Friday, 30 May 2014

Irish Soda Bread with Fresh Herbs - BTTFB May 2014

This month Carola from Sweet and That's It choose us "Back To The Future, Buddies" an Irish Soda Bread with fresh herbs, originally baked by the Bread Baking Babes in June 2011, picked by Ilva from Lucullian Delights.
I had baked soda bread before and knew it wasn't complicated and very quick! Since my friend is Irish and often mentions her mothers Soda Cake (not Bread, it's called Soda Cake!) I was keen to do it justice. Apart from the fresh herbs I added some toasted seeds and replaced some of the white flour by whole wheat flour. I made two small loaves; one for my friend and one for ourselves.
Since soda bread doesn't need any proofing time it's mixed, baked and ready to eat within 45 minutes! And as my friend says: do eat it warm, with loads of (Irish) butter!

My take on the recipe  (Find Carola's recipe here. The original recipe is from "The Ballymaloe Bread Book" by Tim Allan), makes two small loaves

350 gr very strong white bread flour
100 gr very strong whole wheat bread flour
1,5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
35 gr half freshly chopped curly parsley and half chives
45 gr toasted mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, pine nut)
415 gr buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 210C (fan).
Sift flours, salt and baking soda into a mixing bowl. (Do add the bran that stays behind in your sieve!) Add the fresh herbs and seeds to the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle and add the buttermilk. Mix the ingredients quickly with a danish dough whisk, a wooden spoon, or your hands. Don't overwork the dough! As soon as it comes together, shape the loaves into balls (approximately 5 cm high) on a well floured worktop. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 mins. at 210C. Lower the temperature to 180C and bake for another 15-20 mins.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Wild rice and caramelized onion bread - BBB May 2014

Bread Baking Babe Karen of Bake My Day choose us Buddies to bake a Peter Reinhart's recipe from his book "Artisan breads every day" (which is still on my wish list). After the dough is kneaded it has to sit in the fridge at least overnight, but anything up to four days, which makes this recipe ideal to fit into any routine.
Special ingredients being wild rice and dried onions, I didn't have a clue where to get these around here. Luckily our local "Fruit and Nut Place" came to the rescue (again) and I did find a nice small packet of wild rice.

I still don't know what dried onions look like, so I opted to use caramelized onions.
After kneading the dough (in my bread maker) I left it in the fridge for two days. It definitely doubled in size in the cold! I shaped the cold dough into a batard and left it to rise in a banneton at room temperature for just over two hours.

I was confused by the -relatively low- oven temperature suggested by Karen and the other Babes, so I choose to bake it a little hotter. The end result looked fantastic, smelled glorious, but when finally cool enough to cut into, disappointment ... a dense crumb ...

It might have been my oven temperature, it might have been my shaping or kneading (the machine's that is), the slightly overcooked wild rice, too little moisture (all milk by mistake) or any other reason, but again this was a completely new experiment, which I really enjoyed. The bread tasted very onion-y, almost too overpowering and sweet, so I would definitely use less onion next time and follow the original recipe a bit more to the letter ... (Oh, and leave out the garlic.)

My take on the recipe (half the amount of Karen's original recipe)
7 gr instant yeast
285 gr strong white bread flour
100 gr whole spelt
9 gr salt
85 gr (well) cooked wild rice
25 gr dark brown sugar
60 gr buttermilk
190 gr milk (or water)
45 gr cooled caramelized onion/garlic = 1 large onion plus 1 clove garlic, finely diced and slowly caramelized in butter

Put all ingredients (in the above order) in the bread maker and choose the "pizza dough" program. After 10 mins. leave the dough to rest for 10 mins. Then choose "pizza dough" program again for another 10 mins. of kneading. Transfer the dough into a slightly oiled container, cover and store in the fridge for up to four days.
On baking day shape the cold dough and put it in a floured banneton. Leave the dough to rise -covered- for approximately two hours at room temperature. Meanwhile preheat oven to 200C (fan). Turn the risen dough out onto a baking sheet, spray the top with water and bake for 15 mins. Lower the oven temperature to 180C (fan) and bake for another 20 mins. (The inner temperature of the loaf was 94C by then.) Leave to cool on a wired rack.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Challah - BTTFB April 2014

Braided, eggy, buttery, sweet bread ... Yeah Challah! A great choice with Easter coming up!

This month Carola of Sweet and That's It managed to sneak in two challenges for us "Back to the Future, Buddies", by advising us to try not only the original "Bread Baking Babes" recipe but another one as well. To be able to compare both loafs, or just to be able to eat LOADS of this lovely, very rich bread (that doesn't keep that well)? Just don't think about the amount of butter that goes in ....

            I'll cover the second recipe in a separate post, but here's a sneak preview, modelled by our gorgeous black lab Jingles.
gigantic challah ('second recipe' see separate post)
Back to the first recipe which was originally posted by Bread Baking Babe Sara of I like to cook in October 2008. It looks really impressive, but is fairly simple: two three-strand-braids on top of each other. The top braids do tend to slip off during proofing, but that is about the only thing that can go wrong. And oh, NEVER brush the loafs with egg yolk before the second rise. It will stick horrendously to whatever you cover it with ... (lesson learned).

1. dough pieces for one loaf
The first recipe (makes two loaves)
adapted from Back to future, buddies: Challah
800 gr white bread flour
45 gr caster sugar
14 gr salt
9 gr instant dry yeast
113 gr soft unsalted butter
240 gr lukewarm water
3 eggs + 1 egg white (= 240 gr), beaten
1 egg yolk + 1 tsp cold water, mixed

Mix all ingredients -but the egg yolk/water mix- by hand, (stand) mixer or bread maker. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for approximately 75 mins. The dough should double in size.

2. measuring the ropes
3. tighly braid the three ropes
On a lightly floured surface divide the dough in half (to make two loafs) and every half in two/thirds and one/third. This is best done by weighing the dough pieces. Then divide all dough pieces equally in three. (See picture 1). While dividing, rolling and braiding one loaf, cover the dough for the second one. Roll out the smaller dough pieces into 45 cm ropes, the bigger ones into 55 cm ropes (picture 2). Start braiding the longer ropes tightly (picture 3) and tuck under the beginning and end bits. Place the braid on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Now braid the shorter ropes and place the braid nicely on top of the other one. Braid the second loaf and place it next to the first one on the baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with plastic foil or place the baking sheet in a large plastic bag and leave to rise at room temperature for another hour. Then brush the loafs with the egg yolk/water mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 180 (fan) for 20 mins. Lower the oven temperature to 140 (fan) and bake for another 10 mins. (The internal temperature should be 93C.) Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Monday, 31 March 2014

5 (or more) Grain Bread with Walnuts

When Carola from Sweet and That's it announced our "Back to the Future, Buddies" baking project for March I was very eager to bake along. Anything with walnuts, cheese or wine gets me excited!
I used walnuts from my mum's garden, they taste so much better than shop bought ones.

This recipe calls for 5 different types of flour/grains. Since brown rice flour is not available here, I used a mixture of what was around in my kitchen cupboards. You could say I ended up with a mixture of 6 different types of flour/grains! Plus milled flax seed!

The end result is a very tasty loaf, perfectly suited to go with any cheese. Or salad or soup. Or jam, or ... It makes fantastic toast too, thinly sliced, just butter will do.

My take on the recipe (bakes one medium loaf)
(original recipe chosen by Tanna of My Kitchen in half Cups in February 2009)
5 gr instant yeast
a total of 500 gr flour:
-125 gr strong white bread flour
-125 gr white spelt flour
-63 gr finely ground porridge oats
-62 gr whole grain rye flour
-63 gr whole wheat flour
-62 gr whole grain spelt flour
22 gr milled flax seed
8 gr sugar
10 gr salt
400 gr water
150 gr roughly chopped walnuts

This dough can be made by hand or machine. I used the dough programme of my bread maker (which takes 2.20 hrs. including first rise). Put all ingredients -but the walnuts- in the pan of your bread maker in the order as described above. Let the machine do the work.
When mixing by hand or mixer, knead for 8 - 10 mins., cover and let rise for about 60 mins. at room temperature.
In the meantime spread the walnuts onto a baking sheet and toast for 10 mins. at 180C (fan). Let cool completely. Lightly butter or oil your bread tin.
Flatten the risen dough on a lightly floured work top, approximately to the width of your bread tin. Spread the walnuts over the dough and roll the dough tightly. Place it in the prepared bread tin, seam side down. Put the tin in a large plastic bag, close and let rise for another 60 - 75 mins. The dough should be doubled.
Preheat the oven to 190C (fan). Bake the loaf for 35 mins. Release it from the tin and put it back into the oven directly on a baking sheet. Bake for another 10 mins. The bread is ready at an internal temperature of 93C (for those amongst us with fancy kitchen gadgets ...) or when it looks right and feels less heavy. If you like, brush the hot loaf with melted butter for a nice shine. Let cool on a wire rack.

Dough after second rise
Finished loaf with a light coating of melted butter

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Water-proofed bread - BBB March 2014

What? Water-proofed?
Well, that is what Bread Baking Babe Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms chose us to bake this month.
The dough itself is an enriched brioche-like dough. Not too complicated, although very wet and therefore not the easiest to "knead". The finished loaf is slightly sweet, has a gorgeous yellow, fluffy, soft crumb and is delicious with either sweet or savoury toppings.
I am very grateful (again!) to Lien for doing the metric conversion of the original recipe.

Since I had visitors in my kitchen at THE moment of the actual water-proofing I didn't make any pictures .... I wanted to but felt a bit embarrassed .... The whole process went exactly according to plan, that is, according to Elle's recipe: wrap the dough loosely in a heavily floured tea towel and tie it with an elastic band (like a balloon). Lower the packed dough into a large bowl of warm water (42C). It will sink. Once it floats to the top of the bowl the dough is ready! This only took 35 mins. Releasing the dough from the tea towel is a bit messy ... Especially since my dough was still very "wet"!

I chose to bake one big loaf and used my large antique loaf tin, which once belonged to my mum-in-law's granddad who was a baker. I have to ask her more about the history of that tin! It works wonders, it's completely black and nothing will stick to it!


My version of the recipe (adapted from Beard on Bread, 1973), makes 1 large loaf (33 x 14 x 10 cm tin)
10 gr dry instant yeast
510 gr strong white bread flour
50 gr sugar
8 gr salt
118 gr warm water (at 39C)
118 gr warm milk (at 39C)
115 gr melted butter
3 beaten eggs
Mix all dry ingredients and all wet ingredients in two separate bowls. Then combine the two and start kneading. Since the dough is very wet I started stretching and folding in the bowl. After a few minutes 'poor' the dough onto your worktop and continue to knead. After 10 minutes the dough will have become a little less sticky, just a little ...
Prepare for water-proofing as described above.
Once the dough floats at the top of the bowl (after approx. 35 mins.), scrape it from the tea towel* onto your floured worktop. Knead it quickly and shape the dough to fit a well greased loaf tin. I also used a strip of baking paper for easy release after baking. Place the tin in a large plastic bag, close it and let rise for 60-70 mins. The dough will at least have doubled in size.
Bake the loaf in a pre-heated oven at 165C (fan) for 40 mins. Remove the loaf from the tin and continue to bake for 20 more mins. at 160C (fan). Leave to cool completely on a wired rack.

*Tip from Elle: to clean the tea towel rinse it thoroughly in cold water before washing.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Striezel Viennese

For our February "Back to the Future, Buddies*" baking project Carola from Sweet and That's it chose a sweet braided fruit loaf called Striezel Viennese. It looks very impressive and is braided with 9 (yes nine) strands! This sounds far more complicated than it is: a four and a three strand braid and a two strand twist are put on top of each other. With Carola's fool proof braiding instructions, this appeared to be pretty easy and good fun. The end result is impressive and very tasty.

Here's my take on the recipe

6 gr instant yeast
400 gr strong bread flour
55 gr sugar
8 gr salt
80 gr sultana's
70 gr mixed dried cherries & berries
70 gr mixed dried fruit (incl. peel)
1 tsp mace
1 large egg, beaten
30 gr unsalted butter, melted
70 gr water
150 gr milk

melted butter
60 gr icing sugar
1 tbs milk
shaved almonds, toasted

Put all dough ingredients -in this order- in your bread maker and choose the "dough" program. Mine takes 2.20 hrs. including first rise.
Divide the risen dough in 9 equal balls (with help from the scales) and let rest, covered, for 10 mins. Roll every ball into a rope of about 38 cm. I didn't think this was going to happen, but is was easy enough! Try to make the ropes as even in width as possible. Cover dough/ropes you're not working with.

My very first 4 strand braid

38 cm "even" ropes

Now the fun bit starts! Make the 4 strand braid following Carola's fool proof instructions. Make sure you start braiding tightly from the top. Tuck the beginning and end bits under your finished braid. Place the braid on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. With the side of your hand make a drench down the centre of the 4 strand braid. This will make your other braids stay put, so don't feel like you're ruining all the good work! Make the 3 strand braid and put this in the middle of the 4 strand braid. Loosely (mine was too tight!) twist together the remaining two ropes en place them on top of the 3 strand braid. Tuck in any loose ends. Carefully push the braids together. Cover loosely and let rise for about 1.5 hours, until doubled in size.

Bake at 165C (fan) for 40 mins. While still hot, brush the bread with melted butter.
Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool.
Mix icing sugar and milk and drizzle over the loaf. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

*This bread was originally chosen for the Bread Baking Babes in December 2009 by Katie from Thyme for Cooking.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Teddy's Parade - March 2014

My Teddy Twins for the World Wide Teddy's Parade
Carola from Sweet and Thats It started this great fun initiative to bake a Teddy from your favourite dough. Hard to resist!

Here's my dough recipe adapted from "Uit de keuken van Levine" Soft White Rolls (in Dutch):
(makes 2 Teddy's and 6 rolls, or 4 Teddy's and 2 rolls)

5 gr instant yeast
500 gr strong white bread flour
30 gr caster sugar
10 gr salt
35 gr non fat milk powder
1 large egg (approx. 60 gr), beaten
275 gr water
40 gr melted (unsalted) butter

sultana's or peppercorns or .... to give your Teddy a face
melted butter to brush the baked Teddy's

Put all dough ingredients -in this order- in your bread maker and choose the "dough" programme. Mine takes 2.20 hours, including the first rise. Of course you can do this by hand. This will give you a total dough weight of around 950 gr.
Divide and pre shape the dough following "Carola's Teddy Anatomy Chart". Each Teddy takes up 200 gr of dough.

Carola's anatomy chart

My pre shaped Teddy anatomy

Leave to rest - covered- for ten minutes, then put the Teddy's together after slightly tightening all different parts. Place them on a baking sheet, covered with baking paper. I sprayed mine with water and pressed in peppercorns as eyes and belly buttons.

Cover the baking sheet (in a large plastic bag) and leave to rise for 60 mins. at room temperature. Preheat your oven at 180C (fan). Spray the Teddy's with water and bake for 10 mins. Turn your baking sheet 180 degrees and bake for another 10 mins. at 160 degrees.
Brush the baked Teddy's with melted butter while still hot. Then carefully (!!) transfer onto a baking rack until cooled.

Dress up your Teddy's to your liking .....

Mine are off to bed now!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Rgaïf / Moroccan flat breads - BBB February 2014

The Bread Baking Babes celebrate their 6th anniversary this month: congratulations ladies!
Babe Lien from Notitie van Lien chose this month's recipe for the Babes and for us Buddies to bake along. I had never heard of rgaïf before, but any flat bread is a welcome baking challenge.
Apparently rgaïf are eaten at any time of the day, either sweet or savoury, filled or plain. Since there appeared to be some red pepper houmous and garlic dip in the fridge I decided to use up some homemade garlic herb butter to make my rgaïf into a savoury nibble to go with pre dinner drinks ...

Great idea!

After reading Liens' recipe and posts from the other Babes and some Buddies I took in the following suggestions:
- use a mixture of strong bread flour and plain flour
- up the amount of salt
- roll/flatten the dough as thinly as possible
- sprinkle semolina in between layers
- flatten the rgaïf again before frying
- fry on medium heat to make sure the inside is cooked
- the dough and shaped rgaïf -well covered- will keep in the fridge for hours or even overnight to use/finish the next day

I ended up using more water, salt and some olive oil in the dough than stated in the original recipe. Please have look at the original recipe (adapted from: "Vrijdag couscousdag" by R. Ahali) here.

I'm looking forward to make a sweet version of these flat breads with a sugar/cinnamon, jam or honey/almond filling.

MY RECIPE (makes 12)

500 gr flour (half-half strong bread flour and plain flour)
5 gr instant yeast
1 tsp salt
300 gr water
10 gr olive oil
+ (garlic herb) butter to spread inside
+ semolina to sprinkle the layers
+ extra olive oil to coat dough and to fry the rgaïf

Mix all dough ingredients by hand (20 mins.) or in a bread maker. I used the first 20 mins. of the pizza program of my bread maker. The dough should be very elastic and not sticky at all.

Divide the dough into 12 balls. Coat every ball with a little olive oil and cover. Let rest for about 5 mins. Now -one at a time- flatten the dough balls and roll or stretch them out as thinly as possible. Using a little olive oil on your worktop makes this fairly easy.

Spread some garlic herb butter over the dough, sprinkle lightly with semolina and fold in three. Flatten with your hands, turn 90 degrees and fold in three again.

The rgaïf are ready for frying now, or you can keep them in the fridge, covered with oiled cling film to fry at a later time.

Put a frying pan over medium heat. Flatten the rgaïf again with your hands, spread a little olive oil on both sides and fry for about 5-7 mins. on one side, turn over and fry for another 5-7 mins.

Enjoy warm with whatever you like!