The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's WW levain, Croque Monsieur

  • Pin It
rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hamelman's WW levain, Croque Monsieur

I don't know why I've neglected to try Hamelman's whole wheat levain all this time - probably because I find it hard to leave rye out of a bread. Recently, a friend put in a request for a wholewheat loaf, so thought it was a good time to give Hamelman a run with this one.

Glad I did. This was a lovely bread. I've made it a few times since, including with 20g of toasted wheatgerm (one of my fave flavour enhancing tricks - courtesy of one of David's terrif SFBI feedback posts). Love it with or without this enhancement.

I've found this bread is particularly delicious toasted (3 days after baking seems optimal)...and it makes a great Croque Monsieur. For anyone with Hamelman's 'Bread' who has not gotten around to trying the WW levain, recommend you do so post haste!

Cheers all!
Ross

(Pics coming - can't see any image uploading function at the moment)

Comments

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Strange - I can't see an image uploading icon when I go into Edit mode of my original post, but I can see it in the reply. So here will do:

 

 

 

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Yum ... What's on the Croque?

Love the aerated crumb...

Cheers, Phil

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

A Croque Monsieur is basically just a French equivalent of a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, with multiple variations possible. (Which raises the question as to why I didn't just call it a toasted ham and cheese open sandwich...a little pretentious on reflection, my only defence being that 'Croque Monsieur' sounds better). I think a true CM is a closed sandwich, rather than open as in my version.

But to answer your question: toast bread slightly first, then layer with butter (optional), mayonnaise, ham, cheese (traditionally Emmental, but I prefer something stronger, like a good cheddar or provolone) and sliced red onion. Grill until browned, then sprinkle with a good quality paprika, cayenne pepper and fresh-ground black pepper. As simple as it gets, but such a classic combo of flavours.

Cheers!
Ross

EvaB's picture
EvaB

and its just past lunchtime here!

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Doesn't seem to matter whether you've just eaten - log on to TFL and start browsing through the array of inevitably gorgeous food pics and you start drooling. Here's something funny: I've just started dieting! (So what's that SD spicy fruit loaf doing in the oven?). Arrrrggghh!

Good to hear from ya, Eva!

Cheers
Ross

EvaB's picture
EvaB

try being diabetic, the food choices that don't raise my blood sugar are slim and nil, I can't have potatoes, rice (not that I want that) pasta (ditto I'm not a huge fan) and sugar, so what does that leave me, veggies which I also have to be careful of the amount and type, and meat, which can get pretty darn boring since gravy is out, and.......... well you can see what I mean. I can't even drink a beer without my sugar levels reaching the stratosphere. And it gets worse, if I'm the least bit sick, a cold and they don't behave, breathing difficulties (chronic bronchitis and asthma) sinus infections, and they go up and stay up!

The only thing I can do is eat like a normal person and have bits of all the things I am not supposed to, the trick is to make sure its not a cup of rice but more like a couple tablespoons, etc, so the bread is ok, just put half of it in the freezer and ration the rest, I don't think diets really work if you say I can't have this or that, or have to only eat green beans. Just eat smaller portions but eat like you normally would, and make the switch to higher fibre and lower carb veggies. A pain in the butt, but workable if you put your mind to it.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Sounds like you're making the best of a potentially miserable situation. I've had a raised blood sugar level for many years, but it's stayed pretty constant and never gone above the "pre-diabetic" range, despite my penchant for chocolate, cakes, dairy, cookies etc. Being ridiculously food-centric all my life, and a carb maniac (bread, pasta and rice - OH YEAH!), it's an appalling thought to have to avoid these foods - actually, any foods (and let's not even mention wine and beer!). So, I can well understand your choice to drastically moderate forbidden favourites rather than cut them out completely. I'm struggling even to do that at the moment. In particular, ceasing spreading butter on bread is one hell of a challenge, and one I really don't think I'm up to. Just too pleasurable. Will have to make up for that weakness by cutting down other fat sources and upping the exercise.

Still, anything's doable. My partner was diagnosed with kidney impairment a few years ago, and as the household cook I've had to reduce salt content and look for non-salt flavour enhancements in my dishes (paprika's my best friend). At first it was hard, but these days our palates are so much more sensitive to salt that we wouldn't want to go back to our old ways. On the now very rare occasions when we eat out or have takeways we often find things too salty. And truth to tell, I've paid so much more attention to my cooking and invested so much more imagination in it that I've exceeded my expectations of myself in that area (and they were already pretty high).

Besides, there was another HUGE positive to being forced to reduce salt intake. Like most folk, we LOVE good pizzas, but commercial ones are far too high in salt for my partner. Cutting out pizza was unthinkable, so I started making them at home, which by and by led to sourdough bread baking! That's been literally lifechanging. I know everyone here knows exactly what I mean. So, I can honestly say I'm glad to have been forced to reduce salt. Not comparing this to the privations you have to impose on yourself, of course. Just thinking aloud and finding myself in an uncharacteristically positive space!

Cheers
Ross

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

You know, I was planning to bake the Pain au Levain with WW last weekend but got sidetracked with other breads. Maybe this weekend. Between your endorsement and Glenn's, resistance is futile!

That tartine looks pretty yummy.

David

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks for your comment! Interested to see how your WW levain turns out if you post on it.

Yeah, 'tartine' might have been more accurate - just thought the toppings qualified the sandwich as a Croque Monsieur. I believe I'm badly in need of a research mission in France to clarify a few of these nuances through direct sensory experience.

Cheers!
Ross

Franko's picture
Franko

Both the bread and sandwich look delish Ross!

Great crumb with the not too open cells, making it perfect for sandwiches, especially the melted cheese variety. I've got 10K of Red Fife whole wheat that I haven't even touched yet, but after seeing your loaf I think I'll have to remedy that situation pronto. Nice bake!

Best Wishes,

Franko

 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Spot on re the crumb - it was just right for this sort of sandwich.

Look forward to ogling your WW levain pics, so hope you do take action pronto on this one! Must be great to have access to the different varieties/strains of wheat you guys have in the States. We have some fantastic quality flours, but nowhere near the variety you and the Europeans enjoy.

Cheers!
Ross

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Ross, A great discovery.

Thank you for pointing us to it - I never even noticed this recipe before; hiding there between the miches and the five-korn ...

Juergen

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Funny, it does seem to be one of the less noticeable recipes in that section of Bread. Anyway, glad to have outed it for you! Took me the best of 3 years to get around to it!

Cheers
Ross

EvaB's picture
EvaB

of most of the stuff, but the potatoes whine! We ate potatoes almost everyday, and for years it was just about the only source of starch for me, as I didn't eat bread (not a big fan of any type of bread really) don't like most pasta (occasional spagetti and meatballs) and really don't like rice at all (much to my rice fiend husband's pain) I think the real problem came because I was working in my early 20's and ate meals out at lunch time, and since I weighed about 100-110 pounds and was working at a physically demanding job, ate more than just salads (like full plate meals) and then when I got pregnant my hormones went on a rampage and I ate even more (french fires were a downfall then, sometimes three or 4 times a day) so it just whacked out my hormone system and the diabetes finally won out.

When I was a kid we were very poor, and meals were skimpy to say the least, you got what was put on your plate and that was it, deserts were not a daily item, and the biggest meal of the year was Christmas dinner where you could eat all you wanted for once (and of course we did) so its more going back to old ways of eating and not going overboard on goodies (which of course are the ones I love to make) so its adjusting to less is more in my brain. The diabetes can be a pain in the feet litterally, and I just have to not have a whole bag of popcorn at once, or eat a huge helping of the startch or pasta or whatever carbs are there, and realize that I simply can't have that beer if I have the desert, its all relative, and sometimes I slip.

But I can certainly see the salt issue, since I find a lot of things too salty, I never did learn to cook stuff with salt, I simply forget to add to the pot the salt. What annoys me is that most diabetic nutritionists simply assume that you buy all your food processed, and to find the carb or fat content of various things is almost impossible if its not a brand name item, I wound up buying three books on carb counts in food, to get one that actually had the carb amounts of various ingredients to make something rather than buy Little Debbie cakes or Ding Dongs both of which were in the first two books!

By the way, I use full regular fat butter, whole milk and cream, skim milk is not allowed in the house, (it has no fat and all the lactose and more of a whole milk for the same amount of milk) its not the fats, its the amounts, and sometimes the way they are used. I don't beleive in margerine, my mother thought it was poison and it is in a way, hydrogenated anything is not good for one. I use olive oil, EVOO is the best, and never use vegetable shortening only lard or butter. And I have high cholesteral which they say isn't caused by what I eat, but rather what my body manufactures and its a genetic thing not a diet thing!

I really hate those recipes that start out take a can (bottle, jar) of and the whole thing is one processed item after another, to make something that you can make from good food and pure ingredients, but its much more conveient to do it that way than to actually have to buy stuff, spend a couple days after work making sauces or freezing or canning actual food and knowing just what goes into your pizza, or soup or whatever it is. I don't collect those, other than the odd recipe like tomato soup cake, which is great, but funnily enough my SIL's grandkids think homemade cake is not as good as cake mix cake, and just think of what goes into those!