The Fresh Loaf

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Benito

Third in my series of polenta breads each different from the previous.  This third loaf instead of either cooked polenta or saccharified polenta, I used cooled cooked polenta and then held it at 135-140°F after being mixed with koji rice for 14 hours.  I’ve made regular amazake before but this was my first time trying it with something other than cooked rice.  So to understand what amazake is you need to know what koji rice is.  Koji rice is rice that has been inoculated with aspergillus oryzae.  This incredible mold has so many food related uses.  The reason for this is that it produces a ton of amylase and protease enzymes.  These enzymes will then break down starches to sugars and proteins to amino acids unlocking the flavour potential of the foods.  So for this corn amazake, the koji rice when mixed with the polenta and held at the temperature of 135-140°F will allow the amylase and proteases of the Aspergillus oryzae to break down the starches and proteins of the polenta and the rice.  This creates a rich delicious sweet corn/rice porridge that I used to make this bread.

A couple of interesting notes with this bake.  You may know that I often use both the aliquot jar for rise and another one to measure pH.  The pH of this dough after mixing was complete at the beginning of bulk was only 5.07, somewhat lower than what I am used to seeing.  Typically I will shape a hearth loaf at around a rise of 40% which often corresponds to a pH fall of 1.0.  In this bread the rise of 40% corresponded to a pH of only 4.42 so only a fall of pH of 0.65.  After shaping the dough was allowed a warm final proof before cold retard and at a rise of 100% the pH was only 4.15. So a fall of 0,92.  So this is very interesting to me, had I only followed pH it wouldn’t have shaped but based on the rise of the dough it needed to start cold retard otherwise it would have been too huge.  I’m not sure how to fully make sense of this.  I know that the sugars from the corn amazake will speed up browning and also fermentation, but in my experience that would have affected both the LAB and yeast populations pretty equally.  But in this dough, it seems that the yeast outperformed the LAB.  I didn’t think that the sugar was high enough to cause a dehydrating effect on the LAB to slow them down but perhaps?  We’ll see if the bread tastes that sweet as if it was highly enriched but I doubt it.  Another thought is could the aspergillus oryzae have contributed to the fermentation and actually produced CO2 causing the faster rise and helping the yeast along.  I know that you can make a bread raised by aspergillus oryzae making sakadane, but that typically takes many builds over several days to get to the point where they are active enough to leaven bread.  Interesting but I don’t know what the cause of this was.

 This was a relatively low hydration bread and I think it would benefit from a higher hydration the next time I try it.  Also the main score was a bit too shallow although well angled.

 

Overnight prep

Prepare corn amazake by cooking the coarse corn meal with the water for amazake.  Cool to 150°F or just below then add the koji rice.  Place in a jar, stir and cover lightly and allow to ferment at 140°F for 14 hours.  I use my Instant Pot using the [Keep Warm] Normal setting with the pot filled with water placing the jar in the water.  After 14 hours allow to cool, if you taste it you will find it beautifully sweet.  It will appear more runny than it initially was.

 

Overnight stiff levain

Mix the levain ingredients well and place in a proofing box set to 77-78°F.  After 10 hours it was just peaked with the dome starting to flatten.

 

Dough Mix

Add the corn amazake to a large mixing bowl along with the water and stiff levain.  Using your hands or a spatula break the stiff levain into small pieces.  Add the flour and mix until no dry flour remain.  Autolyze for 20-30 mins.  Add the salt on top of the dough, with very wet fingers press the salt into the dough then stretch and fold in the bowl until the dough starts to come together.  Place on the wet countertop and slap and fold the dough until moderately well developed, about 250 for my dough.  Do a bench letterfold.  Optional remove two aliquots of dough one for pH and the other to monitor rise and place each in their own jar.

 

Bulk Fermentation

 

Place the dough in a square Pyrex dish and if the dough temperature is less than 82°F then wet the outsides of the aliquot jars and place the aliquot jars in the Pyrex dish with the dough in contact.  This is in ensure that the dough temperature in each of the aliquot jars is the same as the main dough.  Once the main dough has reached proofing box temperature of 82°F then the aliquot jars can be removed from contact with the dough and placed in the proofing box.

 

At 30 mins intervals do sets of coil folds, stop when the dough appears strong and no longer relaxes between folds.  Aim for 40% rise or a 1.0 drop in pH as the indication to shape your dough.

 

After shaping aim for a further pH fall of 0.2-0.3 and then cold retard overnight for baking in the morning.

 

The next day when one hour before baking pre-heat the oven to 500°F with the cast iron skillet in the oven and a Sylvia towel in a metal loaf pan at the ready.  30 mins later add boiling water to the Sylvia towel pan and load into the oven to pre-steam it.

 

Once oven reaches 500ºF turn dough out of banneton, brush excess rice flour off, score and then brush with water.  Transfer to oven.  Pour 250 mL of boiling water into the cast iron skillet on a high shelf, high enough that the dough have fully bloom.  Drop temperature to 450ºF and bake with steam for 25 mins.  Then vent oven and remove all steaming gear and drop temperature to 425ºF.  Bake for another 25-30 mins rotating as needed.

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Benito

This is a bread recipe from a local baker here in Toronto who teaches baking Centennial College, Matthew James Duffy.  I made minor changes to it and put it into the spreadsheet.  This is my first run at this, and probably won’t be the last if it tastes as good as it smell. Based on the cracks on the sides of the loaf I suspect this is under fermented a bit.  We’ll see tomorrow when I slice it, given the amount of rye I suspect it will benefit for at least an overnight rest.

For 9x4x4” pan

Instructions

For the levain:

  1. Mix all the ingredients until well combined in a large bowl which you’ll use to mix the final dough. Cover with a lid. Let rise for about 11-13  hours at 22°C/72°F.  At peak the dome should be just starting to flatten.

 

Mix the Dough:

  1. Mix the flours and salt together.
  2. Put the honey, toasted sesame seeds and cracked buckwheat on top of the flour.
  3. Combine the beer and the water and pour into the cointainer or bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until well combined.

 

Bulk Fermentation:

  1. Bulk ferment the dough for 30 minutes at 26°C/78°F.
  2. No folds are required during the bulk fermentation.
  3. Pre-heat oven at 460°F 

 

Final Shape

  1. Lightly oil or butter your loaf pan unless using a non stick tin.
  2. Using a wet dough scraper or silicone spatula, scoop the dough and place it into the dough tin. While filling the tin, lightly press down on the dough with a dough scraper to prevent any air pockets.
  3. When all of the dough is in the tin, use a wet dough scraper to smooth the top and sides of the dough.
  4. Sprinkle the dough with a good coating of rye or whole wheat flour.
  5. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel.

 

Final Proof:

  1. Let rise for 30 minutes at room temperature. You should see the top JUST starting to crack.

 

Baking:

 

  1. Score a straight line or an X pattern in the bread with a wet blade
  2. Bake with steam at 235°C/460°F for 50-60 minutes. Halfway through the baking time vent the steam. The bread is done when the internal temperature reaches 97°C/206°F.
  3. Remove the dough from the tin immediately after baking to prevent the loaf from steaming itself.
  4. Let rest for at least 8 hours before serving (I know it’s hard but do your best!).

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Benito

Anis Bouabsa baguettes have been very popular on TFL over the years and I realized that I’ve only baked them three times so far.  Only once plain, another time with a sesame seed coat and then a third time with chocolate (this was so good).  Since there’s been chatter about Bouabsa baguettes recently I thought I’d try a fourth bake.  I so seldom bake with IDY I was very anxious about over proofing.  I don’t think they are over proofed but I do think my scores were a touch shallow.

Mix IDY and diastatic malt into water, then flour and mix until no dry flour remains.  Autolyse for 20 mins.

Add salt and bassinage water, pinching, squeezing and Rubaud to incorporate.

Rest for 5 mins.

French folds x 200 to develop dough moderately well.

Place in a bowl doing coil folds at 20 min intervals for 60 mins.

Cold retard dough for about 20 hours.

The next day

Pre-heat oven to 500°F  and prepare for steam baking as usual.

Divide dough into 3 portions and shape each into a roll.  Rest 20 mins then shape into baguettes and place in a floured couche.  The dough should pass the finger poke test when ready to bake.

30 mins into pre-heat pour boiling water into the Sylvia towel in your metal loaf pan.

Load baguettes, add 1 cup boiling water to the pre-heat cast iron skillet and reduce temperature to 470°F and bake for 13 mins.

Vent oven, drop temperature to 425-450°F and bake for a further 10-13 mins until the crust is the colour you prefer.  You will need to rotate the baguettes during this period to ensure even browning of all three.

Remove and cool on a rack.

All three are going to a friend’s place so no crumb photos.

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Benito

I’ve done swirled, flavored milk breads before but they were based on another baker’s formula. This is my first time doing a swirled milk bread based on my 25% whole wheat Hokkaido milk bread recipe. If you look closely at the formula I’ve greatly increased the percent pre-fermented flour. The reason for this is that this dough is even more enriched than usual. Both the matcha paste and cocoa have extra sugar added to them. Without the extra fermentation from the larger amount of levain, there is a great risk that the dough would ferment extremely slowly. Despite the fact that this uses a stiff sweet levain which reduces the LAB. Given a long very slow fermentation they would eventually catch up and make the dough very sour. This has happened to me before so now I compensate by increasing the pre-fermented flour, which works very well.

7 g dark cocoa powder (5%) with 10 g sugar
8.5 g matcha 17 g sugar and just enough water to make a thick paste

 

Instructions
Levain
Mix the levain ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 300% growth.
Press down with your knuckles or silicone spatula to create a uniform surface and to push out air.
At a temperature of 76ºF, it typically takes up to 10-12 hours for this sweet stiff levain to be at peak. For my starter I typically see 3-3.5 times increase in size at peak. The levain will smell sweet with only a mild tang.
Tangzhong
In a sauce pan set on medium heat, stir the milk and flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until well thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool in the pan or, for faster results, in a new bowl. Theoretically it should reach 65ºC (149ºF) but I don’t find I need to measure the temperature as the tangzhong gelatinizes at this temperature. You can prepare this the night before and refrigerate it, ensure that it is covered to prevent it from drying out.

If you plan on using a stand mixer to mix this dough, set up a Bain Marie and use your stand mixer’s bowl to prepare the tangzhong.

Dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk (consider holding back 10 g of milk and adding later if this is the first time you’re making this), egg, tangzhong, salt, sugar, diastatic malt and levain. Mix and then break up the levain into many smaller pieces. Next add the flours. I like to use my spatula to mix until there aren’t many dry areas. Allow the flour to hydrate (fermentolyse) for 20-30 minutes. Mix on low speed and then medium speed until moderate gluten development this may take 5-10 mins. You may want to scrape the sides of the bowl during the first 5 minutes of mixing. Next add room temperature butter one pat at a time. The dough may come apart, be patient, continue to mix until it comes together before adding in more butter. Once all the butter has been added and incorporated increase the speed gradually to medium. Mix at medium speed until the gluten is well developed, approximately 10 mins. You will want to check gluten development by windowpane during this time and stop mixing when you get a good windowpane. You should be able to pull a good windowpane, not quite as good as a white flour because the bran will interrupt the windowpane somewhat.

Place the dough on the countertop and fold to create a nice round of dough. Divide the dough into three portions. Form a tight boule with the largest portion. Place one dough portion into the stand mixer adding the cocoa sugar mix and mix until well incorporated. Remove and form a tight boule. Clean the bowl and the dough hook. Add the final portion of dough and gradually add the matcha paste until you get a good green colour that is well incorporated. I find that this dough is stickier than the other two because of the matcha. Form a tight ball on the counter.

Lightly flour a work surface and the plain dough boule. Roll out to at least 12” in length and almost as wide as the length of your pan, set aside. Continue to do the same with the other two balls next rolling the chocolate dough out to 12” and placing that on top of the plain rolled out dough. Finally rolling the matcha dough out again to 12” and finally placing that on top of the chocolate dough.

Roll the laminated three doughs out to about 16-18” in length. Next tightly roll the laminated doughs starting with the short end until you have a swirled log. Score the dough diagonally across at approximately 1 cm intervals. Place the log in your prepared Pullman pan with the seam side down, buttering the pan or lining it with parchment paper. Place in the proofing box set to 82-84ºF to proof until the dough comes to approximately 1 cm below the edge of the Pullman pan. This takes about 9-10 hours at 82ºF. This is an enriched dough so it will be slow to proof despite the increase in pre-fermented flour.

Preheat the oven to 350F and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash. Just prior to baking brush with the egg-milk wash again.

Bake the loaves for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190ºF, rotating as needed to get even browning. Shield your loaf if it gets brown early in the baking process. After 50 mins remove the bread from the pan and bake a further 10 mins by placing the loaf directly in the oven on the rack with the oven turned down to 325ºF. You can brush the top of the loaf with butter if you wish at this point while the bread is still hot to keep the top crust soft.

My index of bakes.

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Benito

We frequently get questions around here about how to take care of your starter.  I thought I’d share what I do which is simple and waste free so long as you plan your bakes a bit ahead of time.

You’ll notice it has been quite sometime since I last posted a starter discard recipe.  The reason for that is that I don’t have starter discard.  I feed my starter only once per week and it otherwise lives in the fridge.  So my maintenance system is really simple and very little work.  By the end of the week, I aim to have only a few grams of starter left, say between 3-5 g.  I will then think about what I might bake for the next seven days.  I estimate how much starter I’ll need for those bakes and then feed my starter to ensure that I have enough to build those levains and then be left with 3-5 g again at the end of the week.  For example, if I will bake twice and need 10 g and 15 g of starter I’ll need to ensure that I have 25 g of starter plus a small amount left to refresh again.  If I start with 4 g of starter I’ll feed it 13 g of water and 13 g of flour.  Thus I’ll have a total of 30 g of starter so when I use 25 g for baking that week I’ll have 5 g leftover to refresh.

My starter (John Dough) is kept at a simple 100% hydration and I only feed it 100% whole rye.  My starter comes out of the fridge only to remove what I need to build a levain and then after seven days to feed it again.  I know many bakers do a couple of levain builds to get their levains or starters really active for baking, but I haven’t found the need to do this.  When I feed my starter, it gets placed in the proofing box at 82°F and is left there to ferment until it has reached peak.  Remember peak is the dome just starting to flatten.  Once peak is reached, my starter goes directly into the fridge until it is needed.  No other feeds are done.

When I build a levain, I remove the amount of starter I need and do a single build of levain, that’s it, no multistage levain builds.  Now what if my planning wasn’t great and I’m short of starter?  Simple, I’ll either do a two step levain build to make enough levain, again without any discard.  Or I’ll just do a much larger ratio levain build and give it the time it needs to peak and be ready for use.

What if I don’t need all the starter that I have and 7 days has elapsed?  I don’t like to waste my starter and although this seldom happens instead of collecting the excess starter I’ll smear it onto parchment paper and allow it to fully dry.  I’ll then add it to the ziplock bag of dried starter flakes that I keep in the freezer as a backup should anything dire happen to my starter.  This way I’m not needing to keep an extra bottle in my fridge of discard that I’d have to bake with and also creating a little bit of extra starter backup as insurance for killing my starter somehow.

Anyhow, that is what I do, it is easy and zero waste, just as I like it.

Benny

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Benito

There has been some interest in using pH to help guide fermentation of our dough.  Before purchasing a pH meter I used percent rise to guide fermentation and make decisions, however, there are times when it doesn’t seem to be very accurate.  If you’re interested in learning how to use an Aliquot jar then have a look at this post I made a while ago.  By posting this I am not claiming to be a master at using pH, I am simply sharing what I do now based on trial and error.  So this is just a guide that might help you get started using pH during your fermentation.  In the end you’ll also do some trial and error baking and figure out what works best for you too.

To start you’ll need a good pH meter, the one I have is the Hanna bread and dough pH meter.  It has an easy to clean tip designed to be used for dough and bread and is made of food safe plastics.  The same cannot necessarily be said for all pH meters.  

I don’t like to stab my dough with the probe tip of the pH meter, instead when the initial mixing is completed and I have done a letterfold I remove my aliquots of dough.  One for the aliquot jar to measure rise and the other for measuring pH.  So long as you keep these small jars of dough touching the main dough, they should keep a very similar temperature as the main dough and ferment at approximately the same rate.  In fact, once the main dough reaches the temperature of my proofing box, I separate the aliquot jars and leave them sitting in the proofing box out of contact with the main dough.

Each time I measure the pH, I just stab the dough in the pH aliquot jar and leave the main dough undisturbed.

Based on many bakes I have found the following works for me.  From the time when the dough is finished mixing and the aliquot of dough is in the jar for pH readings to the time I shape, I look for a full 1.0 drop in the pH.  It is very important that you measure the pH of the dough as soon as possible after mixing to get this first measurement.  Even though the dough doesn’t appear to rise for a few hours, once you start measuring the pH you’ll see that the pH starts to fall essentially immediately so get that first measurement in.  

So I shape with a delta of pH of 1.0.  I then look for a further change or delta of pH of 0.3, so a further drop of 0.3 of pH for the time of baking.  If your dough is particularly strong and mostly bread flour, then a delta of 0.4 might be fine in my experience.  But for my 100% whole grain breads I have found that going much beyond that final proofing delta of 0.3 leads to flat loaves that are over fermented.

Now, you may have noticed my use of stiff sweet levains to avoid sour bread.  Because the levain reduces the LAB population of the resulting dough, I have yet to determine what delta of pH to target to end bulk and to end final proof, so don’t ask me, I don’t know.  😂

It is helpful to keep fastidious notes as a baker, this is how we can figure out what works for us over time.  So keep good notes and you’ll soon figure out how pH can really help your baking.  I feel it certainly has helped mine.  Hopefully some of you might find this helpful or at least amusing. 

Benny

 

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Benito

A recent blog post about grain mash is awesome if you haven’t read it yet. Reading it motivated me to apply saccharification to the polenta porridge thinking it might enhance the flavour of the polenta. As you know saccharification of the polenta brings out its sweetness that is hidden in the starches in the polenta. Adding the diastatic malt and holding it at a warm, but not too warm temperature will allow the diastatic malt (amylase) to break down theses starches to sugars which we will be able to taste as the natural sweetness in the polenta that otherwise would be hidden from our tastebuds.

I used my Instant Pot and after a bit of experimentation found that using its Keep Warm setting Normal holds a temperature of 148°F for up to ten hours. After cooking the polenta I placed it into a jam jar lightly capped and placed it into a water batch in the instant pot and cooked it for 6 hours. Comparing the flavour pre and post water bath the difference was remarkable. After six hours the porridge had a lovely sweetness that wasn’t there prior to the six hours at 148°F. When using the Instant Pot for this saccharification process put the lid on but keep the vent open so there is no pressurization of the pot.

Cook coarse corn meal with the water until softened and water fully absorbed. Once the temperature is down to 150°F or less add the diastatic malt and mix well.
Place the corn porridge in a jar, covered lightly and place in a water bath in an instant pot. Set to [keep warm] normal (148ºF) for 3-6 hours. I did 6 hours.

 Build levain overnight with the aim to be at peak in the morning. At 76°F 3x rise and dome flattening at 11 hours.

Add water and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve salt. Add the stiff levain and break into small pieces. Add the bread flour, mix on speed 1 until no dry flour remains. Rest for 10-15 mins. At medium speed mix to develop the gluten. When the gluten is moderately to well developed add the polenta porridge in small aliquots. Mix until well incorporated.

Bulk fermentation aiming for 40% rise to shape. Perform coil folds every 30 mins until dough is strong and isn’t spreading.

Once the pH has dropped by 1.0 then shape the dough into a batard and then start final proofed shaped and resting in a banneton.

Once the pH has dropped by a further 0.3 it will be time for baking. Place the dough in the freezer when the pH drops by 0.25 and then pre-heat oven at 500°F with cast iron skillet in the oven and set up for open steam baking. 30 mins prior to baking, pour 1 L of boiling water into metal loaf pan with Sylvia towel and place on baking steel on the lowest rack of the oven.
Once oven reaches 500ºF turn dough out of banneton, brush excess rice flour off, score and then brush with water. Transfer to oven. Pour 250 mL of boiling water into the cast iron skillet on a high shelf, high enough that the dough have fully bloom. Drop temperature to 450ºF and bake with steam for 25 mins. Then vent oven and remove all steaming gear and drop temperature to 425ºF. Bake for another 25-30 mins rotating as needed.

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Benito

Having friends over and wanted to offer fresh bread with our meal. I wanted something that could be easily timed to be ready this morning that I could quickly warm up at dinner time. In order to reduce the work to do today I prepared the levain Thursday night, Friday morning it was ready and I placed it into the fridge. Friday afternoon I prepared the dough and did bulk and placed the dough in the fridge overnight for the cold retard. I don’t usually cold retard these milk breads because I don’t want them to be sour. Given the levain was a stiff sweet levain, it should reduce the sourness even with a cold retard. We’ll see when we have these tonight.

Instructions

Levain (white band)

Mix the levain ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 50% growth.

Press down with your knuckles to create a uniform surface and to push out air.

At room temperature, it typically takes 7-9 hours for this sweet stiff levain to be at peak.

Tangzhong 

In a sauce pan set on med heat with about 1.5 cm of water, place the bowl of your stand mixer creating a Bain Marie, whisk the milk and flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool.

 

Dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk (consider holding back 5 g of milk and adding later if this is the first time you’re making this), egg, tangzhong, salt, sugar, diastatic malt and levain.  Mix and then break up the levain into many smaller pieces.  Next add the flour and vital wheat gluten.  I like to use my spatula to mix until there aren’t many dry areas.  Allow the flour to hydrate (fermentolyse) for 20-30 minutes.  Mix on low speed and then medium speed until moderate gluten development this may take 5-10 mins.  You may want to scrape the sides of the bowl during the first 5 minutes of mixing.  Next add room temperature butter one pat at a time.  The dough may come apart, be patient, continue to mix until it comes together before drizzling or adding in more butter.  Once all the butter has been added and incorporated increase the speed gradually to medium.  Mix at medium speed until the gluten is well developed, approximately 10 mins.  You will want to check gluten development by windowpane during this time and stop mixing when you get a good windowpane.  You should be able to pull a good windowpane, not quite as good as a white flour because the bran will interrupt the windowpane somewhat.  This is a good time to add inclusions such as my favorite black sesame seeds, that way they do not interfere with the gluten development.  If you add inclusions mix until they are well incorporated in the dough.

 

On the counter, shape the dough into a tight ball, cover in the bowl and ferment for 2.5-3.5 hours at 82ºF.  There may be some rise visible at this stage.

 

You can next place the dough into the fridge to chill the dough for about 1.5 hours, this makes rolling the dough easier to shape.  Remember, if you do so the final proof will take longer.  Alternatively, you can do a cold retard in the fridge overnight, however, you may find that this increases the tang in your bread.

 

Prepare your pans by greasing them or line with parchment paper.  

 

Lightly flour the top of the dough. Scrape the dough out onto a clean counter top and divide it into 8. Shape each tightly into boules, allow to rest 5 mins. Using a rolling pin roll each ball out and then shape tightly into boules.  Place them into your prepared pan.

 

Cover and let proof for 6-8 hours at a warm temperature.  I proof at 82°F.  You will need longer than 3-4 hours if you chilled your dough for shaping. I proof until the top of the dough comes to within 1 cm of the top edge of the pan.

 

Preheat the oven to 350F and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash.  Just prior to baking brush with the egg-milk wash again.

 

Bake the rolls for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190F. Shield your buns if they get brown early in the baking process. You can brush the top of the loaf with butter if you wish at this point while the buns are still hot and sprinkle with flaked salt.

These buns grew so much that they ended up being pull apart buns rather than fully individual buns, not a bad problem to have.

My index of bakes.

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Benito

This is another variation on my 100% whole wheat SD Hokkaido Milk Bread which has become my favourite sandwich bread.  It is so soft and fluffy for a 100% whole grain bread and keeps so well because of the tangzhong. In this variation, I use the classic 1:5 ratio of grain to milk for the tangzhong but instead of flour I used an organic steel cut seven grain blend of wheat, barley, rye, oats, flax, millet and buckwheat and cook it as I would the tangzhong until it is nicely thickened.  The rest of the procedure is the same as my other SD Hokkaido Milk Breads.

For 9x4x4” Pullman pan 

 

Instructions

Levain

Mix the levain ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 300% growth. 

Press down with your knuckles or silicone spatula to create a uniform surface and to push out air.

At a temperature of 76ºF, it typically takes up to 10-12 hours for this sweet stiff levain to be at peak.  For my starter I typically see 3-3.5 times increase in size at peak.  The levain will smell sweet with only a mild tang.

 

Porridge

In a sauce pan set on medium heat, stir the milk and seven grain cereal until blended. Then cook for until well thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool in the pan or, for faster results, in a new bowl.  You can prepare this the night before and refrigerate it, ensure that it is covered to prevent it from drying out.

 

Dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk (consider holding back 10 g of milk and adding later if this is the first time you’re making this), egg, salt, sugar, diastatic malt (optional) and levain.  Mix and then break up the levain into many smaller pieces.  Next add the flour and vital wheat gluten.  I like to use my spatula to mix until there aren’t many dry areas.  Allow the flour to hydrate (fermentolyse) for 20-30 minutes.  Mix on low speed and then medium speed until moderate gluten development this may take 5-10 mins.  You may want to scrape the sides of the bowl during the first 5 minutes of mixing.  Once gluten moderately developed add the porridge.  Once fully incorporated add room temperature butter one pat at a time.  The dough may come apart, be patient, continue to mix until it comes together before adding in more butter.  Once all the butter has been added and incorporated increase the speed gradually to medium.  Mix at medium speed until the gluten is well developed, approximately 10 mins.  You will want to check gluten development by windowpane during this time and stop mixing when you get a good windowpane.  You should be able to pull a good windowpane, not quite as good as a white flour because the bran will interrupt the windowpane somewhat.  This is a good time to add inclusions such as my favorite black sesame seeds, that way they do not interfere with the gluten development.  If you add inclusions mix until they are well incorporated in the dough.

 

On the counter, shape the dough into a tight ball, cover in the bowl and ferment for 2.5-3.5 hours at 82ºF.  There may be some rise visible at this stage.

 

You can next place the dough into the fridge to chill the dough for about 1.5 hours, this makes rolling the dough easier to shape.  Remember, if you do so the final proof will take longer.  Alternatively, you can do a cold retard in the fridge overnight, however, you may find that this increases the tang in your bread.

 

Prepare your pans by greasing them or line with parchment paper.  

 

Lightly flour the top of the dough. Scrape the dough out onto a clean counter top and divide it into four. I like to weigh them to have equal sized lobes. Shape each tightly into a boule, allow to rest 5 mins. Using a rolling pin roll each ball out and then letterfold. Turn 90* and using a rolling pin roll each out to at least 8”. Letterfold again from the sides so you have a long narrow dough. Then using a rolling pin, roll flatter but keeping the dough relatively narrow.  The reason to do this extra letterfold is that the shorter fatter rolls when placed in the pan will not touch the sides of the pan.  This allows the swirled ends to rise during final proof, this is only done for appearance sake and is not necessary.  Next roll each into a tight roll with some tension. Arrange the rolls of dough inside your lined pan alternating the direction of the swirls. This should allow a greater rise during proof and in the oven.

 

Cover and let proof for 6-8 hours at a warm temperature.  I proof at 82°F.  You will need longer than 6-8 hours if you chilled your dough for shaping. I proof until the top of the dough comes to within 1 cm of the top edge of the pan.

 

Preheat the oven to 350F and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash.  Just prior to baking brush with the egg-milk wash again.

 

Bake the loaves for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 190ºF, rotating as needed to get even browning. Shield your loaf if it gets brown early in the baking process. After 50 mins remove the bread from the pan and bake a further 10 mins by placing the loaf directly in the oven on the rack with the oven turned down to 325ºF. You can brush the top of the loaf with butter if you wish at this point while the bread is still hot to keep the top crust soft.

My index of bakes

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Benito

I’ve never made a tart with a chocolate pastry before so decided it was time to try.  The first recipe I tried must have had a typo in it as it was more like a loose batter than pastry dough.  After tossing that attempt in the bin I decided to modify the pâté sucrée recipe that I’ve had success with by adding cocoa powder and a bit of vanilla.  It certainly baked up well so let’s hope it tastes good too.

I had some filling left over so baked it in a ramekin, the filling is good, but I like lime filling to be more tart.  I will adjust the filling next time, less sweetened condensed milk, more egg and more lime juice and zest.

Filling

1 cup lime juice

1.5 tsp finely grated lime zest

2 cans (14 oz=414 mL) sweetened condensed milk 

3 medium eggs, lightly beaten

 

Chocolate pâté sucrée

 

75g icing sugar
250g plain flour 
125g butter
1 large egg, beaten (plus 1 large egg white, depending on consistency)

4.5 tbsp cocoa powder 31 g

 

Pinch of salt

½ tsp vanilla

 

Put the icing sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt and butter into a food processor and blitz to breadcrumbs. Continue to blitz, and gradually add the whole egg and vanilla until the dough comes together. You can check to see if it is hydrated enough by carefully picking a small amount up and compressing it to see if it forms a cohesive dough, if it does not, you may need to add a little of the egg white. Form the dough into a little round, cover with clingfilm and rest in the freezer for 10 minutes.

 

Roll the dough out to 12” diameter between two sheets of parchment paper (keep one for later).  If cracks form during rolling, just dab a bit of water on the cracks and bring the edge back together.  Remove the top parchment paper and transfer to the tart pan.  Gently press the dough into the pan ensuring that it goes into every nook and cranny.  Avoid stretching the dough as that leads to excessive shrinkage during baking.  If there are crack just use excess dough that is above the pan edge to fill the crack smoothing it out quickly with your fingers trying not to melt the butter.  Dock the dough.

 

Chill it for 30 minutes in the freezer, this helps avoid shrinkage. Pre-heat your oven to 350F (180C) while the tart dough is chilling in the freezer.  Once the oven is ready line the top of the crust with foil or parchment paper and place pie weights or dried beans to keep the pie crust from puffing when baking.

 

Bake the pâte sucrée for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment paper filled with weights and bake for 5 more minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden.  This bake time was reduced since this filling needs more time to bake than the original recipe with this pastry.

 

Set the tart shell aside to cool (still in the dish). Leave your oven on at 350F/180C.

 

In the meantime, prepare the filling:  in a mixing bowl, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, eggs and condensed milk until well incorporated.  Pour the filling into the cooled crust and place in the oven again.  Bake for 20 more minutes until slightly jiggly in the middle but set around the edges.

 

Remove and allow to cool at room temperature for 25 minutes; after that refrigerate until very firm, at least 5-6 hours or ideally overnight.

 

 My index of bakes

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