Sourdough Chocolate Babka

Continuing to work on different creations using my base doughs, in this case my dough I use for croissants (and pastries and cinnamon rolls).

I’ve posted before about making chocolate babka.

This method uses Nutella as the filling, rolling, cutting lengthwise, braiding and proving in a Pullman tin.

Funny thing is that I haven’t written down much since my last time…big mistake! I can’t remember what temperature is baked it last nor for how long! Oops.

Therefore, I’m going to egg-wash it and bake at 325°F for 35-45 minutes. I’ll check at 30 mins.

My sourdough Pullmans bake at 400°F for 30 minutes and then for 350°F for another 30 minutes. Not sure I want to bake the Babka that long. I’ll check it’s internal temp at the 30 minute point. If it’s over 200°F I will pull it out.

Here is what it looked like putting the egg wash on prior to baking.

I checked the internal temperature at 30 minutes. It was 175°F. The top was still light enough to bake a bit further. I returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes. After 15 minutes the internal temperature was over my target of 200°F.

Here’s how the loaf looked out of the oven…

Pretty pleased with how it came out. Smells heavenly! Will be a great birthday gift for my friend who likes chocolate (and my sourdough baking).

Warning: Non-baking related!!

I’m excited!

For those of you who have followed me for a while you’re aware that 18 months ago I flipped my motorcycle at 50+ mph and walked away from it.

God was really gracious and I’m thankful!!

After a lot of consideration (and with the loving approval of my wife) I made the decision to ride again…but 3 wheels, not 2 going forward.

My new trike conversion is finally ready!!

Indian Roadmaster Trike

This is such a big thing for me to “get back on the horse” as it were.

Will start slow and approach it “iteratively & incrementally” as I get back on.

Just sharing…

Sourdough Focaccia (again)

Made some more Focaccia. I did some research and decided I’d bake hotter/faster based on what I read.

Sourdough Focaccia

I was more patient this time and letting the dough rise a bit longer once stretched and placed on the olive oil drizzled pan.

Toppings this time were green Olives, Rosemary and pink Himalayan Sea Salt.

My method change was to preheat a cookie sheet for inverted at 450°F for 20 minutes. I then baked the Focaccia for 15 minutes, spun around and continued baking for another 15. Internal temperature was over 200°F once baked.

I can as pretty pleased with my updated method. Toppings were really good. This is a great bread to make!

Sourdough Focaccia

I ran an experiment this weekend. I decided to make sourdough Focaccia. My experiment was to make the same base dough as my recent sourdough Pullman loaves and at the moment of splitting the dough one would continue on the path to be a Pullman loaf and the other Focaccia.

Focaccia about to be eaten!

I followed the same recipe and method as before. Once divided I placed one of the parts into an oiled cake pan and stretched it into a rectangle. I then placed it into my proving box set to 84°F.

Dough is n oiled pan going in for second proof

Once it had risen further (about 90 minutes) I drizzled it with more olive oil, dimpled it with my fingers and topped with Castelvetrano Green Olive, Sundried Tomato and Parmigiana Cheese.

Truthfully, I could have let it rise even further but I was impatient. My dimpling technique needs work. It was my first attempt at this in a long time. I just saw an episode of The Great British Baking Show for Bread week and the participants had to make Focaccia.

I also started my bake at too low a temperature. Next time I’ll bake hotter/faster… 500°F? Not sure yet. Will need to do a bit of research. Certainly want the inside to cook and not scorch my topping.

Note: I did learn from the show that sautéing your toppings (veggies) can prevent that…

BTW I adjusted by adding more time, bumping my heat up +50°F and watching it like a Hawk.

I’m meant to let this cool but couldn’t wait. It smelled heavenly!

I cut myself and my wife some slices and enjoyed them immensely!

Nice crisp crust and chewy center. Irregular structure with both large and small holes. Great “mouth feel” Savory and just the right hint of salt from the Parmigiana cheese.

I continue to be amazed at how many different sourdough breads I can make with this one base recipe! Variables in proving length, temperature, shape, volume/surface ratio can yield vastly different results (all tasty)!

I’m definitely going to keep experimenting like this.

Sourdough Croutons

I decided the leftover sourdough Pullman loaves would be an excellent candidate for making croutons.

Sourdough Croutons

After slicing the bread I cut each into 16 pieces roughly 3/4” in size. I wasn’t precise…I tended more towards “roughly” than “3/4””.

I then drizzled them with about 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil (it was a large bowl) and then added a good sprinkling of Herbes de Provenance. And gave the batch a good stir

Tossing in olive oil and seasoning

Preheated my oven to 400°F and baked for about 18 minutes. Every 6 minutes or so I’d pull them out and rearrange them on the tray to help them bake evenly.

I’m really pleased with the results. Last time I left them in a tad too long and the results were darker than I prefer. These are perfect! Nice crunch and a hint of sourdough twang as a finish. The Herbes de Provenance smell is heavenly!

Thinking a Caesar Salad with soup is in order on this snowy day!

Sourdough Pullmans are a hit!

Sourdough Pullman bread is quite the hit!

Sourdough Pullmans

They are easy to slice and make great toast and sandwiches!

Grilled Cheese

My wife loves them and I just had an acquaintance who saw my recent post ask to buy one of the loaves!

Consequently my wife asked me to make another batch quickly. I fed my starter last night and it grew in a most excellent fashion.

Active Starter for Levain

All was going according to plan until I went to weigh out my bread flour…. I had barely enough to make the recipe!

Oops! Forgot to reorder to make up for all the holiday baking!!

Fortunately, I had enough for the recipe.

Better order more flour pronto!

Sourdough Pullman Loaves

My wife asked me if I could bake my regular sourdough bread in my Pullman tins.

I said “Sure, why not?” Thinking that would be a good experiment.

Great thing about “Baker’s %” is that I could easily scale up. I simply referred my other recipe to see what the total volume was for two loaves and bumped up my recipe be a third to match.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures. It was my same basic process of feeding my starter, making the leaven, autolyse, mix, stretch’n folding using my aliquot jar etc. The change came at getting them into the tins and rising before baking the same day.

Admittedly I began to worry when I was just getting the dough to start the first bulk proof at around 3:30pm.

It normally takes 3-4 hours at 82°F in my proving box. Once it gets to the tins my other Pullman recipe has them rising for 6 hours at 73°F.

It was looking to be a LONG day!

I considered putting them into the fridge. However, we have family visiting for the holidays and we’d just made a Costco AND a grocery run! Not a cubic inch of space left!

Into the proving drawer they went…but I bumped it to 83°F. Shortly before midnight they were risen enough to bake!

Loaves risen and about to be egg washed and slashed

I baked them for 25 minutes at 400°F (non convection) and then for another 25 minutes at 350°F. Popped them out of their tins and let cool under a towel to soften the crust.

Internal temp was 208°F so they had a good bake!

I’ll update this post later with a crumb shot.

UPDATE

This is wonderful sandwich bread! This is daughter-in-law approved!

Thankful

This is just a reflection on how far I’ve come…

Enjoying my croissant

It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the process; to focus on “the next problem to solve” or to ruminate on that ONE thing I didn’t do well.

This is a time to enjoy the simple pleasure of eating a well-made sourdough croissant I baked.

Light, buttery, flaky. Loaded with layers.

Cutting into it is like a crime scene…no hiding the evidence!

I’ve come a long way in my sourdough croissant journey. I’ll always pursue the “perfect croissant”. However, I must admit I really don’t ever want to actually accomplish that goal. The journey in pursuit and the pleasure of sharing my attempts is where the real joy resides.

For now, enjoying this croissant in the early morning is sufficient…

Creating Desired Dough Temperature (DDT)

Lately I’ve been really paying attention to “desired dough temperature” as a variable in my process.

Basically, it is about knowing what temperature you’d like your dough to be to get the peak reaction for whatever you’re trying to accomplish (e.g. bulk proving etc)

Dough Temp 86°F

To get to the desired dough temperature requires knowing the flour temp and the water temperature necessary for the mixed dough to reach the ideal dough temperature.

The rule of thumb is 2x the desired dough temp (DDT) minus the flour temperature to get the starting water temp. I’ve seen this rule in Celsius. Pretty sure I can get close in Fahrenheit.

For example, if I wanted a DDT of 84°F I would double that (168°F) minus the flour temp (68°F) to get 100°F water to mix.

I tried that …

As you can see in my first picture I was just a bit warmer (86°F) than my calculated 84°F from the rule of thumb… but not too far off.

The dough is autolysing at the moment and may cool a touch. When I add the leaven it may also drop a touch.

The great thing is that I’m REALLY close. Success!!