Monday, November 16, 2020

Potato Focaccine #BBB

We made cute little snack-sized, mini focaccia this month!  They are wonderful little snacking bread bites with fresh herbs, or really anything you would use in regular focaccia.  I picked fresh sage out of the garden, which smelled lovely when chopped but was almost undetectable after baking.  So I would either double/triple the sage or switch to the stronger and perhaps more traditional rosemary next time.  Use a really good olive oil for the brushing!  And a baking potato with a mealy (starchy) flesh will yield a lighter crumb than a waxy potato which may turn gummy when you mash.  A mealy potato will also incorporate more easily into the dough.  Fresh herbs are always preferable, but dried will do in a pinch.

 Come, bake along with us this month and try these little snack sized focaccine out!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished focaccine to our host by the 29th of this month at plachman at sonic dot net.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Potato Focaccine
Makes 10-12 focaccine

150g of yellow or white mealy potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
400g of Italian flour ‘0’ (Manitoba flour) – or 200g Italian flour ‘0’ (Manitoba flour) mixed with 200g durum wheat flour (I just used all purpose flour)
1 tsp of salt
Fresh yeast, 15 g or dry instant yeast, 8 g

3 tbsp Evoo – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
200 ml Lukewarm water (I used my potato water and needed a couple extra tbsp)
7-8 fresh sage leaves, to chop (I would use more next time, it was not noticeable for flavor)
flake salt, to taste


Boil or steam the potatoes in unsalted water.  Drain and let cool slightly but not completely or it will be difficult to mix them to the flour.  Once lukewarm mash or puree and add to the bowl with the flour.  (I pressure steamed and then put mine through a food mill.)  Dissolve the dry yeast in lukewarm water, about 100 ml, or the crumbled fresh yeast.

Chop the sage leaves with a knife or with scissors.
In a large bowl add the flour(s) and add the freshly chopped sage. Add the water with the dissolved yeast and mix with a wooden spoon.  Pour in the olive oil and start kneading the ingredients with your hands.

Add the rest of the water with the salt dissolved in it, and knead well for 10 minutes until you get a soft and moist dough that will be a bit sticky as well.  Cover with plastic wrap or a cloth and let it rise for at least 2 hours in a warm and dry place. 

When the dough is doubled, roll it out with your hands, no rolling-pin (these are focaccine and not pizza). The tip of the fingers will help create the characteristic dimples where the oil collects in little puddles. Add a bit of flour on the chopping board or the kitchen table so you can work it better. Form discs of about 1 centimeter thickeness with a pastry cutter or with an upside-down glass.  Place them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and leave them for another 30 minutes.  (I portioned mine into balls first rather than cutting out the dough, and pressed them out with my fingers.)


Once also this last leavening is finished, press focaccine in the center to form the edge and brush with olive oil. 

Bake at 180 ° C (160 C fan) (350 F) for about 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven. When cooked, flavor your focaccine with a drizzle of olive oil and rock salt.

While potato focaccine are best eaten the same day they are baked, you can store them in a paper bag for a day.  They are good toasted the next day, or a full steam refresh can be done if you want them just as good as day one.

These are good with soups, stews, even Chinese food!  I had one split and toasted with poached eggs on top this morning.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

Friday, October 16, 2020

Bierocks/Runzas - Nebraska Comfort Food #BBB


Welcome to Fall and October!  I decided to have the Babes try out a Nebraska specialty this month known as runzas or bierocks.  They are common in regions with strong Eastern European and German heritage, and similar to Pirozhkis, and reminiscent of Cornish pasties.  Basically a yeast dough, pocket sandwich or bun, filled with a savory filling, usually meat, onion, and cabbage based.  There are whole Runza restaurants in Nebraska with flavors like Original (meat, onion, cabbage), Cheese, Swiss Mushroom, Cheeseburger, BBQ Bacon, BLT, Spicy Jack, Vegetarian, etc.  So it really can be built to taste.  I left the choice of dough and filling open to whatever our bakers desired to try out.  I have even seen an Italian flavored Runza out there though I suspect that it is closer to a Stromboli than a runza at the point!

When seasoning the filling, err on the side of over-seasoning.  Once it is wrapped in the dough, all the flavors are muted and you don't want to end up with something bland.  I even added Mongolian fire oil to my filling and could not taste it at all after baking!  Interestingly, my family was just okay with these, I guess they prefer a stew with bread rather than a neat little package!

Have you ever had a runza?  What is/would be your favorite filling?  Bake along with us this month and try it out!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to me by the 30th of this month at eleyana (AT) aol (DOT) com.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Nebraska Runza/Bierocks
makes 12 

Runza dough:
(Serves 12)
4½ cups all-purpose flour (feel free to use part wholemeal or add flax meal for speckles, I used 70g fresh ground sprouted spelt and the rest all purpose)
2 tbsp sugar 
2 pkg. (¼ oz) yeast (One pkg worth works fine (2¼ tsp))
1 tsp salt 
¾ cup milk 
½ cup water 
½ cup butter 
2 eggs, beaten

Start by placing half the flour, and the sugar, yeast, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Gently heat the milk, water, and butter to 115º F.
Pour warmed wet ingredients into flour mixture. Stir slightly before adding beaten eggs.
Add remaining flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes together and is smooth and elastic.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. 


Filling ingredients:
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 pounds ground beef
4 cups shredded cabbage (about ½ a head of cabbage)
(optional) - 1 small can sauerkraut, with the juice (I used ~1 cup Bubbie's kraut, which is jarred and not cooked and tastes fantastic)
salt and pepper to taste (be liberal here, the bread tempers the seasoning) I added some Worcestershire too
(optional) cheese of your choice

Chop onions and garlic and sauté in a large frying pan with a little butter or olive oil until tender.  Add ground beef along with generous amounts of salt and pepper.  Cook until beef is cooked through and drain well.
Put browned ground beef into a large pot or crockpot. Stir in cabbage and kraut.  Simmer 3-4 hours, stirring often, and seasoning and tasting.  If using a crockpot, cook on "low" for 5 to 6 hours

Punch dough down, and divide into 12 equal portions. 

Working with one piece of dough, roll out a circle of dough approximately ¼″ thick.  It shouldn’t be so thin that it is breaking up into holes when you handle it.  To help with the shaping, place the round into a bowl. Dump the filling (~½ cup) on top of the dough, and then pull the dough around the filling and pinch sides together to seal.  Flip the runza out, seam side down.

Place onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet (edges can touch).  I made a half batch of six.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  

Optionally, brush tops with melted butter during the last 10 minutes of baking for color and flavor!

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes



Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Old Fashioned Steamed Brown Bread #BreadBakers


When I hear the words "brown bread", I immediately remember the taste of the good old B&M bread in a can.  As a child I particularly preferred the plain version over the one with raisins, but we only had them on very rare occasions.  We would open up both ends, remove one lid, and use the other to slowly push out just enough to slice off and toast.  Then we'd slather them with butter and enjoy, piping hot.  Such a treat.  So that was definitely my pick for our brown bread challenge.  It did take a couple different recipe tries but the second recipe was exactly the batter I was expecting and spot on for flavor!  I did take it out of the steamer a little early and it collapsed just slightly because the crumb hadn't fully set.  Next bake, I will go the full 3-hour time to ensure the crumb is both gelled and firmly set.  So although it was a little more dense than it might have been, it still takes me right down memory lane.  I just toasted it really well.

The stuff I grew up eating.

Now, truth be told, this really is a quick bread recipe.  Some folks (that don't like it) have called it a cake masquerading as bread.  This is totally not cake.  It might remind one of a nice, dark bran muffin texture and flavor.  Regardless, it's a family tradition I am happy to bring back.  Note that this recipe may be doubled and baked in five 16oz canned good cans that have been cleaned and paper removed.

Traditional Steamed Brown Bread
Makes one small loaf
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup corn meal (I use millet meal)
½ cup graham or whole wheat flour (I used half fresh ground sprouted spelt and half fresh ground rye)
3/8 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
Stir together the dry ingredients and the raisins.  Add molasses and buttermilk and beat well.  Grease a small pudding tin well with butter and fill with the batter (batter should reach halfway).  (I used a 1.25 Qt bain marie).  Cover tin tightly with foil.  Place on a rack in a deep kettle on a burner.  (I used my graniteware steam canner).  Pour in boiling water to 1 inch deep.  Cover kettle and steam for about 2½-3 hours, adding more boiling water if needed.  Keep at a simmer.  Uncover tin and place in a hot oven (450ºF) for 5 minutes.  Remove bread from cans and serve hot, or toast after cooling.  Good with butter, mascarpone, or cream cheese.
Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for a day or so. Refrigerate up to several days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

 Be sure to check out all the other brown bread bakes 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. 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.

 *affiliate links in post

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!