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.

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5 comments:

  1. Hi have you ever made kumut pastry crust and if so can you make a recipe post blog...:(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not. But would be willing to. :)

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  2. Goals! Congratulations on yours. It's a good one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your well wishes!
      xo

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  3. I am very pleased you're writing a bread book, Francis! I could say, "It's about time!" You are a natural and you have a lot to offer and I can't wait to see it!

    ReplyDelete

Hey. So, I answer all comments, but it might take me a few days. Sit tight, and I will get back to you as soon as I can!