I’m Running Wild : Red Pepper Coques (BBB May 2018)

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BBB May 2018summary: recipe for Red Pepper Coques; ice water and instant yeast?? I don’t think so…; solving the dilemma with wild yeast; making substitutions – as usual; information about Bread Baking Babes;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Red Pepper Coques

Red Pepper Coques (BBB)

The snow has gone at last; the forsythia is just at the end of its blooming; the garden is greening – just in time for making May’s BBB bread on the barbecue! Karen K (Karen’s Kitchen Stories) chose a recipe for Red Pepper Coques. Or, if you’re making just one, a red pepper coca.

Coca is a type of pastry from Catalonia. The salty version of the coca looks very similar to a pizza, except that it is rectangular instead of round and is seldom prepared using cheese.
 
There are four main types of coca: the savory coca, the sweet coca, the closed coca, and the open coca. The sweet cocas are prepared with dough that has, among other ingredients, eggs and sugar. But if the coca is savory, yeast and salt will be added to the dough. […]
 
Some of the most popular coques in Catalonia are the coca de xulla, prepared with bacon and other varieties of meat, coca de San Joan, and coca de recapte, a savory coca prepared with a variety of vegetables and sometimes fish.
 
– Paula, Sh Barcelona | Catalan recipes: Coca de recapte
When I lived in Catalunya, one of my favorite things to buy in a few local bakeries was a slice of coca. It’s kind of a Spanish pizza or flatbread, but with some key differences – while toppings vary, most have no sauce and no cheese.
 
– Caroline, Caroline’s Cooking: Catalan Coca (Spanish Pizza)
Coca is more or less the Catalan pizza […] The word itself derives, it seems, from the Latin coquere, cooking, and is used not only in Catalonia but also in the old Occitan language of the neighboring Toulouse and its surroundings. […] Savory cocas differ from pizzas not only in their usual shape, but in that they hardly ever carry cheese and herbs as a garnish, plus it is traditional to serve them at room temperature. I
 
– Coleman Andrews, Catalan Cuisine, p.___
A Catalan specialty, coca mallorquina […] has a tart-like, crumbly, olive oil-rich dough that’s topped with roasted vegetables and peppers, and then baked in a wood oven before it’s eaten at room temperature; on Mallorca, coca can be found everywhere, from the homes of sharecropping families to bakeries.
 
– Amanda Arnold, SAVEUR magazine No.??, This is a Love Story Between a Man and a Red Pepper Tart
Coca de recapte is a direct relative of savory flatbreads developed by Greeks, Romans and Arabs, which also gave rise to Italian pizza, French pissaladière, Turkish pide and Armenian lahmacun, among others. It’s difficult to trace the exact origins of coca de recapte, but they are probably linked to the arrival of the Romans to the eastern part of the Iberian Peninsula, followed by the Arabs. In fact, many round coques (also called roscos or tortells) are connected with pre-Christian sun cults, as well as with some Roman religious celebrations, such as Saturnalia. […]
 
In Catalonia, the most traditional coca de recapte is made with escalivada, a preparation of roasted eggplant, red peppers and onions, sometimes also topped with sardine fillets, fresh or tinned, or butifarra and onion or spinach and pine nuts.
 
– Paula Mourenze, Culinary Backstreets, Barcelona | Coca de Recapte: Flat Food

Because this recipe is so ancient, I just couldn’t bring myself to use commercial yeast. After all, commercial yeast has only been around for about 100 years…. Here’s how things went:

BBB Red Pepper Coques diary:

30 March 2018, 17:02 I had just opened the May BBB recipe page as T walked by and he said, “That looks good!” Yay!! T’s seal of approval.

And I agree with him. This looks good. Really good. Nice choice, Karen! (I’ve always wanted to go to Barcelona….)

4 May 2018, 16:32 Eeek!! How can it be May already?

The good news is that the forsythia is in full bloom at last. The garlic and chives have shot up. And the snow seems to be gone (although there was still quite a lot of snow up north of the city yesterday).

Time to start thinking seriously about baking the BBB’s May project. This serious thinking will involve my attempt to learn to read (and comprehend) ahead….

4 May 2018, 16:47 reading… reading…

4 May 2018, 16:54 Oh oh!!

Note: For last minute bakers, you must allow 24 hours for the dough to ferment overnight before baking this flatbread. If you want your post to be ready on the 16th, you will have to begin by the 14th
 
– Karen K, message to BBBabes

Reading further, I also see that the recipe calls for “jarred roasted sliced peppers”. Note to self: look on the ingredients label of a jar to find out what is there besides peppers. Because, for sure, I’ll roast the peppers myself. It’s so easy!

I also decided to calculate the weights for all the ingredients. Obviously, few people are going to bother weighing things like red pepper flakes. Because I’m clearly out of my mind, I went to a site that had the nutrition facts for McCormick’s Crushed Red Pepper Flakes “Serving Size: 1 tsp (0.32g)”

Jarred roasted red peppers are a pantry staple for many busy cooks. […] Red bell, pimiento, and cherry peppers are the most common varieties you’ll find in jars. They are typically roasted, peeled, and seeded and then preserved in an acidic brine of water, salt, and citric acid (or less often, in olive oil).
 
– Fine Cooking | Ingredient | Jarred Roasted Red Peppers

Aha! I would have thought there would be olive oil in jarred roasted peppers. Apparently not!

5 May 2018, 13:32 I’ve often roasted red peppers to make a dip for vegetables/crackers. I wonder if I should add a splash of lemon juice to the peppers once they’ve been roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips. And perhaps a little salt and pepper as well?

I might be bold and throw a couple of hot red peppers in as well…. :whee:

6 May 2018, 00:10 I’m seriously considering using our Jane Mason starter instead of commercial yeast. T is against my decision. He says I should use commercial yeast. We’ll see….

Pick the recipe you would like to bake, note the amount of fresh yeast that is called for and double it to get the amount of [natural starter] you need. Weigh this out in a bowl.
 
– Jane Mason, All You Knead is Bread, p48
One .6 ounce [17 grams] cake is equivalent to 1 envelope [.25 ounce/7 grams] of dry yeast.
 
– Fleischmann’s Yeast FAQ, breadworld.com

Let’s see now… click click click

I’ll need 10 grams of Jane Mason starter, 118 grams flour, 59 grams water for the leavener, which leaves 350 grams flour and 261 grams water for the dough.

I don’t think I’ll use ice water though. I’ll probably use room temperature water.

The sherry vinegar makes the topping. Don’t cut corners on the vinegar.
 
– Karen K, message to BBBabes

Sherry vinegar? I can’t say I’ve ever seen this before.

Apparently, there is a supermarket not far from us (not our usual supermarket) that sells Maille brand sherry vinegar. But if we’re not supposed to cut corners, maybe we should go to St. Lawrence Market. Or perhaps we should put on our good shoes and designer clothes (we might have to borrow those – I’m not sure we have any) and venture into the really upmarket supermarket Pusateri’s to get the good stuff.

7 May 2018, 17:31 We just got back from our bike ride to shop for dinner. We decided not to go all the way to Pusateri’s and instead stopped at 3 different supermarkets in our neighbourhood to see if any had sherry vinegar. The first one had Maille sherry vinegar “aged in oak barrels” for $10. The bottle was giant. We decided to try a different store.

Store number 2 had red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and zillions of brands of Balsamic vinegar, ranging from $5 to $25. They had Sherry Cooking Wine (ewwwww) but no sherry vinegar. Store number two had the same size of bottle of Maille sherry vinegar for just $7. So we bought it.

We just tasted it. It’s good: light and slightly citrussy and – well – it tastes just like decent vinegar….

We also got some lovely looking red peppers in China Town. We think they might be hot – won’t that be a fun addition? :-) :-)

Red Peppers

18:29 I’m still thinking about switching to wild yeast but was confused about the water measurement


me: Is the weight measurement or the volume measurement [for the water] the right one?
Karen K: [I]t’s volume
me: So it’s fluid ounces? The amounts still seem to conflict.
 
– excerpts from messages to BBBabes

1 US fluid ounce of water (fl-oz) = 29.57 grams of water (g wt.)
 
– {convert to} | water volume vs. weight conversion

1 1/3 cups = 320 ml = 320 grams

10 2/3 US fl.oz = 315 grams ?(notequalto) 320 grams (unless it's rounded up) water

1 1/3 cups ?(notequalto) 10 2/3 ounces ?(notequalto) 302 grams water

5 grams more or less water isn’t a huge amount of difference. But 20 grams would make a difference.

Literal people (like me) might not know that “ounce” actually means “fluid ounce” and then there must still be some people who don’t know for sure that there’s a difference in volume between Imperial fluid ounces and US fluid ounces….

I know. I’m a freak.

Ha ha. Fortunately, it’s bread, where adjustments for weather, etc. are necessary, and not macarons.
 
– KarenK, message to BBBabes

10 May 2018, 23:49 I’m a bad bad bad BBBabe. I’m refusing to use ice water. I’m refusing to use commercial yeast. I’m refusing to put the dough in the refrigerator.

Yup. Against all instructions from T, I’m going ahead and making the dough with our Jane Mason starter. I just mixed together 10 grams (it was actually closer to 15 grams) Jane Mason whole wheat starter from the fridge, 118 grams whole wheat flour, and 59 grams water. The mixture was VERY dry. So I added more water. I don’t know how much…. :lalala:

The leavener (I hope) is now languishing in a bowl, with a plate to cover it, in the oven with only the light turned on. Fingers crossed that it will be bubbling furiously tomorrow morning.

11 May 2018, 09:03 Wow!! Bubbles galore! (Why did I have any doubts?)

Natural Leavener

As I was adding the vital wheat gluten to turn our all purpose flour into “bread flour”, it made me wonder if there were/are any Catalan bakers who would use strong flour when making coques. Somehow, I doubt it. Still, I obediently added the vital wheat gluten. After all, I’m already transgressing so far from the BBB recipe….

Natural Leavener

I also doubt that electricity and stand mixers (as stunningly beautiful and useful as these may be) figured into traditional coca making.

The most important tools of all are your hands. Don’t hesitate to do as much as possible with them instead of a mixer, a spoon, or any other tool that distances you from the dough. The more you are in direct contact with your dough, the better you will get to know its idiosyncrasies
 
– Nancy Silverton, tools for getting started, Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery, p28

09:49 Speaking of “direct contact with [my] dough”, I’d better go add the salt now, hadn’t I?

11:10 I’m thinking about the topping and my plan for transgression continues. With all that onion and garlic, there really seems to be no need for any sugar. So. That’s out. And we might have some pine nuts in the freezer but – nope, I’m not putting my mittens on to go looking for them – they’re out too. Also, we don’t have any parsley right now, but the garlic has sprouted in the garden. I’ll steal a few leaves from it.

But. I will not transgress entirely. I will be an obedient BBBabe and remember to add the sherry vinegar we bought. I am chanting Karen’s words, “The sherry vinegar makes the topping. Don’t cut corners on the vinegar”. (Where IS the emoticon with the halo when I need it??)

17:26 Shriek!! I cannot believe it. Even though both T and I a.) told me to watch it like a hawk, b.) set a timer for less time than it would take, and c.) set the timer again when it was sizzling nicely but wasn’t done yet, I managed to burn the garlic. Of course I did. :stomp:

The good news is that when T came in from the back garden, triumphantly holding a bowl of beautifully grilled and fragrant red peppers (they’re lovely and sweet but not even remotely hot) and onions, he quickly sliced more garlic and put it into a little pot to toast it perfectly before adding it to the bowl with the peppers.

toppings for red pepper coques
Topping for Coques

Then, because we didn’t really measure with the peppers and onions, I made a guess about how much olive oil and vinegar to add. As I was doing that, I noticed that I’d forgotten about the bay leaf. So I took a little piece of dried bay leaf from last year’s harvest, chopped it very finely, and added it with chopped garlic greens to the bowl.

Oooooh!! It smells divine! Is it time for dinner yet?

18:11 I just pre-shaped the bread. I’m very pleased to report that there are lovely bubbles in the dough.

preshaping bread dough

Ha. We don’ need no stinkin’ packages of active dry yeast!

19:05 Stretching and rolling the dough out into ovals was easy. But it looks a bit more like pizza than expected. It also looks really good. Here’s hoping that poking fork holes in the dough will stop if from puffing up like crazy.

Shaped Bread

19:45 Wow! This isn’t exactly flat bread. Which makes T very very happy. He loves “fluffy bread”.

Red Pepper Coques (BBB)

This bread is delicious! And Karen is right! Sherry vinegar – a little lighter and fruitier in flavour than rice vinegar or red wine vinegar – is a delicious addition.

Many thanks, Karen!

Red Pepper Coques (BBB)

We ate this wonderful bread with grilled meat, steamed broccoli and to really celebrate the end of winter (I hope I haven’t jinxed anything!), T went into the dwindling basement stash and opened a bottle of Grand Cru St. Julien Chateau LaGrange 1990. We couldn’t believe how clean the bottle was and how fruity the wine tasted so many years after the grapes were on the vine. Dinner was spectacular!

Grand Cru 1990

Here is the BBB recipe for Red Pepper Coques that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

Red Pepper Coques
based (more or less) on a recipe in “Bread Illustrated” from America’s Test Kitchen

leavener

  • 10 grams Jane Mason whole wheat starter (I actually used 15 grams)
  • 118 grams whole wheat flour
  • 59 grams water (I added more, but have no idea how much more)

dough

  • flour (a total of 350 grams; the BBB recipe calls for “bread flour”)
       » 7 grams vital wheat gluten
       » 10 grams wheat germ
       » 333 grams unbleached “no additives” all-purpose flour
  • 0gm sugar (the BBB recipe calls for “2 teaspoons”)
  • all of leavener above, (make sure it floats)
  • 40 grams (3 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 261 grams body temperature water, divided
  • 9 grams salt (I used a mixture of fine seasalt and kosher salt, because I was too lazy to get out the giant box of kosher salt to refill the manageable container by the stove)

topping

  • 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced in half moons
  • 8 long supposedly hot red peppers (the BBB recipe calls for “jarred roasted sliced red peppers”)
  • 0 grams sugar (The full BBB recipe calls for “3 tablespoons sugar”; I made only half the topping recipe)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly (The full BBB recipe calls for “3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced”)
  • 1 dried cayenne pepper, seeded and chopped finely (The full BBB recipe calls for “1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes”)
  • pinch or two fine kosher salt
  • very small dried bay leaf, chopped finely (The full BBB recipe calls for “2 bay leaves”)
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (The full BBB recipe calls for “3 tablespoons sherry vinegar”)
  • 0 grams pine nuts (The full BBB recipe calls for “1/4 cup pine nuts”; we had pine nuts but decided to omit them because I was too lazy to go fishing in the freezer for them)
  • good shot coarse salt (The full BBB recipe calls for “1 1/2 teaspoons salt”)
  • garlic leaf tips, chopped finely (The full BBB recipe calls for “1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley”)
  1. Leavener: On the evening before you will be baking the Coques, mix leavener ingredients in a smallish bowl. Notice that there is a lot of flour that won’t mix in. Splash in some more water until the flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave overnight in the oven with only the light turned on.
  2. Dough: On the morning of the day you will be baking the Coques, take a small spoonful of the starter and see if it floats in a bowl of lukewarm water. (If the starter is bubbly but the little amount sinks, stir in 10g whole wheat flour and 10g room temperature water. Cover with a plate and put the bowl back into the oven with only the light turned on. About 30 minutes later, check to see if the mixture floats. It probably will.) Proceed with making the actual dough by dumping flour, wheat germ, and vital wheat gluten into a large mixing bowl. Add all the leavener, 231 grams water, and the olive oil. Notice that the recipe calls for sugar and refuse to simply add any. Purse your lips and lightly stomp your foot, saying “Sugar?? I DON’T think so”, if you want. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to mix these ingredients to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 40 minutes.
  3. adding the salt: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into the final 30gm (30 ml) water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough.
  4. Kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than weirdly folded, slimy glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  5. Repeat the above step 2 or 3 more times.
  6. Topping: Preheat the barbecue. Slice each pepper in half lengthwise to remove the seeds and put them into a bowl with the sliced onions. Drizzle half the olive oil overtop and grill them in the BBQ wok until they are fragrant and beginning to show a tiny bit of blackening. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, put sliced garlic into a shallow dish with olive oil and oven roast it, watching it very very carefully, then forget for a moment and suddenly notice the garlic is scorched. Wait until it is cooled before throwing it in disgust into the wet garbage. When the beautifully cooked peppers are brought into the kitchen, throw up your hands in despair and let the real cook in the household put another batch of thinly sliced garlic and olive oil into a little pot on the stove, cooking it until the garlic is beautifully light gold. Put the cooked peppers, onion, beautiful garlic, crushed chili, and crushed bay into a bowl. Add a little salt and sherry vinegar. Taste and decide to add a tiny bit more sherry vinegar. But not too much because you don’t want it to take over. Don’t add any more salt because that will go on near the end. Set this mixture aside.
  7. Pre-shaping: About an hour before cooking the bread, put a dusting of flour on the board. Turn the dough out and cut it evenly in two (the BBB recipe suggests to cut it evenly in 4 pieces but I’m afraid I didn’t notice that. I knew I was making a half recipe of topping and forgot that I had made a full recipe of dough. :lalala: This would explain why our coques weren’t flat…). Form each piece into a tight ball and put them seam side down on the board. Cover with a clean tea towel, followed by a plastic grocery bag and allow to rest for half an hour.
  8. Shaping: After half an hour has passed, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll each ball of dough out into an oval. Place them side by side on the cookie tray. (If you want to follow the BBB recipe more closely, use two cookie trays and cut the dough into 4 pieces.) The BBB recipe says, If the dough springs back, let it rest for another 10 to 20 minutes, and re-roll. Once the ovals are set, use a fork to dock each one about 15 times. Drizzle the tops of each oval with the rest of the olive oil and gently smear it all over with your finger tips. Cover lightly with a tea towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes or so.
  9. Baking: Turn the barbecue onto high. When the barbecue is hot, put the pan onto the grill. Close the lid of the barbecue. Cook for about 6 minutes or so, until the bottoms are just starting to get the tiniest tinge of gold. Turn the barbecue down to low and bring the pan inside to spread each oval with the red pepper mixture. Liberally sprinkle on coarse salt (we used fleur de sel from the Camargue). Scatter green garlic leaves over top.
  10. Turn the barbecue back up to high and finish baking the bread, rotating the pan and/or using tongs to shift the ovals so that the inside edges become the outside edges. Bake until the bottom of the bread is a nice golden brown and the bread is firm.
  11. Allow the bread to cool slightly before using a pizza wheel to cut it into reasonable sized pieces.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes:

:: Yeast and water: The BBB recipe calls for using instant dry yeast and ice water and for the finished dough to be refrigerated overnight. Because commercial yeast has only been around about 100 years, and this is supposedly an ancient bread recipe, I decided to flaunt the America Test Kitchen rules and use wild yeast, body temperature water, and let just the leavener rest overnight. (I think I’ve already mentioned I’m a bad BBBabe….

:: Garlic Leaf Tips: If you have planted garlic in the autumn, the tender shoots of this year’s garlic will be quite well established by late spring. We love to steal a few (okay, more than a few) leaf tips to put into omelettes. So it seemed like a no-brainer to add them to the topping of our red pepper coques. Later on in the season, we’ll use chives. Or parsley, as the BBB recipe suggests.

 

Red Pepper Coques (BBB)

Bread Baking Babes

BBB May 2018 Red Pepper Coques

Karen K is the host of the Bread Baking Babes’ project for May 2018. She wrote:

For May, we are making Red Pepper Coques. […] This bread is intensely flavored. P.S. It’s delicious. The sherry vinegar makes the topping. Don’t cut corners on the vinegar.
 
– Karen K, in message to BBBabes

It IS delicious!

We know you’ll want to make Red Pepper Coques too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 May 2018. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ May 2018 Nazook.

 

Deep Run Roots Cover We are in the middle of reading Vivian Howard’s wonderful book Deep Run Roots and suddenly noticed the words “sherry vinegar”! So far, it’s turned up in her recipes for Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak with Cucumber and Charred Onion Relish and Miso Flounder with Cucumber Noodles and Gingered Collards.

I wonder if we’re suddenly going to start to see sherry vinegar everywhere now.

 

 

This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes, sourdough and wild yeast on by .

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