Revolutionary Sweets: Soufle Pancake Pudding

Four layers of souffle pancake, maple butter cream, caramel sauce and custard pudding

Three flavours are available – The original caramel, chocolate and strawberry

The sweets are sold by Flipper’s Stand in Shinjuku, Japan.

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Homemade Brioche Hamburger Buns Made with 100% Whole Wheat Flour

Ingredients

1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup water
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/2 cups bread flour
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp water, for egg wash
sesame seeds and poppy seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter and honey. Warm over medium heat until butter is melted. Cool for about 5 minutes, or until temperature is 120-130°F.
  2. Mix the whole wheat flour and the bread flour in a bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or in a large bowl if planning to mix by hand), combine 2-1/2 cups of the mixed flour, yeast and salt. Add the warm water mixture, followed by the beaten eggs, mixing on low speed until incorporated.
  4. Add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time while mixing on medium low speed until dough almost clears the bowl and is only a slightly sticky to the touch (It’s okay if some dough sticks to your fingers). You may not need all of the remaining flour, or you may need more than is called for.
  5. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes more. Gather dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Punch down dough and let rest for a few minutes. Divide dough into eight equal pieces and shape into balls. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Spray some plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray and place over the shaped buns. Return to a warm place and continue to rise for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F. Brush buns with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and poppy seeds, if desired. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 8 buns.

Source: Red Star Yeast

Bread Making: Preferments

From King Arthur Flour . . . . . . . . .

The subject of preferments is one that can cause immense confusion among bakers. The variety of terminology can bewilder even the most experienced among us. Words from foreign languages add their contribution to the complexity.

A preferment is a preparation of a portion of a bread dough that is made several hours or more in advance of mixing the final dough. The preferment can be of a stiff texture, it can be quite loose in texture, or it can simply be a piece of mixed bread dough. Some preferments contain salt, others do not. Some are generated with commercial yeast, some with naturally occurring wild yeasts. After discussing the specific attributes of a number of common preferments, we will list the benefits gained from their use.

These terms, chef, pâte fermentée, levain, sponge, madre bianca, mother, biga, poolish, sourdoughstarter, all pertain to preferments; some are quite specific, some broad and general. The important thing to remember is that, just as daffodils, roses, and tulips all are specific plants that fall beneath the heading of “flowers,” in a similar way the above terms all are in the category of “preferments.”

Let’s examine several of the terms listed in more detail.

Pâte fermentée, biga, and poolish are the most common preferments which use commercial yeast. As such, we can place them loosely in a category of their own. We place sourdough and levain in a separate category.

Pâte fermentée

Pâte fermentée is a French term that means fermented dough, or as it is occasionally called, simply old dough. If one were to mix a batch of French bread, and once mixed a portion were removed, and added in to a new batch of dough being mixed the next day, the portion that was removed would be the pâte fermentée. Over the course of several hours or overnight, the removed piece would ferment and ripen, and would bring certain desired qualities to the next day’s dough. Being that pâte fermentée is a piece of mixed dough, we note that it therefore contains all the ingredients of finished dough, that is, flour, water, salt, and yeast.

Biga

Biga is an Italian term that generically means preferment. It can be quite stiff in texture, or it can be of loose consistency (100% hydration). It is made with flour, water, and a small amount of yeast (the yeast can be as little as 0.1% of the biga flour weight). Once mixed, it is left to ripen for at least several hours, and for as much as 12 to 16 hours. Note that there is no salt in the biga. Unlike pâte fermentée, which is simply a piece of mixed white dough which is removed from a full batch of dough, the biga, lacking salt, is made as a separate step in production.

Poolish

Poolish is a preferment with Polish origins. It initially was used in pastry production. As its use spread throughout Europe it became common in bread. Today it is used worldwide, from South America to England, from Japan to the United States.

It is by definition made with equal weights of flour and water (that is, it is 100% hydration), and a small portion of yeast. Note again the absence of salt. It is appropriate here to discuss the quantity of yeast used. The intention is not to be vague, but it must be kept in mind that the baker will manipulate the quantity of yeast in his or her preferment to suit required production needs. For example, in a bakery with two or three shifts, it might be suitable to make a poolish or any other preferment and allow only 8 hours of ripening. In such a case, a slightly higher percentage of yeast would be indicated in the preferment. On the other hand, in a one-shift shop, the preferment might have 14 to 16 hours of maturing before the mixing of the final dough. In this case the baker would decrease the quantity of yeast used. Similarly, ambient temperature must be considered. A preferment that is ripening in a 65°F room would require more yeast than one in a 75°F room.

Sourdough and Levain

The words sourdough and levain tend to have the same meaning in the United States, and are often used interchangeably. This however is not the case in Europe. In Germany, the word sourdough (sauerteig) always refers to a culture of rye flour and water. In France, on the other hand, the word “levain” refers to a culture that is entirely or almost entirely made of white flour. While outwardly these two methods are different, there are a number of similarities between sourdough and levain. Most important is that each is a culture of naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria that have the capacity to both leaven and flavor bread. A German-style culture is made using all rye flour and water. A levain culture may begin with a high percentage of rye flour, or with all white flour. In any case, it eventually is maintained with all or almost all white flour. While a rye culture is always of comparatively stiff texture, a levain culture can be of either loose or stiff texture (a range of 50% hydration to 125% hydration).
With either method, the principle is the same. The baker mixes a small paste or dough of flour and water, freshens it with new food and water on a consistent schedule, and develops a colony of microörganisms that ferment and multiply. In order to retain the purity of the culture, a small portion of ripe starter is taken off before the mixing of the final dough. This portion is held back, uncontaminated by yeast, salt, or other additions to the final dough, and used to begin the next batch of bread.

One important way in which a sourdough and levain are different from pâte fermentée, biga, and poolish, is that the sourdough and levain can be perpetuated for months, years, decades, and even centuries. When we make a preferment using commercial yeast, it is baked off the next day. We then begin the process again, making a new batch of preferment for the next day’s use. It would be tempting to say the pâte fermentée can be perpetuated, since each day we simply take off a portion of finished dough to use the following day. This is not actually the case. We could not, for example, go on vacation for a week and come back to a healthy pâte fermentée, whereas we could leave our sourdough or levain culture for a week or more, with a minimum of consequences.

During the initial stages in the development of a sourdough or levain culture, it is common to see the addition of grapes, potato water, grated onions, and so on. While these can provide an extra nutritional boost, they are not required for success. The flour should supply the needed nutrients for the growing colony. Keep in mind, however, that when using white flours, unbleached and unbromated flour, such as those produced by King Arthur® Flour, are the appropriate choice. Vital nutrients are lost during the bleaching process, making bleached flour unsuitable.

Use and Benefits of Preferments

How does the baker know when his or her preferment has matured sufficiently and is ready to use?

There are a number of signs that can guide us. Most important, it should show signs of having risen. If the preferment is dense and seems not to have moved, in all likelihood it has not ripened sufficiently. Poor temperature control, insufficient time allowed for proper maturing, or a starter that has lost its viability can all account for the problem.

When the preferment has ripened sufficiently, it should be fully risen and just beginning to recede in the center. This is the best sign that correct development has been attained. It is somewhat harder to detect this quality in a loose preferment such as a poolish. In this case, ripeness is indicated when the surface of the poolish is covered with small fermentation bubbles. Often CO2 bubbles are seen breaking through the surface. There should be a pleasing aroma that has a perceptible tang to it. Take a small taste. If the preferment has ripened properly, we should taste a slight tang, sometimes with a subtle sweetness present as well.

The baker should keep in mind that a sluggish and undeveloped preferment, or one that has gone beyond ripeness, will yield bread that lacks luster, and suffers a deficiency in volume and flavor.

There are a number of important benefits to the correct use of preferments, and they all result from the gradual, slow fermentation that is occurring during the maturing of the preferment:

  • Dough structure is strengthened. A characteristic of all preferments is the development of acidity as a result of fermentation activity, and this acidity has a strengthening effect on the gluten structure.
  • Superior flavor. Breads made with preferments often possess a subtle wheaty aroma, delicate flavor, a pleasing aromatic tang, and a long finish. Organic acids and esters are a natural product of preferments, and they contribute to superior bread flavor.
  • Keeping quality improves. There is a relationship between acidity in bread and keeping quality. Up to a point, the lower the pH of a bread, that is, the higher the acidity, the better the keeping quality of the bread. Historically, Europeans, particularly those in rural areas, baked once every two, three, or even four weeks. The only breads that could keep that long were breads with high acidity, that is, levain or sourdough breads.
  • Overall production time is reduced. Above all, to attain the best bread we must give sufficient time for its development. Bread that is mixed and two or three hours later is baked will always lack character when compared with bread that contains a well-developed preferment. By taking five or ten minutes today to scale and mix a sourdough or poolish, we significantly reduce the length of the bulk fermentation time required tomorrow. The preferment immediately incorporates acidity and organic acids into the dough, serving to reduce required floor time after mixing. As a result the baker can divide, shape, and bake in substantially less time than if he or she were using a straight dough.
  • Rye flour offers some specific considerations. When baking bread that contains a high proportion of rye flour, it is necessary to acidify the rye (that is, use a portion of it in a sourdough phase) in order to stabilize its baking ability. Rye flour possesses a high level of enzymes compared to wheat flour, and when these are unregulated, they contribute to a gumminess in the crumb. The acidity present in sourdough reduces the activity of the enzymes, thereby promoting good crumb structure and superior flavor.

Source: King Arthur Flour Company

How Yoga Can Help You, and How to Get Started

Lindsay Konkel wrote . . . . . . . .

M ore than 1 in 5 people taking a yoga class in America are older than 60. That’s no surprise, experts say, because yoga, which blends movements and poses with deep breathing and meditation, can be beneficial and enjoy­able for older adults.

Yoga is generally considered safe, but injuries can occur. A study published in 2016 in the Ortho­paedic Journal of Sports Medicine found that adults older than 65 have a higher rate of ­injury. Here’s how to reap the rewards of yoga safely.

How Yoga Can Help

Helping people manage chronic pain and maintain mobility may be among the best-studied benefits of yoga. For instance, a 2017 Cochrane review of 12 clinical trials on yoga for chronic low-back pain found that practicing it led to small to moderate improve­ments in function ­after three and six months. Such benefits are important because persistent pain can cause people to lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” says Michael Wasserman, M.D., a geriatrician and CEO of Rockport Healthcare Services, a company that provides clinical and professional support to nursing homes.

Yoga may help alleviate discomfort by improving flexibility and building muscle and core strength, Wasserman says. Deep breathing could contribute, too.

“Controlled breathing has been used as a pain-control measure for centuries,” says Carol Krucoff, a yoga therapist at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, N.C.

Choose the Right Type

Beginners may do best to look for classes described as restorative, gentle, or Iyengar, says Jessica Matthews, M.S., a professor of kinesiology and integrative wellness at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. These use props such as blankets and bolsters to make poses more acces­si­ble. And “let your instructor know if you have any health ­issues, such as arthritis,” Matthews says. That way, he or she can show you modifications to poses.

If you have balance or mobility problems, chair yoga, done while sitting or using a chair for support, may be a good option, says Juyoung Park, Ph.D., an asso­ci­ate professor of social work who studies the benefits of yoga at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

The International Association of Yoga Therapists or Yoga Alliance can help you find instruc­tors experienced in gentle or restor­ative yoga. And don’t overdo it. “People get injured in yoga when they push themselves too hard,” Krucoff says. “A yoga pose should feel steady and comfortable, not strained.”

Two Poses to Try

1. Belly Breathing—an easy way to relax and reduce stress.

  • Lie down or sit tall in a chair.
  • Place your hands on your lower abdomen, beneath the navel. Relax.
  • Breathe in through your nose, filling your lungs completely. Your belly will round and push gently against your hands. Avoid straining.
  • Breathe out slowly through your nose. Repeat for five to 10 breaths.

2. Tree Pose—can help improve balance and core strength.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Focus your gaze on a spot at eye level. Pick up your left heel, bend your left knee, and turn your left leg slightly outward.
  • Slide the sole of your left foot against your right ankle, leaving the ball of your left foot touching the ground. Bring palms together in front of your chest, or lightly touch a wall, countertop, or chair back.
  • Balance here for three to five breaths.
  • Repeat on other side.

Source: Consumer Reports

Eating Better Reduces Risk of Liver Disease

Lisa Rapaport wrote . . . . . . . .

People who make an effort to improve their diet may be more likely to have less fat in their livers and a lower risk of liver disease than individuals who stick to unhealthy eating habits, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers focused on what’s known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFDL), which is usually associated with obesity and certain eating habits. While dietary changes are recommended to treat this type of liver disease, research to date hasn’t clearly demonstrated whether these changes can work for prevention.

For the current study, researchers examined data from dietary questionnaires and liver fat scans for 1,521 people enrolled in the long-running Framingham Heart Study. Participants did the questionnaires and scans twice, at least three to four years apart.

During the study, people with above-average increases in adherence to a healthy Mediterranean diet rich in whole grains, fish, lean protein, veggies and olive oil were at least 26 percent less likely to develop fatty liver than individuals with average increases in adherence, the study found.

Above-average increases in sticking to another liver-friendly diet, the so-called Alternative Healthy Eating Index, were associated with at least 21 percent lower odds of developing fatty liver, researchers report in Gastroenterology.

People with a high genetic risk for fatty liver disease whose diet scores decreased during the study period accumulated more fat in their livers. But even with a high genetic risk, fat accumulation didn’t increase if people kept their diets the same or improved them.

“Our findings demonstrate that increasing diet quality is associated with less liver fat accumulation and reduced risk for new-onset fatty liver, particularly in individuals with a high genetic risk for NAFLD,” said senior study author Dr. Daniel Levy, director of the Framingham Heart Study and a researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Participants who had improved diet quality scores consumed more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, which have high amounts of water and fiber.

“We speculated that these foods may decrease energy intake by affecting satiety and improve weight control and therefore reduce liver fat,” Levy said by email. “It is also possible that fiber intake may affect gut bacteria and subsequently have impact on liver fat.”

Both diets in the study also limit intake of red meat that can lead to liver fat, and encourage consumption of foods like nuts, which may help reduce liver fat accumulation, Levy added.

Most people have a little bit of fat in their liver. Fatty liver disease can occur when more than 5 percent of the liver by weight is made up of fat. Excessive drinking can damage the liver and cause fat to accumulate, a condition known as alcoholic fatty liver, but even when people don’t drink much, they can still develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how diet changes might impact the risk of developing fatty liver. Researchers also relied on questionnaires to assess participants” diets, which can be unreliable, and they lacked data on non-dietary causes of liver fat accumulation including certain medications and viral infections.

Even so, the findings add to the evidence suggesting that healthy eating habits can minimize the risk of fatty liver disease, even when people have a genetic risk for this condition, said Shira Zelber-Sagi, a researcher at the University of Haifa in Israel who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Genetics is not a destiny,” Zelber-Sagi said by email. “The patients have the power to improve their liver health by themselves in many cases of NAFLD.”

Source: Reuters


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