The Fresh Loaf

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Alsace Region Moricette Bread

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Cro-Magnon's picture
Cro-Magnon

Alsace Region Moricette Bread

Hi all. I was recently on a trip to the alsace region of france and happened across some fantastic bread entitled moricette which can be found in any branch of the poulaillon bakery chain. So impressed i was with it that i wanted to make it at home but my efforts so far have failed. At first glance it looks a cross between a boule/baguette type bread but with a crust/colour like a pretzel and with a wonderful salty taste. The crust and crumb are very soft and it is well suited to sandwhich bread. The only recipes i can find around this site for something similar is either bretzel or pretzel bread recipes and they look kind of similar but after a few attempts im still having trouble. As i gather the basic idea is to mix/knead/shape/proof the dough, then put it in a boiling salty water bath and then score and brush it before baking but the last few steps seem to always fail me.

So far in my bread baking i have reached acceptable competance on soft sandwhich/roll breads made from white flour and always i find with these breads they require either a loaf pan or neighbours in order to be forced into a shape when they are rising, as the dough is quite soft with a higher hydration. When making these types of bread freeform it almost never works because when the rise is happening it will just spread out and not up.

When following the recipe for the pretzel style bread i am coming across the same problem. I have to make the individual rolls/boules into individual shapes and rise separately but when this is done they only spread and dont rise up. If i make them together they will rise against one another but then it is impossible to separate them for the bathing. Another problem is when they have prooved (i wont say rose) then it is difficult to move/handle without ruining the delicate dough in the process. When they go in the hot bath mostly the bread shrivels instead of puffing out like i would expect. the subsequent slashing hurts it further still and then it never recovers once it is in the oven (i suspect after the boiling bath the yeast are all dead hence no recovery, also the water content should help the spring but i guess the skin of the bread is more or less set after bathing)

I guess im needing some advice on how to improve freeform bread shapes, and also how to handle the dough before it goes in the bath. I thought maybe individual cloths that i could use to lower the bread in or, moulded trays to hold the bread shape better. Hopefully someone on here will have a better idea of the right process.

As an aside has anyone here actually seen/tried the bread im talking about?

Stephan Theriault's picture
Stephan Theriault

Bonjour!

 First time I've heard of this bread, so I did a quick search and found a few recipes in french. They are basically all the same so here it is:

500g flour

150g water

150g milk

10g salt

35g margarine or butter(I say butter is better.)

20g fresh yeast or 10g dry or 6g instant

water bath:

1 to 1.5 litres water

100g baking soda

10g salt

-Mix the dought

-Bulk ferment one to one and half hours. Till doubled in size.

-Preheat oven at 392 F

-Combine water bath ingredients. And bring to a boil.

-Devide into twelve portions, and shape.

-Place in boiling bath about twenty seconds per side. Then place on baking sheet.

-Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

In case you missed it there is no proofing. I have not made these yet, but its the same in all the recipes I saw. So I hope this helps.

Cro-Magnon's picture
Cro-Magnon

Thanks for your reply stephan. The recipe you posted is basically the same as the one I have been trying. I did it once with bulk proof shape then bath and once with bulk proof shape proof and then bath. The first was easier to handle For the bathing but the resultant bread was not much cope. Second had better bread but was a nightmare to handle especially with the dough being so wet. One thing I did notice is that your recipes all have 10x the amount of baking soda that I have been using - that would explain a lot re the missing taste of the crust. I have since tried a batch again and got better results with some experimenting. I used a bread recipe that is tried and tested for making bonzer sarnie bread both in loaf and roll format. This dough I am familiar with and know how to work with. I mixed,kneaded,proofed,shaped,proofed again and then bathed it. I found conflicting info on the type of wash so I did several and also tried a few different scoring techniques and styles to see what suited best. Eventually I found that criss cross is better with egg yolk wash for the browning and that the resultant product was getting close to what I was looking for ( albeit in a roll format) I will try the elongated roll shape once I get a few more successes with the standard round shape. Next time I will try more baking powder in the bath and see what difference that makes. Hopefully it's enough because that's all my last attempt was missing. 

For information in case anyone wants to know the "bonzer" sandwhich bread recipe I used is based on the Pullman  sandwhich loaf bread recipe that I found on the tfl forums. 

Lastly if you need any of my Scottish/cockney vocab translated I will be happy to do that also.