Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bread Baking Buddy-Asparagus Bread

Lien of Notitie Van Lien belongs to a group of 12 accomplished bakers, called BBB or Bread Baking Babes, that bake a new bread every month. You can bake the same bread as a BBBuddy, which is fun to do because all the things I made so far where delicious. The deadline for this month has passed but if you want to know how to join in the future check Lien's post.

For this month's challenge Lien selected this intriguing bread, which has all ingredients I love so I imagined it would be good. The dough was easy to make, but the addition of all the ingredients was harder than I thought as the wet asparagus kept sliding on the dough instead of sticking to it. It took a lot of coaxing to get the greens and the walnut pieces to mix evenly in the dough. Maybe next time I will do it in the mixer.

When the bread reached 190 internally I took it out of the oven but my little test roll was still chewy so I cooked the loaves for 10 extra minutes, upside down. I brought it to a friend's house to eat for dinner and before eating it we toasted the bread 10 extra minutes as it had gotten soggy. Everyone loved this bread, and one loaf disappeared in not time. I would assume that the same bread can be made with walnuts and black olives.

The recipe below is copied verbatim from Lien's blog.

Asparagus Bread
(with Parmesan Cheese and Walnuts)
125 g green asparagus
25-30 g rocket
50 g walnuts,
50 g freshly grated parmesan cheese
450 g strong bread flour (you can also use half whole wheat and half white or white whole wheat if you can get that)
12 g fresh yeast or 1 1/4 tsp dry instant yeast
250-270 g water (whole wheat version may use a little more water)
25 g olive oil
10 g (sea) salt

Boil 3/4 liter of water with a pinch of (sea) salt. Clean the asparagus, set two of them aside, cut the rest into 4 pieces. Boil these pieces for 2 minutes in the water, scoop them out (so you can use the water for the rocket as well) and rinse under cold water (to stop them cooking).

Put the rocket in the boiling water for a few seconds (until wilted), drain and rinse under cold water and drain again. Press the water our of the rocket, chop it coarsely and cut the asparagus into 1/4 inch (± 1 cm) long pieces, set aside.

Crush the walnuts coarsely and grate the parmesan.

Measure the flour and yeast in a large bowl, mix in most of the water and knead for a few minutes (on low speed), add the olive oil and knead for 10-12 minutes. Add the salt and knead on medium speed for 5 minutes until very elastic.

Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Work the asparagus pieces, rocket, walnuts and parmesan in with care so that they're evenly distributed. The dough should be very supple and elastic, hence the long kneading time. For me the best way to incorporate all the ingredients is to spread the dough out into a large slap, sprinkle all the ingredients on and roll it up. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, press flat and fold... rest 5-10 minutes press flat and fold. Shape into rounds.
Place the dough in a greased container, cover and let rise for about 2 hrs.

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
Make round balls, cover with a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Flatten the balls and fold into taut breads with slightly tapering ends. Lay one asparagus in lengthwise in the middle of the bread and press in slightly. Sprinkle with wheat flour and cover to rise for 70 minutes or until doubled. Before baking you can sprinkle a little grated cheese on the bread if you like (optional).

Preheat the oven (preferably with stone) to 460ºF.

Place the loaves directly on the stone. Spray with water (or poor some hot water in a metal container on the bottom of the oven that you preheated to create steam)
Lower the temperature after 5 minutes to 400ºF. Open the door after another 10 minutes to let some air in. Repeat twice during baking. (I must admit I forgot about this step)
Bake for 40-45 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

This was another great bread, soft and very tasty, so thanks to Lien and all the other Babes for creating this great challenge month after month. If you want to check out what other BBBuddies did this month, check Lien's post here.


Lien said...

Thanks Yóu Laura for baking this bread with us with such a busy schedule! It looks divine! The badge is on its way!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Laura! Beautiful bread. Thanks so much for baking it with us. It's crazy how many breads I'd love to have again - this being one - but it seems there's always a new one to be baking especially when you've joined that crazy group the BBA! I fully admit I'm really a bread nut.


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