The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Lavender buns? And using cocoa butter in breadmaking.

fortran's picture

Sourdough Lavender buns? And using cocoa butter in breadmaking.

My apologies for registering, and immediately posting a recipe question.

Someone that I just got to start to know, died about a month ago. Tomorrow, there is a "wake" for him. Where he lived, has a high concentration of lavender farms. Most people where I live, have probably never visited a lavender farm. They might recognize the word "lavender".

I have some culinary lavender. I took my rye sourdough starter out of the fridge, and I am trying to wake it up by placing it on the warm deck in the sunshine. I suspect anything I make should be white all-purpose flour to avoid problems with rye not rising much. Pointers or ideas about making buns to take to the "wake" would be appreciated. Sorry for so little notice.

I have followed Fresh Loaf for a while. I do have something to give in return. If there is some ingredient which can have negative effects on producing good bread, what a person can do is to buy cocoa butter, melt it, and then stir into the melted cocoa butter the "questionable" ingredient. Let this ingredient harden (and maybe break it up), and you can then incorporate it into your dough. The yeast from the sourdough starter (or commercial) should not then see the addition. The heat of cooking will melt the cocoa butter coating, and it should diffuse into the "crumb". By itself, cocoa butter has almost a neutral taste.

jannrn's picture

I think your plan for using white flour, is a good one, but I do hope it is bread or a flour that has a good amount of protien in it. So sorry to hear about your friend too. Where are you that you are surrounded by so much Lavendar?? I can't find it where I am in Tennessee! Any businesses that ship?? I would LOVE to have some!

Good luch on your bread! Oh and thanks SO much for the cocoa butter idea! Thats great!


fortran's picture

In Canada, all purpose flour is supposed to be high protein (by law), so it should work for bread.

Lavender is nominally a plant which originated in arid regions of the Mediteranean as I understand it, but that doesn't describe the fields of levender in Provence, in England, on the northern peninsula of Washington State, or many other places. I live at latitude 56N, on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. We can get quite warm in the summer (winters can get quite cold). Being so far north, we get very long days in the summer, and we have agriculture which revolves around bees and flowers which take advantage of our long days quite well.

But, I visited a lavender farm at Oliver, BC, Canada (the Okanogan is a fruit growing region, and Oliver is in the south part). And there is a lavender farm (Lavender Harvest Farms) at Oliver that I visited, that happens to have test plots from the University of British Columbia. What surprised me, is that they are nominally growing lavender in gravel. Lavender doesn't like to "get its feet wet", and gravel fits the bill. And gravel is what the original plants would have seen in the Mediteranean. On the SW side of the house, under the roof overhang, I have 6 lavender plants (4 different varities?). I watered them a bit when newly planted, but I think this year I only watered them twice. They seem to do okay with the residual water they get, and we are nominally in a drought this year, so water has been scarce. Nominally, where I live is part of a region called the "Peace Country", named for the Peace River. Dawson Creek (where the Alaska Highway begins) is supposed to get about 19 inches of water per year. If Dawson Creek was to get average precipitation for the rest of the year, we would have a yearly precipitation of less than 12 inches this year.

Lavender propagates easily by taking cuttings. So, a person only needs a plant of each kind you are interested in. But this is getting too much into horticulture. I suspect most lavender farms on the Internet will ship various kinds of lavender product. For cooking, you want the culinary lavender. If nothing else, less chance of sticks and rocks in it.

hanseata's picture

Sorry to hear about your loss.

I am a fan of baking with lavender. Sourdough lavender rolls are very good, you might consider this recipe from South Tyrol. I make these rolls every year, when the lavender is in full bloom, the whole house is filled with the wonderful smell, and the rolls taste great.


fortran's picture

Thank you for your thoughts. I only knew the man briefly, but the "wake" was interesting. I suspect "wake" is very close to what this afternoon's presentation was like. It was very much not a funeral.

I didn't see your note in time to try anything in the recipe you pointed out. Sorry. It did look like a useful recipe, and I wonder how I didn't find it in searching before I put up a question here.

I awoke this morning to find that my rye starter had been active in 3 cups of all purpose white flour overnight. But, I think I probably have the laziest yeast/bacteria living in a rye culture anywhere.

I made 3 batches of buns, all from nominally 1 cup of de-aerated preferment, to which I added about 2 cups of white all purpose flour. One batch had 2.5 heaping teaspoonfuls of lavender, one had 4 tablespoon of Saskatoon Berry liqueur, and one had both (same amount of lavender or liqueur).

I was done making the buns at 11:30 (morning). The wake started at 3pm. At 2pm, it was obvious my lazy bugs were not working well. As I write this, it is 9pm local. Two of the trays of buns have a just barely amount of rise to consider baking, the one made with just liqueur is struggling. So, I am going to let things continue to (sort of) rise overnight, and maybe cook them tomorrow.

When cutting the dough to make the buns, it was easy to catch a hint of lavender. I have high hopes for these buns, even if they are long overdue.

But I suspect I'm going to have to try and start a new starter, because the line of bacteria I am working with is just too slow. :-(