Monday, November 23, 2015

Winter "pulla" dough

"Winter" came and both my breads and buns started to look like.. something not to be so proud about.

They were goodish until they were warm, but as they cooled down they became hard and dry for my liking.
It needed to become more moist, more soft.. just more..
As a result, I decided to add a little bit more of everything: more butter, more egg yolk for richness, and a bit more milk to make a softer dough. Below you can see the recipe, and bake some for the cold winter nights, something to cuddle up with under your blanket with a mug of glögi.
Cozy blankets, hot drinks and soft buns, with some candles burning on the table.. Hmmm...

500 ml milk (2 cups), more towards 550 ml, lukewarm
3 tsp dry yeast
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
200 ml sugar (a bit less than 1/2 cups)
170 g butter (1 1/5 stick), melted
1 tsp or rather 1 tbsp minced cardamom seed
1 tsp salt
~950 g () all purpose (bread) flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean (optional)
1 orange's or lemon's zest (optional), depends what goes better with your filling

Proof the yeast in the lukewarm milk directly in your mixing bowl. Sprinkle it to the top of the milk, some sugar, mix lightly and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Add the sugar, egg+egg yolk, salt, vanilla, cardamom and orange zest. Start adding the flower gradually, mixing continuously.
Add about 80-90% of the flour, and let it mix in a smooth dough. Add the melted butter, gradually, mixing in small quantities of the leftover flour until all is well combined in a smooth dough.
It might still be sticking to the sided of the bowl, and it should be a very soft and moist dough.
Scrape the dough off the sided of the bowl, "wrap" it into a smooth ball, and place it back into a plastic bowl.
Cover with kitchen foil and a dry kitchen towel to keep both the moisture and warmth inside the bowl.
Let it sit for 1 - 1.5 hours, depending on the temperature of the house.
Divide the dough into three equal portions, form small balls, place them on a tray lined with parchment paper and cover with kitchen foil, and kitchen towel, and let it sit for additional 20 minutes or so. It should grow significantly again.
From here you'll continue to make your korvapuusti (cinnamon buns) or voisilmapulla, wreaths, or whatever bun you wish.
Bon appetite!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Amaranth bread

Ooo, a new variety of bread is baking in the oven, and it feels soo good to eat these moist, home made breads again.
I've been lazy to bake them for a good while, than my OCD (Obsessive Chicken Disorder) soul mate neighbor became my regular customer for fresh bread twice a week.
I am forever thankful for her, because now I have to set laziness aside and prepare the bread twice a week!

I've been baking batches for about 4 weeks, alternating the white and whole wheat, but it started to feel... well, boring.
So I looked around in the pantry as I stocked up with some gorgeous Bob's Red Mill organic flours, like the amaranth.
It has a bittery/nutty flavor, and based on the smell and consistency I decided to go with 12% amaranth in the flour mix. It turned out to be a perfect percentage..

400 g white unbleached bread flour
50 g amaranth flour
350 ml water
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp yeast

The process is the same as for the basic no-knead bread.
Mix the flours with the salt and yeast.
Pour in the water (cold or lukewarm, doesn't matter), mix until the flour is just enough combined in a ball. Don't overmix!
Cover with a thick kitchen towel/ kitchen foil and let is sit for 14-20 hours, depending on the temperature in the house.
Scrap the dough off the bowl, and damp it on a lightly floured surface. Cover again and let it sit for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven with the pot with a lid inside, for at least 20 minutes.
Carefully lift the bread and drop it in the pot. Don't turn it upside down, or mess with it in any way!
Cover with a lid and bake for 25-30 minutes covered with the lid.
Remove lid, and bake for additional 10-15 minutes, depends how well baked you like it.