Sunday, October 18, 2015

Baguettes, penuche, walnut sourdough, and rice medley

A couple of weeks ago I made baguettes (with lots of help from my husband) and cinnamon bread (using whole-wheat sourdough and penuche). In the past week I also made walnut sourdough and whole-grain daily bread, using TJ's rice medley as the grain.

Cinnamon bread: whole-wheat sourdough with a penuche filling


I made a recipe similar to what I've done before, starting rather late in the day because I was giving the sourdough starter maximum time to make something of itself. 

I used the dough setting of the Zo to make the dough, removing it shortly after the first knead stopped. I then put it into an oiled 2-gallon measuring cup and left it, covered with plastic wrap, in the kitchen for an hour or more. Then into the fridge it went.

The next morning it was huge, sticking to the plastic wrap. I mostly unstuck it, pushed it down, and put it back into the fridge.

I'd sent email to my guys, asking them to shape and bake the baguettes, and providing thorough instructions. Here's a copy of the text. I was a little nervous because they'd never shaped baguettes before, but I shouldn't have worried. My husband did a great job! He made three baguettes:
  1. Just sesame seeds (no wash or water?)
  2. Plain, with picture-perfect slashes
  3. Egg yolk wash, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds

The resulting breads were all tasty and crusty, if a bit lightweight. Nonetheless, we'd make them all again.

A couple of notes:
  • I should've pushed down the dough before putting it into the fridge.
  • It survived anyway.

Cinnamon bread

This stuff is delicious. I made it twice, trying to iron out the kinks. I'll be making it again, but this time we'll try to save some of it to (1) avoid gaining weight and (2) freeze for toast and perhaps for bread pudding. 

I'd made the whole wheat sourdough recipe that's the basis of this bread before (Hensperger p. 280), and didn't like it much. But when you add penuche—brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and (for this recipe, at least) nuts & vanilla—it's so good. The penuche instructions are on p. 281.

First I created the dough in the bread machine. Then I took it out, flattened it, and spread butter on it.

Dough with butter on top

The starter, and thus the dough, was too dry for this recipe, so I couldn't spread out the dough very well. As a result, the penuche mixture was perhaps half an inch thick. (I wasn't about to waste any of it!)

Thick penuche layer

I managed to roll it up.

After rolling

I took out the mixing blades from the bread machine's dough pan, and put the dough back in there to cook.

Shaped loaf ready to bake

The finished loaf looked and tasted very good, but it would've been nice to have less bread between the bits of penuche.

The inside of the baked loaf

So I tried again, a day or two later. The second loaf was misshapen, thanks to me adding the liquid too late for it to really get incorporated.

The ugliest part of the second loaf

Still, adding the liquid allowed me to make the dough thinner, enabling a wider dispersion of the penuche.

Inside the second loaf

Notes for next time:
  • I was confused by Hensperger's instruction to check the dough's consistency during the second kneading. I thought it meant during the start of the 2nd rise cycle, but that's not a kneading, just punching down. Next time, I'll check the consistency when the raisin beeper goes off.
  • I watered down the starter of the second loaf, but it was still too thick. Next time, water it down a little more, perhaps using milk instead of water.
  • The first time I used liquid vanilla, which you're supposed to mix with the butter. It never really mixed. The second time I used powdered vanilla, which was much easier to work with.

And the rest

The walnut sourdough was very good, as usual.

The whole-grain daily bread (from a Hensperger recipe I'd made before, p. 181) was good, but a bit too light for our taste. I also didn't like the occasional hard grains that were in TJ's rice medley, although I love them when I'm eating the rice plain. My husband made a grilled tomato-cheese sandwich with this bread, and it was OMG good, in a "you'll have a heart attack by 60" way.

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