Sunday, February 28, 2010

100% WW Bread with Olive Oil

This time our Healthy Bread in Five baking assignment was to make 100% whole wheat bread dough w/olive oil. If you're interested in joining our baking group head on over to Big Black Dog for information. Thanks again Michelle for your hard work!

The dough worked up nicely for me. It was not nearly as sticky as some of the past recipes. The first project we were to make was a loaf. The dough was easy to work with, but as it was resting it did spread out quite a bit. During baking there wasn't much oven spring and even though the loaf was crusty when it came out of the oven it softened up as it cooled. It had a tight crumb and was a little chewy. I didn't really like the taste very much. All in all it wasn't my favorite bread and I probably won't make it again.

I didn't make the Aloo Paratha loaf. MJO hates peas and as my main taste tester he was not too enthused about it. So, I forged on to the focaccia. I made mine more like a pizza instead, and rather than a Southwestern flare I did pesto, goat cheese, fresh grape tomatoes, left over roasted chicken and mozzarella. The dough was easy to shape and I thought it looked very pretty.
I used parchment paper to put the pizza on the stone and after ten minutes removed the parchment and let it finish directly on the stone. It smelled wonderful while baking and looked nice when it came out of the oven, but once again the crust was not really crisp enough. I wonder if that is because there is so much olive oil in the dough? It did taste ok, but again I don't think that I will make it again. I had been baking 300 ginger cookies and flax oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for a friend's birthday and kick off for her campaign for Councilperson, and was anticipating the pizza as a reward.
As a side note, this last tuesday I attended a bread baking class given by Mary Wheatley of Cook with Mary. We did "no knead bread" baked in a dutch oven, pizza and ciabatta. It was a great class and you can imagine the smell of the kitchen as we cooked. Yummy!
Mary gives lots of classes, so if you're in the Louisville area or close it's a great thing to do.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

I made one half of the red beet bun dough and let it rest for 2 days. I read somewhere that it takes a while for whole grain flours to absorb the water in recipes and become fully hydrated. I also read that this is especially important for spelt flour.

I cheated and grated the beets in the food processor, so I avoided the red stained mess.

The dough had a really pretty red, almost purple color. I made the buns according to the directions and they came out a nice red color. They were moist inside and very tasty. Mike commented that he thought they tasted like they had potatoes in them, but then again he's Irish. :)
I was wondering if these could be made with grated carrots instead of beets..hmm..

The chocolate espresso bread was somewhat of a challenge to work with, very wet, and a very interesting texture. I used Ghiradelli chocolate and didn’t have the bitter taste that some of the bakers talked about. I was fooled in that the tangerine bars looked like brownies, so my taste buds were geared up for a sweeter treat, but with a dollop of chocolate ice cream on top the contrast was very tasty! With the left over dough I made a small loaf of bread that was pretty good with peanut butter.

As a side note, for Valentine’s Day I made a buttermilk chocolate cake (not with the bread dough), a one 9 inch layer that I sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar over a cut out heart stencil. It looked very pretty and tasted pretty good too. One note though, don’t sprinkle it until right before you get ready to serve because the sugar fades into the cake.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Soft Whole Wheat

Well, the soft whole wheat bread was a mixed bag for me.  I have to brag a little here though, the dough was made with honey from hives that I tend. The loaf, I think turned out nice, great taste, great texture and was really good toasted with apple butter.

The hamburger buns were a little hard to form, with the dough being so wet, but after a few I got the hang of it. They also had great taste and texture.

Now, the apple strudel bread was quite a challange. I thought that I would have trouble rolling out the dough, but I used my Roul'Pat and enough flour and it rolled out pretty well for me.

I used cameo apples (they were on sale) for the filling. Rolling up the bread was a little difficult but I used a dough scraper to help and got it rolled up pretty nicely I thought. After letting it rest I brushed it with an egg wash and baked it for over an hour.

I suspected something wasn't quite right when I was getting spill over into the oven. The outside crust was great, nice and brown and tasty, but inside it had air pockets and wet spots. I think maybe I should have covered it and let it bake longer. My partner loved the taste of the filling but the dough wet spots were a bit off putting.

Some suggestions were to saute the apples before using them, and maybe using a thermometer to make sure the internal temp is correct. I don't know that I will make the strudel again though.

Now, on to the beet buns! My usual store didn't have any beets, so I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and head up to Whole Foods.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions. This is turning out to be great fun!