Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Cranberry Pecan Boule - and a Surprise Present

I made strict rules this past Christmas about buying presents for me. Not because I don't think I deserve them--no, not at all. It was because I had already picked out a whole boatload of things that I wanted. (To be perfectly honest, I'd already bought them and just gave them to Jim to wrap). But there's a limit to how many geegaws you can buy for yourself, and I had exceeded the limit. So I told Jim, no more! But three days before Christmas, a large box appeared in the mail, addressed to me. I opened it - it was addressed to me, after all, and found this:

It's a Brød &Taylor Folding Proofer. "Jim," I said, "you were not supposed to buy me anything else." He claimed he didn't. I didn't believe him. He swore that he didn't. I asked him who else would buy me a bread proofer. "Maybe it was Rose," he guessed. "That's crazy," I told him. But then I remembered that I had read something on Rose's blog about a proofer. So I called Woody and asked him if he'd ever heard of a bread proofer. "Oh, did you get yours? I just got mine too," he said cheerfully. Mystery solved. Thanks, Rose. And thanks, Brød &Taylor, too.

The proofer came with two recipes: country wheat sandwich bread and cranberry pecan boule. I voted for cranberry pecan. Since nobody else voted, I won. It starts with a poolish starter, which sits in the proofer for 4 hours at 74 degrees. I loved it that it was 74, and not 75.

Usually a poolish sits in my chilly kitchen overnight. In the summer, it ferments for a few hours in my warm kitchen and then overnight in the refrigerator. It's all very casual, which I like. But I also like knowing that I can end up with a bubbly poolish in just 4 hours at 74 degrees. If I get very brave sometime, I may try it at 75, or even 76 if I'm feeling very devil-may-care.

It's a very stiff dough. I kneaded it for almost 10 minutes in my new KitchenAid and had visions of watching another mixer go kaput. But it chugged along (it is still under warranty, so I don't really expect it to go under until 24 hours after the warranty expires).

The dried cranberries and chopped pecans seemed to have an antisocial personality disorder. They did not want to mix. (If you make this bread, I recommend that you spend more time than I did poking cranberries back into the dough--the berries on the outside of the bread were burned and inedible, while the berries that had been forced inside were tart-sweet and delicious.

Into an oiled bowl and back into the proofer it goes. This time the proofer goes up to 80. When I thought about it, I realized that my kitchen is almost never 80 degrees. (I do have a proofing setting in my oven, but it's 85 degrees, which is the high end of ideal temperatures for proofing).

After this proofing, the dough gets shaped into a ball, and put in a bowl or colander. I used a lightly floured banneton. Then it rises again - at 80 degrees exactly - for another hour.

After 25 minutes in the oven. You can see how black the cranberries got. But it's still a handsome loaf of bread. And delicious, too.

But wait, there's more! This little machine is not only a proofer, it also makes yogurt and melts and tempers chocolate. Or so it says. I may very well try it for yogurt, but I'm not sure I'd drag it out to melt chocolate. Although, in fairness, "dragging it out" is not a big ordeal. It folds into a small rectangle, so it doesn't take much space, and it's easy to put together. This gadget definitely belongs in the "luxury" category, not the "essentials." But I'm tickled to have it, and wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be something I convince myself I could no longer do without. Especially in winter, when dough sometimes is as reluctant to rise as I am to go outside.

Cranberry Pecan Boule

Poolish Starter:
3/4 cup (4.4 oz.) unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup water (4.4 oz.) (70 to 78 degrees)
1/4 tsp instant yeast
Set the proofer to 74 degrees and add 1/4 cup of water to the wawter tray. Mix all the ingredients for the poolish into a large mixing bowl. Place the bowl into the proofer for 4 hours until it inflates into a bubbly, soft, and sweet-smelling sponge.

Dough Ingredients:
All of poolish starter
1 cup (8.1 oz.) water
1 tsp. instant yeast
2 1/4 cups (10 oz.) unbleached bread flour
3/4 cup (3.6 oz) whole wheat flour
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried cranberriese
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1. Increase proofer temperature to 80 degrees.
2. Add the water to the poolish and stir it around to loosen it up. Add the yeast, flours,and salt. Stir until a rough dough forms. Knead dough on counter or in stand mixer, using the dough hook, until a smooth and elastic dough forms.
3. Add the cranberries and pecans and work them into the dough until they are evenly distributed throughout.
4. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and place in proofer. Let the dough rise for 60-90 minutes or until it has doubled in bulk.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and shape the dough into a tight round ball.
6. Place the dough ball seam side up into a well-floured dough rising basket or a bowl/colander lined with a heavily floured linen cloth. Dust the exposed bottom of the loaf with flour and place back inproofer, still set at 80 degrees. Let the dough rise 1 hour or until it has almost doubled inj bulk.
7. Prepare the oven for baking an hour before you are ready to bake. Place a bakingh stone in the middle of the oven with a skillet or rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack. Preheat to 500.
8. Turn the dough out onto a baking peel or inverted baking sheet lined with parchment. Score the top of the loaf and quickly place the loaf onto the hot baking stone. Add 1/2 cup of water to the skillet and close the door. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 450, and continue to bake foro 25-30 minutes or until the loaf is a deep brown color and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
9. Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing.

From Brød &Taylor Folding Proofer Supplemental Manual, crediting Melissa Langenback, thebakersguide.com.


Stephanie said...

Wow that's such a great thing to have show up at your door! I was in an apartment where the kitchen was so hot that all my bread was in danger of overproofing. Now my kitchen is super chilly and I'm always trying to carry around my loaves to different rooms to get a rise. I'd love to have one of those

Lois B said...

What a great surprise, and nice bread too. I have high hopes for you, Marie. Now that you've piped frosting, hand dipped bon bons can't be far behind. :)

Marie said...

Yes, it was a lovely surprise! You're convincing me that maybe it is a necessity, not a luxury.

Ha. I'll let you know if I ever get to the bon bon stage. Stranger things have happened, I guess (like piping frosting).

Stripeyspots said...

I've been thinking about getting one of these proofers for a while now, ever since I read about them in Rose Levy Berenbaum's blog. Still very tempted...

doughadear said...

I didn't even know that such a contraption existed. Live and learn. Now room temperature will never be an issue - lucky you. And the cranberry pecan boule, what can I say except yum.

Melinda said...

Well, that looks a handy thing to have for someone living in Minnesota snow territory. What a lovely surprise from Rose!
I think your bread looks delicious. The banneton rings add a spiffy artisan look.

breadbasketcase said...

If I didn't have the proofing setting on my oven, I think I could convince myself that I MUST HAVE this proofer. As it is, I'm just glad I have it.

It makes you wonder what other kinds of unknown gadgets might exist, doesn't it?

Yes, even with a "mild" winter, such as we're having this year, it still gets under 0 degrees F now and then. My kitchen's nowhere close to 80, or even 74.
I'm having lunch with Jini tomorrow. We'll toast your health (probably with water, but you can't have everything).

Monica said...

OMG Marie, you made me laugh so hard with your KA comment about it breaking down 24 hours after the guarantee expires. Because, that is how I feel about my kitchen stuff too.. I give it the eye and tell it to be nice!

The bread looks yumm!

Hopefully you can use that this month when I post the GCC, since I'm going to make everyone use YEAST!

evil cake lady said...

What a lovely gift! I can't wait to hear about your yogurt experiments. I've been thinking about trying to make my own for a few months now.

I love your comment about how you were the only one who voted, so you won. Well played!

faithy said...

Marie, i miss reading your blog posts! So funny & witty with your words! :) You are not the only one who buys her own christmas presents..hahaha..i buy my own birthday and christmas presents too and just charge them to my husband's cc. LOL! That way i get whatever i want! ;)

Your bread looks amazing here and so fun to receive a bread proofer! Lucky you! I know what you mean about kneading dough with KA..i dare not use my KA to mix dough for fear of overheating! Instead i knead by hand?! KA is expensive here..for the price of one KA here i can buy 3 KA mixers over there in the US!

breadbasketcase said...

That will be great! Maybe I can make one recipe work for two blogs--I don't think I've ever managed to do that before.

Life becomes easier when you make the rules.
After I got excited about making yogurt, I remembered how much I love Fage Greek yogurt, and how unlikely it would be that I could make better yogurt than that. I still want to try it though.

Does your husband have to wrap your presents? I believe in getting Jim involved in some way; otherwise, he won't give himself credit for how generous he's being.

Julie said...

Marie, congratulations on your new proofer! Love the write up and the boule, bannetons always produce such lovely stripes :).

I have a proofer and thought I would only use it for bread, but the fresh yogurt is so good I don't think I can go back to store bought.

Simona Mastantuono said...

hello you are a new reader simona do things merviglise this bread is great if you're good at being a lawyer as you are cooking you're full of virtue..this bread is wonderful

breadbasketcase said...

Glad to know it works for yogurt too--that's more incentive to try it out as a yogurt maker.

Welcome! I'm not sure how much virtue I have, but I do like the comparison.

jini said...

you are indeed witty as well as wise and what a treat to get a gift you didn't buy for jim to give to you! i love it. dang....we should have had wine for that toast to melinda! next time we will!!

breadbasketcase said...

Yes, we should have. I'm sure Melinda would love it if we both got sloshed on her behalf. Next time!

Saranya (മുല്ലപൂക്കള്‍) said...

Glad to follow your blog

Hanaâ said...

I remember seeing this on Rose's blog as well as something you could fill out to become a tester of the proof box. I didn't win though :-) How nice of Rose to send you one. I have a small yogurt maker and I can tell you that nothing beats homemade yogurt. Try it sometime.

The boule looks wonderful. Of course I'd have to sub almonds for the pecans :-)

breadbasketcase said...

You should borrow the proofer and see how you like it! And then you can give me tips on yogurt-making too.

Leah Magid said...

I just found your blog while looking for a food processor bread dough to make tonight. It's in the proofer right now (which I received from my husband on the occasion of my mumble-second birthday this year). I love mine. I live in Okinawa, Japan where it is humid and hot, so we have the air on all the time. I use the proofer every time I bake now and am thrilled with it.

I am making this bread to go with fresh ume (a plum/apricot sort of thing) jam that I am making. I think this loaf will be the perfect match!

Anonymous said...

Marie, I bought one for myself. My kitchen is so cold in the winter! I've used it for yogurt once, but am using it for bread a lot. Hope to use it for chocolate some time

Beth (knit1bake1 from Rose's blog)