Sourdough mk 2 (V)

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After writing up my first attempts at making sourdough using Dan Lepard’s method and quantities as a guide, @them_apples on instagram was sharing pictures of his amazing loaves made using @elaine_foodbod’s method. So I jumped ship and boy am I glad I did!

There’s no kneading, just a fold every hour or so for a couple of hours after the autolyse stage. And then you leave it out overnight to rise and become a bowl of bubbles.

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The structure of the dough gives an insight into the delicious loaf it’s going to become:

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After experimenting, my timings are ever so slightly different to Elaine’s – I bake mine from cold in a dutch oven for 60 mins at 220. I then remove the lid of the pot and bake for a further 10-15 minutes to deepen the crust.

We eat one 500g loaf every 2-3 days. This method means that hopefully I can keep baking bread once we return to working away from home. The bread can be done at the beginning and end of the day and the loaves proved overnight (day 1) and in the fridge (day 2).

 

Sourdough (v)

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Yes, I know. I’m a cliche. But frankly, if you can’t learn to make bread, and sourdough at that, during a lockdown when can you? I’ve long wanted to learn how to master this most elusive of baking arts and I have tried before in the past and failed. My starter turned pink and smelled vile. I never tried again. This time however it’s a different story. A very lovely friend made me a starter a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t looked back. I used to buy 2-3 loaves of artisan bread a week in the days when I could visit a farmers market. Our local veg shop (Nelson’s) started stocking it a few months ago too so I’d add a loaf to my fruit and veg basket. But then you-know-what happened and we all had to stay home, forever. So I started baking and boy am I glad I did! This recipe is a combination of things I’ve been trying over the last few weeks resulting in my best loaf to date tonight. Have fun baking and experimenting.

The Recipe

This is taken from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet. I’ve tweaked the method but the quantities are his.

For 1 loaf you will need:

  • 325g strong flour (white is my preference but wholemeal works just as well)
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 150g starter – replenish with 75g each of plain flour and water mixed to a paste
  • 225ml or thereabouts of water.

I’ve tried this as a quick rise (well as quick as sourdough can be) and also an overnight rise in the fridge. I prefer the quick method but as and when we can go back to work away from home I can see the overnight rise being deployed so I can bake around commuting.

Method

  1. Place the flour and salt in a bowl and mix.
  2. Heat the water for 30 secs on high to get it to the right temperature.
  3. Add the  starter to the bowl and 2/3 of the water. Mix. Add as much water as you need to bring it together into a shaggy, sticky ball.
  4. Leave on the side for 15-30 mins to rest.
  5. Turn out onto an oiled counter and knead for 5-10 mins. It will be VERY sticky and I recommend a dough scraper to help with this stage. I can’t knead the dough per se, but tend to let it stick to my hands and push it about on the worktop until it changes texture. It’s very therapeutic kneading by hand and I like to see how it feels when it’s ready as the consistency changes and you know you’ve worked it enough.
  6. Scrape the dough from your hands, wash out and oil the bowl then place the dough into the oiled bowl. I find it useful to bring the dough in onto itself at this stage to form a nice shape, just keep pinching the sides and bringing into the middle of the ball of dough until you are happy with it.
  7. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise either on the side (about 2 hours depending on the warmth of the room) or for up to 24 hours in the fridge. Dan says it should double in size so I use that as my guide. When it’s risen enough you can gently poke the surface of the dough and your finger hole will disappear as the dough springs back. If an indentation stays it’s not quite ready and needs a bit longer. You cannot rush this stage.
  8. Once it has finished the first rise, in the bowl punch the dough out and then I use the fold into the centre of the dough technique again to shape my dough ready for the second rise.
  9. Flour a banneton (if you have one) very generously with flour. Flour the top of the dough as well to help it remove easily before baking. Cover and leave to rise, about 2 hours or so again but it depends on the temperature of the room. It needs to rise by half again according to Dan.
  10. 30 mins before it’s ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees and heat the dutch oven if you’re going to use one.
  11. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little semolina or polenta, and sprinkle some more on a circle of baking paper. This tastes nice and gives a nice texture. The paper helps to transfer the loaf from the counter to the dutch oven and out again once it’s finished cooking.
  12. Tip the dough onto the circle of paper and then make slashes into the top. Place in the hot dutch oven and cover. Cook for 20 mins covered. After 20 mins remove the lid and cook for a further 10-20 mins until the loaf is golden, crispy and cooked through.
  13. Leave to cool and then wonder at the marvel of fresh bread created by your own fair hands. Repeat!

Raspberry Brioche Pudding

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Another use up the leftovers I’d forgotten about recipe. The brioche was lurking in the dark depths of the bread bin, the jam was one of many opened over Christmas and the cream was a remnant from a pavlova. Together they made a harmonious cloud of sweet deliciousness, the perfect Sunday night pudding. You can adapt this to whatever you fancy or need to use up. Chocolate chip brioche rolls would work nicely, with cocoa powder in the custard to make a chocolate version. Or add some dried fruit. Or use up your panettone. Or whatever!

For 4-6 portions you need:

  • 8 slices of brioche
  • Raspberry jam
  • 250ml double cream
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  1. Make jam sandwiches with the jam and brioche. Don’t butter the brioche as it’s already enriched and will go too greasy.
  2. Place the brioche sandwiches in an ovenproof dish.
  3. Mix together the cream, milk, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla. Pour over the brioche and leave to stand for 15 mins.
  4. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top and then bake in a bain marie for 30-45 mins at 170 degrees. The pudding should be crispy on top and puffed up. The custard should just set.

24 Hour Risen Garlic Bread (v)


I love baking bread, especially now I know that leaving it to rise slowly in the fridge not only makes it a lot easier to control and ensure it works, but it also tastes divine. The recipe below was supposed to make two meals worth of bread but, er, we ate most of it in one go because it was so tasty.
For 2 garlic breads that will feed 3-4 each you need
500g plain flour
7g dried yeast
½ tbsp. sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml water
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Simply place everything in a bowl and mix till it forms dough (I use my kenwood). Tip into an oiled bowl, cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to slowly rise in the fridge for 24 hours. Gently shape into ovals and top with olive oil and crushed garlic. Bake in a hot oven for 20 mins and then scoff. Feel utterly smug you have home made bread on a weekday work night. 

24 hour pizza dough (v)

I’ve long read about slow proving of dough – where you leave it to rise slowly in a cool environment – but until now I’d never done it. However the imminent expiry of a pack of quorn pepperoni inspired me to try it out. I mean, how else would I have been able to put home made pizza on the table by 6pm when I don’t get home from work until 5.15pm?! The dough was a triumph. Chewy and tasty and easy to work with. I’ll definitely be doing this again.
The dough recipe below makes a LOT of pizza but as I planned to eat it up over the next few days for lunch this wasn’t an issue. If you don’t want to feed the 5000, or be eating it for days afterwards, either freeze the dough you don’t use or make a half recipe.  
For 4-5 pizzas you need
1kg plain flour (don’t worry about it being strong or 00 or whatever, bog standard plain flour is just fine)
14g dried yeast, the sort you don’t need to reactivate in water first
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
600 ml water
4 tbsp olive oil
Place everything into the mixing bowl of a food mixer with a dough hook and leave the machine to knead for about 10 mins or until the dough has become elastic and pliable. Alternatively work out your frustrations by mixing by hand.
Turn the dough into an oiled bowl (I just use the kenwood bowl to save on washing up!) and cover with oiled cling film. Leave in the fridge for 12-48 hours until you need to use it. When you’re ready to use it, knock back gently and then cut off and shape the dough you need. If you want to freeze the dough, cut into portions and wrap and freeze. Leave to defrost thoroughly before using.
Shape into pizzas and top with whatever you fancy. Bake in a hot oven for 20 mins or so until risen, crispy and delicious.


Moroccan Spiced Foccacia (v)

This was made to go with the Roasted Veg soup we had earlier in the week. Using my food mixer I was able to get all the dough mixing done in 10 mins, so it was very low labour for a week day night.

For one large foccacia you need
350g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp easy blend yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
210ml warm water

Olive oil , sea salt and moroccan spices for the top.

Place the dough ingredients into a food mixer and using the dough hook mix slowly until it comes together. Knead for about 10 mins until the dough is light and springy. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise for about an hour in a warm place (use a bowl of warm water if you’re in a hurry, it cuts the proving time to about 45 mins).

Once the dough has risen, turn out and place on an oiled baking sheet. Stretch to fit the sheet and then prod holes with your fingers into the top. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with spices. If you have time leave it for a further 20 mins to rise again but if you haven’t bake in a hot oven for 20-30 mins until risen and light and airy.

Cinnamon and Nutmeg Apple Breadcrumb Pudding

A brilliant way to use up stale bread and dodgy apples by turning them into a nourishing and comforting pudding. This is based on a recipe in River Cottage Everyday.

For 4-6 portions you need
50g butter
6 dessert apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
100g caster sugar
175g freshly soft breadcrumbs
4 eggs
400ml milk
Nutmeg, vanilla paste and ground cinnamon

Heat the milk to boiling point. Meanwhile mix the eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla (1tsp of each) and 75g of the sugar in a bowl. Once the milk is hot, slowly pour into the egg mixture, whisking all the time, to make a thin custard. Add the breadcrumbs to the mix and set aside to steep.

Heat the butter in a pan and add the apple wedges and remaining sugar. Continue cooking until the apples are glazed.

Pour into a baking dish in a single layer:

Cover with the eggy, milky breadcrumb mixture:

And bake in a hot oven for 30 mins until it’s set but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Serve hot, warm or cold and with or without a bug fat dollop of jam. Lovely and comforting. 

Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms with Herb Crust

A simple lunch dish to use up some field mushrooms we didn’t eat for breakfast… And a good way to use up some of the cheese mountain left over from Christmas along with some bread that was going stale. Oh I am full of good intentions me.

For two people you need
3-4 field mushrooms
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated cheddar
4 tbsp cream cheese
salt and pepper
fresh herbs of you choice (I used sage)

Peel the mushrooms and place in a baking dish. Cut out the stalk and chop leaving to one side for the moment. Spread 1 tbsp cream cheese inside each mushroom and then top with the reserved chopped stalk and some salt and pepper.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese and herbs (I just blitzed all mine in a food processor for speed). Top each mushroom with some crumbs and then bake in a hot oven for 15-20 mins until the topping is golden brown and crispy and the mushrooms are tender and juice. Serve with a salad. An attempt at healthy(ier) eating in the new year…

Chorizo and Butter Bean Savoury Crumble (v)

Over Easter we visited the continental market in Norwich and I got suckered in to buying seven salamis for £10. So of course now I need to use them up…! We’ve done pizza and risotto but I think this savoury crumble is my favourite. It uses two different types of smoked paprika to add depth to the flavour and the breadcrumb topping is a great way to use up a stale heel of bread. If you’re veggie/vegan then Redwood Vegan chorizo is an excellent substitute.

For 4 portions you need
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 salami chopped into bite sized chunks
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 can butter beans, drained
1 tsp vegan stock powder
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp sugar

Crumble Topping
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup mixed freshly chopped parsley and coriander
1/4 cup grated cheddar (omit if vegan)

In a large oven proof pan, sauté the onion, salami and garlic in the oil until the onions are translucent and the salami has released it’s fat. Add the remaining stew ingredients and bring to the boil. Check the seasoning and leave to simmer for 5-10 mins whilst you prepare the crumble topping.

For the crumble, mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese and herbs, and sprinkle over the top. Bake in a hot oven for 20 mins until the crumble is crunchy and browned and the stew underneath is bubbling. Delicious served with green veggies to contrast the spicy rich stew.

Salad of Haloumi and Croutons

A quick and easy salad to throw together from bits and bobs leftover from other days. And a useful way of using up stale bread too.

For 1 person you need:
1/2 pack haloumi cut into slices
lettuce
cucumber
red onion

For the garlic croutons you need:
1-2 slices stale bread
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil

Toss the crouton ingredients together in a bowl then toast in a hot oven for 5-10 mins taking care not to burn them. fry the haloumi till golden brown then serve with the salad and croutons. Yum.