Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hokkaido Milk Bread

Always wanted to try this technique and when I found a recipe for Matcha Hokkaido Milk Bread I knew I had to try it out. Matcha is the Japanese powdered Green Tea and it just happened that I had some, since Green Tea Ice Cream is one of our indulgences.

The recipe was from the Bakeansita and can be found here. 

Making the tangzhong was simple, but does require constant stirring so that the paste does not burn as it thickens.

Followed the recipe instructions for using a bread machine to make the dough. Here is the final result, light airy, great flavor bread. 

From the oven

Crumb shot

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Got motivated today as yesterday's birthday gifts included two 5qt Lodge Dutch Ovens. These have the side handles on the lid, so you can use them upside down. Should be much easier to place the loaf on the lid and then cover with the oven. More information.

The Bread

Had too much going on the day before so was unable to refresh my levain and build a starter and overnight loaf, so I made it easy with Ken Forkish's Saturday White Bread, from Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. Substituted 10% Whole Wheat to give a little more fiber and flavor.

Found the new Dutch Ovens easy to use and very pleased with the final result.
Saturday White Bread with 10% Whole Wheat

And yet another 

Had a desire for something sweet. One of my favorite breads when eating at an Indian Restaurant is Peshwari Naan.  Also known as Pashawari Naan, it is named after the region on India where it originated. This is Naan stuffed with raisins, nuts and spices.

For the filling, I used raisins, pine nuts, dried coconut with cardamon and mace. Ground them to a course mix in a small food processor.

The recipe came from an internet search.The basic Naan bread is rolled out into a circle, the chopped filling put on top, then the edges folded over like an envelope. The package is then turned over and rolled out into a rough circle or teardrop shape.

Baking is under the broiler, so watching for the desired level of 'brown' is important.

Naan rolled out
Filling added

Folded up

Final shape

 Finished Peshwari Naan

Monday, March 27, 2017


Had some more spent grain gifted last week. Decided to dry some first to establish the water content. Weighed the rest out into 250g packs so they are pre-weighed for the recipe.

Drying was an eye opener. In 250g there is 187g of water. No wonder the last batch was so wet!

Reducing the water to 615g in the base dough meant that the final dough would have a hydration of 80%. Much easier dough to work with. Based  on the spent grains water content I estimate that the part 2 batch was about 85% hydration, which explains why it was so hard to finally shape.

Both loaves came out of the oven looking good, with good oven spring . The first loaf got away from me! My wife grabbed it for a gift before I could photograph it.

Nice oven spring

Here is the second loaf on the cooling rack.

Chewy crust, soft crumb.

 Ahh! Fresh bread with just a smear of butter.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Some more digging on Google turned up a recipe for Natural Sourdough with Spent Beer Grains.

Used my levain from Ken Forkish's Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast to make the stiff levain. Followed the recipe, including the times, with the exception of reducing the water to 700g. My previous experience was that the spent grains added a lot more water and I wanted to be able to control the hydration. In this recipe the spent grains are added part way through the stretch and fold process. So I started out at a 70% hydration.

Once the spent grains were added, it was obvious that I had a wet dough, but decided to leave it and just add flour as needed when shaping before the final proof.  On refection, perhaps I need to take 100g of spent grain, dry it out and figure the actual water content. The recipe calls for 250g of spent grains, so if the water content is at 50% then I'm adding another 125g of water for a final hydration of 82.5%.

Made two batches so that I would have four loaves, some to give away to the donor of the spent grains.

Proofed two loaves in bannetons, two in linen lined baskets. No apparent difference in the final proof. Not too happy with the minimal oven spring, but the final product is a hearty loaf, good crunchy crust, soft crumb. Here is the result:

Friday, January 20, 2017


What is Spent Grain?

Beer is liquid bread! After all, beer shares three of the four bread ingredients - grain, water, yeast. The big difference is the grain is not milled into flour but malted (sprouted) to provide the complex carbohydrates and sugars needed for brewing. The grain is first steeped in water to raise the moisture level to allow the breakdown of the starches and proteins. After steeping, the grain is allowed to germinate allowing for further breakdown of the protein and carbohydrate. Germination is halted by drying so that the growing is stopped, creating the starch reserves needed for brewing.

The grain is boiled with water to extract the sugars and flavors into a liquid known as wort, which is then fermented into beer. The wort is filtered off the grains and what is left is a wet pile of grain. The spent grain becomes a by-product of the brewing process, often discarded or used for animal feed. 

The wet spent grains.
I was fortunate to get two 1 gallon bags of spent grain from a friend who is beginning to establish a micro brewery in a nearby town.  The actual grain mixture was 90.3% Pale malt, 2.4% Caramel malt, 3.6% White wheat malt and 3.6% Caraphils. All the malts, with the exception of the White wheat are made from barley, the difference being in how they are treated after germination in the drying process.

 First Bake

An internet search provided several recipes, most associated with home brewing sites. I selected one that used wet grain from this site.

3 cup Spent grain - wet
1 1/4 cup Warm water
1/4 cup Sugar
4-5 cup AP flour
1 tsp Salt
1 Egg
1/4cup Milk
1 tbsp Instant Dry Yeast

Obviously the amount of water in the grain is an unknown variable, and I finished up adding a further 1 1/2 cups of AP flour. 

The loaves
Final proof was in bannetons and baked at 475oF in a dutch oven for 30 minutes covered and 25 minutes uncovered. The loaves were dense, chewy with a great toasted malt flavor.

Water content of the spent grains is obviously something to consider and likely to vary from batch to batch.

Crumb shot

Next up will be a Sourdough with spent grains from here.

Drying the Spent Grain

We put seeds in breads, so why not spent grains? Half the grains were spread on a rimmed baking sheet and dried in the oven. Perhaps a measure of the amount of water is that is took 3 days at 170oF to dry the grains out! 

Result was a great chewy crunch with a slightly sweet, malt flavor. Next time I make a whole wheat loaf, I am going to see what a cup full of dried spent grains will do to the flavor.

Dried spent grain

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Last month, the Artisan's Bread Bakers Facebook page had Ciabatta as the "Bread of the Month". We are all encouraged to try the recipe and post the results. Ciabatta is Italian for slipper, probably named because of the long, wide, flat shape of the bread. These are high hydration loaves, this recipe has a 78% hydration.

The poolish after 14 hours
This recipe calls for an overnight poolish. Poolish is a slow ferment that adds flavor and complexity to the loaf. The recipe called for a 50/50 by weight mix of flour and water and a pinch of yeast. 14 hours later the poolish had a vigorous lot of fine bubbles breaking the surface and a pleasant, slightly sour odor. The rest of the flour, water, salt and yeast was added to the poolish and mixed with the dough hook. The final result was a very slack dough transferred to the proofing bin.

Thirty minutes rest followed by a stretch and fold saw the dough starting to develop. Three more rests and stretch and folds gave the gluten a good chance to develop and some large bubbles could be seen at the top of the dough. 

After a final 30 minute rest the dough is tipped out onto the bench. This is where things get interesting! When I made this two weeks ago for the first time I just made two large loaves. Big mistake! The loaves were too long for the baking stone and dripped over onto the racks. So this time I made two smaller loaves (about 12inches) two other 8 inch loaves and five buns. Much easier to handle and bake.

The final result


It's Labor Day weekend - time for cook outs, right? Well not this Saturday. Tropical Storm Hermine visited us last night and dumped five inches of rain and most of Saturday has been spoiled with showers. Already had the hot dogs in the refrigerator so time to experiment with a recipe I have eyed for some time. Hot dogs wrapped with challah bread dough.

Made a batch of my stand by challah dough, separated into 10 strands and spiral wrapped each hot dog. Finished with an egg wash and sesame seeds on half and poppy seeds on the rest.

25 minutes in a 350oF oven and out they came. Some went for supper, the rest in the freezer for later.
Challah Dogs

Sunday, August 7, 2016


It's been unbearably hot in eastern North Carolina, so baking has been on the back burner for the past two months, except for my commitment of Challah for our local shul. 

But yesterday I got energized and put together two Overnight 40% Whole Wheat from Ken Forkish's Flour Water, Salt, Yeast, two loaves of Vogel's Bread and three Baguettes.

Overnight 40% Whole Wheat

Very pleased with this result, good oven spring, crisp, chewy crust, and soft crumb. Great flavor.

Crisp crust, soft crumb - delicious.

Vogel's Bread? Among other things it is the best selling bread in my home country of New Zealand. Created by a Swiss, Alfred Vogel who cared a lot about the enjoyment of good food and healthy living, believing that:
The best quality of life could be achieved by maintaining a well-balanced diet of wholesome natural foods.
And what better place to start than the ‘humble’ loaf? Alfred wanted to create bread full of wholesome and natural ingredients, making it simple and enjoyable for anyone and everyone to get essential nutrients into their everyday diet. So Vogel’s bread has been around for over 60 years now and baked in New Zealand since 1967.

Vogel's Bread
Essentially it's a multi-grain seeded loaf. Mine has 7 grain hot cereal, rolled oats, sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame seeds with 20% whole wheat flour. Here is a link to the recipe I used: Vogel's Bread. I used the 7 grain cereal in place of the kibbled wheat and rye. 

Cut into the Vogel's bread for a crumb shot, but did not try yet. Into the freezer for later in the week.

Vogel's Crumb

Baguettes were from a King Arthur recipe with an overnight retard in the refrigerator. Not at all happy with the result, so no photo. Recipe called for baking in a stoneware baguette baker, which I don't have. Tried baking in the oven on a stone with steam, but the crust did not crisp up, even with an additional five minutes. However, did make a great grilled Cuban sandwich from one of the baguettes, so all was not lost.