The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking In Kona

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GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Baking In Kona

We’re back from our trip to the Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawai’i.   Since we spent a lot of time in the ocean, and another large part out enjoying the sights and flavors of the islands, there were not a lot of occasions for baking.   Plus, though our friends’ house where we stayed has a well-equipped kitchen, it isn’t well equipped for baking.

The good news is that I had a chance to try baking some typical Hawaiian breads, which don’t require much specialized equipment.  I took along a thermometer, some parchment and my favorite rubber spatula, and I bought our friends a nice big glass mixing bowl and a large rolling mat.  It all worked out.

Lavosh

I’m not sure why a Middle Eastern flat bread is so ubiquitous in Hawai’I, but it is very common to see Lavosh included in bread baskets there.  And we have enjoyed it.  So I found a simple formula in Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and tried it out.  The dough is somewhat like a pizza dough.  After kneading, it had a nice silky feel.

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The containers by the bowl are not ingredients, just indicators of the proper means  of fueling an Island baker.

To attain the proper crispiness of the Lavosh, it must be rolled very thin.  This may require letting the dough rest for periods during the rolling.  I found that a millimeter can make the difference between a cracker and a bready texture.

The results were satisfactory.  Next time I’ll use at least half whole wheat flour and maybe some wheat germ.

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Portuguese Sweet Bread Rolls

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I do know why Portuguese Sweet Bread is so common in Hawai’i.  In fact many refer to it as “Hawaiian Sweet Bread”.   The Portuguese influence in Hawaiian life is everywhere.  I found a promising formula here on The Fresh Loaf (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21175/hawaiian-portugese-sweet-bread).  This is a highly enriched, buttery, yeast bread.  I have had this kind of bread many times, and had a definite idea of what I was going for.  It is soft, tender, semi-sweet, best for breakfast.  I had Txfarmer’s “shreddable” crumb texture in mind, and with extensive kneading I achieved it. 

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I should mention that the bread had to bake almost twice as long as the recipe calls for (and the oven did have a thermometer showing the temperature was accurate).

The rolls made good sandwiches with spicy island chicken and Passion Fruit-Jalapeno jam, and the loaf was excellent toasted with jelly.  Here’s the chicken cooking (with soy, sherry, scallion, ginger, star anise, hot peppers and sesame oil).

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After a thoroughly relaxing trip, it’s good to be home with my baking supplies and equipment and my kitty cat.  Sea turtles may be more unusual, but they’re nowhere near as fuzzy.

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Aloha!

Glenn

Comments

teketeke's picture
teketeke

 All of your bread look really great, Glenn!  Your Portuguese 's crumb is wonderful.

Thank you for sharing  your precious trip!  I wonder how old the sea turtle is?

Your cat must be happy to see you when you were home.

Best wishes,

Akiko

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks, Akiko!

It's encouraging to be able to bake successfully in a strange kitchen.  It takes some intuition when the climate is different and the tools are borrowed.

As to the turtles, the Mauna Lani resort is a favorite hangout of the endangered Green Sea Turtle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_sea_turtle).  The resort has juveniles in their ponds, which they release into the sea at one year old.  The babies are very cute.  This one in one of the Mauna Lani's pools is probably about 9 months old and its shell is about 10 inches from front to back.

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Snorklers around the Mauna Lani can see lots of the adults, which are beautiful and graceful in the open water.  They eat algae in shallow tidepools (like the one pictured above).  The adults can get to be about four feet long in shell length, but I've never seen one longer than about three feet.  The one in the first photo above was about 18-20 inches long.  I would guess it's five to ten years old.  They live up to 80 years.

And as to Tasha, yes, she is very much enjoying the return of her laps.

Glenn

teketeke's picture
teketeke

 Thank you for the link and the information, Glenn! 

What a wonderful trip you had!  That is the great photo!!

It is really amazing to think about their shell get growing so long. I have never seen such a big turtle which has four feet long shell length in my eyes, either.  

And, I am interested in their shell structure that is well made like a spider web. 

Thank you again, Glenn

Akiko

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Glenn,
Thanks for sharing pictures of your baking, and of the turtle (nice photo by the way!).
Ah, the Trader Vic's Mai Tai...we enjoyed a few of those while in Kona!
Your portuguese sweet bread looks beautiful (such a soft crumb!), and just like the ones baked at the Kona Historical Society...
(hope you don't mind if I share my photo?)
That passionfruit-jalapeno jam sounds fabulous! We enjoyed vanilla lili'koi (passionfruit) sauce over ice cream at the Hawaiian Vanilla Company - passionfruit is now a favorite flavor.
:^) from breadsong

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks, Breadsong!  Nice photo.

I love the flavors of the Islands.  Here is a link to Honumo Jams and Jellies (http://www.honomujams.com/products.html), which is the jam maker we found at the Farmers Market.  We tasted a wide variety of their products, and they are all intense and wonderful.  I'm looking forward to trying their Lime-Ginger jelly which we brought home.

Glenn

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Glenn, Thanks so much for that link!
I will note Honomu Jams (we hope to go back to the Big Island); so many passionfruit offerings!
and Lehua honey too!
:^) from breadsong