Tag: bread

Bread…

I have spent the weekend baking bread. Yesterday I baked a country malt loaf and binned it as it had the density of a black hole. Today I decided to do another malted loaf, the result is the ball-shaped one above, and I also made a sourdough loaf, on the right.

If I am truthful, neither rose the way they should have. I thought that maybe the yeast was dead, but after activating the yeast on its own rather than adding it directly to the flour I thought it would rise better, but no, it is a football size loaf weighing about 3 tonnes. The sourdough, however, is a bit of an odd one as it rose one side but not the other. But the good news is that my sourdough starter smell fantastic, and exactly the way it should do, sharp, sour and it’s bubbly, that’s one in the bag that I am counting. I have not tasted them as yet, but am hoping beyond all hope that they are good. Something inside says not though.

The thing which is odd, I used to bake bread all the time and never ever had a problem, everything worked, everything looked good, and tasted fantastic. This last attempt is making me wonder what I am doing wrong. Hell, I can make some of the finest French pastries, and I have made every type of bread successfully. I am at a loss. But, not to be defeated, I will keep going but will get some fresh yeast rather than dried.

Okay, since starting this post and now, I have just tasted the sourdough bread, and it was okay in taste, not the full sourdough taste, but not bad, the crust was crisp, there were air holes in the bread itself, but not enough, and unfortunately it was too dense, which means back to the drawing board.

Sourdough Adventure…

Last year I decided to try my hand at making sourdough bread. Although the bread looked okay it was, in layman’s terms, it was crap. Although there was a rise in my bread basket, I had used normal flour to line it, so it stuck, and alas it lost its aeration and rise when I had to drag it out of the banneton. The other problem was the high heat I had to get the oven, as my sourdough book gave a temperature beyond the reaches of it.

The other day I was reading the tweets from Dan who makes bread all the time, but he was baking it on his BBQ, yep, turns out the best place for it. After a chat with him over it, I thought I would try his method of baking. My bbq has a temp gauge that goes to 1000 f, so I can get to whatever temperature I need. He is a fountain of knowledge and uses his bbq for all kinds of baking, which I will be trying out.

I have used rye flour as the base of the starter as this usually yields a good start for natural yeast, mixed with warm water. Tomorrow when I feed it I will be using organic stone milled flour rather than blade cut/ground flour.

Fingers crossed this time it will be a success.

The Starter has started!

Baking with Chairman Mao

I love to bake. I mean bake anything. There is just something so satisfying about the whole process.  I did make sourdough bread last weekend, but to be honest, it was a bit crap, however, that will not put me off, and I will keep going until I get it right.  The instructions for the proving overnight in the fridge was good, but the dough collapsed when I was putting it onto the baking sheet.  The other loaf stuck to the banneton as I had used flour rather than rice flour, so that was crap too.  The other thing I had problems with was the heat in the oven. The instructions said for 500f which is mega hot, and as I was cooking it on a stone dish it just seemed to sear and the crust was tough, so tough it could be in the marines.  It was supposed to bake for 20 minutes at 500f then 30 minutes at 450f, again, mega hot.  I have never cooked any bread at this temperature so it would happen that it was cooked on the outside and slightly doughy on the inside.  Not a bad crumb though.  It also didn’t taste like sourdough does, so I think that was the fault of the leaven as it had not bubbled and matured enough.  So now I know or think I know what went wrong I will try again.  I may do a variation too so that I know I can control rather than using the heat of the sun.

First go at Sourdough Bread

As mentioned, I love to bake, so here are some photos of my other bakes, successful bakes too LOL

Strawberry Shortcake with Strawberry Coulis
Strawberry Tarts (Pate Sablee) with Chantilly Cream and Passion Fruit
Brioche
Irish Wheaten Bread (Soda)

Baking – Soda Farls

My Hubby is Irish, so many many years ago I learned how to make proper Irish Soda Bread, Wheaten Bread & Soda Farls.  Since winter is well and truly on its way, and it is lashing with rain outside I thought I would make us some.  I thought I would share my recipe and do a show and tell.

Ingredients

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt (I use sea salt)
  • 250ml Buttermilk

 

Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix.

Make a well and add the buttermilk, although do not add it all as you can keep adding whilst mixing rather than make it too wet.

Mix and knead the dough on a floured surface, but be gentle, you really only want to knead it into shape.  Slice a cross into the top with a sharp knife that has been floured.

Pop the farl onto a hot griddle pan, or if you only have a frying pan, that will work nicely, but again, be gentle, don’t go in at too high a temperature or you will end up with a crispy dough ball.  I use a tepanyaki grill plate to make mine and have the temperature about 150c.

Partway through cooking flip it over and cook the other side.

Again flip it over, and tap the base to see if it is cooking, it should make a hollow sound, and if not carry on cooking.

As you can see the farl has split where the score marks were and have browned nicely.  Finally, when you are happy with it, wrap it in a tea cloth and set aside, this will ensure that it finishes off cooking and traps moisture, and makes it chewy, and brings out the subtle soda taste.  I used to use a proper Irish Linnen tea cloth, but alas it bit the dust some time ago.

It should take about 20 minutes to cook through.

Once it has cooled split it into four, then slice through the side horizontally, so you end up with 8 quarters if you cut it all at once.  Toast and enjoy with lashings of butter and a slice of mature cheese like cheddar.  Also delicious with bacon and egg.

 

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