Three Ways With Rustic Sourdough

23 12 2009

Rustic Sourdough with Spelt

Rustic Sourdough With Spelt


So, it’s the holiday season and everyone is busy, with work, shopping, making holiday goodies, etc. Not much time for making some normal everyday bread, right? Wrong! This dough is a bit tricky to work with if you’re not used to wet doughs, or if you really want to get your hands into it. But leave it alone, just giving it the minimum handling and it is easy as pie. It is also pretty easy to make some minor changes to the recipe and give a whole different feel to the bread.
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Strawberry Banana Macadamia Nut Sourdough

16 12 2009
Strawberry Banana Macadamia Nut Sourdough

Strawberry Banana Macadamia Nut Sourdough

After the pear bread worked so well, I got it into my head to try some other fresh fruits in breads. I really like strawberries so they were the fruit that immediately came to mind, even if this isn’t the best season for them (ones that are only a bit ripe actually work better for bread due to their crispness). Then when I thought of strawberries, bananas came to mind too, they make such a wonderful pair. So, banana puree providing hydration, and strawberry chunks in the dough. But it could really use a nut in it too, so I chose macadamias, the only nut that really felt to me like it went with the two fruits. I also took that inspiration a step further and added macadamia oil and butter to the dough. This bread is quite moist, and a bit heavy, though not in the stone in the stomach manner!
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Holiday Bread, In Search of a Name

10 12 2009
Sourdough Holiday Bread

Nameless Holiday Bread

With the call for holiday breads from YeastSpotting last week, I set out to come up with a recipe of my own. I was looking for something that wasn’t just an enriched bread with dried fruits and nuts, as so many holiday breads seem to be. But, racking my brain, nothing lacking the fruits and nuts seemed holidayish enough! So, back to the drawing board. I decided to mull the dried fruit I used in a brandy and orange juice mixture with plenty of spices. The fruits absorbed a lot of the liquid, and most of the rest cooked off. What little was left I used to do a quick sort of glaze on the walnuts included in the dough. I also tried to come up with sort of a Christmas tree shape for the loaf… that didn’t work so well! Read the rest of this entry »





Walnut Pear Sourdough

2 12 2009
Walnut Pear Sourdough

Walnut Pear Sourdough

Last week a friend brought us a box of Korean Pears (delicious, by the way) and seeing and tasting them, I thought they might make for a really yummy bread. I’ve never been a big fan of pears, don’t like the texture, but I hadn’t had asian pears before. The crisper texture, and not quite as sweet flavor was so much better than the pears I’d had previously. The crisper texture also seemed to lend itself better to inclusion in bread, not as likely to get lost. Then it came time for something else to add to the bread, and walnuts seemed like the natural choice. In the future I think I’ll consider adding some chunks of blue cheese into the mix as well, but I didn’t think some of the intended consumers of the bread would be happy with that.

I also decided to experiment with stenciling a bit with this bread, which was partially foiled by the flour from the couche, but by the time I was baking the third of the three loaves I’d manged to get it working a bit better. These loaves were also a testing ground for what differences using a cloche made. I played around with the slashing on them a bit too, somewhat successfully. The loaves that were baked in the cloche definitely had slashes that opened a bit wider, and somewhat crisper crust. The loaf volume appeared to be very similar, that is likely because they were verging on overproofed from being a little too warm when they went into the fridge overnight as shaped loaves.

I was very happy with how they turned out overall, though. The crust has a nice bite to it, while the crumb is creamy and very moist. The flavor has a lot of depth as well, just the slightest bit sour with some nuttiness and graininess from the rye and white whole wheat flours, yet exploding with bursts of fruity sweetness from the pears and nutty richness from the walnuts. Read the rest of this entry »





Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

25 11 2009
Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

When I was finishing off the last of the challah I made the week before I made this one, I was trying to figure out what to do with some leftover cranberry sauce and leftover pumpkin from other things I’d made, then the idea came to me, what about a challah made with two doughs? One with pumpkin puree providing much of the hydration, and one with cranberry sauce providing much of the hydration. I thought the colors and flavors would make a really interesting combination. And, while I was at it, why not make it with my levain? Having only made challah twice before, this may have been a bit ambitious, but why not!

I decided to use the challah recipe in Bread Baker’s Apprentice as a starting point, as I liked the loaf I’d made the week beforehand. I took a look at the hydration in the recipe and calculated out how much flour and hydration I wanted in the preferment, I had to estimate here as I didn’t know what percentage of the pumpkin puree and cranberry sauce was water. The cranberry sauce definitely had a lower water content, and it also seemed to have somewhat of an inhibiting effect on the levain. I’m not sure why, but I have some ideas. It may have been the sugar and/or acidity levels of the sauce, or the lower availability of water because there was less water in the sauce. The more mundane reason, it could just be that I forgot to get the cranberry sauce to room temperature first (not to mention our house is colder than room temperature) so the cold starter and cold cranberry sauce may have just stayed cold much longer, as the cranberry dough did rise at the same speed as the pumpkin on the final rise. Read the rest of this entry »





Royal Grains Bread

18 11 2009
Purple Multigrain Loaf Crumb

Royal Grains Bread, Crumb Shot

This bread is heavily inspired by the Multi-grain Extraordinaire recipe from Bread Baker’s Apprentice and really, it came out of my desire to stuff even more grains and grain flavor into that bread. I first made the Multi-grain Extraordinaire back in late September, and while I liked it quite a bit I was really looking for a bit more graininess, so to speak. I hadn’t thought about that again until this weekend, as I knew I needed some lunch bread but I wasn’t sure what to make. When I was digging in the cupboard for the pasta I needed for a pumpkin stew (more on that in a later post!) I saw the forbidden rice and purple barley I got a while back. Suddenly I had it, time to rework the recipe in search of more ‘graininess’! In light of the supposed royal nature of the forbidden rice (although that is probably mostly marketing) and the similarity in color of the cooked rice to the ancient Royal Purple, I decided to name this Royal Grains Bread. Read the rest of this entry »





Pannetone

11 11 2009
Baked Pannetone

Finished Pannetone

Pannetone is something I had wanted to make for a while before I had the chance to, or a situation it was appropriate for. Well, heading off to Alaska back in August seemed the perfect opportunity to make it, who wouldn’t want some delicious Pannetone on the road? I figured it would make a nice dessert to take with us, and it is supposed to keep fairly well. With the Pugliese I posted earlier, and the Pannetonne we were totally set!
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Sourdough Focaccia

4 11 2009

Sourdough Focaccia

I’ve made the Focaccia from Bread Baker’s Apprentice a couple of times before, but never with a sourdough starter. And I guess because I’ve made it so many times I completely forgot to get pictures during the process!

This is one of the easier breads in the book to make, you’re given the option to make the focaccia with a poolish or an overnight retarded dough. I took the poolish option, just adding in some of my starter instead of commercial yeast. I mixed the starter with the water for the recipe, as I usually do, then added it to the flour for the recipe and gave it a quick mix, then it was left to ferment overnight. The next evening I mixed in the rest of the ingredients for the final dough and allowed the dough to further ferment, giving it 3 or 4 stretches and folds during the process. When the dough is ready you practically pour it onto a prepared sheet pan! In my case, this was two pans, because I use smaller pans than the recipe calls for. Some dimpling of the loaf, more fermenting, more dimpling and it is ready to go in the oven!

This sourdough version turned out the best of any time I’ve made focaccia, it had a great taste (just the slightest hint of sour) a wonderful open texture, and just the right amount of chewiness. My friends and I ended up making really yummy sandwiches with it when they were here.

Sourdough Focaccia

Sourdough Focaccia

Sourdough Focaccia

Sourdough Focaccia

Once again, submitted to YeastSpotting .
Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge





Bagels

28 10 2009
Bagels

Assorted Bagels

I’ve never been a big fan of bagels, which is part of why I skipped this recipe at first, but I know a lot of people who like them so I finally decided the time was right.

First step of the recipe is easy, making a sponge, just water, flour and yeast left to expand for a few hours. Read the rest of this entry »





Méteils au Bleu

21 10 2009
Baked Méteils au Bleu

Baked Méteils au Bleu

This recipe comes from Pierre Nury via Daniel Leader’s Local Breads, this is the second recipe I’ve made from the book (and it went a lot better than the first, which I still need to write up). I picked this recipe because it looked like it would make cute little loaves, and one of my friends is a fan of blue cheese. It had also been a while since I made a bread with a significant amount of rye flour, and that one turned out a bit brick like. I had some trepidation starting this recipe because I had heard of many errors in the book (and experienced some of them in the first bread I made), but I didn’t notice any glaring errors in this recipe.
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