Some time ago I found black rice at the local supermarket. It milled well, and 'Emperor's Batard
' was the result. Since then I have found red rice, grown in Thailand, in the same supermarket. This time the rice was not so easy to mill - well that is an understatement! It was quite a problem. Instead of flour I ended up with a mix of cracked rice grains and fairly coarse flour. I borrowed a hand mill, and after carefully cleaning the mill and running some other seed (millet) through it, I tried the red rice. This time I managed a super-fine flour, like talcum powder. So, with the coarse mill I made a prefement, based on a millet starter. The red rice hydrated and fermented quite well. When I made the dough I included some of the fine red rice flour, as well as some very fine red sorghum flour.
The result was quite satisfactory. good oven spring. Unfortunately I got distracted and left it in the oven a little long - but that provided a really crunchy crust!
The crumb has a grainy texture from the cracked grains of rice, but as it was well hydrated, it is smooth and easy on the palate. The fine flours brought it all together into quite a pleasant bread. Flavour is interesting - it is reminiscent of Russian Caravan tea, with light, earthy smoky overtones. Quite a satisfactory and unique gluten free sourdough.
There are so many new techniques to develop and explore, but sometimes just using a reliable recipe in a new way makes a tasty treat. Cheese pull-apart bread has been on my mind for a while. Yesterday I bought a small block of very tasty vintage cheese.
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Living in Tasmania has so many benefits. Each day on the way to work I drive past the House of Anvers
, a boutique chocolate factory. Further down the road is The Cherry Shed
, and about 20 minutes drive down the road Ashgrove Cheese
. Ashgrove make a superb range of cheeses that are sold around Australia. I bought the 'Premium Vintage'. On reflection, Ashgrove's signature cheese, 'Wild Wasabi'
would be a great little cheese to use!
To ensure the cheese and coriander flavours were not overwhelmed I used the recipe for Rice Bread
. Apart from adding 5g of crushed, toasted coriander seed to the dry ingredients and 50g of roughly crumbled cheese to the final dough, the only adjustment was halving the oil, and using a light cooking oil (rice bran oil) instead of olive oil.
I guess the variations with Rice Bread
are endless ... leave the olive oil in the recipe and add a few olives and perhaps some sundried tomatoes, or prosciutto; sprigs of fresh rosemary and crushed garlic; whatever you like!
It's great to have a few flexible adaptable recipes. When I was looking at stollen recipes it occured to me that my Rice Bread recipe would make an excellent dough to use in stollen. The recipe was developed for making free form bread, and is quite adaptable. After researching online and in bread making books I settled on Jan Hedh's Yule log for inspiration.
Instead of placing a stick of almond paste in the middle, I chose to roll the almond paste flat and roll it up with the dough.
A few years ago we made liqueur from home grown green gages. drinking the liqueur is like drinking nectar. We still have some that is a little cloudy, so it was an obvious contender for use in soaking the fruit. The flavour worked well with cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, almond and lemon.
The stollen is delicious, much better than I had expected for a first bake of a new recipe.
The Rice Bread recipe is available in my store.
Jan Hedh's book is 'Artisan Breads - Practical Recipes and Detailed Instructions for Baking the World's Finest Loaves', Skyhorse, New York, 2011. ISBN 978-1-6-61608487-5
A while ago I bought a jar of organic honey from a stall at Salamanca Market in Hobart. The honey was collected in some of the pristine old forests in Tasmania. It is a strongly flavoured, rich honey. Organically produced, cold extracted, unheated, unprocessed, pure raw honey. (www.miellerie.com.au) Apart from enjoying the wonderful honey, I had an idea. Some time ago I read just a few words about honey yeast. The gist of the idea is that in raw, organic honey there are yeasts that remain dormant. If the honey is diluted with water the yeasts can be activated. I found a few more words about honey yeasts in issue 3 of 'Bread Magazine'. So, keeping it simple I worked with honey and water, then when I could smell the yeast activity, I took some of the water and added it to a mix of flour and water (50/50 brown rice flour and water). It was more than 24 hours before I saw the first activity in the preferment, so I left it longer. Eventually I could see some tiny bubbles forming in the preferment. Next I mixed a dough, similar to my baguette dough. Fermentation was still slow, so it was another overnight bulk ferment, before I shaped the dough and left it in a banneton to proof. Eventually it went into the oven; and that is when the excitement began! Ok, I am a bit obsessive about bread. The dough had only been in the oven a few minutes when I started to see the oven spring expanding the loaf. Usually there is a little movement in the first 10 minutes, then a little more until 17 minutes. This seemed pretty rapid!
Honey yeast loaf.
I had to wait a few hours for the loaf to cool before I could see what the crumb was really like. I was not disappointed. For a first loaf using a new technique I was very pleased.
A slice of Honey yeast loaf.
Overall, only a few tweaks needed to refine this recipe. The flavour captures the richness of the Lake Pedder Nectar. With this honey yeast loaf I can demonstrate, once again, that gluten free bread does not need to be boring!
Early last year I posted on this subject. The best I could manage then was a pumpernickel style buckwheat. Now, there was nothing wrong with it. The bread was moist with a grainy texure and a mildly fermented flavour. Sliced thinly, it was a superb, flexible bread for use with savoury toppings.
It was good, but I was sure I could do more with a single flour. Recently I took up the challenge again.
Buckwheat and Molasses Bread
This bread relies on some traditional breadmaking techniques: fermenting, scalding the flour.
The crust is soft and the crumb is light, soft, open and moist, but not gummy. The buckwheat and molasses flavours work well together creating a slightly sweet, rich bread.
Over the past few months I have been working through the bread making books in the State library (Tasmania). I have added a few of the best to my own library. I find it fascinating to gain insights from bakers of regular bread and pastry. Every now and then I pick up an insight worth experimenting with in gluten free baking. Most bakers who dabble with gluten free bread insist that the dough should be a batter. Now, you can't do much with batter. But if you make dough, even sticky dough, you can use some basic kneading techniques. With gluten free dough you are not trying to develop the gluten, so kneading is no where near as demanding. A little kneading is useful for improving the structure of the crumb. In regular bread making wet doughs, like ciabatta, must be handled gently. Some bakers use a dough scraper to stretch and fold the dough. That technique works quite well with some of my wetter gluten free doughs.
Today I use one of my new bannetons with a buckwheat and rice sourdough. Until recently I have used a cloth lined dish to proof sourdough. So it was fun to start using a banneton. The loaf in the photo is today's buckwheat and rice boule, made on a buckwheat and rice starter. Now, you can't do that with batter!
We are on a family holiday. My older daughters might dispute that description as they slave away at their university studies. Just before we left home the latest edition of Bread Magazine was published. ( bread.insanelyinterested.com ) I have been reading this brilliant little magazine for over a year now. Yes, it is all about gluten based bread, but it is always interesting and provides some fascinating insights about bread.
Before we left home I decided to see how we could survive without out usual home made fare of bread, pastry and pasta. The latest edition of Bread Magazine has a feature article on flatbread. So, I decided it would be interesting to try my hand at flatbread with little more that a frypan and very basic ingredients.
First, I mixed a stiff dough of 1:2 tapioca:fine rice flour, with half a teaspoon of instant yeast and just enough water to bring it togehter into dough. Then I let it rest for an hour before shaping 3 small rounds about 1cm thick and 5 cm diameter. They were left to prove on a well dusted plate for another half hour before I heated the frypan, added butter, set off the fire alarms and finally cooked the bread.
Not too bad as a first attempt. Could have used a little more water (perhaps a scald as well), and perhaps a little more yeast - or a poolish if there is time. Technique and timing to be worked on, and, aside from the fire alarms ( I did get a message to reception before they called the fire brigade!) not a bad staple. I am sure it would work better with buckwheat, or perhaps quinoa in the mix, but my challenge was to work with what was readily available in a tropical sea-side holiday town.
Most of the work I have done making gluten free bread has has been focussed on making bread like real bread. Bread that tastes, looks and feels like bread. But, what if there were distinctive, gourmet, gluten free bread varieties?
A few weeks ago Karen from Mamabake.com wrote telling me she had bought a copy of my recipe, and because it was so good, asking me if they could review and publish my recipe. It will be available at Mamabake.com until 31 March.
My friend Rachel saw the post and asked if she could review the recipe too. Rachel writes at twodelicious.blogspot.com and she has already provided reviews of another recipe in her GF bread reviews last year. Here is a link to Rachel's review: http://twolicious.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/best-gluten-free-hot-cross-buns.html
The original recipe sheet is available via a link from Rachel's review, or here: http://db.tt/y1YJj2WJ
If you want a free copy be quick, after 31 March it will only be available in my store: recipesforliving.etsy.com
Now, I have to say, the buns are good! But, more important is the reason for the buns. The cute cross on the top reminds us of a vicious tool of death used by the Romans to keep the peace. Thousands of criminals and rebels were killed by cross execution - crucifixion - in the Roman Empire. There are historical records that tell us about the practice. Knowledge of one death, in particular, has been handed down through the past 2000 years, not because it was particularly vicious - the records simply tell us the man was crucified. There are no gory details in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The word 'crucified' was probably enough to remind the original readers. After all, for them it was most likely in living memory, and crucifixions were still happening! The reason the history has been maintained is the man, Jesus of Nazareth, who had been confirmed dead by the Roman authorities, was restored to life a few days later.
I have been reading Luke's Gospel about this. Luke carefully researched the matter from eyewitness accounts, and presented the facts. He also recorded some of the history of the early followers of Jesus in the book called 'Acts'. Acts, in the words of the original followers of Jesus, provides their interpretation and understanding of the significance of the events. It is well worth reading. I invite you to read it with me.
I am working with a limited range of flour: buckwheat, millet, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and tapioca. Until today my focaccia has been based on millet. I have used baker's yeast as well as sourdough starter. For some reason I have made millet and buckwheat versions of foccacia, but not brown rice. So, today was the day. Lunch was brown rice focaccia topped with olive oil, sea salt and fresh rosemary tips from the garden. The smell of baking bread was wonderful!
This time I used a millet sourdough starter, and the sourdough flavour could be detected. This bread has a mild flavour compared with focaccia made with millet flour and millet starter. The flavours of the olive oil and rosemary came through more strongly with the brown rice than they do with millet. The crumb is softer, more like a wheaten bread. Millet gives a stronger, more robust crumb.
I tried a different baking technique, shorter proof, then bake in a cold oven, to 230degC. Baking time was 35 minutes.
Not a bad result!