Friday, February 16, 2018

A decade of Bread Baking Babes: Happy anniversary!!

It has been 10 Years since I was asked to join a Bread baking group of women, who baked 1 bread a month, talked, laughed, learned, drank and shared together. It has been a very special time. Thanks Tanna and Karen (baking soda), who started this group,  for asking me, I have loved every year and every bread of it. And I'm proud to say I've baked them all (120). I had such fun looking at them all, and thinking: Oh that was a good one, and this one so delicious, wow we really baked a lot of divers breads. Happy birthday to all Bread Baking Babes, former and current ones and all Bread Baking Buddies too!

And on a sad note, this is the last time I've baked with the Bread Baking Babes, 10 years has been great, but I decided to step aside after all this time and all these breads and leave my Babehood. Thanks girls for all the fun. But now we first turn to this months wonderful bread to celebrate 10 years of Bread Baking Babes.

This month we go back to the first challenge we baked; the ROYAL CROWN TORTANO. Then I baked the bread twice with two different kinds of white flours and they turned out pretty good.This time I used Canadian strong white flour, didn't wander from the recipe like I did then; So I did let the bread rise upside down and I didn't hold back on the water and remembered to save my potato water for it. The only thing I did again was being scared that it wouldn't turn out good in the end.

This is a slow riser. My bread dough ring started out nice and plump, before I covered it with plastic and a tea towel. My daughter passed the kitchen counter where the bread was rising (or not) and lifted the towel, just to be sure there wasn't anything under it (she wanted to put something on it), that's how flat it was. It was hardly 2 cm high and had spread out a lot. O no, how will this ever become the glorious festive bread that I (k)need this month? Well nothing to do about that, just plop in on the fierce hot baking stone, pour some hot water in the tray underneath, close the door and don't look at it for at least 20 minutes. This bread felt the pressure of becoming a festive bread for this anniversary and it puffed up like a balloon. Now we were talking! It turned out to be the best, airiest, chewiest crumbs and perfect crust I have baked when making this recipe. Is that luck or did I really learn something in those 10 years! A very happy baker that 💖🍞! 

So Bread Baking Buddies out there, this is a beautiful bread to bake and we would be delighted if you would bake along to celebrate 10 years of Bread Baking Babes and Buddies! Bake, tell us about it and sent it to our UberBabe Tanna, who started all this fun together with Karen 10 years ago. Deadline 29th of this month. Happy baking!

Don't forget to check out the other Bread Baking Babes, current and former ones! I will add their links as they come online at the bottom of this post.

Royal Crown's Tortano (revisited: BBB Challenge #1 & #120)
Recipe Quantity: One 1200 g tortano
(PRINT recipe)
Time required for recipe: About 19 hours, with about 20 minutes of active work
Note about recipe: start this recipe the night BEFORE you want to bake the bread.

Recipe synopsis
The Evening Before Baking: Make the starter and if you like the mashed potato.
The Next Morning: Mix the dough and let it ferment for about 4 hours. Shape it, proof it for about 1 1/2 hours, and then bake the bread for about 45 minutes.

The evening before baking: making the pre-ferment:
1/4 tsp instant yeast
240 g (about 40ºC)
100 g unbleached bread flour
85 g  small potato

Stir the yeast into the water in a glass measure and let it stand for 5 - 10 minutes. Add 90 g of this yeasted water (discard the rest) to the flour and beat this very sticky starter until it is well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment until it is full of huge bubbles and sharp tasting, about 12 hours. If your kitchen is very warm and the pre-ferment is fermenting very quickly, place it in the refrigerator after 3 hours of fermenting. In the morning, remove it and allow it to come to room temperature 30 minutes to an hour before beginning the final dough

Preparing the potato: For efficiency, you may want to prepare the potato the night before. Quarter it, then boil it in water to cover until it can be easily pierced with a knife tip, about 20 minutes. Drain; if desired, reserve the water for the dough. Press the potato through a ricer or sieve to puree it and remove the skin. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Bake day: mixing the dough
575 g unbleached bread flour
420 g water, including the potato water if desired, lukewarm
14 g honey
60 g potato puree
15 g salt

By stand mixer: With your hands or a wooden spoon, mix the flour and water into a rough, very wet dough in the work bowl of your mixer. Cover the dough and let it rest (autolyse) for 10 - 20 minutes.

Fit the mixer with the dough hook. Add the pre-ferment, honey, potato and salt and the mix the dough on medium speed for 15 - 20 minutes, or until very silky and wraps around the hook and cleans the bowl before splattering back around the bowl. This dough is almost pourably wet.

Fermenting and turning the dough:
Shape the dough into a ball and roll it in flour. Place it in a container at least 3 times its size and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let it ferment until doubled in bulk and filled with large air bubbles, about 4 hours. Using plenty of dusting flour, turn the dough 4 times in 20 minute intervals, that is, after 20, 40, 60, and 80 minutes of fermenting, the leave the dough undisturbed for the remaining time. Do not allow this dough to over ferment or ferment to the point of collapse, for the flavor and structure of your bread will suffer.

Shaping and proofing:
Turn the fermented dough out onto a well floured work surface, round it and let it rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle a couche or wooden board generously with flour. Slip a baking sheet under the couche if you are using one for support.

Sprinkle a generous amount of flour over the center of the ball. Push your fingers into the center to make a hole, the rotate your hand around the hole to widen it, making a large 4 inch opening. The bread should have about 30 cm diameter.

Place the dough smooth side down on the floured couche or board and dust the surface with more flour. Drape it with plastic wrap and let it proof until it is light and slowly springs back when lightly pressed, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheating the oven:
Immediately after shaping the bread, arrange a rack on the oven's second to top shelf and place a baking stone on it. Clear away all the racks above the one being used. Preheat the oven to 230ºC.

Unwrap the bread and flip it onto a floured peel or a sheet of parchment paper. Do not worry about damaging the bread as you handle it; it will recover in the oven as long as it is not overproofed. Slash it with 4 radial cuts in the shape of a cross. Slide the loaf onto the hot baking stone and bake until it is very dark brown, 40-50 minutes, rotating it halfway into the bake. Let the bread cool on a rack.

(adapted from Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glazer)

Check out what the rest of the Bread Baking Babes (current and former) 
baked for this 10th anniversary:
Karen Baking Soda - Bake my day!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

BBBabes tackle a difficult one

This month buckle up and find your courage and make this bread as our Bread Baking Buddy. If you dare!! You'll need a sourdough starter for this, so get going.

Our lovely Elizabeth ("Blog from OUR kitchen") gave us a challenge to work on this month a recipe based on one of Tartine's breads. I made Tartine recipes before with a grain porridge (this one calls for a polenta, but you can also use other grains), so I know from experience that I have to hold back (a lot) on the water added, if you don't want to let the dough drip through your banneton. And this one sure is one to hold back on water. I reduced the water even more and hope the amounts are about right in the recipe below, as my first reduction still made it necessary to add more flour. In short, I'd call this a bread for the advanced baker, or the very brave beginners.

So be a Brave Bread Baking Buddy, we dare you! Go to Elizabeth's for all the explanations on the bread and were the difficulties are and bake anyway. Post, tell us about your experiences and send it to Elizabeths email. Give it a try. Happy baking!

Tartine Polenta Bread
(makes one round loaf)
(PRINT recipe)
dessert spoonful of bubbling wheat starter from the fridge
75 g whole wheat flour
75 g water at body temperature
Polenta mixture:
70 g raw dried pumpkin seeds
61 g grains for polenta (medium grind)
150 g boiling water
pinch salt
21 g sunflower oil
1 TBsp fresh rosemary, chopped
100 g floating leavener (stir the rest into the jar in the fridge)
375 g bread flour
125 g whole wheat flour, sifted (reserve the bran - approximately 4 g) (Oops forgot to sift it)
4 g wheat germ
150-200 g water, at body temperature (add more if needed)
(optional: ½ tsp instant yeast, if you’re uncertain about your leavener)
Adding the salt :
all of the dough mixture
10 g salt
25 g water at body temperature
Pre-baking : rice flour, brot-form (or bowl), reserved bran from sifting whole wheat flour
Baking: parchment paper, cast iron frying pan, large stainless steel mixing bowl
Leavener and refreshing the starter: On the evening before baking the bread, put the leavener ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Using your dough whisk or wooden spoon, mix the leavener ingredients until all the flour is incorporated. Leave 100 g in the bowl. Mix the extra into the jar in the fridge. Cover the bowl containing the 100 g with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on overnight - until it becomes bubbly and frothy like mousse.
polenta mixture:
Spread pumpkin seeds evenly in one layer into a dry cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon, until the seeds begin to pop, this takes about 5-10 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
Pour boiling water into a bowl and stir in cornmeal. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Put the raw grains into a pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally until they are turning gold and smell toasty (not more than 5 minutes). Add the water and a pinch of salt. Turn up the heat, stir and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Turn the heat down to very low, cover the pot and allow the grains to simmer for about 15 minutes. Avoid the temptation to lift the lid. When the water has absorbed, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Add oil, rosemary and pumpkin seeds.
dough: When a small spoonful of the leavener floats in a small bowl of room temperature water, you can go ahead and mix the dough. (If the leavener does not float, stir in a little more whole wheat flour and water - even amounts by weight - cover with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes more. Chances are that it will now float.) Put all the dough ingredients into a large mixing bowl along with the now bubbling leavener. Mix as well as you can with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter to rest for about 40 minutes. Do not skip the resting period. Working with the nature of the dough, the resting period allows the protein and starch in the flour to absorb the water, swell, and then relax into a cohesive mass.
adding the salt: Pour the 25 g water over-top of the mass of dough. Sprinkle on the salt, making sure that it goes onto the water. (Alternatively, you could stir the salt into the water in a little bowl and pour in the salty water.)
kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl - this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy. But persevere. Knead with a dough hook in a stand mixer, until relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
stretching and folding (part 1): About 30 minutes after adding the salt, run your dough-working hand under water. Reach down along the side of the bowl and lift and stretch the dough straight up and almost out of the bowl. Fold it over itself to the other side of the bowl. Turn the bowl and repeat until it's a little difficult to stretch the dough up any more. You'll notice that the dough feels significantly smoother. Cover with a plate and leave on the counter for about 30 minutes.
Repeat the above step twice.
adding the polenta mixture: Add the polenta mixture to the dough. Run your dough-working hand under water and use it to squoosh the polenta, pepitas and rosemary into the dough. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. If the dough is too wet, add flour and knead it in. It should end up being a slightly wet dough, but one you can just shape. The streching and folding after this step will give more body to the dough.
stretching and folding (part 2): Repeat the stretching and folding step 1 or 2 more times (even 4 times when the dough needs more). A well-developed dough is more cohesive and releases from the sides of the bowl when you do the turns. The ridges left by the turn will hold their shape for a few minutes. You will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in volume. More air bubbles will form along the sides of the container. These are all signs that the dough is ready to be shaped.
prepare the brot-form: Put rice flour into a brotform and distribute it as evenly as possible. (If you don't have a brot-form, you can line a bowl, basket or sieve with parchment paper. You can also use a liberally rice floured tea. If you do not have rice flour, you can use wheat flour. However, it makes it significantly more difficult for the bread to be released from the basket....
shaping: Scatter a dusting of wheat flour on the board and gently place the dough on the flour. Using wet hands, stretch the dough into a longish rectangle, then fold it like a letter, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there. Continue folding until the dough is shaped in a ball. Place it seam side up in the well floured brot-form. Evenly spread the reserved bran on and around the seam. Loosely wrap the basket and bread with a clean tea towel and enclose the whole thing inside a plastic bag and leave it in a warm spot for 2 or 3 hours (until it has about doubled).
baking: To know when it's time to bake, run your index finger under water and gently but firmly press it on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, recover the bread with the plastic bag and leave it in the oven with only the light turned on. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, put the cast-iron frying pan and its lid into the oven and preheat all to 220ºC.
About fifteen minutes later, put a square of parchment paper on the counter (the paper should be large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the frying pan). Overturn the shaped bread onto the parchment paper. Using a lame (or scissors, or serrated knife), score the bread. Take the pan and bowl out of the oven (wear oven mitts!!) and place the frying pan on the stove. Transfer the bread to the middle of the frying pan and immediately put the lid on. Put everything into the oven and immediately turn it down to 200ºC. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for a further 30 minutes or so, until the crust is a nice dark brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
cooling: When the bread is done, remove it from the pan and allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating; the bread is still baking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 200ºC for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.

*leavener The leavener is a 100% hydration, liquid levain. It takes about 5 days to create. (Please see our take on Jane Mason's Natural Starter made with Wheat Flour.)
If you're too afraid (or don't have time) to take five days to make a natural starter and still want to bake this by using commercial yeast, I think what I'd do is create a poolish - say 50gm water, 50gm flour and a few grains (not more than 1/8 tsp) yeast stirred together, covered, and left overnight. And then proceed as written. I confess I haven't tried it but don't see why it won't work. If you're really worried, you could probably add few more grains of yeast into the dough itself as well)

(based on the recipe for 'Polenta Bread' in "Tartine Bread" by Chad Robertson)

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Op de valreep nog een overheerlijke cake met een kersttintje, heerlijk voor de komende weken. Ik wens al mijn lezer hele fijne kerstdagen toe!

Kerstcake met mince meat
(voor 1 cake)
(recept PRINTEN)
50 g golden syrup
150 g gele basterd
2 eieren
150 g plantaardige olie
2 tl bakpoeder
2 tl peperkoekkruiden (of 1¼  tl kaneel, ½ tl gemberpoeder & ¼ tl gemalen kruidnagel)
snuf zout
250 g mince meat (kant en klaar of zelfgemaakt)
1 medium appel: geschild, klokhuis verwijderd en in kleine blokjes
50 g geschaafde amandelen
geraspte schil van ½ sinaasappel
topping (optioneel):
water of citroensap
rolfondant of marsepein in groen en rood
eventueel een hulstblad-uitsteker

Verwarm de oven voor op 170ºC.
Vet een cakevorm van ongeveer 25 cm in met boter (of bakspray) en bekleed met bakpapier. Het is
makkelijk als je het papier iets laat uitsteken aan de lange kanten van de vorm, dan kan je de cake er
als hij een beetje is afgekoeld zo uit tillen.
Meng in een kom de stroop, suiker, eieren en olie. Klop dit met een garde of handmixer een paar
minuten luchtig.
Voeg de bloem, specerijen, bakpoeder en zout toe en schep dit luchtig door het stroop/ei/olie-mengsel.
Meng de mincemeat met de appel, amandelen en sinaasappelrasp door elkaar en voeg het dan toe
aan het andere mengsel. Schep het voorzichtig erdoor heen.
Schep het cake beslag in de voorbereide cakevorm, strijk de bovenkant glad.
Plaats in de voorverwarmde oven en bak de cake ongeveer 70 minuten.
Check wel eerst of de cake gaar is, door er een satéprikker in te steken, die er droog uit moet komen.
Afhankelijk van je oven kan dit korter of langer duren. Het is dus verstandig om vanaf 60 minuten al af
en toe te kijken hoe de cake gaart.
Als de cake gaar is, haal je de vorm uit de oven en plaats deze op een rooster. Laat de cake eerst 15
minuten afkoelen voor je de cake uit de vorm haalt en verder laat afkoelen op het rooster.
Wil je de cake mooi versieren voor de kerst, dan maak je met poedersuiker en wat water of citroensap
een vrij dikke glazuur, die je over de cake giet. Strijk het zo uit dat het glazuur mooie druipers krijgt
van het glazuur aan de zijkant.
Rol wat groene fondant of marsepein uit en snijdt daar met een mesje of met een uitsteker als je die
toevallig hebt hulstbladeren uit. Van de rode fondant maak je kleine balletjes, dat zijn de hulstbessen.  
Verdeel ze over de bovenkant.

(recept: Lien)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Bread Baking Babes go Festive

And the Bread Baking Babes end this year with a festive bread with champagne. I am the Kitchen of the month and I’d like us to bake some Baba’s. A syrup drowned brioche-like bread. Well known is the Rum Baba, but to make it even more festive this one is drenched with a champagne-based syrup. You can choose another liquor or dessert wine or flavour with a light coloured fruit juice (like pineapple juice) to your liking.

You can make one large or smaller baba’s. The large one makes a nice centre piece when you’re having it for dessert, but it is a lot harder to get soaked enough. I made some extra soaking syrup in a little jar to pour over when served, to solve this.

I made one large Baba, but also made 12 smaller baba’s and I loved these even more. Easier to drench with syrup and much more festive to plate up as a lovely dessert. You can of course make 1 X-large, 2 large, 12 mini or something in between. Just keep an eye on the baking time time and check the core temperature in the bread if it's done.

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 me (notitievanlien (at) gmail (dot) com) and I'll 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 I'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! 🎄🎄🎄

Champagne Baba
(1 large or 12 small baba’s)
(PRINT recipe)
100 g water
1 tsp instant dry yeast
1 TBsp sugar
100 g bread flour

180 g bread flour
½ tsp fine salt
¼ tsp instant dry yeast
1,5 tsp vanilla sugar
3 large eggs
90 g melted butter

soaking syrup:
150 g sugar
150 g water
120 g champagne (or Asti Spumante or fruitjuice)

200 g apricot jam (or use a sugar glaze)

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.

Now add the salt, ¼ tsp dry yeast, vanilla sugar and eggs. Start to mix this. If using a standmixer, 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 batterlike, but be sure to get some gluten developed.

For one large Baba:
Place it in the moulds. You can use a loaf tin or a round baking form (I used a paper Panettone mould (Ø13,4 x H 9,5 cm), filled about half way up. Cover with plastic and leave to rise until 2-3 cm under the rim of the mould.

In the meantime don’t forget to preheat the oven to 180ºC (350-360ºF).
While the baba bakes make the soaking syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a small pan and heat until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Cool until warm. Add the champagne; set aside.

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.

For 12 small baba’s:
Grease a tray with 12 little moulds (containing about 75 ml each) and divide the dough in them. The dough shouldn’t be filling more than half of the shapes. Cover with plastic and let rise until almost to the rim.

In the meantime don’t forget to preheat the oven to 180ºC (350-360ºF). While the baba bakes make the soaking syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a small pan and heat until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Cool until warm. Add the champagne; set aside.

Place in the oven and bake for about 18 minutes, The Baba’s should be golden on top. Check the temperature in the bread with a thermometer, it should be about 93ºC.

Take them out of the oven and out of the mould. Place them in a wide shallow dish in one layer. Pour the champagne syrup over the baba’s. Now keep turning the baba’s one by one on all sides, including top and bottom, until all the syrup is absorbed.

Topping and serving:
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. If you eat the baba’s on the baking day, you can also skip the topping

For an extra festive feel, serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit or jam.
The baba is best eaten on the day that it’s baked. But if not, keep in the fridge.

(inspired by a Beth Hensperger recipe)