Tag Archives: bread

Tarte briochée

Tarte briochée

Tarte briochée

Make this. At least once, if not regularly. Your house will smell heavenly and your household—if not too curmudgeonly in the morning—might look to you with some gratitude. It’s good for breakfast, tea and even cold straight from the fridge. Days after. I can attest to that.

Used the last of summer fruits (not quite enough alas) but last week, we had red currants and blackberries, which I dropped in whole, as I like the contrast of sour. Watch out though for squirting when you bite into it.

Use your usual brioche recipe (mine is below). For the filling, I use whatever I have at hand: cream, ricotta, or better still, fresh raw-milk cream from the fromager in the market. Drop in one or two eggs (if too watery, use more yolks than whole eggs). Sprinkle some sugar. Lemon zest. Plop in the fruits, the more the better.

Brioche (Makes 1 very big tarte briochée)
250g          Flour
3g              Instant yeast
6g              Salt
25g           Sugar
25g           Milk
2              Large eggs (save the tiniest bit for egg washing the sides)
125g         Butter (I used slightly less this time, about 110g)

I mix everything then work in the butter bit by bit. Slow and long mixing till gluten is well developed. One-two hours outside, a fold, then into the fridge.
The next morning, roll out the dough. I also bounce it about my knuckles to thin out the middle. I use a lid or plate (lightly greased) to weigh down the middle. Proof till puffy.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. I like to bake it on the stone as the heat helps to ‘set’ the bottom fast.
Fill the middle. The middle needs to be sufficiently thin as the brioche will puff up in the oven and if  too thick, might remain uncooked. But don’t spring a leak! Egg wash the sides.
Glide as gently as possible into the oven. There is a scary moment when the quivering pond lurches to the side and threatens to spill but all is well.
Bake for some 30 mins. Watch out for browning and I had to tent with foil halfway through. I always have moments of doubt about its doneness—crust getting too hard! cream’s drying out, but is the middle cooked through?? I err on the cooked side.

Hours later, when you’ve forgotten you made this, the lingering sweet butteriness in the air (faint, not full-on like a tart or pie or cake) will remind you.

Sweet potato hazelnut sourdough

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Hadn’t intended to make this at all, but I had some leftover sweet potato, and recalling how delicious the roast potato bread from Hamelman was (must make again…), I found and adapted TX Farmer’s sweet potato walnut recipe on TFL. I substituted hazelnuts for walnuts and omitted the maple syrup. Also went out on a limb and threw in some excess water kefir. Yes, summer’s nigh, temperatures are up, and time to bring out the poor water kefir from hibernation!!! The critters fizzled like they had been given a new lease of life, and before I knew it, I had more water kefir on my hands then I could use up. I had no idea about the water/sugar content of the sweet potato (which varies anyway), and from the last experiment, I was afraid it would proof too fast, but it turned out all right.

Very delicious bread. You can taste the sweet potato even after baking (unlike the potato bread, which smells irresistibly potato-ish while baking but doesn’t taste so) and the hazelnuts… It was as if I were tasting hazelnuts anew.

Sweet potato hazelnut sourdough (Adapted from TXFarmer’s recipe)
230g            T65 flour
70g             T80 flour (semi-wholewheat)
105g            sweet potato purée (from roasted sweet potato)
105g            Leaven, 100% hydration
155g            Water kefir
77g             Hazelnuts

Autolyse with flour, leaven and water. (I added the puree after autolyse, but will add it the next time at autolyse stage; once the gluten forms, it’s harder to incorporate the puree).
Add salt and knead somewhat.
A couple of stretch and folds over the next few hours, adding the hazelnuts after the first fold.
Shape and either refrigerate straight away—or if you’re like me—after letting it sit out another hour or so on the counter.
Bake the next morning to gorgeous smells. And be chuffed that you still had decent oven spring despite the wet dough and lack of shaping skills and overall negligence, and wonder why sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but you won’t push it.
The bread gods must occasionally look away  while I blunder along.

Sweet potato hazelnut

Sweet potato hazelnut

Recent bakes—old favourites and new ones

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Black sesame sourdough pain de mie

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Tomato pesto sourdough

Black sesame sourdough pain de mie. I used Tx Farmer, amazing baker on TFL’s fluffy sourdough pain de mie recipe, but added black sesame. The first and second proofs were very long so the sour overrode the black sesame taste. I’ve had this problem before (probably my leaven was not quite up to the mark as well) but next time I’ll use a young and raring to go leaven/add a pinch of yeast.

Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s tomato paste sourdough which I’ve made before. This time I used tomato pesto and the crumb was barely reddish. We had it with sheep’s cheese and ham from the Basque region.

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Dan Lepard’s mill loaf (left) and semolina sourdough (right)

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Dan Lepard’s mill loaf in his The Handmade Loaf, don’t know why I’ve never made this before. And semolina sourdough, which I really do love for its taste and colour.

 

 

Sourdough Spelt loaf

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100% white spelt sourdough

After the last spelt experiment, I learnt from kind bloggers that the gluten in spelt behaves differently and that if white spelt is less distinctive in taste, whole spelt is quite tasty. Looking through my copy of Michel Suas’s Advanced Pastry and Bread, I found a recipe for spelt flour that uses a poolish. What was interesting is that it calls for a very short second proof (recipe includes a pinch of yeast) and free-form shaping with no slashing – like a ciabatta. This, I thought, makes some sense because I remembered how slack the spelt and wheat flour dough was, yet how it had good oven spring. I adapted the recipe to use a spelt leaven and totally changed the proofing times, so it’s quite a different recipe after all.

100% spelt sourdough
280g        White spelt flour
280g        100% spelt flour leaven
146g        Water
 7.5g        Salt

This is quite an easy recipe to remember: flour and leaven in equal quantities (not exactly that in the recipe, but I rounded it off), and the quantity of water almost half the that of flour. 
Autolyse of 45 mins.
Three folds in three hours. I felt the dough getting stronger with each fold.
I then popped it into the fridge for a few hours and left it on the counter overnight at coolish temperatures of 17 degrees. In all, 1st proof was some 11 hours. The dough was very puffy at the end.
It was just picked up clumsily, folded over itself and plopped onto parchment paper before going into the oven, no slashes.

The crumb was creamy, sweet, cool and only slightly acidic. Spelt might just have redeemed itself with this loaf! 
* I felt the dough could handle more water, especially if it’s going to be baked free-form, so I might up the water a little by feel the next time.

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Creamy open crumb

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Might brioche actually be good for the heart??? Avocado brioche

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Lovely green avocado brioche

A brioche that replaces butter (or oil) with avocado! When i first saw this, i had to make it. Can’t believe it has been more than two years since I last made this. My adaption below (namely, less sugar). The crust is very dark because I egg yolk-washed it, but the crumb is a nice pale green. You can taste the avocado in it, and I think it makes a particularly nice sandwich bread (somehow the taste of avocado reminds me of ham).

Use a sweet, dense and rich-tasting avocado for a better taste. Also I remember from the last time, the taste changed slightly the following day because of the avocado element. I think it’s at its best freshly baked. Won’t be able to tell this time because there’s none left!

Avocado Brioche (adapted from Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen)
Strong bread flour                            400g (can start with 360g and increase; depends on moisture level of avocado)
Milk powder                                        30g
Sugar                                                  30g
Instant yeast                                      1 TBS (in original; i’ll go for less the next time)
Salt                                                     1 tsp
Eggs                                                   3 large
Water                                                   55g
Avocado flesh                                     140g (about one medium-sized avocado)

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Brunch

 

Joanna of Zeb Bakes’ Kefir Levain Bread

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Kefir levain – a different kettle of fish – but makes for flavorful bread.

I’ve wanted to make this ever since Joanna posted about her 38% wholemeal kefir levain bread, which she adapted for people who wanted to keep it sugar-free (although who could argue with this date syrup one)?? This yielded a really delicious bread. But it’s a long, slow and less predictable bread, because of the preferment using milk kefir, so be prepared to wait and adapt. I started the preferment at night. The next morning, I noticed it had risen a little but there were hardly any bubbles. It took warm afternoon sun shining on it and a very slight rise in temperature for the preferment to almost double (3/4 towards doubling), and it never attained the sort of liveliness of my usual levain. On hindsight, I should have used it then; I think it was at its peak. But Joanna had warned that it could take anywhere between 36-48 hours, so for the sake of experimentation, I decided to see how far it could go. And without resorting to nestling it near the heater! Since she mentioned temperatures between 16-19 degrees celsius. By the next morning, it was ‘crestfallen’ and smelled sour so I knew I had taken it beyond its peak.

I used it anyway and went for an autolyse of about an hour. Everything came together easily and I did a few folds before popping into the the fridge for an overnight proof. The dough was strong but lacked structure (if this makes any sense) but I expected it, with the sluggish and acidic levain. As with the preferment, it was slow-moving and it was hard to read the dough. It never became light and full of air, so much so that despite the very long proof, I was still wondering if it wasn’t under-proofed. I was sure, given the lack of volume and all that acidity, I would get a dense loaf. Lo and behold, it had quite a good oven spring and the crumb was very aerated. And there’s a really nice sweetness in the crust and crumb.

I’m really enjoying the sweetness of these long-fermentation and/or high-hydration breads. I’ll leave the science to others but it’s nothing short of magical how the sweetness is coaxed from the flours and grains, a deep sweetness that’s got nothing to do with the artificial sugar-spiked, malt or whatever-induced sweetness in commercial bread. (Just now, I had to buy a sandwich from a ubiquitous chain for lunch. We all know how these industrial breads are pumped with additives and are barely fermented, but this one must have been put through the production process double time. It was so dense, it was like wheat bread trying to imitate rye bread! It made me want to weep. i looked around to see if anyone had noticed but everyone was just chomping away.) And there’s nothing short of magical in the journey of a grain from the time it harnesses the energy of the sun to the moment it appears on our table as bread.

milk kefir levain, water kefir levain, fruit yeast water… isn’t it amazing what one can use. It shouldn’t be surprising the fermentation takes a longer time. I like to think it’s the yeasts and bacteria and all those hundreds (or is it, thousands??) of organisms in the kefir and flour and water and air getting to know each other, breaking out of their shells, acclimatizing, coexisting. It’s us being impatient. Each time I pick up the jar to peer and sniff, I imagine them thinking, “It’s her again. Why can’t she let us be….”

After the last experiment, I think it’s safe to say the milk kefir levain is quite sensitive to temperature. The next time, I’ll try a warmer environment from the outset. Also I now know not to expect the same sort of reaction as a usual levain, at least in my case. And what about varying the milk, flour, or even the water. I’m never been precious about the water, i’ve always just used tap water.

Sourdough ciabatta

 

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Nothing like ciabatta to bring out the klutz in me, but ever so delicious.

 

First time I’ve made ciabatta without feeling like a total klutz and getting sticky dough on every possible surface. There was still an accident—in attempting to flip the first dough onto the board, the second (pictured above) flipped onto itself! So it was twice as thick! But taste was great, dough sweet and airy as they should be. I would like to get smaller, individual ciabattas but that will need much more practice. No crumb shot because we were too hungry!!

Sourdough ciabatta (recipe was clipped from a miller’s recipe book)
T65 flour               500g
Salt                         10g
Instant yeast             2g
Water                     350g
Leaven (100%)      125g
Olive oil                   30g

Autolyse of flour, water and leaven for almost 1.5hr. I accidentally left it longer than intended. In any case, with the mixer, I had no problem incorporating the water. Towards the end of the mix, I trickled in the olive oil.
Proof for 2-3 hours, with two folds.
Second proof was only 30–45 mins before it went into a hot oven with lots of steam.

Submitting this to Wildyeast.

Sourdough focaccia

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Rosemary & sun-dried tomato sourdough focaccia

I made this for Bob’s colleague’s daughter. When we had them over, I expected the little girls to make a beeline for the candies but she lingered around the focaccia instead! This is NOT typical focaccia – sourdough and half-whole wheat flour – which gives it a bit more chew. I don’t think ‘chew’ belongs in a focaccia, but it was delicious nonetheless. I did half rosemary, half sun-dried tomatoes in oil – but DON’T use sun-dried tomatoes! Or if you do, bury them well because with all their oil and sweetness, they burn and turn dark and bitter. After I pulled it out of the oven, I realized I’ve made this mistake a few times already. When will i learn…

I adapted an Amy’s Bread recipe to use my leaven, so here goes:

Sourdough focaccia (makes a big focaccia, approx. 40×20)
415g                 water
1/4-1/2 tsp       instant yeast
340g                 leaven, 100%-hydration
650g                 flour
42g                  milk
36g                  olive oil
12g                  salt
* your choice of toppings, more olive oil and salt flakes

Autolyse without the milk, olive oil and salt.
Add milk, olive oil and salt, mix till mostly silky.
Proof till nearly doubled, with two folds.
This is the part I like: line tin with parchment paper, pour olive oil and amply grease every corner (and incidentally your poor dried-out hands, if you’re like me). Then gently coax your puffy dough to spread out into tin. You’ll see it won’t protest too much – who would, swathed by all that dark green oil..

Preheat oven at 220 degrees celsius. Steam required or (see below)
When it’s doubled in height and ready to go into oven, dimple the dough with more olive oil (I always err on the side of conservative, but there’s no such thing, I think, as too much olive oil in a focaccia!), your choice of toppings and sea salt flakes, and watch the bubbles pop up here and there.
I mix some olive oil and water in a little bowl, and dimple and flicker this oil-water mixture over the dough. I find this provides plenty of steam. In fact, you’ll probably have to open the oven a few times during baking (watch out for hot steam!) to let out the steam, otherwise it won’t brown.

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Be gentle with the bubbly dough!

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Sourdough spelt & wheat bread

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I hardly ever use spelt flour – the only time i baked spelt bread, I didn’t find it particularly different from wheat – but this might change. I used this recipe from Hefe und Mehr blogger, whose blog I like to peruse, fantasizing that all these wonderful breads (especially the German ones) are sitting on my kitchen counter. I added very little honey, but more importantly, I used only white spelt flour, while I think the recipe includes a bit of whole spelt flour, or semi-whole?? I thought of reducing the water slightly but went ahead anyway. I don’t know if it’s because of the hydration, or is it a characteristic of spelt, but although the dough was nice and light, it was floppy and bread strength was very weak. I did more folds than usual to try to give it some strength, but that didn’t help . Nonetheless, there was oven spring, it was delicious and we devoured it.

Curiously, this spelt bread filled us up much faster! I thought it was just me, but Bob uncharacteristically turned down my offer of more bread and scratched his head, perplexed that he should not want more bread that morning. So we stared forlornly at the delicious bread, crackly crust and sweet soft insides that would have happily taken on more butter – and saved it for the next day!

Does this happen to others, and how differently does the gluten in spelt behave, I wonder.

 

Olive oil sourdough brioche from Tartine

 

Olive oil brioche

And brioche for Sunday! Orange-scented sourdough and poolish brioche with olive oil and honey from Chad Robertson’s Tartine. The first time I made this, I had used a more neutral olive oil and couldn’t really pick up on the taste, apart from the fact that it was not butter. This time I went for a stronger olive oil and I could smell it in the dough, the peppery notes while it was baking and after it was baked, I felt the olive oil actually worked against the orange flavor in this case. So I would say pick your olive oil carefully.

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I used Mulino Marino Manitoba strong flour lugged back from Italy, which I had been hoarding for panettonne. Sadly that did not materialize. This flour is organic and stone-ground and I was surprised by how snow white it was. The only flour I’ve seen this white is bleached flour. And even the bleached flour here isn’t always so purely white. Curious.

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Olive oil orange-scented sourdough brioche, adapted from Tartine (scaled down to a fourth of original recipe)

Poolish            100g (50g flour, 50g water, a pinch of instant yeast)
Leaven              75g
Flour                 250g
Salt                      6g
Instant yeast        3g
Eggs                 125g (I used 2 large)
Milk                    60g
Honey                40g (I used buckwheat honey because it was what i had on hand, not the best combination!)
Orange blossom water 12g
Olive oil             112g (I used 100g)
(I also added the zest of one orange)

My method differed. It was everything in except for olive oil. Work the dough (thank god I have a mixer now) until at least medium gluten, then trickle olive oil in, in batches, working dough all the time. I stopped once or twice for a few minutes when I felt dough and machine were getting warm. If I had the time, I might have rested the dough a bit more in between. Aim for silky and strong dough.

Proof until puffy – i did three or four folds. (It’s wonderful how the dough becomes less of a sticky monster.) I didn’t have the time to refrigerate the dough before shaping so i just plopped it into the mould, but a cold dough is really much, much better to work with.

I refrigerated overnight and baked straight from fridge. This dough is a monster! It grew so much in the fridge that it overflowed my mould. On hindsight, I should have removed a little of the dough. I don’t know why but this time the motif of the mould didn’t show up.

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The brioche was fluffy as they come, light, pull-apart fluffy. Bench notes to myself: try a fruity olive oil the next time and perhaps try adding orange essence, since I don’t have Fiori di Sicilia!

Submitting this to Wildyeast spotting