Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Whole wheat bread with extra sharp cheddar cheese and garlic

 I'm going to be trying something a little different in the kitchen today. I've been wanting to try adding some cheese and/or garlic to the dough and see how it comes out. I originally envisioned using Gorgonzola or a strong blue cheese to compliment the full whole wheat flavor of this bread but the store was out of Gorgonzola so I went with the extra sharp cheddar.

The starter I plan to use for it comes from King Arthur flour. This stuff is really hyper active when fed on a regular basis. I've had it out on my counter for the last two days and I've been feeding it twice a day. The last feeding was this morning and it was starting to froth out the top of the container I had it in by the time I got around to starting the recipe. The beauty of todays loaves is that I have no idea how much cheese or garlic to add to each loaf so I'm just going to wing it.. I bought a 8 oz block of cheese to use so I'll cube that up and divide that up among the 3 loaves I plan to make. The garlic I added to the dough during the initial mixing. I used about 5 teaspoons. YMMV , add what you're comfortable with. Me, I really like garlic. The cheese I'm going to add just prior to the final rise when I roll out the dough and ball it up into the final shape. That way I know that most of the cheese will be distributed evenly through the dough. The final rise will be a retarded rise, taking place in the refrigerator over night. I have discovered that a slow final rise really adds a twang to the bread.  From what I've read recently, the cold rise allows the enzymes more time to do their little conversion work.  Before baking I take the bread out of the refrigerator, slash it while it's cold and let it come up to room temp. This has the added benefit of making it easier to slash and the final warming allows the dough to expand more opening up the cuts made.
Todays bread is going to see a few other changes in technique  that I've been wanting to try also. I plan to make 3 small boules and use parchment paper on top of the cooking stone that I bake with. I'm either going to wind up with 3 wonderful loaves of bread or this is going to be a complete disaster. I don't see any middle ground on this one. Here's hoping for the best.
Well the loaves are baked and didn't turn out too bad.  I haven't cut into one yet but they look nice.  When I took them out of the refrigerator this morning I realized that I had a small problem, how to transfer them from the dinner plates they were resting on to the baking stone.  I don't own a peel.  I wound up using another dinner plate over the top and just inverted them.  That allowed me to get them on the stone but it did have the effect of deflating them somewhat and wiped out the score marks I had on them.  Live and learn.  I did get a decent amount of oven spring so that helped.  Next time I think I'm going to try and proof them in a basket of some sort. 
Another thing I discovered on this bake is that parchment paper is wonderful stuff.  I did not have any sticking problems at all and laid it directly on the cooking tile, it may even be reusable.
Starter ready for action
Say cheese, and garlic
Resting after the 1st knead

After kneading

Cheese added after rolling out
Shaped and on a dinner plate for final rise

Bagged and ready for the final rise in the fridge
2 of the 3 loaves baked
The last loaf baking

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My current mostest favorite sourdough bread recipe

I'm not sure where I came across this recipe but I've been baking in for the last few weeks with a couple of different starters in my collection and everyone raves about it.  
I currently have 3 loaves on their final rise in the fridge now, I'll post some pictures of the final product tomorrow night when they come out of the oven.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread 1

List of ingredients:
**3 cups of sourdough sponge (See notes below)
3 to 3 ½ cups of unbleached white flour
¼ cup sugar or 1/8 cup honey and 1/8 cup agave syrup or ¼ cup of either (I prefer ¼ cup of honey)
¼ cup melted shortening (I use ¼ cup melted butter)
1 ½ cup milk
1 Tbsp salt
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 fresh eggs
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 Tbsp of sesame or ¼ cup sunflower seeds

**Sponge notes: Set the sponge the night before from one cup of sourdough starter, 2 ½ cups unbleached flour, and 2 cups of warm water. Be sure to put one cup of your starter back in your starter jar before you start the recipe. You will be using 3 cups of sponge in the recipe.

Let all ingredients come up to room temperature. Place 3 cups of starter in your Kitchen Aide bowl, or whatever bowl you use to make bread. Mix in one cup of the white flour and the honey/agave syrup or sugar. Add the salt and 1 cup of dry old fashioned oats, the beaten eggs and mix well with dough hook (or by hand).

Pour in the fairly warm milk and the melted butter. Mix well again. Dump in the sesame or sunflower seeds. Add 4 cups of whole wheat flower. Add about one more cup of unbleached white flour and knead about 8 minutes in the Kitchen Aide or by hand until it is ready to put on for the first rise.

Grease the inside of a large bowl with Crisco or whatever you use as a pan release agent. Put the dough in the bowl and cover with a towel. Set in a warm spot for rise for about 2 hours...then punch down, recover and let rise for 30 more minutes. Take our of the bowl, knead for about 30 seconds to get rid of any air pockets in the dough...then cut into 3 equal f you are using 4 1/2” x 8 1/2” pansor cut into two pieces if you want to make two LARGE loaves. Form into loaves (I ball the dough, flatten with a rolling pin and roll and press, sealing the edges by pinching closed) and put in non stick sprayed pans. ( I prefer Pyrex or cast iron loaf pans) The dough should just be touching the ends of the pans. Brush the tops with beaten egg white and sprinkle on some dry old fashioned oats and some sesame or sunflower seeds. Cover and let rise in a cool spot over night, or if your in a rush, in a warm spot for about a hour and a half or until ready to bake. I prefer to let mine do the final rise in the fridge over night and let it warm up on the counter for a couple of hours the next day before baking.

When ready to bake, bake in a preheated 375 degree over for about 45 minutes for 2 large loves and 40 minutes for smaller loaves. When golden brown and the internal temperature is around 185F to 195F (using an instant read thermometer), and the loaves have shrunken away from the sides, they are done. Remove from the pans and place on a wire rack, covered with a clean towel to cool. For a softer crumb, brush with melted butter when they come out of the over.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thoughts about pan release spray and better alternatives

I've been gone for awhile, off on a little cycling adventure across the US, but I'm back and baking again.

One of the things I was thinking of today was what I use for a release agent for my baking pans.  When I started baking I was using a leading no stick cooking spray but the thought of what may be coming out of an aerosol can and the disposal of the can always bothered me so I started looking for alternatives.   For regular cooking I use a pump up bottle with regular cooking oil in it to oil the pans but it wasn't really suitable for what I wanted so I went looking for something better.  What I ultimately came up with was a mixture of liquid lecithin from the local food co-op and regular cooking oil.  The mixture I use is 2 parts lecithin to one part oil. It's too thick to spray from a pump up sprayer so I just keep the mixture in a glass jar and brush it on the bread pans with a pastry brush.  I store the liquid lecithin/oil mix in the fridge and just stir it up with a chop stick before I use it.  The bottle of liquid lecithin stays in the fridge as well.  Just a little goes a long way and I feel that it's a much healthier alternative to canned sprays.  It's also 100% organic and works better than the canned sprays or just coating the pans with oil or butter.  It also does not impart any added flavors to the breads or baked goods.

Give it a try, I think you'll be happy with the results.