Friday, August 16, 2019

A Sunny Rye Bread with the BBB

Many thanks to Cathy of Bread Experience for choosing this sunny loaf for August!  Okay, confession time.  Other than one test piece for hubby, I ate the entire loaf myself.  It did take a few weeks!  But I am the big rye and caraway fan in the house and this was so good, that I simply had pieces toasted for breakfast, with butter or ricotta and jam, until it was sadly all gone.  I made this recipe back in July (at the same time as the July challenge bread) when we had a cool weather break, but it was so good, I might be willing to turn on the oven even in hot weather.

I baked this loaf on the same day I baked the sourdough panmarino, so it really wasn't a lot of extra work, even with the shaping. I did a combination of yeast and sourdough, my own little experiment of a 50% sourdough/50% yeast leavened half batch, because this makes a HUGE loaf, even my half batch was 14" in diameter. Note that rye dough is quite sticky, even when using bread flour for strength. I added a lot of folds in to build structure, and rolled my dough ropes out on a well floured towel.

Each of those spiral rays can be broken off as a very hearty serving or even two per ray, and the center spiral is easily four servings. I really can't say which I preferred more, the butter and jam or ricotta and jam. I usually had one half with butter and one half with ricotta! And it kept me very full and satisfied for hours. Love this bread.

I am including both the original formula with yeast, and the sourdough modification that our host kitchen provided for us. I had already baked mine with the half sourdough/ half yeast since I baked so early. And if you aren't keen on shaping a sunshine, though it is totally cool looking, you can always make a large round or oval and get creative with your slashing. I do recommend a half batch unless you intend on freezing one loaf right away. And it is fabulous bread, so I can totally see myself doing that next time. My pieces were wonderful toasted after slightly thawing and slicing out of the freezer.

We would love for you to try out this recipe and join in as a buddy baker this month! If you like rye, you will love this bread. Definitely worth making, and eating. I did after all, demolish almost an entire loaf myself, in a reasonable amount of time of course. 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 Bread Experience by the 29th of this month. Be sure to put BBBuddy in the subject line. 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.

Sunshine Loaf
makes one very large or two medium loaves

4 tbsp lukewarm milk
4 tbsp lukewarm water
¼ oz. (7g) fresh yeast (2.8g active dry or 2.3g instant yeast)
scant 1 cup bread flour

½ oz. (14g) fresh yeast (5.6g active dry or 4.6g instant yeast)
generous 2 cups lukewarm water
4 cups rye flour (I used fresh ground whole rye, sifted)
2 cups bread flour
1 tbsp salt
milk for glazing
caraway seeds for sprinkling

For starter:
Dissolve yeast in milk and water, then stir in flour.  Cover and let rise for 3-4 hours until it has risen fully and started to fall. Dissolve yeast for dough in a small amount of the water, then stir into remaining water.  Mix into starter, then mix in rye flour to form a smooth batter.  Cover and let proof for another 3-4 hours until well risen.
Stir in the bread flour and salt to form a dough.  (Mine was quite sticky.)  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface.  Cover and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and divide dough into five equal pieces.  Cut four pieces in half and roll into 8" long ropes.  Place in a circle on a large, parchment lined baking sheet, spaced equally apart and leaving a small gap in the center.  Curl the ends around.  Roll the remaining piece into a 20" long rope and coil into a spiral and place in the center of the sun "rays".  Cover and let rise in a warm place, around 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425ºF.  Brush the top of the bread with milk and sprinkle with caraway seeds.  Place in oven and turn down temperature to 400º.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned and hollow sounding.  Smaller loaves will bake quicker.  (I kept an eye on it and took it out when internal temp was around 212-215º.  It didn't seem quite ready at 208-9º and I wanted to develop just a little more color.)

Sunshine and butterflies?

Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling before slicing.

Here are the directions for making an all sourdough loaf, as provided by our host kitchen:

Makes: 1 Large Loaf or 2 Smaller Loaves
The directions below are for shaping one large loaf. Adjust accordingly to shape 2 smaller loaves.

15g / 1 scant Tbsp. active sourdough (100% hydration)
60g / 4 Tbsp milk, lukewarm
55g / 4 Tbsp water, lukewarm
125g / 1 cup all-purpose flour

250g / 2 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour (I used stone-ground bread flour)
440g / 4 cups rye flour (I used freshly milled whole grain rye flour)
480-550g / 2 cups + water, divided (I started with 2 cups (480 grams) water and gradually added more as I was mixing the dough. The whole grain rye soaked it up.
16-18g / 1 Tbsp. salt
Caraway seeds, or the seeds of your choice, for sprinkling
Milk or water for glazing

Day 1: Prepare the Starter
Mix the starter ingredients together in a medium bowl and stir thoroughly until there are no dry bits of flour. Cover and let rest on the counter at room temperature overnight until it is well risen, bubbly and starting to collapse; about 8 to 12 hours.  I mixed the starter at 10pm and let it rest at room temperature until noon the next day (14 hours) and it worked fine.  If your kitchen is hot, it may take less time to fully activate.

Day 2: Final Dough
The next day, when the starter is ready, add about half (1 cup / 240 grams) of the water to the starter and stir to break it up. 
Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the starter over the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate.  Add in the remaining 240 grams of water and mix thoroughly to incorporate. 
Add in more water (or flour) gradually, if necessary, to achieve a workable dough. It is sticky dough so it’s best to use wet hands. I started the mixing process using a Danish dough whisk, and then switched to using wet hands and a bowl scraper.
Cover and let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes.  Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl using wet hands.  I added in a little more water at this point because the dough was tearing.
Cover again and let the dough rest at warm room temperature for 6 hours.  Perform stretch and folds every 45 minutes to an hour (using wet hands) for the first 4 ½ hours. Then let the dough rest undisturbed for the final hour or two. 
Continue with shaping the loaf or place it in the refrigerator overnight to cold ferment for 8-12 hours.  The cold ferment may not be necessary, but it worked better with my schedule.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces.  I had 1435 grams of dough so each piece was 287 grams.
Roll one piece into a 20-inch log. Then roll it into a spiral shape.  See notes on shaping middle spiral.
Divide the remaining pieces of dough in half (~143 grams each) and roll each piece into an 8-inch rope.
Place the ropes in a circle on a large baking sheet (See notes on using a greased baking sheet), spaced evenly apart. They should look like rays of sun. Curl the ends around, leaving a slight gap in the middle for the center spiral.
Place the center spiral on top.  Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, bees wrap, or a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place, for 30 minutes.
While the loaf is proofing, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Brush the loaf with milk, or water, and sprinkle with caraway seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  I brushed my loaf with melted butter after placing it on the wire rack. See notes about brushing with milk.

I used 4 cups of rye, and it was really sticky.  So I plan to reduce the amount of rye the next time.  I liked the flavor of the rye, but I think 3 cups of whole grain rye and 3 cups of white flour will be easier to work with.  If you use a lighter rye, that will probably help as well.
This is a really big loaf.  I had a hard time figuring out how to fit it on the baking sheet which is why I rolled the rays tighter than the picture. Unless you have a larger baking sheet, I think 2 smaller loaves will be easier to shape. 
Shape it on a greased baking sheet. I tried shaping the loaf on parchment paper, but the dough stuck to it, and the rectangular shape of the parchment didn’t lend itself to the shape of the loaf.  It wasn’t wide enough for the rays to fit on.  I used a greased baking sheet instead and it worked much better. 
Work fast when shaping the loaf. I shaped the pieces straight from the refrigerator and had to work really fast so the pieces didn’t proof too much before I got the loaf put together.  I probably shaped and reshaped it 3 times before I got it right and onto the baking sheet.  
*Shaping the middle spiral. The directions said to shape the middle section first, but I ended up having to reshape it when I transferred it to the baking sheet because it had been proofing the whole time I was shaping the other pieces.  This piece goes on last so I would wait to shape this piece until after shaping the other pieces.

I didn’t like the look of the milk-brushed loaf. I brushed the loaf with milk and sprinkled it with caraway seeds before baking, as the recipe suggested, but it looked pale once I removed it from the oven. So to give it some color, I brushed the warm loaf with melted butter. It looked much better and didn’t affect the flavor.   I used almond milk so perhaps regular milk would work better, but I’ll probably just use water next time. 

Happy Baking!

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

Approximate nutrition for one ray of the sun:
(Center spiral is equivalent to 4 rays)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Gluten Free English Muffins #BreadBakers

Gluten free with grains on hand?  Win!  Our #breadbakers theme for this month is: gluten free breads.  I went through a gluten free phase for a while.  My girls and I have tested wheat sensitive but not gluten sensitive, and it is not a large sensitivity.  So I try to stick to spelt and other ancient grains which don't affect us, but a little flour now and then doesn't really do much.  Now this brings up one important point:  I will never attempt to bake anything "gluten free" for a celiac, and we do know several people officially diagnosed with that condition.  Because I do use gluten in my house, even if I washed everything fresh, the measuring cups, the tins, the counters, the cutting boards, my house is not set up to be gluten safe.  There will be cross contamination that I missed, maybe in my salt, maybe in some baking powder, my sugar has definitely had cups touch it after they had flour in them.  I would never want to set off the awful reaction that a celiac exposed to gluten has to deal with.  So I will leave that to certified processors.  But I can do 99.9% gluten free for those just wanting to avoid gluten for inflammation issues or whatever reason.  Sometimes it's fun to try something different.

Since I haven't baked GF in a while, most of my flours are probably not really good anymore and need to be composted.  Even kept in the fridge, they don't have a very long shelf life.  So if not used up in a few months, they go to waste.  This time, rather than get another couple bags of flour I won't use often enough, I decided to mill my flours fresh and see how it turned out.  I had brown basmati rice and whole, hulled buckwheat on hand, and since this recipe has plenty of liquid plus a rest time, I was fairly confident that there would not be any extra grittiness from my possibly less refined flours.  Potato starch has a long enough shelf life and I do use it on occasion, so that one I went out and purchased, since I was actually out.  The little bit of extra flour from milling, (~¾ cup mixed) I will add to some struan.  Perfectly delicious way to use it up!

This was a recipe I've had pinned for many years and hadn't tried.  I can now attest that they make a tasty little muffin!  I love the crunch of the exterior when they are toasted, they are quite delicious with jam.  Eldest child gave them two enthusiastic thumbs up!  That's a hefty endorsement.  So thank you to Sizzling Tastebuds for choosing this month's theme, and to Stacy at food lust people love for stepping in to host this month!

Gluten Free English Muffins
from Hannah's Gluten Free Bakery 
Makes 8 muffins

1 cup brown rice flour (I milled this fresh)
½ cup buckwheat flour (I milled this fresh)
1 cup potato starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sea salt
2¼ tsp instant yeast

In a separate bowl mix together:
1 cup warm (not hot) water
½ cup milk
2 tsp sugar or honey

Combine the flours, starch, xanthan gum, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients together in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved.  Combine the dry and wet ingredients thoroughly.  Cover the bowl and let sit in a warm place for an hour.

Dough will be very light and puffy after an hour.
Rings easily wipe clean with a napkin between batches.
Sprinkle sides with meal if desired.
Oil fingers to pat down dough into ring, sprinkle
with more corn or millet meal if desired.

Lightly grease the inside of your muffin rings and line a cookie sheet with parchment. After the dough has risen, set the rings on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle the pan inside the rings with a bit of corn or millet meal if you like.  Fill each ring halfway with dough.  (I used a muffin scoop to fill the rings and got two batches of four, with varying sizes.  Two scoops was a bit much.  Going for about a scoop and a half would probably yield the best overall size for splitting.  Or you can weigh the dough if you want to be really precise.)  Let the dough in the rings rise another 10-15 minutes, until puffy.  Bake in a 450ºF oven for about twenty minutes or until they are slightly golden on top. Slice while warm with a fork or bread knife and spread with your favorite English muffin accompaniment.  (We love buttered muffins with jam, as well as poached eggs on English muffin.) (I found that the muffins split by fork best when completely cooled.)

#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.


Check out our other gluten free goodness this month:

  • Aloo Nachini Roti from Sara's Tasty Buds 
  • Banana, Coconut and Goji Berry Bread from All That's Left Are The Crumbs 
  • Brazilian Cheese Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories 
  • Gluten Free Pizza Crust from What Smells So Good? 
  • Masala Mixed Flour Thalipeeth from Sizzling Tastebuds 
  • Methi Aloo Bajra Roti from Gayathri's Cook Spot 
  • Rajgira Roti from Sneha's Recipe 

  • Approximate nutrition for one English muffin:

    Tuesday, July 16, 2019

    A Taste of July with the BBB - So many choices!

    This month, the BBB are opening up the choice of breads to bake based on all the breads we have baked in past July's.  There is a decade of choices to bake!  I was very tempted by a Poilane-Style Miche from our angel babe Sher's site, but did not have enough days to build up a barm in time for the expected cooldown in our weather.  So I went with the only recipe I have not actually baked yet from all these July's.  Even though I started blogging in 2010, there was a buddy baker that was doing catch up recipes at one point and I did the 2009 recipe with her.  So that left 2014 for me, Panmarino Italian Rosemary Bread!  And I fortunately happened to have just enough rosemary left, that was still good, to go in it.  I did take the liberty of roasting a head of garlic and folding that in as well.  Oh my goodness, what an amazing aroma.  I would recommend slightly under-roasting the garlic or it will just melt into the dough, which can be okay if none around the edges gets overdone and bitter.  Mine did mostly melt in, but it's just so nice to get those delicious chunks of roasted garlic in a slice.  

    If it's a hot July where you are, not to worry, there is at least one stove top option and I would wager the Tahini Swirls (Sukkar bi Tahin) could be done on the grill with a baking stone.  And so here are all of our July bakes since 2008!  We're sure you'll want to try one of the BBB July breads too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it before the 29th of July, 2019.  You can submit your bake to any of the Babes that post this month.  Don't have a blog?  That's no problem – just contact the July BBBabe of your choice with a photo and brief description of the bread you baked and you’ll be included in the round-up.  And remember, new recipes are posted every month on the 16th.  Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

    July 2018: Elle, Singing Hinnies
    My results If it's too hot to bake, this is a griddle or stovetop option, no oven!

    July 2017: Kelly, Velvety Bean Bread
    An interesting bread I found that incorporates a bean paste into the dough.

    July 2016: Judy, Bialys
    My results I much preferred these delicious buns to bagels!

    July 2015: Judy, Power Bread
    My results A very hearty and tasty bread, perfect for the whole grain bread lover.

    July 2014: Cathy, Panmarino
    Keep reading, this is my choice for July!

    July 2013: Astrid, Rheinbrot
    My results A lovely scented sourdough with Riesling in the sponge.

    July 2012: Sarah, Easy little bread
    My results A quick little oatmeal bread that I am also tempted to bake again for better results than the first time!

    July 2011: Sarah, Hamburger buns
    My results I have my favorite recipe, but these were universally liked as well.

    July 2010: Lynn, Yeasted Sprouted Wheat Bread
    My results This was quite the challenge for all babes and buddies and took me two tries and a whole new food processor!!

    July 2009: Natashya, Sukkar bi Tahin
    My results Though I didn't start blogging until 2010, I did bake these in 2013 as a catch up recipe.

    July 2008: All, in memory of Sher
    Sher's site I have actually looked through Sher's site a number of times over the years. It's always hard to lose a friend unexpectedly, even if you've never met in person. And lovely to know she touched so many lives.

    Here is the recipe for the Panmarino, I used my sourdough starter instead of the biga and used half fresh ground sprouted spelt for my flour.  Plus the yummy roasted garlic.

    Panmarino Italian Rosemary Bread
    Scaled formula (makes 2 smaller rounds or 1 medium boule)

    71g (~½ cup) bread flour
    60g (scant ¼ cup) water
    pinch instant yeast

    Final Dough:
    442g (~3½ cups) bread flour (220g bread flour, 230g sprouted spelt, fresh ground)
    240g (1 cup) water
    22g (2 Tbsp) milk (I left this out)
    pinch instant yeast
    44g (¼ cup) olive oil
    4g (2 Tbsp) fresh rosemary, chopped
    1 head garlic, roasted (optional)
    all the Biga
    9.5g (~ 2½ tsp.) salt
    Original formula (makes 4 Loaves)

    Bread flour 143 grams/5 ounces
    Water 122 grams/4¼ ounces
    Pinch of instant yeast

    Final Dough:
    Bread flour 884 grams/1 pound 15 ounces
    Water 477 grams/1 pound 1 ounce
    Milk 44 grams/1½ ounces
    Biga 265 grams/9 1/3 ounces
    Salt 23 grams/3/4 ounce
    Pinch of instant yeast
    Olive oil 88 grams/3 ounces
    Chopped fresh rosemary 9 grams/1/3 ounce
    Prepare the Biga:

    Combine the flour, water and yeast in a mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or dough whisk until well blended. Scrape down the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 14 to 16 hours. 
    If using sourdough starter instead of a biga, you can make the final dough right away and let it ferment, covered, overnight.  Then move on to shaping.

    Making the Final Dough:

    Combine the flour, water, milk, and biga in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix with dough hook on low speed until blended.

    Add salt and yeast and mix on low speed for 5 minutes.  Increase speed to medium and mix for about 7 more minutes or until the dough is smooth.  When the gluten is fully developed, mix in the olive oil and rosemary on low speed.  (Fold in the garlic by hand if using.)

    Cover the dough and let the dough ferment for 45 minutes, until puffy.

    Remove the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and divide it into two pieces (I just made one medium oblong loaf) (or four if you used the full recipe). Shape the dough pieces into tight rounds or oblongs.  Cover and let them rest for 15 minutes.

    Dust two bannetons or cloth lined bowls with flour. (One 10" oblong for me.)

    Place each loaf, seam side up, in the lined bannetons or bowls. Cover and proof for 1 hour.

    Place a baking stone (or tiles) into the oven along with a steam pan (underneath) or iron skillet (on the top rack) and preheat the oven to 450ºF. Carefully turn the loaves over onto a parchment paper lined baking peel or baking sheet.  Score the top of each round loaf in a star pattern using a lame or sharp knife, or one long slash for oblong or as desired.  Carefully slide the loaf or loaves and parchment onto the preheated baking stone or place baking sheet into oven.  (If you have an old granite roaster, spray the inside of the bottom with some water and use it to cover the loaf or loaves, once in the oven.  Remove roaster after 20 minutes.  Since I only made one loaf, this worked perfectly for me.) To make the steam, add 1 cup of ice to the iron skillet or steam pan.

    Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is light brown and crisp and the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.

    Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

    Approximate nutrition per slice for one oblong loaf:

    Tuesday, July 9, 2019

    Pączki - Polish Jelly-filled Donuts #BreadBakers

    Once again, I have dusted off the deep fryer, (literally dusted - the last time I used it was April 2017), for this month's recipe.  Our #breadbakers theme for this month is: fried yeasted breads.  I had two ideas in mind for this month, and decided on a Polish jelly filled donut in tribute to my grandmother-in-law.  I don't fry often, in fact I've only deep fried three things ever.  I do love the little fryer that I picked up, the only drawback is that for something like beignets, kare pan, or these Pączki, you really have to do them one at a time.  Makes for a long time at the fryer.  So I made a smaller batch!  (Still ended up with 16!)  Fresh donuts are fabulous, but you don't need that many, especially when they are so rich as these.  Hubby's grandma was Polish and I have her cookbooks, among which was Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans.  There are four different Pączki recipes in the book but no fillings!  It just says a thick filling and that jelly is not thick enough.

    For truly traditional, the dough is actually folded over the filling before frying, but I went with filling after frying.  I did choose (after some research) a traditional filling of prune lekvar (plum/prune butter) and mixed it, un-traditionally but deliciously, with a small amount of raspberry filling.  When I was storing leftovers, I mixed them together in about equal proportions and it was fabulous!  Hubby heartily approved and said it could be used for dips, toast, pancakes, fillings, etc.

    I was very impressed with how the Pączki turned out.  They are a fluffy pastry, billowy and soft.  Almost like a cross between a choux pastry and a beignet.  My cookbook calls for a little bit of rum and I think traditionally it would be a Polish vodka.  But I do recommend it!  As I understand, the alcohol evaporation in the heat helps prevent the donuts from soaking up the frying oil and I can attest to this fact.  After 16 donuts, the level of oil has barely changed, and in such a small fryer, volume differences are very obvious.  I doubt there was more than a couple tablespoons difference by the end, including drips off the tongs.  Plus whatever the napkin wicked out on the cooling rack.  All I can say is that these donuts had absolutely no greasiness to them at all.  Very impressive.

    I combined a couple of the cookbook recipes and one Polish translation recipe.  I think the funniest thing I read in the book was this little comment, "An excellent Polish cook uses as many egg yolks as she makes pączki."  That recipe indeed called for TWENTY egg yolks.  There is lots of wonderful information in the Polish cookbook about the generous use of butter and abundant use of eggs owing to rural ownership of a cow and chickens.  I didn't go quite so far but this is a very rich dough, like a brioche but a bit more slack.  I also chose the method of one of the book recipes because it was very similar to the tangzhong method in bread making, which is an intriguing technique that contributes to a very soft crumb.  I've only used the method once before and thought this was a perfect application for it.

    So thank you to Sneha's Recipe for choosing the theme this month and leading me down a little road of family history!

    makes about 16 donuts

    300g of all purpose flour, divided  (I ended up adding around 100g more flour)
    125g of milk
    40g of butter, melted and cooled
    4 egg yolks
    2 whole eggs
    60g sugar
    10.5g of instant yeast
    1/8 tsp salt
    ¼ tsp ground mace
    1 tsp fresh lemon zest
    14g rum (about a generous tbsp)

    Scald milk by bringing just to a simmer and then turning off heat.  Do not boil.  Slowly whisk in 50g of the flour into the hot milk to make a thick, smooth roux.  Cool to around 110ºF, then mix in the yeast and let rise for half an hour.  

    Very happy yeast mixture

    Beat eggs and yolks until very frothy, and lightened in color.  Add in yeast mixture, sugar, and rum and mix.

    Add remaining flour and butter and beat until it forms a sticky dough.  Cover and let rise for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

    Turn out onto a floured board or cloth and knead a few times.  Roll out dough to about ½" thick and cut out circles with a round biscuit cutter (mine was just under 3").  (Optionally, roll out the dough slightly thinner, place a teaspoon of filling on one circle, then cover with another and press to seal the edges.)  Cover and let rise again.

    Beautiful yellow dough from the eggs

    Fry a few at a time in deep fat fryer, 340-345ºF for about 1½-2 minutes per side, turning only once.

    Pączki should have a deep color on each side

    Drain on a paper towel lined rack and serve rolled in powdered sugar, granulated sugar, or glaze.  If you have a long pastry tip, you can pipe jam into the paczki after frying, or slice plain paczki and filled with whipped cream and berries, even sugared rose petals.

    Prune lekvar filling
    1½ cups pitted prunes, lightly packed, quartered
    2/3 cup water
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/3 cup brown sugar

    Simmer prunes, water, zest, and lemon juice, covered, over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes until very soft and most of the water is evaporated.  Uncover the last few minutes if necessary.  Remove from heat and mash or blend.  Stir in brown sugar.


    #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.

    Check out our other fried fabulousity this month:

    Approximate nutrition for one large pączki, unfilled, plain:


    Tuesday, June 18, 2019

    Golden Flax and Spelt Sourdough Loaf

    Having successfully tried one recipe from this cookbook for our May bake, I checked it out from the library to see what else it had to offer.  Artisan Sourdough Made Simple looked to be a winner for me.  Now I have my own personal copy.  This amazingly delicious flax and spelt loaf just confirms a great recipe selection.  It's a cookbook I think well worth getting your own copy.

    Of course it is a bonus that flax happens to be quite good for you as well, with its high levels of healthful omega 3 fatty acids.  Both the flax and the spelt have a lovely nutty flavor and the flax adds a soft springiness to the bread that is very enjoyable.  Oh, and this loaf sang to me when it was done!  I have had that happen only rarely, and it's a real treat to hear that wonderful crackling sound of an especially perfect crust cooling down.

    I suspect that lovely crackle and thin crispy crust is due to the baking method.  This loaf is originally meant to be baked in a lidded pot like a dutch oven.  Now that I am actually paging through the beginning of the book, I see that the method I chose to approximate this is indeed listed there.  Hey, guys aren't the only ones who don't read directions.  So what I did was to invert a granite ware roasting pan bottom over the loaf on my baking stone.  It gives the same steam oven effect with inexpensive items many people already own.  I've had that old roaster for years and my mom gave me her nice pampered chef baking stone because she would never use it whereas I use it all the time.  They seem to work very well together.  The other nice thing about the roaster is that it is light and easy to maneuver.   At any rate, it seemed to work brilliantly.  My kids are devouring the loaf as we speak.  One with butter, and one swooning over how good it is with Boursin.

    For once I did have bread flour on hand and so did use that as well as the all purpose, but I did substitute freshly ground sprouted spelt for the whole spelt flour.  It slightly changed the formula and water needs of the dough, so I did adjust amounts of flour a bit.  I also noted that the flax, which is meant to be pre-soaked, absorbed a good 90g of water and then held on to a lot of the rinse water as it seemed to me.  You are asked to add warm water just to cover the seeds and they swelled so quickly that I added a touch more.  Originally 60g, then 30g more.  I would recommend not using hot water, just warm, and stop as soon as the seeds are covered and don't add any more.  They will swell and absorb it all, as well as creating and keeping a gel during their rinse.  It's the nature of flax seed.  Lovely texture and crunch in the bread though!  So due to those factors, I added 120g extra all purpose flour to match the dough in the cookbook pictures.  Still a very nicely hydrated and somewhat sticky dough.  Not difficult to work with at all after the bulk rise.

    So if you're looking for a tasty sourdough with health benefits as well as great flavor, give this one a try.  Try the May recipe too.  For that matter, just get a copy of the cookbook!

    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 used mine straight out of the fridge, it had been fed a little over a week ago.  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). (About 10 hours for my cold starter.)  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 floured with rice flour.)  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 with flour and rub the surface gently to coat. 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.

    Approximate nutrition for one slice of about 60g:

    Sunday, June 16, 2019

    Rosemary Raisin Bread with the BBB

    This month, our Bread Baking Babes host kitchen has chosen a wonderful sourdough bread, great for beginners because it has the insurance of added yeast.  Of course it is perfectly acceptable to let it be completely sourdough risen if you so desire and at least one of the Babes did choose that option.  It's also a forgiving recipe because only now as I write, do I realize that I left out a portion of flour!  And it still turned out great!  I had planned on doing half bread flour and half freshly ground sprouted spelt for the bread flour portion, and completely forgot the additional whole grain flour portion.  Fortunately I had withheld a little water due to the spelt, but my dough was still on the sticky side and I was okay with it being that way.  The little loaves turned out beautifully soft, but with plenty of structure still.  Wonderful fresh with butter, brilliant toasted.  I made a half batch and divided that into two small loaves, using golden raisins in one and dried blueberries in the other.  Both were wonderful but I suspect the blueberry option would be elevated properly by the addition of some lemon zest next time.  A half batch would probably fit into a 9x5" loaf pan for a generously sized loaf.  I liked my two little loaves baked in two 8x4" pans, especially since I was using two different dried fruits.  Which, by the way, our host kitchen has given permission for changing up the herb and fruit combination if you like.  I do love the golden raisins, love how the blueberry turned out, and would love to try dried cranberry as well.  I was also very extended on the initial rise time because it was quite hot and I wanted it to cool down before I turned on the oven.  I definitely more than doubled, probably tripled,  but the dough happily complied and rose again nicely for the final shaping.

    We would love for you to try out this recipe and join in as a buddy baker this month!  This is a great and easy sourdough to try out, wonderful fresh and toasted, with great flavor and versatility.  I imagine it would make fabulous french toast!  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 Judy's Gross Eats by the 29th of this month.  Be sure to put BBBuddy in the subject line.  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.

    Rosemary Raisin Sourdough Bread
    (Recipe can be halved or doubled)
    28 oz bread flour (794 grams) (I used half bread flour, half sprouted spelt)
    8 oz whole grain flour (227 grams) (Oops, forgot!)
    1 oz Kosher salt (28 grams) (I used a bit less, 12.3g for half batch)
    2 tsp. active dry yeast (6 grams)
    2 oz honey (57 grams)
    4 oz olive oil (113 grams)
    4 oz raisins (113 grams) (I used more, I like my raisins well stocked! 70g per loaf, 80g blueberries)
    1/8 cup chopped fresh rosemary
    16 oz sourdough starter (100% hydration) (454 grams)
    16 oz room-temperature water (454 grams)

    Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until just combined into a shaggy dough.  Cover and let mixture rest for 10 minutes.  
    Using a dough hook, knead dough for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours, or until doubled.
    Remove dough from bowl and shape as desired.  Place on baking sheet or in loaf pans, cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
    About 20 minutes before baking, heat oven to 450˚F.  Add steam if desired and bake at 450˚F for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 400˚F and continue baking until top is brown and the internal temperature is between 190-200˚F, about 15-20 minutes.  Watch the bread carefully so it doesn’t get too dark (adjust oven temperature accordingly).  (After the first 10 and 15 minutes, I removed the loaves from the pans and baked for another 5 minutes directly on the oven rack to finish.)
    Remove from oven; let cool on rack before slicing.

    Thumbs up from all family members!

    The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

    Approximate nutrition per slice for my small loaves: