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:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Lady Grey Date Nut Bread #BreadBakers

Dates really are nature's candy.  It's no secret that I've had a serious sweet tooth all my life.  When I was a kid it was quite a treat for my mom to get a bag of chopped crystallized dates.  They were usually hidden so they would last for actual recipes.  I used to pick them first out of any mixes we got that contained them.  But I never actually had a real whole date until I was an adult, and that creamy, sweet experience (and I do prefer the soft, creamy medjool dates), was barely comparable to those hard little nuggets of my childhood.  Needless to say, I have found many ways to enjoy whole and freshly chopped dates in my baking ever since.  Mom loves a date nut bread so I thought that would be a nice bake.  But delicious as they are, dates are rather plainly sweet.  I wanted to boost the flavor just a little bit.  One of our favorite Christmas cookies is an Earl Grey shortbread.  They are outrageously good and I thought the tea would complement the bread beautifully.  So I added a double dose of tea to this bread with both brewed and loose additions.  A little ginger for warmth and some lemon zest for a brighter note, and you have a sublime date bread.  (Hint, if you really love ginger and want to actually taste it instead of it being just a subtle enhancement, by all means add more or even add some crystallized ginger with the dates.)  I love pecans, but this would be equally good with walnuts.  

It is wonderful fresh with butter, but goodness me, it is out of this world toasted and buttered for breakfast.  A very nice treat for any occasion.  And I find it quite suitable to have a version of tea bread with actual tea in it.  And so if you haven't already guessed, this month the Bread Bakers group has baked Quick Bread Loaves.  After the recipe, be sure to check out the amazing collection of breads.  And thank you so much to Stacy at food lust people love for hosting the theme this month!

Lady Grey Date Nut Bread
makes one 8x4" loaf of tea bread

185g (6.5 oz.) (about 1½ cups) coarsely chopped, pitted dates
¼ cup strongly brewed Lady Grey or Earl Grey tea, still hot
2 tbsp (1 oz or 28 grams) butter, well softened
2 tbsp sour cream
½ cup (97g) muscovado sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1½ tbsp grated lemon zest
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ tsp ginger powder
2 tsp Lady Grey or Earl Grey tea (about 2 bags worth)
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3 oranges)
¾ cup (3 oz or 85 grams) coarsely chopped pecans

¾ cup powdered sugar
½-1 tbsp orange juice

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Combine the chopped dates, hot brewed tea, and 2 tsp vanilla in a small bowl and set aside for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Lightly butter a 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan.  Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper, then butter or spray again lightly.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, and brown sugar together on medium speed until well combined.  Beat in sour cream and scrape down the bowl.  Add the egg and lemon zest and mix well.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, loose tea, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the orange juice to the creamed mixture, beating only until just combined.  Fold in the dates with their liquid, and the pecans by hand.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile whisk together the powdered sugar with enough orange juice to make glaze of your desired thickness. Start with ½ tbsp juice and add by half teaspoons until drizzling consistency.  Spread the glaze over the cooled bread.

#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 quick bread concoctions this month:

  • Banana Nut Bread from Sneha's Recipe 
  • Cheddar Bacon Chive Quick Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories 
  • Chocolate Quick Bread from Sara's Tasty Buds 
  • Coconut Sweet Bread from Passion Kneaded 
  • Cranberry Pecan Quick Bread from Food Lust People Love 
  • Espresso Banana Quick Bread with Espresso Streusel from All That's Left Are The Crumbs 
  • Irish Soda Bread from Anybody Can Bake 
  • Keto Low Carb Coconut Flour Bread from Cook With Renu
  • Lemon Blueberry Bread from Palatable Pastime 
  • Lemon Pistachio Loaf from Ambrosia 
  • Summer Shandy Beer Bread from A Day in the Life on the Farm 
  • Zucchini Bread from Simply Inspired Meals

  • Approximate nutrition per slice of bread: