Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pão de cerveja

Pão de cerveja is 'Beer Bread' - and what a treat! This bread may be made with Portuguese beer if you can get it, or any Lager beer (Lager is the best for bread making) You can experiment with light, amber or dark lagers. All the results will be great. I have found the darker the beer, the more 'rich' or intense the flavor.

Pão de cerveja is simple to make and like many great breads the main ingredients are flour, water, starter and salt... of course in this bread we add beer. This recipe will make 2-3 loaves.


2 1/2 cups bread flour
Lager beer and Sea Salt

1/4 cup rye flour
1 cup natural starter
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup lager beer
1/2 cup spring water


1. In a large bowl mix the flours, beer and water. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix to a sticky mass. Cover and let sit for 1 hour. This is called 'autolyse'. (no salt or starter at this point)

2. Add the starter and salt and mix well - the dough will be wet. Add some flour around the edges and knead gently for several minutes. Dust your hands with some flour if the dough gets too stick.

3. Cover and let rise overnight. In the summer you can let the bread rise for a few hours, then refrigerate.

4. The next day (10-12 hours slow rise) use a scraper to place the dough on a floured surface.

5. Your dough is wet - this is a little tricky! It will look like this:

6. Using a plastic bread blade, divide the dough into thirds.

7. Now you want to use a 'stretch and fold' technique to shape the loaves. You do this technique by dusting your hands, then flatten the dough gently into a rectangle and then as you stretch it fold into thirds.

8. Do this 3 or 4 times and the dough will smooth and begin to be easy to shape. For the final shaping make your rectangle again and then when you make the first 1/3 fold, use your fingertips to press the edge in. Fold again over to the edge and press to seal. Flip seam-side down onto a sheet with cornmeal. (see photos below)

Press only along the edge to seal in, then fold again

Press along the edge to seal

Flip seam-side down and use you hand to gently shape

Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal 

9. Cover and let rise 1-2 hours.

10. When risen, slash and bake for approx 25- 35 min at 430F. Loaves should be golden brown when done and sound hollow when tapped.

11. Enjoy! Look at that crumb! Big holes!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pão de Deus

Pão de Deus - roughly translates as "Heavenly Bread" and there is a good  reason for the name! These little sweet rolls, made with butter, eggs, sugar, milk and grated lemon are filled with coconut and baked to a golden brown - they are 'heavenly'...
Pão de Deus

Here is the recipe and technique - this makes 8-9 rolls


3 eggs (reserve one out)
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter (unsalted softened)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup milk
1 small lemon - grate the yellow skin
2 1/2 cups bread flower
1 cup natural starter


1. Combine the softened butter, sugar, 2 eggs, salt and grated lemon peel in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy

3. Next, add the flour, starter and milk

4. Mix together to form a slightly sticky dough, all ingredients should be well incorporated.

5. Knead the dough 5-8 minutes until smooth and elastic - the dough will be soft. (Note - I knead with 2 hands but I use one to take the picture!)

6. Cover dough with plastic film, then cover the bowl with 1 or 2 towels and let rise 2-3 hours at room temperature and then move to the refrigerator for a slow overnight rise. In the morning, remove from the fridge and let rise a while longer until ready. This slow rise really develops the flavors and makes the bread 'heavenly'. Refrigeration will slow down, and then 'suspend' the rising. It is useful in the summer when warm temps cause the bread to rise too quickly. The lemon peel infuses through the dough, the natural starter breaks down the cells of the wheat and makes a highly flavorful and digestible bread. This takes time - 10-12 hours of slow rise.

7. In the morning remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit for 2 hours to warm up. Divide the dough into 8 or 9 equal parts and form into small balls by folding the dough onto itself several times to 'tighten' the ball. Place on a baking sheet.

SPECIAL TECHNIQUE - This little trick will let you know when the bread is ready to bake! A little magic. Remove a cherry size piece of dough and roll it in your hands to form a little ball.

Grab a small piece of dough and roll it into a ball

Place the little dough-ball into a glass of plain water - the ball will sink to the bottom.

Ball sinks to bottom of glass

When the dough-ball rises to the top - the bread is ready to bake!! 

Ball rises to the top - ready to bake!

8. Back to our rolls - Using kitchen shears, make a deep cut in the center of the roll. The top surface will spread open naturally.

9. All the rolls are split with the shears

10. Next - separate the remaining egg into 2 small bowls - yokes in one and whites in the other. Add the coconut into the egg whites and mix together - it will form a wet paste.

11. Brush the rolls with the egg yoke.

12. Using a spoon or fingers - place the coconut/egg mixture into the slashes formed with the shears (or knife) Don't press too hard - just ease the coconut paste into the slashes.

13. Cover and let rise in the oven for about an hour (or until the dough-ball floats) - heat oven to 350F and bake for about 20 minutes - watch these carefully and remove them when they are golden brown.

14. ENJOY! Serve warm with butter or the next day (if there are any left-over - slice and make French Toast.

Enjoy these delightful 'heavenly rolls'

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pão da Apple

Pão da Apple or apple bread is a wonderful bread you will love making. The flavors of the apples, cider, walnuts and slow rise dough have made this bread an instant favorite.

The Ingredients are simple and the technique is easy to learn - well worth the effort!


2-3 medium gala apples (cut into small pieces)
3/4 -1 cup apple cider
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup rye flour
1/4 cup natural sugar (sucanat or dark Florida crystals)
2 tablespoons apple, orange or plain brandy
1 cup natural starter
1 teaspoon Eden sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup walnut pieces

1. Select the apples and peel them

2. Dice the apples into small pieces - about 1/2 inch cubes

3. In a heavy skillet place the butter, apples and sugar. Saute the apples for 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the brandy and cook for 1 minute more. Se aside to cool.

5. Chop the walnuts into small pieces.

6. Add the chopped walnuts to the apple mixture - stir in.

7. Measure the flour and salt into a large bowl

8. Add the natural starter (for instructions on starters - see the tab above) and sea salt

9. Add the apple cider to the flour

10. Add the apple mixture into the dough (use your hands)

11. Work the apples into the dough

12. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes

13. Cover dough with a sheet of clear film, cover with a towel and let rise overnight - about 10-12 hours

14. In the morning, the dough will have risen to twice the volume

15 Carefully transfer the dough to a floured work surface - it will collapse a bit.

16. Using a pastry knife - divide the dough into thirds

17. Lift each piece and gently fold it onto itself a few times to form  loaves.

18 Cover with a tea towel and let rise another hour in a warm place- I use the oven with the light on.

19. Preheat the oven to 450F - transfer the loaves to a stone or bake on the sheet you used for the final rising. Baking time about 30-45 minutes.

20 Remove from oven when done - let sit for 20 minutes - serve!