McDonalds Killer?? Hail the Altamura Pane:

Now this bread has a very interesting tale to tell.

This is what I am aiming for!!

Altamura bread singlehandedly drove McD’s out of its city because the people there are very proud of their regional bread and food.

“What took place was a small war between us and McDonald’s,” said Onofrio Pepe, a retired journalist who founded an association here devoted to local delicacies. “Our bullets were focaccia. And sausage. And bread. It was a peaceful war, without any spilling of blood.”

Mr. Pepe and several like-minded citizens of Altamura, a city of 65,000 residents, made up one wing of the army. They say they fought largely for pride and for their food, which includes a local mushroom called the cardoncello, focaccia, mozzarella and, most of all, a coarse-grain bread famous for millennia around Italy. The bread is protected as unique in European Union regulations, which note that Horace called it, in 37 B.C., “far the best bread to be had, so good that the wise traveler takes a supply of it for his onward journey.”

Thank you to http://www.ilovelucca.co.nz/ for the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/12/international/europe/12italy.html

You know what comes next….Lets get Yeasty!! 🙂

Not a lot of photo’s for this recipe as I got distracted and when I was almost finished , I thought “OMG, no photos!!” Argh…………In this recipe, I used Durum intergrale flour which is more wheaty and not as finely milled as regular durum flour so I got a heavier bread but I am retrying this week with finely milled durum to see the contrast.

Altamura bread:

Altamura biga

Biga:

  • 1 tsp dried yeast.
  • 1/4 cup warm water.
  • 3/4 cup room temp water.
  • 1 & 3/4 cups durum flour.

  • Stir yeast into the warm water and stand in warm place covered until frothy/creamy.
  • Stir in RT water and flour  to make a dough.
  • Place in lightly oiled bowl, covered with gladwrap, in a cool room temperature for 6-24 hours.
  • The longer left, the more intense the flavour. I usually do the biga at night and do the rest the following day (if i am at home) or the afternoon if I am at work so it gets 12-20 hours to bubble away.
Dough:
  • 1/2 tsp dried yeast.
  • 1/4 cup warm water.
  • 1 & 1/2 cups RT water.
  • 4 cups of Durum flour
  • Pinch of salt
Method:
  • Stir yeast into warm water and stand until creamy/frothy.
  • Mix the dissolved yeast into the biga (above) and when mixed, add in the RT water.
  • Make sure well mixed and consistency is smooth
  • Mix in the flour and the salt, 1 cup at a time.
  • When dough is formed and all flour/salt mix has been added, turn out on floured area and knead for 10 minutes.
  • Place dough in the lightly oiled bowl and cover and leave in warm place for first rise for 3 hours or until tripled in size.
  • When dough is ready from first rise, turn out again on floured area and shape the bread into either a round or a flatter oval shape.
  • Slash down the middle of each loaf and place the bread slash side down on a tray well covered with flour or semolina until doubled in size or until big air bubbles are noticeable.
  • 45 minutes before you want to bake this bread, turn on the oven to 225 Celsius and place baking dish at the bottom of the oven.
  • Slash the bread again if the slash has closed over and sprinkle with cornmeal (polenta) .
  • When oven is at correct temperature, place tray in oven and put a few ice cubes in the baking dish at the bottom of the oven.This will help the crust form, yet keep the bread moist.

Altamura


  • Bake for 45-55 minutes until dark golden brown ( a little more than i did above)
  • Cool and enjoy!!
Recipe adapted from Carol Fields “The Italian Baker ‘ 2nd Ed, 2011. 

yum yum fresh bread & avocado

Have a quick squizzy at this Altamura loaf!!

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/28903/altamura-bread

Bready for Challah?

Brrrr Cold today, so some nice fresh, hot Challah will be a treat!!

This Challah, is the result of trial and error over time of 3-4 recipes that i tried, pulled apart and added things in my quest to recreate the Challah from Sasha Finkelstzyn in Rue de Rosiers, Paris. All I can say, is that nothing else tastes like it (Sasha’s Challah, not mine, i wish!!) and I need to use way way more butter as its bready but very buttery but not like a pastry or sickly buttery. Hmm, more work is needed. In saying that however, the quest will continue BUt this Challah here is still pretty good, if i do say so myself:)

Ingredients CHECK!!

Michelle’s yeasty beasty Challah:

  • 6 eggs + 1 for egg wash
  • 150g butter or Dairy free margarine
  • 20g yeast
  • 5 cups of flour , Strong bread flour is best
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup milk warmed
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of Olive oil
The dough ready to rise!!

Method:

  • Dissolve 1 tbsp sugar in warm milk and stir in yeast.
  • Cover with gladwrap and leave in warm place until creamy and frothy.
  • Place flour and salt in bowl and mix well.
  • Rub in butter
  • Add in sugar and raisins.
  • Remove creamy yeast from warm place and add in the 6 eggs beaten and oil to yeasty mix.
  • Add Yeasty eggy oil mix to dry to form a dough
  • Turn out on floured area and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elasticy

All ready for punching down!!

  • Place in lightly oiled bowl and cover, leave in warm place for 90 minutes.
  • Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  • Remove from warm place and turn out on floured area.
  • Knock pout excess air and knead for 5 minutes.
  • Shape into the shape you want.
  • Traditionally this is braided but it can be oval, rectangle anything you like.
  • Braiding is VERY VERY easy even an unco like me can do it:)
4 braid

4 braid ?

Perhaps a 6 braid?

4 braid all ready for proving!!

You wouldn’t think i had 3 sons with this braiding!!

  • Place braided or shaped loaves, covered in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • Be careful not to over prove as i did on the 4 braided one (see below)
  • Over proving meant when baking, the braids would not look separate as i wanted.
  • Pre heat oven 15 minutes before ready to 210 Celsius
  • Remove loaves from warm place and brush with egg wash.
  • Place in over for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and cool (if you can wait that long)
  • Perfect- not overproved!!

     

    See, over proving!!
    Its ok, and tastes good but the braids are not easily seen.

     

    Just great!! Very nice and tastes……divine!!

    Enjoy, enjoy and enjoy!!

    You can omit the raisins and all the sugar bar a small amount for the yeast and make this a savoury or plain bread.You can also sprinkle it with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, I have also seen a poppy-seed mix inside the Challah too. You could change the raisins and add other fruits and spices as well.

    Many  variations and many happy hours of trialling these methods are to be had 🙂