Category Archives: Breakfast

The sourdough files…

I haven’t talked about my bread making on my blog for a while, although I share loaves regularly on Instagram, so I thought I’d post an update. I now make 3 loaves of sourdough bread every week for my son, Ben, plus 2 regular loaves for my husband, who doesn’t like sourdough. I now have my method for producing sourdough loaves pretty fixed, and as Ben raves about the bread on a regular basis, I can only assume that I’m getting it right – for his tastes anyway! 

I’ve also been playing with scoring the loaves, as you might notice! 

It’s great fun! Let’s be honest, Ben doesn’t care about how it looks, that bits just for me 🙂

The basis of my standard loaf is formed from the overnight loaf recipes created and shared by Celia and Selma, with tweaks for my requirements. I’ve played around with various methods and flours and recipes in the past couple of years, but I always come back to this method, this is my failsafe, and when you need to produce bread regularly for breakfasts and school lunches, you need to know it works!

A key element for me is that I need a closer crumb than typical sourdough. Artisan holes are great, but not for making sandwiches for school dinners. To achieve this, I have found that replacing some of the water with olive oil creates a softer tighter crumb and softer bread. 


I keep my starter, Star, in the fridge, and every couple of days, I bring her up to room temperature, feed her equal amounts of flour and water, and once she’s bubbly and happy, I make up two lots of dough. 

I follow the quantities in Selma’s recipe, linked above, but I replace 30g of the water with olive oil.

In two bowls I squidge two lots all of the ingredients together to a rough mix, so that the flour is completely mixed, cover the bowl with a plastic bag, and leave it for an hour.

After the hour, I fold and knead the dough in the bowl for a minute or so until it comes together and forms a smooth ball. 

I then place the dough in bannetons sprinkled with rice flour to prevent sticking. 

I cover the bannetons with plastic bags, and place them both in the fridge. 

Sometimes they’re in the fridge for a night, sometimes for 4 days – the longer proving develops more flavour. 

When I’m ready to bake one, I remove it from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature and prove for another couple of hours. 

I heat the oven to 220c fan, and only when I’m ready to bake, I turn the dough out onto an baking tray, lined with parchment paper. If you turn the dough out too soon, it can spread. 

I quickly slash the dough then bake. 

I put the loaf in the oven, turn the temperature down to 200C fan, and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C fan for another 25 minutes.

Then remove the loaf and cool completely on a rack before slicing. I usually bake my loaves the day before I need them to ensure that they are completely and utterly cooled.

Each of my loaves covers Ben’s breakfast and lunch for two days. He loves it so much, I even made him a special loaf for his birthday earlier this month 🙂 

And that’s my sourdough conveyor belt! I hope it’s useful. 

I hope you’ve had a great week, enjoy your Friday and a visit to Fiesta Friday with Sarah and Liz

Lunch and labneh…but not together…

This is a recent pan full of loveliness that was my lunch one day last week…one of those creations you could just eat again…and again…and again…so here’s what I did…

I put some coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and added a chopped red onion and cooked it for a few minutes, whilst I cut up two medium tomatoes; I added the tomatoes and cooked for a further few minutes; added some drained chickpeas; added a couple of tablespoons of my stock of rose harissa from the freezer; added chopped avocado that needed using up; then made a hole in the middle of it all and added eggs sprinkled with my rose harissa spice mix

This was my quick fix when I came home hungry and ready for food and it was perfect! I ate it straight from the pan with gusto!! 

Having also recently made some labneh again, I thought I’d share that too…

Labneh is basically ‘yoghurt cheese’, used often in middle eastern and Levantine cuisines. It is often offered for breakfast or as part of a mezze with olive oil drizzled over the top, mine also has chilli flakes sprinkled over it. 

It is so easy to make, it’s basically just drained yoghurt. It’s nicest if you use full fat natural yoghurt to make it with, but I have also used low fat yoghurt in the past, it just makes it a lot sharper. 

Determine how you can create a contraption to drain the yoghurt over (you’ll see what I did in the photos) and then scoop your yoghurt into a square of muslin and hang it over your jug/bowl..

My muslin is tied tightly to the wooden handle of a spatula that fits across the top of the jug; then put it in the fridge, preferably overnight…

This was what I took back out of the fridge the following morning. 

Then scrape the lovely labneh from the muslin into a bowl and eat immediately or store in the fridge and use like any other soft cheese…

As you can see it really does firm up without becoming solid..

With the liquid that you drain from the yoghurt, you could throw it, or use it to cook vegetables in or add to recipes. I added mine to some spiced spinach dough for making flatbreads.

I like my labneh plain and unadulterated, but you can add salt before draining the yoghurt if you prefer, or play around with other flavour additions, sweet or savoury based on your taste. 

This was some of that labneh on top of some of my experimental spiced spinach dough and topped with roasted tomatoes..

Mmmmmm….might have to go and make some more!! 

My breakfast chai spice mix…

I realised recently that I don’t ever eat a meal that doesn’t have spices in it; whether it’s a full of cacophony of spices, or merely a sprinkle of roasted cumin or sumac, spices are a big part of my world. And it’s not just in my food, I start each day with turmeric capsules and a cayenne pepper capsule…I think if you cooked me I’d be pretty tasty!!! 

Let’s move on from that horrible idea…to my breakfast…

I cannot bring you a picturesque shot of my breakfast because I am far too happily eating it in the mornings to spend time pimping and preening the bowl for a perfect photo; I did consider making two lots one morning just to have one to make pretty, but who needs all that? This is a bowl for eating, not looks. 

This is my chai spiced banana porridge. And I love it!!! 

I eat this every morning, because I love it so much, it’s full of goodness, and if I even think about having something else, I already start missing my lovely porridge. I will tell you how I make it, but what I really want to share is my spice mix…

Which also isn’t pretty to look at really, but the taste and smell is beautiful! 

I was recently sent some chai spices and tea to try from my lovely friends at Spice Kitchen UK and this is what inspired my breakfast spices. I made the tea and spice infused milky drink as directed, but I was far more interested in trying the chai spices minus the tea…so I put some in my porridge. 

It worked really well except for the fact that the spice mix was created for making tea and being strained and therefore, the spices don’t need to be finely ground, consequently, I was biting into peppercorns and cardamoms which wasn’t so good, but the overall effect was fab. So I decided to make my own version..

Chai spice is made up of the spices that you would associate with Christmas: the beautiful cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger take you right into December. Add in the cardamom and black pepper and it becomes the wonderful chai creation of India. For my breakfast mix, I left out the pepper and increased the proportion of cinnamon, but you could of course amend it to your tastes..

Based on ground spices I mix:

4 tbsp cinnamon

2 tbsp ginger

1 tbsp cardamom

1 tbsp cloves

1/2 tbsp nutmeg

Mix together well and store in an airtight jar. 

To make my breakfast, I soak my oats overnight in water with a huge heaped teaspoonful of the spice mix, then add mashed banana in the morning before heating it all. And then I take time to eat it and savour it and love it…and then I start looking forward to the next morning when I can eat it all again! 

The aroma on its own is enough to make you smile! 

I’m sure this spice mix would work perfectly in cakes and muffins and drinks, it makes me remember Selma’s wonderful award winning chai spiced banana bread 🙂 

I hope you’re having a great start to the week xx

Another sourdough loaf in pictures…

 Last weekend I put together two sourdoughs and, just like the other loaf, I photographed the process of this one too so I thought I’d share it…

This one is a mix of strong white, kamut/Khorason and spelt flours, with added pumpkin seeds and linseeds/flaxseeds. I put the dough together initially on Friday morning.

and so it began to come alive.. this was at 9.30am.. this was the growth by 1.00pm.

and then at 5.30pm.

I then folded the dough several times and covered it and put it in the fridge to slow the proving. Yesterday (Tuesday) morning it had grown again whilst in the fridge..

7.00am on Tuesday.

I knocked it back and folded it a few times then placed it into a floured banneton to come to room temperate and prove for one last time..

 By midday it had grown again and was ready to bake..

 I heated the oven to 250C then carefully tipped the dough into my enamel roaster..
 And slashed the dough..

   
 
Once the oven was up to temperature, I turned the heat down to 220C, put the lid on the roaster and cooked it for 45 minutes with the lid on, and 5 minutes without.. 

The dough spread more than rose as it baked, but the flavour and texture was GOOD! It’s quite chewy and the seeds are lovely, and it’s seriously sour – my mouth is still sore a day later! 
   
  My lovely boy has eaten 8 slices of this loaf today, I do love that he enjoys sourdough, it adds to the joy of making it. His mouth isn’t sore like mine though luckily 😉

Happy Wednesday! 

The lifecycle of a sourdough loaf…

Having shared these photos on Instagram over the last couple of days, and possibly bored people to tears, I thought I’d share them with you all too…!!! Hopefully I won’t bore you to tears too?! Or everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday?! 

This is a loaf I put together yesterday morning and the photos chart it’s growth through to baking and eating..having used my lovely patterned Moroccan bowl again, you can literally see the growth. This is a sourdough loaf made with a mixture of my freshly fed bubbly starter, rye flour, kamut flour, strong white flour, pumpkin seeds and poppy seeds..

It began at 7am on Friday morning which is when I first put the dough together. 

This is the growth after 6 hours.

This is a later in the day at 5.30pm, hence the lack of light.

I then knocked back the dough, folded it several times and left it to prove again overnight.

This is what I woke up to at 6.30am on Saturday. Wow! The fact that it just keeps growing blows my mind 🙂

 All ready to bake. The dough was quite sloppy so difficult to shape and slash. 

The baked loaf 45 minutes later.

And the inside story…

   
Isn’t it cool to literally see a loaf of bread come alive?? I love it! And it tastes good, which is a bonus! 

Check out my loaf plus lots of other people’s amazing dishes/offerings at Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the lovely Steffi and Andrea

Happy Weekend!!! 

Za’atar & goats cheese mixed flour sourdough bread…

 I’ve been having fun with my sourdough starter again recently, as you will have seen from my previous post, and may have already seen on Instagram…? Well, this loaf was my biggest experiment yet… 

I’ve seen lots of wonderful looking filled or flavoured loaves of bread on others people’s blogs and have wanted to try out some ideas but wasn’t sure what effect the added ingredients would have on the dough. This week I had put together two different sourdough doughs so decided to risk one of them. 

The dough was a mixture of spelt flour, kamut/Khorason flour and a smaller amount of strong white flour, consequently the dough was quite sloppy and not the easiest to work with. When you use spelt flour, whether using 100% spelt or with a small percentage of other strong bread flours as I did here, the dough initially feels quite sturdy, but quickly loosens up as it proves, it is therefore often useful to bake the bread in a tin to help it keep a shape. I didn’t do that this time which is why when you bake the bread, the dough spreads before it rises during the bake, hence why the bread looks flatter than previous loaves, it made up for its looks in taste though 🙂  

So, I basically put the dough together based on the overnight recipe I’ve used many times before, using 200g spelt flour, 200g kamut flour & 100g strong white flour, 160g bubbly starter & 290g water. It developed and rose beautifully overnight and the next day I used a scraper to pour the dough onto a large tray sprinkled with flour and crumbled mild goats cheese over the top along with some za’atar mixed with olive oil.. 

I then had to use the scraper to loosely mix it through the dough, I didn’t work it too much, then left it to rise again whilst I heated the oven.. 

I heated the oven to 250C (fan) then poured – yes, poured, it was that sloppy! – the dough into my roasting pan, put the lid on, turned the oven down to 220C and baked it for 30 minutes with the lid on, and a further 12 minutes without it. The smell as it baked was AMAZING!!!!!!! OMG! spelt smells amazing as you bake it, so does kamut, put them together with the spices, and woohoo!!! heaven in your nose!  

  I ate it on its own yesterday, it didn’t need anything with it to be honest. By this morning the aroma of the za’atar filled the kitchen and it took all my will power to wait until lunch time to have some! 

I toasted a couple of slices and topped them with ricotta cheese and some cherry tomatoes and garlic that I had slow roasted yesterday.. 

  So good!! And check me out using my gorgeous new bowls from Sytch Farm Studios – I’ve been looking at them and loving them for three weeks now so finally decided to use them…I struggle to use new things! I like to cherish them in all their new beautiful glory for a while, I’m exactly the same with clothes!!

Anyway, I hope you feel inspired to chuck something new in your dough, next time I will add more goats cheese, as it got a bit lost. I hope my lovely friends at this week’s Fiesta Friday enjoy my loaf, do join us and our lovely co hosts this week, the fabulous Linda and Caroline

Have a great weekend! 

Wholemeal spelt & roasted cumin flatbreads and my daily loaf..

 It’s not news to you that I make fresh bread daily for my boys; for a year or so, that was the job of my breadmaker, producing perfect loaves each day. Since taking up the sourdough challenge and loving making my own loaves by hand, I’ve now started making all of my household’s bread myself each day and the breadmaker is now collecting dust. 

I use fresh yeast each day for my bread and I much prefer it to dried yeast, it’s so easy to work with. You can ask at any supermarket with an in house bakery for fresh yeast in the UK and they give it out for free, alternatively, I bought a big brick of it last week on eBay. I kept some out for immediate use and have portioned up the rest and put it in the freezer, as fresh yeast only lasts a week or so in the fridge. I defrost a portion daily, it defrosts very quickly; it may soften as it defrosts but it’s still in good working order.  
For daily use, I follow this pretty standard bread recipe which turns out a perfect loaf each time. I make this each afternoon ready for the next day; the rising time is only an hour. Should you wish to develop the flavour for longer, you could always reduce the amount of yeast and leave the dough to rise for longer. In this house, this typical, straightforward loaf is ideal for my boys and their less discerning palettes. You can play around with flours and additions. 
I use an organic strong white flour that hasn’t been bleached or played with in any way. I’ve also used the same recipe with brown flour and spelt flour (more about that later). 
This is my basic daily bread recipe:

Ingredients 

500g strong white flour

1 tsp salt

300ml warm water

15g fresh yeast

1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Put the salt in a large mixing bowl, then top with the flour. 

Melt the yeast in the warm water, pour it into the bowl with the flour, add the olive oil, and mix it all together by hand.

Turn it onto a lightly oiled surface and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until silky and smooth.

I then put the dough into a greased loaf pan and leave it to rise with a plastic bag over the top, not touching the dough.

Heat oven to 210C (fan) and bake for 15 mins; turn oven down to 180C fan and bake for a further 15 mins. 

Remove and turn the loaf out onto a rack to cool.

Done 🙂  

I also often use plain or wholemeal spelt flour. Spelt flour acts quite differently; it doesn’t need to be kneaded for long, it’s happier not being handled so much; its roses quickly, half an hour will do; and it baked beautifully, with a gorgeous nutty smell. It will bake with a crunchy crust which looks and smells amazing! My boys are getting to appreciate these loaves too.  

 This week I also made my first ‘khobez’ or Arabic bread (khobez means bread in arabic). I loved this bread as a teenager living in Dubai; it comes in various sizes in Middle Eastern supermarkets, from huge thin platter-sized rounds, to smaller, thicker breads, which is what I made. We used to cut these open and fill them with onion and cheese and cook them on a barbecue on the beach at the weekend..yum!!! 

I used a recipe from ‘Palestine on a Plate‘, the writer of which, Joudie Kalla. is featured in this months Delicious. magazine. Joudie has created a downloadable app with recipes and other stuff which I purchased last week and am loving.  

Following on from making the khobez and from a comment from Linda about adding cumin to bread, I, of course, decided to play around with the breads and came up with these… 

Wholemeal spelt & roasted cumin flatbreads:

Ingredients 

200g flour (I used wholemeal spelt flour, you could use any flour of your choice)

120ml warm water

7g fresh yeast

25ml olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp nigella seeds

Method 

Put the salt in a large mixing bowl, then top with the flour. 

Melt the yeast in the warm water, pour it into the bowl with the flour, add the olive oil, roasted cumin and nigella seeds and mix it all together by hand.

Turn it onto a lightly oiled surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until silky and smooth.

Place in an oiled bowl and leave covered to rise to an hour. 

Once risen, knock the dough back and cut into 5-6 pieces. 

Form balls with the dough and roll out flat, not too thin or too thick. 

Heat a tawa or non stick pan over a medium heat and cook the breads in the pan for about 4-5 minutes each side, checking they don’t get burnt. 

Alternatively, you could try baking in a hot oven for a few minutes.

Eat immediately or store for a few days in an airtight container. These were almost better the next day once the flavour had developed further. I throughly enjoyed them with some of my green goodness sauce as a dip.  
I’m bringing my bread recipes to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by Loretta and Caroline – come and join the fun 🙂