Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The 4-Hour Baguette

I've made the famous no-knead bread a few times now, and while the concept is great, the reality is I'm always a little disappointed with the results.  Even though there's no kneading involved, it's still a multi-step recipe that can take 20+ hours to finish, and while the texture of the ensuing bread is great for a home cook, it's kind of lacking in flavor.  So I'm pretty excited to have found a recipe for bread that only takes 4 hours from start to finish, still has great texture, and is packed full of flavor.

I pretty much followed this Genius Recipe from Food52 for Dan Leader's 4-Hour Baguette but I applied some of the concepts I learned from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast and added some diastatic malt powder.  According to the King Arthur Flour website, the malt powder promotes "a strong rise, great texture, and lovely brown crust".  You can certainly make this bread without it; I just used because I still had some left from making croissants that one time.

What I love about this recipe is that it doesn't call for any special equipment.  Don't have a stand mixer?  You can knead the dough by hand.  Don't have a pizza stone?  Use a rimless baking sheet or an upside-down baking sheet to bake the loaves on.  Don't have a baguette pan or a baker's couche?  Just use parchment paper and something long and weighted on the sides to help shape the loaves as they rise.  Don't have a bread lame?  Just use a sharp knife or even scissors!  As you can see, while I could definitely use more practice with shaping and scoring baguettes, I'm quite pleased with the results considering it was my first time!

The 4-Hour Baguette (adapted from Dan Leader's recipe on Food52)
makes 3 loaves

1 1/2 cups warm water, about 115°F
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour (if you don't have any bread flour, just use all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon diastatic malt powder (optional)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
Oil, for greasing bowl
1/2 cup ice cubes or 1 cup water

Place the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over it.  Let stand for 10 minutes, until foamy.

Add the flour(s) and malt powder (if using) and stir by hand with the dough hook until all the flour has been absorbed.  Let sit for 20 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead using the dough hook attachment on medium speed, until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.  When done, wet your hands and reach underneath the dough and grab about a quarter of it.  Gently stretch this section of the dough up and fold it over the top to the other side of the dough.  Rotate the bowl 90° and repeat 3 more times.  This process is called applying a fold.  Transfer the dough seam side down to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a cold oven until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

After it has doubled, apply another fold, cover, and return to the oven again.  Let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the oven and place an oven-safe pan on the bottom rack.  Place a pizza stone or a rimless or upside-down baking sheet on the rack above.  Preheat oven to 475°F.

Lightly flour a large piece of parchment paper and place on another rimless baking sheet or cutting board.  Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and cut the dough into 3 even pieces.  Shape each piece into a rectangle and fold the longer sides in to make a narrower rectangle, sealing the seams with the heel of your hand.  Gently roll the rectangle into a 14" log.  Place the logs, seam side down, onto the parchment paper about 2-3" apart from each other.  Lift up the paper between the logs to form pleats and hold them in place with foil/plastic wrap/parchment paper boxes on either end.  This helps shape the baguettes as they rise so that they expand up instead of out.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit until it doubles in size, about 50 minutes.

When fully proofed, remove the plastic wrap and flatten out the parchment paper to space out the loaves.  Using a super-sharp knife, scissors, or bread lame, score the top of the dough in long, diagonal slashes.  Trim the parchment paper, if needed, so that it is about the same size as the pizza stone/baking sheet in the oven.

Pull out the oven rack with the stone or baking sheet on it and, using the corner of the parchment paper as a guide, slide the loaves, still on the parchment paper, onto the baking stone or pan.  Place the ice cubes or water in the oven-proof pan (this produces steam that lets the loaves rise fully before a crust forms).  Bake the baguettes until darkly browned and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes; cool before serving.

Next:  Will It Puffle?
Previously:  Tropical Pulled Pork on Griddled Banana Bread Sandwiches
Last Year:  Chocolate Mochi Snack Cake
Two Years Ago:  Dan Bing (Taiwanese Egg Crepe)
Three Years Ago:  Happiness Cake
Six Years Ago:  Mama Huang's Secret Beer Duck Recipe
Seven Years Ago:  Cincinnati Chili 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tropical Pulled Pork on Griddled Banana Bread Sandwiches


Back in January I found an incredible deal for airfare to St. Thomas so I went ahead and booked it along with four nights at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef using my points.  Even though the weather forecast the weeks up to the trip showed a lot of possible rain, it turned out to be beautiful and sunny every day we were there!

Sunrise at the Frenchman's Reef

On our third day, my friend Sooyun and I took the passenger ferry from Red Hook to Cruz Bay in St. John and hiked the Lind Point Trail to Honeymoon Beach.  After some relaxing time on the beach, we continued over to the Caneel Bay Resort for lunch.  Little did I know I was about to have one of the best sandwiches I had ever eaten.  We almost didn't order it (I was craving a turkey sandwich, and Sooyun almost ordered something else before I reminded her about the rum pork on crispy banana bread sandwich she had pointed out earlier), but after tasting it, I'm so grateful we did.  I think it was that perfect balance of salty pulled pork and sweet banana bread plus the crunch from a red cabbage slaw.  The memory of this sandwich haunted me for over a month before I finally decided to try and recreate it.

Floating at Honeymoon Beach, St. John

For the pulled pork I pretty much followed my slow cooker kalua pork recipe except I added a quartered orange and garlic plus a splash of passion fruit rum.  For the banana bread I followed this basic recipe but you can just use your favorite recipe as long as the bread can be sliced and griddled without falling apart.  Then I made a quick cabbage slaw using coconut white balsamic vinegar, lemon sugar, and shredded red cabbage.  If you don't have smoked sea salt, passion fruit rum, coconut white balsamic vinegar, and lemon sugar, you should be fine using regular sea salt, another rum (or skipping the rum altogether), a light vinegar (like cider or rice wine), and regular white sugar.  But then where would be the fun in that? 


Tropical Pulled Pork on Griddled Banana Bread Sandwiches
makes about 8 sandwiches

For the pulled pork:
3 lbs. boneless pork butt/shoulder
2 tablespoons smoked sea salt
1 orange, quartered
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup rum (tropical flavor like passion fruit or mango preferred)

Using a steak knife, poke the pork all over and rub with smoked salt.  Place in the slow cooker along with the orange quarters and garlic cloves.  Turn on low and cook for 12 hours. 

Halfway through, flip the pork and add the rum.

When done, remove the excess fat and shred the pork with a fork.

For the red cabbage slaw:
3 cups shredded red cabbage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coconut white balsamic vinegar (or other light vinegar)
1 teaspoon lemon or white sugar

Place the shredded cabbage in a salad spinner or a colander over a bowl.  Sprinkle the salt over the cabbage and mix.  Let sit for an hour, then rinse and squeeze/spin out the excess water.

Transfer the cabbage to a sealable container.  Add the vinegar and sugar and mix.  Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, until ready to use.

For the sandwiches:
2 loaves of your favorite banana bread (or just one loaf if you want to make open faced sandwiches)

Slice the banana bread to the thickness you prefer and butter both sides.  Heat a pan over medium-high heat and cook the banana bread slices, turning once, until both sides are browned.

Top one slice with the pulled pork and slaw and add the other slice.  Serve with plantain or yucca chips and die of happiness.

Sunset at Frenchman's Reef

Next:  The 4-Hour Baguette
Previously:  Pad Thai
Last Year:  Homemade Squid Ink Pasta
Two Years Ago:  Miso-Glazed Eggplant
Three Years Ago:  Peking Duck Pizza
Six Years Ago:  Bacon Fat Caramels
Seven Years Ago:  St. Patrick's Day Maki