Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Matar or Chola Kulcha - A lightly leavened flatbread #BBB


This month, our Bread Baking Babe Aparna has picked a delicious Indian street food and bread for us to try.  We made Matar Kulchas or Chola Kulchas, which is a flatbread and a spicy salad of sorts with well-cooked white peas or a cooked curry.  I went with the cooked curry option and as I used chickpeas instead of white peas, mine is a Chola Kulcha.  (Matar is the Hindi word for peas and Chole/Chola is chickpeas.) The kulcha is a leavened, soft and fluffy flat bread. Well actually there are a number of types of kulcha, which is similar to naan, but I really like it better!  This kulcha is more similar to naan than some recipes in that it is yeast leavened as opposed to using chemical leaveners like baking powder and soda.  This is a stove top recipe, (naan tends to be cooked in a tandoor where possible), and kulchas are generally round where naans are oblong.  Oops, I made mine oblong.  Doesn't really matter though, what matters is that this is a delicious, soft and fluffy flatbread that is definitely worth trying.

We learned that there are different types of Kulchas, all of which are flat breads. The type we made is soft and spongy. There is also a Bread Kulcha with the texture of bread. And Amritsari Kulcha, which is a flat bread stuffed with a spiced potato filling.

This Kulcha recipe yields a dough that is more loose and sticky than usual for a flatbread.  I did not roll mine out after the first attempt (too sticky, even floured) and simply (and easily) pressed them out flat with my hands.  Kulchas are usually topped with nigella seeds, (also known as Kalonji, black caraway, black onion seed, and charnushka), and dried fenugreek leaves, (Kasuri methi), or chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves before cooking.  I keep my nigella seeds in the fridge since I don't use them all that often.  I really should use them more as they add wonderfully subtle flavor.  

Interestingly for me, tasting this bread gave me a huge sense of nostalgia and reminded me heavily of the fry bread that we used to make over the fire in the old cook kit when we went camping as a child.  Who knows just why, possibly because of a hint of smokey/cumin flavor from the seeds, possibly texture though I am sure these are fluffier than what we made in the mountains.  I love food that does that though, the nostalgia hit.  Now I am going to have to call mom and ask about that old recipe.  How did we fry in the mountains??  Oil is heavy.  Maybe we only did it when drive in camping and not hiking in spots.  Hmmm.  (Okay, mom said we packed in a block of lard to melt and use to fry the dough.  That was at Mildred Lakes in the Olympics when I was probably around 6 or 7.)  Oh full disclosure, I was running out of time and didn't do the overnight pre-ferment time and so I added a pinch each of baking soda and baking powder to my dough for insurance.  Probably didn't need it by the time I got to actually cooking them, but it was there.  Maybe an eighth of a teaspoon each.

Well we'd love for you to join us this month for our bake!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to our host kitchen by the 30th of this month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.
Kulcha (Flat Bread)
makes 6
For the Pre-Ferment:
½ tsp instant or active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
For the Dough:
All of the Pre-ferment
½ tsp instant or active dry yeast
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp plain yogurt
½ tsp salt
1½ tbsp ghee (or soft unsalted butter)

More water, if needed for a soft dough

For the Topping :

Nigella seeds or black sesame seeds
Dried Fenugreek leaves or chopped fresh coriander leaves/ cilantro (I used dried cilantro)
Ghee or unsalted butter for cooking the Kulchas
To make the flat bread:

Make the Pre-ferment (previous night or early in the morning):

Mix together the yeast, water, sugar and all-purpose flour with a whisk until smooth in a large bowl. Cover and leave on the kitchen counter overnight to ferment.  (If you want to make Kulchas for dinner, then do this early in the morning and allow it to ferment for about 8 to 10 hours depending on your ambient room temperature.)  A word of caution from our host - Kulchas can be a little heavy for dinner.

Make the Dough (some time next morning) :

The Khameer/pre-ferment should have risen well and will appear quite stringy. Mix in the ½ tsp of yeast, all-purpose flour, yogurt, salt and a little water.  Mix until a soft, sticky, and loose dough forms. A mixer is not necessary, a wooden spoon, your hand or a dough whisk is sufficient.

Add the ghee or soft butter and mix once again until well incorporated.  Shape into a loose round and leave in the bowl.  Cover loosely and let rise until almost double in volume, an hour or so.

Knead the dough lightly to de-gas it. Then divide into 6 equal portions. Lightly flour your working surface, if required, and roll out each portion into a circle or oblong of less than 1/4 “ thickness. Sprinkle some Nigella seeds and dried fenugreek leaves or coriander leaves/ cilantro and lightly press into the rolled out dough. 


Heat a griddle or flat pan and place the rolled dough on it. Sprinkle a little water on the sides of the griddle/ pan (not on the dough) and cover. Cook the flat bread for a minute or so. 


Now remove the cover and cook on the other side as well. If not serving immediately, cook till here and keep aside. 

When ready to serve proceed further with cooking in ghee or butter as follows. Brush some ghee or unsalted butter on both sides and cook until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Repeat with remaining portions. Serve hot. 

I used the matar recipe from this video that was mentioned by our host and as I used chickpeas, mine became chola.  So mine was a hot, cooked curry.  What follows are the recipes for the cooled matar/chola that our host uses, plus extra condiments.  (It reminds me of a chunky, hummus textured addition and I would love to try this one out with proper white peas!)  The additional chutneys can be made ahead and refrigerated. You can also cook the white peas or chickpeas, mash, and refrigerate a day ahead. 

For the Matar or Chola :

2 cups white peas or chickpeas soaked overnight
Enough water to cook the peas or chickpeas
pinch of baking soda
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 fresh Green chilies finely chopped (to taste)
1 large tomato finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves/ cilantro
2 tbsp finely sliced ginger, julienned
1 tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste

For the Green-Mint Coriander Chutney :

A handful of fresh coriander leaves
A handful of mint leaves
2 or 3 green chilies
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt to taste

For the Sweet and Sour Tamarind Chutney :

1 cup tamarind pulp, thick
¾ - 1 cup powdered jaggery
½ cup loosely packed seedless dates finely chopped
2 tbsp golden raisins chopped
1½ tsp chili powder or to taste
1 tsp cumin powder
Salt or black salt to taste
For the Matar or Chola :

Cook dried peas, beans and lentils in a pressure cooker or preferred method to end up with peas or chickpeas that are cooked until really soft and almost mushy. Cook the white peas or chickpeas with enough water and a pinch of baking soda until soft and almost mushy.  Drain and discard the water.  Let  cool completely.

Add salt to taste and mash using a large spoon or a masher, until quite mushy. There should be no whole peas or chickpeas but should still retain a slightly chunky texture.

To make the Matar or Chola, put the mashed peas into a bowl. Add the chopped onion, tomato, green chilies, cilantro leaves, and mix everything together. Also mix in cumin powder, taste and add more salt if required.

To serve, transfer individual portions of the Matar or Chola on to plates and garnish with a little onion, green chilies, tomato, ginger, a pinch of roasted cumin powder, and cilantro leaves. Top with drizzles of green and sweet and sour chutneys.  Serve it with hot kulcha.

For the Green Coriander-Mint Chutney :

Grind together a handful of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves and tender stems, an equal amount of mint leaves, green chilies, salt and a dash of lime juice with just a little water until smooth.

This chutney should be savoury, on the spicier side with a little tang and a bit watery in texture. Adjust all the ingredients to taste. This will keep in the fridge for a week.

For the Sweet and Sour Tamarind Chutney :

Put the tamarind pulp and jaggery in a pan. Over medium heat, stir the mixture till the jaggery dissolves. Now add all the remaining ingredients and cook till the chutney thickens a bit and takes on a shiny appearance. Allow to cool and use as needed. This chutney keeps in the fridge for a while.

The amounts of tamarind, jaggery, chilli powder and salt may be adjusted as required. This chutney should be sweet, sour and spicy. 

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes



Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Purple Pain de Mie #BreadBakers - a sweet potato dough


I had aspirations to expand on my carrot and beet challah for this month's BreadBaker's challenge (Vegetable breads, hosted by Cook With Renu), by adding some spinach dough and stacking ropes in a loaf pan.  Hot weather and time made me revise my plans to something a bit easier.  Plus, sometimes it's nice to try something new.  I have never had, cooked with, or baked with purple sweet potatoes before!  So I adapted a recipe for a purple sweet potato milk bread into a pain de mie.  However, I only have a 9" pullman pan and found that the recipe makes too much dough for that size.  (Around 1200+g where a 9" pullman wants 800-900g of dough, 800g being the better option, as potato hastens and increases the rise of the dough.)  I pressure steamed my potatoes and found that they have a very gelatinizing starch content.  It made a brilliantly soft and elastic dough.


So as I had leftover dough, I stuck it in the fridge and made cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next morning.  They were fantastic!  I would make this dough again in a heartbeat just to make the cinnamon rolls.  The regular sandwich loaf was a nice soft dough that easily sliced into thin slices and made great toast.  I am tempted to make cinnamon toast out of it, good as those rolls were...

cinnamon rolls

And because the overnight method worked so well, I will do it again that way, leaving more time to sleep in the morning!  I took out my dough to warm up for ten minutes, then rolled it out, spread on a thin layer of soft butter, then a layer of brown sugar a bit inside the edges and topped with a generous dusting of cinnamon.  This was all rolled up, sliced and placed in a muffin tin as I only made four.  (With a whole batch I would probably use a 9x13" pan.)  The rolls proofed for about half an hour until puffy and very soft while the oven preheated to 390ºF, and baked for 20-23 minutes.  Simple powdered sugar glaze with a little milk to thin was the topping.  They were fabulous.  And now I want to make french toast out of the bread because I think it will be amazing.

Purple Sweet Potato Bread Dough
Yields enough dough for a 13" pullman pan, or a batch of cinnamon rolls
300g purple sweet potato (steamed and mashed - I used a food mill to puree the potato) 
500g all purpose or bread flour
1½ tsp instant yeast
55g sugar
1½ tsp salt
56g butter, softened
300 ml Milk (I ran out of milk and used about 250ml 2% milk and 50ml cream)

In a stand mixer, knead all ingredients of the main dough together, except butter. Mix until the potato is fully incorporated and the dough has become a cohesive mixture.  Add the butter and knead until the dough is very soft and elastic.  Cover the dough and proof for an hour or until the dough doubles.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gently pat it down to de-gas it. Fold the dough in half twice, form a ball and place seam side down.  Cover lightly and let the ball rest for 10 minutes.

Turn the dough over so the seam is facing up, dust off any excess flour, and form the dough into a tight 9” loaf.  Fold a few times to form a tight log, releasing some excess gas in the process.

Place in a buttered 13" pullman pan, making sure to butter the lid as well.  (Alternately, measure 800g of dough for a 9" pan and reserve the rest for rolls or a mini loaf.)  Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and leave to proof for 45-60 minutes until the dough has risen to just under the lip of the pan. 

Slide on the lid and bake in pre-heated oven at 400ºF for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, gently remove from the pan and transfer to rack to let cool completely.



#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

#BBB Get Fancy with Decorative Scoring


This month, our Bread Baking Bakes is being flexible with the recipe you choose because the point of our challenge this time was to try out some decorative scoring with our loaves!  It's not as difficult as it looks, but perhaps more difficult than you might think.  For my next attempt I will do more planning on the pattern, and change the handle on my lame.  That, or just hold the blade with my fingers.  I got a brand new lame, but the giant nut that holds the blade on kept on marring my dough because there was only about ¼" of exposed blade.  I would prefer at least twice that.  So we will try again!  My hydration was probably a few percentage points lower this time than the last time I made this loaf, which is why I think I had a little tearing on the top score.  I don't mind how it looks though, and that's a matter of personal preference.

The dough that works well for scoring is a high hydration loaf that is proofed in the refrigerator.  Mine was high hydration but I didn't cold proof it, though I did use a lined banneton to help give a stronger crust to the skin of the loaf.  My tips for better results than I got would be to draw out your pattern first and to flour the loaf more than you think you should, especially the edges.  I did use a piece of string to mark out quadrants on my loaf, but was still freestyling a little with my slashing and lost my place once and put a slash in the wrong place.  You can't undo that.  Oops.  I also had edges that did not have as much flour, and those were terrible about catching on my blade, despite it being brand new and razor sharp.  I really appreciated the site Bread Journey, for great tips and videos about decorative scoring.

A beautiful loaf by Bread Journey

I used my recipe for Golden Flax and Spelt Sourdough, which is a fantastic loaf of flavor.  I took it to my folks and we demolished it.  The flax gives it a brilliant nutty flavor, as well as does the fresh ground spelt, so much so that my mom asked if there was rye in it.  It's a recipe I recommend highly for flavor, despite the sticky nature of the dough.

My loaf did considering singing for me this bake!  Well, it kind of hummed for a while, it was a little shy, but the crackles were there.  We would love for you to try out some decorative scoring with any recipe you like and join in as a buddy baker this month!  Of course I must put in a plug for this recipe as a great sourdough to try out, wonderful fresh and toasted, with great flavor and versatility.  Definitely worth making.  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to Blog from OUR kitchen by the 29th of this month.   New recipes are posted every month on the 16th.  Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.
Golden Flax and Spelt Sourdough Loaf
Yield: 1 Large Round Loaf

50 g (¼ cup) bubbly, active starter
365 g (1½ cups plus 1 tsp) warm water
180 g (about 1¾ cups) whole spelt flour (I used freshly ground sprouted spelt, sifted)
150 g (1¼ cups) bread flour
150 g (1¼ cups) all-purpose flour (I added an extra 120g or 1 cup)
9 g (1½ tsp) fine sea salt
60 g (about ⅓ cup) golden flax seeds
Oil, for coating omitted

A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use.   I keep my hydration slightly less than 100% so it lasts well between feedings.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the starter and water together.  Add the flours and salt.  Mix with paddle to combine. Cover and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, soak the flax seeds in just enough warm water to cover while the dough is resting.  (Flax seeds must be soaked to prevent dehydrating the dough.)  Rinse and drain well in a fine sieve before using.  They will feel very sticky and gelatinous.
Add the flax seeds to the rough dough.  Knead them into the dough, using the dough hook, until incorporated.  It will take a few minutes.  The dough will be slippery at first, but after a minute or so it will feel less sticky to the touch.

Cover again and let rise at room temperature until double in size. This will take about 6 to 8 hours at 70°F (21°C).  Optional Step: About 30 minutes into the bulk rise, stretch and fold the dough for added structure and height. Repeat this process, about 2 to 3 times, spaced 45 minutes apart.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly oiled surface.  The oil helps to combat any residual stickiness from the flax seeds.  Shape the dough into a round and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  (I simply shaped mine directly onto a floured towel, no oil required.)  Line an 8-inch (20-cm) bowl or proofing basket with a towel and sprinkle with flour. (I used a banneton lined with a floured tea towel.)  With floured hands, gently cup the dough and pull it toward you in a circular motion to tighten its shape.  Place the dough into the prepared bowl, seam side up.
Cover dough and let rest until puffy but not fully risen, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.  (55 minutes for me.)  Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).  Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the size of your baking pot.  Or just a rectangle if using a stone and a cover.

Place the parchment over the dough and invert the bowl to release.  (I inverted onto a pizza peel and parchment.)  Dust the dough liberally with flour and rub the surface gently to coat. (This is the point where you can do some decorative scoring, or follow the more simple instructions for the original loaf.) Poke your finger down into the center of the dough, going about three-quarters of the way through. Then make eight 3-inch (8-cm) cuts around the dough using the tip of a razor blade or knife.  Use the parchment to transfer the dough into the baking pot.  Or use a baking sheet or pizza peel to slide the loaf onto the baking stone and then cover with the roaster.

Bake the dough on the center rack for 20 minutes, covered.  Remove the lid/pan, and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Lift the bread out of the pot, and finish baking directly on the rack for the last 10 minutes.  (This may not be necessary with the baking stone method, mine did not need the extra 10 minutes and was already at 200ºF internal temp.)  Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 1 hour before slicing.

This loaf is best enjoyed on the same day it is baked. Store at room temperature for 1 to 2 days in a plastic bag.


The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Just Sandwich Bread #BreadBakers

Well it's August, and in a normal year school would be just around the corner.  Who knows what will happen this year, but still there remains the need for bread!  Specifically, sandwich bread this month, which is hosted by Karen's Kitchen Stories.  (Rolls or buns that can be used for sandwiches was also an option!)  I was pleasantly surprised to hear from my high schooler that she prefers the whole wheat sandwich bread to the white.  I guess I've taught the kids well!

Just Bread Sandwich Loaf
makes one 9x5" loaf
adapted from King Arthur's Just Bread

½ cup (57g) white whole wheat flour (I used sprouted white wheat, freshly ground)
3 tbsp (42g) water
1 tsp ripe sourdough starter

1½ to 1¾ cups (340g to 397g) water, lukewarm (I used 340g)
3 cups (339g) white whole wheat flour (I used sprouted white wheat, freshly ground)
1 cup + 2 tbsp (134g) bread flour (I added another 40g all purpose flour)
1½ tsp (~10g) salt
½ tsp instant yeast
1½ tbsp (32g) honey
2 tbsp softened butter

To make the levain: Combine flour, starter and water in a medium bowl until well mixed.  Cover and set aside to rest at room temperature for 12 to 14 hours.

To make the dough: Combine the levain with 1½ cups (340g) of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Add the flours, salt, yeast, honey and butter to the bowl with the levain mixture. Turn the mixer on low speed to incorporate the ingredients, then knead for about 3 minutes, stopping the mixer early on to scrape the bowl if necessary.

Turn the mixer up to medium low speed and continue to knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding the remaining ¼ cup (57g) water about a tablespoon (about 14g) at a time roughly every 2 minutes.  (My dough did not need any additional water due to the use of sprouted wheat, and indeed needed an additional 40g flour.) At the end of kneading the dough should be smooth and elastic, though still tacky; you’ll know it’s ready when you can stretch a small piece of it thin enough to see through it (windowpane test).  I kneaded the dough to a medium level of gluten development, then let rest, covered, and folded the dough every 30 minutes for an hour and a half.

Cover the dough and let rest for 45 minutes. Turn out onto a floured work surface and stretch and fold it four times.  Turn the dough over so the seam side is down, place it back in the bowl.  Cover and let it rest for another 45 to 75 minutes.  Since I did my stretch and folds during the bulk rise, this step was not necessary for me.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gently pat it down to de-gas it. Fold the dough in half twice, form a ball and place seam side down.  Cover lightly and let the ball rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Turn the dough over so the seam is facing up, dust off any excess flour, and form the dough into a tight 9” loaf.  Fold a few times to form a tight log, releasing some excess gas in the process.

Place the loaf , seam down, into a lightly greased 9” x 5” loaf pan. Cover and let it rise at warm room temperature until it has crowned 1-1¼” over the rim of the pan, 1 to 1½ hours.  For my kitchen it was 2-2½ hours.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Make a ½-¾" deep slash down the length of the loaf, if desired.  This will help prevent it from blowing out on one side.

Bake the loaf at 425°F for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 30 minutes longer.  Remove from pan and place loaf directly on baking rack for another 5-10 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and a digital thermometer inserted into the center reads at least 200°F.

Remove the loaf from the oven and place onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Store bread well wrapped at room temperature for three to five days.  Freeze for longer storage.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely bread by following 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. 

Welcome to Bread Bakers! This month, our them is Sandwich Bread and our host is Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories.  Be sure to check out the rest of our sensational sandwich selections!


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Birotes Salados - Mexican Sourdough Rolls #BBB

This month, the Babes have made a sturdy Mexican sourdough bread.  Birotes Salados are used for Tortas Ahogadas, which are sandwiches made with carnitas, pickled onions, refried beans, and two sauces, one for spicing things up, and one for drowning/dunking the entire sandwich.  Absolutely delicious sounding and definitely needing the sturdy trencher that this recipe produces.

Our host shared this fascinating video, telling all about the history and local production of these Guadalajaran breads.

Now of course after watching this video, I had to tweak the recipe just a little.  Looking online, I cannot find a single recipe that calls for the lime or egg that they state is so important to the flavor of the Birote!  So I added it myself!

We'd love for you to join us this month in our sourdough endeavor!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to our host kitchen by the 30th of this month.  You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Birotes Salados - Mexican Sourdough Rolls
Makes 8 large sandwich length buns

Wake Up Feed for Your Sourdough Starter
100 g (3.5 oz) sourdough starter. Because you will be feeding it twice, it doesn't matter what hydration it is to begin with.
100 g (¾ cup) all-purposed flour
60 g (¼ cup) lukewarm water (90º F)

Mix the "wake up feed" in a clean bowl with your fingers, cover and let ferment for 8 to 10 hours.

Final Feed
20 g (1 tbsp) of the "wake up feed"
270 g (2 cups plus 1 tbsp) of all-purpose flour
175 g (3/4 cup) Mexican lager beer

Mix the final feed ingredients with your hand until well incorporated. Cover and let ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.  (You can give the remaining, unused volume of wake up feed back to your starter.)

Final Dough
430 g (3 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour  (I used half freshly ground sprouted spelt)
20 g (1 tbsp plus 1 tsp) granulated sugar
18 g (1 tbsp plus ½ tsp) salt
All of the starter
212 g (¾ cup plus 1 tbsp) water

(I added an egg and the juice of a lime to the final dough.)

Extra flour for dusting

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Divide the starter into small pieces and add it to the dry ingredients. Add the water and blend everything together with your hands. "Squidge" the dough ingredients together until the dough comes together. You can use your dough scraper to help incorporate everything. This process should take a couple minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and stretch, fold, and flip the dough about 5 times.  Go this gently to avoid tearing the dough.  Dough should be medium soft and not too firm.

Form the dough into a rough ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Lightly flour your work surface and place the dough seam side up onto the surface. Gently flatten the dough into a 2 inch thick circle. Stretch and fold the dough from all four "sides."

Turn the dough over and shape it into a ball.  Return it to the bowl, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Repeat the stretch-and-fold process three more times at 15 minute intervals.

Place the dough back into the bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, until doubled.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface with the smooth side down. Gently flatten until the dough is about 2 inches thick. Gently stretch and fold one side of the dough about half way over the dough. Turn the dough, and repeat from all four "sides."

Flip the dough over, seam side down, and form the dough into a ball.

Return the ball to the bowl, seam side up, and cover until doubled, about another hour.

Lightly flour your work surface.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, about 150 grams each. (Mine were about 167g because of the added agg and lime). Form each piece into a ball. Press each ball into a rough rectangle and then fold the long side in a few times to create a cylinder. Using your hands, roll each cylinder back and forth until you have an eight inch long roll with tapered ends.

Heat your oven to 475º F with a baking stone and steam pan.  Alternately, use an inverted roasted lid sprayed with water to place over the rolls and provide the steam.

Place the rolls, seam side up, side-by-side lengthwise, between the folds of a couche or flour dusted tea towel to proof. Cover for about 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy and airy, but not doubled.

You will probably need to bake these in two batches unless you have two ovens.

Place the risen rolls onto parchment paper on top of a pizza peel or flat baking sheet, seam side down with space in between. Add 2 cups of boiling water to your steam pan and close the oven door to let it get steamy.

Score the rolls with a sharp knife or lame down the length of the center of the roll, keeping the blade at an angle.

Place the loaves and parchment on the stone and close the oven door. If you like, you can also spray the oven with more water to add extra steam.

Lower the oven temperature to 400º F and bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes. They should be deep golden brown and hollow sounding.

Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Freeze and Bake Yeasted Mini Ginger Scones #BreadBakers

Scones are a welcome treat and you know, I don't think I've ever actually made them before!  Our challenge this month was to make a yeasted biscuit or scone, a rather unusual option as they are both usually just made with baking powder or baking soda.  Due to continuing shortages of yeast, our host at Palatable Pastime did relax the requirement for yeast.  Fortunately for me, I have plenty of yeast and was happy to try out a recipe purported to give a lighter and more tender texture than the usual quick bread scone.

The nice thing about this recipe is that is it a freeze and bake process, which means you can bake just the amount of scones that will be eaten and save the rest in the freezer for later.  Scones are of course best on the day they are made, though they can be held for a day or two, tightly covered.  I love ginger and used both crystallized ginger chips as well as larger chunks of crystallized ginger that I chopped into little bits.  The chips have a more sugared and harder texture whereas the chunks yield a softer piece after chopping.

These were delicious, and approved by all family members.  They were a particularly favorite flavor for me!  They have a nice crisp exterior and a lovely tender crumb.  Lovely with tea or coffee, and hubby suggested they would be wonderful with marmalade.

Yeasted Mini Ginger Scones
makes 16 mini scones

196g (~1¾ cups) whole wheat pastry flour (I use freshly ground soft white wheat)
126g (~1 cup) all purpose flour
55g light brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp instant yeast
¼ tsp white pepper
¾ tsp powdered ginger
¼ tsp cardamom
120g (~¾ cup) chopped crystallized ginger
113g (½ cup) butter
185g (~¾ cup) buttermilk

In a large bowl, mix together the flours and sugar so that there are no lumps of sugar.  Add in the remaining dry ingredients, including chopped ginger, and mix well.  Place buttermilk in the freezer for 10 minutes.  While buttermilk is chilling, melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. 

After buttermilk has chilled in freezer for 10 minutes, add in the melted butter. Stir with a fork until butter forms lots of little clumps.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula just until all flour is incorporated.  The dough will be slightly firm and barely cohesive.  It's okay if there are some dry bits.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and fold the sides in a few times to incorporate any dry bits if necessary.

Divide dough in half and shape each piece into a rectangle approximately 6x3-in.  Cut each rectangle into 8 triangles.  (Cut each rectangle in half and then cut the squares on the diagonal to get four triangles each.)  Place triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour to rise. (They won’t rise visibly, but they will lighten.)  After the scones have rested for an hour, put them in the freezer for at least hour or overnight until you are ready to bake them.  The scones may be stored frozen for up to two months in an airtight container. 

Preheat oven to 400º F.  Arrange as many triangles as you want to serve on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and inside appears cooked through.  Let cool and drizzle with a simple powdered sugar icing.  Scones may also be served warm with marmalade.  Store baked scones, well wrapped, at room temperature for 2 to 3 days; or freeze for up to 1 month.

(Simple icing glaze: ¾ cup powdered sugar + ~1 tbsp milk or enough to make a thick drizzle.)

#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.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Bee Keeper's Pain de Mie #BBB

June is Pollinator month, and what better bread to bake than one infused with honey and delicately scented with a subtle floral tea? 

Bumblebee on lupine
Bumblebee on lupine

Plants for pollinators
Catmint, columbine, English and French lavender

No worries on this bread tasting like flowers, the very subtle floral notes just add a little je ne sais quoi that is completely delightful.  There are a number of options for this loaf, either a straight dough method with no pre-ferment, or a longer method with even more flavor and keeping quality.  I did choose the straight method from King Arthur this time, but absolutely had to incorporate the floral tea from the original method that was left out of the KA version.  For my floral tea, I brewed a mug with one bag of Tazo chamomile tea with rose, and an infuser with ½ tbsp of dried lavender buds for 5 minutes, then measured out the amount of that water that I needed.  My youngest kiddo happily drank the rest, she loves teas, and tried it as her very first milk tea.  The dough smelled beautiful, the bread smelled beautiful, and when toasted the next day, the whole kitchen smelled amazing!  Such a wonderful bread, we will definitely make it again.

This is a fantastic bread to try out, not very difficult, and you can make it as a regular loaf if you don't have a pullman pan with a lid.  It is also possible to stick a baking sheet with a heavy cast iron pan on other oven safe heavy item on top of a regular loaf pan to try for the square loaf shape.  I have been wanting a pullman pan for years, so I picked one up!  I highly recommend giving the loaf a try, we'd love for you to join us this month but it's so good, bookmark it for later anyway!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to our host kitchen by the 30th of this month.  You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie
makes one 13x5-inch loaf or two 9x4-inch

Option #1: Adapted from the Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie on the KAF site

Makes: one 13X5 pullman-size loaf and utilizes the straight dough method (meaning it doesn’t have an overnight preferment)

Ingredients: (Tanna’s adaptation)
200 g white whole wheat flour (I used sprouted spelt, freshly milled)
500 g All-Purpose Flour
25 g wheat bran (I used the bran sifted from the spelt, milled a little more finely)
2½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons instant yeast
227 g (227ml) lukewarm water
½ cup (113g) milk, at room temperature
3 tbsp (64g) honey
7 tbsp (99g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Directions: Follow the instructions found on the KAF web page.

I followed the basic directions on the KAF site, substituting the brewed tea for the water.  A half batch is just barely enough for the 9x4-inch pullman.  It did take some time for the dough to rise enough to fill where it was supposed to go.  A little more dough would probably have resulted in a tighter crumb, but we are totally not complaining, this was still wonderful bread.  I might make a full batch and use a little more in the pan and have an extra little loaf next time.  (Yes, Aparna scaled back by only a third and ended up with a perfect loaf for the 9x4 pan!)

Option #2: Adapted from Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes by Martin Philip

Makes: two 9X5 pullman loaves (divide in half for one smaller pullman loaf) or make one 13×5 pullman loaf and one very small loaf)

410 g durum flour
410 g AP flour
352 g water
172 g wildflower tea (lavender)
17 g salt, fine
16 g yeast
123 g butter

410 g AP flour
246 g water
pinch yeast

170 g milk
35 g honey
4 g lavender
2 g chamomile flowers

172 grams wildflower tea
656 grams Biga (all above)
106 grams water
35 grams Honey
410 grams Durum flour or Bread flour
123 grams butter
17 grams salt, fine
16 grams instant dried yeast


Combine the flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
Add tepid water (75-80°F). Mix briefly, then knead until a smooth dough forms.
Cover and set at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, it may only take 8-10 hours.

Combine milk, honey in a small pot.
Over low heat, warm the mixture so the honey mixes into the milk.
When there are small bubbles around the edges add the chamomile and lavender if using.
Turn off the heat.
Cover and allow to set at room temperature 12 to 16 hours.
Strain before using.
Warm the tea to 80° when ready to use.

Ending desired dough temperature: 80°.
Combine strained Tea, all the BIGA and the water (I added the milk and honey here).
Mix until the biga is broken up.
Add very soft butter, flour, salt and yeast.
Stir until the dough forms a shaggy mass.
Resist the urge to add more flour.

Cover and allow to rise for about 90 minutes.

Fold after 30 and 60 minutes; then leave untouched until divide.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces which will weight approximately 750 grams each. If you are making the larger (13×5-inch) pullman-size loaf, you will need approximately 1150 grams of dough. You will have about 350 grams left over for a smaller loaf.
Preshape as tubes. Cover and rest 15 minutes.

Grease two loaf pans, two 9×5 inch pullman pans or one 13×5 inch pullman pan and a smaller loaf pan.
Shape as pan loaves.
With the long side facing you, fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center and the top third over (like a business letter). Fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand.
Place in pans seam side down. Press dough into pans to evenly fill to all corners.

For loaf pans: Cover and proof until dough is about 1 to 1.5 inches above top of pan: about 60 – 90 minutes.
For pullman pans: Place the dough seam-down into the pan, and press it evenly into the corners. Put the lid on the pan and close all but an inch or so in order to monitor the loaf as it rises.
Allow the dough to rise until it’s just below the lip of the pan, 60 to 90 minutes. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, it may take less than 90 minutes for this proof. It only took my loaf about 45 minutes.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Close the lid of the pan completely, and put the pan in the oven.
Bake the bread for 20 then remove the lid and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. The loaf should be a deep golden brown on all sides. Adjust the baking time if you are making the extra small loaf.
Remove the loaf from the oven and, after 5 minutes, turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. Do not allow to cool in the pan as that will result in a soggy crust.

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