Carrot Sourdough Bread (with pulp)

I started recently to make fresh vegetable juice every morning. This means that I get a lot of pulp after each extraction. I take the pulp and store it in the fridge for future use or I make soup with it. This is how I remembered that once I made a bread with pulp: Carrot and hazelnuts bread and I felt I should redo a similar recipe using carrots pulp.

I started with 1kg of carrots and I obtained the following:
  • 200g peels (that I discarded)
  • 600g carrot juice
  • 200g well-drained carrot pulp
The carrot juice was perfect for my breakfast and the pulp was perfect for the bread.
This bread has a typical making process with the exception that I add pulp during lamination. That is the right moment to add insertions of any kind without disturbing the gluten network development.

I squeezed the carrot very well so that it doesn't add hydration to my dough. If you cannot obtain such a well-drained pulp, you can still add it but prepare for a higher hydration.
Despite the carrot insertion, the bread does not turn orange and only has a mild carrot flavour. Instead, it is adding sweetness to the taste.

Pasca - Romanian Easter Sourdough Bread

It is traditional in my home country to make Pasca for Easter. I have to recognise that I do not do this bread/cake every Easter, but every time I do it, I eat it with great pleasure.
So far, I did Pasca only with yeast (find the recipe here), but this year I tried it with sourdough.
It uses the same dough as Cozonac but the shape and filling are different. This bread resembles cheesecake or cheese pie, it has traditionally a round shape with borders made of dough and a cross in the middle. The filling is made also traditionally with unsalted cheese, raisins and aromas.

As the Cozonac, Pasca is linked to a religious Orthodox holiday. Romanians are eating Cozonac for both Christmas and Easter but Pasca is specific to the Easter holiday. Usually, this bread is made on Thursday or Saturday before Easter, and it is brought to the church before the Ressurection service to receive a blessing. It is only eaten after the service. Nowadays, some of these customs are not rigorously followed. Due to lack of time or knowledge/practice, many Romanians are just buying it and put it directly on the table. Nevertheless, made or bought, brought to the church or not, this is a bread/cake that is strongly related to the Easter celebration and everybody knows it or have it on the table for this holiday.

Bellow is my version done with sourdough. It is much more popular in the yeast version in Romania but I wanted to try it with sourdough. For Cozonac, I opted for a one day process, but for this one, I made the final fermentation overnight and I find this option a bit better in terms of schedule.

Le Pain d'Aix Sourdough Bread

Another French bread that I tried a few years ago. If you follow my blog you can find it under Pain d'Aix post.
In particular, back then, I find it to be a very good looking bread and once again, with this bake it was confirmed.

What I didn't know back then was that people are seeing similarities between the shape of this bread with nothing else than woman breasts. It has a funny sense and honestly I was not convinced until I photographed the bread from different angles and I found myself laughing behind the camera. They are right...

La Tabatière du Jura Sourdough Bread

I've made a similar recipe of this bread 6 years ago and posted it on my blog at La tabatière du Jura, so I am quite familiar with it.

This is a classic French regional bread, coming from the East of France, from Jura. The recipe itself is not specific, usually, this is made from white bread flour sometimes with a small inclusion of rye or wholemeal wheat flour. But what is specific for this bread is the shape. It has a flap that raises nicely when you bake the loaf.

Unlike my classical bread, for this one, I do not do a cold retard overnight in the fridge. There is a reason for this: the longer it stays, the bigger the chances for the flap to stick to the main boule. So, the final fermentation is only 1-hour while maintaining the dough temperature at 26ºC.

Berry Tart

From all the fruits, I like the most the berry fruits. Each with its own taste and when you combine them it becomes a cocktail of aromas. 
This time I went for a bigger raspberry layer and I do not regret it at all.
I usually do this tart in steps. The crust I bake the day before and put it in the fridge. The curd follows and the decoration is just for fun and diversity when the tart is totally settled.
I have to recognise that I struggled with the raspberry juice. I usually strain the juice by hand, using a strainer but this time I wanted to use a forgotten extension of my standing mixer specially made for extracting juice, Oh, what a disaster. I made a mess and little to no juice went out. I went then back to my old fashion way to extract the juice with a strainer. It took me a while but I managed.
The decoration part was pure relaxation. I didn't match the perfect rows from the start so I had to move some pieces around. But for that, the already jellied layer of raspberries helped a lot. 
The tart of course can be served with no decoration, and in this case, the gelatin sheets are optional. But you have to recognise that the visual impact is quite big when fruits are covering a flat red layer.

The Sun Tart (with mango and kumquat)

My journey with decorated tarts continues.

For this one, the filling is similar to the previous one I made, Mango-kiwi tart but the decoration is with the little orange fruits called kumquat.


Mango - kiwi tart

I never tried this combination of exotic fruits in this way. A curd from mango and fresh kiwi make a wonderful match. Put all this into a pie shell, add some decoration and a bit of love and you'll impress anyone with such a tart.

55% Hydration Sourdough Bread

If you wonder why you should bake bread at such low hydration, I can tell you that testing the extremes comes with a lot of lessons learned. Learning how the dough behaves in extreme conditions provide you with the knowledge to apply the appropriate techniques when needed for other recipes.

I challenged myself to bake bread using the same great flour at different hydrations:

- at 85%, the dough was tricky but managed to get a good result

- at 75%, I felt being the most comfortable and the loaf turned as expected.

- at 65%, I've got a bit out of my preferred hydration range but I was totally impressed by the capabilities of the flour to relax.

I continued the challenge, at 55% hydration. This is way out of my comfort zone and it is far from being a preferred way of doing bread. 

Testing it was an interesting experience and these are my observations:

- after the initial mixing, the dough was that stiff that I could certainly break a window with it

- after the saltolyse, it became manageable and I've reached a great windowpane test

- relaxation time between steps is essential for such hydration

- at the shaping phase, although at 75% increased volume, the dough felt slightly under proofed in my hands so, I left it to grow to 100% after shaping. I used an aliquot jar to measure the increase. 

- shaping needs to be kept minimal to preserve the bubbles inside.

- dough didn't have a huge oven spring, although it was not surprising for such low hydration. However, even if it wasn't a real open crumb, I found it very fluffy and delicious.

- adding a lot of steam in the oven (ice cubes in my case) helped to avoid a hard crust, that on top of the improved oven spring. I knew this from previous bakes but such a thirsty dough I think it benefits more from extra steaming. The downside of extra steaming is that the flour on top tends to disappear. Stencilling works for me with only one ice cube in the Dutch Oven to preserve the pattern. For 2+ cubes, the flour absorbs the steamed water and only scoring can be used as design.