The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A HINT OF PROVENCE - LAVENDER BREAD

hanseata's picture
hanseata

A HINT OF PROVENCE - LAVENDER BREAD



In front of the store where I sell my breads I saw a bed of lavender in full bloom. The smell was wonderful, recalling memories of glorious summer holidays as a student in the Provence. It also reminded me of a bread recipe with lavender that I always wanted to try, and some lavender cupcakes I had made last year, but wasn't quite satisfied with.

The lavender buds in my garden have not opened, yet, but I have some dried lavender flowers, and the assurance of reliable sources in the internet that fresh and dried lavender had the same strong aroma, and were therefore interchangeable.

At the first bite the breads' seasoning appears a bit unfamiliar, but then the taste buds open up, and welcome the subtle lavender flavor - a hint of Provence.



LAVENDER BREAD (6 mini breads)

STARTER
22 g whole wheat mother starter (or white starter)
63 g all-purpose flour
45 g water

DOUGH
3 g instant yeast
270 g water, lukewarm
all starter (130 g)
400 g all-purpose flour
100 g bread flour
20 g sugar
12 g salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp. dried lavender flowers, or fresh lavender flowers (from 6 stems)

DAY 1
In the morning, mix starter. Cover, and let sit at room temperature.

In the evening, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add to all other dough ingredients. Mix at low speed (or by hand) for 1 - 2 minutes, until all flour is hydrated. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Knead at medium-low speed for 2 minutes, adjusting with more water as needed (dough should still be sticky). Continue kneading for 4 more minutes, the last 20 seconds at medium speed (dough should still be somewhat sticky).

Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, and (with wet hands) stretch it gently into a rough square, and fold it like a business envelope. Turn it 90 degrees, and, from the small sides, fold it again in thirds.
Gather dough package into a ball, tucking edges under, and place in lightly oiled bowl (seam side down). Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat Stretch & Fold 3 more times, with 10 minute intervals. After last S & F place dough in oiled container with lid, and refrigerate overnight.

DAY 2:
Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using. Its volume should triple.

Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C, including steam pan.

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces, and shape first into rounds, then roll them into strands. Score, cover, and let rise at room temperature for ca. 45 minutes.

Bake breads at 425 F/220 C for 12 minutes, remove steam pan, rotate loaves, and bake for another 13 minutes, until golden brown (internal temperature at least 200 F/95 C)

Let breads cool on wire rack.

This recipe is an adaptation of Richard Ploner's Lavendelbrot (from: Brot aus Südtirol).

Comments

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Karin,

I was wondering when we would hear about these.  You certainly bake quickly and report here quickly too.  I am glad because I have a garden full of beautiful lavender that I want to put to use and now I can.  I will do these sometime this week!

Did I let you know the wild rice bread got baked?  I can't remember if I did but I baked it yesterday and it went to a neighbor.  It smelled heavenly and the dough was very easy to work with.

Now to copy this and cut some lavender...

Thanks for posting and for putting this in the format I LOVE!  The overnight retarding is really nice this time of year.  Bake early in the morning so I don't roast everyone out of the house with a hot oven at 1 PM....

Can you explain why with this formula you don't include a soaker?  I know that on some of your formulas you have both starter and soaker and occasionally you post one that doesn't include a soaker - just the final dough.  How does it effect the final out come?  What is the difference that makes you choose to skip including a soaker with some of your adapted formulas?

Take Care,

Janet

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Thanks Karin - what lovely lavender breads, and don't they look nice in the photo, displayed on that Provençal? fabric.
This recipe for your lavender bread, with the touch of vanilla, looks really good :^) 
(Thanks too for your mention awhile back about Mr. Schöner's e-book, 'Brot'. I've got Kindle for PC now so downloaded a copy. That instant access to e-books makes it so easy to buy...!)
:^) from breadsong

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

recipe sounds great, will add to my to-bake list !   

Thanks !

anna

 

ananda's picture
ananda

I'm sure the flavour is lovely Karin, and I really like the appearance of the crumb texture you have created in the bake

Best wishes

Andy

Syd's picture
Syd

You always  bake interesting breads, Karin.  Would never have thought of lavender as an ingredient for bread.  I usually associate it with more cosmetic uses.  Definitely an unusual loaf. :)

Syd

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Janet, I use a soaker only if the dough contains whole grains, or seeds like flaxseed (that need to soak to be digestible). Since this bread has a sourdough starter as pre-dough, but is made with white flour only, I found it practical to make it with S & F.

Basically, if I make a white bread without sourdough, like Peter Reinhart's Pane Siciliano or Vienna Bread (BBA), I have several choices. Either I make a paté fermentée, or a biga as pre-dough. Or, especially, if I didn't have time for that (or didn't think of it) before, I use S & F. In any case, part of the dough, or the whole, will be retarded in the refrigerator.

It's also a choice, how you want to organize your baking. Pre-doughs take a little time to make earlier on, but the mixing time of the final dough is short, and you don't have to be around for another hour of S & Fs.

On the other hand, you can make a dough with S & F, put it in the fridge, and use it only after two or three days.

The result is practically the same, I did not notice that one of these methods had better results than the others. According to Peter Reinhart a soaker is not necessary with S & F, but I like the idea of a little longer soaking, may that be justified or not.

Karin

 

 

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Karin,

Thank you for supplying the missing info.  Now I understand!  I love it when a light bulb moment happens and I can actually apply what I have learned.  I can now 'read' your formulas with a better understanding of your process.

I can't remember if I passed this information on to you or not in the past but I thought of you and all the calculations you do when you convert formulas when I was working on a formula conversion of my own this morning.  It is a link to Amazon that shows a nifty calculator that converts 'oz'. into 'g'....'f' into 'c'.  Fractions into 'g'.....  (Does lots I can't even figure out!) Was nice to be able to deal with 1 1/8 ounce of.....by pushing down a key and having it changes instantly into 'g' for me.

Here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Calculated-Industries-KitchenCalc-8305-Conversion/dp/B00007L6PG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309897621&sr=8-1

Take Care,

Janet

hanseata's picture
hanseata

and I also have a nice calculator with a conversion mode. Very practical.

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

and I'm interested in how you find Nils Schöner's e-book. I made three kinds of bread from it so far, and all were good.

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I'll have on of those loaves for lunch now. Let me know how you like it, if you get to making it.

Happy baking,

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Andy, the bread has really a nice crumb. The original recipe from South Tyrol calls for Italian type 0 flour and Montana flour. So I used all-purpose and bread flour. The taste is subtle and very pleasing.

Best wishes,

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Syd, I am a curious person and like trying out new things (hence the evergrowing collection of cookbooks in my shelves). When I saw those pretty lavender blooms I remembered having seen this recipe, and decided to make it. (I also thought it was quite an exotic ingredient).

At the same time I tried lavender in two different muffin/cupcake recipes - no such success. They tasted good, but no hint of lavender, even though I soaked the flowers in milk overnight.

Karin

EvaB's picture
EvaB

a couple of years ago, and they turned out very nice, I mixed the lavender flowers (dried here) into some regular sugar (I use a sugar known as berry sugar here, its fine chrystals) and let it sit on the counter in a closed box overnight, then used the lavender flowers and some of the sugar in the muffins, the rest of the sugar went into a thin glaze for the tops, I found the glaze to be too much (I don't like really sweet glaze on muffins) but the muffins themselves were tasty, and quite pretty with the bits of flowers in them. I think that the real problem is the taste being too strong or too light depending on your own personal tastes.

Have you tried using a bit of scalding water on the flowers, that would extract more flavour, and then you could use the water in the muffin mix. I never found that milk (or at least commercial milk) took on flavour from things in it.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I kind of gave up on them, because the flavor in the muffins and cupcakes was not noticeable - very different from the bread. I will keep your suggestion in mind, and, like you, I don't like too much sugar and therefore usually don't glaze my muffins.

Karin

EvaB's picture
EvaB

it was really different and very tasty. And quite interesting. I am really careful because I know sugar is bad for me being diabetic, so wouldn't make the glaze again, but it didn't hurt the muffins and I'm sure it would be good. I think they would go better with tea (the book was English written) they made rather small muffins, but then again I like a muffin that isn't the size of Texas. Nothing against Texas, just don't need that much! LOL

Frosted  Lavender Muffins

Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flourFrosting:
1 tsp each of baking powder and soda7/8 cup of confectioner’s or icing sugar
Pinch of salt1 tbsp dried lavender flowers
4 tbsps butterEnough milk or cream to make a thin
4 tbsps superfine sugar (berry)frosting, it’s almost pourable.
1 large egg, beatenDay before starting the muffins, add the
½ tsp vanillalavender flowers to the sugar and cover
1 tbsp dried lavender flowerstightly, let sit overnight on counter.
½ cup plain unsweetened applesauce orThis infuses the lavender into the sugar.
1 large cooking apple diced and pureed 
 

Instructions:

Pre heat the oven to 400 F, line the muffin tine with papers or grease lightly.

 

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a bowl. In a separate bowl cream the butter and superfine sugar until creamy, add the egg, vanilla and applesauce and the dried lavender. (Although I always was told to put any additions like fruit into the flour and coat to keep them from sinking in the batter while baking.)

 

Add the egg mix to the dry mix and stir just until its incorporated, lumps are ok., do not over stir.

 

Divide the mixes between the cups (you can make smaller muffins by using medium or small cups, and even using mini muffin cups by placing them on a flat cookie sheet to place in the oven) do not overfill, they should be about 2/3 full.

 

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins test done by inserting a toothpick or skewer into the cake. Make sure to not over cook the smaller muffins. While baking the frosting should be made, by mixing the sieved sugar with the cream or milk and stirring until desired consistency is reached. Cool the baked muffins, and then frost, sprinkling or decorating the tops of the muffins with lavender flowers.

I left the lavender flowers in the sugar overnight on the counter and actually did flour the flowers before adding to the mix, just because that was how I've always done things. The flowers were evenly throughout the muffin, and added a dimension to the taste. Both my brother and my husband liked them, and enjoyed them greatly. I liked the flavour but only ate one out of the dozen because of my sugars.

I've flavoured sugar with orange of lemon peel the same way, and am sure you could do it with other things including roses! That is my next try at something different, rose muffins.

Eva

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Great shape of the buns and lovely crumb.  I can just imagine taking a bite with slathered, honey, lavender or herbed lavender butter.  We have a local lavender field here that makes many beautiful things with lavender.  

Sylvia

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Did you ever make pastry with lavender? Different from the Lavender Bread, my trials at muffins and cupcakes so far were not very convincing. I tried infusing castor sugar with the flowers ( some success) and (cold) milk (no success).

Karin

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Once I made a lavender cake from a recipe in a magazine..it was a little to..perfumie for my taste...but it was pretty..it was more of a pound type cake, I no longer have that recipe.  Dried lavender was used as in the butters too.  

Sylvia

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I tried for the second time an apple lavender cupcake recipe from CIA. Both times you could neither discern the apples (though I changed kinds) nor the lavender. Disappointing! But the bread is just nice.

Karin

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Karin and Sylvia,
Sometimes I like to brush an infused syrup on cake, to add flavor and moisture.
Just found a recipe for lavender syrup on this lovely blog (English version available if you scroll down a bit).
Hoping to try this syrup out this weekend, maybe to brush on a lemon-lavender poundcake - might be nice to have with our local strawberries.
:^) from breadsong

PS Discovered lavender-infused honey and love its unique flavor! Planning to use some lavender honey in the bread :^)

hanseata's picture
hanseata

My daughter, who's a chef, suggested melting the butter, then adding the flowers, let it stand overnight, and remelt it again before using. She said flavors infuse better in warm fat.

I'm a bit frustrated with my lavender muffin/cupcake efforts - so today I'll make something totally different, stout cupcakes. I just tried out the Flaxseed Bread with Stout from Andy's student (see ananda's blog). It was a great success (I will post about it) and inspired me to make pastry with stout.

Karin

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Karin,
You've reminded me...(thanks)... I've been meaning to try baking one of these for quite some time!
Happy to hear about your stout bread, and looking forward to the post.
That's a really good idea of your daughter's, infusing the butter. Will try that if I'm looking for a flavor boost.
:^) from breadsong