My recent loaf of bread with my milled kamut, I increased my levain to 50% in the final mix with a firm starter, which made for a lighter crumb, delicious and deep flavors. Depending on times, hydration and feeding schedule of levains , this was my happy result with kamut!
Who gets to name a bread? Who gets to give their stamp of approval to say whether the bread lives up to the name? There's no simple answer to this, though here's one guarantee; trying to answer it is a great way drive yourself crazy.
And if you want to meet the head chefs of migraine makers, here's where they live; Brussels, home to the always-ready-to-bureaucratize anything, the EEU. Among its treats, a multitude of designated legal protections for foods and wines. Known as a "DOP"," these regulations define specific processes that include ingredients, timing, weights and types of cooking hardware (aka ovens!).
So what's this got to do with today's weather or this blog? Well, Pane di Altamura, bread from Italy's Altamura region has such a DOP. Recently in Bread history and practice ,baking writer William Rubel's forum, I was part of a conversation about this bread. A bunch of us were frustrated by the fact that without the Altamura's stamp-of-approval, my homemade version could not be legitimately called "Pane Di Altamura." The consensus? Rename the local version to "Altered-Mura" and, presto, our own DOP. All to say, the core ingredient to success in in this serious business? Don't take it too seriously.
Suffering from a jones for poppy-seed bread, I stopped into my local Turkish food market and asked for poppy seeds to grind. The guy told me to try "haşhas," a Turkish poppy-seed paste. I'm glad to have taken his advice.
Hashas is a richer brown than the usual store-bought poppy-seed paste. It's also not quite as sweet. It worked quite well for putting together this sourdough babka flavored with walnuts.
Having a leg of lamb leftovers from the holidays, I decided to put together some home-made souvlaki, starting with freshly baked pita. A good shot of sourdough for a simple flatbread that took only two hours to make from start to finish. Opa!
These little rolls are a simple to produce Italian brioche, though enriched with fewer eggs and substituting extra virgin olive oil for butter. The batch below were made with milled semola rimacinata and sprouted wheat flour. The results were fantastic and contained no commercial yeast.
Here is a bread mix that includes a sprouted organic grain flour soaker along with home milled sprouted wheat grains. It's based on a Bouley Bakery formula I first used years ago. Revisiting it led to wonderful results with a dark and open grigne.
My first Pandolce Genovese was made at school where we used baking powder. Below is a recent bake using sourdough. Incorporating several feeds, it's a bit like baking panettone; 1st impasto (first dough), enriched with eggs, and sugar, then sprinkled with candied fruit, raisins, and my favorite Sicilian finochietto salvatico(wild anise). With two long fermentations, it's definitely worth the effort. The taste pays off, and it's quite addictive. Next time thought of adding vino santo. What do you think of that idea?
While milling some durum into rimacinata at home, I revisited the Pane di Altamura DOP on making Pane di Altamura. Using well-refreshed lievito naturale, I found that using their prescribed timing and methods leads to great results for this fabulous golden bread from Puglia. And it turned out wonderfully using home milled, organic grain from America.
Over the weekend a friend asked me to replicate a Montreal-style bagel, the softer cousin to the more dense and jaw breaking type made in New York. This batch was a sourdough version. On my next effort, I'm going for a Jerusalem version... sacred but chaotic. Shalom, Saalam, Peace unto you brother, oy vey!
Below is a slice of home-baked cider raisin apple bread with a morsel of foie gras on a lettuce leaf bed, topped with apple quince compote. In one way it's a simple set of flavors. In another way it's complex. Either way, it's delicious.