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Hot Rocks Bread ~Persian Pebble Bread~BBB

Persian Pebble Bread~Hot Rocks Bread~

Wild Naan Sangak
adapted from our recipe for Wild Naan, and the recipe for Persian Pebble Bread in “Taste of Persia” by Naomi Duguid

makes one long bread

Have I ever said Baking Bread is an Adventure…? Well, if I have failed to tell you such, let me just be sure to iterate it loud and clear now. Baking Bread is an Adventure! Baking Bread is an Adventure! Baking Bread is an Adventure!

Plenty of rocks here. Which ones do I use…

Elizabeth, our Kitchen of the Month, was very up front as to the rock being involved in the recipe she was considering. She says she more or less forced us into this recipe. I thought we all pretty much thought this sounded like a great idea. So here we go, off to find rocks…what kind of rocks. Oh, you know, pebbles, river rocks. Elizabeth found her’s at a garden store. The stores around here seemed either not to know what I was asking for or they were sold out. So I looked for an alternate source.

The business we’ve worked with for driveway gravel and excavation seemed like a good place to try. Try explaining to an excavator/concrete mixer fellow how you’d like to purchase enough small rocks, pebbles, fairly smooth to cover the bottom of a half sheet pain. It did make it easier to explain that I took my sheet pan with me. Jim Beckman gave me directions to the gravel pile and I drove out, parked in front of it, climbed up the gravel, sat down and hand picked each rock. Big gravel, dirt and cement trucks rolled by as I filled my sheet pan. I got several looks but no one stopped to ask what I was doing.

Hot Rocks Bread (renamed from Elizabeth’s Wild Naan Sangak and the recipe for Persian Pebble Bread in “Taste of Persia” by Naomi Duguid)

makes one long bread

My Rye Sourdough Starter

Leavener

• 50 grams rye sourdough culture 100% hydration

• 50 grams room temperature water

• 50 grams ‘no-additives’ 100% whole wheat flour

  Leavener, continued (optional for hot weather baking)

• all of the above

• 15 grams room temperature water

• 15 grams ‘no-additives’ 100% whole wheat flour

  Actual Dough

• 320 grams unbleached organic all-purpose flour (I mixed white whole wheat, spelt and AP flour all organic.)

• 5 grams wheat germ

• 15 ground flax seed

• 180 grams room temperature water

• 25 grams plain Greek yoghurt

• 15 grams (1 Tbsp) olive oil

• All of the leavener, when it floats – showing that it’s as strong as it can be

• 8 grams salt + 5 grams water

  Shaping

• flat bottomed cookie sheet

• water

  Topping, optional

• sesame seeds

1. Leavener Late in the evening on the day before you will be making naan sangak, put a spoonful of culture from the fridge into a small bowl. Stir in 50 grams water and 50 grams whole wheat flour. Cover with a plate and put into the cold oven (if the night temperatures are cool, turn the oven light on) to leave overnight.

2. Leavener, continued In the morning of the day you will be making naan sangak, particularly if the weather is warm, take a small spoonful of the leavener and see if it floats in a bowl of cool water. If the starter is quite bubbly but that little amount sinks, stir 15 grams water and 15 grams whole wheat flour into the bowl from the previous night. Cover with a plate and leave until about noon. If the kitchen is cool, omit this step and proceed to the next one. I do apologize Elizabeth, I guess I just have great faith/trust in my rye starter and skipped this.

3. Actual Dough On the day you will be making naan sangak, check to see if the leavener floats in a small bowl of cool water. If the leavener is domed but it doesn’t float, wait for 30 minutes or so and try again. If the leavener is bubbly but flat or concave on the surface, stir in about 5 grams each of whole wheat flour and water. Cover with a plate and leave it on the counter out of draughts. Check again again for floating about 20-30 minutes later. It will probably float. Proceed with making the actual dough.

4. Using a bowl that is large enough for the dough to triple, sift flour in. Whisk in wheat germ. Add 180 grams water, yoghurt, olive oil, and all of the leavener. Using a dough whisk or wooden spoon, stir just enough to mix it together. Cover with a plate and leave on counter for about 20 minutes. Here I felt the dough was sticky and stiff.

5. Kneading and adding the salt: Whisk salt and 5 grams water into a small bowl and pour on top of the dough. Wash your hands and leave one hand wet. With the back of your hand against the side of the bowl, reach down into the bowl to the bottom of the dough and pull it up to the fold it over the top. Turn the bowl with your other hand and repeat 4 or 5 times. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside on the counter for about 20 minutes. The addition of the water and salt and the dough began to loosen a little and was slightly less sticky.

6. Repeat the previous step 2 or 3 times more. You’ll notice that the dough is smooth and silky to the touch. It may also be quite slack. Don’t be overly concerned. Slack is good. Each time I folded the dough, I dipped my hands in water which resulted in a beautifully smooth silky dough.

This is my abacus: each time I fold the dough, I flip up one measuring spoon and set my phone timer for the next otherwise I’d be a lost case.

7. Proofing: Cover with a plate and leave on the counter. (Check the dough from time to time as the afternoon progresses into evening. Wet your hands and gently fold it whenever it has doubled. I did this once.

8. Preheating the Stones: Around dinnertime on the day you will be baking the bread, put the cookie tray of stones into

Loved the sesame seeds. The rosemary was lost.

◦ the barbecue on a pizza stone over direct heat, close the lid, and turn it to high.

◦ the oven on the middle shelf of the oven set at 450F. This is the way I baked the HOT ROCKS BREAD.

◦ Shaping: While the stones are preheating, use the palms of you hands to slather water over the bottom of another cookie tray. Turn the risen dough onto the tray (the dough will still be pretty slack). Wet your hands again and gently guide and flatten the dough into a rectangle, making sure that one end of the rectangle is very close to the narrow side of the tray. Gently lift the bread up and down again to make sure it is not stuck to the pan. Evenly scatter sesame seeds (if using) on top.

◦ Baking: When the stones are hot hot hot, carry the tray of dough and tip it at the back edge of the tray of hot stones. DO NOT TOUCH THE STONES WITH YOUR HANDS! The dough should begin to slide off the back of the wet tray. If it does not, gently nudge any part that is sticking with a thumb or finger. Gently pull the dough tray back towards the front of the barbecue to stretch the dough onto the hot stones. Once the dough is on the stones, it WILL stick for the first part of baking. Don’t even imagine you can rearrange the dough. “Slowly tip the plate so that the dough begins sliding off of the wet plate onto the pebbles. Gently pull the plate back in a smooth slow motion as the rest of the dough slides and lands on the pebbles. Help it along the way but make sure you don’t touch the hot pebbles! Once the dough is on the pebbles do not attempt to rearrange it, as it will already be stuck to the stones.” – Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef | Naan Sangak – Persian flatbread
Close the lid of the barbecue if using. (Use direct and indirect heat on the barbecue.)

Sticky Rocks! Loosen with knock from a knife handle.

I considered oiling the rocks to perhaps minimize sticking. My first bake I used water on the bottom of a sheet pan. There was no slide to this method: I lifted an edge and by tilting the pan sharply the dough laid onto the rocks. Virtually every rock that touched the bread stuck to the bread. The rocks were easily knocked off with the end of a knife. For my second bake, I dusted the sheet pan with semolina like when I do pizza. The dough easily slide off and only one rock stuck to the bread. However there were a couple of places where the semolina was thicker and showed a build up. I brushed the excess off before serving.

It takes 5-10 minutes to bake the bread. My bread took about 20 minutes to bake. Turn the tray around from time to time to account for uneven heat in the barbecue and oven. USE OVEN MITTS!! To check to see if the bread is done, use blunt-nosed tongs to gently lift the bread from the stones. Some of the stones may stick to the bread. Don’t worry about that. Enough of the stones will fall off onto the tray to let you check for doneness.

Lovely.

◦ cooling slightly: When the bread is done, bring it inside on its tray of hot stones. Some of the stones will remain attached to the bread. Once the bread cools for about 5 minutes, the stones can be dislodged relatively easily with oven mitts or a spoon. BE CAREFUL!! THE STONES ARE STILL VERY HOT! If the stones are extremely reluctant to release themselves, it seems to indicate that the bread has not quite finished baking; simply bake it a little longer and try again.

Use a pizza wheel to cut the de-stoned bread and serve it immediately with Persian stews, Indian-style curries, chili con carne, soup…. It’s good with grilled vegetables too. I feel it was more interesting and fun to just break a piece off. Served to several friends, this was lovely with cheese or avocado or artichoke or salami or well you get the idea.

And we know that you can’t wait to heat up those river stones on a tray so you can make Naan Sangak too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site, post about your Persian Pebble Bread adventure in the next couple of weeks (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 August 2021. 

Here’s how to let us know:

  • email me
    » Remember to include your name and a link to your post
    » Please type “BBB August 2021 bread” in the subject heading

HOT ROCKS MAKE LIFE BEAUTIFUL!!

Bake it up!


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BBB ~ Green Tea and Orange Loaf

Saint Patrick’s Day or Spring this is the CELEBRATION BREAD to CHEER!!

This is a naturally-leavened loaf made with matcha green tea powder and flavored with candied orange peel and orange blossom water. It doesn’t include any extra sweetener which neither Cathy nor I thought it needed.
It is a beautiful green color before baking and becomes a lighter green after baking.  

LEARNED: 
Again: homemade is better.
DO NOT wear your favorite white while messing with matcha … unless you want it to be green which is fine for St Patrick’s Day.
150 grams of orange peel will probably make prettier loaves but with less orange sweetness.
Allow the homemade orange peel to dry at least 24 hours or more.  Plan ahead to made it several days in advance.  I used Cathy candied orange peel process found here (https://www.breadexperience.com/making-candied-orange-peel/)  

My first bake I used a total of 510 grams flours made up of 255 grams organic AP, 100 grams white whole wheat and 155 grams bread.
My second bake I used 260 grams organic AP and 250 grams white whole wheat. 
While both bakes gave me dense loaves, I believe the bread flour bake gave me a slightly less dense loaf. 


CANDIED ORANGE PEEL: 
When I was in high school, I remember my mother making candied grapefruit peel to give as Christmas gifts one year. Her comment was it was spectacular, certainly the most spectacular thing she had ever made and she would never do it again…and she didn’t. I will tell you I cursed most of the five hours it took for me to remove the pith from the rind.  I followed Cathy’s candied orange peel recipe HERE. The orange peel I bought was dramatically fatter (contained lots of pith). It was bitter when tasted alone and much less sweet when baked in the bread.  Still, the friend I gave a loaf of the second bake loved the bread.  Would I do it again … maybe, it would depend on how gracious I was feeling.
When I used the homemade orange peel, I baked with it the following morning. Kneaded in, it caused the dough to come apart and took considerable time to come back together. 

Cathy admonished us not to cheat on the orange peel. Being the Babe I am of course I had to increase what was called for in the recipe. Yes I used 200 grams. The increased amount made it harder to incorporate it into the dough and probably caused a more rustic and rougher surface (less pretty) but I think the addition was worth the exponential increase in taste.
The first bake I added the matcha with the salt. It took considerable kneading to get an even distribution. The second bake I added the matcha with the flour.  I will add it to the flour from now on and have changed the directions to reflect that.

Green Tea and Orange Loaf

Recipe From: Cathy (breadexperience) Adapted from The Larousse Book of Bread by Eric Kayser
Yield: 4 small loaves 
Levain
50 grams all-purpose flour
50 grams water
25 grams sourdough starter (I used 100% hydration starter)

Final Dough
500 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
250 – 300 grams water, divided 125, 125, 50
10 grams salt + 15-20 grams water
30 grams olive oil
25 grams orange flower water
10 grams (2 tsp) matcha tea powder
150 grams candied orange peel, chopped or finely diced

There are two ways to incorporate the starter in this bread. 
1) Feed your sourdough starter the evening before you plan to bake, let it rest overnight at warm room temperature, then use 100 grams of the fed sourdough in your loaf.   If you choose do use the fed starter without creating a levain, you may need less water. Cathy actually used more water with this method.  
2) Create a levain.  This method is presented below. 

Levain

In the evening of the day before making the bread: Place the starter, flour and water in a small bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is stirred in well.
Cover the bowl with a plate, or bees wrap, and let it rest overnight in a warm place.

Final Dough


1. Pour 125 grams water, orange blossom water and olive oil over the levain.  
Mix completely to break up the levain.

2. In a large bowl, add the flour and matcha.  
Pour the levain/water mixture over the flour and mix to incorporate.  Add the rest of the water, gradually, and as needed to fully hydrate the dough.  I used the 300 grams.

Cover, and let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes, then sprinkle the salt over the top and dissolve it with 15 grams of warm water.

3. Cover, let rest for 30 minutes, then fold in the candied orange peel and knead the dough until it becomes smooth, and elastic.   
Add more water if the dough starts to tear.  My dough tore horribly and required more kneading to come back together.
Note: Cathy’s dough was sticky after adding the candied orange peel and almost too dry up until that point. My dough never seemed dry.
Shape into a ball, cover, proof for 2 hours.  Stretch and fold the dough after 1st hour.  Let rest for final hour.  It should increase in volume by the end of the final proof.

4. Remove the dough to a lightly dusted work surface.  Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, about 300 grams each.  Cathy’s divided into 260 grams each.  
Shape into balls, cover with a dish towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

5. Roll the dough pieces between your hands to create tension, and form smooth and well-rounded boules.
Place the loaves, seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cover with a damp cloth and let proof for 1 hour 15 minutes.  I allowed mine to proof for 2 hours. I put the four loaves on parchment and covered them with a large stainless steel bowl that also then was used to cover them in the oven. 

6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. with a baking stone on the bottom shelf . 
Score the loaves in a crosshatch pattern (or the pattern of your choice).
Transfer the loaves on the parchment to the preheated oven.  Then place covering pan/bowl on top.  
Bake for 18 minutes.  Mine took an additional 16 minutes to come to an internal temperature of 200°F.  Whole grains take longer to bake.  Don’t burn them.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Would you like to bake with us?

Bread Experience is the host kitchen for March, and would love for you to make this Green Tea and Orange Loaf with us!  You’ll get your own Buddy Badge!  Plus a delicious bread to enjoy.

Bread Submission Guidelines:

  • Just bake your version of this bread and post about it on your blog (by March 29th).
  • If you don’t have a blog, no worries, just post a photo in the Bread Baking Babes Facebook Group
  • Mention Bread Baking Babes with a link to the Kitchen of the Month, that’s – Cathy of Bread Experience.
  • Then send an email to breadexperience (at) gmail (dotcom) with BBB Green Tea and Orange Loaf, and Cathy will send you your Buddy badge to display on your blog.

If you make your own or buy the candied orange peel, I know you will enjoy this bread!! Go for it.


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BBB ~Birotes Salados ~ Mexican Sourdough Rolls

Recipe By: Karen: Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Yield: 8 rolls

Our lovely Kitchen of the Month for this toasty July was Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories.  Karen’s choice came from a very exciting new book “Bread on the Table by David Norman. I am very happy to have her introduce us to both this recipe and this book.

We loved eating these rolls. We loved the very untraditional use of BLT sandwiches I made with them. I will make these again. But for the life of me I could not bring myself to do that massive Wake Up Feed for Your Starter because then I would have no idea what to do with all that 500 grams of starter that didn’t go into the Final Feed. I did my 50, 50 feed and used 20 grams of that in the Final Feed.
For some reason this recipe reminded me of Julia Child’s line about “you’re not standing around holding hands with the dough” … I actually thought I was holding hands with this dough for a number of steps. All that stretch and fold, it’s worth it.

I very much liked the idea of adding some citrus to these and so I squeezed a lemon and used the juice to brush these after shaping and before slashing. I baked these in two batches in the oven. The second baking rose a little more and got darker indicating to me I rushed more than I should have baking the first batch. These are slow rising, give the wild yeast time to do their thing.

Wake Up Feed for Your Starter
200 grams (7 ounces) sourdough starter, because you will be feeding it twice, it doesn’t matter what hydration it is to begin with.
200 grams (1 1/2 cups) all-purposed flour
120 grams (1/2 cup) lukewarm water (90 degrees F)
Final Feed
20 grams (1 tablespoon) of the “wake up feed”
270 grams (2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) of all-purpose flour
175 grams (3/4 cup) Mexican lager beer (I used Sam Adams)
Final Dough
230 grams all-purpose flour, (total flours in cups = 3 1/3 cups) 
200 grams white whole wheat flour
20 grams (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar, I omitted
18 grams (1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon) salt
All of the starter
212 grams (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) water
Extra flour for dusting

Mix the “wake up feed” in a clean bowl with your fingers, cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel, and let ferment for 8 to 10 hours.

I refreshed my starter and skipped the above: Mix the final feed ingredients with your hand until well incorporated. Cover and let ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.

Whisk together the flour, and salt in a large bowl or dough rising bucket. Divide the starter into small pieces and add it to the dry ingredients. Add the water and blend everything together with your hands. “Stir, squeeze, and pinch” the dough ingredients together until the dough comes together. You can use your dough scraper to help incorporate everything. This process should take about 2 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and stretch, fold, and flip the dough about 5 times.

Form the dough into a rough ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Lightly flour your work surface and place the dough, seam side up, onto the surface. Gently flatten the dough into a 2 inch thick circle. Stretch and fold the dough from all four “sides.”

Flip the dough over and form it into a ball, return it to the bowl, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Repeat the stretch-and-fold process three more times at 15 minute intervals.

After the final stretch and fold, place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, until doubled.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface with the smooth side down. Gently flatten until the dough is about 2 inches thick. Gently stretch and fold one side of the dough about half way over the dough. Turn the dough, and repeat from all four “sides.”

Flip the dough over, seam side down, and form the dough into a ball.

Return the ball to the bowl, seam side up, and cover until doubled, about an hour.

Lightly flour your work surface.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, about 150 grams each. Form each piece into a ball. Press each ball into a rough rectangle and then fold fold each “side” over each other to create a cylinder. Using your hands, roll each cylinder back and forth until you have an eight inch long roll with tapered ends.

Heat your oven to 475 degrees F with a baking stone and steam pan.

Place the rolls, seam side up, side-by-side lengthwise, between the folds of a couche or flour dusted tea towel to proof. Cover with plastic wrap or another towel for about 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy and airy, but not doubled.

You will probably need to bake these in two batches unless you have two ovens.

Place the risen rolls onto parchment paper on top of a pizza peel, seam side down with space in between. Add 2 cups of boiling water to your steam pan and close the oven door to let it get steamy.

Score the rolls with a sharp knife or lame the length of the roll down the center with the blade at an angle.

Place the loaves on the stone, along with the parchment, and close the oven door. If you like, you can also spray the oven with more water to get it extra steamy.

Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes. They should be deep golden brown and hollow sounding.

Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the rolls.
These are traditionally filled with pulled pork and lots of the au jus … not the kind of sandwich I needed for a boat ride. That’s why you see I made BLT’s. They were marvelous!!

If you bake along, just drop Karen an email(find her here) and she’ll put you in a roundup after the 1st of August. Please use BBB Buddy as the subject line. 


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BBB Champagne Baba ~ Bread Baking Babe’s Bundt Babas

Our indomitable Lien is Kitchen of the Month and she brought us a wonderful not to sweet festive holiday bread.  Thank you a BBBBB times over!

BBBBB … Yes, that would be Bread Baking Babe’s Bundt Babas! And these are simple (just go step by step), fun (when is it not fun to poke, poke and poke your food) and visually festive!

Why did these take me so long to actually get to baking?  A pan, what pan could I find to bake them in? Yes, I know a loaf pan would have served perfectly well but that’s not really special.

I think most of the Babes like these best small and I would love to try little small ones but who knows where my pans might be packed. Small ones just couldn’t happen this time for me.
I think these are great for the holidays. I baked them twice today and they made welcome little gifts especially as small bundts!

Lots of ways to change these around flavor, fruit jam wise and liquid wise.  They are so worth it.

Champagne Baba

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


sponge:
100 grams water
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar, omitted
100 grams bread flour
dough:
180 grams bread flour
½ teaspoon fine salt
¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast
1,5 teaspoon vanilla sugar, teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
90 grams melted butter
soaking syrup:
150 grams sugar
177 grams water
120 grams champagne (or Asti Spumante or fruit juice)
200 grams apricot jam (or use a sugar glaze)

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients for the sponge together in a large bowl (the one you’ll be kneading the dough in). Now sprinkle 180 g bread flour over the sponge, so it is covered and leave to rest for about 1 hour.

2. Now add the salt, ¼ tsp dry yeast, vanilla sugar and eggs. Start to mix this. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. When it comes together after a few minutes, add the melted (and slightly cooled) butter and keep working it. The dough is a bit batter like, but be sure to get some gluten developed.

3. Place it in the moulds. You can use a loaf tin or a round baking form (I used 3 mini bundt pans), filled about half way up. Cover with plastic and leave to rise until 2-3 cm under the rim of the mould. Mine took about 90 minutes in warm spot.

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4. Don’t forget to preheat the oven to 180ºC (350-360ºF).

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5. Heat and stir the champagne/Spumante until the sugar dissolves and thickens slightly.

6. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, until golden brown on top. If the bread gets too dark too soon, protect the top with a sheet of tin foil. Check the temperature in the bread with a thermometer, it should be about 93ºC.
Take out of the oven and the tin and place on a deep dish. Poke the bread with a long wooden skewer from top to bottom. Brush the syrup all over it, and get as much as possible inside the bread, so take your time. Collect the syrup from the plate and keep pouring and brushing it, until all in absorbed in the bread.
Now heat the apricot jam in a small pan and let it boil, add a little water if it is too thick. Brush or pour it over the top. You can also opt for a simple sugar glaze. This topping keeps the moisture in.

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And no doubt you wonder why my apricot “jam” is so thick … because it’s not jam, I couldn’t go running 20 miles to the nearest store in a foot of snow and ice so I made a “jam” out of the Asti Spumante and dried apricots. Oh, yes it was tasty.
7. The baba is best eaten on the day that it’s baked. But if not, keep in the fridge.

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They’re not difficult to make, so have a go and bake these for Christmas or as a delicious in-between for new years eve. Become our Bread Baking Buddy, mix, bake, post and enjoy this recipe and let us know how they turned out. Send you details to Lien (notitievanlien (at) gmail (dot) com) and Lien will send you the Bread Baking Buddy Badge for your efforts to place with our post, if you like. Please have your entries send in before the end of the year.
BBBuddies are not very active lately, but if there are any of course she’ll make a round up. Happy Baking…. and remember you only need a little champagne for this, so you can party with what’s left in the bottle. Happy baking and Happy holidays! 🎄🎄🎄
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Late to the Party ~ Asparagus Salmon

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We found this extraordinarily impressive.

Asparagus Salmon

Recipe By: Michel Richard
Serving Size: 4

CUT BEFORE BAKING otherwise the cuts flake the fish and it looks ragged.
I cut the salmon from the end,  laid the salmon on one half and then folded it over.  Directions below describe a much more complicated process.  I think if i had a knife with double shape edges, the tunnel idea would be easy to execute.  Short of that, I’ll try either a boneing knife or a fish knife and try for a tunnel.
We really enjoyed this.  Without the asparagus stuffed, this is just ordinary excellent salmon.  Stuffed it is ordinary excellent salmon with WOW presentation.  Well worth the minimal effort if you knead or just desire WOW.

This is the first I’ve heard of Michel Richard who died in 2016.  Thomas Keller wrote the forward for this book.  Keller has tremendous praise for Michel Richard, so much so that I’m very sorry I didn’t come on to him much sooner.  The book is full of doable recipes that are WOW presentations, it also has many recipes that I would never attempt. But I love the book and would rate it 5 starts.

IMG_2477
* FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
* 4 asparagus spears, peeled, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
* 1/4 cup water
* 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional to brush the salmon
* 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
* Juice of 1/2 lemon
* Pinch sugar
* Salt
* FOR THE SALMON
* 20 (24 ounces) equally sized asparagus spears, peeled
* 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped tarragon
* Salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 (20 ounces) 8- to 9-inch-long skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut, pin bones removed

Directions:

1. For the vinaigrette: Combine the asparagus pieces, water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool; transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Place in a bowl and add the mustard, lemon juice, sugar and the remaining olive oil. Season lightly with salt. Whisk until emulsified.

2. For the salmon: Have a large bowl of ice water ready.
I microwaved the asparagus for 3 minutes with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.  When it is ready,  place it in the ice water to stop the cooking.
When cooled, remove from the ice water and lay the asparagus on a long piece of heavy plastic wrap. Sprinkle with the chopped tarragon, then season lightly with salt and pepper, rolling the spears to coat evenly with the seasonings.
If you make a tunnel through the salmon:  Bundle the spears so that half their tips point one way and half the other, and encase the asparagus in the wrap. Tie one end of the bundle with kitchen twine, and tether it to a table knife along its length.

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3. Place the fillet on a work surface and use a long, thin knife to cut a center pocket through to the other cut side. Work slowly and carefully. Essentially, you are cutting a tunnel through the length of the fillet, leaving at least a 1/2-inch wall uncut on each side.

4. Using the tethered table knife as a guide, carefully pull the asparagus bundle through the pocket. Unwind the ends of the plastic, slide the wrap from around the asparagus and discard. The salmon should now look like a stuffed log. Place it on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

5. Carefully cut the stuffed salmon log into four equal cross-sectioned pieces. If the log pieces are not tight, tie each one around the circumference with kitchen twine to hold it together. (Be sure to remove the twine after the fish is grilled.) Brush each piece with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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6. Bake the salmon 30 minutes at 400°.

7. Spoon some of the vinaigrette on the center of each plate. Using a wide spatula, carefully transfer the salmon pieces to individual serving plates. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette on the side.


5 Comments

Pain Bouillie or Porridge Bread

The Village Baker introduces this bread in the following way:

“Whenever you see a French recipe that begins with the instructions “Faire une boiullie…” you know you have come across a very old recipe because it starts off with a mush made by pouring boiling water over flour.  The mush, which will ferment slightly overnight, is used the next day mixed into a bread.  The most fascinating recipe I have heard of for pain bouillie is one from the Alpine region of France around the town of Villar-d’Aréne.  The bouillie is made with dark rye flour and set aside to rest for seven hours.  The porridge is then mixed into a dough, without any yeast, and allowed to rest for another seven hours.  When the dough is finally made into loaves, they are placed in an oven that has already been used for bread and so the temperature is only about 200ºF.  The loaves bake for seven hours and the process produces a moist, dense, completely sourdough bread that last well over six months – or so the story goes.  The bread is traditionally made in November and it keeps best when stored in wine cellars and hay lofts.”

Now that is the kind of bread I really do love to wrap my brain around and then even my schedule … BUT (ah yes there is that proverbial but) I am just way beyond incredibly grateful to Kelly (A Messy Kitchen) for searching out such a wonderfully accessible alternative.  And I’m incredibly grateful to Joe Ortiz in The Villiage Baker for putting this one together. I do enjoy that book.  Perhaps one day I can bake the above Faire one boiullie but right now my life is too far out of control to do that.

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This bread got me back to baking with my Babes and put butter back on good bread!

I can’t remember when I ever weighted a loaf of bread I bake but I think I need to start.  When I looked at this recipe yield of 2 loaves 14 oz each, it gave me considerable pause. 

The contrast between weight and volume can be dramatic.  Think about those plastic wrapped White Wonder loaves, maybe 90% air and the rest library paste.  This does not bake a brick but it does not have that Wonder loaf volume either.

I loved the caraway!  And the raisin paste while unique, does add just the right subtle sweetness to this.  The original recipe called for measuring the raisins in a tablespoon … that just seems wrong to me.  How do you put raisins in a tablespoon to measure them?  So I didn’t.  But, I did weigh the small handful I put in so that I would know what I used the next time.  Starting this in a cold oven requires less anticipatory planning and so worked really well for my totally scatter brain of the moment.

Pain Bouillie or Porridge Bread

Recipe By: Kelly (Hobby Baker) A Messy Kitchen via The Village Baker

Yield: 2  14 oz loaves

Ingredients:

The Bouillie (Porridge)

10 grams (10 ml) honey

1¾ cups (414 ml) boiling water

140 grams organic rye flour , I used dark stone ground

1 cup rye chops from KAF, barley flakes or rye chops

The dough:

1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

45 grams warm water

All of the bouillie from the previous step

2 teaspoons fine sea salt 

2 teaspoons caraway seeds, heaping

30 grams raisins – yellow

140 grams organic white whole wheat, original total (250 g) unbleached white or all purpose

140  grams organic AP flour

Directions:

1. To make the porridge starter (bouillie):  Mix the honey into the boiling water until dissolved.  Pour it over the rye flour and grain in a bowl.  Let it soak for a few minutes, then give it a stir to make sure all the flour is moistened.  Cover the bowl and set aside overnight in a warm area.

2. For the dough:  You’ll note that the original recipe calls to desolve yeast in a little water … I poured the water over the bouillie and whisk the yeast into the flour.  Put all of the porridge (bouillie) into a madium bowl or stand mixer and mix in the salt.  Crush the caraway seeds with a mortan and pestle until fragrant and broken.  Add the raisins and grind into a paste.  Stir the last 1 tbsp water into the caraway/raisin paste.  Add 2 tsp of the resulting caraway flavoring into the porridge.  Slowly add 1½ cups flour, mixing in on low speed or with a plastic dough scraper.  Mix in the yeast.  Continue adding the remaining flour slowly until the dough is a medium firm consistency.  Knead for 5-8 minutes, adding a little more white flour if necessary.  The dough will be sticky but should be firm.  I used all the flour and then probably used another half cup in kneading.

3. Put the dough in the bowl, cover with a moist towel, and let rise in an unlit oven (or warm place) for 1½ – 2 hours.

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4. When the dough has doubled, cut into two pieces.  Shape into flat loaves that are 5″ square and 2″ high by flattening and then folding the edges toward the middle and sealing the edges with the heel of the hand.  Grease a 9×5½” bread pan and oil one side of each loaf.  Place them together in the pan with the oiled sides touching.

5. Cover again with a moist towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes in a cold oven until the dough has crested the edge of the pan by ½-inch.

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Funny as it may look, this is a great way to use this pan when a recipe doesn’t fill the pan.

6. Slash the top of each loaf with a little 2″ cut, and brush tops with oil.

7. Set the oven to 450ºF and immediately place the loaves in to bake.  Bake in the heating oven for 25 minutes.  Reduce heat to 400ºF and bake for 45 minutes longer.  They will be quite dark.  (My oven runs hot and I pulled mine at 40 minutes.)

8. Cool on a wire rack and slice thinly when bread is completely cooled.

Notes:

There are two things wrong with this bread:

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The little chips are the a thin layer of the top crust sliced off. Makes it much easier to slice thin slices of the bread.

1. The crust is really thick, so as I worked my way through the loaf I would cut off just about an inch of the top crust.  That allowed me to slice beautifully thin slices.

2. It’s gone in a flash.  So fast in fact, I found my self baking it again two days later … there was only two of us eating it.

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As dark as this looks, there was no burnt flavor or order found here but the crust is thick.

Half my loaf weighted 428 grams

Don’t miss this bread.  It is a delightful rye and really very simple to put together.  We enjoyed it with poached eggs, smoked salmon and I’m trying to get the ingredients for a Rubin before this last loaf is gone.

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We would love you to bake this great loaf with us and become our Bread Baking Buddy. Here’s how: (I copied this from Lien who copied it from Kelly)  Just bake your version of this bread by November 30th and send her a note with your results and a picture or link to your post at eleyana(AT)aol(DOT)com with Buddy Bread in the subject line and she will include you in our buddy round up at the beginning of next month and send you a badge to keep and/or add to your post.  You don’t have to have a blog to participate, a picture is fine!

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See you next month!  Baking my heart out.


19 Comments

BBB ~ Thin Crispy Spring Focaccia

My ideal for Focaccia comes from walking on the Portofino docks.  In fact, Portofino is my ideal for two things, Focaccia and the idyllic port I’d most like to sail into in a small sail boat.  On the occasion of my most heavenly Focaccia, we didn’t sail in, we drove the winding roads darkening into a rainy evening.  We stopped when we came to two hotels, one was closed for the season, we were the only guests at the other.  Our room was on the water, we slept with the doors open to the sound of waves and rain.  The next morning we discovered we hadn’t made it to Portofino.  We’d stopped just short of Portofino.  To get to town we either had to get back in the car and drive a couple miles around the corner OR walk about a mile over the gentle hill across the road and through olive groves where they were netting olives.  Which way did we go?  The day was brilliant and we covered the town and the hills around.  We were walking the docks in early afternoon.  We bought a slab of warm from the oven Rosemary garlic focaccia from a bakery and sat down at a dockside wine place and watched the boats sailing.  That has always been how I define focaccia, thick and billowy with deep pockets of fruity olive oil and rosemary with the perfect touch of salt.
Now this Focaccia, Cathy’s Focaccia, this is not how I define Focaccia.  Cathy’s Focaccia (because you know by now Cathy of BreadExperience is our KOM) is NOT my Portofino Focaccia BUT let me tell you it now defines Glorious Spring Crispy Focaccia for me even if the temp was only 33° when I made this.  The babes kept showing this baked with lemons and were raving about a cookbook “The Flavor Bible” and I’m thinking “Nope no more cookbooks until I have a real oven and slice a fresh lemon and put it on bread to bake, and then I’m supposed to eat.”  NOT going to happen.

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You’ll want to double down on lemon slices, put them close together.

Thanks, but no I won’t be eating my hat, perhaps my words.  I will be baking another Thin Crispy Lemon and Asparagus Focaccia, Thank You very much Cathy.

Thin Crispy Spring Focaccia

Recipe By: Cathy (breadexperience)
Yield: Four ~400-gram Focaccias

Poolish:
40 grams (100 %) Bread Flour
44 grams (125%) water, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon/ 4 grams (10%) instant yeast
Final Dough
668 grams (80%) Bread Flour, I used 600 grams
167 grams (20%) Sprouted Spelt Flour (or whole wheat or bread flour), I used 235 grams sprouted wheat
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
625 grams (75%) – 725 grams (87%) water *
84 grams (All) Poolish
17 grams Olive Oil
25 grams water (3%), to mix with the salt
17 grams Coarse Sea Salt
Topping Suggestions:
Olive Oil
Coarse Sea Salt, for sprinkling if desired
Fennel Seeds, to taste
Dried Thyme, to taste
Lemon slices, thinly sliced
Spring Mix Greens, or other greens as desired
Alfalfa Sprouts

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I shaved the ends of the asparagus and cut each stalk in half.  Slice the lemons as thin as possible.  I only used one.  I’ll not hesitate to use part of another next time.

1. *The bread flour I used is closer to a light whole wheat and I also used some sprouted wheat which absorbs more liquid. If using regular white bread flour, the hydration should be closer to 77% – 80%.

2. Poolish:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour and yeast. Pour in the room temperature water and combine using a wooden spoon. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula or dough scraper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter at room temperature (75 degrees F. /25 degrees C.) for 12 to 14 hours.

3. Final Dough:
The next day, or when ready to mix the final dough, whisk together the flours and yeast in a large bowl.  Pour the water and oil over the poolish and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk to break up the poolish. Add the water gradually, reserving the 25 grams to mix with the salt.  I started with about 650 grams (78%), then gradually added more water until the dough reached the consistency I was looking for 725 grams (87%).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a dough scraper, cover and let it rest (autolyze) for 20 minutes.

4. Uncover and sprinkle the salt over the top of the dough. Pour the remaining 25 grams of water over the salt to dissolve it.  Using wet hands, thoroughly incorporate the salt into the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

5. Sprinkle water on a work surface. Uncover the dough and transfer it to the wet surface. Using wet hands, fold the dough from all sides.  Then gently tuck the seams under and place the dough back in the bowl.  Using water on the counter and your hands, alleviates the need to oil the bowl or the work surface. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set the dough aside for the third time to ferment for 20 minutes.

6. Sprinkle water on the work surface again and fold the dough one last time. Tuck the seams under and place it back in the bowl. Cover and set it aside to ferment for 2 hours.

7. An hour before you plan to bake the focaccia, place a baking stone or tiles in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees F. (260 degrees C.) If you plan to use a pan for steam, place it in the oven at this time.

8. Sprinkle your work surface with water. Transfer the dough to the work surface and divide it into four equal pieces. Depending on the type of flour you use and the hydration, each piece will be approximately 400 grams.  Mine were about 410 grams each.

Shape each piece into a round and cover with plastic. Let them bench rest for 15 minutes.

At this point, wrap the dough balls you won’t be baking in oiled plastic, placed them in a plastic bag and put them in the refrigerator to use another day.  I froze two.  Feel free to make them all at once if you prefer.

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9. Lightly oil two half sheets of parchment paper. Place one dough ball on each sheet. Gently press on the dough to degas it and then shape each piece into a flattish round.  Cover the rounds with plastic wrap and let them proof for 45 minutes.

Uncover the dough, drizzle olive oil over the top and gently stretch each piece into an oval disk the length of the parchment paper, or to the desired size.  I sprinkled the top with sea salt (optional), pepper and place thinly sliced lemons, then laid my asparagus.

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I suppose it’s simple caramelization of the lemons but even very thinly sliced they take on the texture of jam and hint of lemon curd in a flavor extravaganza! It is marvelous.

10. Using a baker’s peel or unrimmed baking sheet, transfer the focaccia (on the parchment) to the preheated baking stone.  My little Breville oven only goes to 450 but it does have a baking stone (my steel is too large but works on the outside grill).

Bake the focaccia for 10 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and crisp around the edges.  Remove the parchment paper partway through baking to allow the bottom to firm up.  Mine took 25 minutes at 450°.  The hotter 500° would have eliminated the center softer crust I’m sure and would have baked much faster which I know produces much better crust.

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Repeat with the remaining focaccias.

This focaccia makes a great appetizer or the main meal. For Cathy the flavors of the fennel seed, thyme and lemon paired really well.  She and her taste testers  really enjoyed the hint of tanginess you get when you bite into a piece with a lemon slice. However, feel free to use the toppings and flavors of your choice.

Cathy (BreadExperience) is our flavor star Kitchen of the Month. Bake this Spring Focaccia recipe above and post it on your blog before the 30th of this month. Please make sure you mention BBB May 2016 in the subject line and link to Cathy’s BBB post in your own blog post. If you don’t have a blog do not hesitate to bake and email Cathy with your name  (breadexperience at gmail dot com), a 500px wide image of your bread. Cathy will then send you a BBB badge for this bread that you can then add to your post on your blog. The round up can be expected around the 3nd of June.

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You’ll want to double down on lemon slices, put them close together. Trust me you REALLY want to bake this one.

I’ll be baking my 2nd dough ball of Cathy’s Spring Focaccia today, slightly warmer more spring like today in the 60’s.  Trust me, try at least one with lemon.  I know I’ll be putting many lemons on this again.
And, yes, alright I did buy the book.  And No, I still only have the little Breville convection toaster oven.


10 Comments

A … best laid plans post ….

You know the kind of post where your best laid plans went packing.  That’s actually what has been happening in my kitchen.  About all my plans for baking have become plans for packing.  The kitchen here is 80% packed.  So, while appliances function, tools can be difficult to come by.  Last week I wanted to bake with a tube pan …. packed.  Makes things challenging.  And a bread with starter … stopped me cold.

When I wanted to bake with the Babes last month, the starter eluded me.  I forgot to mix it every night for days on end.  Probably the most difficult issue was that by the end of the day of packing boxes and stacking them to be able to walk through the kitchen, the bottle of Riesling really begged just to be poured into glasses not into a bowl of dough.

So even though I didn’t bake the bread, I can see from the Babes and Buddies who baked it, this was a wonderful loaf.  So I’ve gathered up the Buddies who did bake the bread and they are a truly glorious bunch of Babe Buddies.

In no particular order here they are:

Kelly did a lot better than I did.  My starter had stopped, Kelly was able to revive her starter to bake this gorgeous loaf seems to be keeping it going full force with light fluffy pancakes!

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Kelly Hill, A Messy Kitchen

Karen seemed to be doing something I’m always doing … she started on the recipe without getting the big picture reading through the recipe before beginning.  Fortunately she knew how to slow things down … she also knew that baking this bread in a cast iron Dutch oven would give her a lovely color to her loaf and crisp crust.

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Karen Kerr, Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Carola’s loaf really speaks to me … because it sparkles with flax seed!  Always a winner in my book.

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Carola Bolgiani, Sweet and That’s It

Claartje has one of those perfect crumbs, the kind we all aspire to.  I’d crack open another bottle of that Riesling to celebrate that crumb.

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Claartje Devos, Claire’s Baking Journey

Cathy says her loaf has ” a slight blemish from being stuck to the basket.”  I say her loaf has individualism and great flavor.  How do I know it had great flavor?  Because the friend she shared it with liked it enough to keep the entire loaf.  Now that’s good flavor.

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Kathy Warner, Bread Experience

Thank you Buddies for baking once again with the Babes.

I’ll make you two promises even if one is slightly qualified.

1. I’m 100% sure you’ll want to bake August’s bread!

2. If I have internet, I’ll be posting the bread on the 16th … because I’ve baked it and boy oh boy it’s a lovely.