Since I tasted Pandoro many years ago I’m madly in love with this cake/bread. I love the light crumb, the flaky crust and its taste of vanilla and butter.
Until now I baked two different recipes: The Pandoro from the sisters simili which I found on Chili und Ciabatta and the recipe from the SFBI, which Susan published on Wild Yeast. The Pandoro of the Simili-Sisters is a yeast based one, with the butter laminated into the dough, while the SFBI-Recipe uses both sourdough and yeast and the butter is kneaded into the dough.
A sweet Starter, sometimes called italian starter as well, is a sourdough which rises very strong due to high temperature and frequent feeding. The yeasts in the sourdough develop very strongly under this conditions, while the bacteria produce less acids. This yields into the very mild taste of this starter.
For my Pandoro-recipe I needed more sweet starter then the old sweet starter recipe would yield, so I adjust the amounts here. But that is the only thing that changed!
After two days of feeding after the sweet starter schedule, the starter should be able to triple its volume in four hours. If it can not, you should elongate the feeding for another day!
I love to bake Pandoro, but in the busy Christmas time I do not always find the time to prepare the time consuming Sweet Starter. But this year I had enough time for it during the holidays. A Sweet Starter is an extremly active sourdough which is prepared by feeding a sourdough every four hours and keeping it on 30°C. This shifts the sourdough to the yeasty side and creates a sweet tasting sourdough with only hints of yoghurt flavour. And it makes the starter very strong, and so my starter was finally able to double its size in two hours. Such an active starter is a very nice thing and so I decided to increase the amount during feeding until I could use a part of it to start a preferment for a bread. I mixed the preferment in the morning and after four hours the sourdough more then tripled it size and was ready to use. And so I mixed a dough, fermeted it for three hours and then I proofed the shaped loaves overnight in the fridge.
with this view out of my kitchen window I want to wish you a merry and peaceful Christmas!
Who still needs a present for Christmas has to hurry up now. A delicious last minute present for people with a sweet tooth is this Chai Syrup. And with a flask of Chai Syrup the next Chai Latte is just a question of warm (maybe frothed) milk.
For the syrup you just need some black tea, some spices, water and sugar and ten minutes time. And then you can fill your syrup into glasses or flasks and wrap them up for Christmas. Or you keep a flask for your one…
This year you can buy a lot of different bread mixes backed in Weck-Flasks. Even our book stores sells them. When I studied the flasks there I realized that they charge ten Euro for 750g of flour, yeast, salt and some spices or seeds! Really, ten Euro? I mean, ok, the Weck flask would cost something about two Euro. But then there are still 8 Euro left for a little bit of flour.
Home again I grabbed an old juice flask and filled it with layers of wheat flour, rye flour and potatoe flakes. I used the organic instant mashed potatoes from Alnatura which consists only of dry potatoes flakes, salt and spices. Filling the flask took its time, so choosing one with a wide bottle neck would be better! The 500g of flour, potatoe flaks, yeast and salt cost me about 1,20 Euro and the flask was for free. And it is a nice present, even a last minute one, as long as you have the ingredients and a flask/glass with one litre volume at home.
Of course I test-baked the recipe, too! And I was surprised about the potatoey taste of the rolls, and I like their moist crumb and crisp crust very much, too. Maybe I should rethink my “no instant mash potatoe-rule” in favour for easy potato rolls!
Sometimes I see a recipe and I have directly a person in mind who would be like it as small treat.
That happened to me, when I saw the little meringue mushrooms on Food52 shortly before christmas. At this time it was already to late but I kept it in mind the whole year and made it this week as little Christmas present for someone who loves to go on a mushroom foray.
And I was surprised who simple they are made. Who ever made some meringue before will do this easily. You just have to pipe flat, round hats with a big piping tip. The stems are made by moving the tip slowly upwards and the lamella are made by dipping the bottom side of the hat into molten chocolate. You see, it is really easy to do but the effect is great!
A perfect gift for mushroom fan!
And here I am with another modification of my standard recipes. I saw a picture of Mohnkipferl (poppy seeds crescents) somewhere in the depth of the world wide web some weeks ago, but did not save the site nor the recipe (my fault, I know). And so I had to be creative…
I replaced the almonds in my vanilla crescent recipe with ground poppy seeds. I ground the poppy seeds with the mini chopper accessory of my hand held blender, but an electric coffee mill or a food processor should do the job, too.
The poppy seed experiment worked out perfectly, the kipferl a perfectly mellow and are a perfect contrast to my normal vanilla crescents!
But each year I have to bake some new recipes as well. And one of the recipes I tried this year are these quince stars. When I made my traditional Linzer Ringe recipe I had the Idea of a cookie made with a quince fillung and some grounded almonds and a little bit of tonka bean in the dough. I use the tonka beans always carefully because while they taste delicious, their aroma is a strong one, too.
I like my spontaneous recipe vey much, the combination of almond, quince and tonka bean fits very well!