Saturday, January 16, 2021

January Babes: Toasted Oats Bread

 


Every bake is an adventure in learning.  Let’s take this month’s bread baking challenge as an example.

First:  ingredients.

I didn’t have the wheat chops, so I doubled the amount of wheat germ.

Second:  starter.

I couldn’t get the starter to float, so I delayed an extra 24 hours to no avail.  In the end, it didn’t seem to matter as the final bread came out just fine.  After some research, however, I learned that the starter needs to be tested at the peak of its rising time, about 3-4 hours after feeding.  Then, it floats!  I made some simple sourdough loaves to test this theory with good results.

Unless you want to be baking the bread at 3 am, it’s a good idea to feed the starter in the afternoon, then make the dough in the evening so it can rise overnight.  The final shaping and rise can then be done in the morning.   (Unless you want to bake in the middle of the night, of course.)

While I used the basket to proof the final shape, I was concerned that it would deflate after I dumped it into the hot Dutch oven.  Once again, upon further research, I realized I could use a piece of parchment and a board to flip the loaf,  then use the parchment to lower it into the Dutch oven. That should have been a no-brainer.

Despite all of the issues, the loaf turned out well, and I would be willing to make it again, improving upon the experience from the first loaf.


 

For the recipe, detailed instructions, and fascinating discussion on Toasted Oats Bread, head over to Elizabeth’s blog.  If you bake and post by January 29th, you, too, will be included in the Buddy roundup.

 

Check out the other Bread Baking Babes:

 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

December Bread Baking Buddy

 Hooray!  We had an official Buddy bake with us this month.  (I suspect there were others, but only one baker contacted me directly.)


Our buddy, Hanaâ, made some beautiful Lussekatter.  Just looking at her rolls makes my mouth water.

 

 

I'll be sending Hanaâ her Buddy Badge.  Thanks for baking with us!


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Lussekatter

 


 

Hooray!  I am the December Kitchen of the Month! Because the holiday season is here, I chose a celebration bread that would light up the dark days.  I decided on Lussekatter, or St. Lucia Buns, or Saffron Buns.  

St. Lucia's Day is celebrated most commonly in Italy and in Scandinavia. In Scandinavia, it falls on December 13th, considered to be the shortest day of the year (Julian calendar).  Lucia means light, and the saffron provides the color of light.  In Swedish tradition, young girls wear a crown of candles and wake their families bearing Lussekatter, special sweet yeasted buns flavored with saffron and studded with currants or raisins.  The shape is said to resemble the curl of a cat’s tail.

I researched a number of recipes, all with slight variations.  Some added dried fruit to the dough; some just used the fruit as decoration.  Some added cardamom along with the saffron; others said ‘no way’ that cardamom was used.  There were variations in the amount of saffron used.  There were alternatives to the saffron, such as turmeric.  Some added the saffron directly to the dough; some steeped it in warm milk or rum (if you want an extra kick!), or crushed it beforehand.

This particular recipe calls for the least amount of sugar, enough to add flavor and texture, but not so much that the rolls are too sweet or dense.  I fiddled with the recipe to reflect how I bake.

After the initial rise, I divided the dough into two portions, using one portion right away, and chilling the other one overnight.

Batch #1:  I used dried cherries, putting them on the rolls just before baking. As you can see, one cherry jumped ship while in the oven.


 

Batch #2:  I used the chilled dough, putting the currants on before final rise.


 

There’s not much difference between the batches, although the chilled dough was a bit easier to shape.  There might also have been a tiny difference in texture.

 

My recipe version:

St. Lucia Saffron Buns

This recipe makes 12 to 14 good sized buns. You can easily double the recipe.

·         Prep time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (or overnight)

·         Cook time: 12 minutes

  • Yield: Makes 12 to 14 buns

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk (175 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup (50 g) white, granulated sugar
  • One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups (490 g to 570 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 Tbsp, 56 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • Raisins, currants, dried cherries

Glaze

  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

1 Heat milk, saffron, sugar, and butter: In a small pot, heat the milk, saffron, and 1 teaspoon of sugar together until the milk is steamy. Remove from heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the butter until melted. Let cool until about 115°F, or warm to the touch, but not hot.

2 Whisk yeast, flour, sugar, salt, cardamom: In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, whisk together 3 1/2cups (490 g) of the flour, yeast, remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, salt and ground cardamom (if using).

4 Make a well in the center of the flour and add the milk-saffron-butter mixture, the eggs, and the sour cream. Mix the ingredients until well incorporated.

5 Knead the dough: Switch to the dough hook of your mixer (if using, otherwise knead by hand). On low speed, start to knead the dough. Slowly add additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, kneading to incorporate after each addition. Do this until the dough is still a little sticky to the touch, but does not completely stick to your hands when you handle it.

6 Let dough rise: Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. (Note at this point you can make ahead and refrigerate overnight if you wish.)

Let sit in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size. (One way to tell that the dough is ready is that you poke your finger in it and it takes quite a bit of time for the indentation left by your finger to go away.)

7 Form dough into S shapes: When the dough has doubled in size, gently press it down and knead it a couple of times. Break off a piece and form it into a ball about 2 inches wide (60 to 70 grams if you are weighing, mine were roughly 65 grams). Roll the ball out into a snake, about 14 inches long.

Then Curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an "S" with spirals at each end. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

8 Let sit for second rise:  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough shapes double in size, 30 minutes to an hour.

9 Brush with egg wash, place raisins on buns: Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Using a pastry brush, brush some beaten egg over the tops and sides of the uncooked buns. Place raisins in the centers of the "S" spirals.

10 Bake: Place in the oven and bake at 400°F (205°C) for about 10 to 11 minutes (turning halfway through cooking to ensure even browning), until the buns are golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before eating.

 

Original recipe (from Simply Recipes):

St. Lucia Saffron Buns

This recipe makes 12 to 14 good sized buns. You can easily double the recipe. Note the cardamom is optional. I've made these buns with and without a little cardamom and I prefer them with. I'm guessing it's more traditional without.

  • Prep time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 to 14 buns

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk (175 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (or ¼ teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup (50 g) white, granulated sugar
  • One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package to make sure it's still good!)
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups (490 g to 570 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • The seeds from 3 cardamom pods, ground (optional) (1/2 teaspoon ground)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 Tbsp, 56 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream (or quark if available)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Raisins

Glaze

  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

1 Heat milk, saffron, sugar: In a small pot, heat the milk, saffron, and 1 teaspoon of sugar together until the milk is steamy. Remove from heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Let cool until about 115°F, or warm to the touch, but not hot.

2 Sprinkle the yeast over the warm saffron-infused milk and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.

3 Whisk flour, sugar, salt, cardamom: In the bowl of a stand-up mixer* whisk together 3 1/2cups (490 g) of the flour, remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, salt and ground cardamom (if using).

*You can make this recipe without a mixer, for me it's just a bit easier with one.

4 Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast milk saffron mixture, the eggs, the butter, and the sour cream. Mix the ingredients until well incorporated.

5 Knead the dough: Switch to the dough hook of your mixer (if using, otherwise knead by hand). On low speed, start to knead the dough. Slowly add additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, kneading to incorporate after each addition. Do this until the dough is still a little sticky to the touch, but does not completely stick to your hands when you handle it.

6 Let dough rise: Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. (Note at this point you can make ahead and refrigerate overnight if you wish.)

Let sit in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size. (One way to tell that the dough is ready is that you poke your finger in it and it takes quite a bit of time for the indentation left by your finger to go away.)

7 Form dough into S shapes: When the dough has doubled in size, gently press it down and knead it a couple of times. Break off a piece and form it into a ball about 2 inches wide (60 to 70 grams if you are weighing). Roll the ball out into a snake, about 14 inches long.

Then Curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an "S" with spirals at each end. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

8 Let sit for second rise:  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough shapes double in size, 30 minutes to an hour.

9 Brush with egg wash, place raisins on buns: Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Using a pastry brush, brush some beaten egg over the tops and sides of the uncooked buns. Place raisins in the centers of the "S" spirals.

10 Bake: Place in the oven and bake at 400°F (205°C) for about 10 to 11 minutes (turning halfway through cooking to ensure even browning), until the buns are golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before eating.

 


If you wish to bake with us as a Buddy, please submit your post and photos by December 29th to be included in the roundup and earn your baking badge.  Send to jahunt22 at gmail.com.

Visit the other Babes to check out their versions of Lussekatter.