From the title of this post you might think that I’m talking about sour cream as the super star here… but you’d be wrong. I’m actually talking about piloncillo. That awesome, very mexican unrefined sugar which you’ll find in cafe de olla, atole, capirotada (mexican bread pudding), calabaza en tacha…. or in most barns. (Because I’ll let you in on a little secret: mexican horses don’t eat sugar cubes, they eat tiny piloncillos). Piloncillo is great because it’s unrefined…but unlike sugar, it has a lot more flavor. It’s sweet and smokey and caramel-y. And it comes in little cone shapes. The only downside to it is that it has to be dissolved before you can use it in most recipes, but that’s not really a problem since all it takes is a little bit of hot water. So I went ahead and used it in a delicious and easy recipe for 100% whole wheat bread, with a dollop of sour cream, which resulted in a moist, rich, slightly sweet loaf. The perfect breakfast bread, with a couple slices of smoked ham and a little bit of butter, or as toast to accompany a creamy soup. (And on the plus side, if you don’t have, can’t or won’t find piloncillo, you could always use maple syrup, molasses or agave nectar!) But I won’t bore you anymore with the details about little cones of sugar, instead why don’t you go and read more the recipe?
Piloncillo & sour cream whole wheat bread
Yields 1 loaf
1 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup dissolved piloncillo*
3 1/2 to 4 cups whole wheat flour
1 packet (12 grs) instant yeast
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp salt
*To dissolve the piloncillo, place 1/3 cup piloncillo bits in a small bowl, then add just enough boiling water to cover it. Let it sit until it’s dissolved.
Alternately, you can substitute this ingredient with 1/3 cup molasses, 1/3 cup maple syrup, or half a cup agave nectar
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, and using the hook attachment, mix on med-low speed until a soft dough forms. As you keep kneading it, it should start to pull away from the sides of the bowl and stick to itself. Knead it for 4 or 5 minutes, then transfer to your work surface and finish kneading by hand. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. You can add water or flour as needed. Once you have a smooth round ball, transfer to a large bowl, cover lightly with a damp towel and let it rise for 2 hours in a warm place. After these 2 hours, flatten the dough slightly and shape it into a rectangle according to your mold. (I like to line my molds with wax paper just in case) Place it inside, then with a slightly wet brush, dampen the surface and sprinkle a bit of flour over it. Using a very sharp knife, score the dough firmly down the middle. Cover again and let rise for 2 more hours.
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Bake until golden, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing.