Whole Grain Anadama Bread

100% Whole Grain Anadama Bread Crumb - Peter Reinhart

Whole grain anadama bread is my first choice when I have a need for hearty sandwich loaves. It has an interesting combination of dense chewiness and texture from the addition of cornmeal. The aroma and richness that it gets from molasses keeps it from taking a backseat even with the richest of sandwich fillings. The use of 100% whole grains also makes it very satisfying and keeps hunger pangs at bay.

I surprisingly haven’t pulled a single tooth-shattering loaf of brick from the oven since trying Peter Reinhart’s methods for making 100% whole grain breads. His formulas often call for a biga and soaker prepared a day ahead and combined in a process he calls the epoxy method.

View Whole Grain Anadama Bread recipe »

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Live
  • Twitter
  • email

Pa Amb Tomàquet – Catalan Bread with Tomato

Pa Amb Tomàquet - Catalan Bread with Tomato

Making quick work of huge disks of sourdough is easy with this well-loved Catalonian procedure for seasoning bread with garlic, tomato, and olive oil. There are hordes of fanatical pa amb tomàquet devotees just about everywhere, so I would think twice about referring to this as Spanish bruschetta.

View Pa Amb Tomàquet - Catalan Bread with Tomato recipe »

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Live
  • Twitter
  • email

Thai Beef and Mangosteen Soup

Sliced Mangosteen

Fresh mangosteens are a rare sight even at Southeast Asian groceries in Chicago. Imports of irradiated fresh mangosteens from Thailand have only recently been approved by the USDA, but they’re still far from common. Aside from being seasonal (try your luck around springtime), they seem to fly off the shelves as soon as they’re available.

When a case of pre-bagged fresh mangosteens was unloaded in front of me, a few people dropped what they were doing and headed straight for it. In the time it took to realize that there was a pile of fresh mangosteens right under my nose, a few bags were taken. I thought they were plums. I quickly grab a bag as more of an instinctive reaction but almost threw it back when I noticed the words “plant quarantine” on the label. It’s not the most inviting thing to find on anything I plan to ingest.

Fresh Mangosteens

None of the mangosteens sported the distinctive green caps. I wonder if irradiation causes the caps to flake off.

The best way to enjoy this fruit is to eat it straight from the husk but I couldn’t help but think that there must be something I could do with it. A quick search for “mangosteen recipe” pointed to a Thai recipe for mangosteen clafoutis. Looking at this list, I had a gut feeling that guys aren’t supposed to make clafoutis so I keep looking. Whatever I’m making will likely be Thai, so I looked up recipes in David Thompson’s Thai Food, a.k.a. the tome of weird transliterations and impossible-to-find-ingredients (even more so now that Thai Grocery is gone).

View Thai Beef and Mangosteen Soup recipe »

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Live
  • Twitter
  • email

Poilâne-Style High Extraction Miche

Poilâne-Style High Extraction Miche

Pain Poilâne is a naturally fermented French country bread that weighs in at a hefty two kilograms. The flour used for the bread is high extraction gray flour, containing some but not all of the wheat bran. High extraction flour is not likely to be available at your local grocery store but Peter Reinhart suggests a couple of options in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

The first option is to sift the coarsest bits of bran from regular whole wheat flour. The approximate weight of the sifted flour should be anywhere between 85% to 95% of the original whole wheat flour weight. It’s a bit messy and time-consuming to manually sift all of the flour needed to make one Poilâne-style miche but there is a more convenient option. Using a mixture of equal amounts of whole wheat flour (100%) and bread flour (70%) approximates the extraction rate of gray flour (around 85%).

After tweaking the formula in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice several times, I settled on mixing 75% white whole wheat flour with 25% regular bread flour. I sometimes use equal amounts of white whole wheat and regular bread flour for a lighter loaf but prefer the added health benefits of using a larger amount of whole grains.

The crusty exterior and minimally airy crumb makes a very satisfying alternative to regular sandwich bread. I prefer lightly toasting a thick slice on one side, either drizzled with extra virgin olive oil or smeared with butter.

View Poilâne-Style High Extraction Miche recipe »

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Live
  • Twitter
  • email

Pan de Sal – Filipino Salted Bread Rolls

Pan de Sal with pan-fried quail egg
Pan de Sal with a pan-fried quail egg

The local bakery was a two mile bike ride from my house in the Philippines. Shortly after the first mile, the humid weather thickens the aroma of freshly baked pan de sal that even on an empty stomach, I am able to sprint quickly up the hill where the panaderia is perched. Getting a brown paper bag full of hot bread rolls straight from the charred wooden peel defined my childhood’s Saturday mornings. The rest of the family would wait eagerly for my return with either a cup of steaming coffee or raw carabao milk in hand.

Despite the name, pan de sal is slightly sweet instead of salty. It also has a distinctive coating of bread crumbs and a shallow ridge on top formed by cutting the rolls from a long rope of dough. I originally thought that the rolls were shaped individually and then scored to get the ridge until I came across the proper shaping method in this post from Market Manila.

I tried many different recipes and methods before settling on a final formula I can call my own. For the ingredients, I tweaked the recipe used by the Philippine team in the 2003-2004 Louis Lesaffre bread baking competition. I also used the delayed fermentation method from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice where the shaped dough is allowed to slowly ferment in the refrigerator overnight. This method not only enhances the flavor of the final product, but also allows most of the work to be done in advance, making it feasible to have freshly baked pan de sal early in the morning.

View Pan de Sal - Filipino Salted Bread Rolls formula »

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Live
  • Twitter
  • email