Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lavender Honey Loaf var. Orange

This is my absolute feel good bread.I don't know what it is.It must be the lavender. I know most people go "Uurggh! Lavender is in soap, not int food" I can only say to them "Ignoramuses!" But to be honest, I never had the idea to put lavender into food before a friend of mine brought some homemade lavender ice cream. Yummy. This bread to me is like a meditation. It relaxes me and makes me happy. It is like aromatherapy. I know - pathetic. Anyway, lets move on.....

I already love the smell when I work with the dough. Especially when I open my proofing box and a cloud of lavender and honey and orange makes me feel - uuuugghhhh!

Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread The recipe is from Richard Bertinet's book "Dough" in the brown dough section. It is an easy to make bread. The only challenge probably lies in the relative wetness of the dough.

The resulting loaf is relatively flat which comes from the free shaped loaf using a highly hydrated dough. But a good flour will add enough stability. If you are not too generous with the honey you will get a slightly sweetish bread. Because we have enough honey to last some years (we swapped a got kid for 15 kg of honey) I tend to use a bit more.

I love this bread with honey and goats milk yogurt, Camembert or home made Chevre. Any fresh soft cheese will do. Or just plain. It also toasts well which sets free a lot of the flavors. It keeps well, too. Not that it lasts too long.

I use

Brown Dough:
300 gm Organic whole wheat (I ground my own) (60%)
200 gm Organic wheat (40%)
7 gm instant active yeast (1.4%)
360 gm water (72%)
10 gm rock salt (2%)

1 heaped teaspoon fresh or dried Lavender flowers
1 1/2 tablespoons runny honey

For the Orange Variation, the grated zest of three big oranges

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix.

Knead until it forms a stretchable satiny dough (do a window pane test).

Shape into a ball and put into your (cleaned) floured bowl. Let rest for 45 minutes at 21 deg C.

Take it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface, stretch into an oval shape, fold lengthwise into the middle and fold the edges in and re-shape into a ball.

Put it back into your bowl and let rest another 45 minutes.

Put it onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a square (or oval), fold in all four corners and form a loaf.

Sprinkle some semolina onto a wooden board or tray. Place your loaf onto the tray and let rest at 21 deg C for 90 minutes.

Heat your oven to 220 deg C.

Cut a double cross into the top of your loaf. Bake the loaf on a stone or tray for 10 minutes.Then turn down the heat to 200 deg C and bake for another 20 - 30 minutes.

Let cool completely


Variation with Orange:
Grate the zest of three big oranges. Put the lavender flowers into a mortar and pestle and bruise them lightly to release the aroma. Add the honey and orange zest and mix well. Add this to the dough when mixing. But please be aware that the orange zest adds liquid and oil to your dough.I found the dough was just able to be handled. Maybe cut down with the water a bit to level out the moisture. But it also depends on your flour and the atmosphere and the moon phase. Well not really the moon phase, but yo know what I mean.

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