Cucumber has lots of water in it!
It is almost entirely water, with a pinch of cucumber flavor!
Cucumber has 96% of water in it.
Did you know that? Could you believe that cucumber has more water in it than the milk? Milk has only 87% of water in it.
So, if cucumber has so much water, how about thinking of it as water with a pinch of cucumber's flavor then?
That is what exactly we did with our cucumber loaf. All for flavors!
Flavor is core to the bread making! Expert bakers keep their own starters for making flavorful breads. How you start your starter, what you feed to it, how often you feed and what fermentation conditions are present, along with the time, will have an impact on the flavors of the bread.
You can make or buy nearly infinite types of starters. You might start with your sourdough starter, bigas or levain or as they say, mother dough!
All for flavors!
When you have time and inclination to explore and maintain your own starters -- it is a great way to explore very subtle and mild flavors in breads and to relish them.
Here however, today we are not talking about the starters.
This recipe is not about making the starters. It is about the flavors. About adding different flavors to the bread.
Here what we present is a technique that we are trying to develop with normal simple LoafNest flow, without much of an effort, by replacing the water (some portion) with natural water containing ingredients, such as vegetable purees, for getting different flavors and colors to the bread.
The thinking behind the flavorful breads, is simple.
Add a raw ingredient in its puree form and reduce the amount of water by the water content of the ingredient added. This gives many different wonderful flavors and colors to the breads -- without loosing the quality of the bread.
Sky is your limit! Go explore and have fun! Add your flavor and add your color to the bread!
If you choose a sugar rich ingredient/vegitable, raise times required for these breads may be shorter compared to their pure flour counterparts. This is because yeast thrives on sugar.
The method otherwise remains the same -- same as the method that we use for wheat based breads in the first section -- apart from tweaking the amounts of water by water content of the vegetable and reducing the raise times. The process remains simple. It is as easy to do as breads in first section, but you have to make a pure in a blender before you mix water, salt, yeast and flour. The flavor of the breads are very distinctive!
All for the flavors!
Here, what you see in the photographs is a cucumber bread! Oh, it is beautiful, we like the flavor quite a lot as well.
See, how beautiful it is!
And, if you are curious to know more about what is in the cucumber, here it is:
- White bread flour: 500 g
- 1 whole cucumber : approx 340g
- Water : 150 ml
- Salt : 8-10 g
- Instant dry yeast: 0.5 g
- Pumpkin seeds : 15 g (optional)
As ever, we will use our no-knead, no-mess, no-shaping LoafNest flow for this bread too.
- Dice cucumber and in a blender or food processor, blend thoroughly to the consistency of a smoothie.
- Mix water, cucumber puree, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
- Add flour and mix well with a fork. There is no need to knead.
- Cover the bowl with a plate or cling film and set it at room temperature (~20 C) for ~12 hours.
- After the flour has doubled in size, smells very sour and is full of bubbles, it is ready to be baked.
- For baking, pre-heat the LoafNest casserole at 230C (450F) for 45 minutes.
- Carefully remove the hot casserole from oven, place the LoafNest liner into the casserole and pour the dough into LoafNest. You can top the dough with pumpkin seeds.
- Cover the LoafNest and return it to the oven and continue to bake at 230C (450F) for 50 minutes.
- Remove the loaf and peel the liner.
- The loaf is ready to cut when it has completely cooled down and does not feel warm to touch.
- White flour is your best starting point for recipes with vegetables. You can experiment with supplementing whole wheat flour as you gain experience.
- Instead of blending the cucumber fully, you can also finely grate them. This will give a different texture to your loaf. Remember that you may have to add bit more water since not all water in the cucumber will be available for the flour.
- Breads with vegetables are a great way to increase your vegetable intake.
- Since cucumber is mostly water, you see that this recipe has almost 500g of water in it (compared to 400g in a normal LoafNest loaf). This additional water gives the bread a super soft texture and makes the loaf stay soft and moist for longer than normal.
This loaf is a must try for anyone who is keep to explore new flavors in breads. The cucumber gives a very distinctive flavor as well as a light green tint to the bread that is visually very appealing.
All the extra sugar in the cucumber must have helped yeast to grow well. Our loaf was very airy and crumb was with large holes.
All the additional water went towards making the loaf really soft and silky. We also felt that the loaf also stayed softer for longer than a normal loaf.
Give it a try and let us know in comments how it went.