Sandwich on Pear and Walnut Bread

6 01 2010
Turkey, Cheddar, and Caramelized Pear Sandwich

Tasty Sandwich!

I used some of my pear and walnut bread to make a really tasty sandwich the other night. Some toasted slices of the bread with roasted turkey breast, Beecher’s Flagship cheese, and caramelized pears. (recipe here)

Really yummy combination! And then I followed it up with some caramelized pears by themselves as dessert…

Caramelized Pear

Caramelized Pears

Pane alla Gianduja (Chocolate and Hazelnut Bread)

30 12 2009
Pane alla Gianduja (Chocolate Hazelnut Sourdough)

Pane alla Gianduja

Although it may not have been readily apparent from this website, I am a chocolate fiend. If it is made from or with chocolate there is a good chance you can get me to try it. I like making chocolates truffles, filled chocolates, and chocolate desserts. I really prefer the term chocovore, to chocoholic… It isn’t that I’m addicted, it is more just that is what I was born to eat! Now, in addition to chocolate, I love hazelnuts. Coming to the natural conclusion here, I love gianduja, if you’ve never had it you should really do your best to find some and try it. Gianduja is a combination of finely ground hazelnuts and chocolate. I may or may not have a shrine to chocolate and hazelnuts in my closet.
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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 »