Monday, 28 March 2011

Maori Bread: BBB

This month’s BBB (Bread Baking Babes and Friends) is hosted by Lien.  She chose Maori Bread as the bread for March. Maori Bread, also known as Rewena paraoa, is a bread from New Zealand that is made using a potato starter. Lien adapted this bread from Dean Brettschneiders Global Baker.

According to the book,

"Rewena is the Maori term for the fermented potato mixture used as a raising agent to make this effect it's a type of sourdough. It's difficult to find the exact history of this bread, but it has been suggested that a flat unleavened bread was made with ground-up bulrush plant and water, baked over hot rocks. Traditionally, rewena is baked for large gatherings and the loaf is simply torn apart for sharing amongst friends and family. I have added a little fresh rosemary for flavour because this bread has little salt and can be bland. Stenciling the iconic New Zealand silver fern onto the loaf by dusting with flour and baking gives this loaf a truly New Zealand identity. This rewena needs to be made two to three days ahead."

I had a hard time finding a stencil of a silver fern that would be suitable for bread so I used a different fern stencil. This is the first time I’ve used a stencil on bread so it was a new experience for me. This one turned out to be a wee bit too big for the bread. Next time, I think I’ll choose a smaller image.

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Rewena paraoa (Maori bread)

Adapted from Dean Brettschneiders Global Baker

Makes: one large loaf


  • 100 g potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 165 ml water
  • extra water
  • 165 g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp liquid honey


  • 400 g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 20 g liquid honey
  • 1/4 tsp instant active dried yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
    150 ml water
  • 330 g rewena, from above
  • additional flour, for dusting



I started this process Friday morning before work.

To prepare the rewena, place the potato and water into a saucepan and then boil until the potato is soft, leave the lid off. Mash the cooked potato in the water and add extra water until you have 250 g in total.

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Put into a bowl and cool until lukewarm. If the mashed potatoes are too hot, it will cook the starch in the flour. Mix in the flour and honey to make a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until the dough ferments.


After one day you'll see a few bubbles on the surface, after two days a lot. You can use it after two days or up to three, if you'll leave it longer it'll be over its strongest point.

This is what my starter looked like Sunday morning.

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To make the dough, put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon, combine to form a soft dough mass. (You may need to adjust with a little more flour or water.) Knead the dough in the spiral mixer for 8 -10 minutes (starting on speed 1 or 2, halfway on speed 3) until the dough (almost) clears the sides and the dough is smooth and elastic.

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Place the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place. Once the dough has almost doubled in size (this will take approximately 1 hour), tip the dough onto the bench dusted with flour and gently knock it back by folding it onto itself three to four times. Return the dough to the lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave for a further 30 minutes in a warm place.

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Remove the dough from the bowl and fold it to form a large rectangle. This doesn't need to be exact, just as long as it's tight and compact. 

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Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and cover with plastic wrap. I shaped my dough in an oval shape rather than a rectangle. I thought it might fit the fern stencil a little bit better.

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Allow to prove for approximately 60-120 minutes, depending on room temperature.

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Optional: Cut a silver fern-leaf or Maori moko design stencil out of stiff paper. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and place the stencil on the dough's surface (I sprayed the stencil with pan coating, otherwise it would have got stuck on the dough).

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With a fine sieve filled with a little (white rye) flour, lightly dust flour over the stencil so you are left with a pattern on the loaf.

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Carefully remove the stencil.

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Using a sharp knife or razor blade, cut around the edge of stenciled pattern. I used a serrated knife.  The dough was really slack and wet so I had a little trouble getting the scoring to cooperate.

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Preheat the oven to 425ºF with a baking stone inside (the stone should really be hot!) and a steam pan on the bottom shelf. Place the loaf (and parchment paper) onto the baking stone and pour hot water into the steam pan.  Spray the sides and walls of the oven with water using a spray bottle.  Do this three times during the first minute or so of baking.

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Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the tray around, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is a dark golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

As you can see from the photo above, the loaf didn’t rise very much during the final proofing; however, it had good “oven spring” during the baking cycle.

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Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

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Here is the finished loaf.  The crust cracked the middle of the fern a little bit, but not too bad.

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I like this bread.  It has a unique flavor due to the rosemary and potato.  It’s not quite like other savory potato breads I’ve made. It’s a little bit sweet because of the honey. I was very pleased that the crumb had nice holes and a good texture.

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Thanks for joining me in the bread baking blog.

Happy Baking!


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Einkorn Oatmeal Bread Machine Bread

My youngest son was home for Spring Break and about mid-way through the week, he said, “I’m thinking some Oatmeal Bread would taste really good!”  Hint, hint! Then my oldest son and his girlfriend came to visit for a few days so I took my son up on his offer. I baked their favorite Oatmeal Bread, but with a variation on a theme: I added some Einkorn Flour and steel cut oats.  I usually make this bread completely in the bread machine, but this time, I made the dough in the breadmaker and baked the loaf in a conventional oven.  I liked the results.

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Einkorn Oatmeal Bread

The original version of this oatmeal bread is one of the first breads I ever made in the bread machine. It's still one of our favorites. The original called for molasses, but I substituted honey. It has a milder flavor so we like it better.

Makes: One 2-pound loaf

Adapted from this recipe:


  • 1 and 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 cup Einkorn flour
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking or regular oats
  • 1/8 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast



  1. Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan. Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan.

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    Einkorn Flour


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    einkorn-oatmeal-bread 003 Oatmeal and Steel Cut Oats


  2. Use your finger to form a well (hole) in the flour where you will pour the yeast.  Measure the yeast and carefully pour it into the well. Snap the baking pan into the breadmaker and close the lid.  Remember the yeast should not come into contact with a liquid when you are adding ingredients. 

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  3. To make this bread completely in the breadmaker, press "Select" button to choose the “Sweet” setting. Press the "Crust Color" button to choose light, medium or dark crust. Press the "Start/Stop" button.

    To mix the dough in the bread machine and bake it in a conventional oven, press “Select” button to choose the “Dough” setting.  Press “Start/Stop” button.

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  4. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and shape it into a loaf.

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  5. Place the loaf in a loaf pan and cover it with plastic.  I tested this bread in an 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” loaf pan and a 9” x 5” pan. The dough rose really high over the 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” pan and was a little bit top heavy.  The 9” x 5” loaf pan worked much better.  It produced a more uniform loaf that wasn’t top heavy.

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  6. Let the bread rise in the pan for about an hour.

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  7. Bake the loaf at 350 degrees F. until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom.  Remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool on a cooling rack.

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  8. Slice and enjoy.  This bread is very light and flavorful and a little bit crunchy due to the steel cut oats.  The Einkorn flour gives it a beautiful color.

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This bread has been YeastSpotted. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.


Thanks for joining me in the bread-baking blog. 

Happy Baking!


Sunday, 20 March 2011

King Cake: BOM

The March Bread of the Month for the Artisan Bread Bakers is King Cake.  King Cake is usually served on Fat Tuesday during Mardi Gras, but I decided to wait and make it when my youngest son was home for Spring Break. 

The version the Artisan Bread Bakers made sounded really good, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients so I made a Traditional King Cake instead.  I couldn’t find the different colored sugar sprinkles so I made my own.  The purple turned out a little bit dark but it tasted really good.


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Traditional King Cake

Recipe found here:

This traditional Mardi Gras dessert makes two king cakes each topped with a creamy glaze and festive gold, purple, and yellow sugar sprinkles.  I only made one coffee cake so I halved all of the ingredients listed below:

Yield: Makes 2 cakes (about 18 servings each)


  • 1  (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/3  cup  sugar
  • 1/4  cup  butter
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2  cup  warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1  tablespoon  sugar
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6  to 6 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour (I used an all-purpose mix of white and whole wheat flour)
  • 1/3  cup  butter, softened
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • Creamy Glaze (recipe follows)
  • Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles


I colored the sugar with yellow and green food coloring and a mixture of red/blue food coloring for the purple:


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Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.


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Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.

Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.


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Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.


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Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle.


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Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.


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Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side.


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Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.


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Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.


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Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.


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Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes).


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Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.


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For our Mardi Gras celebration, I made this King Cake and some Jambalaya from the March edition of Bon Appetite.  I didn’t take a photo of the Jambalaya, but it was really good.

Then came time for dessert. All I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t make two of these coffee cakes  It tastes so good!  I sent some home with my BF and some back to school with my son.


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Notes: Prep: 30 min.; Cook: 10 min.; Stand: 5 min.; Rise: 1 hr., 30 min.; Bake: 16 min. This recipe uses bread flour, which makes for a light, airy cake. You still get tasty results with all-purpose flour--the cake will just be more dense.

For a Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed. Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Increase 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. Beat 3/4 cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders. Proceed with recipe as directed.


Creamy Glaze Recipe:

Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups


  • 3  cups  powdered sugar
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 2  to 4 tablespoons milk


Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until spreading consistency.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Einkorn Levain: Mellow Bakers

The next bread on the Mellow Bakers’ list is made with a whole-wheat levain. The pre-ferment for this bread is considered a poolish because it utilizes a liquid-style culture. However, this poolish is a little bit different. Rather than using baker’s yeast to jump start the enzyme activity, it uses a natural sourdough starter.

The recommended flour for levain builds is winter-wheat bread flour made from hard red winter wheat with a medium protein strength of 11.5 to 12.  It is also recommended that high-gluten flours be avoided in building levains. I decided to try the build with Einkorn flour instead of the winter-wheat bread flour. Although Einkorn flour has a higher protein count than modern wheat, it does not have the gluten content so I thought it might work. 

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Whole Grain Einkorn Levain

Adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Whole-Wheat Levain in Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes

Makes: 1 large loaf

The original formula made two loaves and I only wanted one so I also adjusted the formula to make one loaf.



Liquid-Levain Build

  • 2.4 oz Einkorn flour
  • 2.4 oz water
  • 1 oz (2 tablespoons) mature culture (If you don’t have a sourdough starter, you might enjoy this Apple Starter or try this Einkorn Levain)


Final Dough:

  • 5.6 oz Einkorn flour
  • 1/2 lb bread flour
  • 1/2 lb water plus a little extra if necessary
  • .3 oz salt
  • 4.8 oz mature culture



Making the Einkorn Poolish:

Approximately 12 to 14 hours before the final mix, make the poolish by dispersing the mature culture in the water and mixing in the Einkorn flour.  Let stand in a covered container at about 70 degrees F.  I thought the Einkorn flour worked great in the pre-ferment.  It wasn’t quite as active as a regular wheat starter but it still worked well.  If I had left it on the counter longer than 14 hours, I think it would’ve been more active.

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Mixing the Dough:

Add all of the ingredients to the mixing bowl. 

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In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes to incorporate all the ingredients.  Correct the hydration if necessary.  The dough should be of medium looseness.  Finish the mix on second speed for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.  The gluten network should be only moderately developed. 

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Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it bulk ferment for 2 1/2 hours.  Fold the dough twice, at 50-minute intervals during the bulk fermentation. 

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Shape the dough round or oblong and place it on parchment paper.  Let the dough proof for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

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Score the loaf using a serrated knife or lame.  I get tired of scoring loaves the same way so I made up my own pattern.

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Bake the loaf on in a preheated 450 degrees F. oven with a baking stone on the middle rack and a steam pan underneath.  I forgot to add the steam pan so I just sprayed the walls with water 3 times during the first 15 minutes of baking. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes. Then remove to a wire rack to cool.

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The dough rose really well during the bulk fermentation, but it didn’t rise very much during the final proofing.  It was kind of flat when I placed it in the oven, but then came the oven spring.  The scoring kind of made it rise lopsided, but I was pleased for the most part with the way the bread rose in the oven.

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This dough has good volume, and a light texture as well as great flavor. I really like the way the crumb turned out.  Look at all of the holes.


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Thanks for joining me in the Bread Experience bread-baking blog.  I hope you’ll join me again soon.

Happy 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.