Monday, May 14, 2012


This is just an update or report on last night's supper.  I'd said we were planning to use a bread dough to make cake and a fruit tart, and that's what happened.  Extra dough was flattened, flavoured, rolled up, cut into lengths, and baked as cinnamon rolls.

I'm going to be talking about using bread dough for sweets in one of the workshops at the Kneading Conference West, being held north of Seattle in September (13th to 15th), and last night's pleasures were a reminder of how precious the baker's sweets tradition is.  With boxed cakes and easy access to baking powder and baking soda, many sweet bakers have not tried using yeasted dough to make cakes and tarts, but I'm saying they should, because it's fun, delicious, rewarding in lots of ways.

If this tempts you to try, here's the basic idea, to play with as you wish:
Make a dough of mostly wheat flour, using some whole wheat and/or some pastry flour if you want.. let it rise, then cut off about 3/4 pound (325 grams) dough for use in a tart.  Flatten it out with your finger tips, then spread on some soft butter, or grated cold butter, about 3 tablespoons (about 50 grams).  Fold or roll the dough up and then knead it gently to spread and incorporate the butter.  You can bake in a small baking sheet if it's heavy-weight, or in a large cast-iron frying pan.  So flatten it back out to a large rectangle or round, depending on what you're baking in, and set aside loosely covered to rest and rise a little.
 Preheat oven to 375 or a little more with a middle shelf in. Prepare your fruit (chop apples or pears or ...and add some sugar and toss; we used rhubarb, chopped, rinsed briefly several times in alternating hot and cold water).
In twenty minutes or so, prick the dough all over, add the fruit, but not any extra juice (reserve it for later), sprinkle on a little powdered clove or cinnamon if you want, and put in to bake.  When the crust-edge is golden it should be done, perhaps about twenty-five minutes.  These things vary.  Pour on a little of the reserved juice.  Serve after it's cooled and set for ten minutes.

Not hard, right?  And so delectable.

Instructions for using a dough to make kouignaman, the wonderful Breton butter cake, are in my book HomeBaking.  I'll do a descriptive recipe here at some point.  Or you could come to the Kneading Conference!  We did make a kouignaman yesterday, as well.  It's flavoured with a fabulous blend of (salted) butter and sugar and has a wonderful yielding texture.

1 comment:

Faye Levy said...

Oh, I love kouignaman. It is one of the most memorable pastries I learned during almost 6 years at La Varenne in Paris. We used a croissant-type dough but with sugar folded in with the butter. I'm going to have to look for Home Baking.