Author Topic: Agave  (Read 4478 times)

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Offline November

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Agave
« on: June 03, 2008, 09:34:56 PM »
I thought about titling this thread, "Never Tried That Before" since there are three new things I tried for this pizza, two of which were in the dough.  The most important of which was raw agave nectar.  I wanted to see how suitable it was for feeding yeast or sweetening the crust.  In its raw form it tastes a little like honey but with a slightly more acidic tone.  I always prefer to use ingredients that come from plants whenever feasible, so using agave nectar in place of honey for certain formulas intrigued me.

Another new thing I tried was a new brand of vital wheat gluten (VWG).  In the past I have used the Bob's Red Mill brand, but due to more convenient availability I used the Hodgson Mill brand instead.  In this case I used it to boost the protein level of KABF to that of KASL.  For the purpose of brevity, in all future posts I will refer to any bread flour that has had VWG added to increase the total protein level to 14.2% as HGE flour, or High-Gluten Equivalent flour.  Perhaps if the term is used enough on this forum it can be added to the glossary.  It's just a lot easier to have a concise term that predefines the ingredient combination rather than requiring a description each time it's used.

The last thing I tried that was new to my process of pizza making was the brand of tomato product.  This time I used Cento crushed tomatoes.  It has been discussed elsewhere on this forum the finer points of this product, but to cover its main attribute of attraction I'll mention that it contains nothing but tomatoes.  It has no added citric acid and no added salt.  In my case it was also one of the least expensive canned tomato products on the store shelf.  Only the store brand was cheaper.

The results from using all three new things were great in their respective ways.  The raw agave nectar provided a perfect mild sweetness and the yeast apparently enjoyed it as well.  The rate of fermentation increased by a few percent over using honey.  This is likely due to the elevated level of glucose in agave compared to honey.  The flavor and texture of the crust was outstanding.  I think I'll be using raw agave nectar a lot more often from now on.

100.0   HGE flour
63.00   water
03.67   raw agave nectar
01.75   sea salt
01.50   malted milk
01.00   rice bran oil
00.30   ADY

Note: The reason for the larger amount of agave nectar is because it was used in a 5-hour, 86F poolish prior to forming the dough.  A lot of the nectar was consumed by the yeast during that process.

In a future trial I will eliminate the malted milk as it exists vestigially in this formula.  I will also try the agave nectar in lower concentrations when not using such a long and warm preferment.

- red.november
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 09:38:43 PM by November »


Offline Chewla

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Re: Agave
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2008, 10:05:17 AM »
I must admit that when I hear "agave," I just think of a great tequila.  ;)  I didn't even realize that you could get an agave nectar--it sounds like that could have a lot of applications.

I've never made my own crust, but now I think I'll have to give it a try.  Little by little, I'm trying to replace all processed foods in my diet by making every piece myself and growing as much as I can in my own garden.

Keep posting your pizza adventures and I'll try to keep up.  (Great pics, btw.)

:)
Chewla

Offline November

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Re: Agave
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2008, 10:57:39 AM »
it sounds like that could have a lot of applications.

It has a fairly neutral flavor, except that it adds a certain brightness to the dough, almost floral (as one would expect from a nectar).  It's like corn syrup that's been prancing through the meadow.  I am using it in an Ultragrain dough today.

- red.november

Offline November

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Re: Agave
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 11:42:32 AM »
I must admit that when I hear "agave," I just think of a great tequila.

The nectar I'm using comes from the Agave salmiana plant and is produced by Madhava.  It isn't the same plant from which tequila is made (Agave tequilana a.k.a. "Blue Agave").  Attached is a photo of the Agave salmiana.

- red.november

Offline zalicious

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Re: Agave
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2008, 12:44:12 PM »
It has a fairly neutral flavor, except that it adds a certain brightness to the dough, almost floral (as one would expect from a nectar).  It's like corn syrup that's been prancing through the meadow.  I am using it in an Ultragrain dough today.

- red.november
Your descriptive words are wondrous. I never had any interest in trying agave nectar before, but I will certainly look for it now :).

Offline deb415611

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Re: Agave
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2008, 05:19:35 PM »
November,

Have you been using the Light or Dark Agave?  I saw that Madhava has both.   I have used the light a few times in hamburger/hotdog buns with good results. 

Deb


Offline November

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Re: Agave
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2008, 05:25:13 PM »
Deb,

The most important of which was raw agave nectar.

As you said, Madhava offers two kinds: refined (light) and raw (dark).

Offline November

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Re: Agave
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2008, 09:00:51 PM »
This batch did not include a preferment, but the bulk rise time was increased.  The fermentation schedule was as follows:

6.0 hours @ 86F (bulk)
1.5 hours @ 77F (divided)

The dough was re-kneaded every 90 minutes during the bulk rise.  That extra kneading along with the VWG helped to create a very strong gluten structure.  As a result it handled very much like a high-gluten flour based dough.  Just as before, the raw agave nectar provided a delicate sweetness and a ringing endorsement from the yeast.

100.0   Eagle Mills All-Purpose flour
65.00   water
02.87   Hodgson Mill VWG
02.50   raw agave nectar
01.75   sea salt
01.00   rice bran oil
00.30   ADY

- red.november

Offline November

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Agave & Ultragrain
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2008, 11:53:30 AM »
For background, I refer to the following post: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6290.msg58588.html#msg58588

I knew the potential was there for a much better pizza, so I reworked the formula a bit, and repeated it for several batches of dough to observe the level of consistency it offered.  I have been very impressed with the combination of flour containing Ultragrain, raw agave nectar, malted milk, and lately, no preferment.  Something else I've been doing lately that I think makes a big difference when not adding VWG is extra kneading.  It may seem obvious, but if the flour lacks a great deal of gluten, or the protein is partially locked up as is the case with whole-grain flours, extra kneading may be required to achieve a great oven spring.

Just like before, I decided to knead the dough every 90 minutes while it was bulk fermenting.  This means a total of four kneadings over the course of 4.5 hours.  I wish I had more time to go into all the reasons why, but the results should say enough for now.

I think the durability and handling quality of the aforelinked dough was great, and it translated well for a pretzel, but I wanted something a little softer on the inside.  The exclusion of VWG and inclusion of extra kneading did exactly what I wanted.  It was an extremely easy dough to handle, yet it possessed a super soft crumb with a crispy exterior.  With the addition of malted milk and cutting out the VWG, it was much more pillowy than the crust in the previous post of this thread.  Of course there wasn't as much Ultragrain in this crust either, but the differences go far beyond the contribution of the flour in this case.  The fermentation schedule and formula are as follows:

4.5 hours @ 86F (bulk)
1.5 hours @ 77F (divided)

100.0   50% Eagle Mills All-Purpose
.......   50% King Arthur Bread
63.00   water
03.50   raw agave nectar (2.5 dry)
01.75   sea salt
02.33   malted milk
01.17   rice bran oil
00.33   ADY

I've tried this with a couple combinations of flour as well as 100% KABF, and they all turn out with incredible results.

- red.november
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 11:58:16 AM by November »

Offline Essen1

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Re: Agave
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2008, 12:51:44 AM »
RN,

If I understand correctly, you used the agave nectar solely to give the yeast a little more "boost", so to speak, or did it have any other impact on the dough itself?

I'm asking because I've never heard of raw agave nectar.

The pizze look great, btw  :chef:
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

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Offline November

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Re: Agave
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2008, 10:48:33 PM »
Mike,

Raw agave nectar is being used here like any other yeast nutrient.  I just happen to like the results using it over similar sweeteners like honey.

- red.november

Offline Essen1

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Re: Agave
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2008, 10:54:00 PM »
RN,

Thanks for the clarification. It's always nice to learn something new.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline andreguidon

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Re: Agave
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2008, 08:25:50 AM »
Hi Guys !

this is very interesting, cause i was going to post today a test that i made about 2 weeks ago..... i mixed in the dough 2T of ''PINGA''... pinga is the distillate drink of the sugar cane.... they make the famous "caipirinha" out of this drink....

well lets get back to pizza, the result of the pinga in the dough was very interesting, i gave a nice crust but still light and soft in side....

i made 2 batches, one whit the pinga and one whit out it......

i think you guys maybe could find pinga in the US.....
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Agave
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2009, 06:37:46 PM »
An article appeared today, 7/2/09, at the BakingBusiness.com website discussing the use of agave in bread dough products. I have excerpted below the part of the article pertaining to that ingredient:

Lighter than honey

Matt Salis and his wife, Sheri, have used agave nectar as a sweetener for five years in some of their bread. They own four Great Harvest Bread Co. franchises in the Denver area.

"We spend a lot of time explaining to customers what agave nectar is," Mr. Salis said. "They assume its something cool and neat. So they often ask us about it."

Besides agave nectar, Mr. Salis and his wife also use honey and molasses as sweeteners. Agave nectar has lower moisture content than honey and gives the bread more of a crumbly texture.

Agave nectar makes bread a lighter color than honey does.

"That visual makes a big difference," Mr. Salis said.

He and his wife use agave nectar solely in whole wheat bread. Besides the lighter color, the agave nectar also may make the whole wheat bread appear similar to white bread because the sweetener helps the bread rise and gives it more air pockets.

"Agave nectar has won its place in a handful of breads," Mr. Salis said. "Its the addictive ingredient in a number of our breads."

He buys the sweetener from a Colorado supplier.

"Its an expensive product, but the price for us has not fluctuated at all," he said.

Honey prices fluctuate more, but agave nectar has cost more the last couple of years, Mr. Salis said. He said honey prices have ranged from $1 to $1.70 per lb while agave nectar prices range from $1.30 to $1.50 per lb.

Wholesome Sweeteners, Sugar Land, Texas, now offers organic blue agave nectar from Jalisco, Mexico. Blue agave (Agave tequilana var. Weber) is a member of the Amarylis family. Its the same plant used in the production of tequila. The blue agave plants used by Wholesome Sweeteners are grown to U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards.

Cooking the plants inulin turns it into nectar. Wholesome Sweeteners offers light blue agave nectar, which is heated to 161 degrees Fahrenheit, and raw blue agave nectar, which has lower temperatures and slower cooking times.

Agave nectar may replace sugar since it is 25% sweeter than sugar and low-glycemic, according to Wholesome Sweeteners. Since agave nectar adds liquid, formulators should reduce other liquids in the recipe by one-third when using it as a sugar replacement. They also should reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for a few minutes longer.

SunOpta Global Organic Ingredients, Aptos, Calif., is another agave nectar supplier. The agave nectar works as both a natural preservative and water preserver in baked foods, said Hendrik Rabbie, a sales manager. The Japanese market uses agave nectar in cakes such as sponge cakes, he said, while the North American market primarily has used the sweetener in food bars.

Agave syrup is about 25% sweeter than sugar, but sugar is dry while agave syrup has 25% humidity, Mr. Rabbie said.

"So bakers who use less agave than sugar might need to increase the amount of agave to get the same sweetness level," he said. "They have to factor the humidity level."


Peter





 

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