Monday, July 29, 2013

BBB - Rheinbrot

The kitchen that provided the challenge for this month was Paulchen's FoodBlog?!.  Note to self: feed sourdough more often.  Using a sluggish starter practically doubles the time needed to produce a loaf.  I'll bet I would have seen much more oven spring with a happy starter.  That's okay, it's happy now and I made super fluffy pancakes with it this morning.  I still have some wine left so maybe I'll try again!  That all said, this loaf has delicious aroma.  I used part all purpose and part spelt flour this time and it really had great gluten development during the folds.  I ended up with a pretty slack dough even though it started out pretty stiff.  With both spelt and sourdough, I was expecting that.  This is a pretty nice and mostly hands off recipe.  Just a few turns with a wooden spoon, a fold here and there, and aside from fermentation time it is ready to go.  It's hard to be a buddy in the summer when vacation and higher temperatures make baking go lower on the totem pole, but I'm glad I did this one.  The dough was kind of sweet during the proofing times and I was worried there would not be enough salt to flavor it, but the resulting loaf smelled great and nice and salty.  Well, not too much, but deliciously so.  ☺  I got a more typical chewy sourdough result than some of the other bakers, who reported a light and fluffy crumb and soft crust.  I attribute that to my underfed starter.

makes 1 loaf
50 g semisweet Riesling
50 g boiled water, at room temperature
100 g flour (I used all purpose)
50 g sourdough starter at 100% hydration

250 g flour (I used all purpose and light spelt)
135 g water
6 g salt

Mix sourdough with liquids, whisk thoroughly.
Add flour and mix again.
The dough ferments at 2 stages:
a) 4 hours at a temperature 30-32°C, it should grow at least twice its size, will be lumpy looking at this stage and have larger and smaller bubbles. If you stick your nose into the container, the scent will be somewhat unpleasant, it may even seem that the dough has deteriorated. Don't panic, this only means the dough is doing the right thing.
b) Pour the sponge in a bowl and whisk thoroughly to remove all the trapped gas and aerate it with oxygen. Cover with foil and let sit for 10-12 hours (overnight) at room temperature. Dough will rise again in half and very often shows smaller bubbles.
Now the sponge is ready for kneading: pour in the water and stir until smooth. Add the flour, mix well and give the autolysis a chance to work for 40-50 minutes.
Add the salt and quickly knead the dough, if it is too sticky add a little flour, but be careful not to add too much.  (I proofed mine in a greased tub so I didn't need any flour for my folds.)
Let ferment for 2-2.5 hours. Fold twice after 1 hour and 1 1/2 hour.
Form a loaf and let proof in a basket for 1 1/2 hours (doubles in size) covered with a towel in a draft free place. (Mine took three hours - sorry starter.)
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Transfer dough to your parchment or baking sheet. Make a slash or two and let it slide on your baking stone.
Bake for 10 minutes with steam and then without steam 20-30 minutes at 400°F.
Let cool down for at least half an hour before slicing the bread.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

Right in the middle of lovely, sunny, summer vacation, there are lots of requests for smoothies for lunch or dinner.  The girls love the strawberry pineapple but I've been wanting to get some more coconut into my weekly diet.  I figured a smoothie with coconut milk would be one of the easiest ways to do that and so we have the tropical and refreshing pineapple coconut smoothie.  Or maybe it is coconut pineapple...  They really are fairly balanced so it's hard to say which flavor dominates if any.  This smoothie made a great refreshing yet filling dinner for me.  I'll definitely make it again and the girls like the leftovers frozen in freezer jam jars.

Update 7/24/2013: As of today the girls declared this smoothie their new favorite.  S didn't even want to wait for the leftovers to freeze, which is saying something!  For the three of us with two freezer half pints leftover and being wanted already, I used a full pound bag of frozen pineapple, a full can of coconut milk, about 1 cup of yogurt and a couple tsp maple syrup.  I also like to add some Barlean's Lemon Zest Fish Oil Swirl and probiotics to our smoothies on occasion.  It's a super easy way to get them in the girls.

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie
serves 2

2 cups frozen pineapple (Substitute 1½ cups frozen strawberries for a thick and rich Strawberries and Cream Smoothie!)
½ can coconut milk
½ cup vanilla or honey flavored Greek yogurt
2 tsp maple syrup

Put all ingredients in a blender, secure lid and blend on high until smooth.  Stop to scrape down if necessary.  Garnish with large flakes of coconut if desired.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wild Blueberry Spelt Muffins

 I remember going camping and packing in a blueberry muffin mix that had a little tin of tiny wild blueberries in it.  Always turned the muffins purple, but were they good or what!  At least I remember them being a treat.  We did have special treats just for hike-in camping that were not usually available in our house.  And sure, almost everything tastes better when you've hiked up the side of a mountain with a heavy pack.  Almost.  I do have memories of a particularly rainy night: we had a dried box mix of something pasta-like and it was so miserable outside that dad set up the little camp burner just inside the tent and tried to make it a one pot meal instead of the steps it called for on the box.  Well, that stuff grew.  And grew.  We added some more water.  And it gelled and grew some more.  We choked down a few bites.  That pot of glutinous muck  was dubbed "The Wad."  Thirty odd years later, it is still a memorable meal.  We left the pot outside a marmot hole that night.  It was actually gone in the morning, hope the little guy didn't suffer too much.  ☺ 

Anyway, I recently found wild blueberries in the frozen section and had a nostalgic craving for some soft, moist blueberry muffins.  I don't think my girls have ever had blueberry muffins.  Blueberries, fresh or frozen, usually do not last long enough to get baked into something.  (Frozen blueberries are one of their favorite treats and I did have to go back and get some more before I could make these.)  This is a pretty standard muffin recipe, adapted to work with spelt flour and more healthful coconut oil.  If your blueberries are frozen, the cold will stiffen up the batter a bit as the oil starts to solidify.  They will still bake up fine.  Fresh blueberries won't turn your batter purple.  ;)  You can make them with or without your favorite streusel topping.  I had some left in the freezer from my peach buttermilk muffins and used a bit of that.  The girls seem to prefer them plain though, so that is how I will make them from now on.

Wild Blueberry Spelt Muffins, Egg free option
makes 1 dozen

1/3 cup melted coconut oil (refined will not have coconut flavor)
1 cup buttermilk, room temp
1 egg, room temp (to make these egg free, substitute ¼ cup applesauce plus ½ tsp more baking powder)
1¾ cups light spelt flour
2/3 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp inulin (optional for added fiber)
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup wild blueberries, fresh or frozen, tossed with a tsp flour

Preheat oven to 400º.  Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and inulin if using, in a medium bowl.  Mix the oil, buttermilk and egg together lightly in a 2 cup liquid measure.  Just combine the buttermilk and flour mixtures in the bowl.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Scoop into muffin papers with a muffin scoop.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown on top.  (Frozen berries will take the longer time.)  Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove to rack to finish cooling.  These muffins freeze well.