Baguettes and Homemade Butter
Until recently carbs have been my favorite thing - ever. Sourdough starter aside, I've always enjoyed trying to bake bread, cupcakes, muffins, you name it! Naturally The Disney Princess Cookbook has a great starter baguette recipe to support any mini chef. Instead of tempting myself with more high carb bread on the counter (I had to let go of a half loaf of sourdough and nine blueberry corn muffins, then froze my herb de Provence pitas) I took a stab at adapting the sourdough bread bowl recipe for keto baguettes! My results were not airy or chewy in the way that a bread made with flour that develops copious gluten strands is but it was chewy, moist, and soft with a pleasant sourdough tang.
Keto baking includes many alternative flours such as almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk, and flaxseed. None of these contain the necessary gluten for the texture associated with traditional bread making as a result of kneading and proofing. However, I had sourdough starter in the fridge that needed to make a contribution and I decided to make it a partner with these gluten-free flours. I am new on the keto journey so I have a limited investment in ingredients and experience substituting at this point. One of my best friends said to me: "if you don't have a failed recipe every now and then I think it just means you aren't being innovative enough with your cooking." Innovation here I come. Paring my usual recipe down by half, I substituted some of the flour for coconut flour and one egg, almond flour and vital wheat gluten, and finished with TLC in the form of extra yeast to try and give it more rising power.
My observations immediately were that it was quite wet and thus spread out considerably with baking. It also had a tight crumb when finished and not an elastic or tear apart structure. The nice thing was the flavor and chew, though. It also has a decent crust for being baked on a parchment lined baking pan. My husband even commented on its pleasant state and texture afterwards. To get the carb count down to a manageable level (since the recipe still contains regular flour) the baguettes had to be sliced thin. In the end they look a little like biscotti to me!
Although I have to keep a tight watch on my carbohydrates, I can embrace and incorporate healthy fats while on keto. A fun and keto approved topping for my keto baguette/biscotti is homemade butter!
Have you ever go out to a farm or a living historical museum as a kid and watch a butter making demonstration? Well I did while growing up in Michigan and I though it was the coolest thing ever. If you didn't know, butter is made from the cream that is skimmed off a fresh milk. Store bought milk has no cream left (even the whole stuff). You can use heavy cream from the grocery store and a canning jar, though! Put the music on, shake up a jar of heavy cream and watch the science happen! This is a great activity for kids or something to liven up another day in quarantine. Consider using glass baby food or very small canning jars when having little helpers.
Whatever size jar you use, fill half way with cream to allow for sloshing and butter "churning." It took me a little longer than the instructions - about 7 minutes for whipped cream stage and another 2-3 minutes for the whipped cream to break and form butter solids. My finished project was wonderfully sweet, spreadable butter and worked great on my keto sourdough.
You can also add mix-ins such as garlic, Parmesan, herbs, honey, or cinnamon to make a fancy butter in your own kitchen once it is finished! To make butter at home follow the steps below. Note: if you know you want salted butter add 1/4 tsp of salt to the cream before shaking!
- 1 cup - 1 pint of Heavy whipping cream
- Glass jar with tight-fitting lid
- Add 1/2 pint of heavy cream to a 1 pint jar and start shaking vigorously for 5-7 minutes. At first you will get whipped cream which will eventually form stiff peaks.
- Keep shaking for 30 -60 seconds until the cream breaks! You'll start to hear solids sloshing around and hitting the sides or lid of the jar.
- Once the butter has solidified, pour off the buttermilk (liquid).
- Empty the butter into a bowl. Rinse the butter by pouring ice water over it and pressing the remaining liquid out with a small spatula or a spoon. Pour off the water and repeat the process until the water runs clear. Shape the butter on a plate for serving or add to a clean jar for storage.
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups water, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tbsps cornmeal
- 1 tbsp milk
- Pour warm water into small bowl and proof yeast until dissolved and foamy. Stir in room temperature water, salt, and 4 cups of flour.
- Dust remaining 1/2 cup flour on clean, dry work surface. Knead dough until all flour is mixed in. Grease a large bowl and turn dough a couple of times to coat. Cover with a damp towel and leave in a warm place to proof for 1-2 hours.
- Sprinkle cornmeal onto a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide into two halves. Shape each half into 12-inch fat rope and place on baking sheet. Cut a few 1/4 inch slashes in top of each loaf and cover with a damp towel, proof for 1 hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush loaves with a bit of milk. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.