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 🙂
Here is –as I promised – the first spelt recipe (of hopefully many more). It is a variation of my brioche recipe, but with more egg yolk and a little water roux to increase the amount of liquid in the dough. A sweet starter adds flavour and helps a good rise.
When kneading to full gluten development, you have to keep a close eye on the dough, as spelt tends to be easily over kneaded. Especially when you use a new batch of flour it is a good idea to do a window pane test in between to test how far the gluten is already developed. It depends on the spelt variety, but perfect gluten development can be less then 30 seconds away from overkneaded .
But if you keep this in mind, then you will have a perfect light and fluffy dinkel brioche for breakfast on sunday morning!
A day off should to be spent considered. And this a dear friend and me did last week. As my friend is as much passionated about baking as I am we decided to to a macaron marathon to compare two different recipes. One was the recipe of Pierre Hermè that I baked two weeks ago and the other one my friend get of the French grandmother of a friend.
Both recipes differs a lot from each other: the Hermé recipe contains more sugar and is made with an italian meringue. This makes the recipe more complicated, but it yields great macarons as well. The grandmothers recipe is very easy to prepare, but we struggeled with runny dough, cracks in the macaron shell and problems with the right baking time. Non of this happend with the Hermé recipe, we baked about 120 macaron shells with that recipe and each of them was perfect! And while the last time I pipe the macarons “free style” this time we used a template we place below the baking paper, so the macarons look now as similar as peas in a pod.
The macarons have a core of lemon curd which is surrounded by a dark pink ganache. The combination of lemon and raspberries is always a dream and the slight tartness of the fruits is the perfect contrast to the sweet shells! A beautiful and delicious treat! Continue reading
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.
Relaxed and in good company was our start into 2016. I hope, you landed good in the new year as well!
For a late breakfast we always have the traditional new year pretzel and for this one I did something I planed to do already for some time. I transformed the favourite sunday braid recipe to spelt flour. To increase the water binding capacity, I added a water roux and for a stronger starter, I build the dough similar to a pandoro with a first and a second dough. This enhance flavour and makes the yeasts stronger as they already have the change to adapt to the higher sugar content.
I have to warn you: the next posts will be sweet ones! It is partly due to the Christmas time and partly due to sweet things I made for two Ph.d. defence parties in the institute. And I will start with one of those recipes. It was part of the pumpkin buffet we whipped up for one of my former colleagues who is a pumpkin lover. This year, writing and defending her thesis kept her away from enjoying the pumpkin season and so we decided to cook everything with pumpkin for her. We had baked pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and a savory pumpkin tart and I made pumpkin ice cream and baked Pumpkin chocolate cake and pumpkin fritters for her.
The pumpkin fritters are very much my own style as I worked with yeast instead of baking powder. A bit of sourdough gives them a deeper flavour, but this is optional. Turned either in powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar they taste best when still warm. But even the next day they are still a treat!