Monday, May 16, 2022

Pan Gallego - Bread of Galicia #BBB

This month, the Bread Baking Babes made the crusty and chewy Spanish bread, Pan Gallego, or Galician Bread.  Well our versions of it, as Galician flour isn't exactly easy to come by.  The bread is typified by a thin and crispy crust and a very high hydration, resulting in a spongy, chewy crumb with lots of irregular holes.  Compared to the last high hydration dough I made, this was a dream to work with!  Mine was 91% hydration and the dough was lovely from beginning to end.  I learned that Galician flour is actually a soft wheat, which might make the shaping of that topknot somewhat easier!  But this is only one of various shapes that the Galician bread may take and all are delicious.  

This bread has an absolutely enticing, wheaty aroma during and after baking, and the crumb is fantastically chewy and bouncy.  The process of working up to a higher hydration worked very well for me this time and the timeline is so flexible, I venture to call this an easier challenging bread.  Granted, I did have the good bread flour this time but as Galician flour is soft wheat, which is lower protein, I suspect the method is what is the most impactful.  Bottom line: I would make this one again!

We would love to have you try out this Spanish specialty with us this month and share how it turned out! New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.  If you would like to post your results with a Buddy badge on a blog, let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

Pan Gallego – Bread of Galicia
Adapted from New World Sourdough by Bryan Ford
Makes: 1 large loaf

10g mature sourdough starter (mine was unfed and cold)
20g bread flour
10g whole grain rye flour (I used fresh ground)
15g whole wheat flour (I used fresh ground durum wheat)
45g warm water

Final Dough
425g bread flour (or mix of bread flour & all-purpose flour) (I used King Arthur bread flour)
75g rye flour (I used fresh ground)
400-425g water (more if needed) (I used 450g total)
100g levain (all of it)
10g sea salt
Build the Levain:

In a small bowl, mix the starter (it can be cold from the fridge), flours, and warm water until fully incorporated. Cover and let rest at warm room temperature for 3 to 4 hours, or until doubled in size.  Use the levain immediately, or refrigerate it for 12 hours to use later.  (I let mine sit out all day until it was quite puffy and doubled.)

Day 1 - Mix the Final Dough

The key to hand mixing high hydration dough is to add the water as slowly as possible.  For this bread, we use room temperature water as opposed to the cold water used for the glass bread.

Place the flours in a large bowl or dough bucket.  Pour in 325 grams of water and mix thoroughly.  Add 25-50 grams more water, a little at a time, until you have a wet, sticky dough.  Let rest 45 min.  (I added a full 400g water and was left with a nicely hydrated dough that I let autolyse all day while the levain woke up.)

Add the levain and 25 grams water.  Fold in the water and levain until fully incorporated.  Let rest for 1 hour.

Add the salt and 15-25 grams water.  Using your fingers, squish and squeeze the salt and water into the dough until you have a smooth surface.

Complete a total of two stretch and folds every 30 minutes.  (After the first couple stretch and folds, I used the coil fold method right in my bucket for the bulk fermentation.)  To perform coil method, lift up the dough with wet hands until each side pulls up and tucks under, letting it fold under on itself in thirds, then rotate 90 degrees, and repeat withe adjacent sides.

Let the dough bulk ferment for 4 hours.  (This is when I used the coil folds each hour.)  The dough should be smooth and have a bubbly surface.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and shape into a boule. Place in a lined and floured banneton basket.  Cover, and allow dough to proof for 2-3 hours at warm room temperature.  (I left my dough in the bucket overnight in the fridge with the intention of forming the next day.)

Cover tightly and place basket in the refrigerator to cold ferment 8-10 hours (or longer if it works better with your schedule)  (This dough very easily conformed to my loose schedule of "when it looks right".)

Day 2 – Form the Knot and Bake

Remove the dough from the refrigerator 1-2 hours before you plan to bake to allow it to warm up to room temperature.

For my day two process, I transferred the dough to a lightly oiled square baking dish and continued to do coil folds as it warmed up.  Once it was fully room temperature, I let it rise, covered, until more than doubled in volume.  I turned out the dough onto a floured counter and carefully gathered the edges in toward the center to form a ball, trying not to deflate the dough too much.   Then I flipped the dough over and placed on lightly floured baking parchment, covered, and let rest for 20 minutes.  After the rest I formed the topknot and immediately baked in a well pre-heated oven at 480ºF for 15 minutes, then turned down to 390ºF for another 50 minutes.  It is important to bake this loaf very well to ensure the crust will be crispy, otherwise the hydration of the crumb will soften the crust while cooling.  This is a loaf that definitely benefits from that mahogany colored, bien cuit crust.

Preheat the oven to 480ºF with a baking steel/stone, or 500ºF with a Dutch Oven, bread cloche, or cast-iron pot on the next to lowest rack.  If using a baking stone or steel, place a steam pan on the lowest rack.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, seam-side down.  Grab the very top of the dough with your fingers.  While pinching it, pull it up as high as you can and tie into a knot.  Allow the dough to settle back down.  (Alternately, you can twist to leave a ball of dough at the top and then tuck it back down into the center.)

Using a couple of bench scrapers, or your hands, carefully transfer the loaf to a piece of parchment.  Score the loaf, if desired.

Transfer the loaf (on its parchment) to the preheated baking vessel (or stone) and bake for 10 minutes.  If using a baking steel or stone, add a cup of ice cubes to the steam pan immediately after placing the loaf onto the steel.  (I did throw some steam in when I placed my loaf on the baking stone.)

Reduce the temperature to 475º, remove the lid of the baking vessel, and bake the loaf for 15 minutes (or longer) until you have a dark, blistery crust.

Remove the loaf to a wire rack to cool before slicing.

Gluten at high hydration is a beautiful thing...

 The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Chocolate Chestnut Bread #BreadBakers

Our BreadBakers challenge for this month is no knead breads, hosted by Sneha's Recipe.  This type of recipe is great for fitting in to the schedule here and there, as well as avoiding a lot of hands on work.  This is nice for those with mobility issues, arthritis, time constraints, etc.  This particular recipe came out of the need to use up some chestnuts I had left in the freezer.  I might not have made it otherwise.  I will definitely have to keep chestnuts on hand more often!  It doesn't use a huge amount, which is nice since they tend to be expensive, but this is such a treat of a loaf.  It smells heavenly, has amazing texture, tastes phenomenal, makes out of this world cinnamon toast, the dough can hold in the fridge for up to five days, and it's just an altogether great recipe.  It's rich and tender and flaky on the edges.  And of course the chocolate.  Actually I am quite picky about chocolate in my bread.  I don't put it there very often at all.  But this one absolutely works.

I'm sure you could make this bread without the chestnuts, maybe using a different nut or ingredient, but it's definitely tasty and worth making.  I would probably rather leave out the chestnuts than use a harder tree nut.  A friend suggested dates as an ingredient and I believe that would be truly decadent!  I used mini chocolate chips as my "finely chopped chocolate".  If you happen to have Platinum yeast, I would suggest using that, or an osmotolerant yeast, or just plan on a longer rise time than the recipe calls for, due to the richness and sugar.  It's possible that the Platinum yeast will yield a tighter crumb since it has dough enhancers.

Chocolate Chestnut Brioche
Makes 1 loaf
½ cup lukewarm water
1½ tsp active dry yeast or Platinum yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp + 2 tsp (57g) honey
½ cup (113g) (one stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups (330g) unbleached all-purpose flour


cup chopped roasted and peeled chestnuts
cup finely chopped chocolate
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water (beaten together)

Mix yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with water in a bowl or food-storage container.  Mix in the flour with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk.  The dough will be loose and sticky but will firm up when chilled.

Cover the bowl loosely with plastic, and leave at room temperature until dough rises for approximately 2 hours.  Refrigerate for at least four hours before using, it is easier to handle when thoroughly chilled. The dough can be kept for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a 1/4-inch rectangle.  Distribute the chestnuts and chocolate evenly over the dough and then knead until thoroughly combined.  (I actually stirred mine in at the beginning of making the dough.)

Form the dough into a ball or loaf and place in a well buttered 6-inch Panettone pan or 8x4-inch loaf pan.  Cover loosely and let rise for 90 minutes.  (If using regular yeast, rise time may take up to 2½ hours.)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Brush risen dough with egg wash.  Bake on center rack about 60 minutes, or until caramel colored and set when tapped on the top.  You may cover the top with foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent over browning.

Allow loaf to cool for about 20 minutes in pan.  Remove from pan and allow to cool on a rack before serving.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. 



Saturday, April 16, 2022

Mlyntsi (Ukrainian thin pancakes) #BBB

Is it a crepe, a pancake, an appetizer, a breakfast item, all of the above?  Yes.  Mlyntzi are a beloved Ukrainian thin pancake and enjoyed by many names and cultures across Eastern Europe.  

"A blintz, blintze or blin (plural: blintzes or blini; cf. Lithuanian: Blynai, blynai; Russian: блин blin, блины (pl.); Polish: bliny; Ukrainian: млинці, mlyntsi; Yiddish: בלינצע blintze) is a thin pancake. It is somewhat similar to a crêpe with main difference being the fact that yeast is always used in blini, but not used in crêpes." 

Traditionally yeast risen though today they are often chemically leavened and much more thin and crepe-like than the historic versions.  But that also leaves more room for interpretation and enjoyment!  There are endless options for toppings and fillings, both savory and sweet.  A very traditional topping is sour cream or creme fraiche and caviar or lox.  I am not a caviar or a lox fan.  I like hot smoked salmon, not cold.  I heard one family describe the joy of mlyntzi filled with chicken and mushrooms, which sounds delicious.  I grew up with blintzes as a rare treat.  Not sure where that came from as our town was Scandinavian in origin and Swedish pancakes were the big thing.  Actually though, the thin and lacy pattern of a Swedish pancake is very similar to the way my mlyntzi turned out! 

Incidentally, when any kind of filling (cottage cheese, farmer cheese, stewed potato, apples etc.) is rolled or enveloped into a mlynets (singular) and then lightly re-fried, sauteed or baked , it is called nalysnyk.  I did try for a cottage cheese blintz style packet and the filling wanted to run out the lovely little holes in the pancake.  Still tasty, but they were best as I chose to make most of them, rolled up with a lovely citrus curd and sprinkled with fresh berries and a touch of powdered sugar.  A popular version, the citrus curd and I see why.  You can also find unorthodox versions like nutella and strawberry now as well.  Only the imagination limits the possibilities.  Our host kitchen gave us two versions, one sourdough and one commercial yeast.  I made the yeast version which turned out much more crepe-like than the sourdough evidently, though I did add a dollop of starter to mine for flavor.  At least one other Babe made both versions and noted the sourdough was a thicker batter.  So for a more easily handheld appetizer style mlyntzi or blini, try the sourdough option or reduce the milk in the yeast version.  For a stackable, rollable, foldable option, go with the yeast version.  They will both be delicious.  I love a crepe-like pancake.


We would love to see your variations and topping ideas this month and share how it turned out! New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.  If you would like to post your results with a Buddy badge on a blog, let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

Mlyntsi (Ukrainian thin pancakes)
adapted from Darra Goldstein's recipe for Blini and Emilie Raffa's (The Clever Carrot) recipe for Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes
Yeast version:

3 g active dry yeast
2 Tbsp (30 g) water at body temperature
1+¼ cups (304 g) milk [OR 70 g instant milk powder + 300 g water]
½ tsp (2 g) sugar
6 Tbsp (23 g) buckwheat flour (I used freshly ground hulled buckwheat)
1.5 Tbsp (21 g) butter
1 egg, separated (I added my egg, whole)
2 Tbsp (30 g) plain 3% yogurt (I used sour cream since we were out of yogurt)
½ tsp (3 g) salt
¾ cups (94 g) all-purpose flour
pinch baking soda

In a small bowl, whisk yeast into body temperature water. Set aside briefly.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together sugar, all but ¼ cup of milk (or milk powder and water), and the buckwheat flour. Make sure the mixture is smooth and retains no lumps. Whisk in the yeast mixture. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Melt butter and allow to cool a little before whisking into the egg yolk and yogurt. Stir this mixture into the buckwheat mixture, along with the remaining milk, salt, and all-purpose flour. Again, make sure there are no lumps; you want this mixture to be very smooth. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.  I decided to forgo separating the egg yolk and white and just whisked in the whole egg, skipping the whipping/folding step.

Whisk the egg white until stiff but not dry, then fold the fluffy egg white into the batter along with the pinch of baking soda. Allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes more. If the batter seems thick, carefully add warm milk a very little at a time. Emilie Raffa says that "The texture should be thick, bubbly, and pourable".  My batter was thin and bubbly, a perfect crepe batter, but not thick as noted.

Heat a cast-iron pan. Spray or flick some cold water drops on the pan. If the water beads, the pan is at the right temperature. (If it lies there, the pan is too cool; if it steams up immediately, the pan is too hot.) Brush the pan with butter. Use about 2 tablespoons of the batter for each blin/mlynets. Darra Goldstein adds: "taking it from the top of the batter each time so that the rest doesn't fall". Swirl the pan to make a pancake that is about 5 inches in diameter.  My batter gave consistent results whether from the top or bottom, still providing the requisite holes on top.

"Cook the blin or mlynets for just a few minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface, then turn and cook the other side until faintly browned. The blini are best served hot from the pan, but if they must be held, pile them in a deep dish, brushing each one with butter, and cover the top of the dish with a linen towel." - Darra Goldstein 

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Greek Tsoureki #BreadBakers

Our BreadBakers theme for this April is Easter breads!  There are so many traditional Easter breads around the world, and some that make the rounds at other holidays by changing the shape as well.  Tsoureki is one of those, a delightfully fluffy and flavorful brioche bread from Greece and also well known in Turkey and Armenia.

Sometime the bread has red dyed hard cooked eggs baked into it though this is a plain version.  The soft and stringy textured loaf is flavored with two unique spices, mastic resin and mahlab.  The mahlab I have used before, a lovely spice with the floral and sweet flavor of cherry and almond.  The resin is a subtle aroma that reminds me of juniper.  It comes from the mastic tree and is also called the tears of Chios.  A fascinating product with many culinary applications.  It should be stored in the refrigerator.  I tried chewing a couple pearls in the traditional fashion as a sort of gum and found it enjoyable. The combination of mastic and mahlab is lovely and characterizes an authentic Tsoureki.  (I recommend the whole seed for mahlab to preserve the flavor longer.  When ground, it should be kept in the freezer or it will lose flavor.)  Once baked, there is a subtle and uniquely appealing aroma to the bread.  If you cannot find or do not wish to order mastic, ground anise may be substituted, but it won't be the same.  Similarly, almond extract and a pinch of cinnamon or cardamom can replace the mahlab.  I will keep my mastic in the freezer and look for other recipes that use it now that I have seen the possibilities!

Tsoureki takes time to rise properly, so plan ahead when making the dough.  Don't add flour, the dough is perfectly workable after rising.  Shape the ropes gently to maintain the characteristic texture.  This bread is perfectly wonderful when fresh and just buttered, and toasts wonderfully but browns quickly so watch to make sure it does not burn.  This is also a bread that does not want to be over baked so watch to make sure it does not do so and dry out.  I found that pieces of tsoureki toasted, buttered, and sprinkled with jaggery were fantastic.  I imagine cinnamon or cardamom sugar sprinkle would be amazing as well.  Actually, since this is not an overwhelmingly sweet bread, I am keen on trying it as a french toast as well though the signature stringiness to the crumb may make that a challenge.  Oh my, it would make phenomenal bread pudding...

Tsoureki  (Traditional Greek Easter bread)
makes 1 large braid
12g dry yeast
55g lukewarm water
1.5g ground mastic
5g ground mahleb 
67g butter at room temperature
115g sugar
150g milk, at room temperature
2 medium eggs, at room temperature (~100g raw)
435g strong white (bread) flour 
¾ tsp sea salt
zest of 1 orange

For garnish
1 egg and 1 tbsp water
almond slivers

In a bowl, activate the yeast by stirring into the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar.  Cover and set aside for about 6-7 minutes until the yeast is bubbly.  Water that is too warm will kill the yeast and too cold will significantly extend the rise time.  Around body temperature should do. 

Use a pestle or a spice grinder to grind the mastic and mahlab/mahlepi, along with a pinch of the sugar and set aside. Do not add any more mastic than the recipe calls for or it will leave a slightly bitter taste to the bread.  The amount is small and subtle, but enough for the distinctive aroma and flavor.

In a saucepan over low heat, stir together the butter, sugar and milk until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted. Allow to cool to lukewarm.  No more than 110ºF.

Pour the butter mixture in a large bowl and whisk in the eggs.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, salt, the ground mastic and mahlepi, orange zest and the butter-egg mixture, and the activated yeast. Using the dough hook mix on low speed until the ingredients start to combine and then on medium-high speed for about 15 minutes, until the dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl while mixing.   The dough will be soft and somewhat sticky.  Do not add more flour, it is meant to be a soft dough.

Cover and place in a warm area, until the dough is at least doubled in size (about 3-4 hours). If the kitchen is cold, preheat the oven for 30 seconds, turn it off and place the bowl inside with the light on.

Gently deflate the dough and cut in 3 equal portions. Take one piece of the dough (do not flour the working surface!) and roll it a little with your hands. Hold the rope up from the edges and give a little bounce to stretch the dough into a rope. This technique helps form the characteristic stringy texture.

Braid the three pieces together and transfer on a large baking tray layered with parchment paper.  Let the braid rise for about 1 more hour at room temperature or in the oven, until it puffs up and almost doubles in size.

In a small bowl whisk together the egg and 1 tbsp water with a fork.  Brush the top of the loaf with the egg mixture, taking care not to deflate it, then garnish with almond slivers.  Bake in preheated oven at 325ºF for about 30-40 minutes, until nicely browned and fluffy.  Cover with foil or parchment if it is getting too brown too quickly, and continue baking.

Let the bread cool down completely and store in a bread bag to keep it from drying out. Store for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to a couple of months in the freezer. 


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Pan de Cristal (Glass Bread) #BBB

Are you ready for a challenge?  If you've been following the Bread Baking Babes for a while, you might have heard rumors of the infamous "croc" loaf.  A high hydration bread that left many bakers befuddled and possibly traumatized.  I hope I have not inflicted our babes with that experience again!  LOL.  So while I am hoping it will not be the case with this recipe, it is potentially one for the more experienced and/or adventurous baker!  This type of bread has been making the rounds recently and you may have seen a version on the Kind Arthur website.  That is the one we will go with, although there are sourdough options as well.  One stipulation, you really do need to use a very strong flour, or add some vital wheat gluten to your all purpose flour for this recipe.  King Arthur's bread flour is among the strongest readily available in the stores and the recipe is formulated for that strength.  (It's a bit too high in hydration for plain, all-purpose flour.  Ask me how I know...)

I've made the recipe four times in various versions to see what worked best.  I can recommend the KA yeast version as absolutely delicious IF you use a good bread flour!  My first was a fail with all purpose.  Trying to add more flour after deciding there was no saving the structure of the gluten just results in a poor bread crumb with no flavor.  Don't be scared though, we got reports of success from other Babes during the time we had for baking!  And it's okay to reduce the hydration (water) a little bit to get a bit more workable dough with still that nice open and chewy crumb.  It's almost as much a function of time and handling as it is hydration.  Let's compare:

100% hydration (yeast version)

73% hydration (sourdough version with some whole grain)

83% hydration (sourdough version)*

 *that last one has turmeric added for color and flavor.  They all have delicious and delightfully chewy crumbs, though there is something particularly special and springy about the higher hydration doughs.  You can see the shine of the hydrated gluten structure and it translates into the texture.  The wonderful thing about the 83% version is that I know it actually does work with all purpose flour as I have made it that way.  But it would be even easier and probably have more open structure with bread flour.  I will share this one as an accessible sourdough version.  (I did try a 106% hydration version with bread flour and it was not up to snuff for me.)

This recipe may be halved.  We really devoured this bread, it is absolutely delicious with butter.  The lower hydration options were beyond amazing with soup.  Will you be brave and try it out?  We would love to see your variations this month and share how it turned out! New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.  If you would like to post your results with a Buddy badge on a blog, let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

Pan de Cristal (Glass Bread)
recipe from King Arthur Flour
makes 4 small breads

 500g water (If the hydration scares you, try it with 450g the first time)
 500g King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
 2.5g (3/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
 10g salt
 15g olive oil, for the pan

In a medium bowl, mix the water, flour, yeast, and salt until thoroughly combined and evenly hydrated. The dough will start off quite slack and wet. The structure will transform itself with time and folds.

Oil a two-quart rectangular or square baking dish (10” x 7”, or 9" square) with the olive oil.  (This dish is just for working the dough, not for baking.)  Pour the dough into the oiled pan.

Check the dough’s temperature with a digital thermometer inserted into the center.  If it is less than 72°F, move the pan to a warmer spot.  A cold oven with just the light turned on is an effective spot, or above the refrigerator.

Cover the pan and allow dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Start with an initial bowl fold: Wet your wet hands and scoop under to grab a section of dough from one side, lift it up, then press it down into the middle. Repeat this eight to 12 times all around the edges.

Cover the dish and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Then do a coil fold: Wet hands again and reach under the dough, stretching the middle upward until the dough releases from the dish. Roll it forward off your hands, allowing it to fold over (or “coil”) on itself. This is called a coil fold. Depending on the strength of your flour, this may need to be done in smaller sections initially.  Rotate the dish 90 degrees (a quarter turn) and repeat. Continue performing this folding action until the dough feels like it won’t stretch and elongate easily, usually four to five times initially.  This technique will be repeated three more times, each time building strength and developing the dough.

Cover the pan and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Repeat the coil fold as previously described.  Cover and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

By this point, the dough should be easier to handle and feel tighter.  Repeat the coil fold using only two or three folds this time.  Cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Repeat the coil fold one last time, using only one or two folds if the dough is relatively strong. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for about 80 minutes before shaping.  (If the dough does not feel fairly springy at this stage, another series or two of coil folds with rests may be necessary.)

As gently as possible, turn/flip the dough out onto a heavily floured surface, maintaining the rectangle or square shape.  Take care not to deflate the delicate dough.  Sprinkle a good amount of flour on top of the dough, leaving no exposed sticky spots. Working as gently as possible, use a bench knife or other sharp knife to divide the dough into four pieces. Gently maneuver two pieces onto a piece of parchment, leaving space between them. Do the same with the remaining two pieces of dough, placing them onto another piece of parchment.

Let the loaves rest at room temperature for 2 hours, uncovered.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475°F with a baking stone or steel on a lower rack.  Give the oven an hour to heat up fully.  The loaves will be ready for the oven when there are a few large bubbles on the surface of each, and they feel light and airy.

Once ready to bake, carefully slide the two loaves (with their parchment) into the oven onto the preheated stone or steel.  Cut the parchment if necessary to fit on the baking space.  Let the other two loaves to continue to rest while the first are baking.

Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then transfer them, from the stone or steel, directly onto a rack in the upper third of the oven for an additional 13 to 15 minutes. (Leave the stone in place.) Moving them to the rack allows the baking stone or steel to become hot again in preparation for the next two loaves. After a total of 27 to 30 minutes of baking, remove the loaves from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack.  (You can alternately bake the loaves fully on the stone and allow at least 15 minutes for it to reheat before baking the next batch.)

Repeat the process with the two remaining loaves.  Cool the bread fully before slicing.

Bread is best on the first day but may be wrapped loosely and stored at room temperature for up to several days; freeze for longer storage.  Refresh in a hot oven for a few minutes.

Sourdough version (Plan ahead - two day recipe)
makes 2 loaves

440g bread flour (all purpose works but should add another coil foil or two)
365g water (you can push this up to 396g if using bread flour for a 90% hydration dough)
100g active sourdough starter
10g sea salt

8am – For the starter; combine 20g fed sourdough starter, 40g flour, and 40g water. Starter should be used right at its peak, after about 4½ to 5 hours.

9:30am – Combine flour and water in a bowl.  Mix well and let rest for about 3 hours, until starter is ready.

12:30pm – Wet your hand, add starter to the dough.  Mix by hand, scooping up and over the edges until incorporated, about 5 mins. Cover and rest for 30 mins.

1:00pm – Add salt and mix with a wet hand until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Cover and rest for 1 hour.

2:00pm – Mist your work surface with water and wet your hands. Transfer dough onto the surface and gently pull from the center out to form a rectangle shape. Scoop up one edge and fold into the center. Pick up other edge and fold into the center over first section. Fold the top down half way. Fold the bottom up. Put dough in a large dish. Cover and rest for 45 mins.

2:45pm – First Coil Fold*.  Lift the dough from the middle with both hands. The four fingers will be on the underside, below the dough and only the thumbs are above the dough. Lift the dough and place it on the dish like a coil. Do this once from each side.  Cover and rest for 45 mins.

3:30pm – Second Coil Fold. Repeat the same. Cover and rest for 45 mins.

4:15pm – Third Coil Fold. Repeat the same. Cover and rest for 45 mins.

(If using all purpose flour, you may want to do a couple more folds to increase structure.  Try 5 folds every 30 minutes.)

5:00pm – Transfer dough to a lightly oiled square pan if not already using one.  Cover and move to the refrigerator for 12 - 16 hours.

7:00-9:00am (the next morning) – Preheat oven and baking stone at 475ºF for 30 mins. Take bread dough out from the fridge and carefully invert onto a well floured surface, taking care not to deflate.  Dust with flour and divide into two loaves with a bench knife or sharp knife as desired.  Gently transfer the dough to parchment paper and let rest for an hour or until bubbles have formed on the top and the dough looks light and airy.  Bake with steam at 475ºF for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 425ºF, and continue baking for another 15-20 mins.  Remove bread from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.  Bread may then be reheated in oven if warm bread is desired.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


Monday, March 14, 2022

Creamy Lime Pie

Happy Pi Day!  Here is a luscious key lime type of pie that can serve as a St. Patrick's or April Fool's pie as well.  Don't worry, it is absolutely silky and delicious and, dare we say, slightly more nutritious than your typical key lime offering, though richer and very satisfying as well.  It comes from our local fruit market.

Avocados are one of those super foods that just do so much good for the body! Avocados are a source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium.  (Just about everyone is magnesium deficient.)  They also provide lutein, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids, and contain high levels of healthy, beneficial fats, which can help a person feel fuller between meals. In this case, those healthful fats can help slow the absorption of carbohydrates and help maintain a more even blood sugar after indulging in this treat!  As an added bonus, they contribute to a super creamy, decadent filling.

 This version of key lime pie is naturally egg free for those with allergies, and can also be made vegan for your friends that prefer it that way by using
sweetened condensed coconut milk, ½-¾ tsp agar flakes for the gelatin, and vegan grahams and butter.  Then top it with non-dairy whipped topping or whipped coconut cream.  (Note that the coconut milk comes in different sized cans and will take more than one.) It is also perfectly acceptable to use a pre-made crust if desired.  (One change I made to this recipe was to reduce the gelatin quantity.  The filling will set fine, but I wanted less of a noticeable gelled texture and more of a creamy texture.) My kiddo that does not typically like pies loved this one!  When I told her about the avocados she was highly amused.  Evidently a tik-tok personality she likes made a similar vintage pie so she guessed right away when I asked her what she thought made it green.  My eldest actually came and asked for another piece the next day!  This kiddo usually does not go back for seconds.  Pie wins.

Creamy Lime Pie

cup lime juice
¼ cup lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons this time, which are not quite as tart as regular)
1 tsp unflavored gelatin (reduced from a whole packet)
3 mashed avocados (~1½ cups mashed avocado)
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
zest of one lime
optional lime twists for garnish

1½ cups heavy cream (use coconut cream or non-dairy whipped topping for vegan)
2 tbsp powdered sugar

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs (choose vegan grahams)
¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
6 tbsp butter, (melted) add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter (use vegan butter for that option)

In a food processor, pulverize graham crackers to fine crumbs.  Pulse in the brown sugar until no lumps remain.  Add melted butter and pulse until mixture is evenly moistened.  Press the mixture firmly across the bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie pan.  Place in the freezer to chill. (Alternatively, you can bake the crust in the oven at 350ºF for 10 minutes.)

In a small bowl, combine juices and gelatin so there are no lumps, and set aside.  Halve and pit the avocados and scoop out the fruit.  In a blender or food processor combine avocados and milk.  Process until very smooth.  (It will be quite thick.)  Heat the lime juice mixture just until gelatin is melted, 20 seconds in the microwave or stirred over low heat.  Add juice mixture to avocado mix and blend.  Immediately pour into prepared pie shell and chill 4 hours.

For the topping, whip the cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.  Scoop or pipe onto the edge or center of the pie as desired.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Fun with Waterford Blaas #BreadBakers

 This month, our BreadBakers host has settled on the challenge of making Irish or St. Patrick's inspired breads.  There are quite a lot of quick leavened bread options from Ireland, but fewer yeast raised breads that I could find.  One of these is the Waterford Blaa, which I might have disastrously compared to a Scottish Bap if I hadn't seen that the latter is a more enriched dough than the blaa.  (I suppose I could be excused as I have both Scottish and Irish roots, but the Irish are more recent.)  My great grandmother Maloney came over from Ireland with her widowed mother to America and married my great granddad, and those stories need to be written down by my mom so we can remember!   I understand that it is hard to find a "decent" Waterford Blaa outside of county Waterford and that it is practically a protected recipe now, like Champagne or Parmesan, needing to actually be made in the region to qualify.  Therefore, I am using an authentic recipe, but also having some fun with it in shaping to honor Ireland and St. Patrick's day.

It was quite fortuitous that my full batch of Blaa dough gave me exactly the amount I needed to make one dinner's worth of Blaas, one full lucky shamrock to commemorate the wearing of the green, as well as a half batch of lemon cloverleaf rolls as another shamrock treat.  I do love the old Irish air, The Wearing of the Green, though it always makes me sad to hear.  Fortunately, I am currently tasting the cloverleaf rolls... and holy hand grenades, they are tasty!  I would make this dough again just to make these!  The Blaas are super soft and fluffy, but not airy, with a lovely chew and flavor to the crumb from the multiple rises.  Looking forward to trying them out with butter and marmalade as they were a traditional breakfast roll.  They are also quite popular eaten buttered, with rashers or bacon.

 Waterford Blaas
makes 12 buns

⅔ cup (5floz/142ml) warm water
1½ (.5oz/14g) tablespoons dry active yeast (that's two packets)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cups (10½ floz/300ml) water
1½ tsp salt
5½ cups (1¾ lbs/780g) bread flour (I used half bread flour, half all purpose flour)

In a glass measure, combine the ⅔ cup warm water, yeast, and sugar and stir until dissolved.  Allow to activate for 5-10 minutes until bubbly.

Mix the salt into the flour.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour followed by the remaining water, a little at a time, mixing until the dough forms a ball and cleans the bottom of the bowl.

Once the dough comes together, knead by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes the dough should feel smooth and elastic, stretching without breaking.

Cover and allow to proof for about one hour in a warm spot.

After one hour the dough should have at least doubled in size.

Knock the dough back, reform into a ball, and then return it to the bowl for a second proof. This should take about 30-40 minutes.

After the second rise turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently cut it into 12 even-sized pieces. About piece should be around 90g/3oz in weight.

Roll gently between your palms to form each roll into a nice round shape. Place the rolls about 1 inch apart in a baking pan (about 9x13-in.)

Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow to proof once more for 45-60 minutes.  This third proof is where the rolls will take on their distinctive flavor.

Dust the top of the rolls with a bit of flour and bake at 425°F ( 210°C) in a pre-heated oven for about 25-35 minutes. The rolls should have crisp bottoms when fully baked and should not be too brown on top.

Enjoy with Irish butter and jam for breakfast or butter and rashers (or bacon) in the middle. Store at room temperature for 2 days. These rolls freeze well for up to 6 weeks also and will reheat beautifully in the oven.

(From my full batch of dough, I took four 90g pieces for my blaas, eight 50g pieces for my shamrock, and six 80g pieces for my cloverleaf buns.  The shamrock was shaped as if making a heart shaped pretzel, with two pieces joined at the point, then folding the arms around and under to make a hugging heart.  Then four hearts are combined for a lucky shamrock.  Three hearts would make a regular shamrock which would typically have a stem placed in between two leaves.  The shamrock is glazed with an egg wash and baked at 375ºF for 20 minutes, covering with foil at the final 5 minutes to prevent over-browning if necessary.)

For the cloverleaf rolls, the dough is portioned into three small pieces per roll.  I made six rolls, here are the proportions for a full batch of 12 rolls:
(Each of my rolls was 80g, divided into three 26-27g pieces, using a full batch of blaa dough, they would be 90g rolls divided into 30g each)

zest from 2 medium size lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Rub the lemon zest into the sugar.  Grease a muffin tin.  Dip each piece of dough into the butter and then into the sugar mixture and place three pieces into each muffin cup.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size. Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 10-12 minutes. Remove from pan immediately to cooling rack.

Combine icing ingredients and mix well. Drizzle over rolls while still warm.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 Be sure to check out the rest of our bakers' breads this month!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.