Raspberry mousse cake


I have been challenged by my daughter to make a cake that she would really like. I've baked many types of cakes but she is very selective with all of them: one has too much chocolate, another one has a cream she doesn't like and so on. After a conversation with her, she told me she would prefer much more a cake without a sponge. I said fine, let me come up with a mouse sort of cake that she can put a verdict on.
I knew she is very fond of meringues so I had in mind to put them on top. She likes also raspberries as well, and the pink color of the cake is her favourite.
With all these set up, the occasion to make a cake came almost flying: my birthday!

This cake is actually quite simple but requires some time for the layers to set in place. One layer of biscuit, one layer of raspberry mousse and one top glazing layer of raspberry syrup. On top, I went for fresh raspberries and little meringues.

I made it when she was not at home to surprise her. In the evening, the whole family got together to sing me the famous Happy Birthday! The little ones blew the candles and I was the one cutting a slice for each member of the family. At the end of this little family event, all plates where empty. I was satisfied to see that they liked my cake.
Part of the cake I froze and just recently I got it out. Exactly like then, I cut a slice for each member of the family and all plates where empty except one that had left the mousse and the glaze layer. Of course it was the plate of my daughter :). Well, with her I'll try my luck again next time or just accept that festive cakes are not her favourites.
Regardless my daughter picky taste, I'll tell you how I found this cake. It is a very light and low sugar cake.
Easy to eat with a strong raspberry flavour.  I personally liked it very much, especially also for the little time that I had to invest in it to make it. 
What about you? How would you like this cake?

43% Durum Sourdough Bread

I have been challenged by some awesome bakers from The Fresh Loaf to make in the Community Bake of this month a durum sourdough bread.
The idea came perfectly as I had some durum flour left at the bottom of a bag. I do not know since when I have that flour but the only thing I remember is that last time I tried it was a complete failure. I do not even remember what went wrong back then but the feeling of not touching that flour again stayed with me. Well, a challenge is a challenge, so I prepared myself psychologically to bake something with that flour.
With my first test, I wanted to play on safe ground and went for a 65% hydration. But in my hands, the dough was extremely stiff. Did I forget that durum flour is very absorbent? I certainly did. So the next test (which is this one) I raised the hydration to 70%. I recognise that I felt that there was room for even more hydration but as I liked the result I stopped the tests here. For sure, one day I'll try to push the limits even more.
This particular bread has really something special in it. It has a sweet flavour, a more yellowish colour.

Its particularity comes from the durum wheat. Durum wheat is a spring hard wheat. Its name comes from "durum" that in Latin means hard. 
Durum wheat is coarsely ground into semolina. Semolina is generally used for pasta or couscous. Further, when semolina is re-milled, it becomes durum flour (semola rimacinata) which is more appropriate for bread baking. 
This flour is high in proteins (~12%) but with a weak and less extensible gluten. Its yellowish colour is due to extra carotenoid pigments.

With this second bake, I emptied the bag of durum flour. If initially I just wanted to get rid of it, now I feel that I need to purchase more. I have in mind to try even more types of bread with durum flour in the future. It is just irresistible.
But for the moment, let's enjoy these ones:

Pane incamiciato

 Pane incamiciato means literally bread in a shirt. It is a dressed bread or a wrapped bread. It has a beautiful design and in the oven, it opens up like a flower. Ideas about how to score and decorate this bread are unlimited. 
The bread follows the classic approach but the dough of each loaf is split in 2: one (~30%) is the wrap and the rest is the main dough. The separation between the layers has to be done using oil and seeds to ensure that they do not stick together.
The scoring has to be very carefully done, only on the wrap layer without cutting the main dough.

The bake is made at 230ºC and no more as the oil on the top will darken very quickly in the oven. For a whiter crust, you can even reduce the temperature to 220ºC but check that the centre of the bread has well reached 90ºC. The petals will dry out in the oven and will detach from the main boule.
The crumb instead is soft and simply melts into your mouth. 
The taste is also a special one. The dough being brushed with oil, makes me think of focaccia. The roasted seeds give the extra flavour of this amazing bread. All in one, it is an impressive bread from many points of view.

It is not probably the first bread you want to try if you are a beginner baker but it is definitely a bread with an outstanding look. 
The most difficult part of this bread is to cut it. It is like a beauty that you cannot touch. Well, bread is not made just to be admired but is made to be eaten. Luckily, my children love cracking the petal so they help me with the difficult task of cutting such a beautiful piece of bread.