 40 minutes.  and cook in oven at 200*C for 35-40 minutes.


sei il benvenuto

dorothydean's picture
dorothydean

mrfrost,


 


this is fantastic. i'm usually an excellent googler but i was completely stumped by this one, and appreciate your saving my post from sinking into oblivion. THANK YOU!!


dd

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

I actually found it by searching directly on the "Yahoo Italy" web site.


Good luck. Post your results if you try it. Where will/do you get your chestnut flour? I imagine it's pretty expensive.

merlie's picture
merlie

Chestnut flour was readily available at the Italian Shop in Edmonton Alberta  but I don't live there any more. I would like to know where to get it from now I live in Armstrong, British Columbia. (A long way from Vancouver ) It is not on the King Arthur web site. Any ideas anyone ? I would like to try this recipe too.


Thank you - Merlie

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Merlie,

I have ordered from Galloway's Specialty Foods - they are in the Vancouver B.C. area and they will ship.
Galloway's has chestnut flour!:
http://gallowaysfoods.com/index.php/product_details/view_product/warehouse/00/part_num/162-0160-500/chestnut-flour

(they have a really amazing selection of hard-to-find things...try typing flour into the search box and see what comes up!).

from breadsong


 

merlie's picture
merlie

Hi breadsong,


Thank you so much !  Yes, they certainly have a wonderful selection . I will order the chestnut flour right away.  My daughter who lives in Vancouver isn't planning to visit me any time soon and I can't wait for her to bring me some !  Must have it soon to try this loaf.


Again many thanks - Merlie


 

Mishel21's picture
Mishel21

Hi Merlie, 

I know it was months ago that you posted this, but I wanted to  let you know you can actually buy Chesnut Flour without ordering it from The Grainry on Granville Island in Vancouver. 

Cheers!

merlie's picture
merlie

Thank you for the info re the flour Mishel21. I ordered it from Galloways and a  few weeks later my daughter brought me some from Vancouver. ( I live in Armstrong) So now I have plenty. I'm able to get most other flours as we live just a few minutes away from Rogers Mill.

Regards - Merlie.

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Interesting recipe. I have some chestnut flour left over from a trip to Tuscany last October, so will hopefully give this a go tomorrow.

dorothydean's picture
dorothydean

Yahoo Italy! Never thought of that. 


I was thinking I'd get the flour here:


http://www.chestnutsonline.com/


It seems, from what they say on their home page about their chestnuts and chestnut flour being almost ready, that they'll be selling products from the most recent crop--I imagine freshness is really important in nut flours. (And you can freeze it.) 


It's $12 a pound! I'd be very surprised if you couldn't find it cheaper online. This seems to be a small farm with no economies of scale.


Plus, after mail-ordering some cornmeal from Anson Mills, I'm almost immune to sticker shock. (It was darn good cornmeal.) Sometimes I splurge on this stuff because it's something I'm incredibly interested in--culinary history and making food that connects you to it--so I think of it less as an expensive loaf of bread than part of a hobby. A lot cheaper than some hobbies! That's my rationalization anyway. 


I will definitely post when I've made it. Hope you will too Merlie! 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi dorothy, hi Geraint


 


This sounds like an interesting project!


Formula Mr Frost posted looks good. 


There don't seem to be too many recipes out there but I found one with sourdough only on this link to an Italian 'Wild Yeast' blog


http://fermentiselvatici.blogspot.com/2010/10/giornata-mondiale-del-pane-fatto-in.html


Google Translate is on this link, but it is not that clear a translation:


http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=it&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Ffermentiselvatici.blogspot.com%2F2010%2F10%2Fgiornata-mondiale-del-pane-fatto...


This is a brief extrapolation of formula and method as far as I can understand it in the original


- 450 g sourdough starter/biga  (refreshed twice depending on the season and the strength of the original starter) 
- 600 gr chestnut flour 
- 300 grams of wheat flour 
- 1 / 2 cups milk 
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
- A boiled potato peeled and mashed with a fork 
- 2 teaspoons of salt. 


 


Warm milk, transfer to a bowl and mix with starter, oil and mashed potato


Mix in the chestnut flour until the spoon stands in the dough


Transfer dough to the bench and mix in the wheat flour


Knead for quite a long time but not to the extent that the dough breaks down


Proof for an hour


Degass, fold, turn over into a ball shape and make a deep cross in the top


No baking instructions given but those in method above seem sound. Blogger stresses that it it important to have a strong sourdough. She finds the bread made with a weak starter has a flatter profile.


 


Sounds like they really enjoyed it with butter and chestnut honey, though :-)


Do let us know how this turns out if you make it both of you! 


There is a picture on this link


http://www.interredi.com/news/43-saperi-e-sapori/88-la-marocca-di-casola-il-pane-della-lunigiana


Geraint - how is the community bakery going - well I trust?


With best wishes, Daisy_A

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Hi Daisy


Another great recipe find. I'd already started the other recipe before I saw this, but have made an all sourdough version of it anyway. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.


It's only been a fortnight since I left my job but it already seems like an age. We've made good progress on the bakehouse and are waiting for the electrician to do his part before we can continue. I'll be going in later to feed the starters for tomorrow's bake of around 50 loaves (using the domestic oven in the cafe kitchen).


I'm also trying to get my head around setting up some baking classes (I've had so many requests) & starting a bread subscription scheme from home. My own kitchen needs quite a bit of work before I can do that though. I'll probably start running classes (only 1 or 2 a month) in the kitchen where I used to work & also in people's own homes. I'm quite scared but I'm sure once the first one is done I'll be OK!


Best wishes


Geraint

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

I started this recipe before seeing your post Daisy, but have gone for a fully sourdough version of it anyway.


I didn't have as much chestnut flour as the recipe called for, so made up the amount with extra white bread flour (290g chestnut flour/210g strong white). After all the additions, the dough was still dry & crumbly, so I added the 50g mashed potato I had left over & an extra 40g of milk to make a stiff, sticky but workable dough. I only kneaded it briefly after mixing. I gave it a fold after the first hour.


Will let you all know how it turns out!


Geraint

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint,


Thanks for the messages. Really glad the community bakery project is going well.


The chestnut bread looks interesting. Would like to hear how it goes. A lot of the Italian posters also talked about this being a dryish dough. I suppose chestnut flour is ground chestnuts as almond flour is ground almonds? A friend of ours who is a ranger and a forager sometimes gets sweet chestnuts but it may be in the autumn...


This sounds to me like a gatherers' bread - made from the things that people had at hand if they did not always have wheat. Now it's the chestnuts that are the luxuries! 


By the way did you ever see this fascinating research about what types of bread people in Britain used to eat prior to industrialisation? It seems grains differed from county to county and season to season. They included flours we are going back to now, such as rye, barley, oat, bean and nut flours (mostly acorns). However it also says that home baking of bread started to fall off from the 1820s, which is much earlier than I would have thought. 


http://www.bahs.org.uk/23n2a1.pdf


Classes sound exciting. All the best with that. I have just  offered to do a skill share with some friends. They asked to buy some bread from me as they really don't like shop bought but at this stage I think it would be nicer to show them how they can bake it themselves. One of the two expressed concern over kneading but when he saw me do it he said he could see how it could be quite therapeutic...


I'm sure your classes will be great. I've thought about doing some wider skill sharing at some point, bearing in mind I'm quite a new baker. I'm not nervous about the presentation bit as I'm used to that. What concerns me is the scheduling. Presumably you have to have loaves at different stages of development or some quicker loaves to do to fill the moments waiting for the sourdough to do its stuff? I've also thought working with sourdough might be a bit like working with animals and children - a bit unpredictable! Do let us know if you have any top tips.


Very best wishes, Daisy_A

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Hi Daisy


Thanks for the comments & pdf - I look forward to reading it. Have you read Elizabeth David's English Bread & Yeast Cookery - a fascinating read & covers some of those points that you mention: seems wheat was pretty rare in some areas of Britain until surprisingly late in history. I've heard of acorns being used to make 'coffee' but not in bread before.


The chestnut flour came from the mountainous (Alpi Apuane) area in the north west of Tuscany (Garfagnana region) where until very recently (the generation before last) they lived completely self-sufficiently, subsisting to a large extent on the versatility of the sweet chestnut tree. The chestnuts are harvested (or foraged - there's no cultivation) in Autumn & there are a lot of chestnut festivals in mountain villages in October.


In order to make chestnut flour, the chestnuts are smoked (over chestnut wood & dried husks) before shelling & milling.


Re. classes: yes, it's the scheduling that concerns me too. I've spoken to a couple of people who are already doing it, but I think I need to do it myself to really understand how it all works out!


All the best


Geraint

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint,


Loaf looks gorgeous - so well shaped and such a beautiful burnished colour. Bet it tasted good. Crumb looks a bit like rye in formation? Taste sounds very appealing the way you describe it. 


Thanks for further information on the flour. Sounds a lovely ingredient. Now I know why it costs so much. I have a chestnut pan and my friend has a big, open cottage fireplace. Wonder if we could produce a bag full?


I have been meaning to read English Bread and Yeast Cookery. Last time I came across it in a bookshop it was a toss up between that and a new banetton and the banetton won!


I have heard that this is a fascinating work. Thanks for the recommendation. I know andy has read it also.


Still feel a bit ambivalent about Elizabeth David's general influence on British cuisine. Might also have to read Dorothy Hartley's Food in England as well.  Apparently covers historical cooking with all different types of fuels, including wood-fired ovens and cooking in the open air, along with a lot of other traditions that are being revived, such as foraging for local fungi and flowers. salting and drying fish and meat. Also seems to contain some bread recipes although this is not its main focus.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Hi Daisy,


I don't think the picture does the colour justice: the crumb was quite purple when first sliced, with a purple-red crust, but both have darkened to a chestnut (surprisingly!) brown since yesterday.


Shaping wasn't much of an issue as the dough was so stiff, though I had to be a bit careful not to tear it. The chestnut flour has zero gluten & although the crumb visually resembles rye, it feels very different to the touch & in the mouth. It's much drier for a start; I imagine that one reason for adding the potato is to preserve moisture. When I first cut it I was worried that it wasn't quite done & would be gummy like rye can be, but not at all. I did bake a bit high, but this led to a crust that is like a sweet nutty biscuit (I think the milk contributed to this), a great contrast to the close textured, almost meaty, crumb.


I took half the loaf into the co-op today to contribute to lunch & someone else had brought some manchego cheese: they complemented each other perfectly, perhaps not surprising when you consider that the typical cheese of the Garfagnana is also made from ewe's milk. The two other co-opees went into raptures about the bread!


Shipton Mill do a chestnut flour. 'The chestnuts are sourced directly from a small hill farmer, Patrice Duplan, who gathers them from the hills in the Ardeche region of Southern France', according to the blurb. In Tuscany we were told that the French use a different method of drying the chestnuts (I forget how - I've got a vague memory it involved paraffin?! - I'm sure this isn't the case with the Shipton). It will be interesting to see if there's much contrast in flavour (if my taste memory is good enough! - it will probably be a while before I do this again).


I'll try & compile all my comments into a blog post in the next few days for easy reference next time I (or anyone else) want to bake it.


'English Bread...' was a labour of love for Elizabeth David & her most scholarly work. It's over 500 pages long (apparently this was edited down from an original script that was 2 or 3 times the length) and the first recipe doesn't appear until half way through. I'm not a great non-fiction reader, but I read this cover to cover. It's fascinating to see how things that are hot topics today, e.g. no kneading, baking in a dutch oven, go so far back. I even found the history of bread regulation & legislation engrossing! I'd say it was essential reading for anyone interested in bread.


I will look out for the Dorothy Hartley; I hadn't heard of her book.


Best regards


Geraint

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint,


Managed to get a lovely shiny new copy of the Elizabeth David from one of the local libraries so will settle down to read that. Thanks for the longer explanation and recommendation. That was really helpful.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint,


Loaf looks gorgeous - so well shaped and such a beautiful burnished colour. Bet it tasted good. Crumb looks a bit like rye in formation? Taste sounds very appealing the way you describe it. 


Thanks for further information on the flour. Sounds a lovely ingredient. Now I know why it costs so much. I have a chestnut pan and my friend has a big, open cottage fireplace. Wonder if we could produce a bag full?


I have been meaning to read English Bread and Yeast Cookery. Last time I came across it in a bookshop it was a toss up between that and a new banetton and the banetton won!


I have heard that this is a fascinating work. Thanks for the recommendation. I know andy has read it also.


Still feel a bit ambivalent about Elizabeth David's general influence on British cuisine. Might also have to read Dorothy Hartley's Food in England as well.  Apparently covers historical cooking with all different types of fuels, including wood-fired ovens and cooking in the open air, along with a lot of other traditions that are being revived, such as foraging for local fungi and flowers. salting and drying fish and meat. Also seems to contain some bread recipes although this is not its main focus.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Well, this kind of went OK, but I was fumbling in the dark to some extent & my method was a bit random.


To say I gave it a fold after the first hour is a bit of an exaggeration - the dough had lost a little of its stickiness but was stiff, so all I did really was form into a smoother ball.



After another hour, I tightened up the ball (which was now springy & not at all sticky) and put it into a floured banneton. Don't know what my reasoning was!


2.5 hours later there it had risen slightly, almost imperceptibly. I had a choice (since I had to go out an hour later): I could either bake, leave on the counter for 4 or so hours, or refrigerate (if I could find the space). I decided to bake. I turned out the loaf and scored it deeply.



I baked in the same way as I bake my usual sourdoughs: start high (250-60c) with steam (boiling water in tray below) for 15mins, then down to 200c. I checked internal temp after 30 mins (c.60c) & 40 mins (c.75c). After 55 mins, the internal temp was 92c but the still felt very heavy. I needed to leave, so I turned the oven off but left the loaf in.




The dough was obviously underproofed & the bake a bit high, but the flavour is terrific: sweet & smoky. The crumb is dense but not at all gummy & a nice contrast to the biscuity crust. I just wish I had more of the chestnut flour to give this another go!


 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm for anything that cuts down on wheat and raises the nut content! The loaf looks beautiful!

I'd say you were pretty successful for a first loaf! Although I have no problems biting into this hearty loaf, eagerly waiting for the second one with longer proofing times... if it gets to what you're looking for.

Mini

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Hi Mini


Thank you for your kind comments.


A day later, I'm feeling much more satisfied with the loaf, especially after having some great reactions today at lunch (& from TFL & twitter users)! We had it with some manchego cheese & it was absolutely delicious.


The picture doesn't quite capture the colour correctly: the crust was a purple-red & the crumb dark purple (a bit like you get with walnut bread, but deeper & darker). After a day both crust and crumb have mellowed/darkened to a chestnut brown (go figure!).


It might be a while before I make this again, since I'm now out of chestnut flour. I have a source here in the UK, but I've so much other flour to use - and so many other breads to try - first!


Best wishes


Geraint

Zeb's picture
Zeb

What an interesting thread - the bread sounds delicious Geraint, thank you for sharing!


I've made a hazelnut and chestnut bread once upon a time, one of the first breads I ever tried making, it's in the Handmade Loaf. It too had a fairly dense crumb and my version had a thick crust, but I think that was mostly my inexperience.


I think Chestnut flour is expensive because there just isn't that much demand for it, production costs are high and so on;  whole chestnuts and puree are what happens to most of the commercial harvest. It is also very seasonal, doesn't keep well, and is safest stored in a freezer if you do want to keep it.  It is the lowest fat of all nuts, might be why chestnuts are not very palatable raw?  Other uk sources are:


Shipton Mill http://tinyurl.com/6hrpfp5  where it is currently 6 gbp for a kilo, luigismailorder 3.50 gbp for 500 g,  the flourbin where it is almost twice that (!) and I've seen it in local organic shops, but it is seasonal so if you want it now is the time to go hunting for it.  

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Hi Joanna


I think any bread with a high proportion of nut flour will have a dense crumb, so probably not due to any inexperience on your part!


The flour seems expensive in comparison to other bread flours, but it's cheaper than many other ground nuts.


The flour I used was milled in October (at the start of the chestnut harvest) & was still perfectly fine when I baked with it at the weekend, although it's just been stored in a cupboard. In the mountainous region of northern Tuscany (Garfagnana) where I got the flour, the chestnuts are smoke-dried before shelling & milling, which obviously also helps preserve them. I don't know if all chestnuts for flour are dried in that way - I believe the French use a different method; certainly there's no mention of smoking on the Shipton Mill site.


Best regards


Geraint


 

dorothydean's picture
dorothydean

It's so cool to check back in on this thread and see it becoming so lively, with beautiful pictures and mouthwatering descriptions! Plus a book tip--just ordered my copy of the David. I'm a nursery school baker compared to you all and this has been both informative and educational, as well as making it far more likely that I will find my way to a delicious purply-red bread. 

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

I've collated & reorganised my comments about my attempt at Casola Marocca from this thread (plus some additional material) into a blog post.


Thank you to Dorothy for starting this thread, & to mrfrost & Daisy_A for finding recipes, & to everyone else who's commented with information or with compliments about my bread.


Geraint