Unintentional Blasphemy

Wee Loaves

A little over a week ago, Larbo over at This Little Piggy posted about his discovery of Fergus Henderson’s trotter gear (a gelatinous porky broth made with (what else?) braised trotters.

Until I read Larbo’s post, I’d never heard of this magical liquid before, but had often contemplated the versatility of a pork-based stock.

There are plenty of recipes out there for beef, chicken, veal and vegetable variations, so why not a similar frenzy for pork, I wondered.

After ruminating on Larbo’s post for a little bit, I started to consider the possible uses for trotter gear.

Hocks And Trotters

The first thing that came to mind was to use the braising liquid to make bread, so after the Everyman and I waddled home from The Hoof Cafe on Friday, I grabbed a package of trotters and a package of hocks from our deep freeze (from that pig we bought a few months ago) and set to work.

Cooled Trotter Gear

5 hours later, I had a rich, jiggly porcine blend, all set to be made into what I imagined would be the best bread ever.  I poured the remainder of the trotter gear into a loaf pan and chilled it until it formed a wobbly cube that was earmarked for enriching numerous other dishes in the future.

The bread recipe I chose to tinker with was none other than my recent favourite baguette from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian.  I know… the irony, right?  I’m sure the vegetarian readers I have (if there are any) are shaking their heads and banging their fists over that one.  Oh well.

Starter

I began by mixing a starter by substituting the water in the recipe for the trotter liquid.

Sponged

The next morning I added the rest of the flour and salt and alloted the dough a long, slow rise.

Pre-Oven

When I returned home I portioned the dough into mini baguette rolls, slashed the tops and baked them in a scorching hot 475* oven until they were a beautifully burnished bronze.

Once they cooled I gave the rolls a little squeeze test.  The trotter gear worked!  The crust was dark and golden, but the rolls remained squishily airy and soft in the centre.

Overall, I’d consider it a successful trial run.  These will definitely be making an appearance at our house again.

Foodie’s Trotter Gear Baguette

3.5 c. flour

1 c. trotter gear liquid (you can Google the recipe or buy Fergus Henderson’s book)

2 tsp salt

1.5 tsp yeast

Combine 2 cups of the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, the yeast and the trotter gear in a small bowl until it forms a loose, pancake batter-like consistency.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the starter rest in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.  The next day, combine the remaining flour and salt with the starter using a stand mixer, and add water a little bit at a time until the dough forms into a moist, well defined ball (about half a cup of water will do).  If the dough begins to stick to the sides of the bowl, you’ve added too much water; begin adding more flour a few tablespoons at a time to compensate.  Remove the paddle attachment from the mixer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or up to 6 hours.  Once ready to continue, preheat the oven to 475*, dust the counter with flour and form the dough into your desired shape.  Allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then slash the top of the loaves with a lame.  Bake until bread is deep golden brown (anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, depending on size) on a baking stone, baguette pan or parchment lined sheet.

Makes 1 boule, 2 to 3 baguettes or 8 mini rolls.

Until next time…

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2 Responses to “Unintentional Blasphemy”

  1. larbo says:

    And what does a pork-o-licious baguette taste like?! The world needs to know!

  2. mochapj says:

    Heavenly, Larbo!

    The Everyman put it best to me last night…

    It tastes like a lovely soft dinner roll that you’ve dipped in broth, that’s absorbed into itself. It’s not overwhelmingly porky, but there’s definitely some piggy backnotes there.

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