On this day I reflect
Reflection is a bitter sweet thing.
Why do we have dessert at the end of a meal? Dessert gives us a feeling of happiness. Why do we love coffee? For me, to counter the sweetness that has accumulated in my palate.
On this last day of the year I reflect: Bitterness gives meaning to sweetness.
My husband replaced our refrigerator while I was away. The old fridge had refused to give up the ghost and was still going. I do not know what prompted him to replace it. Early spring cleaning?!
My girlfriend came by to have coffee and a piece of chocolate panforte. I was looking through the junk in our new fridge that my husband has kept for me from the old fridge. I saw a jar of green tea powder and asked my girlfriend to have a look. She said, with a roaring laughter, “It expired in 2008!” Notwithstanding, I had a taste and it was very bitter. Then, I found a gift packet from Three Sisters’ Inn in Kyoto, Japan, where I had stayed numerous times. It contains sachets of green tea soup – savory with a hint of sourness.
In the back of the new fridge, I found more macha green tea powder. Can I build this into a sourdough with, say, chocolate – sweet and bitterness? Here it is, but don’t do what I do. It is a bit wacky for a sourdough.
I also built in orange preserves to give it contrast and colour.
Green Tea, Chocolate and Orange Sourdough
- 230 g liquid starter (fed 90% plain flour and 10% rye flour)
- 575 g flour (90% plain flour and 10% rye flour)
- 4 g macha green tea powder (mixed into the flour)
- 150 g chocolate chips (Don’t use expensive ones; cheap ones keep their shape better in baking)
- 260 g orange preserves with its syrup (stew slices of oranges in sugar, cloves, and some lemon juice depending on how sweet your oranges are)
- 300 g water (Here is the tricky part. I started with about 250 g water. I wanted a medium soft dough consistency, about 72% overall hydration. It depends on how much syrup in your orange preserves. I ended up using more water, maybe 50 g or so.)
- 14 g sea salt
I forgot there was much sugar in the dough and had baked it in too high a temperature, around 230 C. Lower temperature would have been better to allow a longer bake for crispier crust.
With so many ingredients and flavours in the dough, David’s 21-hour retarding won’t be necessary. Lean dough benefits from a long period of retarding, but it will be an overkill for the kind of dough I have here.
The dominant flavour in this bread is chocolate, and therefore it is sweet. The orange gives it an added dimension. You hardly smell or taste the macha green tea and it is a shame.
I believe there will continue to be efforts in building in more bitterness in our baking and our cuisine in general. Bitterness adds depth in flavour, and more fullness in taste. I believe we are ready for more complexity.
I have always had a sweet tooth. I have just had too much sweetness in my life…
Have a wonderful 2012!
I love your reflections :-)
My memory is so fleeting these days, like the high winds blowing outside of my home right now, that reflections turn into memories soon lost in the quagmire of all of my other thoughts....they surface every once in awhile and give me a good feeling - a relaxing from the distractions in my day that take me away from the quiet...
My daughter wants less sweets too but one of her favortie breads is the chocolate sourdough I originally got from you and have tweaked a bit....
Isn't it fun to be able to look at what you have and come up with a wonderful loaf. Yours looks scrumtious and I always loved chocolate with orange - in fact I made a panettone a month ago using that combination.
Have you seen Pips Anise and Fig loaf? It is GREAT. The 2 flavors really enhance each other. When I did it I softened the figs by soaking them, chopped, in hot water before adding to the dough. Made a dough very similar in feel to your banana sourdough - but a bit stronger.
I think the crust looks perfect - people around here LOVE dark crusts :-)
Sounds like your husband re-did your whole kitchen for you! How fun - especially since you didn't have to be there while the change was taking place....waiting on deliveries - making sure all is as it should be etc....
Thanks for the reflections and the post and the beautiful pictures!
It's nice that we are able to converse across half a globe over the net. It is also a bit scary to me that all this is open for anybody's viewing. Thank you for bringing Pips' Anise and fig wholemeal loaf to my attention. It is an interesting combination and one that I would certainly like to try. Whenever I visit my local deli, I always look out for new variety of figs.
I used dried Turkish figs. I am not sure if Phil used dried or fresh but I am thinking dried. Makes a huge difference if you simmer the figs or just chop and toss in like raisins. Changes the whole character of the bread due to saturation/concentration of the fruit sugar.
I feel the same way about sharing here but am so glad it is available. I have learned so much from so many people throughout the world - all for free! How else would I ever be able to do this? I especially like the cultural differences and welcome learning about them and trying them out in my home.....So far, all of my experiences have been very positive and I think that is due to how Floyd runs this forum....he is very stringent on what will be tolerated and what won't be....I am glad he put it all together otherwise I wouldn't have all the new 'virtual' people I have in my life today.......people I simply wouldn't know.
If you bake his loaf I will be interested in how it turns out for you.
You are right, Janet, and it is amazing how fast we can improve by just reading other people's experiences and then practice for ourselves. Sourdough baking is a craft that we can get very good at simply by just keeping at it. I have benefited very much myself. Without TFL, I wouldn't have been able to bake such good sourdough breads that my whole family have enjoyed so much.
Though it is very unfortunate that many naive, immature or just plain stupid people post things about themselves at facebook or other social networks that might expose and haunt them for years to come, TFL is a safe, entertaining and inspiring place to air your thoughts and experiences. Of course, sometimes some people need to engage each other with their antlers for dominance about "who is right", but these skirmishes are usually short lived, or Floyd puts an end to them when they get too unpleasant.
I cannot bore my long suffering husband on a daily base with news about how this day's bread turned out different from the one last week, and what little tweak might have contributed to it. Here I can discuss every little detail of my progress and find an appreciative, knowledgeable and helpful audience - from all over the globe! And I can appreciate, encourage or advise others, sharing my (usually more practical than scientific) views and experiences.
This is so encouraging that even though wars are still being fought and tyrants are still suppressing people and free speech in many places in the world, we can be a worldwide community sharing our love for a craft with a thousand year old history.
My sentiments exactly - I had forgotten about how nice it is to have people to share the little discoveries about bread and baking that BORE my family to death :-).
My family now loves sourdough breads too and I NEVER would have attempted baking with sd if it wasn't for TFL...by the way, I am not sure if you eat waffles but Pat (proth5) just posted a recipe for sd waffles that is excellent. A HUGE hit with my family.
The fruits in your bread look very delicious and comfortable in the lovely crumb. I love the addition of orange. Orange is so delicious in baking...but then I'm very partial to orange! Your bread would certainly fill in for a healthy yet satisfying snack when craving something sweet. I've lost so many pounds just by cutting out rich desserts and sugar and watching my portions. Oh, I still enjoy them..just a lot less. I keep the daily calorie consumption to a weight loosing count and so far it's worked..nearly 20lbs..I set a goal for myself..something fairly easy, 2 lbs amonth. It's not easy to take off weight in your later 60 yrs. But, I got 'skinny jeans' for Christmas 'lol' and last night enjoyed a small piece of gingerbread garnished with a chocolate covered orange peel..I was content and happy. In your 'Reflections' you talked about bitter and sweet. This reminded me of the bitter dark chocolate, spicey gingerbread and complex candied orange peel that was the highlight of my Christmas dessert. You have reminded to make a my NY resolution, stick to my plan. It's working and I love the way my new clothes fit. Sweet breads are a good thing :)
Happy New Year!
Hi Sylvia, I need to learn from you. What you have done is amazing. My weak spot is anything with mixed dried fruits, so Christmas time is really difficult time for me to exercise any constraints. I also love anything with dried ginger and orange. I have given up on making any New Year resolution. It seems that for me the harder I have tried the harder I have fallen. So now I just go natural. There was a story I read in an art history book about a 150-yr old man in the 15th century England. It beats me how it was possible for a man to live to 150 years of age but apparently at the time churches were the places where records of birth dates, marriage, etc. were kept. The story goes that the King had heard about this man and wanted to learn his secret so invited him to come and live with him at the palace. The king treated him with the best foods you could possibly imagine for their times. The man died within a month, from indigestion. Or, we could say that, he was killed with kindness. (Who says that we humans are the only living beings who eat themselves to death?)
Your "graveyard" in the old fridge reminds me of my refrigerator - it's sometimes amazing what is hidden in its depths, barred from view by too many condiments (my husband is a condiment hoarder).
I can imagine that you couldn't taste much of the macha green tea powder - I make vegan green tea cupcakes with macha, and it takes quite a bit to impart its flavor to the batter, and stronger flavors will easily overpower the delicate aroma.
And you are right - you would never know how good something is if you had never any bitter experiences (that pertains to food as well as to marriages).
Happy New Year to you, too,
What a great start to the new year seeing you back at TFL with another great write up on another really inspiring loaf,
i do hope that we see a lot more from you in 2012, and if this is anything to go by then it will be a memorable year for us all
many thanks and kind regards Yozza
Not wacky for me! I love that sweet/bitter combination. That coupled with the mild tang of sourdough, and you have a winning combination.
Happy New Year Shiao Ping,
This loaf is yet another example of how you combine flavors in such interesting ways in your breads.
Thank you for your contributions here, and so look forward your posts in the coming year.
Wishing you the very best for 2012,
:^) from breadsong
Beautiful loaves, as usual, Shiao-Ping.
I've made a few loaves with matcha myself a while ago for a friend with added black sesame. I sweeten the dough with some sugar, but adding chocolate like yours must work very well, too. Must try it myself one day. Thanks for inspiration, as always.
Best wishes for 2012!
Exotic looking loaves Shiao-Ping! Very creative, as usual.
im off to pamper my poor neglected starter.....
Beautiful loaves but inthe photo of the tea pot, your hand drafted post.... I love your fountain pen, another passion of mine! May your 2012 inspire more writing, posts, baking and time with friends! Delay instant gratification? Good luck~