Baking Bread 28

I’ve tried something new this time. I know I say this a lot but it’s not just new recipes. I’ve made bread with grains. Proper whole grains.

It was also an opportunity to turn half of my rye sourdough starter (Sinbad II) into a wheat starter (Ishmael). That’s also something I’ve found intriguing for some time. You can really see the different colours (from the flours) – the first one is Ishmael, the second one Sinbad II:

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Near my dentist is a health food store and every time (well, nearly anyway) I go to the dentist, I pop in there too. They’ve got fantastic hot chocolate bars… among other things, of course. So when I went for a check-up in July, I bought barley, rye and wheat grains. I had no particular use for them in mind, I just remembered that there are a few recipes in Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf that require grains. And I like bread with different textures, that give you something to chew. It took me a while to get round to them but I got there in the end and tried out two recipes, the Alsace Loaf with Rye and a Five Grain Loaf.

The grains need to be cooked prior to baking and I found that the time given in the book are not quite long enough. It just about works for the Alsace Loaf but for the other one, they were barely cooked. So this needs a bit more research and experimenting on my part. I used rye, as required, in the Alsace Loaf but a mix of barley, rye and wheat in the Five Grain Loaf. The barley and wheat need longer and I only cooked the for 45 minutes which was fine for the rye.

The doughs for both breads are incredibly sticky which is not something I enjoy working with, particularly when the recipe demands it to be shaped into batons… I deliberately only made two Alsace Loaves instead of five. (They just need a little bit longer in the oven.) They dry out too quickly when they’re that thin. The result was fantastic and the kids loved it. For the first time ever, they’ve actually liked my bread so much that they ate it at mealtimes – and not just when I was slicing it for freezing or for tasting. I’m very pleased with that.

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The Five Grain Loaf is fantastic for all the different things that it contains: rye and wheat flour, oat meal and millet grains. More cooked grains are added but what they are is up to the baker. As I’ve said I used rye, wheat and barley. I also ran out of black treacle and replaced the missing bits with malt extract. The loaf might be a tad too sweet but it’s incredibly light and very tasty!

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I know in the second picture it looks as if the slices had a green tinge to them. They hadn’t. It must have been the light in my kitchen. I tried to photoshop the green out but it didn’t work (rather, I’m not very good with photoshop). So believe me when I tell you that they had a lovely brown colour and looked rather appetising!

More Lactation Cookies

It was time for more Lactation Cookies, using the same recipe again.

My brother and his wife had a baby girl on Thursday, 25 September. She had struggled breastfeeding the other two girls so it seemed a good idea to bake her something that could help her along this time. (And it appears she has already turned to good old Google to find some recipes herself…) My now middle niece has tried one of the cookies and she liked it. That’s a start!

So it was the same recipe again. I used half the amount of sugar, a nearly fifty-fifty mix of porridge oats and whole grain flakes and milk chocolate.

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They taste perfect now. The only thing I had to adjust was the baking time. After the last tray had come out of the oven, I put all the cookies back in, turned the oven off and left them for an extra ten minutes. Basically, they need a bit longer in the oven. That was just me being mental again.

A two-day ration I took over to our neighbours. Their baby girl is now six weeks old and can do with a bit of chocolate-oat milk…

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As you can see, the cookies are pretty chocolate-chunky! Lovely while still warm, by the way.

A Christening and a Cake

You remember I made Clangers? Well, Master Meike’s Kitchen and I had been invited to a Christening, about 450km away from here, up North. The Godmother-to-be, a girl I’d gone to school with, picked up the boy and myself and we were on our way by midday. We hadn’t seen each other for eight years so we had a lot to catch up on. About two hours into the journey we had a break for a late lunch. Fortunately for the boy, there was a playground so he could have a run around. The clangers went down really well (and nobody dropped one…) although I thought that the savoury side could have done with a bit more salt and pepper and Master would have preferred an all sweet-side clanger.

The Christening was supposed to happen in a small stream in the forest, with eight children being christened. Every family was supposed to bring some food for a buffet afterwards.
You have guessed already that it didn’t work out as planned. There was heavy rain on Saturday so the ground was soaked and an alternative was thought out:
The service took place in the Kindergarten’s hall. Outside in the garden, they had pumped up water from the stream and erected a marquee for the actual Christenings. It was still raining on Sunday and the water was, apparently, rather cold. None of the other families wanted to participate in the buffet afterwards, apart from us, but in the end we also went back home. Being the only ones in that hall would have been a tad silly.

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I had made a cake to bring to the Christening and I was very pleased that it survived the journey (in a cardboard box, with cool packs at the bottom, lined with tin foil).

White Zucchini Confetti Celebration Cake

This recipe is based on i am baker’s White Zucchini Cake and Cookies and Cups’ Confetti Cake.

Ingredients:

130g sugar
250g flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

95g vegetable shortening

1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cups milk

3 egg whites

130g shredded zucchini
40g sprinkles

Method:

Stir the dry ingredients together.

Rub in the shortening.

Stir in the the vanilla and milk. You may need to add some more milk.

Add the egg whites. Stir until well incorporated.

Stir in the zucchini and sprinkles by hand.

Pour into two round 18cm cake tins, greased and lined with parchment. Bake in a preheated oven (180°C) for about 45 minutes. Let cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning out on a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

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I sandwiched the cakes together and frosted them with a chocolate buttercream frosting, following Cookies and Cups’ Easy Chocolate Buttercream recipe. I used 85g milk chocolate and 85g dark chocolate with 230g butter.

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And to make it really pretty and suitable for the occasion, I added little sugar hearts as decoration.

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When all the other guests had gone, this is what was left:

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Master Meike’s Kitchen and I stayed until Tuesday when we came back home on the train. We had a few lovely days with our friends and I’m sure we’ll do this again soon.

Dropping a clanger and other things….

Have you ever wondered what dropping a clanger really means? Where the expression comes from?

I have.

(I don’t get out much.)

And then I came across a recipe for Bedfordshire Clangers in Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds. He says that “clanging” may derive from an old East Midlands word meaning “eating with great relish”. These clangers are like the original Cornish pasties, with a savoury side and a sweet side, mains and dessert in one. So if you dropped one, you’d just lost yourself a whole meal. Definitely not good!

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Master Meike’s Kitchen and I will be traveling North again tomorrow and I thought these would be the perfect lunch items. This time we’ve been invited to a Christening (his Godmother’s youngest girl, my Goddaughter’s baby sister) and the Godmother-to-be is giving us a lift. I’ve only found out this evening that we won’t be leaving until noon so they’ll probably have to be a late lunch snack item. Or something.

Anyway. I had too much filling and the pastry was too sticky and too thin. And then I didn’t preheat the oven to the correct temperature. But – they look alright, they smell tasty and so far they’ve not broken apart…

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The recipe for the Clangers can be found here. I’ve also returned to the Bread book, still Paul Hollywood, to try out the Malt Loaf. I love the bought ones in England but these are lovely too. Mine didn’t rise as much as I expected them to in a two-hour period but the consistency is great, not too dense but not too fluffy either. Just right. The recipe is on the BBC website.

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One of the loaves will also join us tomorrow on our travels. I’m hoping that the raisins will keep it fresh.

And in my next post I will tell you all about a special Christening and a Christening cake…

French-Style Apple Tart

I’ve got a number of tried and tested apple cake / tart recipes but every now and so often it seems mandatory to try something new. In this hour of need I turned to Paul Hollywood and his Pies and Puds. He’s got a lovely recipe for a French-Style Apple Tart.

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Mr Hollywood’s version on the left, my efforts on the right…

The base is a sweet shortcrust pastry which turned out nice and flaky. For the first time ever, I did that thing of draping the rolled out pastry over my rolling pin to put it in the tart form. Unfortunately I had a soggy bottom (and we don’t want that, do we?) but I believe that’s Miss Meike’s Kitchen’s fault. Her naptime was coming up and my plan was to peel and slice the apples and finish the tart when she’s in bed so I put the frangipane on the pastry. Wrong! She didn’t want a nap. She stood up in her cot and wanted to talk to me. So I took the apples and everything else with me and sat on the floor in the corridor outside her room. We had the door open and had a chat while I got on with things. But of course it all took longer than expected… In the end, by the way, she didn’t sleep at all during the day. I think we’re at that point where we soon won’t have any naps during the day anymore. Bye bye, lovely cup of tea with my feet up in the mornings! 🙂

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I’ve already mentioned that there’s a frangipane layer. I’ve never (knowingly at least) tasted on of them before nor made one but I quite like it. I mean I like marzipan and the taste is very similar, all almonds.

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For some reason my sugar on top of the apples didn’t caramelise. It turned more crusty which is a shame. The original recipe also calls for warmed apricot jam to glaze the tart. I didn’t do that- I was too mean to open a jar of apricot jam just for a couple of spoonfuls… It was lovely though. Even without. Master Meike’s Kitchen had about three slices… And it was really nice with vanilla ice cream. Yum.

Baking Bread 27

Saturday was my baking day. I haven’t got round to writing about it because I’ve only got peace to do so in the evenings and for the past three nights I was busy to start my new knitting project. I’m quite new to knitting and I’m making a scarf for Master Meike’s Kitchen. My mum made one for him when he was born and last winter it was already getting a short. I can’t tell you how many times I started and unravelled it again after a few rows. It was horrible! But you see, I had to work it out and get the project going before I had my mind free to start thinking about bread again… And yesterday evening came the breakthrough, suddenly it’s working. (I did one of those yarn over thingies wrong so of course it wouldn’t work….) It’s not much (yet) but I’m very pleased about it:

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But I wasn’t going to talk about knitting, was I? I had a baking day on Saturday morning, as I’ve mentioned. It keeps happening that I plan to make, say, two types of bread and while in the process I think to myself, why not make another one? The oven is hot… And there goes number three!

This happened again on Saturday. I’d planned to make a Rye and Spelt Bread I’ve made before and a Sonnenblumenbrot (sunflower bread) which I’ve also made before. I like them both a lot and it’s odd I don’t make them more often. I’m actually surprised I’ve made them only twice this year. And then I decided to throw in a Spotted Soda Loaf for good measure, I seem to be making this one a lot recently. The last time was just the other day

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Tomato-Ricotta Tarte

I’ve been up to my eyeballs in tomatoes so I didn’t really fancy writing about them as well but now I’m planning a baking day tomorrow so I ought to, really.

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For some reason, I’ve not been able to pick our tomatoes when they’re ripe. Every time I checked on them, they were either just slightly underripe or already soft to the touch and bursting. So I usually ended up with a large amount of them that needed to be dealt with quickly. Over the course of four days, there were four kilos. They ended up in two big salads, tomato chutney, tomato salsa, passata di pomodoro and a canned carrot-zucchini-pumpkin-tomato kind of stew.

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Above are the vegetables for the canned stew, ready to be roasted. I’m pleased to say that everything, even the onions, are from our garden. That stew can be used as a pizza base or for a pasta sauce. It’s a nice thing to have handy during winter when those kind of vegetables aren’t in season.

The recipe for the Tomato-Ricotta Tarte is here and I didn’t really change anything. I don’t have any buckwheat flour so I replaced it with whole wheat flour and the goats cream cheese I replaced with a cow’s milk “feta”. The tarte is beautiful! Warm or cold, doesn’t matter. Delicious!

I found the idea of freezing the tarte before blind baking rather interesting. However, I ran out of time (lunch that day was very, very late) so I skipped that step. But I can report: no soggy bottom!

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Miss Meike’s Kitchen and I have taken another trip to the mill to stock up on wheat flour. I went for the 5 kg bags this time. With the amount of baking I do it won’t go off. The miller himself carried it back to the car for me while his wife and kids manned the shop. It’s a very friendly place to go!

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Baking Bread 26 and other things

I’ve got to catch up on two baking days … and one of them was a night.

My mum was going to preserve some plums but the ones that my dad preped for her were too ripe so I got them to make jam. I’ve got a recipe where the plums are cooked in the oven for hours with brown sugar, vanilla, star anise and cinnamon sticks. It gets lovely and sticky and has quite a different taste to plum jam cooked on the hob. I don’t know which website I got the recipe from but here is one exactly the same. No photos because even though the smell and taste are delicious and wonderful, the look of it is not.

In the meantime I thought I’d bake the bread I had actually planned for the following day but my sourdough starter was bubbling away nicely so ahead I went. The spelt bread I made last time is lovely but not an everyday bread for me, it’s more something for Mr Meike’s Kitchen. I need proper grains… I made the 3-Korn-Vollkorn-Brot that I’ve made before because it’s proper whole meal but … I didn’t have any whole spelt flour so it’s more a 2-Korn-Vollkorn. I only used wheat and rye, a bit more of each to make up the total amount. It tastes alright. I suppose it may have been a bit lighter with added spelt. Since it was quite late, I also wasn’t much in the mood for kneading but I’m not sure whether that would have made a difference. I also think my scales were off because the bread tastes decidedly salty and I had a feeling while weighing it out that the display wasn’t moving for too long. There’s a saying here: if the bread is too salty, the baker’s in love…

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I cut the first slices about 18 hours after baking and – even though the slices are out of focus – you can see that the bread was still too fresh; there are those fluff-like bits at the bottom of the slices (wow, three lines and three times the word “slices” in it, must be a record….)

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These slices were cut another 24 hours after the first ones:

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The next day I made a Carrot and Coriander Quiche for lunch. I made it once before, a couple of weeks after my Goddaughter was christened in 2011. In a few weeks time, her baby sister will be christened. Funny coincidence.

A very similar recipe can be found here. Strictly speaking I don’t think it actually is a quiche since it sits on a yeast dough, more akin to a pizza base. My filling also contains bacon which adds a bit of texture.

This year’s crop of carrots has been exceptional:

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The dough for the base rose beautifully, thanks to an overload of yeast (one sachet for 250g flour), making it resemble a deep-crust pizza:

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I left out the chilli because of the kids but it’s tasty without. It’s lovely warm or cold.

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And while the dough was rising, I made Dan Lepard’s Spotted Soda Bread which I’ve made before. Kindergarten has started again after three weeks summer holidays so I wanted to have something nice to go into Master Meike’s Kitchen’s lunchbox – to go with his cheese and red currant jam sandwiches he’s developed an extreme fondness for. That concoction was his idea, by the way, although it’s something I could have come up with for sure…

It’s only a small loaf and I really don’t know why I bother to freeze half of it. I only defrost it again the next day.

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Anyway, that is the last of the “normal” wheat flour used up. I’ve only got whole wheat left, spelt and all the rye flours so there’s a trip to t’ mill scheduled for next week!