This is the third time I have made bread using kefir inspired by Celi @ thekitchensgarden.com.
My first attempt I made the bread in tinned form and encouraged by the enthusiasm with which they were received I have had a couple more goes.
I have switched to feeding my kefir grains with goats milk as I prefer the smooth results I get with this and I can make a simple cheese with it too.
Room temp 67.6 º F 19.8º C (new thing, I am going to try and always note the temperature of the room if I can when baking) as it makes a huge difference to how fast or slow the processes go.
- 150 g room temperature water
- 200 g freshly fermented bubbly kefir (made with semi skimmed St Helens goats’ milk)
- 150 g very strong flour (Canadian 15% protein from Waitrose)
- 2 dessertspoons Glastonbury honey
Mix the above ingredients together well till they form a smooth mixture.
Leave in a covered bowl for 15 hours at about 19º C, it will ferment quicker or slower depending on your ambient room temperature.
If you make a note of the temperature and the times each time you bake then you will get an idea of how it works where you live and in your season.
- 350 g very strong flour (high gluten 15% protein)
- 350 g Stanway Mill (all purpose culinary white stonemilled flour)
- 14 g salt
- 185 g water room temperature
- 40 g light olive oil or softened butter if you prefer butter
- A big handful of large raisins or whatever fruit you have available
Mix all the above ingredients (except the raisins) together well to form a dough. I am currently mixing in a stand mixer and it takes about 3-4 minutes to get a good dough which leaves the sides of the bowl by the time it is ready. Be prepared to adjust the water (or, heresy I know add more flour if the dough is not to your liking),
Leave to prove for 2 – 3 hours in a lightly oiled and covered bowl until you can see that there are bubbles forming in the dough and it feels alive under your fingers. It should have risen by maybe a third to a half.
Divide the dough into two parts and make one part as a plain boule and the other as raisin bread.
I used some very large raisins to do this. I wasn’t happy the last time I tried this. I had added the raisins at the mixing stage and they broke up and smeared inside the dough and I couldn’t control their distribution very well, so this time I did it differently.
I patted the dough out into a very rough rectangle and placed my raisins over one third of the rectangle. I then folded this over the centre part and placed more raisins on top of the fold and so on, always keeping the raisins inside the dough. I then patted it out again and repeated. I then gently shaped the folded parcel into a boule and tucked it seam side up into a well floured banneton and popped the usual shower caps on top to cover the bannetons. As you can see in the final photo it came out a little tight at the bottom but none of these huge raisins were on the outside burning and I was pleased with the distribution inside.
The second prove was a leisurely five hours in length and could probably have gone for another hour I suspect.
The loaves were baked at 220 C (conventional electric top bottom heat on a kiln shelf) for the first twenty minutes with steam in a tray and then the oven temperature was lowered to to 200C for another twenty five minutes. I put the loaves back in the oven once I had turned it off for another ten minutes as they felt a bit soft.
So I reckon you could bake them for at least 50 – 55 minutes if I make them again.
This bread is soft and mild and full of good calcium for old bones like mine and it has been a hit with everyone who has tried it. I have experimented with mixing the kefir with some white sourdough starter and it produced a much more sour flavour to the bread. It still rose but we prefer this mild and delicate taste.
A couple of other lovely bakers making kefir bread with their tweaks and variations are:-
Carl Legge and ofbreadandquinces both of whom have good experiences with doing this and I suspect there are many other quiet kefir bakers around the world. Real bread – but made a different way from the normal sourdough.
Oh and Zeb likes it too, but he likes most things apart from pickles…
And after all that I completely forgot (birdbrain that I am) to show you Kefir Levain no 2.
I have the minutest video clip of Brian cutting the finished bread in half on my Flickr Photos
listen to that crunchy honey scented crust!