Sunday, 21 September 2014

Bread longing...

I'm taking care of myself starting with a focus on eating right, getting the nutrients that I need - iron, fibre, protein, omega fatty acids... what have you.
So bread, the common enemy of many a dieter, heck, many a woman's bum and thighs; is somewhat off the menu for a while.
Now I have not gone cold turkey and never will. There is always a time and place for a crusty bit of bread, cheese, and some dry ham. What I am doing is eating bread less passively; which can only be a good thing right? Before I'd always have bread with dinner, even if it made no sense and left me feeling stuffed.
However, it seems only to be when you've sworn off of something that it is suddenly everywhere and seemingly irresistible.
The morning commute after you've left the safety of your house where you've been well-behaved and had a "good" breakfast, you pass a kiosk with all that produce on display and smelling deliciously just out of the oven. The once weekly shop has been deconstructed into three or four throughout the week in order to buy fresher ingredients and motivate eating well; the down-side is that you're even more exposed to those gorgeous scents coming from the bakery section.
Whatever doesn't kill you (or turns you into only a crying shaking mess) only  makes you stronger so let's give it a go.

The Bread Loaver

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Easy like Sunday morning...

First things first Sunday morning; jump out of bed at 9am and bake some bread!
A simple loaf; mix of brown and white flour, lots of yeast and will be ready to go with my lunch.



The Bread Loaver

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Bouncy Brown Bread

A long weekend in Paris meant the opportunity to skip down the aisle of a local Franprix to stock up on food; glorious food.
I stumbled upon a multi-grain bread mix which surprisingly had instructions in English. Home made bread is so simple that I've stopped buying it pre-baked and opt for as close to hand made as possible. 
Admittedly I cheated a bit as the mix only needed some grams of dry yeast and warm water before dropping it in the mixer to wrestle with the dough hook. 
Making this bread could not have been easier and the result was a perfectly bouncy loaf. I've put together some pictures of the bread-making at various stages and in no particular order. I loved the look and feel of it from when it was wet all the way to the final baked result.
Just a few more months until another trip to France! 

The Bread Loaver

Friday, 14 March 2014

Pizza e Patate

I've come to discover that this blog appears to be incorrectly titled.
I do love bread, but lately it seems that the dough that my hands get stuck into, more often than not produces something other than bread.

Do bear with me though while I discuss the latest of my adventures in dough; whereby a delicious pizza was the end result.
After the kneading and folding (my favourite things) and two hours of 'sleep', the dough was ready to be dressed up for a 45 minute rendezvous in the oven.
But before that - to get it into it's pre-party state there was a pile of flour, a dash of water, a pinch of salt, and some yeast.

Hand made with the assistance of my darling Italian; Pizza e Patate takes the idea of Roman focaccia and and molds it in the typical Napolitan style. A white pizza topped with sliced potatoes, rosemary, and mozzarella sounds slightly odd but I can assure you, it tastes fantastic.

And now I've come to the end of the post and realised that I don't have a picture of the cooked pizza, after coming out of the oven. Take it from me, it indeed looked as delicious as it tasted.

The Bread Loaver

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Tart crust

A late post about what I contributed to Thanksgiving dinner back in November.
Looks lovely (if a bit rustic) doesn't it? It was a zesty Lemon Tart that I only attempted as it is one of the very few sweet things that I like.

I was particularly pleased with myself for attempting to make the crust from scratch. The tricky thing about this type of pastry dough is that it is very dry; requiring little moisture. For me that was difficult to work with but it paid off in that it had the right sort of heaviness, very substantial. I followed the recipe in The Bistro Cookbook which calls for just 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of very cold water by way of moisture. My hands and arms got quite the work out when kneading the dough but I always love to gaze upon a lovely round ball of dough so had to snap a picture. It was a perfect deep yellow coloured orb. 
The filling includes heavy cream and fresh lemons which I also zested with gusto; having the effect of bringing bursts of delicious tartness to the finished dessert. 

The Bread Loaver

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Great with Bread: Houmous

Always wanting to eat Bread; I'm more than happy to have it with every meal - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Still quite a novice at bread baking;  but knowing a thing or two about using a Blender; this week has been the start of my "why we don't?" period. Introducing a health-conscious Italian partner to some of my favourite snacking foods is both a pleasure and a risk. Whenever I pop open a jar of something to be dipped in; the initial squirmy face is followed with surprise at how enjoyable it is and then the inevitable "why we don't make this tomorrow?" So instead of being able to enjoy a quick snack, I now have the pleasure of making it myself - from scratch.
The latest no-longer-snack item that I've been coerced into making is Houmous.
Although, I can't say I'm sorry. Since discovering how easy and quick it is, and how much better it tastes, I'm now more than eager to bring out the blender and make a batch of Houmous.

Today was the ultimate. After forgoing the Tahini on my previous attempt; I understood why it is very much a necessary part of Houmous. I think I use the standard recipe but here it is for those who've never tried it:

  • 1 can or jar of biological Houmous
  • The juice of half a full-sized Lemon
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of Tahini (Sesame Paste)
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
I can't say enough how delicious are all these things when  thrown into a blender together. So simple, so perfect, so texturally great.
As a lover of rustic bread in the baguette or round loaf style; it is always my first choice as an edible dipping instrument for Houmous.
This with a homemade Greek Salad was my very filling, very fresh lunch today.

The Bread Loaver

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Folded and Baked Sweets

Dan Lepard is a genius and I have the buns to prove it.

I used the recipe for Sweet Brandy Buns found in his book The Homemade Loaf.

I had second thoughts about tackling a dough and liquor combination; and I did indeed use a little too much of the sweet brown stuff but it paid off with fantastic results.

I started by making the ferment which was easy enough; the one change I made here was to use a bread mix with added yeast instead of just using pure yeast. This was only because I wasn't able to find yeast at the time.

I then went on to making the dough; sticking to the thrice kneaded method described in the recipe.

The final step before popping them into the oven was to fold and leave the dough to rise. As I'd used self-rising flour for the dough I halved the time required to set it aside before shaping into rounds for the oven.

The recipe was easy to follow and produced a nicely balanced flavour of sugar, brandy, and warmth.
The smell alone was too sublime to resist so I tucked in when they were barely out of the oven.

Despite the self-rising flour; the buns came out a little denser then expected but this was likely due to me not leaving the dough to rest long enough before heating, the additional bread mix, and also the fact that I used a muffin-tin as opposed to a flat one.

Next time I make these I will experiment with using a mixture of  both almond flour and white flour and of course I'll be sure to have some yeast.

The Bread Loaver