Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ultimate Sourdough Baguettes

We like to eat the big French bread and the smaller baguettes. The crispy crack that you hear when you break this bread is a great sound. The crunchy taste of sourdough makes it complete. Another advantage for this recipe is that you can use a lot of your sourdough starter. We love sourdough bread, but when you feed the starter you need to discard good sourdough starter. Even living in Thailand for a couple of years doesn’t change that I, still being Dutch, don’t like to throw away good stuff.

310 gr lukewarm water
600 gr sourdough starter, about the consistency of thick pancake batter
1125 gr King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons instant yeast

1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for glaze

In a small bowl add the yeast with lukewarm water; let it rest till it starts to bubble.
In a large bowl, combine the water, starter, the yeasted water and 2/3 of the flour, with a wooden spoon mix it. Cover the dough and let rest (autolyse) for 10 – 20 minutes.
Stir in the salt, sugar, and an additional 1/3 of flour, mixing till smooth. Stir till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding only enough additional flour as necessary; a slack (sticky) dough makes a light loaf.
Let it rest for 5 minutes, and then knead for an additional 5 minutes.
Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk. This takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Put the dough on the work surface and gently push some of the air out of the dough. Divide the dough into 3 big pieces when you like French bread or 6 pieces if you like baguettes. Shape the pieces into loaves. Place the loaves on parchment-lined baking sheets, make sure to put the paper is also between the loaves or they will stick together. Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let them rise for 1 hour. Drape it with plastic wrap and let it proof until it is light and slowly springs back when lightly pressed, about 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 230°C. Brush the loaves with the egg yolk glaze. Bake them for about 20 minutes, or until they're a light golden brown. If you have an electric oven you can “grill” the top of the loaves to give them more color.

Recipe source: inspired by King Arthur Flour

Ensaïmadas with "Paps" vanilla-cream

We were in the mood for something sweet, but not too sweet. I found Ensaïmadas on the blog of Notities van Lien.

These breads originate from the Philippines. There are many video’s on how to make them. The first time I used half the amounts suggested.

As always it takes time to proof, these breads had proofed enough. They were big and beautiful. I made vanilla-cream and this makes a perfect treat.


500 gr flour
75 gr sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon dry yeast
200-225 ml lukewarm milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
150 gr melted 2/3 butter and 1/3 shortening. Or use only butter.
icing sugar (for serving)

Mix the flour with sugar and salt in a big bowl. Pour 200 ml of the lukewarm milk on the yeast in the middle of the flour. Let it rest for 15 minutes till it starts to bubble.
Put in the whisked eggs, olive oil and the remaining milk. Mix till it becomes smooth dough. Put the dough in a bowl, big enough to double, greased with a little bit of oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it rise till it has doubled in size.
Put the dough on the work surface and divide into equal portions. I used 70 gr. Each.
Make balls of the dough, cover them and let them rest for about 30 minutes.

Flatten the balls, roll with a rolling pin to oblong. Brush the butter-mix on the of the piece of dough; stretch the dough a little more. Roll from the long side till you have a long thin sausage. Make a loose spiral, with space for rising. Put the ends together and underneath the dough.
Place them on baking paper. Leave enough space between the buns to rise.

Spread with butter-mix and let them proof. I let them proof for about 3 hours.

Baking: Pre-heat the oven on 200°C and bake them for about 16 – 20 minutes or till they are gold brown. Let them cool on a tray and dust with icing sugar.

I made vanilla-cream to put into the Ensaïmadas, enjoy this.

Recipe source: inspired by Lien’s recipe

“Paps” Vanilla-cream by my Father-in-law
250 ml milk
½ vanilla bean
2 egg yolk
40 gr brown sugar
25 gr flour

With a sharp knife open the vanilla bean and place it in the milk, with a pinch of salt. Slowly heat the milk till it starts to cook. Don’t let it cook. Leave it for about 15 minutes.

Remove the seeds from the vanilla bean and place them in the milk.
Mix the egg yolk with the sugar till it is thick and foamy. Put in the flour and stir till you have a nice batter.

First mix a part of the warm milk trough the batter. Than pour it back into the pan with milk. Stir it well and put the pan back on the stove. Heat it up a little; keep stirring till it becomes a thick cream. Take the pan of the fire.

Put plastic wrap on the cream. It must make contact with the cream; to prevent a thick skin. Put the cream in the refrigerator till you want to use it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Royal Crown’s Tortano (updated)

On many blogs I found the Maggie Glezer’s Royal Crown’s Tortano; a rustic bread. It looks great.
I made this bread a few times, and everytime it improves. At first I followed the instructions and the personal notes left by BrownEyedBaker Chelle, which were very helpful. Especially the first time I baked this bread, when the dough wasn’t pourably wet as Maggie wrote. Maybe because the first time I used only half of the amounts?

Today I was making the whole amount of 1200 gram, or two smaller ones. One to keep and one to give. This time the dough was pourably wet and it went as Maggie wrote. This is a bread that is fun to make and will make you happy. When you feel the silky soft dough you will know.

Peter asked for his favorite bread without the hole.
It was the first beautiful bread I ever baked. It doesn't only looks beautiful but tastes delicious. The crust is crunchy and it is full of big air holes. And it tastes deliciously chewy like sourdough bread.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My first no knead Bread

The first time I saw a "no knead bread" was on the site of Arden. I read about how to make it and thought 'I think I'm not ready for this yet'. I would need a Dutch oven pot; too expensive. Or a Romertopf: also too expensive for us. These are great pots and pans, but not to find in our kitchen (yet).
But, the idea of making that beautiful bread was put on my list of breads to make. We like to find our way with local and cheap materials. Maybe the flower pot, we bought for the steam set, could do? I just tried it, and …. It worked. This is just like steaming; the moisture in the dough itself provides the steam. It’s like an oven within an oven.
I enjoyed the process of making this bread. Especially the feeling you get when, after 19 hours, the dough slides out of the bowl on to the with flour dusted work top. It feels so silky. Folding it was a lot easier than I thought it would be, with enough flour. But to keep it in form was the hardest thing. I did put the cloth it in a plastic bag and put an rubber band around it to form it. It worked.
Moving the dough to the hot flower pot was fun. I didn’t dare throw it in like Sullivan did on the video. I folded it and dropt it in the pot. On the bottom I did put a piece of aluminum to seal the pot.
On the oven tray I left some baking paper, but I didn’t think it would mind. It did. After some minutes Peter smelled something burning. Ohhhh, I thought that the bread was burning. But, it was just the baking paper and the bread looked good. After 30 minutes we removed the clay flower stone, moved the oven tray to the middle of the oven and let it bake for another 20 minutes. It looked really good, but not as brown as in the video, so I put the bread in the electric oven for a few minutes of browning.
When it was completely cooled we could finally look at a beautiful piece of bread.

This is what I did:
• 234 gram flour
• 1/8 teaspoon dry yeast
• 177 gram water
• 0.6 teaspoon salt
I put everything in a big bowl, stirred it with my hands (you can use a wooden spoon). Covered it up with plastic and did put it on a medium warm place. This is a difficult thing when you live in Thailand. I just left it in the kitchen en stopped worrying about the temperature.
The dough rested for 19 hours. Then I let the silky dough slide on the work top, covered with flour. I folded it a few times, it felt so good. I placed the ball in a cloth covered with flour. To keep in the shape I wanted it to be, in stead of a thick pizza, I place the cloth with the dough in a plastic bag and closed it with a rubber band. I let it proof for 1 hour (because of the temperature in our house in stead of the suggested 2 hours).
During this hour I pre-heated the oven and the flower pot and the flower stone (lid) at appox. 250ºC.
I placed the dough in the flower pot and we covered it with the stone (lid). It baked for 30 minutes with lid and 20 minutes without. For the color I placed it under the grill for a few minutes.
This first on would certainly not be my last “no knead bread”.