Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Yin and Yang

Yin & Yang

Y'all. This post is more of an update than anything. I know you all come to the net to look for new breads to make (Yin & Yang recipe below, and OMG, it's simple, but it's AMAZING), but also as a means of connectivity. None of us know each other. In the internet age, one has to wonder how much of one's own self we really know. We get lost in putting up this persona, giving the world what we think it wants and in this, we lose ourselves. This is what I've been contemplating for a while, and I've come to this: the net can be used to hone our creative selves, or it can suck us into a meaningless abyss. S'up to you to decide where you want to be.

I stopped posting so long ago because I felt the pressure of having to produce. For whom? That's the thing, and that's what my hiatus brought me to. We don't have to do anything for anyone at all. Ever. Well, except if you have kids, right, then you have to take care of them. I say this with certainty because I was one of those kids who was not taken care of by her parents, and it sucked (I doubt if you are baking bread that you would be the kind of person who would neglect your own kids, but the insight might be worthwhile nonetheless). Barring parental responsibility, we don't need to post daily or weekly to appease anyone at all. Our exchanges are little gifts to one another: my posts to you, your comments and viewership in exchange. It's very Buddhist, that. Non-attachment. No expectations. Finding joy in being without desire. There should be zero expectation, right, if you are doing something out of kindness, then the kindness extends beyond unreasonable expectation. This is what I have had to remind myself of because I've been busy and I don't have so much time to post regularly. If I'm not careful, I'm at risk of feeling guilty, or that I'm letting you all down.

Here's what. I'm in two schools pursing two completely separate educations. I am going to school full time for fashion design, and also full time to get my Classical Pilates certification. When I say that this is difficult, it's an understatement. My day begins at 2:50 a.m. and I go to bed around 10 to achieve all that I need to in order to realize both of these passions (my father said that I always did things the hard way). Pilates is the single most challenging thing that I have ever experienced in my life, fashion design demands more still. I have had to cram 5 levels of classical Pilates training into my body in 8 months, training to that level takes people YEARS to achieve. Fashion design is full time. The school that I'm going to is a 'fast track' school, which means that we cram 4 years of college into 2 years. I. Am. Busy. I operate on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. So, I apologize if my posts seem spotty. Not that I need to explain myself, but I want to, because you, dear reader, though I don't know you, are important to me. Humanity is important to me. Sharing simple things that I have learned, things that have made my life sweeter (baking bread), is important to me. If I can help relieve you of any tedium (and bad bread days are so tedious, I know this well), then I am happy to be here for you. Being open and kind and connected is important to me.



Bread is a sanctuary that during busy times, I have to fight for. For instance, today I had to bake Deanna's bread, go to draping class for 5 hours, go to pilates at 4am, do homework, walk the dog, clean the kitchen (forget about the laundry today, please, let there be one more clean shirt to wear tomorrow), run some errands, put oil in my car, dash out to buy thread... To write a post in order to keep an audience is, well, overwhelming. I bake weekly, but I don't alway have time to share what I've done. And now there are things that I want to share, but because I am putting new recipes into a book, I can't, and it seems as though my bread life is tenuous if you check my blog. Crickets here, I know. But there is a reason why things have been so quiet on my end, and now you know.

So I say this to you, dear reader, the ones who have my back, the ones who returned after my long break, the ones who don't 'unfollow me' because I haven't thrown up visual evidence of my baking life on Instagram this week, those who privately email me and ask me for help or let me know how much my blog means to them: this is for you. The bread book that I'm writing (on top of all the aforementioned) is for you. You are the die-hards that make me keep pushing on. You are the ones who make me realize that what I write about is important, even if only for a small audience. If I can touch only a few of you, David, Daniel, Alex, Argh128, Matt, Michalis, Alexandra, Joe B. Jr., Maurizio, and the 225 'followers' on my Instagram page, this blog is for you, and a small audience is fine by me. In an era of rapid expansion and increase, I am happy to keep my circle small and intimate, connected and real.

I wanted to post today to tell you that I'm busy for a reason. I've never had a chance to do something just for me. My whole life has been given over to others. I won't go into detail, but I will say this, what is left of my precious life is my own. My time is my own. My interests will be pursued. I have found love and light, purpose and peace. I have fought hard and won a battle that damn near took my life. But I am here at the page when I can be, and I am happy for it. Baking and sharing with you is so special and I love it beyond reason. This blog is one of my passions, and I have loved it for coming up on 9 years. I thank those of you who are, like me, living for connectivity and significance when the world demands that we give ourselves over to externalities that prevent us from living viscerally, intentionally, and authentically.

Here is your yin & yang bread. A simple one, but one that is feeding my good friend Deanna who has given me a little treasure that will change my life. Thank you sister. And thank you dear reader, for meeting me back at the page no matter how seldom, for supporting me and being my ear. If it was not for the little thank you notes for posting silly things like digestive biscuits (Alex!) and humble loaves, I would have no presence on the net at all.

xo


YIN & YANG


This formula makes one loaf

MAKE YOUR LEVAIN

3 or 4 days before you make your levain, kick it into high-gear by feeding it 2x a day. On levain day, you will need:

12g 100% hydration dark rye starter (I mill my own flour for this, but you don't have to)
75g freshly milled rye flour
75g h2o

Mix the levain ingredients together until you reach a paste. Mine fermented for 8 hours.


levain, fully realized

DOUGH DAY

You will need:

400g h2o

400g Giusto's Artisan flour (BRM artisan/all purpose or even KA bread/all purpose are fine stand ins)
100g dark rye flour (again, I mill my own, but you don't have to)
10g kosher salt, I used Diamond
All of the levain
70g toasted hulled white sesame seeds
25g black sesame seeds
15g toasted sesame seed oil

For the linen:
lots of black sesame seeds for coating the yin half of the loaf
lots of brown (unhulled white) sesame seeds for coating the yang half of the loaf

When your levain is properly fermented, mix together the levain the flours and the h2o until you reach a shaggy mass. Autolyse for 1 hour 30 minutes

After the autolyse, the dough should have expanded a bit. Squish the salt and oil into the dough until it's fully incorporated, then fold in the 70g toasted white sesame seeds and 25g black sesame seeds. Work the dough into a smooth mass. Now it's time for the 3.5-hour bulk fermentation.

Every half hour, perform a series of turns, taking care not to deflate the dough as you near the end of bulk. You will likely stop your turns somewhere around 2 hours into the bulk. For the remaining bulk, leave it untouched. If it's super warm where you are, feel free to pop it in the fridge for the last hour of bulk to slow the fermentation. 

When bulk fermentation is accomplished, turn the dough out onto a workspace dusted with brown rice flour, and shape into a loose round. Let it rest. Mine rested for 10 minutes. 

During the bench, spread out a thick layer of raw sesame seeds, black and white, to form a yin and yang pattern on your linen (see picture below).

After the bench, shape the dough into a taut boule. and carefully place it onto the yin/yang decorated linen. Fold up the sides carefully and pop into a bowl seam-side up.

Pop in the fridge and ferment. Mine fermented for 20 hours

BAKE DAY

Preheat the oven to 500 with a dutch oven and baking stone inside.

Unearth the dough by placing a sheet of parchment over the mouth of the dough bowl, then place a peel over this and quickly invert the bowl so that the dough ends up sitting on the paper and the peel, seam side down.

Slash the dough at the perimeter of the boule, taking care so that you don't mar the yin & yang sesame pattern, then slide it into the shallow half of the hot dutchie. Yes. A crap load of sesame seeds will come pouring out of the bowl. Try to collect as many as you can and put them in a bowl. Eat them. I do. they are high in calcium.

Cover with the fat half, slide it into the oven, and steam for 15 minutes at this temp, then turn the oven down to 450 and steam for another 15 minutes.

After the steam, remove the fat end of the dutchie, then stack the pan over its mouth to create a buffer between the hot stone and the bread. This will help keep the bottom of your bread from blackening.

Toggle the oven between 425 an 450 until the boule is baked to desired darkness, or between 210-220 degrees.

Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.

Eat any excess sesame seeds that slide off the loaf after the bake. They're amazing.

To the staff of life!


Pictorial Evidence of Real Time Things

 toasted


 yin and yang on linen

 20 hour final fermentation

 on the parchment, ready for the bake


 a successful steam

 will ya look at that crumb?

yin/yang/balance/love/light/authenticity/wholeness

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sidebar Sunday: Digestive Biscuits

Digestive Biscuits

Wait. Are you like me? Sunday rolls around, you tumble out of bed and twist the oven knob to some middling temp, 325? 360? you don't know what you're baking yet, but you know you're baking something. It is Sunday after all. And it's a chilly one too. All the better.

I have been dying, DYING to make digestive biscuits. You know what they are? Scotch things, wholemeal and just sweet enough. Thought to aid in digestion because of the baking soda, which, oddly, this recipe has none of. Nevertheless, they taste exactly as you would imagine: wheaty, nutty, simple and amazing, if you like that sort of thing. Here's what, sweet eaters fall into two camps, the gooey sticky lovers, and the slightly sweet and simple fans. I fall into the second. Caramel and frosty things are not my cup of tea. Things like that magic cake that was running wild for a while? Yeah, no. Too sweet and rich and makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it. I should clarify, this does not include ganache, which is not really frosting at all, rather, spreadable truffles and should be its own food group.

Here is the recipe for these wheaten things. They come together in 5 minutes and bake in 15. Unlikely that they will aid in digestion but tasty nonetheless. This is one for second camp folks. Feel free to dip them in ganache.


Digestive Biscuits


100g oats, coarsely ground (I ground rolled oats with a coarse setting on my Komo, but you can blitz them in a food processor)
100g whole wheat flour
105g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
50g coconut sugar
1 - 2 TB milk (I used homemade almond milk, worked a treat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the ov to 350. Whisk together the flours, sugar, b. powder and salt, then work the butter into the flour mixture by pinching and rubbing between your fingers till you arrive at a crumbly mass. Add the milk and incorporate into the dough just until it comes together, and only use as much milk as you need to pull it all together. Don't overwork. You don't want tough digestive biscuits.

Wrap the dough in plastic and stow it in the fridge for 20 minutes. After the 20, spread wholemeal flour on the counter and roll out the dough to about 3/16" thickness.

Using a 2 1/2" round cutter, cut out rounds and lay them onto a sheet pan that you've lined with either a Silpat sheet or a piece of parchment paper. They don't spread much. You can get 15-20 on a sheet pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. You'll only get 2 sheet pans out of this recipe. I think I got like 33, but I was eating them as I was laying them out too cool and may have lost count. Plus I rolled mine too thinly.

You can pull together the scraps, refrigerate and re-roll them once. After the second rolling, you can bake up the scraps for nibbling as you putz about the kitchen this lovely, lazy Sunday.

Happy Sunday y'all!

 pinch, pinch, pinch till crumbly

 just pulled together

 roll, not too thinly, the thickness is a cross between a shortbread cookie and a cracker. I feel mine could have been a wee bit thicker...

they really dont spread much at all. I could easily have added another row in here


Adapted from Little Loaf Blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Onion and Earth

Onion and Earth

I think bread-baking is a sign of intelligence, inherent magical abilities, and a deep-rooted love of humanity. Think about it, you first have to bring something inert to life, then you have to sustain it for, like, ever, then you use this new life to feed people you love/don't love/know/may not know, right? I don't know about you, but I bake bread for anyone who shows any interest in what I do.

Random person whom I may or may not know: OMG, I LOVE bread!
Me: I'll make you a loaf, are you allergic to nuts/how do you feel about olives?

Any opportunity to bake bread is, well, an opportunity to bake bread, and one that I rarely pass up. Speaking of not being able to pass up an opportunity to bake bread, this week has been a doozy. 10 loaves baked on top of a really busy school schedule, and by now you know that I've started work writing the bread book so...

I've been experimenting with some things. Indeed there are predecessors to today's loaf. Ugly things that came out tasting heavenly. There is such a thing as too-high-hydration, you know. It's funny, when people first start baking bread, everyone wants to be the high-hydration badass until they realize that, well, not every dough should be so hydrated that you can pour it into a glass and drink it. In fact, it's downright wearying to have to wrestle with those things. Plus, too much hydration will give you a very flat bread. The finesse, we find, comes from just enough hydration for a particular bread so that it sings its own unique song.


I know you've been with me on this journey long enough to know that potato bread is tricky. At first mixup, the dough is hard. Like an egg. Like a football. Wait, do you have an ostrich egg? I do. It's like that. Hard and cream-colored and oval.

An egg of dough

You have to use a cool hand with the hydration at mixup because the potato releases A LOT of water, and if you've added a wee bit more than you should have then you're... well, you know what you are. The hard little egg becomes a soft and lovely dough after autolyse, and your bread is a thing of such remarkable glory. The crumb, oh, the crumb!


Anyway, a few sloppy loaves this week. Hydration too high. They were insanely delectable, but looked like the elephant man. We ate them with our eyes shut.

I baked this week's bread in our new Fourneau, which frankly, I've no idea how I've lived without for so long (Fourneau, why you take so long??)

My friend Ania calls this loaf 'Indian bread' because there are nigella seeds in it. 'Hey, what's that Indian bread you made, you know, the one with the seeds?' Layers and layers of laughter. It's a thing that I schemed up one afternoon after spying a dirty russet in my fruit bowl on the table. Potato bread is, hands down, my absolute favorite bread (I might say this about all my breads...). I contemplated this potato, baked it up, wondered what I would bring to the blog when I spotted my friend Joe's post wherein he had just baked up a potato chive thing. Joe and I are always on the same baking page, so weird, halfway across the world and we're both baking potatoes unbeknownst. Anyway, I thought, clever Joe, you know, the whole baked potato and chive thing. I began to think of the nostalgic loveliness of baked potato and allium, and I had been wanting to do a caramelized onion bread for a while so... Immediately then the little seeds popped into my head, et voila! the idea for today's bake.


It's incredible, this bread. The texture is ethereal, the flavor sublime. Nigella seeds are intriguing. The little obsidian things look like sooty sesame seeds but taste of, hold on, onion and earth. I know. Weird, right? But seriously, it's worth seeking them out. And don't cheat and use black sesame seeds for this loaf. It will not be Indian bread. It'll be onion bread with sesame seeds. Here is what my Parisian friend said after having received half of it: I rarely ate such a good bread (and I'm french). Merci! Très tendre aussi... délicieux! His name is François and he's super duper Français, so he would know since bread-savvy is sort of in his DNA.

For this loaf I used home-milled sprouted spelt for nuttiness, Giusto's flour because it's the bomb, russet potatoes (Joe uses Yukon Gold), a giant yellow onion, and Nigella, the queen of seeds. Please do not be tempted to increase the hydration at dough makeup. It WILL be a hard little egg of a thing, but trust, it will slacken to the right consistency at the finish of autolyse. In fact, the onions will increase the hydration even further, so, this dough ends up pushing hydration to the limits. Have a look at this post here if you need convincing.

With warnings in place, and Sunday at our feet, I give you Onion and Earth.

ONION AND EARTH


LEVAIN DAY

12g 100% rye starter
75g freshly stoneground sprouted spelt flour
75g h2o

Mix all of this up together until you arrive at a medium viscosity paste. Ferment until it gets loose and bubbly, active looking. Mine went for 7 hours


DOUGH DAY

400g Giusto's Artisan Bread Flour
100g freshly stoneground sprouted spelt flour
300g h2o
216g caramelized onions
150g russet potato, riced
14g nigella seeds, soaked in hot water for about an hour
10g salt

About 2.5 hours before dough mixup, bake your potato. It will take about an hour and a half to roast a huge potato, then another 45 minutes to cool and rice. You will need a potato that weighs at least 225g to arrive at the 150g that you need for this loaf. My potato was over 500g, hence the hour and a half.

When the levain has successfully fermented, dissolve it in the 300g of water then add the flours and the cooled, riced potato. Squish all of this up. The dough will be quite firm. Resist the temptation to add more water. You will be surprised after autolyse how much water the potatoes release into the dough. You can always increase hydration after autolyse if you think it needs more water. But remember, you will be adding the onions which provide hydration and make the dough a challenge to work with.

Autolyse this potato egg for 1.5 hours.

After autolyse, you will see how slack the dough has become. Squish the salt and drained nigella seeds into the dough. If your potato was not as watery as mine, now is the time to add some h2o, but do so in small increments, say, 5g - 7g at a time, but again, remember the onion factor. Trust me, it will get more extensible/slack when you start doing your turns, and you might be sorry you added all that h2o.

BULK FERMENTATION

The remainder of your bulk fermentation should be 3.5 hours (remember, we autolysed for 1.5 hours already, we always want to do 5 hours bulk TOTAL, so, if you do a shorter/longer autolyse, you would adjust the rest of the bulk according to the length of your autolyse).

A half hour after you add the salt and seeds, perform a series of turns. A half hour after this, do another series. Another half hour later, add your onions using the photos below as guidance. Rather than squishing them into the dough, we fold them in. So, lay a layer of onions over the dough, fold a flap of dough over this layer, then add more onions and repeat this folding and adding until all of the onions have been added to the dough, and you end with a flap of dough so that all of the onions are encased. I think I got mine in there with three layers of onions...

Please note how slack the dough has gotten during autolyse, from hard little egg to this...

After you've added the onions, let the dough ferment untouched for the remainder of bulk.

After the bulk, scrape the dough onto a worktable that has been dusted with rice flour. Pull in the sides to make a loose round and bench for 10 minutes.

After the bench, shape though dough into a batard (lord, I am STILL working on my batard shaping). The dough will be very soft and you may wonder if this will work at all. It will. Trust.

Pop the batard into a banneton that has been lined with a linen piece dusty with rice flour. Pop the dough into the fridge and ferment for 17 hours.

BAKE DAY

One hour before you plan to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, this that has been outfitted with your Fourneau oven (including its little door). Make sure that its been situated to one side of the oven because you will be pulling the steamed loaf out of the Fourneau after the steam and baking it out on the stone outside of the oven. (I have found that my wet doughs spread to touch the sides of the Fourneau and will burn if you leave it in there. If you are making doughs with lower hydration/smaller loaves that do not touch the sides of the oven, you may do your entire bake inside the Fourneau).


Onward.

When the oven is preheated place a triple layer piece of parchment over the mouth of the banneton (the triple layer will prevent a burned bottom), invert the dough onto a peel, or, if you have the metal tray with the silicone mat that comes with the Fourneau 2.0, invert onto this. Remove the banneton and cloth, score the dough and slide into your Fourneau oven, installing its little door. ** If using the metal tray/silicone mat, you will slide this whole thing into the Fourneau, if you don't have this, slide the dough and all its parchment layers into the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes at 500 degrees. After 15 minutes, lower the temp to 425 and bake for 15 more. After this 15, pull the loaf out of the Fourneau oven and slide it onto the stone next to it (if using the metal tray/silicone, slide that out and bake the loaf out on this, same if you are using parchment). Don't worry, the shape has set during steam. The Fourneau has captured it so that it won't spread anymore. IF you have noticed that your bread is NOT touching the sides of the oven at all, then you don't have to pull it out of the Fourneau. It can bake out where it is. 

Slide back into the oven. Potato bread browns quickly, and more so because of the sweet onions, so you may have to drop the oven temp to 400 degrees. Use your shrewd eye. Bake for another 30 minutes, or even another 40 minutes to ensure that it's baked through. The internal temp of the dough will be 210-215 degrees. Spin the dough a couple of times while it is baking for even browning. You will get a seriously caramelized crust when all is said and done. Oh man, so good!

Cool at least 2 hours before slicing.

To the staff of life!

THE EARTHY EXTRAS


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sidebar Sunday: Shortbread (and a wee bit of news)

Kamut Shortbread with a Maldon Sprinkle

Its been a rainy(ish) Los Angeles this past few weeks. And cool. Perfect weather for Desem (hint hint), cocktails in bed, Sarah Vaughan, musing lots, and baking, of course. I crave baking. It's a balm for that what ails me, and an agent that represents the intentional celebration of simple life.

I have oodles to share with you this week. And yes, I'm falling a little behind. Sidebar Sunday has decidedly turned into Wow-you're-really-late-Wednesday. But I have a good excuse. I was, whilst lying in bed sipping a Negroni, trying to decide if now was the time to share some news. Well, I've decided. Partially because of the whole accountability thing, and also because I just really want to share. You all have become my bread friends. Those of you who write to me and tell me that you've made my bread, or point out errors (there haven't been many of these, snap), or just let me know you've read something I've written, you have my heart and  my news is really for you.

Here goes.

After years of going back and forth about whether or not I should write a bread book, I've decided yes. Yes I will. So, I began the thing this past month. Setting up the scope of the beast, what I want to include, all the while wondering if you, dear reader, would be interested in such a thing. Then I realized, this isn't about anyone or anything else. This is about me. It's about an achievement that I would like to add to my list of things I have done in my life. If I get 5 books out there into the world, I'm happy with that. For me, there is nothing better than that one message that says 'hey, I tried your bread and it was great'. That makes my day.

I have a few requirements: the book will be beautiful, it will be manageable in scope, and it will be affordable for anyone who is interested in having something tangible, even though the blogs are enormous and have tons of breads for you to bake. I will be keeping both blogs up, so you never have to worry about that. There will be some things from the blog in the book, but just as many that won't make it to the blog. It will have some simple things, and yes, some more complicated things, but always, ALWAYS with the goal that it be manageable for my reader. If there is anything I loathe it's a complicated bread that takes days and insane math skills, and TABLES, ugh, I hate tables in bread books! And there are always so many tables when tables are present. Why does a bread need 4 tables? Craziness. And PS. Just. No. All we want is bread, right? We want flour and water and maybe like a teensy thing that makes us break a sweat, but if a bread has us rearranging wedding plans, then sorry bread, you are not welcome.

Onward to our Sidebar Sunday, which is to say some baking thing that doesn't have anything to do with bread (any other bread bakers bake anything besides bread? Or is that a little like asking a knitter if he/she also crochets?).

Anyway, in this case, the nothing to do with bread is shortbread. Pun absolutely intended.

If I had one cookie to take on a deserted island, it would be shortbread. Luckily for me shortbread comes in a variety of disguises, which only means I will have no shortage of cookies whilst swinging in my hammock, sipping fresh coconut water straight from the drupe, and looking over the horizon to be sure that no ship comes to my rescue. For instance, today we have one made of Kamut flour (do they have Kamut on deserted islands?) And one skulking about as some magnificent coconut-oat thing. The jury is still out whether I prefer the thin version or the fatty. Though I'm dangerously close to making room for both in my heart. After all, it takes all kinds, doesn't it?

Coconut-Oat thing

I hope this post finds all of you well. I'm so glad that the handful of you who are still here are, well, still here.

(Oh, just a heads up, I will be researching where we can get the perfect size banneton to make batards that fit our new Fourneaus. As soon as I find one worthy, I'll let you know).

xo

KAMUT-CARDAMOM SHORTBREAD WITH A MALDON SPRINKLE
(Adapted from Food52)

298g sifted Kamut flour (I used BRM organic Kamut and milled myself)
2 sticks unsalted butter, tempered
115g cane sugar (I used organic cane sugar from Trader Joe's)
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon rose flower water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
Maldon salt for sprinkling.

Preheat the ov to 325.

Oil an 11x8" tart tin with a removable bottom. I used Coconut oil, because I hate chipping off a piece of butter from a stick just to grease a pan.

Whisk together the flour, cardamom and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Beat the butter till pale, then add the sugar and beat till very fluffy. Add the rose flower water and vanilla. Beat a minute more.

Gently fold the flour into the butter mixture until just combined. Now, using gentle fingertips, press the dough evenly into your awaiting pan. Freeze for 10 minutes. After 10, pull it out of the freezer, cut it into rectangles for easier breaking after its baked (though honestly? Even after doing this, it broke apart randomly, as the cuts had sealed in baking). Sprinkle with the Maldon salt. Pop it back in the freezer for another 20 minutes.

After the freeze:  Bake for about an hour and 5 or 10 minutes.

Cool before eating. It tastes better cool.

Where is the scoring? Nowhere. That's where.

COCONUT-OAT SHORTBREAD

315g oat flour (I milled Irish steel cut oats in my Komo)
85g ground brown basmati rice flour (I ground rice in my Komo)
171g cane sugar (I used Trader Joe's organic cane sugar)
267g unsalted butter
80g toasted unsweetened coconut
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Preheat the ov to 325.

Oil a 9" cake tin with a removable bottom. I used Coconut oil, for the above mentioned reasons.

Whisk together the flours coconut and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Beat the butter till pale, then add the sugar and beat till very fluffy. Add the vanilla. Beat a minute more.

Gently fold the flour/coconut into the butter mixture until just combined. Now, using gentle fingertips, press the dough evenly into your awaiting pan. Freeze for 10 minutes. After 10, pull it out of the freezer, cut it into wedges for easier breaking after its baked. Pop it back in the freezer for another 20 minutes.

After the freeze: Bake until golden around the edges and set in the center. It will take more than an hour. I can't remember how long it took, but it was like an hour and fifteen minutes? Maybe longer? But check after an hour.

Cool before eating. It tastes better cool.

SaveSave

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Fourneau Oven & A New Batard

Fourneau Bread Oven, and my very first batard

How long have I been writing this blog. Yeah, yeah, the hiatus. I know. BUT, how long have I been writing this blog and NO batard? Forever long, that's how long. I do have one crazy thing that I tried to call a batard posted somewhere. The name of the post might be 'bread fail', and it might be on my other blog the Tartine Bread Experiment. But today, dear reader, I give you batard, a real batard.


Rosemary-Fontina Batard

It's not so much the bread formula that matters here, rather, the shape of the thing and how I got there. Although I am including the formula below. It was a 'throw together' bread, but man did it come out smashingly, so, I'll share it with you (smile emoji).

UPDATE: Hey everyone! I have a code for you to use. If you want to purchase the oven, click here to go to Fourneau's site, and apply this code at checkout GMRFOURNEAU15 for 15% off your order. Woohoo!

OK, so, you all know how hard it is to make a batard. Your best shaping, your best intentions, and the thing puddles in the oven like nobody's business because you just can't get the steam situation worked out. And yo! I have tried it ALL, from lava rocks, to squirt bottles, to ice cubes in a hot pan, to hot wet towels. Every one of these 'methods' ended in horrible failure for me, some of them perilously so. Like, lava rocks? Seriously dangerous! You toss ice water on them and they sputter in your face and burn your eyelids, and to drive the point home, they snuff out the pilot light. Many a time have I reached my naked arm into the back of a 500 degree oven to relight it with images of the thing blowing up in my face, and always, always this ends with burned arms and knuckles and days of blisters and cold showers. Squirt bottles are just silly. Dozens of burned towels with the wadded-up-wet-towel situation, and ice cubes in a hot pan is tantamount to a chemical peel, but without the radiant skin results. And damned if I'm ruining my $300 Staub for a loaf of bread. I love you bread, but puhleeze.

I have been praying that someone, please dear cast iron gods, someone brilliant make up an oval combo cooker. In the height of a bread revolution, you would think, right? Someone? Anyone?

Crickets.

So round it is. Round. Round. ROUND loaves of bread! Again, bread, love ya, but damn I'm bored.

So one day I'm lying in bed, right, thinking of bread (of course), and in an unprovoked, angry fit I shouted 'someone has got to come up with an oval combo cooker!' I'm not kidding. It was a moment of out of the blue madness. I went online and typed in that very sentence, and what would happen? The sky opened up, that's what happened. The clouds parted, angels came tumbling out of the cosmos and handed me this beautiful cast iron gem:

Fourneau Bread Oven

OMG. Fourneau... will you marry me? I am on my knees in love.

I ordered my little oven (get yours here), got it Monday, and today, today I pulled out the most beautiful bread I have made in years. It kept the batard shape, as I hoped it would, the crust was sublime, the crumb was as wide open as the sky that this little beauty fell from, and it is as easy to work with as a simple combo cooker. Man alive. I want two. I want two so I can make twin loaves. Dear reader, this thing is the best thing that has happened to my bread life since my Komo mill.

The Fourneau crumb

I must admit, because I am so used to making les boules, my batard shaping skills are wanting. I did the best that I could, (heaven forbid I should simply open one of my 50 bread books to figure it out) but I promise I'll keep working on it so I can post prettier loaves with mirrored ends. Don't judge.

But back to my little oven.

Who is Fourneau? They are a dynamic duo who own Strand Design, a Chicago based company that crafts beautiful things using sustainably sourced and locally manufactured materials. They created Fourneau for us, the serious novices who bake bread, who know bread, and who have been longing for something like this forever. The first loaf I pulled from this contraption came out as perfectly as the batard of my dreams, and I would never have been able to make this without it. No more nights pining away for a $50K professional steam oven just so I can make a batard.

The Fourneau requires zero learning curve. It works just like the combo cooker, so you can seamlessly transition from round 😴 to batard 🤩 without having to take a quantum physics course first. You just pop it in the oven an hour before you plan to bake, load up your dough, close the little door, and the magic happens. If you don't already have one, you are going to need a genuine batard shaped banneton. No getting around it. It took me an hour to come up with something that would hold my dough properly, and I ended up sacrificing an old oblong tupperware container. Not sexy at all. And I almost took some fingers off slicing the ends of the thing open with an Xacto knife.


I have included links Fourneau's beautifully and simply designed website. I honestly cannot praise this device high enough. I got their 2.0 version, which comes with a plateau baking tray, silicone baking mat, and cast iron handle to keep your bottoms from going dark. But you really need to also get the wooden peel. Because it's bomb/super sexy. If you can, you should grab one before summer (honestly, you will want two, so if it's in your budget...), and please, please write me and tell me you've gotten it, and how your bread comes out. I have a feeling round 😖 combo cookers far and wide are going to be taking forced sabbaticals.

Here's the formula for my very first real batard. Hooray! My little Fourneau!

ROSEMARY-FONTINA BATARD

MAKE YOUR LEVAIN
For the levain, you will need

75g freshly milled whole wheat flour*
75g h2o
12g 100% hydration, 100% rye starter

Mix together your levain ingredients and ferment in a large enough bowl to hold tomorrow's dough. Mine fermented for 8 hours.

DOUGH DAY
For the dough, you will need

All of the levain
367g h2o
426g Giusto's Artisan flour*
74g freshly milled whole wheat flour**
10g kosher salt, I used Diamond
120g fontina cheese (use the real stuff), cubed
5g whole, fresh rosemary leaves

*You can use Bob's Red Mill Artisan, King Arthur All Purpose, or whatever bread flour you usually use. But Giusto's is the best. Just sayin'.

**I use Great River Milling Co.'s hard red spring wheat berries, but you can totally use whatever whole wheat flour you have on hand. It just won't be as good. Kidding.


When your levain is properly fermented, add the h2o and flours to the bowl holding it, and mix everything together until you reach a shaggy mass. 

Autolyse for 1 hour 30 minutes. After the autolyse, squish the salt and rosemary into the dough until it's fully incorporated work the dough into a smooth mass. Now it's time for the 3 hour 30 minute bulk fermentation. Here you will perform a series of turns every half-hour for the first hour and a half taking care not to deflate the dough. The last of these turns, you will fold in the cheese (photographed below). Leave it be for the final 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a workspace dusted with some freshly milled brown rice flour. Shape into a loose batard. Let it rest on the bench for 10 minutes, then shape into a tight batard

Pop into a batard shaped banneton or some reasonable facsimile thereof, seam side up.  Chuck it in the fridge and ferment. Mine went for 21 hours 30 minutes.

BAKE DAY

Preheat the oven to 500 with a Fourneau oven and baking stone inside.

Invert the banneton over a peel -- either the plateau baking tray with silicone baking mat, or the wood peel that you've purchased, which fits perfectly into the mouth of the Fourneau oven -- seam side down.

Slash the dough down its center. Slide it into Fourneau oven. Close the little iron door, and steam for 15 minutes at this temp. Then turn the oven down to 475 and steam for another 15 minutes.

After the steam, remove the little door from the Fourneau oven and bake out till a thermometer inserted into the center of the batard reads 210 degrees. You will have to toggle the heat between 425 and 450 degrees, depending on how much of your cheese oozed out. The cheese will burn quickly, so, you will have to err on the side of lower temp if you have major ooze.

Cool on a wire rack for at least two hours before slicing.

To the staff of life!

DOUGH DAY
 Squish the salt and rosemary into the dough.

Sprinkle a third of the cheese over the dough, fold a flap of dough over that, prinkle with another third, fold another flap of dough over that, repeat with the last third, and encase the last of the cheese in a flap of dough so that it's all concealed within the dough.

(Feel free to contact me and chastise me about my unresearched batard shaping skills)

 When the dough has finished its bulk, scrape the dough onto a clean counter.

  Fold one third of it over the center third.

 Fold the final third over the center of the dough.

 Then fold the bottom half of the dough up past the center of the dough.

 And fold the small flap of dough down over that to make a neat package. Rest for 10 minutes.

After the bench, I rolled the dough into an even tighter batard by bringing the long sides over one another. 

Pop into a well-floured banneton.

BAKE DAY
Shape and slash the dough.

THE HEADSHOTS
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