Saturday, January 16, 2021

Toasted Oats Bread #BBB

Oat breads have, for some unknown reason, been a hit or miss item for me.  Sometimes I get amazing results, sometimes I get intolerably dense loaves.  This one was a hit.  And have I mentioned how much I love my sourdough starter?  I haven't used it since a day before Thanksgiving and it still doubled within 12 hours of a feeding where I discarded a full cup to bake with and only had ¼ - 1/3 cup left to feed up.
This particular bread was described by our host this month as "beautifully lean (but not at all dry) and slightly nutty tasting."  My loaf, which I baked to bien cuit status, still had a perfectly moist interior with a very textural crumb, but not really porridge like.  Actually would probably pull it earlier by five minutes next time as it was already golden when I pulled the lid off, but as it was it was a perfect European style bake with a deeply golden and beautifully caramel colored crust that sang as it cooled, oh it did sing.  A crisply well done crust that you can leave out to cool overnight and not worry about staling.   Eldest loved it, youngest said pass.  She loves oatmeal, but the texture in this bread was a bit much for her I think.  It is a filling loaf and sticks with you, good for breakfast toast!  Good for dipping in soup and stew and I am tempted to try it as French toast.

I did, in typical Babe fashion, completely choose my own method for the dough as suited my mixer and preferences.  I also got to use my grain roller for the very first time, which was pretty cool.  It means I can keep whole, sprouted oats on hand and just roll them fresh when we want oatmeal or need it for baking.

If you like a hearty loaf with a shatteringly crisp crust, do try this out and bake along with us this month!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to our host 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.

Toasted Oats Bread
makes 1 large round

Leaven: (prepare the night before baking)
60 grams whole wheat flour (I used Kamut)
60 grams water
dessert spoon of starter from the fridge (about 30 grams) 

Oat soaker: (prepare the night before baking)
100 grams rolled oats, toasted
100 grams boiling water 

Final Dough:
100 grams 100% whole wheat 'no additives' flour (I used half freshly ground sprouted Kamut and half freshly ground Edison hard white wheat)
400 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
5 grams wheat germ (I used the bran I sifted twice out of my fresh ground flour)
5 grams malted wheat chops (I used steel cut oats instead)
325 grams water
all of the leaven from above, when a small forkful floats in a glass of cool water
10 grams salt + 25 grams water
all of the rolled oats mixture from above 

Topping (optional)
quick oats

For the Leaven: In the evening of the day before making the bread, put the starter, flour and water into a small bowl. Mix until the flour is stirred in well. Cover the bowl and set aside overnight.  If the kitchen is cold, leave in the oven with only the light turned on. 

Flaking the oats for toasting:


For the Oats: Pour rolled oats into a dry cast iron frying pan and place over medium high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time. It takes about about 7 minutes to toast the oats. (They will start to turn golden and smell nutty.) Transfer the toasted oats into a medium-sized bowl and pour the boiling water over top. (I actually needed ~115g water to moisten all the oats.)
Cover with a plate and leave overnight in the oven with the leaven.
Kamut on the left and Edison hard white wheat on the right.
For the final dough:  On the morning of the day you will be making the bread, once a small forkful of the leaven floats in a small bowl of room temperature water, proceed to making the dough. Sift the whole wheat flour into a large mixing bowl, reserving the bran for after shaping. Add all-purpose flour, wheat germ, malted wheat chops, and 325 water to the sifted whole wheat flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Set aside for a moment.

Weigh the salt and 25 grams water, whisking it together in a small bowl and set aside. (I used 15g water.)

Add the leaven to the large bowl.  Use a dough whisk or wooden spoon to mix these ingredients together to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 30 minutes.

(For my dough I combined the Kamut and Edison flour, water, and leaven along with the sifted bran instead of wheat germ, and steel oats into my mixer and mixed to a smooth batter.  I let that sit for 15 minutes to hydrate the bran.  Then I added the all purpose flour and kneaded until the dough was smooth and fairly well developed.  I waited the 30 minutes to add the salt mixture and proceeded with the stretch and folding.)

Adding the salt and knead: Pour the salt mixture over the dough.  Use one of your hands or a mixer to mix the salt and water into the dough.  Continue to mix until the dough becomes cohesive again.  Keep folding the dough over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.

Stretching and folding: Add the oats over the top of the dough. Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough into the center, to distribute the oats.  Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter (use the oven light again for a cold kitchen).

Continuing to stretch and fold: Repeat the folding step about 3 times in all at 30 minute intervals. After the final time of folding, leave the covered bowl in a draft free area until the dough has almost doubled.

Pre-shaping: Scatter a dusting of all-purpose flour on the board and gently place the dough on the flour. Fold the dough over in half, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there. Turn the dough a quarter turn and fold in half again. Continue turning and folding in half until the dough is shaped in a ball. Leave it seam side down on the board and cover with a large overturned mixing bowl (or a tea towel) and let rest for about 30 minutes.

Prepare the brotform: Liberally coat the insides of a brot-form with rice flour. 

Shaping and optional topping: Scatter a very light dusting of flour on top of the round. Gently press down with the palms of your hands to create a disc that is about 4 centimeters deep. Carefully turn the disc over.  Without breaking the skin on the bottom, use the dough scraper to fold the dough in half. Turn the dough a quarter turn and continue folding until a ball is created.  Leave it seam side down and use the sides of the dough scraper to tighten the dough ball further. Once it has been tightened, wet your hands and rub them gently over the top. Scatter quick oats over the top.  Now carefully put the shaped loaf seam-side UP into the brotform. Scatter the reserved bran evenly onto the seam area. (I skipped that.)  Cover with the tea towel or an overturned mixing bowl and let sit for an hour or so to allow the loaf to almost double. "Almost" is the key here....

Preheat the oven: To know when it's time to bake, run your index finger under water and gently but firmly press it on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, recover the bread and leave it on the counter for another 15 minutes of so. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, leave the bread on the counter. Put a baking stone on a lower shelf of the oven. Place a cast-iron combo cooker (or lidded casserole dish) on the middle shelf and preheat the oven to hot.  (I use the lid of a granite roaster, which is much thinner than a cast iron cooker, and so my loaves require either reduced time or temperature.  Spray the inside of the lid with water and do not place until the loaf is in the oven.)

(At this point I had to completely reform my loaf and let it rise again because I missed my timer and over-proofed my loaf.  So my original oat topping was also incorporated into the dough.  This is a very forgiving loaf for timing though, I worked on it all day with a couple hours between the final folds because I had appointments.)

Scoring: When the oven is thoroughly preheated about fifteen minutes later, transfer the round into the hot shallow pan of the combo-cooker. (I place a piece of parchment over the brotform and my peel or a baking sheet over the top and gently flip it over onto the peel or sheet to transfer to the oven.)  Using a lame, sharp knife, or scissors, score the bread in the pattern you like.

Baking: Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and without stopping to stare in amazement at the amazing oven spring, close the oven door to continue baking for another 15-30 minutes, until the crust is a lovely dark golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when knuckle-rapped on the bottom.  (If the loaf is already turning golden at 30 minutes, check earlier.)

A singing crust sounds like a crackling fire when it is amplified.
(I took out as much hiss as I could.  You can hear the clock ticking
and the oven tinking as it cools down as well.)

Cooling: When the bread has finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating.  The bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven so do not slice in order to avoid a gummy crumb. If you wish to serve warm bread (and of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF.  Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.

 The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Matcha Milk Bread Turtle Buns with Dutch Crunch Topping #BreadBakers

Our bread bakers theme for this month is animal shaped breads, chosen by Stacy of Food Lust People Love.  With the option to make one large animal or smaller animal shaped rolls, I went with the smaller option.  This is such a fun little recipe and makes 6 large turtle shaped buns that can be split between two people or enjoyed as a larger treat by one.  (Turtles were a popular choice for this theme, but of course turtles are super cute!)

I had this recipe pinned to try for the Dutch crunch option, which I had never tried before, but it is totally cute and I love that it fulfills this month's theme.  The dough was nice and soft, though a little bit sticky to work with.  I might add another couple tbsp flour, maybe 20-30g next time.  This could have been due to the spirulina I had to use as a portion as I learned it increases elasticity and softens firmness of crumb in breads.  Or perhaps not with that small amount but I found that study interesting!

We all liked these, the chocolate crunch helps cut some of the sweetness.  Definitely happy I cut the sugar back and I think the dough would be very good with some lemon zest to complement both the matcha and white chocolate.

Matcha Milk Bread Turtle
Adapted from ful-filled.
For the tangzhong: 
3 tbsp (24g) flour
¼ cup (60ml) water
¼ cup (60ml) milk 

For the dough:
270g bread flour (I used all purpose)
100g sugar (I only used 75g, plenty sweet, especially with the white chocolate filling)
12g matcha (I didn't have enough matcha and used my 6g plus a ~tsp of spirulina powder)
5g instant yeast
4g fine grain salt
4g non-fat dry milk powder
70g whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp (4g) vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature & whisked
28g unsalted butter, melted & cooled 

For the filling, eyes, & Dutch crunch:
90g white chocolate, finely chopped
12 black sesame seeds
1½ tsp (3g) active dry yeast
¼ cup (60ml) warm water
1½ tbsp (18g) sugar
1½ tsp (12.5g) vegetable oil
¼ tsp (1g) salt
1/3 cup (50g) rice flour (use white or brown rice flour- not Mochiko sticky rice flour)
1 tbsp (7.5g) cocoa powder
sugar for sprinkling

Make the tangzhong: 
In a small saucepan, whisk together the water, milk & flour until no lumps remain .  Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture thickens to a fairly thick consistency, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Make the dough:
Whisk together flour, sugar, matcha, instant yeast, salt, and milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer.  In a bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla, egg, and cooled tangzhong mixture.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix for a few minutes until just combined (shaggy dough is fine).  Add melted butter and knead for about 7-10 more minutes.  It should feel elastic and just slightly sticky.  Shape dough into a ball, cover and place in a warm area to rise for 1½ hours.

When the dough is done rising, weigh and divide it into eight equally sized portions.  Reserve two pieces to make the heads and feet of the turtles.  Flatten each remaining piece of dough into about a 4-5" circle.  Add 15g of chopped white chocolate to the flattened dough, and press into the dough. Fold the dough up and around the white chocolate, pressing the dough together in the center to ensure it is well sealed.  Flip the bun over so the sealed side is down and repeat with the other five pieces of dough to finish the bodies.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving 2" in between each turtle.

Take one of the reserved balls of dough and divide it into six equally sized pieces to form the heads.  Roll each piece into a sphere & gently pinch one end of the sphere, slip the pinched end under the turtle body and press the body down at their meeting point, repeat with each piece to give all the bodies their heads.  (I recommend placing all the heads toward the center of the sheet to protect them from browning too much.  Mine that faced outwards browned significantly more than the center ones.)

Take the remaining ball of dough and divide it first into six equally sized pieces and then divide each of those pieces into four small pieces, giving 24 small feet pieces.  Shape each of the four small balls of dough into an oval, pinching one end of each oval. Slip the pinched ends under the turtle body placing them in front and back where the turtle's feet need to be.  When all turtles have heads and feet, place the eyes by taking 2 black sesame seeds and placing them onto each head, pressing them into the dough with a toothpick.  Place them deep enough that they will stay attached when the dough rises.

Cover the completed turtle shapes with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.  While the turtles are rising, make the dutch crunch mixture.  In a bowl, whisk together all the dutch crunch ingredients until smooth.  Cover and leave to rise while the turtles are rising.  After 30 minutes, pre-heat oven to 350ºF.  Stir the dutch crunch topping down until it is smooth and then coat the top of each turtle body with the dutch crunch topping, spreading a spoonful evenly with the back of the spoon until all of the topping is used.  (I used most but not all, my mixture was just a touch loose and I might withhold 5g of the water next time to check consistency.  I used brown rice flour.)  Sprinkle the dutch crunch coating with sugar and then bake the rolls for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and place turtles on a rack to cool for about 10-15 minutes.  The turtles are best enjoyed while still warm from the oven, otherwise store in an airtight container.  Reheat in the microwave for about 20 second, wrapped loosely in a paper towel.  The Dutch crunch topping is absolutely best on the first day.

 Don’t forget to check out all the amazing breads baked by our talented bakers:

 #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.