KAREN’S FOUR HOUR FRENCH BREAD

My mile-long list of breads “to make soon” was shaken up by a recent post published by my friend Karen. It passed in front of all others, elbowing a Rustic Sourdough here, a Danish Rye there, a couple of Pretzel Loaves, and a few Crumpets. I could not get it off my mind, because not only her bread looked amazing, but she developed the recipe to make it happen in four little hours! Four hours from the time you grab the flour to watching the bread cool down and sing back to you…  I simply had to try it. With just a little adaptation, using spelt flour instead of regular whole-wheat. Why? My whole-wheat was in the freezer and I had just a small amount of spelt left in the pantry, which turned out to be exactly the 50g needed for the recipe. It is called flour fate.

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KAREN’S FOUR HOUR FRENCH COUNTRY BREAD

overview of the recipe

450 grams bread flour
50 grams whole wheat flour (I used spelt flour)
380 grams 90 to 95 degrees F water
10.5 grams fine sea salt
4 grams instant yeast

Flours are combined with water and mixed. Autolyse 20 minutes. Salt and yeast sprinkled on top. Incorporated by folding

Rest the dough 20 minutes. Fold. Rest 20 minutes. Fold. Bulk proof 2 hours.
(I proofed for 3 hours due to unforeseen circumstances).

Shape. Final rise 1 hour. Heat oven to 450F.

Bake for 40 minutes at, 30 minutes covered, generating initial steam using your favorite method.

Cool completely before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the full, detailed recipe, visit Karen’s site

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Comments: As you can see, I went with a different pattern for slashing the dough, but when it opened, it had a mind of its own. I did not get a star-shaped pattern, but it’s ok. I definitely want to keep practicing.  The bread had excellent oven spring, and made all sorts of nice noises while cooling, something that never fails to make a baker happy.
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The bread was out of the oven a little after 5:30pm on Saturday, and my original plan was to slice it next day. However, when Phil saw the bread he gave me two options: slice it right away and hand him a slice, or witness him going at it with his hands and teeth. I chose the first option, and contrary to all my principles, sliced the bread while it was still warm.  The crumb suffers a little, but truth be told, nothing beats the taste of bread fresh out of the oven!

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This would be an ideal bread for those a bit afraid of all things yeast. No sourdough starter needed, pretty straightforward method, and wonderful results. Plus it all happens in a reasonably short time, as far as bread baking is concerned.

Karen, you outdid yourself with this one!
Thanks for another great recipe…

french-country-bread

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ONE YEAR AGO: The Siren’s Song of the Royal Icing

TWO YEARS AGO: Blog-worthy Roasted Butternut Squash

THREE YEARS AGO: Chocolate Currant Sourdough Loaf & Roasted Beet Hummus

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sesame and Flax Seed Sourdough

FIVE YEARS AGO: Spanakopita Meatballs

SIX YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pain de Mie au Levain

DANISH RYE BREAD

Back in November we were in New York City and took stepson Dr.A and his beautiful partner to a special dinner at Aquavit. Funny story here. I admit to having a virtual crush on Marcus Samuelsson the chef behind it. So when Phil surprised me with the news of our upcoming dining adventure, I almost passed out. Would Mr. Samuelsson come to our table to say hello? Would I be able to survive that without making a complete fool of myself? Then, the shock. Marcus has left the restaurant many years ago. I must be living in a cave or something. Well, it’s quite clear that I don’t follow the restaurant scene that closely.  The current chef is Emma Bengtsson, a beautiful 33 year-old Swedish chef who is one of only three women to run a restaurant with 2 Michelin stars. Isn’t that super cool? No wonder our meal was memorable! Seriously, the food was spectacular. Absolutely top-notch, one of those evenings to be remembered forever. I include at the end of this post a little slide show. One item I fell in love at first bite was their Danish Rye bread. They brought it in a small basket, three types of bread, the Danish Rye definitely not a heavy contestant for its looks. With no high expectations,  I tried a bite. Then I saw Phil’s expression when he took a bite of his little roll. Our eyes locked, and a symphony started to play in our minds… It was moist, it was dense, but not heavy. It had this incredibly sweet/savory  complex taste, like nothing I ever had before. I  simply had to try and make it at home. Once we flew back, I started obsessively searching for recipes, even wrote the restaurant (no reply, unfortunately), and finally settled on a recipe by Planet Earth’s Baking Goddess Extraordinaire, Karen.

cooling

RUGBRØD – DANISH RYE
(from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

for the Rye Sour – (prepare 12 to 15 hours prior to the final dough)
300 g whole rye flour
245 g water
55 g sourdough starter at 100% hydration

Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl with a dough whisk or large spoon until you have a fully incorporated dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12 to 15 hours.

for the Levain
103 g bread flour
103 g water
14 g sourdough starter

Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment for 8 to 10 hours.

for the soaker
75 g rye chops 
150 g water

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit overnight at room temperature.

for the Final Dough
130 g bread flour
200 g whole rye flour
180 g water
2.5 g instant yeast
16 g salt
All of the soaker
All of the rye sour
All of the levain
15 g black strap molasses
4.5 g whole fennel seeds, coarsely ground

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix all of the ingredients with the dough hook on slow for about 4 minutes, then increase the speed to medium, and mix for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very sticky.

Heat the oven to 475 F.

Spray a 13 inch Pullman pan with spray oil, and sprinkle it with rye flour. Scrape the dough into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with whole rye flour. Cover the dough with the lid of the pan, and let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until the dough reaches about 1 inch below the top of the pan.

Bake the loaf at 475 F with the lid on for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 F and continue baking for 15 more minutes with the lid on.

Remove the lid and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. Bake for an additional 45 minutes, until the bread reaches about 205 F internally (check with an instant thermometer).

Remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Let the bread sit for 24 to 48 hours to cure before slicing (this is important to avoid a gummy crumb)

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: Danish Rye is the most beloved bread in Denmark, consumed by everyone particularly at breakfast, but pretty much whenever the mood strikes. I suspect if I lived in Denmark I could survive on it alone. Ok, maybe some butter. A little cheese. Some smoked salmon, but the pièce de resistance would be the bread. I realize that it doesn’t look like much. A brownish, tight crumbed, dense-looking loaf of bread. Looks can be so deceiving! This is the kind of bread that speaks to your soul, each bite a little different, it plays with your taste buds in magical ways. Trust me, you need to bring it to your life if you’ve never tried it.  Plus, it’s pretty straightforward to make. You do not need the special pan with the lid, actually. Many recipes will bake it in a regular loaf type pan, and the bread will end up with a little crack on top. Nothing wrong with that.  Make sure to plan ahead, Danish Rye must sit for at least 24 hours before slicing. Rye is a temperamental flour, with a tendency to develop a gummy texture.

The important question is – did it match the Aquavit concoction? Let’s say it’s pretty close, close enough to make me thrilled about this baking project. I still would love to have their recipe, but so far, no cigar. So my plan is to continue assembling examples in books and blogs, and try a few more. The bread freezes beautifully in thin slices, by the way.  Removing from the freezer, in a few minutes it can go into a low oven to bring it back to life. It is quite simply put, a fantastic loaf of bread. Phil went nuts for it, in fact he now insists that at any given time we must have at least 4 slices in the freezer. Just in case. And of course, I am more than happy to make sure he is happy!

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One very tasty lunch!

I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

danish-rye-bread-from-bewitching-kitchen

For those interested, a little slide show of the great evening we spent at Aquavit, NYC

November 2016

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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ONE YEAR AGO: The Best Sourdough Recipe

TWO YEARS AGO: Mini-Quiches with Duxelles and Baby Broccoli

THREE YEARS AGO: Quinoa and Sweet Potato Cakes

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Bolo de Fuba’ Cremoso

FIVE YEARS AGO: Citrus-crusted Tilapia Filets

SIX YEARS AGO: Bran Muffins, not just for Hippies

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Flourless Chocolate Cake

CURRY TURMERIC SOURDOUGH

Bewitching Kitchen is a food blog and I like to keep it focused on the subject with only small detours into two passions of mine: science and fitness. I must say, though that a couple of recent posts by bloggers I follow echoed deeply inside me, so I share them with you. First, I invite you to read A Texan New Yorker’s take on chili. I must make that recipe in honor of a family I admire and already miss immensely. Then, please stop by Cecilia’s site, who just published a post called “I am an immigrant.”  While you are reading it, keep in mind that I am one, one who got her green card and naturalization through long, complex processes several years ago. Her article is a very well-written piece describing the pleasure and pain associated with leaving your home country and starting all over somewhere else. I firmly believe that we are stronger when we are together. That prejudice and divisiveness should be fought against.

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When we have friends over, I love to welcome them with a loaf of homemade bread. I did that when our friends Denise and Helio stayed with us over a weekend (see my post here), and last month did it again when our friend Cindy stopped by briefly on her road trip from St Louis to Oklahoma. I made a batch of parsnip hummus and thought that a loaf of sourdough with a subtle hint of Middle Eastern spices could be a good option to enjoy it with it.  I did not want to add anything else to the bread, was hoping for a nice, golden crumb, with no nuts or goodies to distract from the spice components.  I know you cannot judge if I succeeded as far as taste is concerned, but what do you think of its looks?

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CURRY TURMERIC SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

200g sourdough starter
325g cold water
450g white bread flour
50g spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ tsp fine sea salt

In a large bowl, whisk the sourdough starter with the water. Add the flours, spices and salt. Stir until you have a soft, sticky mass. Cover the bowl and leave it for 10 minutes. Perform a series of quick kneads, 10 seconds or so, making sure you incorporate as much of dried bits of flour as possible, but if something remains stuck to the bowl, don’t worry about it.  Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the dough to a slightly oiled surface. Wash and dry the bowl, Coat it very lightly with oil.  Knead the dough again for a quick 10 second period and put it back in the clean, oiled bowl.  Wait 30 minutes.  Perform another cycle of kneading, or if you prefer, use the folding method, in which you stretch one side of the dough way up in the air, bring it over the full extension of the dough, turn it, repeat it four or five times from all directions.  Wait 1 hour, with the dough covered lightly.  Perform another series of kneading or folding.  Wait one more hour, knead again.  Wait 2 hours, divide the dough in two, and shape each half in a round or oblong shape.

Place in an appropriate containers lightly coated with flour, seam side down. Leave them for a final proof for 4 hours.

Invert the dough on parchment paper, slash the surface, and bake at 435 F with initial steam for a total of 45 minutes. I like to use a Dutch oven covered for the first 25 minutes, then remove the lid and allow the bread to brown uncovered for the final 20 minutes.

Cool the bread on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: Such a pleasure to work with this dough!  All soft and bubbly, with the delicate scent of curry… I actually made two loaves, and decided to shape one as a batard, a shape I find very tricky to achieve. You can see, there is room for improvement…

siblings

My batard formed a little bulge in one side, and I also would prefer a more pointed edge. Well, gotta keep trying. Still tasted pretty amazing, and as we all know, beauty is skin deep. HA!

 

crumb

The mandatory crumb shot!  What I love the most about this bread is the smell not only while it baked, but when a slice is gently warmed in the toaster oven next day. The hummus went perfectly well with it, but it was superb as a player in the ultra fashionable avocado toast.  I smashed a slice of ripe avocado over the bread, sprinkled drops of lime juice and a light dust with Tajin. Sorry, no pictures, I think the blogosphere is already crowded with avocado toast photos, no need for me to add yet another one.  But, do try it if you make this bread.

curry-turmeric-sourdough-from-bewitching-kitchen

I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

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ONE YEAR AGO: Brigadeiros de Morango

TWO YEARS AGO: Feta-Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf

THREE YEARS AGO: Artichoke-Saffron Souffle

FOUR YEARS AGO: Cinnamon-Wreath
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FIVE YEARS AGO:
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SIX YEARS AGO:
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SEVEN YEARS AGO:
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SPICY COTIJA & BLACK OLIVE SOURDOUGH

OCTOBER 16th IS WORLD BREAD DAY!

Sometimes I like a pure sourdough bread, one that allows just the flavor of the flour (a little rye is mandatory) to come through. Other times I get into a daring mode and try to come up with unusual or at least new to me combinations.  I’ve made a sourdough before with some Sriracha in the dough, and loved the outcome.  I decided to repeat it in this formula, but also included Mexican cheese (Cotija, a favorite of mine), and some special black olives that were on sale at our grocery store. To take the bread into a deeper Mexican path, I included some cornmeal in the formula too.  I love to see the olives peeking through the crust. Like Pavlov’s pup, I start to salivate…

cotija-sourdough
SPICY COTIJA AND BLACK OLIVE SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

for the levain:
15 g starter at 100% hydration
23 g water
23 g flour

for the soaker:
23g cornmeal (coarse)
75g boiling water
(mix and cool to room temperature before incorporating in the dough)

for the dough:
60 g levain
140 g water
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
all the soaker made as above
33 g spelt flour
208 g bread flour
6 g salt
80 g Cotija cheese in chunks
50 g black olives, pitted, diced fine.

Add starter to water and Sriracha, mix well. Add all flours, but leave salt behind. Incorporate the mixture into a shaggy mass, and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Add salt and mix well, it should get a little smoother.

Bulk rise the dough for a total of 5 hours, with folds every 45 minutes (4 times). Shape, retard in the fridge overnight. Bake at 450 F with initial steam. I removed shaped loaf from the fridge one hour before baking time.  Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: I kept the cheese and the olives in reasonably large pieces. When you do that, the crumb structure won’t be particularly open, but I like the way the cheese gets very assertive in flavor once you bite into a piece. If you are a beginner at bread baking, cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to handle the dough. As you become more comfortable with the folding method, you can be more daring.  Particularly when adding nuts, it can be a bit of a challenge to fold the dough. But, once you shape and allow it to go for te final proof, all the goodies inside will find their perfect spot to be.

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Phil made a full meal for himself the following evening resting a very tasty pan-fried red snapper on it, then crowning the whole thing with avocado slices. A sprinkle of black pepper and a squirt of lime juice on top, he was a very happy camper. I even got to try a bite…

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I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

spicy-cotija-sourdough-from-bewitching-kitchen

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

THREE YEARS AGO: PCR and a Dance in the Mind Field

FOUR YEARS AGO: October 16: World Bread Day

FIVE YEARS AGO: The US Listeria Outbreak 2011

SIX YEARS AGO: 36 Hour Sourdough Baguettes

SEVEN YEARS AGO: October 16 is World Bread Day

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SOURDOUGH LOAF WITH CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS

I blogged on a similar sourdough last year, but this is a slightly different version, with a bit of semolina and whole wheat flour. I baked this bread for a very special occasion, the visit of dear friends I had not seen in 15 years!  A cute story behind our friendship needs to be told.  Back in 1995. When I moved from Paris to Norman to join the University of Oklahoma, a colleague from our department insisted I should meet Denise, a Brazilian graduate student from the College of Education.  It so happens that I’m not that wild about this type of arranged meeting.  I don’t know exactly why, maybe I simply prefer to meet people naturally and make connections independently of the place where they were born. And guess what? Denise felt exactly like me about the whole thing. But we both liked that Professor very much, and decided what the heck, let’s just give this a try. To make a long story short, we “clicked” in a way that we could not have anticipated in a million years!  Our friendship continued after she, her husband Hélio and three kids (now three adults) emigrated permanently to England a few years later. Hélio now travels to Texas on a regular basis for work, and that made it easier for them to plan a quick visit to our neck of the woods. Fifteen years!  Hard to believe time passed so quickly… Denise loves cranberries, so this bread was a natural choice to welcome them to our home. She also loves white chocolate, but that story shall be left for another post…

denise-sourdough

DENISE’S SOURDOUGH WITH CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

For the starter (you won’t use everything)
30 g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
55 g water
45 g all-purpose flour

For the dough:
65 g starter (about half of starter prepared)
220 g water
160 g semolina flour
120 g bread flour
35 g whole wheat flour
7 g sea salt
80 g dried cranberries
50 g toasted walnut pieces

Make your starter 12 hours before you intend to prepare the dough. Let it ferment at room temperature.

To the appropriate amount of starter (65 g, remember you are not using the full amount made) add the water and mix gently to dissolve it. No need to completely dissolve the starter at this point. Add the flours and mix, allow it to sit with the water for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough, mix it by folding several times, to incorporate the salt. Add the cranberries and the walnuts, mix them gently. Allow the dough to ferment for 5 hours. Fold 5 times at 30 minute intervals. That will take you to 2.5 hours fermentation. Allow the dough to ferment for 2.5 more hours undisturbed.

Shape the dough as a ball, place it in the fridge overnight. Remove it from the fridge one hour before baking, as you heat the oven. Invert the shaped loaf on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper for easy transfer to the oven.

Bake at 450 F with initial steam for 20 minutes, reduce temperature to 425 F and bake for about 25 more minutes. Use your favorite method to generate steam, I like a covered Dutch oven with the lid moist with water before covering the bread. After 30 minutes I open the lid to allow the bread to brown. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: I am always a bit anxious when it comes to baking bread for special friends. I want it to be perfect, delicious, awesome, but sourdough is a harsh mistress… You can make one perfect loaf, use the same starter, the same recipe a couple of days later and open the oven to find a bread that turned out more like a flat pancake. Usually still very tasty, but… well, you get my point. I made this bread the day before they arrived, so that if it was not worthy of my friends, I could have time for a plan B: a frantic drive to the grocery store. Imagine that!  But to my relief it all had a happy ending. A beautiful marriage between cranberries and walnuts, nice balance of whole wheat with regular flour so that the bread itself had a nice texture and taste.  Perfect with goat cheese, but even just a little butter will work well.  Honestly, even naked it’s great. The bread. Obviously.

I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

 

cranberries-and-walnuts-sourdough-from-bewitching-kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Sichuan Pork Stir-Fry in Garlic Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: Our Green Trip to Colorado

THREE YEARS AGO: Ditalini Pasta Salad

FOUR YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

SIX YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

 

 

 

 

FOCACCIA WITH GRAPES, ROQUEFORT AND TRUFFLED HONEY

Truffled honey. Can I get a group OMG going? I hope so… that stuff could probably be under a list of controlled substances…  I better use mine up before it does makes into the list.  But back to the focaccia. I wanted to bake something for a departmental get-together, scheduled for a Thursday evening. Weather forecast for that week was high 90’s, low 100’s, so turning the oven at 450F seemed wrong on many levels. But the weekend before we got a little break with some rain and cooler temps, so I decided to get the baking out of the way as early as possible on Saturday, then freeze my production until showtime.  I also wanted something a little different from the same old same old, and a grape focaccia came to mind. In Tuscany, it is called  a Schiacciata con l’Uva, a name that beats grape focaccia into submission. I found a recipe at epicurious, but ended up winging it myself. Rebel is my middle name.

Grape Focaccia

FOCACCIA WITH GRAPES, ROQUEFORT & TRUFFLED HONEY
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

3/4 cup very warm water
1/8 cup milk, full-fat
1  teaspoons sugar
1 + 1/2  teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil for dough plus more to spread
seedless black grapes
Roquefort cheese, crumbled
dried thyme to taste (or fresh)
Maldon salt flakes
truffled honey (or regular honey)

In the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer stir the warm water, milk, sugar, and yeast.  Add the flour, salt and  Add the flour, salt olive oil (2 tablespoons) to the bowl, then knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead it by hand briefly, a minute or so longer.

Place the dough inside an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 90 minutes. It will more than double, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Brush a half-sheet baking pan with olive oil, transfer the risen dough into it, and allow it to rest for a few minutes to relax the gluten. Add olive oil on top (about 3 tablespoons)  and spread the dough to cover the baking sheet.  Cover it again and let it sit for 45 minutes at room temperature.  While the focaccia is in its second rise, turn the oven to 450F.

Top the dough with grapes sliced in half, the crumbled Roquefort cheese, thyme, add coarse salt all over, then drizzle the surface with a little truffled honey.  Do not add too much, as the flavor is very potent.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. If the top is getting too dark, reduce the temperature to 425 F after 10 minutes.

Cool it on a rack before slicing in squares.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: Before anyone criticizes me for taking liberties with the thickness of the schiacciata, let me state upfront that I like my focaccia to be thick and pillowy. If you want to stick to tradition, stretch the dough to the extension of a full baking sheet instead of half.  It will then be thinner and crispy. The combination of grapes with blue cheese is a classic, but when truffled honey was added to it, I’d say I hit that one out of the park. And I don’t even like baseball!  One word of caution, the stuff is potent. When you open the bottle, the intensity of the truffle smell will surprise you. Use it sparingly or it will overpower every other flavor in the focaccia. Of course, if you don’t have truffled honey, use a regular honey instead.  Maybe you own a bottle of truffle oil? In that case, put a small amount of it to use, maybe mix a few drops with regular honey… I suppose that could work well too.

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Grab a piece or four… and be happy!

Grape Focaccia, from Bewitching Kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip over Cucumber Slices

TWO YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

THREE YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Moving Odyssey

SEVEN YEARS AGO:
 
Shrimp Moqueca

 

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DAN LEPARD SIMPLE WHITE LOAF

I suppose most of my readers know that I am crazy for sourdough bread. But there’s something to be said for a simple, straightforward loaf that is a breeze to make and will be so much better than anything store-bought. Granted, it won’t stay good for as long because you won’t be adding preservatives to it, but isn’t that a bonus?  This recipe from Dan Lepard is simplicity in itself. Think of the usual suspects, flour, water, salt, and yeast, with a smidgen of butter that will contribute with flavor and improve texture. Anyone can make this bread, beginners, experienced bakers, children, yeast-o-phobes. All you need is a loaf pan, although you could conceivably shape it free form and bake it on a stone or baking sheet.

Simple White Loaf

 

SIMPLE WHITE LOAF – RECIPE OVERVIEW

The recipe calls for a sponge, which is simply a very liquid mixture of water, flour, and commercial yeast,  allowed to ferment for a couple of hours or overnight. The longer you allow the sponge to ferment, the better. I’ve made this bread after overnight “spongification” or after 2 hours, both worked quite well.

Once your sponge is ready, you will add the rest of the flour to the dough, a little softened butter,  and do the minimal kneading technique 10 minutes after mixing the dough, again at 25 minutes, and one final time at 40 minutes (timing is quite flexible).  A final 30 minute-proofing and you’ll be ready to shape the loaf.

The shaped loaf sits for 90 minutes, gets slashed and baked for about 45 minutes.

The full recipe can be found in Short and Sweet. You might be able to find it also through a google search.

For my review of his book, click here.

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This simple recipe can be adapted in many ways. Dan himself used whey liquid from fresh mozzarella as part of the water in the recipe and loved the slight “tang” in the bread. One person who discussed this recipe in a Facebook page mentioned that a little soy sauce together with the water does wonders. Quite intriguing, I should try that at some point, probably reducing a little the amount of salt as soy contributes with some.

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Slightly toasted, it is perfect to go with pretty much anything you’d like… from sliced ham to jams, or a smear of butter with Maldon sea salt flakes… heaven! I made this recipe three times so far, and after we enjoy it on the day of baking, I wrap 4 slices together and freeze them. Within 10 minutes at room temperature and a brief encounter with our small Breville oven, they are as good as freshly baked.

Before I leave, allow me to share a link to  the best 10 breads to have in your repertoire according to Dan Lepard. I was happy to see several that I made (and blogged about) included in his list.  

ONE YEAR AGO: Maureen’s Fabulously Fudgy Brownies

TWO YEARS AGO: Wheat Berry Caraway Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Mexican Focaccia 

FOUR YEARS AGOSunny Kamut Salad with Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pane de Casa & Crostini

SIX YEARS AGO: Down-home Dig-in Chili

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Cinnamon Rolls