Saturday’s bread – diastatic malt

During my working week, let’s say on Wednesday afternoon, I start thinking about the baking weekend. What I’ll be baking? Bread? Croissants? What kind of flour? A new recipe? The old one?

This week I decided to bake using a Manitoba flour and 0,8% of malted barley flour. Malted barley flour is made from barley that is allowed to germinate, steam-dried, then ground. It contains alpha amylase, an enzyme which helps to break down complex sugars and starch in the dough to simple sugars such as maltose. See this post for more details on diastatic malt.

Ingredients

Mix the total Manitoba flour (910 gr) with 7 gr of malted barley flour.

For the poolish

  • 230 gr flour
  • 230 ml water
  • 30 gr ry sourdough starter

For the dough

  • 680 gr flour
  • 360 ml water (warm)
  • 15 gr salt

The poolish is a batter made by a small amount of sourdough starter, in this case a rye flour starter, water and flour; it is prepared the day before because it needs 10-12 hours to ferment. Put in a bowl the rye sourdough, the water and the flour. Mix with a spoon and cover with cling film. Store it overnight in a warm place. I keep it in the oven.

The morning after you need to add the remaining flour, the water (warm water, the temperature is related to the kitchen temperature, if it is winter and the temperature is 18-19 °C, you might need to heat water at 40-45°C). Mix in the stand mixer with the dough hook, for 1-2 minutes at speed 1. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then mix for another 4 minutes, at speed 1. Cover the bowl with the cling film and let the dough rest for 30 minutes (autolyse).

At this point you can add the salt and mix the dough by hand. Slap and fold the dough on your working surface for 5-10 minutes, until the gluten network is fully developed. If the dough is very elastic and extensible, you should have a good gluten network.

Stretch and fold

Lightly flour the working surface and stretch and fold your dough (stretch the dough and then fold it left over right, right over left, bottom over top, top over bottom). After the stretch and fold let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then stretch and fold it again for a total of 3 times.

The dough

Put the dough in a bowl, cover it with the cling film and put it in the oven (with the oven light on, to keep the oven lightly warm) for 4 hours. This is the fermentation phase. The dough will rise (1.5 times the original volume).

The dough – fermentation

After the fermentation, put the dough on a floured working surface and divide the dough in 2 loaves. Stretch and fold the dough and put it in a floured (50% rice flour, 50% bread flour) proofing basket. Cover with cling film. Keep it in a warm place for 2 hours.

The dough – proofing
The dough – proofing

Put the cast iron pots in the oven and eheat the oven for 30-45 minutes at 250°C. Put the dough in the pots, cut the top of the loaf with a bread scoring tool, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and continue cooking at a lower temperature, 220-230°C, for 25-30 minutes.

When the bread is ready, let it cool completely on a wire cooling rack (1.5 hrs).

Loaf 1
Loaf 2
Sourdough airy crumb

Weekend cookies

A friend of mine, knowing my addiction for baking, gave me different type of flours. All organic flours, from small farms. A multi grain flour (ancient grains 60%, spelt 10%, rye 10%, barley 10%, oat 10%) attracted my attention. Why not use that flour for a batch of cookies?

I usually bake cookies using 50% rice flour and 50% whole wheat flour. In this case I have replaced the whole wheat flour with the multi grain flour. I also added ground Bronte pistachio and chocolate muesli.

Ingredients

  • 250 gr rice flour
  • 250 gr multi grains flour
  • 200 gr raw cane sugar (I use Muscovado sugar from Philippines)
  • 180 gr softened high quality butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 7 gr baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 60 grams of chocolate muesli
  • 60 grams of ground Bronte pistachio

Using a tilt-head stand mixer with the wire whip, mix the softened butter and the sugar until the mix gets fluffy and smooth.

Then add the 2 eggs and keep mixing for 2 minutes at speed 2. Add the vanilla paste that you have extracted from the vanilla bean using a sharp knife.

Chocolate muesli

Mix in a bowl the two flours, the baking soda and a pinch of salt. Replace the wire whip with the flat beater and start mixing at low speed while adding the flour.

When all the flour has been added to the dough, add the ground pistachio and chocolate muesli and mix for one minute.

Shape the dough like a small “brick” and wrap it with the cling film. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Flatten the dough with a rolling pin to a thickness of 7-8 mm. Cut the dough with a cookie cutter and bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes in a preheated oven (180°C).

 

Cookies – pistachio-chocolate muesli

Rainy weekend

We had a long, rainy, weekend. After a couple of hours spent watching Netflix I decided to bake, as usual.

Pain au Chocolat

It’s becoming a nice habit, baking and sharing with family and friends during the weekends. After a long working week there is nothing better than using your hands, creating something sweet for your loved ones. I find it also very relaxing.

I baked a batch of Croissants and Pains au Chocolat using the recipe published 20 days ago.

I also baked a loaf of bread, (600 gr) using the rye sourdough starter and high gluten flour (type 80, France, or Manitoba, Italy).

 

Sourdough bread ingredients

Poolish (9:00 pm, Saturday)

  • 115 gr type 80 flour
  • 115 ml water
  • 20 gr rye sourdough starter

The dough (9:00 am, Sunday)

  • 340 gr type 80 flour
  • 370 ml warm water
  • 8 gr salt

The process is detailed here.

I used a banneton for proofing and this is how the baked loaf looks like..

Sunday’s bread

Mid-week baking

Yesterday we had a couple of friends for dinner, we had a great time together. We also ate a lot of bread and the 2 loaves I made last Saturday…gone. Today I baked two more loaves then, using the recipe I posted a couple of days ago. The only difference is that I used a 30% of whole wheat flour, instead of 100% bread flour.

Ingredients

The poolish (9:00 pm – day one)

  • 230 gr bread flour
  • 230 ml water (room temperature)
  • 30 gr rye starter

The dough (8:00 am – day two)

  • 410 gr bread flour
  • 270 fr whole wheat flour
  • 360 ml warm water
  • 15 gr salt

The process is the one described in my previous post.

I’m quite happy with the results.

Flour classification

I realised that referring to one flour type or another makes little/no sense if I use the Italian classification. For instance, Manitoba flour is a term used mainly in Italy and it refers to a flour with a high percentage of protein.

You won’t find Manitoba flour in a French or German supermarket. The table below should shed some light on this topic. As a rule of thumb, regardless of the commercial name of the flour, you should check the protein percentage.

High protein means a flour rich in gluten, good for baking bread (gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape). For pastry, you might need a flour with a lower protein percentage (less gluten).

Humidity Max Ash max Protein min USA Germany France Italy
14,50% 0,55% 9,00% pastry flour 405 45 Farina di grano tenero tipo 00
14,50% 0,65% 11,00% all-purpose flour 550 55 Farina di grano tenero tipo 0
14,50% 0,80% 13,00 – 14,00% high gluten flour 812 80 Farina di grano tenero tipo 1 (Manitoba)
14,50% 0,95% 14,00% first clear flour 1050 110 Farina di grano tenero tipo 2
14,50% 1,70% 13,00% white whole wheat 1600 150 Farina integrale di grano tenero

See this interesting post about flour types on www.weekendbakery.com.

French Croissants

Working in parallel, bread and croissants might be challenging because you have to stick to a strict schedule, but the weekend is too short to waste time! While making the sourdough bread I prepared a batch of Croissants and Pain au Chocolat. See the recipe here.

Cutting the Croissants
Rolling the Croissants
Pain au Chocolat

Just after lunch, here you go: Croissants and Pain au Chocolat. It’s gonna be a sweet afternoon.

 

Back to baking

Another busy week in Geneva, a long, cold week, actually. Low clouds and light snow from Monday to Friday. I missed Italy so much. I arrived home yesterday, in the late afternoon; in a couple of hours I prepared everything for my baking weekend.

The sourdough rye starter, nicknamed Mr. Rye, was ready, bubbly and sour enough to be used. I prepared the poolish for the day after. Then I mixed the dough for a batch of croissants and pain au chocolat. My baking Saturday was fully booked.

Mr. Rye

Sourdough bread with rye starter

Ingredients

The poolish (9:00 pm, Friday)

  • 230 gr flour
  • 230 ml water (room temperature)
  • 30 gr rye starter

The dough (8:00 am, Saturday)

  • 680 gr flour
  • 360 ml warm water
  • 15 gr salt

The poolish is a batter made by a small amount of sourdough starter, in this case a rye flour starter, water and flour; it is prepared the day before because it needs 10-12 hours to ferment. Put in a bowl the rye sourdough, the water and the flour. Mix with a spoon and cover with cling film. Store it overnight in a warm place. I keep it in the oven.

The morning after you need to add the remaining flour, the water (warm water, the temperature is related to the kitchen temperature, if it is winter and the temperature is 18-19 °C, you might need to heat water at 40-45°C). Mix in the stand mixer with the dough hook, for 1-2 minutes at speed 1. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then mix for another 4 minutes. Cover the bowl with the cling film and let the dough rest for 30 minutes (autolyse).

At this point you can add the salt and mix the dough by hand. Slap and fold the dough on your working surface for 5-10 minutes, until the gluten network is fully developed. If the dough is very elastic and extensible, you should have a good gluten network.

Lightly flour the working surface and stretch and fold your dough (stretch the dough and then fold it left over right, right over left, bottom over top, top over bottom). After the stretch and fold let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then stretch and fold it again for a total of 3 times. Put the dough in a bowl, cover it with the cling film and put it in the oven (with the oven light on, to keep the oven lightly warm) for 4 hours. This is the fermentation phase. The dough will rise (1.5 times the original volume).

Stretch and fold

After the fermentation, put the dough on a floured working surface and divide the dough in 2 loaves. Stretch and fold the dough and put it in a floured (50% rice flour, 50% bread flour) proofing basket. Cover with cling film. Keep it in a warm place for 2 hours.

Put a cast iron pot in the oven and eheat the oven for 30-45 minutes at 250°C. Put the dough in the pot, cut the top of the loaf with a bread scoring tool, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and continue cooking at a lower temperature, 220-230°C, for 25-30 minutes.

When the bread is ready, let it cool completely on a wire cooling rack (1.5 hrs).

Buttermilk pancakes

Winter is perfect for pancakes, well, to be honest, I would eat pancakes every morning, at every latitude. This is another story, though.

My love story with pancakes, and maple syrup, started in 2010 in Québec; I used to work for a Montreal based IT company at that time. On a sunny Sunday I rented a car and I headed NW exploring Montreal’s surroundings. On the road my attention was captured by a sign “Constantin – Cabane à sucre”. I stopped there and I discovered a whole new world. I had lunch “chez Constantin” and I discovered how many different recipes make use of maple syrup. Amazing. I’m going off topic, though.

Let’s see how to prepare our buttermilk pancakes.

Ingredients:

  • White flour 150 gr
  • Sugar 1 tbs
  • Baking powder 1 tsp
  • Baking soda 1/2 tsp
  • Butttermilk 240 ml
  • Milk 40 ml
  • Egg 1
  • Melted butter 25 gr
  • A pinch of salt

Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. In another bowl mix buttermilk, milk, melted butter and the egg.

Mix the liquids with the powders and stir until it’s blended. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. In the meanwhile heat a greased cast iron griddle or a frying pan over medium heat.

Cast-iron frying pan

Pour the batter onto the pan using a ladle (create a 15 cm diameter pancake). Brown on both sides. Serve hot with salted butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit, jam, etc.

Note: If you can’t find buttermilk at your supermarket, don’t worry, you can create your own.

Mix 120 ml of milk with 120 gr of low-fat yogurt and add 2 tsp of lemon. Mix and let it rest for 10 minutes.

 

Buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk pancakes

Rye sourdough starter

It’s Monday, the baking weekend is over, I baked four 500 gr. loafs of sourdough bread (70% white flour and 30% whole meal flour) and 2 batches of French Croissants and Pain au Chocolat.

More than enough for a sweet week!

Baked French Croissants

In the meanwhile I’ve prepared my rye sourdough starter. It will take the whole week to have an active, usable starter. So far it’s quite active, it’s doubling in volume every day. Keep up the good work Mr. Rye!

Mr. Rye

Saturday’s French Croissants

Yesterday I had a really unpleasant flight back home. A one hour and a half trip became sort of a modern odyssey. Nevertheless, the bad experience didn’t break my baking plans. In the late evening I prepared the dough and early this morning I started working on the “folds” for our French Croissants..

The recipe

What do you need?

  • 500 gr all purpose flour (I use Manitoba flour)
  • 140 ml cold water
  • 140 ml cold milk
  • 60 gr sugar
  • 40 gr softened butter
  • 20 gr fresh yeast
  • 10 gr salt
  • 275 gr butter (cold) for the butter “brick”

Day one (evening)

Mix all the ingredients in the stand-mixer bowl and mix until smooth (on speed 2). Use the dough hook.

Dough Hook
Dough Hook

Do not knead too much to avoid a full gluten network development (it would make difficult to work the dough).

Flatten the dough to create a disc (20 cm Ø), put it on a disk and cover with cling film. Store in the fright overnight.

 

Create the butter “brick”

Using a sheet of baking paper, create sort of a squared envelope (18-19 cm). Put the butter taken from the fridge inside the paper and beat it using the rolling pin until the butter is evenly distributed inside your paper envelope. Using the rolling pin flat the butter to a uniform thickness. Put it in the freezer for 2 hours. Then put it in the fridge overnight.

The butter "envelope"

Day two (morning)

Lightly sprinkle your working surface with flour and flatten the dough until you get a square 27 by 27 cm. Put the butter “brick” on the dough and fold the dough to close the butter inside this kind of an envelope.

Butter “envelope”

Using the rolling pin flatten the dough until you get a 20 by 60 cm rectangle.

Croissants dough 20×60

Fold #1

Fold it over to get three layers (see picture).

The three layers fold

Cover with cling film and store in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Fold #2

Using the rolling pin flatten the dough until you get a 20 by 60 cm rectangle.
Fold the dough as in the previous step.
Cover with cling film and store in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Fold #3

Using the rolling pin flatten the dough until you get a 20 by 60 cm rectangle.
Fold the dough as in the previous step.
Cover with cling film and store in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Create the croissants (or Pain au Chocolat)

Using the rolling pin flatten the dough until you get a 20 by 120 cm rectangle (I find easier to flatten the dough in both directions to get a 45 by 55 cm rectangle). It’s your take, the only important thing is to get a 5-7 mm thick dough.

Trim the dough edges using a pizza cutter, to reveal the layers, then cut the dough in triangles. As for the size, there isn’t a general rule. Cut the dough on the short side of the triangle (2 cm cut) and gently roll the dough to form the Croissants. Put the Croissants in the baking tray (on a baking paper sheet) and pay attention to leave some room between the Croissants. They will grow during the proofing phase.

Create an egg wash using an egg and 1 teaspoon of milk or water; whisk until smooth. Give a first coat of egg to the Croissants and then let them proof for 2 hours at a constant temperature 24-27°C. The butter starts to melt at 28-29°C so you should stay below that threshold.

I put the Croissants in the oven, keeping the oven light on. The warmth provided by the oven light is enough to keep the oven at a constant temperature.

French Croissants
Proofing phase

Baking

After 1:40h of proofing get the Croissants out of the oven and preheat the oven to 190-200°C. Just before baking the Croissants, give them a last coat of egg wash. Bake for 10-15 minutes, based on your oven. Keep constantly an eye on it.

When cooked, take the Croissants out of the oven and move them to a cooling rack.

You can freeze the cooled Croissants. To have a “just baked”-like experience, preheat the oven at 160°C and put the frozen Croissants (taken directly from the freezer) in the oven for 5-6 minutes.

Enjoying

 

Saturday’s Croissants

You can use the dough’s leftovers (and a pinch of imagination) to create something new..

Minced almonds and cinnamon