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Pan de hongos silvestres (Wild mushroom bread)

May 28, 2013

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This bread has a earthy, of the forest, rustic quality about it.  I was very excited about working this one out.  I asked a friend of mine who is from Oaxaca about mushrooms in his native areas. He said there were a variety of wild mushrooms and one he thinks is the Portabello.    Mushrooms of course are used extensively in Mexico in soups, empanadas, addition to moles,  tacos, and so on.  There are even “mushroom tours” in Mexico organized around the growing season.  The Aztecs and ancient Maya prepared them for culinary usage while the  hallucinogenic mushrooms have long been used for  spiritual ceremonies and rituals. Why not bake bread with them?   I think it would go well with many kinds of Mexican foods. At first I imagined a mushroom flatbread also flavored with roasted Poblano or Serrano peppers.  I ultimately decided to let mushrooms and wheat do all the talking.  My first go, made with all fresh Portabello mushrooms  produced a tasty bread but one lacking in the mushroom flavor I was looking for.   I researched a little to see about other possibilities.  It turns out the Italians have a “Ciabatta ai Fungi” or “mushroom bread”.  A recipe is included in “The Italian Baker” by Carol Field in a chapter titled “Modern Breads”.   Apparantly it has become known more recently.  The technique they use is to soak dried mushrooms in hot water and then use the liquid along with the mushrooms for the dough.  Why didn’t that occur to me?  My recipe demands a little more work because I include fresh mushrooms into the dough as it is being kneaded, and not as it is being rolled up into a loaf.  Liquid releases from the mushrooms and moistens the dough.  I have to work with it and add more flour to prevent it from getting too wet.

 

This recipe makes 2 large flatbreads  or 1 large and several smaller ones:

 

For the dried mushrooms-

Scant 1 1/4 cup dried sliced mushrooms (1.1 oz./32 grams) They can be a mix, but try to use mostly porcinis, which seem to have a very intense flavor.

2 cups hot water (16 oz./454 grams)

 

For the fresh mushrooms-

1 pound fresh mushrooms chopped into 1/4 inch thick pieces (Portabellos, button, crimini for example) (454 grams)

4 to 5  tablespoons olive oil (1.3 to 1.7 oz./37 to 49 grams)

 

For the dough-

4 1/2 cups bread flour (1 pound 7.4 oz./664 grams)

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (7 grams)

2 1/4  teaspoons salt  (16 grams)

1 1/2  cups of the mushroom liquid ( 12 oz./341 grams)

The soaked and strained dried mushrooms from above

The sautéed and strained fresh mushrooms from above.

 

Before you begin to mix the dough:  Heat the water to very hot in a small pot on the stove.  Add the dried mushrooms and remove from the heat. Let them soak at least an hour.   After they have reconstituted,  strain them,  and reserve the liquid.   If the mushroom liquid is gritty,  use cheesecloth to strain.  Pat the mushrooms dry and then give them a rough chop.

While the dried mushrooms are being processed, sauté the chopped fresh mushrooms in as small amount of  olive oil as possible. You’ll probably  have to do it in 2 batches. Strain them. You can save the liquid in case you need it later.

To mix the dough:  Put the flour, yeast, and salt in your mixing bowl and mix well.  Now add about 3/4 cup of the mushroom liquid and stir together with a spoon to start making a dough. Don’t worry about fully hydrating it because it will get a lot of moisture from the fresh and reconstituted mushrooms. Mix with your stand mixer using  the hook attachment.  Add a little more liquid if it is too dry and begin mixing,  Start adding the mushrooms in small batches.  The dough will quickly start to absorb liquid. I try to mix the mushrooms in as late in the kneading process as possible. I think the mushrooms cut the gluten strands that are forming.  On the other hand I must say that the test batches I made all came out with an airy crumb.  You may need to add more flour to the dough depending on how much moisture comes out the mushrooms.  This dough requires attention to make sure you arrive at a good consistency.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!   The dough can be left  so that it sticks to the bottom of the bowl a bit. I highly recommend that the last couple of minutes are done by hand so you see exactly what you have.  I left one batch very wet and though it came out good with a pleasantly moist crumb, it was difficult to handle.

Shape the dough into a round, put it in a bowl, cover with plastic, and let it rise to double in size.  If possible and time permits,  ferment the dough in a cooler room,  lower than 75 degrees.  At higher temperatures,  it will rise very quickly,  thus not allowing as much flavor to develop.  I have my area at 80 degrees and it doubled in about 1 hour. After it has risen,  degass or lightly punch down the dough.  Divide it into however many portions you want.  I divided the dough into 2 pieces. One was made into a round flat shape about 1/2 inch thick.  The other half was divided into several portions,  each made into a flat round a little less than 1/2 inch thick.  Put them on parchment paper if you are using a baking stone.  If not put them on well oiled baking sheets.  Lightly cover the dough pieces with plastic. If it seems like the plastic will stick to the dough, lightly spray with oil.  Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Let the portions proof until they have just about doubled in height. That should take about an hour depending on the temperature of the kitchen.

When they are ready,  place them in the oven and lower the temperature to 400.  Spritz the oven with water 3 times within the first 10 minutes.  The large round should take about 20 minutes to bake through.  The smaller portions will take a little less.

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The slashes were just for decorative effect.

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Wild dried mushrooms are  expensive but a little goes a long way.  You don’t have to spend very much on them.  In the center is maitake, from left to right are morel,  shitake,  oyster,  lobster, and crimini.  If any of you have any knowledge or experience with Mexican mushrooms please share. I’d really enjoy reading about it.  For that matter,  I’d like to hear anybody’s experience with wild mushrooms used as food.

This post looks like it will need an update. What I don’t have is “wild mushroom bread”  in action.  Using the smaller size flatbreads,  I planned to make “tortas” (Mexican sandwiches) of sorts with the filling made up of refried black beans,  Mexican cheese,  a fried egg,  and salsa Ranchera.  I ran out of time this Memorial Day weekend.  Stay tuned!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Gonzalez permalink
    May 28, 2013 2:54 am

    Wow! Very creative and sophisticated, shrumes are healthy for you too !

  2. May 28, 2013 3:12 am

    Hola Robert, How are they good for you? Do you know about their medicinal properties? I know readers would be interested to find out.
    Thanks for checking out the post!

  3. September 28, 2013 11:45 pm

    Well I certainly enjoyed my camping trip to your campground today, although I am extremely hungry right now…………..lol

    • September 28, 2013 11:54 pm

      You are very welcome here Russel. Thanks for hanging around and brightening it up a bit!…also laughing!

  4. Shanna permalink
    October 23, 2013 7:13 pm

    Is it possible to give the recipe in weight ? Thx :)))

  5. October 23, 2013 10:02 pm

    Hi, I’ve updated the recipe with weight measures. I scooped and swept the flour into a cup from flour that was not sifted, so there may be a slight discrepancy. If you make this, let me know how it turns out. This dough can be a bit tricky to manage since the mushrooms will release moisture. Thank you for following!

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  1. Sourdough bread w/wild mushrooms and herbs | Bread and Tortillas

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