The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Blog Entries

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer


 


I made this decadent bread last Thursday to take to my parents in Seattle for the long weekend. The dough has cocoa powder, melted bittersweet chocolate, coffee, bittersweet chocolate chunks in it, and of course being a brioche, lots of butter (~25%). As if it's not indulging enough, I put some homemade Dulche de leche in each bun. It was a last minute experiment, and OMG, it's perfect!!!! The bread itself is not sweet at all, fragrant with the mocha flavor from coffee and chocolate, which goes so well with the sweet and rich Dulce de leche. I knew it'd be delicious, but it went way beyond my expectations, you must try this mocha+Dulce de leche combo, pure heaven.


 


For those who are not familiar with Dulce de leche, see this intro: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dulce_de_leche - basically it's a rich milk caramel. Even though you can buy it in cans, it's very simple to make at home. I use the slowcooker method: put cans of condensed milk (unopened, paper label peeled off) in slowcooker, add enough water to have the cans completely  submerged, cook on low for 8 hours, then you get perfectly brown and rich Dulce de leche. You can also boil the cans on stove top, but then you MUST take care to add enough water so the cans are completely submerged the whole time, otherwise you risk them exploding! If you don't like to cook it in the cans, you can use this method: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2005/11/dulce_de_lechec.html - I tried it before as well, slightly more work than the slowcooker method, but still a breeze. Once made, you can use it in breads, cakes, cookies, spread like PB or jam, or eat it with a spoon!


 


Now back to the bread, the dough formula is adapted from the book "The secrets of Baking" by Sherry Yard.


Chocolate Brioche (makes 2lbs of dough)


-chocolate butter


bittersweet chocolate, 2oz, finely chopped


butter, 1 stick, 4oz, softened


cocoa powder, 1/4cup


1. melt the chocolate and keep warm


2. beat butter until smooth, add cocoa powder and chocolate, beat until well incorporated. keep aside at room temperature.


-sponge


instant yeast, 2tsp


coffee, 1 cup (80F) (I used 1tbsp of espresso powder mixed with 1 cup of boiling water, cooled to 80F)


bread flour, 60g


sugar, 1/3cup


1. mix everything together into a very thin batter, cover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minues until bubbles form


-main dough


bread flour, 390g


salt, 1.75tsp


egg yolk, 4, lightly beaten


bittersweet chocolate, 4oz, chopped


1. shift flour and salt into sponge, add yolks, mix with paddle attachment on low speed for 2 minutes, until yolks are absorbed. Increase to medium speed, knead for 5 minutes. The dough is not that wet, so it cleans the bowl and wrapped around the paddle attachment the whole time.


2. on medium low speed, add chocolate butter one tbsp at a time. switch to dough hook, knead until ver well developed, smooth and stretchy. Add chocolate, mix on low until incorporated. 


3. cover and bulk rise for 2 hours until double. punch down and rise again until double, about 45 to 60 minutes (or refrigerator for 4hours or overnight).


4. divide and shape. I divided into 50g dough balls and some 25g balls. the 8 inch cake mold wiht removable bottom took one 50g ball in the center, 6 50g balls in the middle layer, 6 50g balls and 6 25g balls in the outside layer. Still had 5X50g balls left for individual rolls. Of course I did put 1tsp of Dulce de leche in each ball. You can shape in other ways of course. The book says this amount of dough is enough for 2 9X5 loaf pans.


5. proof until double, 30min for me, if you refridgerator the dough, it will take 1.5 to 2 hours.


6. brush with egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp heavy cream), bake at 350 until center reaches 180F. Rolls took 20min, the large cake mold took 48min.




Sinfully delicious, bread doesn't get more decadent than this. I highly recommentd the dulce de leche filling, but if you don't use it, the bread is till delicious.


sharonk's picture
sharonk

Part 1:

I thought I was ordering Teff Whole Grain but I obviously made a mistake somewhere along the line because when my order arrived I opened a 25 lb. bag of Teff Flour! I went back to my original order slip and saw that, indeed, I had ordered 25 lbs. of flour. I just looked at this massive amount of flour and wondered how long will it take to use this up. Ugh.

I usually buy whole grain teff and grind it up as I need it. Teff is a potent high protein seed grain and has been a blessing after learning I had to go off gluten. I also use whole grain teff for a power breakfast. I soak the teff grain the night before, 1 cup teff to 3 cups water, add a little water kefir to boost the enzyme activity, cover and let it sit overnight. The next morning I simmer it for about 15 minutes to cook. Mixed with chia gel, flax seed oil and soaked nuts, I'm off and running. I'll often pour the leftovers into a loaf pan where it becomes like polenta. I'll slice it and toast or saute it. Using spices and herbs it could be made sweet or savory.

Since I was missing my teff breakfasts I ordered some more whole grain, this time only 10 lbs. To my horror, I opened a box of 10 lbs. of teff flour, again! I really must slow down, I'm making way too many mistakes.

Anyway, what to do with my 35 lbs. of teff flour?
My book, The Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking, is based on brown rice flour starters. I'd begun to experiment with buckwheat sorghum starters and have had some great results. I figured I better move on to Teff starters so I wouldn't have pounds and pounds of teff flour either stuffed into the freezer or sprouting critters with legs.

I began a new starter using only teff flour and water in a ratio of 1 to 1. I chose this because teff absorbs a lot of water. I usually use teff to thicken and give structure to some bread recipes. I was surprised that this starter was actually very soupy but I continued along with my 1 to 1 experiment, feeding it every 8 hours or so for a couple of days.

I used the bubbly starter to make Teff pancakes and was pleasantly surprised that they were as good as or even better than the rice pancakes! They were naturally slightly sweet with a great cake-like texture. The leftovers were great toasted the next day. Since I can't eat sweet stuff I used them as an accompaniment to a bean stew. I'm sure they would be great with maple syrup or fruit.

Starter Recipe:
Make a starter by mixing equal amounts of teff flour and water. Add a tablespoon of water kefir or other fermented liquid.
Feed every 8 hours or so with equal amounts of teff flour and water.
After 2 days it should be ready to use.

Pancake Recipe:
One cup of starter makes about 4 pancakes.
Add a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoons of any oil or fat and 1 tablespoons ground flax seeds.
Mix let it sit about 10 minutes and cook.
The pancakes will not show bubbles so flip it when it starts to dry out around the outer third.
Sometimes I cover it while it's cooking. It cooks faster and more thoroughly.

My next experiment will be making breads using this teff starter. I'll keep you posted.

Part 2:

After last week’s fabulous teff pancakes I continued building the starter even though I sorely needed a break from bread baking. I was busy and thought it would be a good opportunity to practice growing starter in the fridge as this would cut the feedings from 3 times a day to twice. 

 

The starter grew beautifully with a mild aroma. I would take it out for about an hour in the morning, feed it, let it sit another hour or so and put it back in the fridge for 12 hours. I’d repeat the sequence at night before bed. I noticed some thickening and some small bubbles but nothing dramatic.

 

I had been thinking about creating bread that was mildly sweet without any sweetener beyond 1 teaspoon of stevia powder. I used small amounts of carob and maca (a malty flavored root) and used buckwheat flour for one loaf and shredded coconut for the other. I also used coconut oil for the fat. The batters were rich looking, like cake batter. The aroma in the kitchen was heavenly and the resulting breads were fabulous. Sweet without any added sugars, no blood sugar spikes and no yeasty itching.

 

My daughter, who named Sourdough Bread #1 “Mommybread” said this Teff Carob bread was the best ever and I should make it exclusively. Forever.

 

 

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

This is a 50% Wholewheat Loaf, Which involves a BIGA (Preferment/sponge) around 30% of total Flour Weight.


I love the final taste of the bread, it was the best sandwich loaf i ever made so far! Soft, Airy, Light, Tastey, and Nutritious.


"Hey don't mind the background, my appartment is not bright enough"




My wife said: i could snack on toasted slices of this bread all day.


Mebake


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Today I fired up my wfo oven to make pizza and this morning I made the recipe for my 'Sandwich Buns'.  I needed hot dog buns for Mondays cookout and since the wfo was hot I retarded the shaped hot dog buns in the refrigerator until tonight when the oven had reached a temperature of apx. 400F and falling.  I removed them for about one hour to finish proofing and placed them into the wfo for 20 minutes to bake.  I wanted to get them into the oven right away because they had proofed a little more than I wanted, so as I brushed them with an egg yolk glaze and asked my husband to sprinkle on the seeds..I think he actually enjoyed it and I enjoyed watching him enjoying it ;)  I will post a crumb shot later. 


                           


                                      


                                                     Beginning to brown


 


                                                   20 minutes baked


 


                                    


 


                                                         Added crumb photo   


                                                      Ready for tomorrows hot dogs...I haven't had a hot in ages and looking forward to toasting these on the grill!


                                              


             Sylvia


 


                                

RobinGross's picture
RobinGross


Croissants made with 100% wild yeast (captured in Paris).  5 rises over 2 days and enough folding and turning to create 55 layers of butter and dough in the final croissant.  Tasty too.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

My husband is a master at pasta making. He retired on May 14th 2010 and we have been indulging pretty often since then. I made the sauce and the bread...my starters survived my 3 months away on my bicycle ride across the US. He made the lovely pasta you see below. It is 1/2 semolina and 1/2 reg old AP. It is delicious...


 




Photobucket

hanseata's picture
hanseata

There are two things members of our patchwork family have in common - we love good food and we hate olives!

Even the pickiest of our kids, Valerie, producer of the famous "square mouth" whenever I made her try at least one bite before she said she didn't like it; and Francesca who ordered "just white rice" when we ate at a restaurant, ended up as foodies. Valerie even became a chef!

The Andersons and their offspring pick olives off pizzas, and leave them untouched in the salad bowl. They don't order tapenade and don't drink martinis. But then something strange happened...

Knowing that a lot of people are olive fans and crave them in all kinds of foods, I looked for an olive bread recipe to satisfy those die-hards among my customers.

I found one in my favorite "Brot aus Südtirol" and decided to give it a try, tweaking it a bit (using a preferment and overnight refrigeration).

It was quite a struggle to force the slippery olives into the dough (maybe they sensed my negative vibes).

I also found it not very easy to roll the dough into the right shape for dividing it into equal sized pieces, without a lot of leftover cut-offs.

No wonder, my first batch of "Pane di Olive" looked like misshapen scones, with dark bruises (from my abuse?), but they didn't smell bad.

                Chef Valerie and proud Mom

With some misgivings and no great expectations I bit in an olive studded roll. Took another unbelieving bite and was deeply shocked - the olive bread tasted good, really good, incredibly good!

I gave one to Richard, the most willing guinea pig of all husbands (but, also, staunchest olive hater of us all) who eyed it with visible distrust. "You should probably call that "Malfatti" (Italian for "badly made") he suggested, but then, just to please me, nibbled gingerly at one corner.

IN NO TIME THE OLIVE BREAD WAS GONE!

Making the olive bread again and again - it proved to be a big hit with my customers at the natural food store, too - I learned a few tricks to make the mixing and shaping easier.

It is very important to use good quality olives, like Kalamata. The bread's taste depends on those olives, so don't skimp on this essential ingredient.

Good quality olives are a must!

Not only draining, but letting the olives dry for several hours on kitchen paper towels, makes them less slippery, and much more willing to embrace the dough. Killing two birds with one pit stone,
this simple measure also takes care of the ugly "bruising" of the bread.

Instead of using a preferment, I find it easier to work the dough with stretch and fold, with an overnight stay in the fridge. This method requires less yeast, so I reduced it a bit.

A template makes rolling the dough to the right size much easier

And, finally, a bit of calculation (not my strongest point) and a paper template made the rolling and cutting of the dough a cinch!

OLIVE BREAD   (adapted from Richard Ploner: "Brot aus Südtirol")
(10 pieces

250 g/8.8 oz Italian 00 flour
250 g/8.8 oz all-purpose flour
    4 g/0.14 oz instant yeast
    9 g/0.3 oz salt
    5 g/0.18 oz honey
  30 g/1.6 oz olive oil
100 g/3.5 oz Kalamata olives, pitted
240 g/8.5 oz water

TOPPING
12 g/0.4 oz milk
12 g/0.4 oz whipping cream
7 g/0.25 oz sugar

 

DAY 1:
Drain olives in a strainer, chop coarsely, place on kitchen paper towels, and let dry for several hours.

Drying the drained olives kills two birds with one stone

Mix all ingredients, except for olives, at low speed (or with large wooden spoon) for 1-2 minutes until all flour is hydrated. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Knead at medium-low speed (or by hand) for 2 minutes, adjusting with a little more water, if necessary (dough should be a bit sticky.) Knead for another 4 minutes, while feeding olives slowly to dough. It should still be somewhat sticky rather than just tacky.

Starting with the top, fold dough in thirds like a business letter

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled work surface. With oiled or wet hands, stretch and pat it into rough square. Fold from top to bottom in thirds, like a business letter. Then fold the same way from both sides. Gather dough into ball, and place, seam side down, into lightly oiled bowl. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

After folding you have a neat little dough package

Repeat this stretching and folding 3 more times, at 10-minute intervals. After the last fold,  place dough, well covered, in refrigerator overnight. (It doesn't have to warm up before using.)

DAY 2:
Preheat oven to 410º F/210º C.  Cut parchment paper into a 24 x 30 cm/12 x 9.5" template. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Over night the dough has doubled in the frigde

In a little bowl, mix topping ingredients, place in microwave, and bring to a boil. Remove, and set aside.

Rolled out and marked


On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a square (24 x 30 cm/12 x 9.5"), using the template (about 1.5 cm/0.5" thick). Trim edges. Using pizza cutter or knife, cut dough square first lengthwise in half, then each half into in 5 equal pieces. The dough will be very soft.

Brush with milk mixture and dock with wooden spoon, so that the breads can't inflate.

Transfer pieces to parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk wash. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, press deep holes in the dough, evenly spaced. Cover, and let it rise for 30 - 45 minutes, or until breads stays dimpled when poked with finger.

Bake breads (no steam) for 10 minutes, rotate pan 180 degrees, and continue baking for another 10 minutes, until they are golden brown (internal temperature at least 200ºF/93ºC),

To this day we are still amazed that we Andersons do like olives - when they come with Olive Bread!

Post was completely updated 7/16/13

Submitted to Panissimo:  Bread & Companatico

                                         Indovina chi viene a cena                                            

wally's picture
wally

This weekend I decided to return to the scene of my previous crimes in the name of croissants and have another go at them.  I've been spurred on in part by hansjoakim's magnificant croissants he shared with us a few weeks back, as well as by ensuring conversations involving him and ananda about differences in puff pastries and in the levels of butter and lamination involved in each.


One lesson I took away, is that my previous attempts have involved greater amounts of butter than is standard for croissants - about 38% of total dough weight, versus what I now understand to be 25% in classic croissant dough.


With this in mind, I went back to the drawing board and adapted a recipe from Dan DiMuzio's excellent textbook, Bread baking: An Artisan's Perspective.  It is quite similar to that of SteveB's which can be found on his blog, bread cetera.


As with previous attempts, I've deliberately frozen the croissants after shaping. 



When needed, I move them from the freezer to refrigerator for about 12 hours (usually overnight), and then allow them to proof at room temperature for about 2 1/2 hours before applying eggwash and baking.



I've also followed DonD's method of baking, which involves starting the bake with steam at 425°F for 5 minutes, then turning the oven down to 400° for another 5 minutes, and finishing up at 375° for 5 minutes.  The resulting croissants turn a nice golden color, while the interior remains moist.



I also thawed and baked a half dozen croissants previously made with the higher butter percentage of 38% of dough weight to see how the results differed.  (And I threw in some pains au chocolat as well). 


Thus armed, I head over to my brothers, confident that between he and his wife and my nephew and niece I'd have an objective tasting audience :>)... well, at least an enthusiastic one.


So, here are the results.  First up, crumb shots of the latest batch of croissants with butter content equal to 25% of dough weight:



As you can see, the lamination is pretty distinct and my first reaction was that the decrease in butter shows in the crumb structure.


Ok, so on to my more buttery croissants:



Not bad, but it seems clear to me that the crumb is not as well-defined, and I attribute this to the higher butter content.  (Although, I must confess, strictly from a taste standpoint, I prefer these - they just melt in your mouth).


Finally, my pain au chocolat, which is a definite improvement over past attempts at resurrecting from a frozen state:



So, this has been an interesting and very instructive introduction for me to laminated pastries, to which I owe thanks again to hansjoakim, ananda and DonD for sharing their knowledge, insights and enthusiasm for this most wonderful viennoiserie!


Larry

Jw's picture
Jw

That would be the French Bread II (with Pâte fermentée), also from Crust and Crumb. I mixed more all-purpose flour (4.5 of 7 cups) then bread flour. Added flaxseed. What's new: I used a razorblade to do the scoring, still have to get used to that. I allow for deeper scoring then the surgeon's knife, but it is more difficult to make a regular pattern. I'll have to find a straw to attach the blade too....



The inner-outside of the crumb is really good, in the middle it is getting close to ‘too thick'. Notes to myself: just do the ‘ready test' again (by pushing in a straw of wood), add more salt (this is too low for our taste), wait as long as possible with adding salt (let the yeast do it's word first). Otherwise: doing fine for a second batch of bread, doing great for the looks of bread.



 



 


One bread is already gone... (with salmon and other fish, really great tast). I used all of mine pâte fermentée, next time I'll save some for a next bake.


Happy baking,
Jw.


 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Well, I'm not suggesting putting rye flour into your macaron batter, although that could be interesting for savoury macarons...if such a crazy thing as a "savoury macaron" exists... Let's do the rye thing first and then look at the macarons afterwards.


This week I've been playing around with a very simple recipe for a 40% rye. I wanted a formula that I could mix and bulk ferment in the afternoon/early evening, and then bake straight out of the fridge, first thing next morning. I also wanted a bread with a subtle, pleasing rye taste - nothing overtly sour or aggressive on my plate, thank you very much. So after some fiddling around, I ended up with this recipe.


Here's my mise en place (clockwise from bottom): Ripe rye sourdough, lukewarm water, flour mix and salt.


40% rye mise en place


The modest 72% overall hydration makes this dough easy to work with, and shaping is straightforward. The dough was noticeably gassy both during the fold and when it came time to preshape and shape. I'm not really sure if a fold is necessary for this kind of dough, but I still like to pull it out from the bowl, place it on the table and feel its consistency. I ended up with simply degassing it lightly, and then stretching the sides ever so carefully before folding the sides up as usual. Make sure you don't tear or rip the dough - the rye flour makes this kind of dough a bit tough and not particularly extensible.


First thing next morning:


40% rye


 


And here's the crumb shot (from a little later in the day):


40% rye crumb


The formula yielded a bread that was pretty much as I expected it would be: Delicate rye flavour, hints of rye sour and a rather light crumb. The crust packs much flavour on its own, and it even had clear signs of crackles along the sides of it. I've been enjoying a couple of these loaves with sausages and smoked salmon all week long.


 


Now, for the (as advertised) macaron part. Macarons is a great way to get rid of leftover egg whites (should you have any). The batter is merely whites, sugar (powdered and granulated) and almond meal. There's no such thing as almond meal around here, so I had to buy whole almonds, blanch them, grind them and then process until a very fine consistency together with powdered sugar. I'm not sure if grinding fresh almonds yields a better macaron, but it took me over an hour to produce that almond meal... better be worth it... better be worth it...


To some, there are two things that require all the stars to be perfectly aligned to get right (not to mention the humidity, temperature and performing several sacrificial ceremonies): Starting a sourdough culture from scratch and getting the macaron batter to the right "flowing like lava" consistency...


There seems to be (at least) two schools re: macaron making, depending mainly on what kind of meringue the batter is prepared with. Most internet sources and textbooks (including ABAP), settle for a simple French meringue. Non-compromising, hardcore macaron aficionados never settle for anything less than a full Italian meringue. The Italian meringue is supposed to give more consistent results, less lopsided feet, no cracked shells, a batter less prone to overmixing and shells that can be baked immediately (as opposed to the French meringue ones, which benefit from at least 20 mins. rest between piping and baking, in order to produce a firm shell). It is also claimed that success with the French meringue method hinges on using either aged egg whites or egg white powder. Phew. Such a simple, straightforward list of ingredients and then these detailed, scientific instructions, no wonder the stars need to be aligned to get these guys right.


I had enough egg whites over to try two batches, so I decided to make one with a French meringue and one with an Italian. Some remarks:



  • I did not use aged egg whites for either method, and I did not add any egg white powder. All eggs were separated merely hours before mixing the batter, so there shouldn't be any "aging" effect in either mix.

  • For both mixes, the shells sat approx. 20 mins between piping and baking, in order to toughen up their shells.

  • I found it easier to mix the French meringue batter than the Italian one. The batter made with Italian meringue took quite some time to come together, while the French was easier and quicker to get to the "flowing like lava" consistency.

  • I followed the recipes and baked the French meringue macarons at 180C for 10 mins, with the door slightly ajar the entire time. The Italian meringue macarons were baked at 160C for 15 mins with the door closed. I baked them in a conventional oven (no convection/fan-forced bake), and the shells were baked on the thin, perforated baking sheets shown below:


Piped macarons


 


I'm not sure how to explain it, other than either blind luck or being blessed with a macaron-friendly oven, but both batches had close to 100% success rate. Of approx. 40 shells in either batch, only one or two came out with lopsided feet. No cracks. I couldn't believe it.


Of the two recipes, I was most pleased with the one with the French meringue method. I think that baking at 180C produced a better interior body in those macarons than those that were baked at 160C. Some of the latter had air pockets close to the top shell, whereas the first ones had a full, lovely chewy body. I bet the Italian meringue macarons, baked at 180C, would've produced equally good interior bodies in the shells. I also feel that baking with the door slighly ajar produced a more even heat in the oven, at least a more even colouration was noticeable.


Filled macarons


 


The macarons were filled with a dark chocolate ganache (with a hint of Grand Marnier thrown in for good measure).


Breakfast for champions:


Macaron breakfast


 

Pages

Subscribe to Recent Blog Entries