Friday, August 23, 2013

Soudough Boule w/Balastra Flour

When we talk about comfort food, everyone has one.. or more. 

Comfort food is usually determined by what one had the most when one got sick during his or her childhood days. That particular food evokes the fondest memories. It can be one of the many arrays of noodle dishes, porridge,  conge, and soups, with or sans cream. One thing in common from those dishes is they are all best served hot.

Even though Indonesia has a hot climate, we just cannot get enough of hot, soupy dishes. They just make us feel good though not all are necessarily good for us but who cares. I personally always have different kjinds of soup in our weekly meal rotation. The reason is simple; I’m lazy. Soup is a perfect one pot meal. It’s warming, it’s a flu-buster, it’s a cinch to make, and I really don’t have to wash too many dishes afterwards.

Given all the reasons above, I can be a cheapskate when it comes to ordering soup when we dine out. Come on, I wouldn’t wanna spend money for cream soup. Skip the entrĂ©e please; Get the steak out, will you?

But I melt whenever I see chowder served in a bread bowl. I’m a sucker for bread and that is not even a secret. The thing is, I can get very picky when it comes to bread. The point of having chowder or cream soup in a bread bowl is that each has to complement the other. But I usually just eat the soup because the bread bowl tastes bland. So I end up feeling bad for wasting food. My ancestors would laugh at my stupidity for spending money on bad food and then curse me for not finishing my food. Double blasphemy. Dang!

So off I went to take Bonnie out to do her job. That is to make a sourdough boule and I shall use the boule as a soup bowl. You can find the bread formula at Wandering Bread. The only thing I do differently is I use Balastra flour. It’s whole wheat flour with bits of everything good like millet seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax and golden flax seeds, and sesame seeds. How yum and healthy it sounds!

Makes three medium sized bowls or two large ones
Recipe:
150 gr fed sourdough starter
225 gr Balastra flour
200 gr bread flour
275 gr water
10 gr salt
Note: You can use all bread flour if you can’t find Balastra flour

Directions:  
1.  Mix the starter, flour and water. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
2.  Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix thoroughly using the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
3.  Repeat the “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
4. Do the “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes again. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board, and do one stretch and fold.
6. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Note the volume of the dough. Cover the bowl tightly. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
7. Repeat the stretch and fold on the board. Reform the dough into a ball and replace it in the bowl.
8.  Allow the dough to continue fermenting until the volume has increased 50%.
9.  Put the dough into the fridge until the next morning, about 20 hours.

 
10.Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface. Divide into three equal parts and loosely shape into rounds. Let rest for 60 minutes.


11. Shape into boules and left proof for 30 to 45 minutes.


12. Preheat oven to 230C.
13. Slash and load into oven. Bake with steam for 20 minutes, then bake for another 15 minutes, until they are golden brown.


Well... Whaddaya think?


Oh.. The Smell..

The Crust..

I know some of you might be taken aback with the numerous steps and the time it requires. I used to be like that long ago but if I think about wine.. Well, to make good wine time is the essence. I am nothing compared to wine maker. Really. These boules need a mere two days.

Using inexpensive, completely natural ingredients, we all can make high quality bread.

Now all you need to do is prepare your soup, cut a circle on the top of the bread, fill it with soup, then use the top as a dipping.


Filled with a simple vegetable chowder, the whole dish is made with love and served as a nourishment for the body and soul for my family. I may not be able to provide a fancy meal every time, but food is meant to be eaten and act as a vessel for love. 

Cheers from a melodramatic baker,
Amy

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Have It Your Way Cinnamon Bread

Oh.. The things we can do with cinnamon!

When I was a kid, I always loved to pass by a cinnamon rolls store in the mall. The smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls was so enticing and it reminded me of Christmas and the end of autumn  though it was March, or July, or just about any other month. I would always get two or three rolls because one was just never enough. Now, the store is still open and it thrives. But my palate can’t be deceived. The store has taken the route of lowering the quality and quantity of ingredients to keep the price fairly low. I don’t know about anyone else but personally I would rather pay more but have less in quantity for I treat taste like a piece of fine art. After all, there’s not but one Monalisa in this world.

I am quite picky when it comes to good quality bread.. Well I am picky with my food but bread is my passion and I would talk about it, think about it, and read about it because bread is edible science. Now since we’re talking about Cinnamon Rolls, I would underline that I hate people who are stingy with fillings. It has to be a lot but not overwhelmingly sweet. Use good quality cinnamon. If you have coffee bean grinder, oh God I want one so badly, you can grind your own cinnamon stick. The bread itself has to be soft but not cottony, pillowy soft like typical Japanese bread. It needs to be quite fulfilling but not dense bordering on hard because it’s suppose to be had for breakfast, with coffee, when you feel hungry, when you’re bored, for a night snack, for.. Well, the point is, Cinnamon Rolls rock!

Here is the recipe I always use, adapted from Joy The Baker with a twist here and there. It is actually a recipe for Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread. But as the title stated, you can have it your way.

For the Dough:
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup salted butter, or unsalted with a pinch of salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
340 gr all purpose flour
20 gr wheat bran
Note: You can skip the wheat bran and substitute all with flour

For the Filling:
1/2 cup palm sugar
2 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened


Directions:
Heat the milk and butter together until the butter melts.. Add the water, then let the mixture cool enough. How cool? Just put your finger in and if it's nicely warm, still a tad bit hot but not too hot it burns your finger, then it's ok. Of course you can skip that step if you have an instant read thermometer. It should show 57C.

Knead your shaggy mess into a beautiful, smooth golden ball. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour and a half.
***In the meantime, prepare the filling by mixing together the palm sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Now.. from here I shall proceed with the Pull Apart Style. You can have it braided or form it into rolls. Have it your way!

Lightly oil your working table, and roll the dough out into a 12x20 inch rectangle. Spread the filling all over the rectangle, then cut the dough into 5 12x4 inch strips.

Stack them up on top of each other, then cut into four equal pieces.

Grease a 9x5inch loaf pan with butter, and place the pieces into the loaf pan. Wait 1-2 hours until they puff up. Preheat the oven to 175C and bake the dough for 27-30 minutes. I always use a flash light to check the brownness because the palm sugar tends too burn faster.

Voila!


Oh my Oh my Oh my!

Every layer is sticky (in a good way), sweet but not overly sweet, oh.. It's just breath taking and better yet.. It's cheap to make! You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.

Now, if you prefer a dramatic look..

This rather topsy turvy looking bread is using the same recipe. What makes it less golden is I use only 1 egg in the dough and to achieve that beautiful distinctive line, skip the butter in the filling. Roll and cut like you're doing cinnamon rolls but twist each roll inside out. Well, sad to say the step by step picture for this one is MIA in some memory card.

Or you can have it elegantly braided.. 

This one screams Christmas. It's such a show stopper. You can put it in the middle of table for a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner and you have a gorgeous edible center piece. This too, will make a perfect gift.

So braid it, roll it, pull it apart like crazy! Have it your way!

But remember.. Have fun with it.

Love,
Amy

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