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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Black Bread

I saw the recipe for Black Bread on Heidi Swanson's wonderful website 101 Cookbooks. She in turn has adapted it from Dan Lepard's book Short and Sweet. It was just what I was looking for for the week's bread: something with rye flour and some unusual ingredients. This recipe has not one, not two, but three ingredients that I don't normally use in bread baking. Do check out Heidi's blog post for very pretty pictures and her method. I made changes to include more whole grains and less of some ingredients because I wasn't bold enough. Also, my loaf was smaller than the original recipe.

I heated together the following
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp caraway seeds
½ Tbsp dark cocoa powder
½ Tbsp ground coffee beans
1 tsp salt

After taking off the heat I stirred in
2 scant Tbsp molasses

Then I added
300 ml warm water (I used water from cooking garbanzo beans)

In a bowl I mixed:
125 g rye flour
100 g bread flour
250 g whole wheat flour
1 tsp instant yeast

To the flour mixture I added
125 g carrots

I then added the dry mixture to the wet mixture and kneaded it into a dough. I used about 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour during the kneading process.


2 mixtures and grated carrots

1:51 pm: Ready for first rise

4:23 pm: The first rise too very long, but I am glad I was patient

4:26 pm: Deflated, rounded and ready for second rise

5:25 pm: Much quicker second rise

5:28 pm: Shaped dough

6:05 pm: Proofed dough ready for the oven

It barely fit in the preheated cast iron pan

Restricted in one direction, the loaf did expand in the other.

Signs of oven spring were clear around the sides as well as the top

Decent crumb with pretty flecks of carrot.

Date: January 15, 2012
Recipe: Adapted from Heidi Swanson's recipe Black Bread recipe
Flours: Whole wheat flour, rye flour, bread flour
Bread specific ingredients: caraway seeds, ground coffee beans, cocoa powder, grated carrots
Sweetener used: Molasses
Liquid: Water from cooking garbanzo beans.

Comments: The dough took a long time for the first rise. I am glad I gave it the time. Comparatively the second rise and proofing were quite fast. The oven spring was good. I would have been better off making a smaller loaf or shaping it into more of a round in order to give it space to expand in all directions. I did consider baking it directly on a baking sheet, but I do like how the cast iron combo cooker provides even heating and results in a wonderful crust.
The bread tasted really good. It was definitely very dark colored but the taste of cocoa and coffee were almost unnoticeable, which was the plan because I have some coffee flavor haters around here. The carrots flecks looked very pretty. The loaf sliced very well (we are still in the process of mastering the fancy bagel slicer we received with this cutting board)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tassajara Style Rye Bread

For the first loaf of 2012, I wanted to do something different: try a new technique. I had found this little book called The Tassajara Bread Book in the used book store for $3. This book was published in 1970 and almost all the recipes are whole grain! But I had two ingredients I wanted to use: whole milk and rye flour. The book has one recipe that uses whole milk but only whole wheat flour. I modified it to use a mix of rye, whole wheat and some bread flour.

I made two loaves, one of which would be the January bread for my father-in-law (He was quite happy to receive another 'A Loaf Every Month' IOU from us for Christmas.)

Ingredients for two loaves:
250 g rye flour
200 g whole wheat flour
2 tsp instant yeast
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp molasses
1 cup whole milk
1½ cup 1% milk   (2½ cup milk total. Combine milks and scald. Cool to 100° F)

Final dough:
250 g whole wheat flour
100 g bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp caraway

Tassajara technique explained with pictures:

The sponge contains most ingredients except the salt and half the flour.

12:42 pm: Sponge ingredients

When mixed, the consistency is like pasty batter. The 'batter' is stirred well with a wooden spoon (stir 100 times).

12:50 pm: 'Batter' after stirring well.. 100 times

It is covered and left to rise in a warm place for 50 - 60 minutes.

2:02 pm: Unexpected rise that stuck to the lid

Final dough ingredients are added in. I mixed the salt with the flour first. Flour is 'folded in' little by little until dough comes away from sides of the bowl.

2:02 pm: Final dough ingredients

2:16 pm: Adding in the flour

2:23 pm: Before kneading

I let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
The dough is kneaded on a floured surface, using more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface, about 10-15 minutes until dough is smooth.

2:38 pm: Post kneading

The dough is left to rise for an hour or so.

3:57 pm: After the first rise

The dough is deflated, rounded and let rise again.

3:59 pm: Ready for the second rise

4:51 pm: Risen for a second time

The dough is shaped into loaves.

4:57 pm: Shaped into loaves, sprinkled with sesame seeds

5:42 pm: Risen loaves

The loaves are baked in a 350°F oven for an hour

6:49 pm: Not a lot of oven spring

Sliced well

Decent crumb

Date: January 7, 2012
Recipe: Adapted from #17 Tassajara Yeasted Bread Using Whole Milk from The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown
Flours: Whole wheat flour, rye flour, bread flour
Bread specific ingredients: caraway seeds
Sweetener used: Molasses
Liquid: Whole milk, 1% milk

Comments: The dough didn't rise as much as I had hoped for, based on the rise of the sponge. Salt inhibits rising, that is why it is added later, letting the yeast develop well in the sponge stage. I should try a Tassajara recipe without modifications to know if the technique yields better tasting loaves than Laurel Robertson's technique (similar, but without the sponge). The sponge method does add an extra hour or so to the bread making process.
This bread was good, but nothing special. It sliced very well, that's always a big plus.