Quick Rolls

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You know I’m not one to shy away from long proving times (overnight in the fridge? Bring it on!) but I find these quick bakes rather interesting.

Today I was making Carrot and Lentil Soup for lunch and rolls always go nice with soup. I find it really difficult to buy baked goods these days (ain’t I silly?) so homemade rolls were an idea and it was an opportunity to try out a quick method. I found a recipe for 30 minute rolls. They aren’t, in fact, 30 minute rolls at all since resting, proving and baking takes 35 minutes but I’m going to ignore that. I started tinkering with the recipe before I even started so here goes:

Ingredients:
236g warm water
61g oil
1 sachet dried yeast
25-50g sugar*
7g salt
1 egg
500g flour**

Method:
Combine water, oil, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Mix into the yeast mix the salt, egg and about half the flour until it’s all combined. Now add the remaining flour in three steps, mixing after each addition. Knead the dough until it’s smooth.
Divide the dough into 12 bits. Shape them into balls. Put them on a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Bake for 10 minutes.

+++ Two things I’m considering at this point for next time: (1) brushing the rolls with water, milk, melted butter or egg wash to give them a bit of a crust and a sheen and (2) baking them with steam or at a higher temperature. +++

* 50g sugar give you quite sweet rolls – more suitable for breakfast. It happen to work out well with our soup so it wasn’t a drama. If I make them again to go with a savoury dish, I’ll use only half the amount.

** The original recipe only requires 435g flour. I had to add quite a lot to get a manageable dough. Of course it also depends on your flour but I’d say 500 is about right, just add it carefully and use more if necessary.

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Malted Cookies & Raisin and Cinnamon Loaf

I did mention in my last post that I had already planned out the next day’s baking. Here it is.

I have been intrigued for quite some time by the idea of Malted Cookies. I’m a secret lover of Horlicks, you see, so I’ve been wondering how it would taste in a cookie. I came across Cookies & Cups’ Soft Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies and decided that would be my template. I left out the chocolate and just make Malted Cookies and I was rather impressed. They were super chewy and really nice. Definitely a keeper. I reduced the amount of sugar but they were still too sweet in my opinion. I suppose that also depends on the malted milk powder you use. I’m not a fan of light products in general but for some reason Horlicks Light is nicer than the standard variety. So that’s what I used even though I read elsewhere that the light varieties usually contain less malt but I had a look on the Horlicks website and this doesn’t seem to be the case here. By the way, I’m not getting paid by Horlicks in any shape or form… A shame really…

Ingredients:
130g flour (I used spelt, I’d run out of wheat)
80g Horlicks (or other malted milk powder)
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
114g butter, melted
100g (or less?) brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tbsp vanilla

Method:
Whisk together flour, Horlicks, baking powder, salt and cornstarch.
Combine the butter and sugar, then add the egg and vanilla.
Stir the butter mix into the dry ingredients. Combine.
Chill the dough for 2 hours, or up to 3 days (you can see now why this recipe appeals to me!).
I used my large teaspoon to measure out the dough, the original recipe asks for 2 tablespoons which I thought a bit excessive. Form the dough into balls and put them on a lined baking tray.
Preheat the oven to 175°C and bake the cookies for about 12 minutes. Leave to cool in the baking tray for 3 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely. (Or try them while still warm – yum!)

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The Raisin and Cinnamon Loaf is a recipe from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf, which I got for my birthday – hooray! 🙂
Other people have blogged about this recipe before (here, here and here, for example – and they all got much nicer pictures than me…) and some of the points I’m going to raise about this have been raised on these blogs. It’s a lovely taste but mine turned out quite dense (I had to substitute some of the flours so it was my own fault). It was good fun to make the hole in the middle of the dough using my elbow. I had never thought of that myself and was a bit sceptical but it worked a treat. I didn’t push the raisins in after I’d formed the loaf and it had risen again so I ended up with loads of burnt black balls. They’re so not nice, they taste really bitter. Since the whole loaf ended up a bit on the burnt side (even though I’d covered it with tin foil after half [!!!] the baking time), that’s kind of the theme running through this. I’ll definitely try this one again when I’ve stocked up on flours and read the other blog posts mentioned above to find remedies for the flaws. I should have done this before really but didn’t anticipate any of this.

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Baking Bread 14

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We’re nearly out of bread again and Mr Meike’s Kitchen is on his way back home so this calls for fresh bread and in particular for white bread. The children have been poorly this week and I spent most of my time holding buckets, mopping up sick, changing horrible nappies – all sorts of lovely things. So I think it’s understandable that I wasn’t in the mood for one of my usual bakeathons. (But I’ve already planned more baking for tomorrow… The kids are much better, you see.)

Since I felt I’ve severely neglected Paul Hollywood’s recipes for some time, I’ve decided to bake two of them at once, not after one another, no, at the same time. These are two very similar recipes, the Bloomer and the Wholemeal Bread, both I’ve made before and linked to the recipes in the respective posts. I felt they’d be good to tackle together since they have similar rising and proving times and the baking times aren’t too different either. I baked them according to the Bloomer instructions and this has worked well. I took the Wholemeal Bread five minutes earlier out of the oven but I don’t think it would have made much difference if I’d left it in a bit longer.

It all worked out rather well – apart from the fact that I use different flour now and still haven’t got used to how much extra water it takes. Then I became impatient and added too much so the dough for the Bloomer was way too sticky and because I wanted to get the other one done as well, I didn’t knead it as much as I should probably have done and blahdiblah. I don’t really know why I moan because it’s turned out beautiful. I made it a lot last year and this is only the second time this year – maybe I’m out of practice.

The Wholemeal Bread needed a bit of improvisation; I’ve run out of whole wheat flour. Or rather, I had about 130g left so the remaining 270g were whole rye flour (is that what is called dark rye by the way?) and I have a feeling that they work completely differently. So that dough was quite dry (I didn’t dare add any more water…) and didn’t rise as much as I’d expected.

The other thing was that I put them both on the same baking tray for the second rise and the Bloomer ended up in a bit of an odd shape because it expanded into the edge of the tray and into the jar I used to holding up my plastic bag. It’s proper home-made… I also got an extremely odd look of Miss Meike’s Kitchen when I took her into the bathroom for a nappy change and had to take the baking tray off the changing commode first and explained to her why it had been there. I mean, come on! Surely at one year and nine months she should understand. After all, she can say “dough”, “bake” and “cake” in German… I think I’m doing pretty well. 🙂

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Mother’s Day Heart

Happy Mother’s Day!

Since I am the only one present in the house at the moment who is over five – that’s over five years of age and over five foot tall… – I more or less had to make my mother’s day cake myself. Oh, the kids did help but it would be massaging the truth too far to claim I was only assisting. Miss Meike’s Kitchen was trying to get her fingers in the bowl while it was on the scale and I was weighing ingredients out. Master Meike’s Kitchen did sieve the flour and cocoa powder and whatnot but then proceeded to stick his fingers into the dry stuff, trying to rub it together like he does when he’s making Rock Cakes with his dad. Ah, the joys of baking with children!

“We” (and I use this term in the loosest possible way) made the same sponge cake that I made for the Valentine’s Day Cake but I had my mind set on a different filling and on a different topping. When I say “I had my mind set”, I actually mean that I made it up as I went along. This chocolate sponge is a wonderfully moist cake, I actually think it doesn’t really need a filling.

This time though I spread some strawberry-gooseberry jam over the bottom sponge and topped that with very thick banana custard (I measured the puréed banana as part of the milk). I don’t think it really works. It may be the gooseberries in the jam or it may be that the jam doesn’t quite go with the custard. Either way, next time it’ll be either nothing or just custard.

I topped the heart with a chocolate cream. I melted odds and sods of cooking chocolate and two small Easter eggs (about 80g I think it was) in 175ml whipping cream over a low heat, let it cool and put it in the fridge overnight. I whipped it up this morning and spread it over the heart.

As far as decorations go, I then really couldn’t be bothered anymore – since I would be the only one taking notice. I used a cake fork to draw some lines over the heart and I actually think the cake looked really nice. Miss Meike’s Kitchen thought so too and immediately stuck her fingers into it… 🙂

So Happy Mother’s Day it is.

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Rhubarb Cake

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Fail! It’s great when you realise just after baking that the recipe is for a larger tin than the one you own and it would have made perfect sense to scale it down a bit but no. Oh no.

Anyways, I tried out this recipe and the Rhubarb-Sour Cream Cake tastes really nice. It makes a change from the rhubarb meringue pies… I actually didn’t change anything, even used the original quantities of sugar since the kiddiewinks aren’t too keen on rhubarb when it tastes too sour. Fair enough, I suppose.

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Unfortunately the cake looks like a giant Yorkshire pudding in the picture above. Trust me, it didn’t look much better in real life. I don’t know why it burned – I’d covered it with foil halfway through baking because it was getting too dark. (And then I didn’t check it again because, you know, I’d covered it with foil…) Maybe Miss Meike’s Kitchen turned the oven up and I didn’t notice but I don’t think so. And then bits of the crust on the side of the cake stuck to the tin and so the cake collapsed a bit on one side, leaving it lopsided… Not my day!

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It wasn’t the best looking cake and it didn’t look anything like the one in pictures in the other blog but it tasted nice. So for next time, I shall scale the quantities of the ingredients down to fit a smaller tin and I shall definitely keep a closer eye on the cake during baking. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that I don’t forget… 🙂

Muesli-Bread Buns

I thought I’d be clever. I had some fresh yeast left over from last week’s bread baking session and needed to work out what to do with it before it goes off. That had happened not long before and I blame it for killing my sourdough starter, the unforgettable Sinbad I. I didn’t want to do lots of maths and convert a recipe to the amount of yeast I had left so I looked for one that required – more or less – the amount that I had.

I came across the recipe for the Muesli Bread that I made a couple of months ago and I thought it might be an idea to shape it into buns instead of loaves. I didn’t put the fruit and nuts into the dough but let it rise without before rolling it out into a rectangle. I brushed the dough with egg wash, spread the fruit and nut mix on top and added cinnamon and brown sugar. I wanted them to be suitable for dessert so wanted them to be sweeter. I also sprinkled some brown sugar on top of the buns before baking.

They came out quite nice but I was a bit disappointed – I didn’t think they were sweet enough (now that’s something you normally don’t hear from me!). I had contemplated spreading some jam on the dough before adding the filling but with hindsight it would probably have been a better option. Or I should have made the dough sweeter. Or used a different dough altogether, maybe the one I used for these Hefe-Schnecken.

Well, I did what I set out to do – which was using up the fresh yeast. But really it was a bit of a half-baked attempt. Could have done better.

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Oat & Raisin Cookies

Now that’s a bit embarrassing. Three times cookies in as many days. Friday: Banana & Raisin Cookies. Saturday: Mr Meike’s Kitchen’s Rock Cakes (the last two hid in our cookie tin and can be seen in the photo below…). Today, Sunday: Oat & Raisin Cookies.
It’s just that they always are so nice, so we keep eating them and then they’re gone and … we have to make another batch. At least they’re slightly healthy…

This recipe is my own concoction. It’s based on 100% Whole Grain Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and these Thick Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. The Whole Grain version is nice but I had problems with the dough although I can’t remember whether it was too sticky or too crumbly. The Thick Chewy ones was my first oatmeal cookie recipe in 2011 and I liked it a lot, without the nuts though and – for both of the recipes – with reduced sugar. Here I first heard about chilling the dough before baking the cookies. I’ve forgotten it today but I’m still happy with the result.

Ingredients
for 36 smallish cookies

120g butter
30g white sugar
30g brown sugar
1 large egg
90g whole wheat or whole spelt flour or a mix
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon
135g rolled oats
110g raisins

Preheat the oven to 175°C.
Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg. Stir well until it’s incorporated. Add the flour, bicarb, starch, salt, vanilla essence and cinnamon. Mix. Add the oats and raisins. Mix.
Use a teaspoon to drop quantities of dough onto a baking tray that is lined with baking parchment. I’ve put 18 on each tray, they don’t spread much.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let the cookies cool on a wire rack.

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Banana & Raisin Cookies

The first time I’ve made cookies this year. Mr Meike’s Kitchen’s specialty is Rock Cakes which he knocks up in no time for a quick treat. So for some reason we’ve always had supplies … until now. I’ve tied out a new recipe, changed it around a bit and ended up with these babies:

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The recipe I had was a cutting from a Somerfield magazine. That was the supermarket round the corner from my mother-in-law’s but it’s been a Coop for quite a long time now. So it’s another one of those recipes that have moved with me for some time and have survived the occasional cull. It was the £20 winner for the reader’s recipe by Donna Fordham, Suffolk and this is my version.

Ingredients
85g butter
50g brown sugar
a few drops vanilla essence
1 large egg, beaten
1 ripe banana, peeled and mashed
175g plain flour + 5g baking powder (or 175g self-raising flour)
95g raisins

You could also add some cinnamon or soak the raisins in some rum before using although Mr Meike’s Kitchen was adamant that they’re fine as they are. Which they are. I mean, they were gone within a day…

Preheat the oven 180°C.
In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. Add the vanilla essence. Stir. Add the egg and banana. Stir well in. Add the flour and raisins.
With a teaspoon (mine are quite large), drop portions of the dough onto a baking tray, lined with baking parchment. I didn’t bother shaping them into balls and all that but you could, of course, do that. I had about 22 cookies, two trays.

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Bake them for about 10 minutes. Give them a few minutes on the baking tray before removing them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

… and then eat them before someone else finds out how tasty they are! 🙂

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… or hide them… 😉

Baking Bread 13

I’ve not had the opportunity for a big baking day so I had to spread it over two evenings (once the kids were in bed) and this worked a treat. I chose recipes that stated the dough to be left in the fridge overnight (as it turned out even nearly 20 hours weren’t a bad thing) or at least 16 hours.

My first bread was a Roggenmischbrot, a rye sourdough bread. The “misch”-bit means “to mix” and it refers to at least two different types of grain being used, in this case rye and wheat. First off though, I had to make a new sourdough starter. Sinbad I died unexpectedly the weekend before Easter. Actually, he didn’t really die but had grown a lot of blueish fur… So exactly 7 months after I started Sinbad I, I started Sinbad II. I followed the same formula (sort of never change a winning team) and it’s worked beautifully. It was also the same bread I made with Sinbad I for the first time. I used half light and half dark rye flour and wholemeal wheat flour too. I also added one teaspoon of bread spice (equal parts coriander, allspice and caraway). I forgot that I wasn’t keen on the recipe because the dough is so immensely sticky, you just can’t shape it. This time I just dumped it unceremoniously from my worktop straight onto a baking tray and baked it as a blob. It turned out a very good looking loaf, if I may say so myself. And it tastes really good. I’ve now copied the recipe in my bread recipe book so it shan’t be forgotten.

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The second loaf was a toaster bread for Mr Meike’s Kitchen so we’re talking wheat flour, white wheat flour and nothing but. I made this Kastenweißbrot that I last made in January, surprisingly. It didn’t rise as well this time and I suppose that’s because I left it with me in the kitchen for the rise and didn’t put in the bathroom where it’s still warmer. Well, you live and learn. Still lovely though (she adds, defiantly…).

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And last but not least: Muesli Buns, more or less the Breadangel recipe for Muesli Stangen. I followed the recipe but I would suggest if you use a fruit-heavy muesli, use just 2 tbsp of honey and if it’s more cereal flakes and nuts, use 3 tbsp. I also used only wholemeal flours. I made my buns smaller than the suggested Stangen (or “rods” in English) because I wanted them to fit into Master Meike’s Kitchen’s lunchboxes. After tasting them, that’s also definitely sufficient sizewise for a small person. Next time I’ll make them even a little smaller than they were this time so maybe do 14 instead of 12. And try to make them more evenly sized too… Mine ended up more oval-shaped than the Stangen . For the muesli as decoration I used a Bircher Muesli because I reckoned the smaller oats would be easier to stick to the buns. I’ll do that again. I also forgot to spray them with water before baking. Therefore they stayed rather soft instead of getting a crust (I suppose) but that was a good omission. Miss Meike’s Kitchen only has front teeth so she’s been able to eat them – and she loves them. Indeed, they are so great that I fully intent to make at least double next time. This was also the dough that I left in the fridge for about 20 hours instead of the overnight / all day stated in the recipe. I’m still very happy with them and I’ll definitely make them again.
I apologise for the odd lighting in the pictures. They were taken, after all, at night.

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