Thursday, September 22, 2011

Croquembouche, A Wedding Pièce Montée

Croquembouche, A Wedding Pièce Montée
Stuck together with caramel this is traditionally served at parties celebrating weddings, birthdays and baptisms in France.  
This is a montage that symbolizes alliance of a lovely couple, fertility, health and wealth :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Natural leaven Bread. Pain Au Levain

"Pain au Levain" in French. Bread made from a sourdough starter. It is a dense bread, usually round or oblong, with a very delicate tang to it. The sour tang -- or the acidity ("acidité", as the French refer to it), helps to hold moisture in the bread, which makes it stay fresh longer than breads made with yeast.

 TLB's sourdough starter culture.
Whole wheat stone milled flour that I bought from Jln Ipoh's Indian Flour Mill, Manuka Propolis Honey.

The Indian Flour Mill in Jln Ipoh.

 Milling in progress.

 Stone milled whole wheat flour.

If soda makes a quick bread, then this recipe, using a natural leaven is a very, very slow bread. The wild yeast I have cultured has multiplied slowly, together with lactic bacteria, to create a distinctive, sour taste to the crumb. The extended kneading during the initial fermentation will help to stretch the air bubbles released by the yeast, enlarging them to create a web of exaggerated holes throughout the crumb.  

Some health benefits you can read up about Sourdough Bread:


Why are sourdoughs better for you?

Sourdough or wild yeast bread is leavened by natural fermentation. This requires the presence of natural yeasts from the air or the grain, combined with enzyme enhancing bacteria. These cultures grow slowly given the right temperature, digesting the starches and changing the pH, allowing the wild yeasts to feed and the dough to rise.

Sourdough baking is a long process, due to the absence (or very minimum) of added yeast. From start to finish, the baking process takes up to 36 hours, compared to the 90 minutes of commercial yeasted bread. During this time, wild yeasts and lactobacilli bacteria (the same found in yoghurt) get to work, fermenting the dough slowly but surely, pre-digesting the flour so that the bread becomes far more digestible. And in the process, the nutritional properties of the bread change dramatically.

For a start, the glycaemic index of sourdough bread is 68 compared to 100 for non-sourdough bread. This means that sourdough will help you hold your blood glucose in check, according to research at Lund University in Sweden. The lacto-fermentation process actually uses carbohydrates in the food, converts it to lactic acid, and lowers the carbohydrate content.