Monday, October 20, 2014

October Sourdough Surprises - Croissants

This month's Sourdough Surprises challenge was something that I have been wanting to try for quite some time. Croissants.

I've made croissants before, but not with sourdough.

And I've made sourdough laminated dough before, but not for croissants. So this was very exciting.

When looking for inspiration, I came across a recipe for sourdough pumpkin croissants and I just knew that I was going to try them. I mean, not to sound like a cliche, but at this time of year, I love just about everything pumpkin. So to incorporate it into this challenge? Oh yes.

Now, usually when I make sourdough recipes, I like to have all of the yeast be of the wild variety. Meaning, no commercial yeast.  As you might notice, this recipe does contain commercial yeast in addition to the sourdough.  The author of this recipe is someone I completely and totally admire and trust. So if she used both sourdough and commercial yeast, I am absolutely not going to question it.

I do not have process photos for this because I prepared the levain late at night, the dough early in the morning, and then the rolling and shaping steps were so hands on that I didn't want to grab the camera.

But trust me.

It is fun. And totally do-able.

All it takes is time. And a little bit of patience.

But it is so worth it.

These croissants are absolutely delicious. Dangerously delicious.

Neither the pumpkin nor the sourdough flavors were all that strong, but they were still outstanding.

I can't wait to make these again.

Sourdough Pumpkin Croissants
(from The Fresh Loaf)

For the Levain:
35g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
59g water
105g flour (recipe called for bread flour, I used all purpose)

Mix together all ingredients and leave at room temp for 12 hours.

For the Final Dough:
422g flour (recipe called for bread flour, I used all purpose)
68 g sugar
10 g salt
7g instant yeast (I used active-dry)
21g softened butter
200 g pumpkin puree
120g water
all of the prepared levain

287g butter for the butter-packed to roll in

Mix together everything but the rolling butter and knead until gluten starts to form. In my stand mixer, this was accomplished by kneading (with the dough hook) for 3 minutes at the first speed, the 3 minutes at 3rd speed. The dough is not very smooth, but not sticky. Put the in fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
While the dough rests, cut the roll-in butter into pieces and put the pieces between two sheets of plastic or wax paper. Use a rolling pin to tap the butter until it's soft enough to roll, then roll it between the two sheets until it's a 7.5X7.5inch square. Let this rest in fridge until you need it.
Once rested, roll the dough out until it's double size of the butter sheet, 11X11inch in this case. Remove the butter square from the refrigerator and tap it until it's roll-able, and the texture is similar to the dough. Place the butter square diagonally in the middle of the dough square, then fold up the corners of the dough and seal in the butter. Pay attention to corners and edges, you don't want spots where there's no butter.
Roll out the butter/dough package into a 8X24inch rectangle, then fold into thirds, like you're folding a business letter, folding the bottom third up over the middle, then the top third over the other two sections.
Put the dough in fridge to rest for 1 hour. Then take out dough and repeat the rolling and folding 2 more times, which gives 3 folds in total.
Put in fridge and rest again, this time for at least 90min. Then roll out to 9X36inch, 1/8inch thickness.
Cut into triangles, 4.5inch wide at the base, 9inches tall. Don't hesitate to cut off inperfect edges if you want a pefect crumb.
Roll up each triangle fairly tightly, stretching out the tip with one hand when you roll the bottom with the other hand. Place each rolled triangle onto an ungreased baking sheet.
At this point, you can proof right away, fridge overnight and proof next day, or freeze (defrost overnight in fridge before proofing if you decided to freeze.). Brush with egg wash both before and after proofing. Croissants should proof for about 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to  375 and bake for an additional for 15 minutes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bazlama (Turkish Flatbread)

Happy Monday! Second Monday of the month, know what that means? Secret Recipe Club time!

This month I was assigned to a blog that was new to me, and I couldn't be happier about it. Rachel Cotterill is an amazing blogger. She is a writer (like, actual published author!), a photographer, a PhD student, and an all-around amazingly impressive person. Seriously, check out her blog - her travels, her adventures - she is amazing.

I was seriously torn about what to make this month. I really wanted to try her squash and chickpea stew, and have been craving scones since seeing her recipe. But I was totally intrigued by her post about Turkish Flatbread, and just knew I had to try it.

The ingredients themselves are not what are intriguing - it's a pretty basic bread recipe: flour, salt, yeast and water.  But what's intriguing is how the bread is cooked. The bread is not baked in the oven like most yeasted breads, - it is cooked on a pan on the stove, more like tortillas. I had to give it a shot.

The dough comes together super easily.

I did all of the kneading by hand, which I love. There's nothing quite like getting a real feel for your dough. And when it really starts to come together and smooth out, when you're kneading by hand, you know it right away. I love that.

Then the dough rests - and rises!

Shaping this "loaf" is a simple matter of rolling the risen dough into a ball, then rolling it out to about an inch thick. I tried to roll it to approximately the size of the pan I would be using.

And then you cook!

Five minutes on each side to get things started, then a few minutes more on each side, flipping regularly, until it's golden brown on each side and sounds hollow when tapped.

I think I had my heat up a bit too high, so my bread cooked pretty quickly, but it wasn't a problem.

I served this bread as a side with dinner, cutting it to be almost like bread sticks. Some of us buttered our pieces, but the bread tasted delicious even on its own.

And the next day, I found myself dipping the leftover breadstick pieces in hummus for an afternoon snack - yum!

Rachel, thank you so much for your beautiful blog and your delicious inspiration. I look forward to making lots more of your recipes and to following along with your future adventures.

Bazlama, Turkish Bread
(from Rachel Cotterill)

Makes 1 large loaf

350g (12oz, 2 cups) plain flour
1tsp salt
10g (1tbsp) instant dried yeast
200ml (7fl.oz) lukewarm water

Whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast.
Gradually add in the warm water, mixing with your fingers, ensuring that no dry patches of flour remain. As with any bread, the exact amount of water required will depend on the humidity, so pour slowly, and be prepared to add more as required.
Knead the bread for five minutes, until the dough is smooth and flexible.
Set the dough in a lightly oiled bowl (turning to coat all sides), cover with plastic wrap, and set to rise in a warm place for about half an hour.
Gently deflate the dough, give it a gently knead, and form it into a smooth ball.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the ball out to about an inch thick, trying to keep the thickness as even as possible. The bread should be about the size of a dinner plate.
Warm a dry frying pan over a medium heat (do not add any spray or oil!), and place the bread onto the pan.
Cook for about five minutes on each side to begin with, then continue to turn regularly until both sides are golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Be patient - it could take up to about 20 minutes total, and be sure to keep an eye on it as it cooks.


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