And here is a last glance of of what I baked this year for Easter. The little Dove I baked twice. Once with my sisters kids, once alone. In the first version I rolled the dough strand equally thick what resulted in doves with a very plumb body and with a tiny head. For the kids it didn’t matter, they made sure they vanished while still warm from the oven. But I was hooked and so I baked them a second time, this time with a slightly modified formed strand. And this time the birds looked like birds. And to find the pictures next year, too, I have here the “how to” for you. The dough recipe is the same like the tsoureki just without the spices.
When we drove through snow- rain to meet with the family on Easter Sunday, I mused if todays Easter weather was colder then on Christmas Eve or not. But good weather or not we had a broad mixture of rolls and a greek easter braid with us.
The idea of baking tsoureki I had in mind since a readers question last year. And so I did some research and found the braid in many different forms and different ratios of ingredients. But two ingredients were a stable: Mastix and Mahlep.
Mastix is the resin of the pistachios tree, while mahlep are cherry pits form Prunus mahaleb. While grinding the spices to powder I realized that mahlep has an similar aroma than tonka beans: almond like and very delicious. As always, the flavours of a spiced bread are depending more on the spices then on the aroma of the preferment. But using a preferment is useful anyway, as it helps to strengthens the gluten network as well as improves the shelf life.
We enjoyed this greek Easter Bread with its fluffy crumb and almond like flavours very much.
I added poolish for more flavour and a water roux to make the dough more easy to handle. The other adjustment I made was concerning kneading and fermenting time. Kneading the dough until full gluten development is an important point here as a well developed dough keeps water much better. And as I told already last week, it is important that a whole grain dough gets enough time to soak up the liquid, too. This helps to improve the crumb as well as the shelf life. And in combination these all leads to a dough which is firm enough to get stemped with a roll stemp.
Beside of this I finetuned the recipe a bit, reducing the amount of yeast (once more) and adding an egg as lecithin source. This helps to create a fluffy roll with good volume and fine flavour. The buttery notes pair up very well with the nutty yet slightly bitter flavour of whole grain. These are rolls with potential for favourite rolls.
There is no shortage for burger bun recipes here in the blog. But while I am not willing to discuss a change by the patty (it HAS to be my vegan ABC-Burgerpatty) we like a change by the bun. And when we decided spontaneously that we would like to eat Burger for Dinner, I opted to bake spelt buns this time. When I checked the blog, I realized that I published no spelt variant until now. Something I had to change instantly, of course.
As the recipe is one for baking without long planning, there is no prefermet involved. To deepen the flavour non the less, I added some sourdough from the fridge and used it refresh my sourdough all along. For keeping the moisture in the dough, I opted for physillium hulls (no need to wait for a water roux cooling). And I added a good portion of freshly milled spelt, enough for some nutty flavour but not so much that it would compromise the fluffiness of the bun. It worked well together and after four hours we were able to serve some delicious burger along with sweet potatoe fries.
January was extraordinary dark this year. I miss the sun and feel that without I lack creativity. Yesterday, finally, we had a sunny day and so we spent a day outside. Coming home my mind happily mingled different ideas I had recently to bake a whole grain brioche.
As adding some rose hip powered helped me to archive a better gluten structure in this bread I decided to test its power in a whole spelt variant of brioche. With some sweet starter for flavour and some finely grated orange peel to break the slight bitterness of whole grain, I kneaded a dough containing a good amount of egg and butter. Kneading a brioche dough is always thrilling. As soon as the butter is added to the mixture, it turns in a sloppy mess. This happens with wheat brioche dough as well, so do not panic. Just keep kneading. The dough needs time until it starts to come together once again, but it will. As spelt sensitive to overkneading, it is advisable to keep an eye on gluten development . Nevertheless aim for full gluten development. Then you will be rewarded with a delightful brioche with a tender crumb. The flavour is rich and buttery, with delicious orange notes. For me, it is an enrichment of my Sunday morning breakfast, especially in combination with my favourite orange jam!
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.
Some time ago I showed this braids already while they cooled down on sunday morning. I promised to post the recipe, if they turned out nicely – and they did! So here it is. It is mainly a “use leftovers” recipe as it contains a bit of left over quark and some sweet starter after refreshing. The Quark adds a nice moistness to the dough and enhances shelf live. But the special turn in this recipe is the tiny bit of rye flour I added. As I learned last year from the Onjeschwedde is a small dose of rye good to enhance the crumb structure to extra soft and pillowy.
Another point I love at weekends too is the fact that the recipe is great for proofing overníght in the fridge. So the next morning the only thing I had to do is placing the baking tray in the oven. Perfect for relaxed sundays!
A reader told me about “Schulmäusen” (School mice), a small sweet roll filled with hazelnut praline. She tried to bake similar rolls in a spelt variant but struggled with them getting to dry. My brain worked a while on this idea in the background and came up with a recipe at the end – just in time for school start. As the name “Schulmaus” is a brand name, I decided to call my rolls Spelt mice and formed most of them like a mouse, too. But if you do not roll one end into a long tail, then you get the original form, too.
They are not a healthy snack, but a treat for small and big ones with a sweet tooth. The crumb is fluffy and the filling creamy – a good way to make school start a bit sweeter!
Some Weeks ago a reader send me a recipe asking if I could change it to less yeast and with the possibility to let the rolls proof overnight in the fridge. The recipe was – to use the famous words of Alfred Biolek – “interesting” as it contained not only a lot of yeast but baking powder as well. So it was not very surprisingly that the recipe yielded roll which taste not so good and get stale very fast.
And my recipe variant only contains now hints of the old one. With a poolish, a water roux, adjusted yeast amount and no baking powder it is a complete different story. I had to adjust the amounts of flour as well as my first draft was getting slightly on the to wet side. The final formula has still a higher hydration then the original recipe, but the dough is good to handle when the gluten network is fully developed.
And I am more then pleased with the Kifle. They have very fluffy crumb and a perfect soft crust and develop a fine flavour due to poolish and yoghurt. A perfect roll for both sweet and hearty Spreads.
Petras comment 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 🙂