CHARCOAL SOURDOUGH

I suppose I’ve resisted long enough. Charcoal baking was a big thing a while ago, I kept seeing all sorts of breads, desserts, drinks using this shocking, funky ingredient. I decided to give it a try and loved playing with it. There is no real taste of charcoal, it is more a visual experience. Charcoal can interfere with the absorption of some drugs, but the amount used in baking is very small, so I would not be worried about it.  If you are into trivia, a French chemist, Mr. Bertrand, first found out the power of activated charcoal to absorb toxins and prevent them from causing harm in animals. Then, in 1813 he went on to do a sort of “chemical performance” live, consuming an amount of arsenic that could kill a horse, but previously mixed with charcoal. He survived to tell the tale and proved the power of charcoal as an antidote. A few years later, another French scientist, Mr. Touery, swallowed a huge amount of strychnine in front of the French Academy of Medicine, and survived it. Gotta love the French!  I hope you try charcoal in your baking, but please, leave the arsenic and strychnine out of it…

CHARCOAL SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

475g bread flour
25 g rye flour
120 g sourdough starter at 100%
10 g salt
2.5 g activated charcoal
380g water

Mix everything with a KitchenAid in low speed with dough hook for about 4 minutes. Adjust consistency with additional bread flour if the mixture seems too loose.

Transfer to oiled bowl and bulk ferment for 4 hours at room temperature, folding the dough at every hour. At the end of four hours shape as a round ball, and place in a banetton heavily floured, sticking it in the fridge overnight.

Invert on parchment paper, moisten the surface with a little water, place a stencil on top. Dust with flour over the stencil, and lift it very carefully. Score the bread in a way that will not interfere with your design.

Bake inside a Dutch oven at 450F for 30 minutes, removed the lid, leave it in the oven for additional 15 to 20 minutes, if necessary lower the temp a bit in the final 5 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The charcoal powder I got is this one. Beware it is a very fine powder, so when you open the bottle and remove that little inner protection glued to the top, use caution. It flies everywhere. I mean everywhere. You catch my drift. Charcoal drift.  So far, I’ve only used it in bread and crackers (sourdough and regular), and really love the look, although I admit not everyone is fond of it. Some people are just turned off by breads with “unusual” color. As you probably figured it out, I am not part of that crowd.

Charcoal bread next to a cheese platter would look very nice, and of course, what could be better in a Halloween party?  Keep that in mind… I am actually planning my next sourdough charcoal adventure, and it will involve kalamatas. Taking black to the limit!

ONE YEAR AGO: Ispahan Macarons

TWO YEAR AGO: Smokin’ Hot Meatloaf and Homemade Ketchup

THREE YEARS AGO: Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze

FOUR YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooker Carnitas & Paleo Planet Cookbook Review

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Making of a Nobel Reception

SIX YEARS AGO: Fennel Soup with Almonds and Mint 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta

NINE YEARS AGO: Slow-baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

TEN YEARS AGO: Hoisin Explosion Chicken

 

 

 

OLIVE OIL BRIOCHE

Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories is a source of endless inspiration for me. Particularly on anything related to bread, she finds the most unusual, exotic, unique recipes, and then bakes them like it’s no big deal at all.  Just to give you a recent example, look at this incredible concoction for which she used 12-ounce empty soda cans wrapped with foil as a baking “pan.”  Amazing, isn’t it? Today I share with you my adventure with her Olive Oil Brioche. I made only half the recipe and still had a ton of dough to play with. Enough for a large loaf and 6 buns. For reasons that will be discussed in the comments, if you make it, be ready to have one loaf and 8 buns. The amount for the loaf pan was a tad too much.

OLIVE OIL BRIOCHE
(slightly modified from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

for the poolish:
100 grams all purpose flour
100 grams water
1.5 grams instant yeast

Mix the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator over night.

for the levain (Sourdough)
1 tablespoon starter
110 grams all purpose flour
110 grams water

Mix the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit overnight at room temperature until bubbly.

for the final dough: 
200 grams poolish
150 grams levain
500 grams bread flour
12 grams salt
7.5 grams instant yeast
250 grams eggs
120 grams milk
80 grams honey
Zest of one Meyer lemon (optional)
25 grams water
220 grams extra virgin olive oil
For the egg wash: 1 egg plus one tablespoon milk

In a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, yeast, eggs, milk, levain, poolish, honey, lemon zest, and water and mix on low for about 5 minutes. Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes.

Mix the dough with the spiral hook on medium to high speed for 8 minutes.
With the mixer running on medium,  add the oil slowly, pausing so that the oil is absorbed. I did it in three additions. Incorporation of the oil will take time, so exercise patience.  Add a sprinkle of bread flour to speed incorporation if you so desire, but do it only in the second and third addition. The dough should end up very smooth and not tear when  you stretch it.

Allow the dough to bulk ferment (in a large bowl covered in plastic wrap) for 2 hours at 70 degrees F. Do three stretch and folds during the first 90 minutes, one every thirty minutes.  When the dough is ready, remove three pieces of about 250g each and braid them. Place in a slightly oiled 9 x 5 loaf pan for final proofing. Divide the rest of the dough in 8 portions, shape as buns, and proof.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.  After the bread has been proofing for 1 and a half to 2 hours (until doubled), brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes, until internal temperature is 200 F. You can sprinkle sesame seeds on the buns if you so desire.

Un-mold the large loaf and cool on a wire rack together with the buns.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I will not lie to you, this is a project. The bread requires a sourdough starter, a poolish (fermented flour using small amount of commercial yeast and prepared the day before), and commercial yeast in the final dough. But it is a total pleasure to work with, rises like a rocket and the texture and taste? You will not miss the butter, that’s for sure. As Karen said, it keeps a lot better than the traditional version. And freezes beautifully too.

When you start adding the olive oil, you will be sure the whole thing is ruined, and might have a few rude thoughts directed at me. It seems impossible for the dough to come together. Have bread faith. And here is a little tip that might help: as you add the olive oil and the mixer is going and going, with a puddle of oil all around and looking hopeless, add just a sprinkle of bread flour on top. It will help things get in shape faster. But just a sprinkle, I say 1 tablespoon or so. If you add the olive oil in three additions, do that in the final two, when the dough will have more trouble incorporating it.

For a 9 x 5 loaf pan, I advise you to make three strands with about 250g of dough in each. Then divide the rest in 8 buns. When you do that, you will be able to let the shaped loaf proof for closer to 2 hours and it will not rip a bit like mine did. I had no choice but to bake after 1 hour and 10 minutes, the dough wanted to leave the pan and explore the kitchen. No bueno. That’s because I used 300g per strand, a bit too much. Don’t be put off by the complexity of this recipe, once you have the starter and the poolish prepared the day before, it is just a matter of weighing all other ingredients and having some fun.

Karen, thank you for the inspiration, I know I tell you this all the time but it’s so true… Your blog is a pleasure to follow!

ONE YEAR AGO: Coconut and Lime Macarons

TWO YEAR AGO: Flank Steak Carnitas

THREE YEARS AGO: Sesame and Poppy Seed Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken from Southern at Heart

FIVE YEARS AGO: Lamb Shanks en Papillote with Cauliflower-Celeriac Purée

SIX YEARS AGO: Chestnut Brownies and a Blog Award!

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Quinoa with Cider-Glazed Carrots

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday: Heirloom Tomatoes Steal the Show

NINE YEARS AGO: Pain de Provence

TEN YEARS AGO: Golspie Loaf, from the Scottish Highlands

THE POWER OF CHEMISTRY: RED BEET SOURDOUGH

I will start by blowing your mind. Below, same exact recipe for sourdough bread, with or without vitamin C added to the formula.

For the past year I’ve been playing with adding beets to bread, both using beet powder and roasted beets, but my experiments failed in the color department. Everything tasted pretty good, but the beautiful red color of beets was consistently lost during baking. I had resigned myself to brownish breads until I remembered using vitamin C to preserve the color of basil for freezing. Works like magic. Sorry, it is actually pure science. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant, and the browning reaction is simply oxidation of compounds during storage or cooking.  I searched Google University and found out that others had already figured it all out and many bakers use vitamin C in their beet-containing breads. The amount? Around 0.9% (you can round that to 1% and probably go as low as 0.5% although I have not tried lower levels).

RED BEET SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Comments: I was absolutely shocked by the results! You might think that the same outcome could be achieved by using some lemon or orange juice, as those fruits are loaded with vitamin C. It turns out that a whole lemon has about 20mg of vitamin C, so clearly not enough to do the job. I used purified ascorbic acid, borrowed from our lab, but I know home bakers use vitamin C tablets, usually each one contains 500 mg, so one or two tablets will be what you need. I intend to use that in the future and report back.
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Same bread without vitamin C, nothing wrong with it, except that the beautiful red color is lost during baking. Even though, as you see in the composite below, until you put the bread in the oven, all seems totally fine.
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I hope you consider playing with vitamin C if you had issues with your bakes using beets.  It would be interesting to add it to other things that involve color, be it spinach or butterfly pea flower.
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And let me tell you, Red Beet Sourdough makes amazing croutons!
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HOT CROSS BUNS

Until this year, I’ve been a Hot Cross Bun virgin, as I had never even tasted one. They did not exist in Brazil as I was growing up, but are very popular in many places of the world, United Kingdom, USA, Australia, New Zealand. They are usually served on Good Friday, to mark the end of Lent. They are marked with a cross to represent the Crucifixion of Jesus, and contain spices that were said to be used to embalm his body. Some point their origin to the year 1361 in a monastery in St Albans, England. But that is debatable. What is not debatable is how delicious they are, and how much I regret having waited so long to make them.

HOT CROSS BUNS
(very slightly modified from Global Bakes)

for the buns:
180 mL milk warmed to 110 degrees F
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I used osmo-tolerant yeast)
100 grams light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons greek yogurt, at room temperature
70 grams (5 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
460 grams all-purpose flour, divided
40 g dried figs, finely minced)
100 g raisins
zest of 1 large orange

for the flour cross:
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons cold water

for the glaze:
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons sugar

Make the Buns
Whisk together the warm milk, yeast, and granulated sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes until yeast becomes frothy.

Add to the bowl the brown sugar, butter, yogurt, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and 125 grams (1 cup) of the flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds or stir by hand. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour, the dried fruit, and the orange zest. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky and soft. If it’s too sticky and not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, mix in additional flour 1 Tablespoon at a time just until it comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in the machine for about 4 minutes in low-speed, then transfer the dough to a greased bowl and allow it to ferment for 2 hours at room temperature.

Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.  When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Weigh the dough and divide it into 15 roughly equal pieces (my pieces were 77g each).  Shape each piece into a smooth ball, pinching it on the bottom to seal. Arrange in prepared baking pan. Cover shaped rolls and place in the fridge overnight.

Remove the shaped buns from the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Heat the oven to 350°F.  Whisk the cross ingredients, adjusting consistency with water or flour so that it is thick enough to form a stable design. Spoon paste into a piping bag. Pipe a line down the center of each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. Five minutes before they are done, make the glaze by boiling milk and sugar until sugar is fully dissolved and the glaze thickens slightly.

When they buns are baked, remove from the oven and immediately brush with the warm glaze. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy still warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Tanya was my source of inspiration, she actually made those for the first time also this year, and I just tagged along. I did not have many different kinds of dried fruits in our pantry, so I used just raisins and dried Mission figs. The whole batch went to the homeless meal that happened to fall exactly on Good Friday, but Phil and I decided to share one because I really had to know how they taste.

I loved it! The bread is soft, reminds me a bit of a cinnamon roll, but not as decadent.  I like the addition of baking powder to the flour paste, which I saw in Celia’s blog post of years ago. I think it makes it a bit lighter.

Making them was a very nice, trouble-free process (discreet knock on wood, don’t want to upset the baking gods, as I intend to make macarons in the near future).  I hope you give Tanya’s recipe a try, in her site you can see how to do it in a single day.

Thank you Tanya (globalbakes.com), for your constant inspiration!  Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home… and let’s bake!

ONE YEAR AGO: Avgolemono Soup, My Way

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Chocolate Twist Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Dan Lepard Times Three

FOUR YEARS AGO: Turkey Portobello Burger

FIVE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Ricotta Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2014

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress

NINE YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

TEN YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis

BRIOCHE PEPIN

Brioche + Pastry Cream + Chocolate. Do I need to say anything else? This is the stuff that dreams are made of. And we all need good dreams at the moment. Rich, decadent, but pretty straightforward to bake, I promise you. My recipe is a slight modification of the one from a book I adore: Duchess Bake Shop. Make the dough and the pastry cream the evening before you want to bake them, for a super easy baking day, with almost no work involved.

BRIOCHE PEPIN
(slightly modified from Duchess Bake Shop)

for the brioche dough:
9g osmo-tolerant yeast (or regular yeast)
30g whole milk, slightly warm
280g all-purpose flour
30g sugar
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
140g unsalted butter at room temperature

for pastry cream:
370g whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
80g sugar
80g egg yolks
15g cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
30g unsalted butter

to finish:
1 cup mini-chocolate chips
1 egg yolk

The day before… Make the brioche dough. Dissolve the yeast in warm milk. Add all ingredients except butter to the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer, and knead with the dough hook for about 4 minutes, until smooth. Add the butter in small pieces, kneading in low-speed, and waiting until each added piece is incorporated before adding more. Once all butter is added, knead until very elastic and smooth, about 15 minutes, always at low-speed.  Place the dough in a bowl coated with oil, leave at room temperature for 90 minutes, then transfer to the fridge overnight.

Make the pastry cream. Heat the milk and vanilla paste in a saucepan until small bubbles form around the edge of the liquid. As the  milk heats, vigorously whisk the egg yolks with sugar in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and salt and continue whisking until there are no lumps.  Slowly add the hot milk/vanilla mixture, tempering the yolks. Once all the liquid is added, transfer it back to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes, in low-heat, whisking constantly and removing the pan from the heat if it starts to thicken and bubble too furiously. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve, add the butter, and place a plastic film on the surface. Refrigerate overnight.

On the following day. Roll out the dough. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle measuring about 20 x 10 inches. Add the whole amount of pastry cream on the surface of the dough, spreading it uniformly. Sprinkle chocolate chips all over. Fold both long sides of the rectangle to meet in the center (see composite photo of my post). Cut the dough in half lengthwise exactly where the edges meet. You will end up with two long and thin rectangles about 20 x 5 inches.  Cut each of those in 8 pieces, so that you have a total of 16 small pieces.  Place them over parchment paper and cover with a light cloth. Proof at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 380F. Brush each brioche with egg yolk and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Some filling might spill to the sides, just clean it up after baking.
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ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I was inspired by my friend Nancy (the one who gave me the pyramid shaped mold) to make these babies. She baked a batch last week and raved about them. I can see why. Truly delicious, although I must confess we just shared a very small one for quality control. The whole batch went to the project Common Table (meals for homeless). They are having a tough time now, instead of a sit-down dinner it is take-out. Everything has to be individually wrapped and a volunteer comes to our door and picks up the stuff I bake, so we have no direct contact. Odd times. Scary times.

Anyway, this was a fun bake. I wanted to make as many as possible from a single batch, so I changed the way the dough is shaped and cut. I managed to have 16 little brioches instead of only 8 bigger ones. To that I added two batches of a Chai Tea cake, and hopefully they had enough to share.

Brioche is a dough I would not attempt without a KitchenAid, because you must knead it extensively. I like to add all ingredients except the butter, work the dough until it starts to get smooth, then add the butter little by little. Once all the butter is in, take your time and let the machine work its magic at low-speed, until the dough is smooth, and if you pull it, it does not rip apart, instead it stretches beautifully. If you pay attention to this simple rule, you will have perfect brioche buns.

As the brioche baked, some filling oozed out from most of them. The same happened to Nancy, and I am not sure you can avoid it, although if some of my reader have experience with it, please leave me a comment. When leakage takes place, that stuff can be scraped gently and placed on a spoon. I advise waiting a few minutes to avoid burning your mouth. And pups cannot have it, no matter how pretty they stay sitting, like angels, because… chocolate.

ONE YEAR AGO: Sakura Buche du Printempts

TWO YEARS AGO: Clay Pot Roast Chicken

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2017

FOUR YEARS AGO: Secret Recipe Club: Chicken Korma and a Bonus Recipe

FIVE YEARS AGO: Josey Baker’s Olive Bread

SIX YEARS AGO: Almonds, A Cookbook Review

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pomegranate-Molasses Glazed Carrots

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Codruta’s Rolled Oat Sourdough Bread

NINE YEARS AGO: Roasted Corn and Tomato Risotto

TEN YEARS AGO: Light Rye Bread

 

 

YIN & YANG VIENNOISE BREAD

Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here

During difficult times we often see the best coming out of people. Acts of kindness, generosity, and love try to counteract the fear and uncertainties that surround us. This bread, with its dual nature of darkness and lightness brings this image to my mind. I enjoyed the process of making it, and hope you consider baking a batch in your kitchen, trying to focus on all the positive things we do have.

 

YIN & YANG VIENNOISE BREAD
(slightly modified from Bake-Street)

300 g bread flour
200 g all purpose flour
3 g osmo-tolerant yeast (or regular instant dry)
255 g milk
40 g egg (whisk one egg and weigh the amount needed)
50 g granulated sugar
75 g butter, at room temperature
10 g salt
20 g cocoa powder + 15 g brown sugar
1 egg, beaten + pinch of salt

Add the flours, yeast, egg, salt, and 3/4 of the milk to a KitchenAid type bowl.  Using the dough hook, mix until the ingredients are incorporated, then decide if you need to add the rest of the milk. Once the milk is added, with the machine still running, add the sugar in two additions. Knead for about 4 minutes at low-speed, then add the butter, one tablespoon or so at a time.  Wait until each  piece disappears into the dough before adding more butter. Knead until you get good gluten development, probably 4 to 5 minutes longer. The dough should stretch smoothly without tearing.

Divide the dough in two portions, one weighing 40 g less than the other. To the smaller batch, add the cocoa powder and brown sugar and knead by hand or in the machine until the cocoa is fully distributed. It will take a little time and effort. Place both balls of dough in separate oiled bowls, and allow them to proof at room temperature for 2 and a half hours.

Divide each dough in five portions, each between 90 and 95g. Form each as a little ball and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each as a long oblong shape about 4mm thick. Place different colors of dough on top and bottom, form as little loaves, seam at the bottom.  Use a very sharp blade to make slashes on the surface, being very determinate. Any hesitation and the cut won’t be sharp enough. You need to see the different color of dough showing underneath. Place the shaped and cut loaves over parchment paper and let them proof at room temperature for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400F.  Paint each loaf with an egg wash, and bake for about 16 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The most interesting aspect of this bread is how the cocoa powder affects texture and resulting oven spring. The white dough is very smooth, stretches easily, and wraps around the dark dough like a soft blanket. The cocoa-containing dough resists rolling a lot more and has a dry feel to it. When it is inside, it will have less oven spring, so the outer dough is not going to open as dramatically as when the dough placement is reversed. As far as taste goes, it will depend on your goal for the bread. If you will enjoy it plain or with a little butter, the light dough inside is the way to go. But if you toast it and enjoy it with jam (orange jam would be awesome according to Eva from Bake-Street), the cocoa kind will be hard to beat.

 

Yin and Yang. Focus on the positive. We know how to deal with this pandemic. Imagine what it was like on the times of the Black Death, when not only people were dying left and right, but nobody knew why. Nobody knew what to do. Focus on the positive. Do everything you can to maintain social distance and to keep your personal environment clean.

The bread is soft, the cocoa crust slightly harder than the lighter version, but not much. These little loaves would be perfect for a brunch on a Sunday morning, or with a nice cup of tea as the sun sets. Focus on the positive, we will beat this.

I am very fond of Eva’s blog Bake-Street, having made quite a few of her recipe over the past few years, they are very detailed and always work as expected. Make sure to stop by and subscribe, you will be glad you did!

ONE YEAR AGO: Extreme Chocolate Cupcakes

TWO YEARS AGO: Sunflower Seed Kamut Sourdough

THREE YEARS AGO: The Joys of Grating Squash

FOUR YEARS AGO: Auberge Pecan-Walnut Bread

TWELVE YEARS OF SOURDOUGH BAKING

March 11th, 2020
Twelve years of sourdough and 60 years alive and kicking!

The other day I found a little notebook with handwritten notes about the very beginning of my sourdough days, when I did not have a blog yet. No photos, just remarks about what to avoid, what to improve, the favorite recipes. The notebook is 12 years old, the age of my oldest starter, Dan. I wish I knew how many loaves I’ve baked over these years. What I realize is that I streamlined the process quite a bit, and now settled on a timeframe that works perfectly for me. Mix the dough around 4pm, shape and refrigerate around 9pm and bake next morning, straight from the fridge, into a cold Dutch oven type container, sitting on parchment paper. No more arm burns trying to deal with a screaming hot pan. Sometimes I throw a bit of water or an ice cube inside the pan, sometimes I forget and the fact that the pan is covered tightly with a lid seems to generate enough moisture for a nice crust. In this post, I share two loaves in which I played with color, razors and scissors. I also modified slightly how I mix the dough, and must say that I love the effect it has on the overall “strength” of the crumb. Purists, prepare to be disappointed.


SALLY’S SCISSORHANDS SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

110g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
380g water
50g whole-wheat flour
450g bread flour
10g salt

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the sourdough in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add all flours and salt.  Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. You will notice the dough will gain quite a bit of structure even with just 4 minutes in the mixer. Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. Because the dough is already a bit developed from the initial time in the mixer, you should get very good structure after 3 and a half hours, or even sooner than that.

After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F.

Invert the dough on a piece of parchment paper and lightly, very lightly coat it with flour, then rub all over the surface with the palm of your hand. Use a string to make four lines to mark regions of the bread to facilitate drawing the patters. Use a new razor blade to slash the dough in a leaf pattern, one leaf per quadrant. Then, with very small scissors, clip the outside lines of the leaves. Decorate the inside region with more razor blade slashes.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. You can generate additional steam by spraying the inside of the lid with water before closing the pan.  Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Loved scoring the bread with scissors! I cannot take credit for it, just noticed a few breads like that in instagram feeds and pinterest, and decided to give the technique a try. I think I could have been a bit more assertive, but to tell you the truth, after I butchered Paul Hollywood’s Cob Loaf in front of the cameras because of excessive enthusiasm, I became slashing-shy. I need some more time to recover and find my mojo.

Moving on…  A similar sourdough loaf with two additions: peanut butter and butterfly pea flower powder. I was so thrilled by the taste and looks of this bread, I cannot wait to bake another loaf.

NUTTY BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER SOURDOUGH 
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

110g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
380g water
50g whole-wheat flour
450g bread flour
1 Tablespoon butterfly pea flower powder
1/8 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
10g salt

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the starter and the peanut butter in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add the flours, and salt. Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. You will notice the dough will gain quite a bit of structure even with just 4 minutes in the mixer. Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. Because the dough is already a bit developed from the initial time in the mixer, you should get very good structure after 3 and a half hours.

After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F.

Invert the dough on a piece of parchment paper and lightly, very lightly coat it with flour, then rub all over the surface with the palm of your hand. Use a new razor blade to slash the dough in a decorative pattern.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. You can generate additional steam by spraying the inside of the lid with water before closing the pan.  Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I was a bit worried when the dough showed such intense blue color, but it gets quite a bit mellowed down during baking. The other thing that amazed me about the bread was the peanut smell during baking, very noticeable and pleasant. The idea of using a nut butter came from my friend, Bread Baker Queen, Elaine. She’s been doing it quite often with great results (check her post here) and I finally had a chance to do it myself. The additional fat in the peanut butter changes the texture of the crumb quite a bit. Try it, you might fall in love with it too.

Someone was very intrigued by the color of the loaf. Keep in mind that the blue color is lost on the crust as it gets dark in the oven, so don’t panic thinking that the blue was somehow ruined. Once you slice it, you’ll have a big smile in your face.

Did I say I was going to share two breads today? Well, here’s one more, same recipe as the first, but no scissors. Just some swirls.



I find  sourdough baking one of the most flexible and forgiving methods to make bread. When you use commercial yeast, things happen so fast, you need to be around and on top of it from beginning to end. Once you get a system in place for the slow approach of wild yeast, you will never look back.

As this post is published, we will be in Oahu, enjoying a double celebration trip, 20 years of our wedding anniversary and my Birthday. I feel lucky and grateful for so much. Having the blog to share recipes and thoughts, and friends that make it so special, is the icing on my Birthday cake. THANK YOU!

ONE YEAR AGO: Rainbow Carrots with Rose Harissa

TWO YEARS AGO: Deviled Eggs go Green

THREE YEARS AGO: Tiramisu

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pulled Pork, Slow-Cooker version

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Pie of the Century

SIX YEARS AGO: Bon Bon Chicken

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Leaving on a Jet Plane

EIGHT YEARS AGO: A Pearfect Drink

NINE YEARS AGO: Ming Tsai Under Pressure

TEN YEARS AGO: Paris, je t’aime!