Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Gentler Ginger Cake Roll

Fresh ginger carries a cornucopia of flavor compounds good in both savory and sweet recipes. In this dessert, the candied ginger was previously cooked, changing the spicy, hot and pungent flavor to a gentler sweet version.

The recipe is based on one in Clean Eating Magazine.

Ginger Cake Roll

(Serves 10)

Prepare a 10 X 15 inch baking sheet by misting with olive oil spray, covering with parchment paper and misting the top of the paper with the spray. 

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
In bowl of electric mixer, combine eggs with brown sugar and molasses. Beat on medium speed 6 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl after 3 minutes.
4 eggs
3 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon black strap molasses
Add oil and yogurt. Beat for 1 minute.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until combined.
Pour batter onto prepared pan. Smooth batter to edges of pan. 

Bake at 360F. for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Place a pastry towel over the cake and top with cooling rack. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan and parchment. Roll warm cake with towel into a spiral. Set seam side down on rack to cool.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat sugar, cheese, buttery spread and ginger. 
3 tablespoon powdered sugar
8 ounce part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup buttery spread
Remove towel from cake. Spread with ricotta cheese mix and roll. Place filled cake seam side down onto pan and refrigerate until ready to eat.
To serve, sprinkle with confectioners sugar. 
The name Ginger originated in India and means "horned root". It was the first of Asian spices to reach Europe. In the Middle Ages, the ladies gave knights gingerbread before going into battle. The Greeks used it for stomach complaints. Ginger was grown in Africa in the 1200s and by 1600, it was cultivated in Jamaica. My ginger was grown right here in West Virginia.



Monday, December 14, 2020

Bread Making in 2020: Soakers and Bigas


My journey with flours began in the seventies when I first married and had two months before starting my first job. The Fleischmann's Yeast Bake It Easy Booklet was my guide with good results. While many of the recipes were made with white flour, some were made with whole wheat and rye flours and some with cornmeal. In the twenty first century my flour mix was 50-50 with 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat flours.  When the cafe I managed was recognized by the Whole Grains Council in 2007, most of our desserts and breads were made with that 50-50 mix. In the past 5 years I've experimented with many whole grain flours, both gluten containing and gluten free and with the purchase of my countertop flour meal became a dedicated follower of Sue Becker

Intrigued with the renewal of sourdough breads, I have an active 18 month old starter and use the discard weekly in a recipe. My best sourdough achievements are quick breads-pancakes, cornbread and dumplings. After many failures, I was challenged to learn new techniques for making whole grain breads. These are among some I'm testing guided by Peter Reinhart's 2007 Book on Whole Grain Breads.

Delayed fermentation utilizes pre-doughs which initiates enzyme activity to release sugars from complex starch molecules before inducing yeast fermentation. The recipes follow a two day process, making the pre-dough on the first day and adding the yeast and other ingredients in the final dough on the second day. 

Pre-fermented doughs include wild yeast starters and commercial yeast doughs called bigas. A biga includes flour, liquid and a small mount of yeast. Here is an example:

227 grams unbleached flour
1 gram instant yeast
142 grams water (room temperature)
Mix together to form a ball. Knead for 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead for 1 minute. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours-3 days. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before making final dough.
Another example of pre-fermented doughs include hydrated grains with salt but no yeast. These are called soakers. Here is an example:

57 grams whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
170 grams water
57 grams oats
47 grams cornmeal
43 grams whole rye flour
7 grams flaxmeal
7 grams oat bran
Mix all ingredients for 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
Delayed fermentation significantly decreases the kneading time. The long overnight rest allows the gluten and flavor to develop. 

Final Dough  

57 grams whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 grams instant yeast
Portion tablespoon portions of pre-fermented doughs into bowl of electric mixer. Combine flour, salt and yeast and place in mixer. With paddle attachment in place, mix on slow speed for 1 minute. Replace attachment with dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a board lightly covered with whole wheat flour. Knead by hand for 3 minutes. Rest for 5 minutes. Knead for 1 minute. Transfer dough to a clean bowl greased with olive oil spray. Cover and allow to rise until 1 1/2 times original size.
Form desired loaf shape. Allow to rise 1 1/2 times original size.  
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lower temperature to 350 F when placing bread in oven. Bake 20 minutes. Rotate bread 180 degrees. Bake 20 minutes or until internal temperature of bread reaches 200 F.  

The health benefits of whole grains are clear. Whole grains contain disease fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Whole grains even contain some vitamins (B and E), iron, magnesium and fiber not found in fruits and vegetables. Like vegetables, whole grains each contain unique nutrient profiles. Including different whole grains can increase nutrient variety and decrease insensitivity. Consumer purchases often include whole wheat, brown rice, corn, oat purchases. Many consumers include quinoa in the repertoire (among the most expensive purchases per weight). Buckwheat, teff, amaranth, colored rice, barley, sorghum and millet and ancient varieties of wheat (Kamut, spelt and farro) are delicious grains worth exploring with some grown locally, others on grocery shelves and in local co-ops and most through online outlets.  








Monday, December 7, 2020

Bread Making in 2020: Pre-cooking Flour

Armed with 45 years of bread making, 15 years of whole grain legwork and an 18 month old wild yeast starter-you'd think I'd mastered the techniques of whole grain baking. My quest continues. My year has been full of failures. Thanks to the contributors in the Wild Sourdough for Science Facebook Group and the Oldways and Whole Grain Council educators, I've grasped a technique that works. 

Pre-cooking the flour to a temperature that gelatinizes the flour makes the bread softer and improves the shelf life. In the Tangzhong (Asian) Method, flour and water is cooked to 150 F. to make a sticky paste that breaks down small sugar chains out of the complex starch molecules while keeping flavorful enzymes intact. In Europe, Potato Water and Potatoes are used to tenderize breads in a similar manner. The Mash Technique combines flour and 165 F water to partially gelatinize the beta-amylase starch enzymes while keeping the alpha-amylase enzymes intact. This creates flavor and softens the texture.

Thanks to the guidance on The Perfect Loaf, here's my adaptation of the Sourdough Sandwich recipe.

Whole Grain Sourdough Sandwich Bread

(1 loaf-17 Slices)

Levain (Prepare the night before)
50 grams whole wheat flour
50 grams water
12 grams ripe sourdough starter (mine is whole rye)
Mix and ripen at room temperature overnight.
Pre-cooked Flour (Day two)
36 grams whole wheat flour
145 grams skim milk
Whisk together flour and milk in a saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens and becomes a paste (5-8 minutes). Remove from heat and spread on a plate to cool for 1 hour.
Final Dough 
In bowl of mixer with dough hook in place, combine pre-cooked flour, additional flour, water, levain, honey, oil and salt. 
Pre-cooked flour
183 grams all-purpose flour
183 grams whole wheat flour 
3l grams olive oil
18 grams honey
190 grams water
8 grams salt
Mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix 8 minutes more until dough clumps around dough hook. Transfer to a covered bowl. Allow to rise 4 1/2 hours, stretching and folding 3 sets during the first rise. (Each set involves 4 stretches and folds).
Scrape dough onto a clean work surface. Form a round and allow to relax uncovered for 30 minutes.
Spray baking pan with olive oil. Shape dough and transfer seam side down into the pan. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Proof for about 2 hours until dough has risen about the top of the pan.
Bake at 385 F for 15 minutes, then cover with foil to bake for another 20 minutes.