Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Pleasurable Spelt Brioche



I have a confession to make: Pleasure in life is my top priority. More specifically, embracing the philosophy of Epicurus. Curiously, most associate this doctrine to be one of gluttony, extravagance, and senseless self-gratification. Upon further investigation, however, an epicurean way of life honors simplicity while seizing upon any opportunity to be fully present -- naturally leading to a sense of pleasure. Cultivating close friendships along with a deep connection to the natural world both have a treasured place in this life-affirming philosophy. All in all, it is an attitude of fully savoring the moment, slowing down, and really living. Traditionally, the French are known for their exquisite embodiment of epicurean living. To read more about this orientation, click here.

In quiet celebration of pleasure, a recipe for brioche. Here we are using classic ingredients with an eye for quality and simplicity. Pasture butter, free-range eggs, heirloom spelt flour. It is worth the extra effort of sourcing sprouted flour for maximum nutrition while minimizing bone harming phytic acid. On a sweet note, orange blossom honey is the perfect compliment to the unique flavor of lavender.


Spelt Brioche with Lavender

Ingredients...

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon evaporated cane juice
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 cup white sprouted spelt flour
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 free-range egg
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried lavender flowers
3 oz pasture butter, room temperature
Orange blossom honey for serving

Method...

Whisk yeast, evaporated cane juice, and milk in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes until it begins to foam.

With a wooden spoon, stir the flour, honey, egg and lavender into the yeast mixture until combined. Add butter in fourths until a sticky and soft dough forms. Cover and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a six-cup capacity brioche mold or small bread pan. Lightly dust the dough with flour and shape into a round ball. Place in brioche mold, cover, and set aside for 20 minutes to rise once again. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from mold and serve warm with orange blossom honey. Savor fully with those who delight in wonderfully simple pleasures.

"Laetus in praesens" (Happiness now)
-Inscribed on the wall of villa Careggi, Florence, Italy  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Health Benefits of Organic Pasture Butter

Organic butter made from the milk of pasture-raised cows not only supports humane care for the animals but is a nutritionally superior product. Able to roam freely and eat their natural diet of grasses and plants, the milk produced by these cows is lower in calories and fat while supplying a richer source of vitamins. Additionally, the levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in the milk from pasture cows can be up to five times higher than the milk produced from their grain-fed counterparts. CLA is a beneficial fatty acid usually lacking in the modern diet. This fat is an important component of adrenal health and has also been shown to aid in weight loss, especially around the midsection.