How to Make Classic French Bread with Einkorn

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I’ve been experimenting with the ancient grain Einkorn for a few years. I really enjoy the delicate and silky feel of the flour and the mildly spicy flavor it imparts to breads.

Classic French Bread with Einkorn

I’ve tested Einkorn in different types of breads from quick breads to sourdough. It’s a delightful grain to work with, but it does require a few minor adjustments and some practice getting used to the weaker dough.

From time-to-time, I get questions from home bakers who want to try making bread with Einkorn but aren’t quite sure how to use it in a particular recipe. 

Since I had good results with Einkorn Sandwich Bread, I decided to try a different type of basic bread.

This post focuses on how to make a basic loaf of French Bread using Einkorn. For this experiment, I adapted one of my favorite Classic French Bread recipes. 

If you are new to baking with Einkorn or new to baking bread, this is a great recipe to start with because you don’t need any special equipment or ingredients – just flour, water, salt, yeast and a greased baking sheet.

I baked this loaf on a baking stone with a steam pan; however, you can bake it on a baking sheet without a steam pan. It won’t be as crusty on the outside, but it will still taste really good.

This is an easy and no fuss loaf.  If you start making it in the late afternoon, it should be ready in time for dinner because it doesn’t require a long rising time.   

Classic French Bread with Einkorn

 

Classic French Bread with Einkorn

Adapted from: Wine, Food & Friends by Karen MacNeil

Makes: One 6-inch Round Loaf

To get the lovely golden brown color on the crust, this bread utilizes an egg wash.

Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose Einkorn flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 – 1 cup warm water
  • Oil for greasing the bowl

Egg wash:

  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large egg white

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt. Gradually add the water and mix with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk until the mixture comes together and there are no dry bits of flour.  Start with 3/4 cup of water and only add enough to achieve the desired consistency. Einkorn generally requires less water than bread flour so if you add too much, you’ll have to add in extra flour.

Transfer the dough to a work surface lightly sprinkled with flour and knead it gently until it forms a smooth ball.

Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl and turn to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it proof in a warm place free from drafts for 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in bulk. I let the dough rise for an hour and did a couple of folds and turns in the bowl at 15 minutes intervals during the first 30 minutes. Then I let it rest for the final 30 minutes. 

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a rough ball. Let it rest on the counter, covered for 10 minutes. Shape it into a tight boule (ball) and place it on a piece of parchment paper or a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cover, then let it rise for 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheating the Oven

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 

If using a baking stone, place it on the bottom rack with a steam pan on the top shelf and preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes.

If using a baking sheet, just let the oven preheat to 450 degrees F.

Uncover the loaf and score the top using a serrated knife. You can make 3 diagonal slashes or use the pattern of your choice. I did a pound pattern and made the slashes a bit deep, but the effect was still nice.

Combine the tablespoon of water and egg white and beat until frothy. Brush the egg wash over the top of the loaf.

classic-einkorn-loaf-1 classic-einkorn-loaf-2

 

Baking the Loaf:

On the Baking Stone: Transfer the loaf (on the parchment paper) directly to the baking stone. Place several ice cubes in the steam pan and immediately close the door. 

On the Baking Sheet: Place the baking sheet on the bottom rack in the oven.

Bake the loaf at 450 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until it sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom.

Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Classic French Bread with Einkorn

 

This bread doesn’t have an open crumb structure (i.e. big holes) like ciabatti or baguettes which utilize slack (wet) dough and require long fermentation times to develop the gluten, but it is a delicious and flavorful loaf with a hint of spice due to the Einkorn. It can be enjoyed with dinner, as a sandwich, or toast or my favorite way, plain with butter.

 

Happy Baking!

Cathy

Uses for Stale Bread: Pappa al Pomodora Tomato Bread Soup

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Being a fanatic bread baker, I tend to have leftover bread quite frequently. I try to give it away or freeze it before it goes bad, but sometimes I still end up with stale bread.

When I made the French Couronne a couple of weeks ago, the first attempt turned out less than stellar so obviously, I didn’t want to save it or give it away.  However, instead of throwing it away, I thought this would be a good opportunity to make Pappa al Pomodora, also know as Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup. 

Pappa al Pomodora - Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup

 

This humble Tuscan dish is a great way to use up stale bread. It is traditionally prepared with day-old Tuscan bread, but it can be made with other types of bread.

By the time I got around to making this dish, the first French Couronne was over a week old.  It had been resting in the refrigerator wrapped in a plastic bag.  It definitely qualified as stale. 

I’ve made bread soup before and although I enjoyed that one, it was more like mushy tomato bread than soup.  This time, I wanted something more soup like so I doubled the amount of tomatoes. I also made it the traditional way by not including sautéed onions or leeks.

I enjoyed this version as well, but after eating it with just cracked pepper on top, it needed a hint of herb flavor.  So for the next bowl, I sprinkled dried Italian seasoning over the top and then heated and served the soup. Adding herbs is not traditional either, but I liked it. This tomato bread soup also tastes really good with shredded parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Pappa al Pomodora - Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup

 

Pappa al Pomodora Tomato Bread Soup

I prepared this bread soup in the middle of winter, with no fresh tomatoes growing in my garden, so I used canned Italian plum tomatoes.  When fresh tomatoes are available, particularly vine-ripened tomatoes, they would be a wonderful addition to this soup.

Adapted from: Tuscan Bread by Ornella D’Alessio – Sergio Rossi

Serves: 6-8 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (28 oz./794 grams each) Italian plum tomatoes or ripe red tomatoes, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 quart (32 oz.) vegetable stock
  • 300 grams of stale bread
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Run the canned tomatoes through a food mill or peel the fresh tomatoes and then run them through the food mill to remove the seeds. Although the canned tomatoes said “peeled” on the label, they weren’t so I was glad I ran them through the food mill. I kept all of the juices, but feel free to drain the tomatoes if you prefer.

Brown the crushed garlic cloves in a large pot.  Add the tomato puree and let it cook for 10 minutes.

Slice the stale bread into thin pieces and add the slices to the tomato sauce.  I started with about 450 grams of stale bread and after removing the crusts, I ended up with 300 grams. I almost used the entire couronne for this soup, but not quite. I kept a few slices for another dish.

Add in the vegetable stock and let the mixture cook for 30 minutes or until the bread melts to a thick and creamy consistency.

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Allow the soup to cool slightly; then add olive oil to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy with or without a slice of crusty (not stale) bread.

 

Pappa al Pomodora - Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup

As a variation, you can include lightly sautéed onions or leeks. I think I’ll do that next time. I enjoyed this version for a taste of what traditional Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup is like, but I think onions make a very nice addition. 

 

Happy Baking and Soup Making!

Cathy

Kouign amann with Spelt #BreadBakingBabes

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Folded and layered in butter and dusted lightly with sugar, these rich delights, called Kouign amann (pronounced [,kwiɲˈamɑ̃nː] are made in a manner similar to puff pastries. They are light and crisp on the outside with soft layers on the inside and just a hint of sweetness to make you smile.

Kouign-amann - Puff Pastries

 

Lien chose these exquisite morsels as the challenge for the 7th Anniversary of the Bread Baking Babes.

Kouign amann originates from Brittany in France, where some Keltish clans moved in the 4th and 6th century from England. The area still has its own cultural heritage and is officially one of the Celtic nations. They still have their own dialect as well which is why, according to Wikipedia, the name of these wonderful little sweet rolls is related to the Welsh language.

This is a very tasty recipe.  Making the butter block and folding and chilling the dough is similar to how you make croissants, but the baking method is more like that of a puff pastry. You can work out a lot of tension rolling out the dough if you don’t fight with it. Just chill while it’s chilling and things will go much better.

I made my version with spelt. I still need lots of practice with laminated dough so mine are not light and airy like the rest of the babes’ pastries, but they sure were good.  Mine are more like delicious and buttery soft muffins.

Kouign-amann - Puff Pastries

 

Kouign amann

adapted from: Paul Hollywood BBC “The Great British Bake Off  

Makes 12 pastries

Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a 12-cup muffin tin and a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Prep time:

  • 1-2 hours preparation time
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour cooking time

Ingredients:

  • 300-340 g all-purpose spelt, plus extra for dusting
  • 5 g instant yeast
  • 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 200 ml warm water
  • 25 g (2 T.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 250 g (2 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, in a block
  • 100 g caster sugar for sprinkling on the dough (in step 7)

1. Start with 300 grams of flour and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add the water and melted butter and mix on a slow speed for two minutes, then on a medium speed for six minutes. Add a little extra flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Don’t add too much flour.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for one hour in a warm place.

3. Place the cold butter between two sheets of parchment paper and pound it with a rolling pin, then roll the butter out to a 5.5-inch square. Place in the refrigerator to keep it chilled.

4. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to an 8-inch square. Place the butter in the center of the dough diagonally, so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter to enclose like an envelope.

5. Roll the dough into a 18x16-inch rectangle. Fold the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over. You will now have a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This completes one turn.

 

Kouign-amann-5 Kouign-amann-4

6. Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.

7. Roll the dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and fold into thirds again. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 12 x 16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with caster sugar and cut the dough into 12 squares.

8. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Gather the dough squares up by their four corners and place in the muffin tins, pulling the four corners towards the center of the muffin tin, so that it gathers up like a four-leaf clover.

Press the corners together well because they might open up if they aren’t pinched together. Sprinkle the tops with caster sugar and let them rise (at room temperature), covered with a clean tea towel, for 30 minutes until slightly puffed up.

Kouign-amann-9 Kouign-amann-10

 

9. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Bake the pastries for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Don’t leave them in the muffin tin too long or the caramelized sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin. Serve warm or cold.

  Kouign-amann-1-18

 

Note: If you don’t want to eat them all at one time, place them in a bag and freeze them. Before you eat them: Defrost them and place them in a warm oven (350ºF) for about 4-6 minutes or until warm, they will crisp up again.

I’ve been keeping mine in my new bakery box. It’s the perfect size for the muffin puffs. They’ll last for a few days – that is, if you don’t eat them all at once.

 

BBB logo February 2015

 

Take a look at the Kouign amann the other BBB made:

 

Would you like to join in the fun and be a Bread Baking Buddy this month?

Our host this month is Lien at Notitie Van Lien, and if you'd like to join in, just make Kouign Amann and then send Lien your link (info in her announcement post).  Submissions are due by March 1st.  Once you've posted, you'll receive a Buddy badge for baking along.  Please join us this month! You’ll be glad you did!

 

Happy Baking!

Cathy

Bread Science - Why is this loaf so pale?

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A couple of weeks ago, I made a couronne with a mixed starter. A couronne is a French bread shaped like a crown. 

This particular bread crown has a string of pearls around the top which makes a very lovely decoration – if you get it right. A lot of the bakers in the Artisan Bread Bakers’ FB group were making this loaf so of course, I had to try it as well.

1st attempt at baking the couronne

Sadly, my first attempt resulted in a rather pale looking loaf.  In fact, I almost burnt it waiting for it to brown on top.

Why is this loaf so pale?

 

To figure out what went wrong, I worked through different scenarios that could affect the outcome of a finished loaf.

Lot’s of factors go into the bread-baking process.  That’s the fun of it, but it can also be frustrating when you’re not sure what happened.  This is why it is always a good idea to keep notes when you are baking bread, especially a new one. I had gotten out of the habit of doing that after I had surgery on my finger (for obvious reasons), however, this is a prime example of why I need to get back in the habit of taking good notes while baking bread.

1st test: Did I forget the salt?

When I took the loaf out of the oven, I wondered if perhaps I had forgotten the salt, but I tasted it and it definitely had salt in it.  So I checked that off the list. The loaf rose really nicely and the crust and the crumb were okay as well. So I was perplexed.

2nd test: Test/Calibrate the oven temperature?

I moved on to a different scenario. Was something wrong with my oven?  It’s an older oven so a friend of mine thought perhaps the oven temperature was off or maybe it needed to calibrated. However, when I tested the temperature with an oven thermometer, it was the correct temperature.  So that wasn’t the issue either.  

My oven was the correct temperature so I didn’t have to calibrate it, but if your oven temperature and the thermometer don’t match, you might want to try calibrating it.

Here are some helpful articles on calibrating/adjusting the temperature gauge of an oven:

How do you calibrate an oven? 

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-do-i-calibrate-my-oven-goo-111338

Adjusting the temperature gauge:

http://www.thekitchn.com/diy-oven-maintenance-adjusting-99850

 

3rd test:  Did the baking stone get hot enough?

Since I had ruled out the salt and the oven temperature, I thought perhaps the baking stone hadn’t gotten hot enough or wasn’t providing even heat. The loaf did get somewhat brown on the bottom just not on top.

I hadn’t used this particular baking stone in a while so I thought perhaps that could be the problem. However, when I baked a different loaf on the baking stone, it turned out fine.  So I ruled this option out as well.

4th test: Did I let the dough ferment too long? 

About this time, I decided to look at my notes again. Although I hadn’t taken meticulous notes, I had documented the times and the length of each proof. 

I took a minute to review the information on proofing loaves in Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice book.  It was there I found the answer to my pale-loaf issue.

The problem was that I had allowed the dough to ferment too long. I knew that I had proofed it too long. I just didn’t know exactly how it would affect the finished loaf.  Now I do.

I actually let it bulk ferment twice. The dough went through the normal fermentation process and then I moved on to the shaping phase. When I got to the pearl-shaping part, I had a hard time shaping the string because the dough was fairly slack. I wasn’t able to get them shaped correctly the first time so I rolled everything back together to start over again. At that point, I probably should have just reshaped the crown and pearls, and baked the loaf hoping for the best, but I was tired, and I didn’t.  I put the dough back in the bowl to rise again for another hour and at too high of a temperature at that.

I thought it was unusual that the bread should be proofed at that high of a temperature. However, I was going back and forth between the printed recipe (in the kitchen) and a video of the process on my laptop (upstairs in my office), and I could have sworn the video said to proof it at the higher temp. Don’t ask me why I didn’t just bring my laptop in the kitchen to match up the printed recipe with the video. Clearly I was not with it that day.

Due to the extended fermentation, the dough was way over proofed. Sometimes when I proof dough too long, the loaf goes flat on me during the baking phase.  However, this time I had also proofed it at too high of a temperature so it had a different outcome than what I had experienced before. 

Basically, all of the sugars from the starch in the flour had been used up by the yeast so there were no sugars left to caramelize. According to Peter Reinhart, the “Maillard Reactions” (named after Dr. Maillard) should kick in during the latter stages of baking, however, they didn’t.  No wonder the loaf looked so pale. This made perfect sense to me.  Problem solved.

If you want more info on caramelization or the Maillard reaction, refer to this article.

 

2nd Attempt a few days later

Now that I finally knew what caused the loaf to turn out so pale, I decided to try the couronne again.

I changed two variables this time.

Due to my schedule, I let the dough cold ferment in the refrigerator overnight rather than proofing at room temperature.  This was the key – for me anyway.  If you are going to let dough proof for longer periods to enhance the flavor, then you need to reduce the yeast and/or let it retard in the refrigerator overnight.  Letting it cold ferment also helped with the shaping process. It was much easier to shape the colder dough.  So the pearls turned out much better.

I also decided to bake the bread using a different baking method. I thought it would be interesting to see the difference between baking it in a bread baker versus baking it on the baking stone using a steam pan. So for this experiment, I used my faithful La Cloche.

The second attempt was the charm. It turned out to be an exceptional loaf.  I was so thrilled.

French Couronne with String of Pearls

Click here to view the directions/photos for making the successful Couronne with the string of pearls on top.

Note: Perhaps you are wondering what I did with the first loaf. I didn’t waste it.  It’s going to be featured in a couple of dishes that use stale bread. What started out as a “fail” turned into a “save.”

 

So how do you go from a pale and sickly-looking loaf to a masterpiece using the same formula?  Read (or watch) the directions carefully, take good notes, and make sure all of your tools are in good working order. 

What steps do you take when things go wrong with your bread? 

Do you keep a notebook so you know what works and what doesn’t? Well you should.

 

Happy Baking!

Cathy

Potato Rosemary and Olive Oil Rolls with Semolina

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I attended a potluck luncheon on Super Bowl Sunday and my contribution was potato rosemary and olive oil rolls.  They were the perfect companion for the assortment of other foods that were served.

potato-rosemary-semolina-rolls-1-2

When I started thinking about what to bring, I knew I wanted to make rolls, I just wasn’t sure what kind.  So I revisited one of my favorite breads for inspiration. Potato Rosemary Bread is one of the breads we made in the BBA Challenge. I really liked that bread so I decided to try it again using a blend of flours. 

These rolls are soft due to the mashed potatoes, but a little bit crispy on the outside due to the olive oil. And rosemary, well, I can never get enough of that herb. Fortunately, I just walk out the door and there it is ready to be enjoyed.

These rolls are easy to make and very flavorful. They were a big hit at the luncheon. I doubled the original recipe so I was able to make 32 rolls and I even had enough dough left over to make a medium loaf.

 

Potato Rosemary and Olive Oil Rolls with Semolina

Makes: 32 Rolls and 1 Medium Loaf

Adapted from: Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

Biga:

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 3/4 – 1 cup room temperature water

Making the overnight biga

Stir together the flour and yeast in a medium bowl. Add the water and stir until it becomes a coarse ball.  Adjust the flour or water as necessary to ensure the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it ferment at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, or until it is almost double in size.

Remove the dough and knead it gently to just degas it a little bit.  Then return the biga to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. I actually forgot to put it in the refrigerator overnight so it fermented on the counter and then I placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours the next morning.

Final Dough:

  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes, cooled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • all of the biga from above
  • cornmeal or semolina for dusting


Mixing the Dough

The next day, remove the biga from the refrigerator 1 hour before you plan to make the bread and cut it into small pieces. Cover the pieces with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let them rest to take off the chill.

potato-rosemary-semolina-rolls-2

In the bowl of a stand mixer, s
tir together the flour, salt, black pepper, and yeast.  Add the biga pieces, mashed potatoes, oil, rosemary, and water.  Mix on 1st speed for 1 minute, or until the ingredients form a ball.  Add more water or flour as necessary. Increase the speed to 2nd speed (or medium) and mix for about 6 minutes until the dough is soft and supple.  It should be tacky but not sticky.

Proofing the Dough

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl.  Roll it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Ferment the dough at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

 
potato-rosemary-semolina-rolls-1-3 potato-rosemary-semolina-rolls-4


 Shaping the Rolls/Loaf

Remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured surface. Cut off a 1 1/2 pound piece for the boule; then divide the rest into 4 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a round ball.

Work with one piece at a time and cover the remaining pieces to keep them from drying out.  Divide each of the remaining 4 pieces into 8 equal pieces using a bench knife and form 32 rolls.

potato-rosemary-semolina-rolls-6 potato-rosemary-semolina-rolls-7

Line two or more baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina.  Place the rolls on the baking sheets and make sure they are separated so they will not touch even after they rise.

Shape the remaining (1 1/2 pounds) of dough into a tight boule and place it in a floured, lined proofing basket or on another parchment-lined baking sheet.  Or, if you prefer shape additional rolls.

Mist the rolls and loaf with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Proof at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, or until they double in size.

Baking the Rolls/Loaf

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the oven rack on the middle shelf.  Remove the plastic wrap and lightly brush the rolls (and the loaf) with olive oil.

Place one pan of rolls in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking. Bake them for 10 minutes longer until they are a rich golden brown color. Bake the other pan of loaves.

Bake the loaf for 20 minutes, then rotate and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes longer. The loaf should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

If the rolls or the loaf has browned completely, but seem to be too soft, turn the oven off and let them bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes longer to firm up. 

Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack before serving.

I brushed the rolls with olive oil again after I removed them from the oven.  This gave them a beautiful golden sheen.

potato-rosemary-semolina-rolls-1-5

I’m happy to say that these rolls were so popular they didn’t come home with me; however, I still had the loaf at home and was able to enjoy it during the week.  Turns out, it makes great cinnamon toast and cheese toast and whatever else you might think of.

 

Happy Baking!

Cathy

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