Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cider Fadge

Hmmm, methinks there might be a term or two that needs to be defined. Ya think?


Knowing how The Urban Dictionary likes to use obscure words to mean other (usually crude) things, I would not be surprised to find "fadge" in their listings. I, however, don't go there. So whatever crude, vulgar, or slang term you think "fadge" means; just don't even go there. This recipe has nothing to do with whatever The Urban Dictionary thinks it means.

Many of you may know of Irish Fadge. It's a pan fried bread made with leftover mashed potatoes (and various bread type things). This post is nothing like that.

Ok, some of you may be thinking of the fadge made in Durham county using a piece of old bread as a starter (the original sourdough). Close, but no cigar.

This type of fadge is made in the south of Durham County and most of Cleveland County (at least it was a hundred years ago) and the starter is the leftover yeasty sludge from the bottom of your primary beer fermenter tank. If you haven't guessed yet, I'm not talking about Cleveland, Ohio, USA but rather Cleveland County, UK.

I got the idea for making this when I was bottling the latest round and had remembered that Cooper's Brewery down here recycles their yeast. That meant the yeasty sludge from the bottom of the tank must be active!

I then chatted about that with a certain octogenerian I know (from Stockon-on-Tees) and she said, "Oh great! I haven't had fadge in over 60 years!" Hmmmmm, well it should work then!

The first batch didn't turn out well. Firstly it was from a batch of dark ale so it didn't have the colour I was hoping for. Secondly I treated it more like a baking powder bread. It ended up tasty, but was very thick and heavy. Good for frying though.

The second batch was PERFECT! I'd just finished up bottling some apple cider and the yeasty sludge at the bottom was not only the colour I wanted, but it also smelled ohhhhhhhh so apple-y. This time I also decided to treat it as a yeast bread (this was a big DUH moment!) and to write down how much of what I used and the procedure.

Now don't think that you can't make this if you don't homebrew cus I've come up with an idea. It has to do with sourdough so if you are familiar with sourdough baking you can probably guess where I'm going with that.

But I'll tell you about that after I get finished with the recipe. You'll just have to read along and be patient.


What you need:
6 cups high quality baking flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 and 1/4 cups yeasty cider sludge
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup of flour for dusting and kneading

What you do:
First, let your yeasty cider sludge "age" in a small, covered (but not tightly sealed as it needs to breathe) container for 3 to 5 days. Don't worry if it separates cus it's supposed to. When you take the lid off you'll be hit with a beautiful apple smell. Mmmmmmmmmm! Give it a good stir to recombine it (just like you'd do with sourdough starter).

Now follow the "whut yoo due" directions in my easy white bread post. The only exception is when you are supposed to add the 400 mls of water you instead add the cidery, yeasty, sludgy goodness (plus that extra 1/2 cup of water). Oh yeah: DON'T add any yeast! Just use the ingredients from this post, but the procedure from the Easy White Bread post.

The second rise will take anywhere from one to two hours, so be patient! It's worth it, trust me.

Here's some pics of how the cider fadge turns out:
cider fadge 01

The crust is nice and soft, not sure if you can tell by these next two shots. The first is with my finger on top of the crust and in the second I've pushed the crust down a half inch and the crust sprung right back:
cider fadge 02

cider fadge 03

And the texture is ohhhhh so good --along with the apple scent when you slice it!
cider fadge 04

This loaf lasted approximately 12 hours. Gone in a day!

But Dave, I don't homebrew so how can I make this?

Easy. Take some sourdough starter and add a few tbsp of apple sauce to it. Let it sit in a covered (but not tightly sealed, it needs to breathe) container for a couple of days and use it in the recipe where it calls for the yeasty cider sludge. Should be perfect!

But Dave, I don't have any sourdough starter! Help!

No worries. To make sourdough starter all you do is take some leftover mashed spuds, add some water, some flour, some sugar and a bit of yeast. Cover it (but let it breathe and stir a few times per day) and keep it in a warm spot for 3 days --it'll then be nice and bubbly and sour. As far as the amounts go here's a good rule of thumb:

1 medium spud, cooked and mashed
1 cup water

Mix them so you get potato water and then add
1 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 pinch of dry yeast

Easy stuff!

Once your sourdough is ready (3 or 4 days) then add your apple sauce and let it "mingle" for a few days before using.

Yeah, the initial set up may take some time (for the starter) but after that you can make this every day by just keeping some of the starter back to make a fresh batch the next day and then again the next day, etc.

Does this mean I need to make a post about sourdough?

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