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Friday, May 20, 2011

Mango Bread

Mango Bread

I love mangos.  We don't eat a lot of them, because they don't arrive in town that frequently.  But when they do, we buy the odd one, and it remains a rare treat.

I found one in the bottom of the fruit bowl today, and I thought I had bought it last week and forgotten to eat it.  I decided to make a bread with it, and only when I added the fruit to the dough did my wife come by and tell me that she had purchased that mango the day previously, and had intended to eat it herself.  Perhaps she thought that the bottom of the fruit bowl was a good hiding place.  It was not.  'Bye 'bye, mango.

So where does one find a decent whole wheat mango recipe?  I found lots of interesting mango bread recipes online, most of them quickbreads.  That wasn't what I was after, however.  Once I filtered out those search-engine results, this is the bread that caught my attention:

Double Mango Bread, from Three Tastes: Tao in the Kitchen.

I didn't have any dried mango, so I used raisins and coconut (which I had seen used in various other mango bread recipes that were quickbreads -- this one from by SackPac is representative of those quickbreads, that many seem to be enthusiastic about).

I also decided to use entirely whole wheat flour, rather than the bread flour that  Manju of Three Tastes used. 

Recap of the Ingredients:

  • 8g yeast (=1 pkt)
  • 141g lukewarm water  (= 2/3 c)
  • 13g brown sugar (=1 Tbsp)

  • 494g whole wheat flour (= 3 1/2 c)
  • 5g sea salt (= 1 tsp)
  • 0kg freshly ground coriander (= 2 tsp dried seeds) (Weighs next to nothing: use more next time)
  • 13g  brown sugar (= 1 Tbsp)
  • 178g mango fruit (1 fully ripe mango, lightly chopped)
  • 65g raisins (= 1/2 c) (NB: I won't use these next time)
  • 47g shredded coconut (= 1/2 c )

  • 30g of milk (= ?)
  • 7g of water (= 1 tsp)


Here I'm following Manju's method.

The yeast is proofed in the lukewarm water, with sugar, for 5 minutes. *

Dry ingredients are mixed, and the yeast mixture added.  What you have is so dry, it will not all incorporate.  Do your best, but give up before your struggle becomes exasperation.

Add the mangos.  Knead for 5 minutes.  See how the dry stuff all comes together?

Add the coconut, keep kneading.
Add the raisins.  Knead them in.

Let rise to double.  I left mine for 60 minutes in the Excalibur on bread setting. (NB: this is a departure from the method given by Manju; and I don't think I improved it.  She suggested it be formed and placed in a pan to rise once.  Not sure why, but perhaps she was converting a quickbread banana loaf recipe?  In any case, next time I make this, I'll try not punching it down.)

Shape dough and turn into a buttered loaf pan.  Allow to rise again in a warm place.  Again, this took about 60 minutes in my excalibur.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Just before placing in the oven, glaze with milk mixture.

Bake 10 minutes and then turn the heat down to 400 degrees F.  Bake another 15 minutes.
Cool.  Eat.


The raisins sort of overpower this loaf, so that it tastes more like a raisin bread with a hint of mango.  Even the coconut is pretty much lost: it is only once in a while that you get a hint of a taste of it. 

The raisins also caused the loaf to stick to the pan.   Too many raisins!


There are not enough coriander seeds to make a difference in the finished loaf, although crushing them and incorporating them into the dough during mixing is very fragrant.

I should have done the bulk fermentation and final proofing in one step, I think.  The original srecipe didn't call for a punching down, and I don't think I improved the final result to have two steps.

The original recipe called for 2-3 mangoes, but only 150g of fruit flesh.  I was over that amount with one mango -- but I probably could have used 2 or 3.  Next time I make this, if I do, I will forego the raisins.

Notes to Myself

  • Next time, try doubling up on the mango fruit.  Don't put in any raisins.  Try dried mango fruit.  Walnuts would work here too.  And some people have tried cinnamon, or ginger, instead of coriander.  Next time, don't punch down the dough, but try bulk fermenting it in the tin and baking it directly once it has risen.
  • * Let me pause and say that, as Josh (real baker, friendly occasional commenter on various blogs I've written) has often pointed out, proofing yeast isn't necessary, using today's yeast.  This methodology seems to be a throwback from an earlier time, when yeast production wasn't as perfect, or people didn't use enough yeast to ensure that it remained viable.  It seems to have been done, though, in many earlier recipes, and so you find it being repeated today by bakers from various backgrounds. 

    I can imagine only one possible reason why someone today might want to get the yeast hydrated and even munching away on sugar, prior to being added to the main dough mixture.  This is based on something I've read but can't confirm -- along with a misunderstanding of the yeast itself.  I'll elaborate: I have heard that salt will stop yeast from reproducing -- but not from consuming sugar.  So once you add salt to a dough, the number of yeast you have therein will not increase, but it will not stop them from eating up the saccharides and leaving behind carbon dioxide and either water or alcohol.  If you want more yeast in your dough, perhaps it would be best if you use a small amount, hydrate it well and feed it without the salt, and leave it for an optimal time in the presence of lots of oxygen. 

    But the question then becomes, how long does it take for yeast to reproduce, once hydrated and exposed to sugars?  Is the 5 minutes that a yeast is proofed long enough time for the yeast to double, let's say?  No, there is not enough time.  Yeast takes at least 90 minutes to reproduce in aerobic conditions.   Thereafter, its growth is logarithmic, however.  Likely what you are seeing, in the bloom of proofing yeast, is yeast beginning to feed and store up food for its asexual reproduction phase.  This treatise on yeast used in breadmaking suggests that yeast reproduction is going to take at least 2 hours to even be noticeable.

    Indeed, the people at King Arthur Flour have said that "there is almost no reproduction occurring in bread dough, and the rise we see is almost entirely due to gas production during fermentation".  Since this is so, then sating our yeast on sugar during a yeast 'proofing' stage is going to ultimately retard the yeast's activity in our bread.  Why would they eat our maltose and amylose if they are already stuffed on brown sugar?  It is like asking someone to have a helping of turkey and stuffing after they have gorged on pumpkin pie.

    You might think that much longer preferments might have an effect  on both the number of yeast and the bi-products they leave behind in their munching.  However, the Pasteur Effect tells us that when the yeast is busy reproducing, it is not so busy fermenting.  You can get yeast to reproduce in an aerobic atmosphere, but once the oxygen is gone, they get busy fermenting.  There is some oxygen incorporated into dough during mixing and kneading, but mostly we have an anaerobic environment.  The yeast's job, for the baker, is fermenting, not reproducing.

    Lets leave the asexual reproduction to the Fleischmann family.  Our way is more fun.

    My understanding is that the yeast we get in the active dry yeast or instant yeast form is coated with what is essentially the bodies of dead yeast, formed during the quick freezing process that occurs during their processing.  When you hydrate your yeast, you are removing this dead layer that encircles the yeast and allowing it to awaken from its slumber.  This is going to happen when you hydrate your flour in any case, so why would you dump the yeast in the water beforehand?

    Perhaps the reason the pre-hydration of yeast is still done is simply that by doing it, people can see for themselves the magic in yeast, and reproduce for themselves the age-old mystery associated with bread.  And that can be reason enough.


  1. Mango bread looks good, I don't think mango and coriander will go together, may be cardamom is the best bet. I will try with dried one.

  2. I was going to say the same thing Swathi says above. Cardamom is frequently used to complement mangoes in Indian recipes.

  3. Go for it! Let me know how cardamom in your mango bread turns out. If mangoes ever become plenty here, perhaps I'll give cardamom a try too.

    I think that the original recipe was an unique mixture of German and Hawaiian cuisines that skipped over the Indian subcontinent entirely. I personally was quite intrigued by the scent of the coriander and the mango together, and was a bit disappointed that I had not used enough coriander to taste it. In other words (he gently added) don't automatically rule coriander out.

    Perhaps a mango spice bread-off is in my future.

  4. Fresh on the heels of my yacking about yeast I happened upon this blog by Luda, Mariana-Aga's Bread Journal:

    It is written in Russian, but Google Translate helped me see that she has done some interesting empirical research on the yeasts she has available to her. Highly recommended.