Sweet & Sour
Just to let you know this blog entry covers 4 different bakes and is a bit longer than I would normally like to post, but hopefully some of you will enjoy it, or find something of interest along the way.
First the sweet stuff.
With the warm sunny weather we've had on Vancouver Island the last few weeks our two blueberry bushes have been producing lovely ripe berries so quickly it's been hard to pick them fast enough before new ones appear. My step-son and his wife both love blueberries and were coming over the next day to pick a few so I thought I'd make them a simple blueberry tart that they could take home with them. I had some pate sucree in the freezer which I thawed and rolled out to line a 22.8cm/9inch tart pan which then went in the fridge to relax while I made a blueberry filling. The filling consisted of about 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries and 2 tbsp of water brought to a simmer on medium heat until the berries began to break up, thickened with a sugar and cornstarch blend, and left to simmer slowly for 10-20 minutes then set to cool in the fridge. A few fresh berries were folded into the filling after it had cooled. The tart shell was blind baked in a 350F oven for 20 minutes and set on a rack to cool. Once both the shell and filling were cool the bottom of the tart was glazed to seal it with melted red currant jelly that had been thinned out with simple syrup , then the filling went into the partially baked shell, filling it about 3/4's to the top. Back into the 350F oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the filling was just beginning to bubble. Once the tart was completely cool it was topped as evenly as possible with fresh blue berries and with a few raspberries in the middle for contrast. Finally it was top glazed with the red currant jelly. I haven't had a verdict back yet but the two of them seemed quite pleased with it and hopefully they enjoyed it.
The next 2 items on the sweet side are pecan sticky buns and a Loganberry coffee cake, both of which were meant as gifts. My wife's assistant at the college where she works sent her home last week with 2 beautiful Spring salmon she and her husband had caught the day before. The salmon were a gift to me (my wife is vegetarian) for some of the breads and pastries I've sent her over the last few months. What the heck I thought, I'll make a dozen sticky buns and send some to her to say thanks for the nice fish... and keep a few for myself as well. The coffee cake was made for our next door neighbour who'd brought us over a pail brimming with perfectly ripe Loganberries from his backyard, along with yellow zucchinis, cucumbers and 2 big bulbs of garlic. My idea was to make the coffee cake with the loganberries as a thank you to our good neighbours, but when I went to deliver it the next day I discovered they'd packed up the RV that morning and gone camping. Lucky for me it turns out I like loganberry coffee cake...a lot! The reason I decided on making the sticky buns and coffee cake is that I could make both using a single mix of sweet bun dough. Having just acquired a new Bosch Compact mixer I thought a good first test for it would be to see how it coped with this rich buttery dough. A little bit more later on about my first impressions of the machine.
The only change I made was to use a levain as it's primary source of leavening, although I did use a scant amount of instant yeast to hedge my bets. I knew I would need to leave the dough in the fridge for an extended length of time and didn't want to come home and find it had passed it's prime. Fortunately by the time I was ready to roll it out it was in the pink of health. The roll-out was done from a 1.100 K piece of sweet dough, then brushed with a thin egg wash on all but the bottom 4-5 cm/2 inches, liberally topped with cinnamon sugar and sprinkled with chopped pecans and jumbo Thompson seedless raisins. The sheet was rolled up in a string roll and divided into 12 portions of roughly 125-130 grams per piece. These were placed on a standard sheet pan lined with parchment that had been smeared with sticky glaze and a cake frame placed around the pan. Final proof of 60-70 min at 73F and bake for 40 minutes @ 350F. Press in the center of the pan (firm to the touch) to ensure the buns are fully baked. Remove the pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly for 3-4 minutes. Place a sheet of parchment to cover the buns and take a similar size or larger sheet pan and invert it over the paper and buns. Holding both pans with oven mitts flip them over so that the top pan is now on the bottom and the sticky glaze on the bottom pan is now on the top. *Be careful of the hot sugar* Allow the buns to cool before removing the frame if you're using one. These buns can also be done in any cake pan.
Coffee Cake with Loganberry filling and Oatmeal Pecan Struesal
While the sticky buns were rising I rolled out the remaining dough in a rectangle about 1/2/ cm-1/4 in thick and spread Loganberry filling( use procedure for blueberry filling) and whole berries on the top half of the dough leaving a 2 cm/1/2in border around the perimeter of the dough. Brush the border with egg wash and fold the bottom half over the top and seal the edges. Brush the dough with egg wash, then take a bench scraper or knife and make two parallel slashes 4 cm apart on the top, trying not to cut through the bottom of the dough. I remembered I had some oatmeal pecan struesal in the freezer, so this was sprinkled on as a top dressing.
Final proof of 30-45 minutes, bake @350F for 20-25 minutes. The coffee cake can be dusted with confectioner's sugar, or drizzled with finger icing/fondant if desired.
Re: Struesal Topping
If anyone needs a recipe for struesal topping a good one can be found here on Debbe 1's post from last year.
Note: this formula is larger than the one I used. Scale according to desired final weight.
Sweet Bun Dough with Levain
All Purpose Organic White flour
Mature White Starter -liquid
Butter- room temp,cubed
Mix the bread flour, 44 grams of the sugar, the levain, and the warmed milk till a cohesive dough is formed. Cover and leave at room temp for 45 minutes.
On 1st speed blend in the pastry flour, eggs, then salt, and gradually add the sugar. If the dough is too dry at this point add more milk until the dough is smooth and forming a ball in the mixing bowl. Add the cubes of butter gradually, until fully incorporated , then finish mixing on 2nd speed for 4-5 minutes. Depending on your mixer you may need to finish the mixing by hand on the counter to fully develop the dough to a 'window pane' stage. Slap and fold kneading is recommended. Bulk ferment at room temp 67-70F for an hour, punch down and refrigerate for at least an hour. The dough will need to be punched down 1-2 times during this period. After 1-2 hours in the fridge the dough can now be handled easily and rolled out or molded as desired. Bake at 350F. Baking times will vary depending on unit size.
Sticky Bun Glaze
Vanilla or Rum extract
Powdered Cinnamon or Ginger
Cream butter and sugar till smooth.
Add remaining ingredients and mix till light and creamy.
Pain au Levain with Red Fife Flour
A few months back my friend breadsong http://www.thefreshloaf.com/user/breadsong contacted me, asking if while she was down in California attending a 2 day workshop at SFBI, would I like her to pick up some flour from Central Milling that we could share. How thoughtful of her! I've heard so much about this mills products from posts of David and Glen Snyder's, as well as others and I've been wanting to try it out, but the shipping is crazy expensive. Naturally I jumped at breadsong's generous offer and a week or so later picked up a box of several different CM flours she'd mailed over to me. Thank you very much breadsong!! :^) Since then a lot of things have happened such as vacations, our son's wedding, out of town family visiting etc, as well as other uncompleted baking projects needing to be finished. I'd almost forgotten I had the flour until the other day when I decided to make some bread and was rooting around in my flour storage bin looking for inspiration and there was a nice bag of CM Artisan White Malted staring me in the face. I'd already settled on making a Pain au Levain of some kind, so this should be just the perfect flour to use. I thought as long as I'm using a US flour maybe I should add a little Canadian Red Fife to the mix, in the spirit of international harmony...... or something along that line. The formula I used was Jeffrey Hamelman's Pain au Levain from 'Bread ' adapted with 75% CM Artisan Malted , 5% medium rye, and 25% Red Fife- 75% sifted from True Grain Bakery and Mill in Cowichan Bay.
Normally I wouldn't use a mixer for a 1.200 K mix such as this but wanted to see how the new mixer would handle the dough and become more familiar with it's operation as well. It took a while for the mix to come together, longer than I would have expected, but eventually it did begin to develop. Most of the mixing was done on first speed which these machines do quite well I feel compared to a KA. The mixing action is very gentle and does a much better job of not only picking up the dough, but folding it over on itself more efficiently than I've seen with other small domestic mixers. The total hydration of the dough was a medium 66% , not terribly wet, but I found I still needed to finish the development by hand to get the dough feel that I wanted. Perhaps when I've done a few more mixes with the machine this won't be necessary, but likely I'll always rely on my hands to bring the dough to where I want it.
The one major area where I deviated from Hamelman's procedure was to retard the dough overnight, simply out of scheduling necessities (read as need for sleep). After bulk ferment the dough was rested, shaped and placed in a floured banneton in the fridge for 7 hrs. The next morning it came to room temp over 2 hours before being slashed, steamed and baked at 450F for 45 minutes. The loaf could have used another 5-10 minutes but I had a 20 minute drive ahead of me to make a t-time for my weekly round of golf in 25 minutes. Reluctantly the oven was turned off and the door propped open slightly, hoping the residual heat in the stone would complete the baking. Almost but not quite, as it turned out. You may notice from the crumb shot a slight bit of under-bake on the top and bottom. Luckily it's not enough to affect the eating quality, which is quite good, however I would have preferred a bit more open crumb and a harder crust. Overall I think it's a good but not great loaf of bread that has greater potential than I was able to achieve with this loaf. The 3 different flours and percentages match up nicely for balanced flavour, and had they had a longer, bolder, bake would have made a significant difference to the final flavour. A loaf worth doing again over the next few bakes I think.