Sunday, March 25, 2012

Swedish Rye Bread

This month the Bread Baking Babes bake Swedish Rye Bread. Astrid of Paulchens Food Blog is the host who baked this bread. She found it in Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest.

Tassajara Bread Book is the first book I found on baking bread. But first I found the movie: How to cook your life with Edward Espe Brown. A Zen priest in San Francisco and cookbook author who uses Zen Buddhism and cooking to relate to everyday life.

Baking with the Babes works like a mirror. I’m just one year in bread and already accustomed to a certain way of baking bread. All the different kinds of bread offered by the Babes help me to keep an open mind on baking bread. And baking bread is the same as living your life.
So, when I started, I immediately wanted to add the ingredients in the mixing bowl, mix until medium gluten development, autolyse for 30 minutes and add salt. And ….. (you know how it works).
But, this time I had to follow the recipe because it asked for a different approach
Although I had to make two small changes;
1. because I didn’t had any orange peel in the house, I added delicious homemade orange jam
2. I wanted to make one loaf and divided the amounts in half.

Because I followed the recipe I had to pay attention to the different way of kneading. It kept me focused. Thank you Babes and thank you Edward Espe Brown for meditation during bread baking. When I started baking bread, I loved the way I could combine meditation with all those steps which lead to a delicious and beautiful loaf of bread. Meditation is the same as keeping your mind focused on what you are doing. During these last few months I’m experiencing menopause, it’s making my mind jump like a monkey. Jumping up and down and following everything. It’s hard to keep focused for now. Luckily this will change too.

The bread smells different from all the other loaves I’ve baked. It has a nice light crumb. Just a bit of fennel and anise seed gives it a fresh flavor. Last week I baked another dark rye bread: Dutch Regales Finnish Rye. Not quite the same rye as this one.
a nice crust with a nice crumb

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Challah with ginger syrup

Astrid of Paulchens FoodBlog blog is the host for Bread Baking Day #48. Bread with Eggs is the task she has given us. 
The first thing that came to my mind was Dutch Easter Bread because it holds a hardboiled egg. When Peter and I were young we would have chicken shaped bread with a hardboiled egg in its belly for Easter breakfast. Peter’s father was a confectioner in his younger years. He was an artist and could shape the most beautiful marzipan and chocolate figures. People would come from all over the region to buy them.  Even though he wasn’t a baker, he baked great Easter chicken as Peter recalls. Here’s an example I found at the Dutch Bakery Museum
The bread chicken I ate as a child didn’t looked like this one, but tasted great. It 
was a treat for us.

I can bake nice sourdough bread, but I’m not an artist when it comes to shaping bread. But, I like a challenge and decided it‘s time to try to braid a Challah from my growing list of breads to bake.  Most people will be surprised to read I’ve never eaten a Challah. When we lived in the Netherlands I never saw a Challah in the bakery shops.

Typing this means I baked the Challah and succeeded. Making the dough was the easy part. I found a recipe with video at FineCooking, both by Maggie Glezer. I couldn’t have made the 6 strand braid without her excellent explanation. Off course I went for the 6 strand braid; I like a challenge. But, I must be honest. I started braiding and after a short while I called Peter to help me. We worked together and near the end we were lost and had to start over. This was a pity because it looked perfect. We un-braided the loaf and this time Peter braided alone. It went much better this time, Peter stayed focused on braiding. Although it’s not perfect yet, we are very happy with the result. Especially because it’s the first one we made.

Even though I followed the recipe to the letter, I had to give it something extra. Instead of honey I added homemade ginger syrup.

After eating this soft and full flavor bread, I know it’s not the last time. Luckily we still had my home made Strawberry jam
Now it’s on my list of bread to bake again. Both lists are growing and growing.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sourdough Wheel

It all started with this beautiful loaf of bread I saw; Auvergne Crown. It was made by Judd of WeekendLoaver. Adaped from Daniel Leader’s book; Local Breads.

I thought; ‘thats a nice looking loaf, it will be nice to eat it with strawberries for lunch’. It’s winter in Thailand and in the North the people grow strawberries. Two weeks ago I made the most delicious strawberry jam. And yesterday evening we went to the local market where they sold strawberries. We couldn’t resist and again we bought another kilo for another big jar of jam.

So, for the bread I started with the levain. I had a stiff starter made with rye and all purpose flour waiting to be used. I grinded some wheat kernels to get a kind of ‘stone-ground whole wheat flour’. I added some tepid water, stirred and covered it and my levain was ready to get to work and I went to bed.

The next morning I added the other ingredients and was in the middle of making yet another loaf. It’s a delicious hobby! 
I followed the instructions and was a bit surprised Judd didn’t score the round loaf. But, I thought it must be right and with enough heat the crust will crack open. It didn’t. It’s a nice round loaf with a delicious tasty crumb. Now it looks like a big bagel because it doesn’t have that beautiful open crust. Next time I will score the round loaf with a square and for now we just eat it. 
Yesterday we had the last piece with fresh strawberries!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sprouted Wheat Sourdough

At the moment I’m into sprouting wheat. I’ve already “made” some wheat grass, diastatic malt powder and today I’m ready for sprouted wheat sourdough bread.
Off course I’ll share my experiences with you, as soon as it’s ready.
 While I’m typing this post we have eaten all the sprouted wheat sourdough bread; the taste is great. The sprouted wheat gives a soft and moist crumb.

It all starts with sprouting the wheat kernels. There are off course more ways to do this. This is the way I did it:
  • Put the organic* berries in a jar, add enough water and cover the berries. 
  • Put a towel over the jar and leave it for 6-8 hours on room temperature.
  • After 6-8 hours rinse the berries with clean water until the water is clear and place them in a clean towel. Close the towel with elastic band and leave for 12 hours.
  • After 12 hours you will see the sprouts coming out of the berries. If not, give it a bit more time.
  • If the berries have sprouted enough, grind them just enough to crush them. Preferably just before you add them to the dough.

You need organic berries; the pesticides and other chemicals concentrate in the kernel: the whole berry minus the husk.