Tag Archives: baking

Date yeast water bread…

Following on from my previous post about making bread from fruit yeast water, this was the outcome from the yeast water that I cultivated from a handful of dates. 

The dough was lovely, the rise was good, and the actual bread was very very tasty! It was wonderfully chewy and very holey…

…I will definitely be soaking some more dates very soon!

Let me also draw your attention to my new Appalachian Bow Saw bread knife…

This artisan handmade beauty is THE best bread knife I have EVER used! Plus it’s beautiful! This was handmade in the U.K. by a gentleman who calls himself ‘thegarlictun’ on Instagram and Facebook. Perfect for any bread lover – I love mine 🙂 

Advertisements

Fruit yeast water bread…

This loaf of bread was created with yeast cultivated from an apple and a jar of water…

…and so was this one…how cool is that???

I saw a mention of yeast water on Instagram so set about investigating it and discovered it’s all about capturing the natural yeast in fruit, and literally, all you need is fruit and water. I didn’t find any hard and fast rules, just people talking about what they’d done, so I took the ideas and had a go myself. 

I washed an apple (to remove any nasties), cut it up, then put it in a jar with water. The jar was clean, but I didn’t sterilise it; I used water from the tap because I know that our tap water is okay for my sourdough starter, so I assumed it would be okay for this. You might need to boil and cool some water if yours is heavily chlorinated. 

And then I left it, for a week. Initially I thought nothing was happening, I gave it the odd shake, and left it to brew, then the water got cloudy and bubbles began to appear, and eventually the water looked as ready as it might be to my untrained eye…

I then mixed equal parts of water with strong bread flour and left it overnight and this is what happened…

Lovely bubbly starter! I guess you could call it a starter or a biga or a poolish, it’s basically flour and water and yeast to create the base of a dough, but in this situation the yeast is wild yeast from fruit. It smells sour like sourdough starter, and acts in pretty much the same way. 

Having read about raisin water, halfway through the week I also filled another pot with a handful of dates and some more tap water and this also yielded some lovely yeasted water after 5 days, with which I created this starter…

You can literally see the strength of the yeast!

To create loaves I have followed guidelines that I use for my sourdough loaves. So once you’ve cultivated the yeast water, this is my suggestion for then making a loaf like this…


Day one

Strain 150g of yeast water from the jar and mix well with 150g strong white bread flour

Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave on the counter for 12-18 hours

Day two

Your ‘starter’ should be lovely and bubbly; add 500g strong white bread flour, 280g water and 1 tsp salt 

Squidge it all together roughly so that the flour is all covered, then cover the bowl with the plastic bag again and leave it for an hour

After an hour, perform a series of folds and turns in the bowl; you don’t need to take the dough out and knead it on a surface, just lift a handful of dough from one side and fold it in, turn the bowl, lift and fold, turn the bowl and repeat until you have a lovely smooth ball of dough 

Cover again with the plastic bag and repeat two or three more times over the next few hours 

After the last folding, place the dough in a banneton sprinkled with rice flour

Cover with a plastic bag and place in the fridge overnight 

Day three

Remove the dough from the fridge and leave on the counter for a few hours to come up to room temperature – if your kitchen is very warm maybe only leave it for an hour or so 

Preheat the oven to 250C 

When it’s ready, turn the dough out into a roaster with a lid, with a layer of baking parchment underneath the dough 

Slash the dough

Put the lid on the pan, place it in the oven, turn the temperature down to 220C and bake for 25 mins

Remove the lid, turn the oven down to 180C and bake for 20 mins

Remove and check that if you tap the base of the bread it sounds hollow, and that it doesn’t have any soft areas that look uncooked; if you think it needs a couple more minutes, place it directly on an oven rack to finish off 

Cool on a rack for a few hours before slicing – if you slice into it too soon, steam can fill the loaf and render it gummy 

And enjoy!

I have used the water in batches and it continues to be bubbly. I then discarded the apple but next time I would add more water and see if it maintains some strength to use it again. I am also drying out some of the prepared starter to see how it goes, and I’ve saved some bubbly starter to see if it can be re fed like sourdough starter, I’ll let you know about these.

What I can tell you is that my sourdough connoisseur is loving the bread, it’s basically a sourdough if you ask me. It smells and behaves the same way. When the dough went in the oven, you could really smell the apple, but the smell and flavour didn’t continue into the baked loaf. Apparently some people add more of the fruit water to the dough in place of water to add more flavour to the dough, but I haven’t done that yet. 

PLEASE NOTE: flours around the world act differently, some require more water, some less. If you know how your flour behaves, keep this in mind. Otherwise, go by feel. 

Enjoy!

I hope that everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday enjoys my fruit yeast water bread, especially co hosts Liz and Jenny

Semolina sourdough…

On Instagram I follow a lovely lady called Anita who bakes amazing bread and lots of sourdough which she shares as @sourdough_mania. Anita shares lots of recipes and tips and recently posted a semolina sourdough recipe which just tickled my fancy! So I made it, the loaf is in the photo above, and it was fab. The dough is lovely, beautifully smooth, wonderfully springy, and the baked outcome is really tasty. So I’m sharing my experience and recipe; I added some oil to Anita’s recipe to tighten up the crumb…

NOTE: this recipe is four days in the making, although not labour intensive during that time, and I do think it’s worth it. I tried making a shorter overnight version and the outcome wasn’t as good as the full four day version, although I will be experimenting with that further. All of the love and care does create a lovely, bouncy dough.

It is a VERY soft dough though and it does need to be cooked straight from the fridge. If you leave it out of the fridge for a while before cooking, my experience is that it will lose its form and spread as you bake it. 

Recipe 

Preparing your starter: 

Feed your starter. I know that if I feed Star with 1/4 cup of flour & 1/4 cup of water, she will yield the necessary 70g of bubbly starter. I increase this to 1/2 cups to generate the starter I need when I’m making 500g loafs. Once your starter is lovely and bubbly, begin..

Day one: mix together..

70g bubbly starter

70g ground semolina 

70g water

…and leave out overnight.

In a separate bowl mix together…

310g semolina flour

180g water 

1tbsp oil 

…and leave in fridge overnight.

Day two: remove the semolina/water/oil mixture from the fridge to soften up and make it easier to mix with the starter.

Your starter should be lovely and bubbly and alive now. Add 1tsp salt to it, then mix it into the semolina/water/oil mixture. You’ll need to get your hands in to mix it really well.

Keep it out of the fridge like this for 2-3 hours and during that time, perform a series of 5 stretches and folds on the dough. Then cover the bowl and return it to the fridge.

Day three: remove the bowl from the fridge and leave at room temperature and allow the dough to increase by about 60% (by eye). 

Then shape the dough. I stretch and fold the dough into a ball and place it into a floured banneton. 

Cover and put back into the fridge. 

Day four: Preheat oven to 275C.

Prepare your choice of bakeware – I bake mine in an enamel roaster on a round of parchment paper. Take the dough from the fridge and place directly into the roaster/on baking sheet, slash and put into the oven.

Reduce the oven to 245C (I use 220C fan), bake with the lid in the roaster for 25 mins, remove the lid and bake for a further 15 mins

Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool before slicing 

Since making this first loaf, I have made 3 more! For one of them I merely doubled everything and created a monster loaf (above)! It was a beauty though!! I’ve also calculated up the quantities to make a 500g (semolina) loaf which is my typical size, and it worked well too.

The quantities were: 

112g starter/semolina/water

500g semolina 

288g water 

1tbsp oil

1tsp salt 

Baked for 25 mins covered, 20 mins uncovered 

I highly recommend giving it a go! 

Wishing you all a great weekend, starting with this week’s Fiesta Friday with Lindy and Paula

x

Savoury buttermilk scones or ‘biscuits’…

I’ve seen many of my US blog pals post ‘biscuits’ and I’ve been curious to try them for a while. Jess, Suzanne and Gretchen, to name a few, have all posted recipes for biscuits. My understanding is that these are eaten with a main meal, which makes them even more interesting, and something completely new to me.

In the U.K. we’d call these scones, a savoury, non sweet version of scones, made with buttermilk and NO sugar…consequently, when I finally made these, my savoury loving boy LOVED them, but my sweet toothed husband couldn’t even contemplate trying one! To him, a scone is sweet and eaten with jam, not something dunked in soup or a stew, or used to house a burger!

They are incredibly easy to make, and as you’ll see, very easy to add various cheeses or other ingredients to. I’ve now made them three times in the last few weeks, and the boy has eaten them with relish. I’ve made them plain, with a mixture of cheddar cheese and Red Leicester cheese, with strong cheddar, and with smoked cheddar: all got a thumbs up 🙂 

Ingredients

350g self raising flour

85g butter, cut into chunks

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Tiny pinch of salt

284g pot of buttermilk 

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C fan. Line a baking sheet with parchment or greaseproof paper. 

Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and butter in a bowl.

Using your fingertips, or using a food processor (as I do), rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Pour in all of the buttermilk and mix lightly to form a soft dough – this takes very little time. If using a food processor, mix until it has just about come together, then turn out and finish bringing it together to form a soft dough with your hands. 

If you are adding cheese, add a couple of handfuls of grafted cheese now as you bring the dough together. 

Knead the dough very briefly, then on a lightly floured surface, roll it out to about 2cm thick.

Cut out as many rounds as you can using a 5cm cutter. Keep bringing the leftover dough together and flattening to use it all up but handle it as little as possible. 

Place the rounds on the baking sheet with a little space in between each one, and bake for 12-15 minutes – mine have been taking about 13 minutes. 

Leave them to cool….OR just grab one and give it a try!!!!! 😄😄😄
They’re good immediately, or after about 3-4 minutes to save burning your mouth. They also store well in an airtight container. 

I haven’t brought anything to Fiesta Friday for a couple of week’s, so I’m bringing these along this week and I hope the party goers enjoy my biscuits 🙂 Join co hosts Diann and Monika to see what goodies are on offer..

Happy Weekend! 

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!!! 

Handmade bread, focaccia and fresh yeast..

  I’ve been making bread daily for my boys in our breadmaker for the past couple of years, but you’ve all seen me making sourdough bread recently, and thoroughly enjoying myself, so now Ben demands sourdough EVERYDAY and the breadmaker has been collecting dust…but my husband doesn’t like sourdough fresh, he only likes it toasted, so I’ve decided it’s only fair to make sourdough alternate days and standard loaves inbetween, and with all the sourdough bread I’ve been making by hand, I wanted to now make non sourdough loaves by hand too. You know me, always liking a challenge, I decided it’s time to try out using fresh yeast too. 

This month, Delicious magazine included a recipe for a lovely looking handmade loaf…

   …which I decided to try out. At this point I only had dried yeast…

…but it still worked perfectly…I even replicated the photo in the magazine as I egg washed the dough…    …and the slashes…

  The loaf came out perfectly and as the recipe includes milk and egg, it makes a lovely rich loaf, almost like brioche minus the sweetness. 

  
Then it was time to try out fresh yeast. 

You can get fresh yeast from your local supermarket if they have an internal bakery – at Tesco they don’t charge you, they just give you a ‘cake’ of yeast 🙂 I split it into 15g portions and froze what I didn’t use as it only keeps for a couple of days in the fridge. I can then defrost the portions as I need them.

Note: the rule of thumb that I’ve read is that whatever weight of dried yeast a recipe asks for, you double it for fresh yeast. So replace 7g dried yeast with 14 – 15g fresh yeast. 

This was cake of yeast I was given, it almost looked like a cake of soap! 

  I made the magazine loaf again and it doubled in size with the inclusion of the fresh yeast, it was great to watch it grow! However, I do not have any photos for you, it got eaten too quickly!!! I decided to try the fresh yeast again and finally make some focaccia, I’ve seen so many of you make wonderful looking loaves of focaccia and after reading Sally’s post the other day, I decided yesterday was the day. I know that Ben likes rosemary and sea salt so decided to use those flavours in my first attempt. 

Once again, the dough grew really well and really quickly – I’m loving the fresh yeast!!! What great stuff! 

My Focaccia

Ingredients 

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading 

300ml warm water

1 tsp fine salt 

15g fresh yeast or 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast 

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing 

1 tbsp dried rosemary & chunky sea salt 

  

Method 

1. Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mix with 50ml of the warm water. Stir to melt the yeast and create a milky solution.

2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast solution and gradually mix in the remaining warm water plus the oil until the dough comes together – add a dash more water if it seems dry. 

3. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes, until smooth. (The dough was quite sloppy and moist so I needed to keep adding some more flour to the table but it didn’t affect the texture of the bread.) 

4. Put into a large oiled bowl, cover with cling film and prove for 1 & 1/2 hours at room temperature. 

5. Knock out the air, shape into a large circle/oval depending on the shape and size of your tray, and put on an oiled/silicone paper lined baking sheet. Cover with oiled cling film and prove for 45 minutes. 

6. Press fingertips into the dough all over, stretching the dough out slightly as you do, drizzle with oil, scatter with sea salt and rosemary, then bake for 25 minutes. 

7. Drizzle with oil and serve warm.

Note: when ‘oiled cling film’ is required, I use spray olive oil or Lurpaks Cooks Range Cooking Mist – I use this a lot, it’s a light butter spray. I use it to ‘oil’ the bowl too. Selma reviewed the new Lurpaks Cooks Range recently and I’ve used it ever since, it works well for frying eggs too. 

 

   

  

 The verdict was thumbs up all round! Ben and Graham tucked into it last night and loved it. I rarely eat the bread I make, but today I decided to try some of my creation and made a focaccia sandwich with goats cheese and some baby plum toasties that I had roasted yesterday with garlic and olive oil…absolutely heavenly!! Definitely worth the bloated belly I am now sporting!  Bring on the bread making 🙂 

I’m sure I’ll be experimenting with even more bread recipes this week, I just love making my own bread and watching it develop, the sense of achievement is massive, and I have such appreciative taste testers, it’s a joy to make it, so if you’ve got any recipes you think I’d like, do send me your links, or share them in the comments section for everyone to see. 

I hope you are all having a good weekend 🙂 x

PS There has of course continued to be endless sourdough making too, this was today’s loaf….