Some traditions are important. For me having a new years pretzel for the first breakfast of the year. And so there are more than one recipe for new years pretzels on the blog. That I like to use sourdough or sweet starter for that I realized when a reader asked me what recipe she could use for a “only yeast” pretzel.
I took the hint and my 2018 pretzel is made with yeast and poolish as yeasted preferment. The poolish together with the bit of spelt flour makes the dough extensible and so its easy to roll the dough into strands. For the flavour, I added sour cream and some honey to the dough.
And while I was baking my pretzel a question came to my mind: Do you have special breads or pastry you need to celebrate the first day of the year?
I love the Italian Christmas cakes Pandoro and Panettone. And as my sweet Starter is happily active it was no question that I would bake one of this cakes for Christmas eve. And when i found the lovely mini panettone forms for little cakes of 50g each the decision was quickly made. Panettone it would be this year.
My recipe for panettone yields an amount that fits for 3 normal sized cakes or for 30 mini ones. But forming so many minis was a bit to much, even for me and so I went for 2 big and 10 mini Panettone.
I tweaked the recipe a bit, too. I increased the liquid and butter amount but reduced the raisins a bit. The resulting cake was incredible light with a crumb that can easily be shredded into long strands and so tender that it seems to melt in the mouth.
My plans for the first of advent were somehow different, but as I caught a mean cold I have to spent the day on the sofa instead of baking something delicious for Christmas. The only good thing is that I had enough time to browse through the unpublished recipes. I rediscovered the chocolate panettone I bake last Christmas but never published the recipe.
And so I used the time to publish it now, nearly a year later. It is a delicious twist on the classic recipe which combines the flavours of chocolate and citrus fruits. And just like the “normal” panettone this chocolate version is baked with sweet starter only which adds a delicious deepness to its flavour.
And with this last year’s delicious treat in my mind I begin to dream about what to bake for Christmas this year….
Easter without some Easter Bunny Buns is possible – but somehow sad. Easter Bunny Buns in various shapes belong to my Easter Breakfast since childhood. And so I used some of the dough I kneaded for the Easter bread to form some Bunnies, too.
For an easy shaping two things are important: kneading the dough to full gluten development and cooling the dough for about two hours in the fridge. This solidify the butter and adds some plasticity to the dough. The bunnies I formed with the cold dough are simple but already the forth variant I have on the blog (Here you can find Number one, two and three. Its already a little collection of possible shape 😀 !
For our Easter Brunch with the family I baked different goodies: a varity of roles, easter bunny buns, a cake with rice pudding and an Easter Bread. The Easter Bread is this year nearly a brioche as it contains a generous amount of butter. The amount of butter and the addition of fruits and nuts makes it necessary to knead the dough to full gluten development. This needs some patient but you will be rewarded with a tender and light crumb which can be torn into long pieces.
The subtle flavour of the sweet starter is accomplished by a mixture of vanila, orange zest and saffron. As an addition the dough contains raisin, almonds and pearl sugar which makes it one of the richer ones in my repertoire. It is a delicious bread which needs no spread, even butter is not necessary, it is able to shine all by its self! Continue reading →
Sometimes, we have some crazy ideas! And when a friend and I tested different Macaron recipes last march we got such a crazy idea: baking macarons as give away for her wedding. We just found the perfect recipe (from the faboulous Pierre Hermé) and already had an idea how the Macarons should look like. And the filling should be flavoured with rosewater to fit to the rose bud on top the macaron.
In the next month, we test baked several rounds. The shells worked perfectly with the first try, adding rose buds on top of a shell prior to baking works like a charm. But the filling caused more problems.
Spelt is a favourite and so I was regulary asked if my Stollen can be baked with spelt flour, too. I answered “theoretically yes” and decided to bake a Stollen with spelt flour instead of wheat, too. I like to have a practical background for those answers.
The dough contains only minimal changes to the regular recipe: I used a mixture of sultanas and currants instead of raisins and I reduced the amount of yeast, too. And I replaced the wheat flour with spelt flour, of course.
After three long weeks of resting time we cut the spelt stollen for the first Advent. And it was as moist and mellow as a good stollen has to be. Maybe it is a bit more mellow then the normal recipe, but that was the only difference I recognize. The different spices are stronger then the slight spelt flavour and I doubt that I could tell the spelt and wheat stollen apart when blind testing. And so I can tell now with own experience: Yes, you can bake a spelt stollen!
Some month ago the sister of my dearest and me agreed to bake a wedding cake for some friends of her. And so we spent a lot of time on pinterest, collecting ideas and inspiration.
Slowly a plan for the decoration emerged and finally we had a plan for the cakes as well: Punch torte, Nussnougat-Quark-Cake and Sacher Torte would be the perfect cakes. We baked some tiny test cakes for the bride and the groom, they tried them and liked them, too. Especially the punch torte was a favourite. And as we changed this recipe quite a lot it deserved its own recipe.
Petrascomment here made me thinking about baking this years Easter pinze with sweet starter. I already had a spelt variant in my mind and so I decided to combine both ideas. To keep the pinze moist, I replace the milk with some cream and reduced the amount of butter. Cream has not only a positive effect on the crumb, it is although good if you plan to let the pinze rise over night in the fridge, as the cream will not harden in the cold as butter would do. So the Easter Pinze can rise unaffected and it is easy to serve a oven fresh bread for easter breakfast.
As the dough contains a bit more fat (from the cream) I added some more egg yolk, too. This adds a nice yellow hue to crust and crumb, which is very nice especially on rainy Easter Sundays like it was this year. The pale green eggs in the background of the pictures are from my uncles hens, which belong to the so called “Easter eggers”, a variety of chicken which carries a special gen for a blue to green stained egg shell. So I get a perfect green Easter egg without staining 🙂
The quite days between christmas and new years eve I like to spent with baking time consuming “cake”-breads. My favourite one is the golden Pandoro, who is a laborious with its preferments, but every time I’m so excited how high it rise and what flavour it develops.
This year I baked once again my pure Sourdough variant, which gains it strangth and complex aroma through the sweet starter. It needs more then 24 hours until it is done, but when the tender crumbs nearly melts in my mouth I always think: This feels like eating a cloud.
When I was baking the pandoro this year there was a question about the sweet starter: Does it really rise during fermentation? I looked at my starter who had trippled its volume in 2 hours and decided to snap a photo to show how it should look. And as I was taking photos I decided to follow the whole fermenting and proofing process with the camera. When the pandoro was baked and sat in the kitchen to cool, I checked the pictures on the computer and was very happy with my result. The pictures showed so well how the preferment dobuled, nearly trippled and how the Pandoro gained a nearly the a four times bigger volume during proofing and baking.