Monday, 28 February 2011

Normandy Apple Bread with Einkorn Flour

It was beautiful and sunny this past weekend in Georgia.  The perfect weather for ripening sourdough and baking bread. I decided to take advantage of the weather to get some needed fresh air and bake this wonderful Normandy Apple Bread. 

This is another one of the breads the Mellow Bakers made during February. It includes dried apples and apple cider. This bread also utilizes a stiff levain that is built in phases. This gave me time to enjoy the weekend outdoors and still bake bread.

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This bread also includes some whole wheat flour which I didn’t have at the moment so I substituted some freshly ground Einkorn flour that I had just milled for the Sprouted Einkorn Bread.

This is what Einkorn flour looks like.  It’s the flour on the top right of the photo. The rest of the flour is bread flour.

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Normandy Apple Bread

Adapted from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman

Makes: 2 large loaves


Stiff-Levain Build:

  • 1 3/8 cups (5.8 oz) bread flour
  • 1/2 cup ( 3.5.oz) water
  • 2 T + 1 tsp (1.2 oz) mature culture (stiff)

Final Dough:

  • 5 1/4 cups (1 lb 7 oz) bread flour
  • 1 cup Einkorn flour (or 3/4 cup (3.2 oz) whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup (7 oz) water
  • 1 1/4 cups (10.9 oz) apple cider
  • 1 T (.6 oz) salt
  • 1 tsp (.1 oz) instant dry yeast
  • Levain (I used all of the levain rather than reserving 2 T + 1 tsp. So I increased the Einkorn flour from 3/4 to 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried apples



Drying the Applies:

A couple of days before you plan to make the bread, dry the apples in the oven. Or, if you have dried apples, you can use them. I took about 3 or 4 fresh apples and peeled and sliced them.

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Then I baked the apples at 250 degrees F. until they felt leathery. Drying the apples takes a couple of hours, but it was worth it.  It intensifies the flavor and prevents them from releasing excess moisture into the dough.

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Stiff Levain:

The day before you plan to make this bread, make sure your starter has been fed. I fed mine Saturday morning and let it ripen a few hours while I enjoyed the sunshine outside.  I had to adjust the hydration of my starter to make it stiff for this recipe.  I did that by adding 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of bread flour to the starter.

Saturday night, I made the final build and let it ripen on the counter until the next morning, about 12 hours.  It only takes a few minutes to prepare the stiff levain so my boyfriend didn’t mind taking a few minutes to watch me do this part.

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Mixing the Dough:

This is what the stiff levain looked like after 12 hours.

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The next morning, add all of the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the apple cider, but not the dried apples.  Using a spiral mixer, mix the ingredients and adjust the hydration as necessary. 

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As I mentioned, I used all of the levain so I added more Einkorn flour to compensate.  The dough should be medium consistency.  Mix until you achieve a moderate gluten development.

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Add the dried apples and mix on first speed just until they are evenly incorporated.  It was a little bit tricky getting all of the apples mixed in, but it finally worked. I used my hands to make sure the apples were fully incorporated.

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Bulk ferment the dough for 2 hours.  Fold the dough after 1 hour. 

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Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces; shape round or oblong.  Since I used all of the levain and additional flour, my dough weighed more than 3 pounds.  I ended up with a 1.5-pound piece and a 2+ pound piece. So I shaped them and put them in 8.5” and 10.5” oval banneton baskets and let them rise for 1 1/2 hours.

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After the final rise, I preheated the oven to 450 degrees F. with a baking stone on the middle shelf and a steam pan on the bottom shelf.  I transferred the loaves to parchment paper and scored them down the middle.

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I placed the loaves (and parchment paper) on the baking stone and spritzed the walls with water (using a spray bottle) three times during the first few minutes of baking.  I baked the loaves at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes; then lowered the oven temperature to 425 to avoid excess darkening from the sugars in the apples and cider.

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After the loaves finish baking, remove them to a wire rack to cool.

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I actually left this bread alone all night.  I covered it, but I didn’t slice it until today. It was overcast today so this bread was a nice treat.

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I’m still trying to place my finger (or taste buds rather) on the flavor of the Einkorn flour.  It’s hard to tell in this bread.  The flavors of the dried apples and apple cider really shine through.  All I know is that this bread is really good, especially warm with butter.


Thanks for joining me in the Bread Experience bread-baking blog.  Please join me again soon.

Happy Baking!

Be sure to check out what the other Mellow Bakers have been baking.

The Mellow Bakers group was started by Paul at Yumarama. We’re baking breads from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Orange Marmalade the easy way

I’ve been making a lot of toast bread lately so I decided it was time to make some marmalade to go with it.  Marmalade is a traditional British treat that is a wonderful accompaniment to toast. I had a bunch of oranges that I needed to do something with so making Orange Marmalade turned out to be the perfect solution.  I didn’t waste the oranges and I got some delicious marmalade to boot!

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Some marmalades seem to take more effort than they’re worth, but this version is so easy. Plus, it contains no added pectin.  It uses the natural pectin from the orange peel and pith to form the gel. The work is divided over three days so the process is easy and the bitter flavor from the orange rind and pith is reduced. Another added benefit is the house smells wonderful during those three days. 

To enhance the flavor of the marmalade, you can add cloves or grated ginger.  I didn’t have any fresh ginger so I used cloves.  It tastes so good. I was concerned it would be bitter because you use the whole orange (except small slices from each end and the seeds, of course), but it’s not bitter.  It’s fabulous!  I will definitely make this again.  


Orange Marmalade

Makes: 4 cups
Recipe from Put 'em Up! by Sheri Brooks Vinton


  • 6 large oranges (I used 8 oranges)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • About 3 cups sugar
  • 3 whole cloves or 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (optional)



Follow this easy three-day process.


1st Day:

Scrub the oranges and remove and discard a small slice from each end.

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Cut the oranges into quarters and remove any seeds.

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Then slice very thinly and place in a medium nonreactive saucepan. 

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Pour the water over the orange slices and press down on the fruit to release some of the juice. 

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Cover the pan with a tea towel and set aside on your counter overnight.

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2nd Day:

The next day, bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer until the rinds are tender, about 30 minutes.  Cool, cover, and set aside at room temperature again.

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3rd Day:

On the third day, measure the cooled mixture and return it to the saucepan with an equal amount of sugar and the cloves.

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Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the marmalade gels, about 30 minutes. 

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Let cool for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to release air bubbles.  Skim off any foam and discard cloves.

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Ladle marmalade into clean, hot 4-ounce or half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.  Release the trapped air. 

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Wipe the rims clean; center lids on the jars and screw on jar bands.  Process for 10 minutes.  Refer to the instructions at the National Center for Home Preservation.

Turn off heat, remove canner lid, and let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes.

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Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours.  Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

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Happy Canning and Baking!


Here are some of the references I use in my canning adventures.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Brunkans Långa: Bread Baking Babes

February marks the 3rd Anniversary of the Bread Baking Babes.  To celebrate, the Bread Baking Babes and Friends had the choice of making any of the breads that have been featured throughout the last three years. 

This is only the second time I’ve baked with the BBB, but I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to bake bread.  I’m delighted to be baking along with them and celebrating their anniversary with this Swedish Brunkans Långa. 

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Bread Baking Babe Gorel of Grain Doe chose this bread for the September 2010 bread of the month.  According to Gorel, “Brunkan is a nick name for Brunkebergs bageri (the bakery of Brunkeberg, situated in Stockholm), and ”långa” means ”the long one”. When they bake this bread at the Brunkeberg bakery, it is more than two feet long – hence the name. This loaf gets a wonderful crust and a crumb with a deep flavour from the sourdough and the muscovado sugar.”

brunkans-langa 001The name and the history of this bread intrigued me, but I decided to make it because it uses graham flour and I just so happen to have some heirloom graham flour that I’ve been wanting to test.  If you don’t have access to graham flour, Gorel provides a recipe on how to make it using a blend of other flours.  Read on for more details…


This bread is from the book ”Bröd” (Bread) by Heléne Johansson, an IT consultant who decided she needed a career change and thus started her own bakery in 2002.

Graham flour* sourdough:

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Day 1, morning:
Mix 60g/100 ml/0,42 cups graham flour
with 120 g/120 ml/0,5 cups water.
Cover with cling film and leave at room temp.



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Day 1, evening:
Add 60g/100 ml/0,42 cups graham flour and
60 g/60 ml/0,25 cups water.
Mix, cover with cling film and leave at room temp.



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Day 2, morning:
Add 60g/100 ml/0,42 cups graham flour and
60 g/60 ml/0,25 cups water.
Mix. By now, the sourdough should be a little active (bubbly). If not, add a teaspoon of honey, some freshly grated apple or a teaspoon of natural yoghurt. Leave at room temp.


brunkans-langa 006Day 3, morning:
Feed the sourdough with 60g/100 ml/0,42 cups graham flour
and 60 g/60 ml/0,25 cups water. Mix, cover with cling film and put in fridge. I fed it again at this point because there wasn’t much activity. I left it out on the counter for another day instead of putting it in the refrigerator.  I put it in the refrigerator the 3rd night instead of morning.


Day 4
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By now, the sourdough should be ready to use. If you don’t want to use it right away, you can keep in the fridge if you feed it as above a couple of times/week. This is what it looked like after I took it out of the refrigerator.


*Graham flour can’t be found everywhere. If you want to recreate an exact substitute, here’s what to do, according to Wikipedia:

Graham flour is not available in all countries. A fully correct substitute for it would be a mix of white flour, wheat bran, and wheat germ in the ratio found in whole wheat. Wheat comprises approximately 83% endosperm, 14.5% bran, and 2.5% germ by mass. For sifted all-purpose white flour, wheat bran, and wheat germ having densities of 125, 50, and 80 grams/cup, respectively, one cup of graham flour is approximately equivalent to 84 g (~2/3 cup) white flour, 15 g (slightly less than 1/3 cup) wheat bran, and 2.5 g (1.5 teaspoons) wheat germ.


Brunkans långa
The long (tall) loaf of Brunkebergs bageri
Makes: 2 large loaves

600 g/600 ml/2,5 cups water
1125 g/2,48 lb high-protein wheat flour
375 g/13,2 oz graham sourdough (see above)
20 g/0,7 oz fresh yeast
150 g/5,3 oz dark muscovado sugar
25 g/0,88 oz honey
30 g/1 oz sea salt


Day 1
Mix all ingredients except the salt. Work the dough in a stand mixer for 10 minutes or by hand for 20. I started out using the Danish dough whisk, then switched to mixing it with my hands.  It was a lot of dough.

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Add the salt. Knead the dough for 5 minutes more. My first thought was “wow!” that’s a lot of salt, but there’s a lot of dough to go with it.

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Put the dough in a oiled, plastic box and put the lid on. Leave the dough for 30 minutes. I don’t have a plastic box so I just put it in a clean, oiled bowl and covered it with plastic wrap.

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After 30 minutes: fold one side of the dough against the centre of the dough, then fold the other end inwards, finally turn the whole dough so that the bottom side is facing down. Put the plastic box with the dough in the fridge and let it rise over night.

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Here is the risen dough

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Day 2
Set the oven temp to 250 C/480 F. Leave the baking stone in if you use one.

Pour out the dough on a floured table top and divide it lengthwise with a sharp knife.

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Put the dough halves on a sheet covered with parchment paper and place another parchment paper or a towel on top. These directions were a little bit fuzzy to me.  I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to shape the loaves or if I was supposed to shape them so I made the executive decision to shape them like baguettes. 

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When the oven is ready, put in the sheet or shove the parchment paper with the loaves onto the baking stone. Put a small tin with 3-4 ice cubes at the bottom of the oven. (The water releases slowly which is supposed to be better.) Lower the oven temp. to 175 C/350 F immediately after you have put in the loaves. After 20 minutes, open the oven door and let out excess steam. 

I didn’t do it this way.  The loaves were so long so I used a baking sheet to bake them.  I put the baking sheet on the middle rack and the baking stone on the bottom rack.  I didn’t want to crack the baking stone by putting the cold baking sheet on it. The baking sheet was cold because the dough was cold. I’ve cracked a baking stone before so I didn’t want to chance it this time. I also didn’t use the small tin with ice cubes. There wasn’t any place to put it, safely. I just spritzed the walls of the oven with a water bottle a few times during the first minute or so of baking to release some steam.

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Bake for 35 minutes or until the loaves have reached an inner temp of 98 C/208 F.

Let cool on wire rack.

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I really like this bread.  It reminds me of a light honey wheat bread.  We used this for sandwich bread and it was wonderful.

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I think it would also be great shaped as a sandwich loaf and baked in a loaf tin. It’s a wonderful bread.  I’m so glad I chose this one.


Happy Baking!