The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cherry Blossom Bread (flowers for Mother's Day)

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Cherry Blossom Bread (flowers for Mother's Day)

Hello,

I wanted to try making this bread for Mother’s Day.

I was reading about an ale and cheddar bread on TFL, and someone replied to that post about making bread using a cherry wheat ale.
This seemed like a great idea to me!

I’ve been holding onto this idea, waiting for cherry blossom season.
Our Kwanzan cherry tree has just come into blossom, just in time for Mother’s Day; what a welcome sight!
 

Shiao-Ping just posted a lovely flower-stenciled miche; she wrote a beautiful introduction to her post,
about plum blossoms, and using flour to paint. This got me thinking, wondering if you could successfully stencil (‘paint’) a colored image on bread.
I decided to try using a mixture of flour, beet powder and water, to try to make pink cherry blossoms.
Here is a picture before baking; the pink color held for about 20 minutes. While finishing baking, the blossoms turned brown (not ideal!), so I re-stenciled with flour after baking:
 

I wanted the bread’s crumb to be ‘soft as a cherry blossom’.
With thanks so much to Syd, for his post on how to get soft, tender-crumbed sourdough:
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22778/soft-tendercrumbed-sourdough
Although this bread is not a sourdough bread, I followed his helpful suggestions.

I made this bread with a water roux, cherry wheat ale poolish, a combination of bread, all-purpose, whole wheat, rye and spelt flours, a bit of almond oil, 72% hydration, with the addition of these beautiful! BC dried cherries:

This dough was very wet and I did stretch and folds to develop the gluten.
If the crumb had turned out to be really open, I might have been tempted to call this bread 'cherry ciabatta'.

I am grateful for these posts, also; they were helpful for ideas for the ingredients, and water roux (thanks again, Syd!):
http://thebutcherthebaker.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/fruit-beer-bread/
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19791/bertinet039s-beer-bread-slightly-modified
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22541/asianstyle-pain-de-mie

I baked at a lower temperature, and a shorter time period, as Syd recommended.
The crumb certainly was soft – just what I was hoping for, and the crust is nice and tender too:
  

Happy baking, and Happy Mother’s Day everyone!
from breadsong

Comments

dstroy's picture
dstroy

oh wow! Those came out so pretty!! And they look quite delicious!

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Thank you, dstroy!

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

...it would be tough to beat those loaves.  Those are gorgeous and--equally importantly--they look perfectly baked and delicious!  Nice work!

Glenn

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Glenn,
What a kind comment - thank you!
from breadsong

arlo's picture
arlo

Wow, the crumb looks ever so pillowy soft. Wonderful work on this recipe!

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello arlo,
Thank you! - and yes, the crust and crumb turned out nice and soft.
I am grateful to Syd for his advice, and Glenn too, for originally asking the question, about how to achieve a soft, tender crumb (in sourdough). The comments and posts resulting from that yielded lots of helpful information!
from breadsong

teketeke's picture
teketeke

Hi breadsong,

They look wonderful, breadsong! I love using dried cherry in the bread. 

I wonder if your colored stencil turned brown because beet powder contains sugar?

http://www.spicebarn.com/beet_powder.htm

Best wishes,

Akiko

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Akiko,
Thank you and I'm glad you liked this bread!
I bet you're right regarding the browning, and beet sugar.
I may try this again, but stencil after the loaf is almost completely baked, then return to the loaf to the oven just to let the stencil 'set'. The color was holding on for quite awhile and then in the last 10 minutes of baking - gone!
Thanks for the link, too.
:^) from breadsong

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

my son ?  

anna

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Anna,
How about daughter? :^)
Happy Mother's Day to you!
from breadsong

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

Happy Mom's Day !!

anna

louie brown's picture
louie brown

and no small effort, either, to pull together information from disparate sources and make something that is your own. The crumb shows a very practiced hand.

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello louie,
Thank you very much for your comments, louie; very much appreciated.
I had some time to think about this project...it's been a long, cold, wet spring and I've been anxiously awaiting
blossom season.
Re: crumb, that's kind of you to say - but I was struggling shaping and scoring this wet dough...and hoping it would turn out ok!
from breadsong

RonRay's picture
RonRay

 Excellently done, in all respects ! It is truly a work of art, and certainly shows your attention to detail.

Thank you for sharing.

  Ron
breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Ron,
Thank you for writing and for your compliments!
So kind!
:^) from breadsong

Cathryn K's picture
Cathryn K

Breadsong = Beautiful loaf!!

How did you make that stencil of the cherry blossom???

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Cathryn,
Thank you!
I used a paper-crafting stencil for this loaf:
http://www.stampinup.com/ECWeb/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=118262
:^) from breadsong

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Did you make the stencil? It's beautiful.

David

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello David,
Thank you!
I didn't make the stencil (see above) but bought it for card-making, and was happy to use it for 'double-duty'
in the kitchen!
from breadsong

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Breadsong,

so many great ideas have gone into making this bread, and it is lovely to look at with the stencil.

Akiko is right, the water in the dough will pull the sugar [and colour] from the stencil.

Don't know if you can stop this from happening, but it looks great as a white pattern anyway.

Quite beautiful crumb; how did you fare with the distribution of the fruits, and ensuring they did not sink to the bottom?

Best wishes

Andy

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Andy, and thank you!
I was really pleased with this stencil – I thought it quite pretty and I was pleased with how it worked out for this application!
Re: fruit distribution, as this dough was so wet, I just folded the cherries in just before bulk ferment.
This seemed to work out ok for fruit distribution in this soft dough.
When shaping the boules, I tried to make sure any fruit near the top would be pulled towards the bottom, for ease of scoring.
The crumb shot was of the very smallest loaf, and in that one, the cherries all ended up near the bottom as a result of what I was doing during shaping. 
We enjoyed another of the small loaves today, and the fruit was better distributed in that one – hopefully the rest are OK too.
I would like to try your fruit distribution technique that you used with your toasted almond, fig and prune bread – when I do, I’ll try to pay attention to the dough, mixing and gluten development, so I’m adding fruit at the right time.
Thanks again, Andy!
from breadsong

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi breadsong,

Well I have to say, these are quite simply some of the most beautiful breads I have ever seen.

I love your flavourings as well - cherry wheat ale, almond oil, rye, dried cherries. How delicious!

What a lovely way to honour Mother's Day.

With best wishes, Daisy_A

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Daisy_A,
I’m so glad you liked these. I loved the flavourings too! The cherry wheat ale in the poolish smelled amazing, and tasted great on its own, too (…a little for the bread, a little for the baker…).
The almond flavor from the oil was lost I’m afraid, but I was expecting that might happen, as this oil has a very mild flavor; but thought I’d add it as I was hoping the oil would contribute some tenderness in the finished bread.
Thanks again Daisy, it’s so nice to hear from you!
Hope things are coming along nicely in your garden!
from breadsong

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi breadsong,

Well of all the beautiful loaves I've seen on your blog since coming to TFL, this one tops them all ! Not only is it stunning in it's visual appeal, it's also a very well made loaf of bread for it's open, translucent crumb and tender crust. And what a flavour combination you put together with the cherries, almond and mixed grain flours. It must taste fantastic! This is a perfect example of what great imagination and baking skill can accomplish. Bravo!

Best Wishes,

Franko

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Thank you so much, Franko!
I’d borrowed a couple of Mr. Bertinet’s books from the library awhile back, and he wrote about using ale in a poolish – this sounded so good.
I was grateful to find the post about Mr. Bertinet’s Beer Bread here on TFL, with the beer poolish and nice combination of flours (and note your recommendations on this post too!).  There were so many posts that were helpful to me, as reference, when putting together the formula for this bread – there are so many wonderful ideas contributed by people on this site!
I appreciate your comments very much – thanks again.
:^) from breadsong

Syd's picture
Syd

It is just beautiful, Breadsong! I love the honeycombed crumb and the translucent cell walls.  It is just the sort of crumb I strive for.  And what a great idea to stencil the cherry blossoms on the loaf.  I hadn't thought of stenciling after the loaf was baked but it makes good sense.  I suppose you could also stencil towards the end of the bake, too.  Maybe the last ten minutes or so.  A lot of thought went into this loaf: from the stencil to the beet powder in the in the flour and the slashing mimicking the cherry blossom petals.  Excellent on all accounts.:)

All the best,

Syd

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Syd,
I’m glad you saw this post and want to say thank you again as your posts, teaching what you can do to achieve soft crumb, were very helpful to me.  
It was interesting when making the roux this time; after mixing the flour into the water, the roux mixture became quite glossy, almost shiny; I was really happy to see something similar in the finished crumb. I didn’t notice such a glossy effect in the roux I mixed for your Hot Cross Buns – perhaps due to the different roux ingredients, or perhaps because I wasn’t paying attention?
After seeing Shiao-Ping’s beautiful ‘double happiness’ stencil, with the blossoms and other imagery, I was grateful to have my blossom stencil to use for these loaves.
Thank you very much for your comments – I did put some thought into this project – but had some time to do so and gather ideas, waiting for the cherry blossoms to arrive!
:^) from breadsong

varda's picture
varda

You've transformed it from food to art.  -Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Thank you, Varda!

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

What an inspiration!

There is a blog called "Chef Tess Bakeresse" and she paints her loaves very beautifully, too (and explains how to make the designs show up).  Take a look sometime--it might spark even more ideas for you ;o)

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Janknitz,
Thank you so much for your note.
I took a look at that blog - that lady does make some beautiful, colorful loaves - and offers some 'how-to' information - wonderful!
Thanks so much for the reference to that site - maybe there's a pattern or color combination that might be nice for a Father's Day loaf (was wanting to come up with an idea for a loaf for Father's Day, next!).

I seached for painted bread on this site, and this came up (another idea for painting a design in white):
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13471/autumn-third-painted-bread

Thanks again :^)
from breadsong

 

kim's picture
kim

Breadsong,

I almost miss your post. What a nice cherry blossom bread to get from you as a mother gift. I love the pattern that you put on them. Do you ever think of making salt cured cherry blossom (pickled sakura) for next year? Three years ago I knocked on my neighbor door to get her permission for picking the sakura buds to make pickled sakura. You can use salted pickled sakura for your bread too. Your cherry tree is really nice and healthy. Here is the info about pickled sakura:

Part1:

http://oohmummy.blogspot.com/2010/04/making-salt-cured-cherry-blossoms-or.html

Part 2:

http://oohmummy.blogspot.com/2010/04/applications-of-pickled-cherry-blossoms.html

Part3:

http://oohmummy.blogspot.com/2010/04/part-iii-more-applications-of-pickled.html

I hope you have a great weekend,

Kimmy

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Kimmy,
Thanks for writing and so happy you liked the cherry blossom pattern.
The cherry tree is doing well this year, and is the view from my kitchen window; it's loaded with blossoms,
and a joy to look at while I'm washing bread bowls and such!
Thanks so much for this information about sakura. This is something I've never heard of before, and those little flowers make perfect, pretty little garnishes, don't they? And I bet it's a really interesting flavor.
Maybe I'll try preserving a few, before the opportunity is lost this year.
Thanks for passing along the links, Kimmy!
:^) from breadsong

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Kimmy,
As luck would have it I had some Ume Plum vinegar in the pantry.
I tried curing some of the blossoms, managing to get some whole blossoms before our blustery weather blew all of the blossom petals off the tree...
I cannot describe the aroma of the cured sakura blossoms - but the aroma is floral and fruity, and uniquely beautiful!
I have 24 of these beautiful blooms - am looking forward to using them - thank you so much for this idea!
Here is a picture:

Thanks again, so much, Kimmy!
:^) from breadsong

 

kim's picture
kim

Breadsong,

You are very lucky to have a sakura tree in your yard. Your pickled sakura look so good to me and you can use their leave too. I was sick so I reply/ leave comment very slowly. I hope you have great summer.

Kimmy

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Kimmy,
I'm hope you're feeling better now, and best wishes to you for a great summer, also.
The sakura flowers retained such a pretty pink color after pickling - I'm so glad you like them. 
:^) from breadsong