These days I am a refugee without my own kitchem, ok, a luxury refugee -who spends her days in the comfortable guest loft with sauna of our condo- but I admit feeling a little messed up by the temporary exile (we are renovating our apartment, that’s why). Notwithsatnding all, I still managed to bake a little.
So I baked one lovely spelt sourdough about 10 days ago and since I knew I would not have had the time to feed my starter or plan much, I saved a piece of dough and kept it in the fridge since. Then I made the experiment of using this piece of old dough straight from the fridge to leaven a new loaf. Could that work? Also, I had no stand mixer and could not even knead by hand the night i decided to use the old dough, so this loaf truly made itself, with very little help from my side. The result is a delicious bread with a crunchy crust and a moist and light crumb. Oh how I like my ferments! NOTE: to be successful at this loaf you have to make sure that your own starter is a very good one. I will post soon how to trouble shoot your starter.
And if you are wondering how to put jam or honey on all those holes… well, my answer is: cover it up with good cheese first!!
In questi giorni sono una profuga senza la propria cucina, ok, una profuga di lusso -che passa le sue giornate nel confortevole loft con sauna del nostro condominio- ma ammetto di essere un po’ scombussolata per via di questo esilio temporaneo (stiamo ristrutturando il nostro appartamento, ecco perche’). Ciononostante, sono riuscita a panificare almeno un pochino in queste settimane.
Una decina di giorni fa ho sfornato una bella pagnotta al farro e dato che sapevo di non aver tempo per rinfrescare il mio lievito, ho conservato un pezzetto dell’impasto, tenendolo in frigo. Poi ho fatto l’esperimento di usare questo pezzo di vecchio impasto, preso direttamente dal frigorifero, per far lievitare un nuovo pane. Avrebbe funzionato? Per di piu’, non avevo la mia impastatrice e neppure la possibilita’ d’impastare a mano quella sera, quindi questa pagnotta si è veramente fatta da sola con pochissimo aiuto da parte mia. Il risultato è un pane delizioso, con una crosta croccante e una mollica soffice e leggera. Ma come come mi piacciono i miei fermenti! NOTA: per avere successo in questo tipo di pane è necessario assicurarsi che il proprio lievito sia molto attivo. Pubblichero’ presto un post in cui spiego come verificare/migliorare la qualita’ del vostro lievito.
E se vi state chiedendo come mettere marmellata o miele su tutti quei buchi… bene, la mia risposta è questa: copriteli bene con uno strato di buon formaggio! [Read More...]
Pe-pe-re-pe squilli di tromba – let’s start the dance for this month of celebrations!
For this edition, Panissimo comes back here on Bread & Companatico, so it is here that you will be able to submit your breads, of every type and shape, made in December. Actually… although every bread you make is VERY welcome, we have an (optional) monthly THEME for December, which is: Christmas and Festive Breads. So… please send us tons of breads, sweet or savory, to celebrate together the coming festivities. And if you have already baked a Christmas inspired or festive bread in November, and even if you already published about it in November, send it here. We will have a super dooper Christmas collection at the end of the month and you are all warmly invited. So what are you waiting for? At the end of this post you will find an easy grid where you can insert the link to your bread. If you don’t have a blog, write directly to me (email@example.com) sending a picture and the recipe. But if you do have a blog… don’t forget to mention Panissimo in your post and to link both me (www.myitaliansmorgasbord.com) and Sandra (www.sonoiosandra.blogspot.it). Also, if you really really like us… show it! Sneak in and like our Panissimo Page on FB, and maybe even join our FB Panissimo Group, if talking about bread and techniques and having a laugh seem to be something for you too…
Eccomi!!! Dopo mesi di ospitate varie su alcuni fantastici blog amici (grazie Simona e Michela siete state eccezionali in tutti i modi possibili) ecco che Panissmimo Raccolta ritorna qui ed io ritorno a Panisssimo. Che lo so che sono stata un po’ latitante dalla blogsfera ma ho una scusa valida: Panissimo Gruppo su FB, che io e la Sandra ci stiamo curando come un fiorellino. Venite anche voi se non vi annoia parlare di pane, tecniche e farsi due risate in compagnia… E se proprio ci volete bene, magari date un “mi piace” anche a Panissimo Pagina (che ci dimentichiamo sempre di aggiornare, ma come si fa a star dietro a tutto?). Comunque… manca poco a Natale e per prepararci questo mese, in aggiunta a poter mandare qualunque vostro pane, abbiamo un tema speciale: Pani Natalizi e delle Feste. Quindi mandate, mandate, mandate… e anche se avete gia’ sfornato e pubblicato nel mese di novembre, mandate lo stesso: per i Pani Natalizi e delle Feste accettiamo anche cose fatte in novembre. Alla fine di questo post troverete una semplice griglia dove inserire il link al vostro pane. E se non avete un blog, mandatemi (firstname.lastname@example.org) una foto e la ricetta e ce pens moi. Ma se avete un blog… non dimenticare di menzionare Panissimo nel vostro post e linkare sia me (www.myitaliansmorgasbord.com) che Sandra (www.sonoiosandra.blogspot.it).
To give the good example, here I post my recipe for lussekatter, super fluffy sweet buns that are made in Sweden around this time of the year, to celebrate Santa Lucia, the saint who brings light in these, usually pretty dark month (but not this year… the sun is shining more than ever before in December).
Per dare il buon esempio, qui vi inserisco subito la ricettina dei miei lussekatter, morbidissime briochine svedesi che si fanno proprio in questo periodo per celebrare Santa Lucia, la santa portatrice di luce in questo mese buio (ma non quest’anno, il sole qui splende come mai prima in dicembre). [Read More...]
Where to start, da dove cominciare?
A few weeks ago I realized I had never made a sourdough brioche, and I felt compelled to learn this difficult art. Cause a sourdough bread that can hold that amount of eggs and butter is a true miracle. A brioche has generally something like a 50% eggs. C’mon, doesn’t it sound completely nuts? And it also contains about 20% butter. Now, I know for a fact that shortening and gluten don’t exactly go together well (unlike ebony and ivory). And, yet, a properly made brioche is so light and so perfectly risen that seems to defeat gravity. This is why I had to do it, no time to fool around it anymore.
Just while I was thinking all that, I see a yeast-based Italian-style brioche from bread master Nuccio Gatto. The recipe was new and he hadn’t yet published on his blog, so he was so nice to give it to me in private. Now you can find a variation of it here. Italian brioche dough generally uses milk instead of water, and Nuccio’s variant is unique because it uses soia milk instead of regular milk. This has nothing to do with food preferences… as Nuccio taught me, soia milk does something good to the dough, so to me it is definitely a keeper in this type of preparation.
When I made my first sourdough brioche modifying Nuccio’s recipe I remember telling Nuccio “but panettone is just a big brioche!”. Indeed… yeast-based Italian brioche is the base for panettone, which differs from it in two main aspects: panettone is based on natural leaven and has much longer (brioche is made in a few hours, panettone in a few days). Moreover, Panettone dough has two builds, which is also time consuming, while brioche has only one build. My brilliant (please allow me) idea was to make a quick panettone with just one build, by playing around with brioche dough. So I took Nuccio’s formula, which used baker’s yeast, and I rescaled everything to adapt it to what I know perfoms best for long and slow fermentations: a young, very liquid, levain. I also substituted unsweetened soy milk to the regular type, added more butter and more sugar, little more egg and improvised an orange chocolate filling. Regarding the method, it is totally my own, and derives from what I have learned so far about bread. So don’t blame Nuccio for imprecisions in the method, blame me.
I was very happy with the result and the good news is that this panetton brioche (as I called it) can be made during a regular working week, as long as on day 2 you are gone for no more than, let’s say, 5 hours. RICETTA ANCHE IN ITALIANO.
The idea of this loaf came to me reading about a traditional ring-shaped bread, the Cucciddatu, which still survives in some areas of Sicily. The cucciddatu is made out of durum wheat but appears to have its origins in a very ancient Roman bread, Panis Farreus, that was indeed based on Farro, as the name suggests. Panis Farreus is one of the few Roman breads we know about, and this is due to the fact that this bread was linked to a very special occasion, the Confarreatio (meaning “with Farro”), the only religious wedding ceremony the Romans ever had. This ceremony was initially practiced by all Roman nobles, but later on remained in use only among those nobles who wanted their kids to make a career as religious officers of some sort. The use of sharing a loaf of farro bread during the wedding ceremony carried the bread forward for centuries (and in its durum version, for millennia).
Alright then, all I had to do was a bread ring made of… farro. Right, which means? Romans used to call farro three different types of cereal -how much in dept should I go here before you think I am a maniac?- the first type of farro which became available to the early Romans was farro piccolo, id est, triticum monococcum, id est… einkorn! I was so surprised to learn that in early Roman times farro was nothing else than einkorn, that very einkorn I got a bag of during my last trip to Rome (I see some type of weird coincidence here, some form of serendipity). Later on, einkorn was left behind for the easier to bake with (and to grow) farro medio, or triticum dicoccum, or… emmer, which is the one still cultivated in Italy nowadays. It is pretty sure that late Romans also used farro grande, id est triticum spelta, id est… spelt! By the end of the (Roman) Republican period, anyway, common wheat (triticum aestivus) was already starting to become popular. Farro, in all of its forms, became less and less common and, by the end of the Roman empire, only emmer (farro medio) continued to be cultivated in a limited number of areas.
But let’s go back to Panis Farreus. Was that made of einkorn, emmer, or spelt? I was so going crazy about this question, which none of the sources I consuletd could answer, that I wrote to someone I knew could help. Nico Valerio, who wrote a book (currently out of print) on how the Romans used to eat and who is still very active and very keen to answer food-related questions. From our discussion it came out that einkorn was probably the farro used at the beginning of the Republic and earlier. Later on einkorn was substituted by emmer. As Nico pointed out, Romans started to see einkorn as a mediocre cereal with mediocre baking qualities (only very tough bread could be made out of it) so it was left behind as soon as other types of wheat became available.