The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flora, Fauna & Pane

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GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Flora, Fauna & Pane

A lovely weekend on the North Coast of California. 

First, the Fauna.  Our yard seems to be the pasture of choice for our neighborhood herd of Mule Deer.  And the herd has grown in the last few weeks.  We’ve seen at least three new babies (we refer to them, collectively, as “The Fonz”).  And the young buckeroos were particularly rowdy this weekend.  After the pictures below were taken, a large group assembled not 20 yards from our porch (perhaps drawn by the smell of Focaccia buns baking; more likely by the dandelions in bloom).

Next, the Flora.  Cat and I pretend that our courtyard garden is a big pain to keep up, but the truth is we love working on it.  It’s been a while since I looked at it without making a mental list of the chores that need to be done.  But today, I was looking it over from the upstairs deck, and realized that it looks pretty great.  So I snapped a few photos.

And finally the Pane.  I saw an article in the food section of the SF Chronicle a week or two ago about the wonderful hamburgers at Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa (http://www.sfgate.com/food/chefssecrets/article/Secrets-of-Bistro-Don-Giovanni-s-burger-3674609.php#page-3).  The story included their recipe for Focaccia Buns.  So, with lots of good stuff around for sandwiches (leftover Salmon and Tartar Sauce; leftover chicken and barbecue sauce), I tried it out.  This is about the quickest bread I’ve made (LOTS of yeast).  It takes about two hours from mis en place to baked.  The buns are good—they are tender and tasty and hold up to saucy fillings.  I’m sure they would be great grilled for burgers.

Here’s the recipe (with my added weight measurements):

Bistro Don Giovanni’s Focaccia Hamburger Buns

Makes 12

These buns are adapted from the ones made at Bistro Don Giovanni.  The buns can be made ahead, wrapped well and frozen for a couple of weeks.

         2 1/4 cups (540 g) whole milk

         1/2 ounce (14 g) instant dry yeast, about 1 1/2 tablespoons

         1/4 cup (55 g) olive oil + more as needed

         5 1/3 cups (730 g) all-purpose flour

         4 teaspoons (25 g) salt

Instructions: Line two rimmed baking pans with parchment; set aside.

Warm milk to about 100°-110° and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add the yeast and the 1/4 cup olive oil. Whisk to dissolve the yeast, then add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until all the flour is incorporated. Increase the speed to medium, and continue to mix for about 2 more minutes.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl; turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until almost doubled, about 30-40 minutes. The dough should barely spring back pressed gently with your fingers.

Move oven racks to the middle and bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425° (400° if using a convection oven).

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 4 ounces each). Shape each portion into a ball. Arrange balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart (about 6 per sheet). Brush each ball generously with olive oil and let rest 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, oil the palm of your hand, then use your palm to gently flatten each ball until the top is somewhat flat and the balls are shaped like buns.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the buns are light golden brown. If needed, switch pans from top to bottom and back to front for during the last couple of minutes for more even browning.

Place the pans on a rack, brush each bun lightly with olive oil, and let cool completely before slicing. Wrap individually and freeze if not using the same day.

*********************

And may each of you have an enjoyable third fiscal quarter.

Glenn

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your local Flora, Fonz and Ciabatta buns all look absolutely gorgeous!  I can see why the wildlife likes it around your house..the aroma of friendly eats, even the garden looks mighty tasty and colorful..just lovely!

 How about a crumb shot..the buns look so welcoming to any burgers or sandwiches ...very nicely done, Glenn!

Sylvia

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks, Sylvia.

The garden/courtyard would be decimated if the deer weren't fenced out.

Perhaps the deer are so calm when we're in the garden because they think they have us fenced in.

I'll try to remember to take a crumb shot later today (of the Bunz, not the Fonz).

Glenn

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

and lovely bambies..I kept seeing ciabatta..focaccia buns sounds like a real sandwich match. 

Sylvia

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Here ya go!

I might go for a more open crumb by mashing the dough balls down to bun shape 15 or 30 minutes before baking, rather than immediately before.

Glenn

 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I've got the meatballs!  Or even some Italian cold cuts would be nice.

thanks Glen.

 Sylvia

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

if the deer don't eat it all!  Love the buns too.

The 3rd quarter sure didn't start out well from a markets point of view unless you were short :-)  3 out of 4 ain't bad if you include floura, fauna and Pane in the mix.

Nice baking Glenn.

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Glenn

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful gardne Glen..I love the multi-colored stone work as well.

The buns look very tasty.  I haven't made anything with yeast in a while but maybe these are worth a try.

Ian

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks, Ian.  The slate looks a lot more dramatic from this bird's eye view than from ground level.

Glenn

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

GLenn,

Love the photos.  The deer aren't in SF are they????

Your comment regarding your garden reminded me that all to often I look at things too closely and see what 'needs' to be done rather than stepping back, as you have done, and capturing the larger view which is simply gorgeous.  I am impressed by all the hours you have put into that yard...I know how much work it is to keep up with it all!!!  

I have a problem simply keeping up with weed invaders in the few flower pots I keep on my deck out front :-)  I did not inherit my father's or my mother's gardening skills or passion.  I love flowers and all the color but the labor that goes into it is easy for me to turn over to someone else.... :-)  My philosophy is that we can't all be terrific gardeners.  To balance things out there need to be garden 'appreciators'...... so I am a garden appreciator and I really appreciate what you have done with yours and that you posted the pictures here for me to see!

Oh, by the way, the rolls looks delicious too.

Take Care,

Janet

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

then cultivate a gardener.  Who knew it could be so simple?!

Paul

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Janet--

The deer are near Fort Bragg, on the Mendocino Coast, at the house we'll retire to some day.  Deer are occasionally seen in the Presidio, but not elsewhere in SF that I know of.  I heard a few years ago that a deer was seen crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.  Coyotes have been seen on the bridge, too (probably not a coincidence...they smelled deer).

As for gardening, I have a special knack for supervising manual laborers.  It's a real shame my wife doesn't appreciate really excellent supervision.  I do my share, I suppose.  This morning I trimmed a bunch of foliage away from the house.  And I regularly snip the herbs ;-).

Glenn

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Glenn,

My husband's talents as a really good supervisor are underappreciated here too.  Not only by me but by the kids as well.  Tis a shame but he is getting used to it.  It has been a long, lonely road to travel :-).  

Didn't think there were deer in S.F. especially with all the cutting down of the eucalyptus trees but one never knows.  Fort Bragg makes lots more sense.  Looks like a heavenly place to retire to.  Remote but not far from 'civilization' when one gets the urge to step back into the rat race...

Did you get to see the celebration for the GG Bridge's 75th b'day?  My brother sent me a video and I was amazed!

Janet

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Janet--

We were up north the weekend of the birthday celebration.  So all we saw were the videos.  We have visited the new visitor center at the bridge, and it's pretty fun.

Glenn

baybakin's picture
baybakin

Lovely looking bread GSynde.  I especally like the little patio garden with native bushes, very sustainable AND lovely looking (Architecture was my major, landscaping has always been a passion of mine).  The deer are starting to be a problem out here in the oakland hills during summer, they will wander the streets to eat all the plant shoots in front yards.  They won't seem to eat anything in the nightshade family, and thank goodness, my tomatoes are strugging along enough in the clay soil!

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

The plants in our courtyard are a mix of California natives and species from other areas with similar climate (Australia, South Africa) and heathers (native, I think, to the British Isles).

We used to live in the Berkeley Hills and the deer ate everything!  As Frost wrote, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Glenn

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Very enjoyable post, I feel as though I've been on vacation after reading it- beautiful garden, sweet, spotted fawns, and homemade bread.  Thanks for the smiles.