Saturday, May 25, 2013

BBB Whipped Spelt Bread

I must admit to having been apprehensive about this bread challenge, but I've missed far too many BBB opportunities this year!  So I took the plunge.  It actually goes against most of what I've learned about working with spelt.  Maybe I should not worry about the differences in technique though; after all, when R takes a bite of plain bread and says, "Mmmmm, yummy!" that is a good sign.  The dough was super sticky and quite slack; a bit of a trick to work with but it turned out an incredibly flavorful loaf.  I might use only 18 grams of my good sea salt next time as I like my bread with butter, but this loaf is salty enough that it could be eaten with unsalted butter.  It has a nice crisp crust and chewy interior.  Like a sourdough loaf without the sour.  Probably why my daughter likes it so much.  I had fun looking at all the Babes' loaves and the different ways they turned out.  I think a defining factor was whether or not the loaves were 100% spelt or if the baker had to use a substitute for either the whole spelt or the sifted spelt due to availability in the area.  A little regular wheat can add a lot to a spelt loaf in terms of structure.  I would be very curious to know how long people whipped before their dough came off the sides.  Mine was 30 seconds and I went longer since I thought it had to be longer than that.  And of course being spelt, it loosened up and got very slack a minute later.  Here is the recipe, copied from the host kitchen:

Whipped Bread
from Home Baked: Nordic Recipes and Techniques for Organic Bread and Pastry by Hanne Risgaard
makes 2 loaves
840 g/ 29.63 oz sifted spelt flour (I used light spelt)
160 g/ 5.64 oz whole-spelt flour
10 g/ 0.35 oz fresh yeast (I used 2 tsp instant yeast)
20 g/ 0.70 oz salt
approx 800g/ 28.21 oz water

Mix the two types of flour in the mixing bowl, rub in the yeast, and add the salt and water. Mix the dough at high speed using a whisk until the dough no longer sticks to the sides and bottom of the bowl. Scrape the soft dough off the whisk, put a lid on the mixing bowl, and let the dough rest in the fridge overnight.

The next day, allow the dough to warm for a couple of hours before continuing.
Gently turn the dough onto a generously floured work surface, and dust the top of the dough with a little flour. Divide the dough into four equal-size pieces. Quickly twist the pieces together in pairs, preserving as much air in the dough as possible. Place the two twisted loaves on separate peels lined with parchment paper. Let them proof until nearly doubled in volume.  (Mine spread more than rose)

Preheat the convection oven, with baking stone to 250°C/480°F.
Generously mist the inside of the oven with water. Ease the loaves, along with the parchment paper, onto the baking stone. Spray a little more water into the oven. Repeat after one minute.

After 5 minutes of baking, lower the heat to 210°C/410°F, then bake the loaves for another 20-30 minutes more.

This post will go up for Yeastspotting!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spelt Hamburger Buns and a Juicy Burger Tip

My eldest daughter has been boycotting junk food lately.  (That's anything fast food.)  Good for her.  I need to get myself back into planning ahead gear anyway.  She was so impressed with the elk burgers I put together while visiting her Nana's house last month (my dad is a bow hunter and that is their main source of meat for the year), that she requested hamburgers only if I made them at home.  So I grabbed a pound of grassfed burger at Whole Foods and decided to adapt my favorite burger bun recipe to spelt flour.  They worked great and got the stamp of approval from hubby.  So now I have that option for the future.  A little kamut in the mix helps the elasticity of the dough.  These buns have a tender crumb while still being quite sturdy.  They will hold up to a juicy burger with tons of condiments.  I recommend brushing the tops with butter when they come out of the oven to make them nice and soft.

Spelt Hamburger Buns
Makes 8 buns
¾ cup lukewarm water (potato water if you happen to have some on hand)
2 Tbsp softened butter
1 medium egg
3 cups white spelt flour
½ cup kamut flour
¼ cup sugar
1 ¼ tsp sea salt
1½ tsp dried onion flakes
1 Tbsp Instant Yeast

Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients - by hand, mixer, or bread machine - for about 7 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Dough will be fairly firm.  Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1½ hours, or until it is doubled in bulk.  Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces.  Shape each piece into a round 1" thick (more or less); flatten to about 3" across.  Place the buns on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet, cover and let rise for about an hour, until very puffy.  Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden.  Brush with extra butter while still warm for a nice soft crust.  Cool on a rack.  These buns freeze exceptionally well.


Now for some juicy burger tip(s).  Of course there is nothing quite as flavorful as a burger made with 15-20% fat.  But if you are using a low fat grind such as a 93-98% fat free beef or a buffalo or elk/venison burger, here is something you can do to make them juicier when you grill.  Number one, when shaping the burgers handle the meat as lightly as possible.  Pull the ground meat into bits and toss in the desired seasoning but don't squish and squeeze or over-work the meat or your burger will shrink and be tough.  I like to add a sprinkle of steak seasoning to my burgers and sometimes dried onion flakes.  That's it for seasonings.  The other trick?  Add water.  Yes, water.  For two pounds of ground elk, I added probably more than half a cup.  Lightly toss it in, just like for a pie crust.  For a lowfat beef grind, I might start with 2 tbsp water per pound though I tend to end up using at least ¼ cup.   Then gently form the patties (stick your thumb in the center to leave a dent -  it will help hold the shape) and get yourself to a grill.  ☺  Once at the grill, find a good place for your patties, get them on the heat and walk away for 5 minutes.  Don't fiddle and mash the burgers with a spatula, that pushes any juice and flavor right out and into the coals.  Flip them and walk away again, adjust their location if necessary for even browning.  Try not to keep flipping over and over.  When they are done, they should have that nice lightly caramelized crust and good grill marks.

Happy Spring, go forth and grill!