This past weekend I revisited baking panettone, both for practice and in the dreamy hopes of attracting some investors. Anyone want to start a bakery with me? Regardless, read on.
I gave Carmen's formula a try (Madrid tienes miga), though I added olive oil in the final dough for a fruity and healthy option. Besides raisins and candied oranges from Italy, I included a tropical fruit mix; papaya, mango, etc. Even if my kitchen was freezing cold, the multiple feedings for the pasta madre or levain, kicked it up a notch and the first dough was really well risen in the morning when I went to check.
Although I could of made these 600 gram panettone, I stuck with the formula's original 500 gram weight; it's all good. In fact, it's delicious.
Mixing can tax your Kitchen Aid, of course mine is over twenty years old, so, Santa may have to buy me a new one? Meantime, I'm on some baking. Büche next....stay tuned!
December means it is Panettone time, but I always think of Dresdener Stollen as the meatier Holiday bread, studded with more then just silky air and perfume. It's a sugar coated log of nuts, raisins and whimsy. In actuality, it could be filled with virtually anything you want; exotic dried mangoes, figs, or in my case recently, dried cranberries.
Once baked, this lightly sweetened eggless dough is enrobed in butter. That's followed with a roll in granulated sugar and, second, in a coating of powdered sugar. The end result is a snowy mountain of a bread that could lead me to devour it in one seating, even though my doctor has warned me of my good and bad carbs. Bah, humbug!
Rather then trying to find supermarket candied orange, I was inspired to make some at home.
No matter the amount of work to make this classic Christmas sweet bread, it's all worth the amazing textures in the end.
This dough recipe comes from Dieter Schorner. It's something I have tried to replicate year after year. This time I had success, helped by introducing a bit of levain, and cutting back on commercial yeast. Note that the total yeast is about 5 grams, as opposed to the 35 grams originally in the recipe.
I love brownies. And reading about the world's rising gluten intolerance on the Huffington Post Kitchen Daily, I found an interesting recipe from Ilva Berretta for chick pea and pecan gluten free brownies. The article made me wonder if my heavy wheat consumption is responsible for recent headaches, sinus congestion and other ailments. But for now, I'm sticking with the old fashioned type of brownie.
Reaching into my files for a recipe from re-knowned pastry chef Dieter Schorner, I found something simple, fudgy, cakey, gooey and filled with cherries! I haven't gone back to this formula for so long, but since I have been trying to make new items for upcoming parties at work, what a better excuse then now to bake them!
My wife and I had friends over this last weekend for a pizza demonstration from brothers Julian & Ethan Ansorge. These brothers happen to be a few years younger than me. Way younger, actually.
Before we go to the experience of working with the brothers, here's some background on my own preparation. The day before I made up some standard Napoletano style dough to let it develop flavor and get just right. No fancy "00" flour this time, just good old American "King Arthur" all-purpose flour, water, livieto naturale and salt. A simple tomato sauce with San Marzano tomatoes, sliced garlic and olive oil....salt and pepper to taste. And parmigiano reggiano along with mozzarella to top it, all classic Margharita.
Anyway, the real story are the brothers. I knew that kids today are deft with high tech gadgets, but in hand crafted dough, I learned that youngsters can be miraculous. It took a just a quick demo for Julian and his brother to start shaping an amazing cornice,(edge of the dough, in pizza terminology), which would of made a pizzaiola blush. Take a look at Julian's fine example, in the photo below!
Handling dough is magical. And it brings you back to the fundamental tactile pleasure of creating something tangible, rather then just "consuming" some processed product. For kids, eating something they made by hand is the real "priceless." Which ain't no Master Card ad, it's a shout-out to a try-this-at-home with your kids and friends.
Makings of a classic pizza, ready for the adapted cooking method since I don't have a wood burning stove, yet!
Into a hot cast iron pan, till you get bubbles, then the ubiquitous upskirt scorch, about 3 minutes.
Learning the pizzaiola trade!
These kids devoured the experience, and made me happy by exclaiming it was better then a pizza shop!
I've fiddled with a technique of adding old bread into new dough, which is known by its German name, Altus. The man who inspired my recent attempts has the great literary name "Pip," the hero of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
Pip is from Oz. Check out his amazing breads on The Fresh Loaf. Whether it's his impressive milling grains, use of biodynamic flours, or the array of different flawless breads on the site, he's terrific. Well, like another character from Dickens' novel (Mrs. Havisham) I almost put myself in flames, catching fire while tasting this "grain" loaf of his. Dickens' references aside...make this loaf, as you won't be dissapointed!
Desem is that weird Belgian levain that uses lots of flour; whole wheat to be exact. Recently, I started using it in my stiff levain formulas. So far, I have tried it in a currant anise dough adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's Norwich sourdough.
I crossed my fingers that it wouldn't be a dud. It's hard enough to maintain levain sometimes, or to produce a decent bake for that matter while working long shifts. I am not even sure if I am following the orthodox method of feeding this fragrant and slightly tangy levain, dry as it is at only 60 percent hydration. I just fed it, and will continue using it along with my various hydrated and range of grain levains. Here's the end result.