Tag Archives: kefir bread

Kefir Rimacinata Bread

Kefir Rimacinata Bread I was invited to join in a post by Karin recently to create ‘a bread worthy of Götz von Berlichingen, the Knight With the Iron Hand’. and so far I have come up with a Kefir Rimacinata Bread – which might just have a bit more bite and oomph and hopefully would appeal to such a forceful character.

I made this bread using the milk kefir variety of levain as per the formula below, (if anyone using BreadStorm wants the .bun file please let me know in the comments and I will email it to the email address you use to comment with, as I have now purchased the desktop version of the software as I like it so much).  One could easily use yoghurt and yeast instead and leave out the date syrup if not using the milk kefir.

crumbshotIt yields a warm and lightly lactic sour golden loaf with a soft and slightly chewy crumb and a nice thin crust with a bit of bite to it. Excellent with marmalade, Swedish fish paste or almond butter, just as it is without toasting –  and I am sure you could slap a couple of slices together with some mortadella, Black Forest Ham or cheese from the breakfast table and pop it in your chain mail pouch as you go off to pillage somewhere,  or sling it in your saddlebag for a horseback sandwich as you gallop down dappled country lanes – it is a reasonably robust loaf.

If I get a chance I will make a yeasted version of the dough and put it in a pullman and see how it works as a pullman loaf for square sandwiches and toast, but I quite like miche profile sandwiches these days !

A note on the flour and some links that might be useful if you haven’t come across this flour before:-

When I was doing the Mellow Bakers project I went on a quest and found the flour In Bristol, imported and always stocked by Licatas in Picton Street. I made my version of a Semolina Rimacinata Loaf then with toasted sesame seeds and sesame seed crust and the quality of the crumb made me think this is a bread for Götz’s breakfast, not as fluffy as a traditional white sandwich loaf but not as heavy and hearty as a full-on multi grain bread.

This particular flour is not that easy to get hold of because it is an import. Celia @ Figjam and Lime Cordial is also very fond of this flour and regularly uses it in her baking. Sally has used it very successfully too, have a look at the Bewitching Kitchen’s Semolina Sourdough Boule.

Euan, aka signor biscotti, writes about the differences between semola di grano duro rimacinata and the semolina sold in the shops in the UK and demonstrates that you can make a lovely bread using pudding semolina in Pudding Semolina Bread on his blog and writes eloquently about the confusion surrounding the word semolina, as he says the word semolina  ‘…is used to refer to a number of different things’.

However, I had a quick look this morning and found this brand  Divella Semola Rimacinata  online from Matta’s International Foods; there may well be other online stockists and suppliers or if you have an Italian Delicatessen in your town or city, it is always worth asking them or as Euan suggests, have a go with the semolina you can buy in the supermarket!

Guten Appetit Herr Götz! Hoffentlich haben Sie etwas Leckeres zum Frühstück von Karin und ihren Freunden gefunden! (my school German attempt at saying, ‘Hope you find something tasty for your breakfast Mr Götz from Karin and her friends’)

 

Kefir Bread with Semola Grano Duro Rimacinata (weights)

 

Method

  • Make a  kefir based levain as per formula above with flour, kefir, water and date syrup. You can make a kefir preferment without added sugar but it takes longer to ferment and is not as vigorous. Optionally add a spike of dried active yeast to speed everything up.
  • Mix the levain 18-24 hours before preparing the final dough.
  • The preferment should be  bubbling vigorously at the ideal point to mix the final dough  but can be mixed successfully if it has started to separate providing it still looks bubbly and not a pool of slithery gunk. Use your nose and your judgement on this!

Dough mixing notes:

  • Mix final dough using a stand mixer or by hand. These notes are for mixing with a stand mixer:-
  • Melt and allow butter to cool.
  • Use room temperature water to mix dough unless you are planning to retard the dough after mixing in which case cooler water is appropriate.
  • Mix levain and water together first. Hold back 50g of the water to start with.
  • Mix the flours together before adding to the dough if you remember.
  • Mix on slow speed till no visible flour is left and the mixture looks sticky and is beginning to come away from the sides of the bowl.  If it forms a big lump round the dough hook, add extra water.
  • Leave for 15 minutes for the flour to absorb all the water and start to develop. If it looks very tight, add up to 50 ml more water
  • Sprinkle salt on the top of the dough and mix in at low speed.
  • Dribble the melted butter in and mix till incorporated.
  • Turn dough out and check that is is quite soft and beginning to develop.
  • Place in a bowl and cover.
  • Prove for  2.5-4 hours depending on room temperature. I stretch and fold the dough twice during this time.
  • When dough has increased in volume by about half and shows good aeration on cutting, scale and shape as required.
  • The final prove is quite slow if you are relying on the milk kefir alone to raise the dough. On a warm afternoon it needed another four hours or so before it was ready to bake.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven with steam at 220 C for about 40 minutes and reduce the oven temperature  by 10 degrees or so for another 20 minutes of the bake if you are baking a large loaf like this.

 

 

Post script Date Kefir Loaves

This is the same bread as the previous date kefir bread post but I have reduced the quantities to help my kefir buddies. I would have tacked this onto the end of the old post but it would get a bit long. So forgive me doing it this way. Please read the other post for full method etc. This makes two loaves which should fit in a domestic oven if you shape into ovals like this:-

20130908-084248.jpg

Numbers for a smaller quantity of dough which should give you two good sized medium loaves of approx 630g each (baked weight) or 1 and a half lbs – and thus less likely to make a mixer struggle.

For the preferment

115 g room temp water
150g fresh live kefir
187g strong bread flour
35g date syrup

mix well and leave in covered bowl for 18 hours

Final Dough

all of the above preferment plus…

225g – 275g water, hold back on some of the water till you see how dough comes together
640g bread flour – the final shape and lift of the loaf will depend in part on the type of flour you use, I tend to use about 50% very strong flour to get the crumb that Brian likes amd vary the other half to use stone milled flours.
12-15g of salt, depending on your preferences
20-30g of melted butter. I thnk it improves keeping quality and softness but you can leave this out or experiment with an oil you like instead.

Dough takes between three to four hours to develop to the point at which you shape it. I suspect it would start to get more sourdough like in taste if you retard it and that is not my goal with this bread. My aim is to get it baked roughly 6-8 hours after the final mix.

You can divide this into two and shape and bake in tins or shape free style, or make rolls, stuffed breads etc. If you mix with more water and maybe olive oil you could try for a foccacio type bread too. Possibilities!

I used new Herbert Birnbaum 750g oval banettons with wooden bottoms for these loaves, like my very first ones from Germany, where I ended up sending Euros in an envelope, not a method I would recommend! These ones were purchased from The Weekend Bakery using PayPal (see Friends and Inspirations page for links) who offer excellent customer service and have a wonderful site packed with bready knowledge. You don’t need banettons to make this, you can shape freeform or use tins or improvise with a colander and an old well floured teatowel, or buy a florist’s wicker basket and line with a cloth.

20130908-084453.jpg

Fran (aka Narf7)  has just sent me photos of her uber cool home made organic soya kefir bread! Hoping she will write a post soon so I can link to it.  Link here now! I love the way bread brings people together across the world. Waves madly at Tasmania!

Abby has made the bread here on her Magic Ingredient post

Of bread and quinces’ has blogged here about ‘milk kefir bread and what we have in common’  and here on a water kefir hazlenut sage bread!

and my friend Fran M (aka Fancybake who lives in the North of England) has been busy making kefir bread too, she doesn’t blog so here is a picture that she sent me of her raisin kefir bread. She is a wonderful home baker who I met in Yorkshire.

and Pete in Swindon has made a formidable loaf topped with sesame seeds – read his delightful  blogpost  by clicking on the link.

kefir bread with raisins by Fran M

FancyBake’s  (Fran M’s) raisin kefir bread

If you have a go and don’t blog and want me to add a photo here let me know in a comment or if you want me to link to your blog post I will add it in here.

Date Syrup Kefir Bread

Date Syrup Kefir Bread

10th August 2013

Here is one for my kefir buddies!

For those of you reading this for the first time, kefir is a living fermented product made by an organism commonly referred to as a ‘kefir grain’.

Kefir Grain Zeb Bakes It isn’t a grain but a culture in the acetobacter family that includes kombucha and vinegar mother, ginger beer plants and so on,  that looks a bit like a brain or a cauliflower. It grows and lives in milk but is chiefly interested it would seem in the sugars that it finds in there. You can either get kefir grains from a nearby friend who has spare or buy them online from various sources.  I believe you can buy kefir in cartons in some places, I have no idea if that would work to leaven bread as I have no experience of it.

 Once you have some healthy grains, they should last a long time, reproducing and being happy providing you treat them right.  There are various websites devoted to all things kefir if you have a little search. I don’t drink kefir unlike some people, but I do make a sort of soft cheese with it which I love and I bake bread, using it as an alternative to both conventional yeast and sourdough starters.

I have changed the formula I have used previously for the kefir bread to make a pre-ferment which doesn’t separate into a watery layer and a top bubbly layer. I am pleased with the results this new formula gives. The preferment came out looking much more like a regular sourdough ferment though it smells nothing like it.

My formula makes two large 900 gram loaves, so you will need to cut the quantities back if this makes too much bread for you. I have frozen one of my loaves from this bake.

I was inspired by Fran who blogs half a world away in Tasmania at The Road to Serendipity –  she is expert in kefir and its ways.  She juggles her feeding routines between home made soya milk and milk and has found that kefir grains are greedy for her home made date paste. I don’t have any date paste but I do have Basra date syrup* and I thought this might give a lovely colour to the finished loaf as well as be less sweet and insistent in taste as the honey I have been using up to now.

Date Syrup Kefir Bread Crumb shot

We really like this bread. It ticks the box of having a soft open sourdough style crumb, no sour taste (so not one for all you acid bread lovers) a bit of extra calcium for me and a gentle subtle flavour and a lovely colour crumb. It is as good with sliced chicken and garden lettuce as it is for morning toast. I am going to make this one again.

Date Syrup Kefir Bread round

Zeb Bakes Date Syrup Kefir Bread

Started 12 midday Thursday  : room temp 22 ºc

Make a preferment with:-

  • 150g  room temperature water
  • 200g fresh kefir (made with semi skimmed St Helens goats’ milk)
  • 250g  strong (bread) flour
  • 50g Basra date syrup

Mix these well together and leave in a covered bowl for approximately 18 hours in a warm room (20 – 22 C)  at which point it should be bubbling and thick and looking ready to go.

Ingredients for the final dough:-

  • All of the preferment (as above)
  • 850g bread flour ( I used a mix of 350g of Stanway Mill bread flour and 300 g of Waitrose Very Strong and 200g of Carrs bread flour)
  • 282 – 320g  water ( I find the amount of water I need can vary by up to 50g or so)
  • 20g salt
  • 30g melted butter
  1. Using a Kenwood Mixer I put the starter in first, added the water and then the flours and mixed for about three minutes on the lowest speed.
  2. Leave to develop in the bowl for 20 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and trickle the melted butter in while the mixer is going and continue mixing till the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. You may need to adjust the dough with more water if your flour is very absorbent.
  5. (If you mix by hand then go with a more traditional order of ingredients, i.e. mix the water and starter together and add these into your bowl of flour. )
  6. I took the dough out once it was reasonably developed and put it into a big bowl, covered with a teatowel, and left it for about three hours. During this time I folded it in the bowl twice, as much to see how the fermentation was progressing as anything. Folding in the bowl is simply picking up the dough from one side and pulling it out and over the main bulk of the dough, like light kneading except you don’t put it on a board. You can put it on a board. There are no rules here!
  7. Once it was showing good signs of activity and had increased in size by roughly a half. I  weighed it into two equal portions.  Then I split those two portions in the ratio 85:15 using the % function on my scales. If you don’t have one of those, it would be about 135g for the small ball to 765g for the main ball.
  8. With the first portion I made a boule which I divided into four quartiles with a thin dowel rod and made a smaller boule with the small ball and put that in the middle.
  9. With the second portion I made a pointy ended baton and then a plait with the remaining ball which I placed along the top of the dough – because the dough had such a long second prove this didn’t come out quite as I had hoped but I like the effect that it gives anyway. A good way to create a nice looking effect on a loaf if you are finding slashing difficult.
  10. I put both loaves on baking paper on trays and tucked them inside clean binliners to prove.
  11. Second proof time was about three hours. Be patient, these are just as slow as a more traditional sourdough to rise.
  12. I eggwashed the crust with a mixture of egg yolk and kefir whey and sprinkled a few sesame seeds on top for interest.
  13. Bake in a preheated oven (with steam) either on the trays or slide them off onto a baking stone or kiln shelf which is what I use rather than a stone.
  14. Starting at 220 ºC for the first twenty minutes and then dropping back by stages to 190 ºC for the last ten minutes of the bake.  About 40 – 45 minutes in all.
  15. Leave to cool on a rack as normal once you are satisfied the loaf is cooked, a nice hollow sound when you thump it is a good sign.
  16. For a .pdf file of the recipe click here → Date Kefir Recipe.pdf.

Date Syrup Kefir Bread  and Zeb

I was wondering if Fran or anyone else would consider making this using soya fed kefir and see if it performs the same magic trick of leavening the bread. I suppose the next step on from that would be to see how it does with gluten free flours and then all those of you who don’t eat either dairy or gluten would have another trick up your sleeves.  I am not very experienced in the gluten free world, but I know it is very popular these days so it would be good to know if this worked. (* Sept 2013 I tried making a perferment with Doves GF white blend and it ferments it but it is very smelly and sulphorous and I didn’t fancy baking with it, something in it that wasn’t to the kefir’s taste? Wish I was more of a scientist…)

*Basra Date Syrup is available online and you can find it in quite a few shops in Bristol these days, like Bristol Sweet Mart in St Marks Road, Easton.

My camera is away at the menders so hope these pictures give you a reasonable idea of how the bread came out, a borrowed camera is never quite the same.

Date Syrup Kefir Bread 2

 And now you can see how Fran (Narf7) got on with this when she adapted it brilliantly to her vegan kefir by clicking here and visiting her Tasmanian kitchen.

Cecilia’s Amazing Kefir Bread – did I doubt her?

11th March 2013

Kefir Grain Zeb Bakes

In 2012 I was lucky enough to be sent some milk kefir grains by Carl Legge, a generous and enthusiastic baker, grower and published author who lives in North Wales.

Kefir FermentingI fed them for a while and experimented with making rudimentary soft cheese with it, but found that the grains grew bigger and bigger and fermented the  milk faster and faster and I couldn’t keep up. So I followed instructions on Dom’s Kefir! and froze them. I defrosted them about a week ago and have been giving them lots of love and so far they seem to have survived freezing fine. Continue reading