Yesterday was the sunniest day of the last three weeks. The yellow of the few leaves still left on the trees made a nice contrast with the blue sky.
I gladly basked in the sun while waiting for my train… and I wasn’t the only one:
I came home and baked my best bread ever, #42. I made a single cut, deeper than usual, and the crust opened nicely around it. I let the upper heat on for ten minutes more, and the crust came out deliciously crispy. It’s the fourth time I follow this recipe, I think I won’t get it wrong anymore!
Baking updates! Bread #39 followed the same recipe as #38, but I had to be creative with flours, as I discovered after making the Vorteig (pre-dough, with flour, water and yeast, left to rise for a few hours before adding all ingredients) that I had too little wheat flour left. I added Roggen and Dinkel flours, as well as a good amount of durum wheat semolina, and the resulting bread was brown and fluffy, with one of the best crusts ever!
I had made a few changements in the cooking part, namely baking directly in the casserole dish. The downside is that the upper crust gets crisp and brown, while the lower crust and the sides remain soft – a bit too much. This is because I let the bread rise in the casserole dish, heated the oven, and put the casserole dish in the oven together with the bread, without pre-heating it. It took a while to get to temperature, therefore did not cook the lower part of the bread that much.
I hope you are inspired by my experiments and that you soon will try (or resume) baking too! I’ll be glad to hear back from you, and maybe I can start answering your questions about baking? Let’s try 🙂
Yesterday I ran out of bread and decided to bake it myself, summoning my courage to overcome the bad experience of bread #37, which I had to throw away (it was underleavened and partially raw after one hour in the oven, and no further toasting could save it).
I followed precisely the steps of Weizenmischbrötchen recipe in the Brotbackbuch, took half a day from start to finish, and I obtained two light, fluffy loaves:
I am a bit sad that I used only dry yeast, but I’m so happy for such a nice result 🙂
I wish to thank the food bloggers that inspire me with their stories, recipes and pictures, I hope you find joy from their posts too. It’s a long post, because I wanted to show a picture from each blog, I hope you enjoy them!
I am so proud of my 28th baking result that I have to post pictures immediately 🙂
I used a recipe from Brotbackbuch n.2, namely Roggenmischbrötchen (mixed rye and wheat flour buns) in order to use a generous amount of my rye sourdough, that was almost dripping out of its container.
I took some time to understand the format of the recipe, but then followed it without issues. I made 8 buns and let them rise under a cloth (a piece of BOMULL fabric by IKEA, that I received as a present from valhalla – actually, as the wrapping of a briaccola):
Notice the separation folds: they keep the buns from sticking to each other, and partly decide how large the bun will rise. I put a good amount of flour on the cloth to prevent sticking.
After about an hour of rising, the buns grew twice the initial size, so I preheated the oven and tried a new technique to put them in it, using a half-circular wooden tray that I had from a small electrical pizza oven. It worked like a charm:
The buns cooked nicely for 20ish minutes, in two batches of 4:
And here they are:
The black and orange tool is a temperature measuring device. It is super useful in the kitchen: I used it to check the temperature of the oven, but I most often use it to measure the temperature of oil in a pan, so that it doesn’t overheat, and is hot enough to start browning onions.
Here is the detail of two crusts:
I am going to taste one, as soon as it cools down a bit 🙂
I hope I inspired you to bake your own bread and buns!
Today’s book review is about this collection of vegan recipes from Attila Hildmann:
I like the style of this book, the gorgeous pictures, the simplicity of the recipes and of the layout. You can see a preview of the book yourself. Vegan to go is currently only available in German, while two other books from him are translated to English (Vegan for fit and Vegan for fun) – I hope this one gets translated soon, because it has so many useful ideas for lunches and picnics! He also gives a ton of tips about how to optimise cooking (cook a larger amont and use it in other recipes, reuse leftovers, cook several side dishes and combine them in a tasty, varied lunchbox…)
Attila explains the basic principles of veganism in the introduction. I liked how he didn’t try to mass-convert the readers, or worse, to make non-vegans feel guilty about eating meat and dairy, and use that as a moral crowbar. He is great in telling his story and sharing his thoughts about his way of eating. I liked how he shows how vegan recipes don’t have to be boring or ascetic or the normal-recipe-without-meat, and that many recipes in Mediterranean cuisines are already vegan. I also liked how he talks about his hobbies on Facebook: fast cars, sports, vegan recipes… he doesn’t fit the description of the usual vegan, but then I got a revelation: does he have to in order to be considered a proper vegan? Shall we expect that all vegans have everything else in common? I think that he is building a bridge towards all people who are not interested in how vegans dress, have fun, shop and so on, and therefore assume are not interested in how they eat; he shows that eating vegan doesn’t involve the rest of your life, if you don’t make explicit, separate decisions to do so.
Thanks, Attila, for being a great ambassador, for your recipes and your positive vibe!
I bought silken tofu out of curiosity and was unsure how to prepare it. This recipe, from the German producer Taifun, sounded promising and simple, so I picked it and prepared small mousse jars:
I used lemon instead of lime, and whipped the soy cream without stabiliser (if you don’t have it, use a small quantity of starch instead), and it tasted great. This jar is the last one of the six I made, and after a few days it was still firm and light.
I topped it with wild cherries in syrup (Amarene Fabbri):
Short post about my recent kitchen activities. Let me start with butternut squash slices:
It’s a very simple recipe. Slice the squash in slices around half cm thick, sprinkle with salt, chili, nutmeg, thyme, oregano and oil, and bake at 170 degrees for around half an hour, or until the skin starts to wrinkle and the edges start to brown.
It is nice to cook a meal (or part of it) in the oven, because there is some preparation to do, but most of the time you are free from cooking duties, except from monitoring the oven very closely:
And last, my bread #24, with the best crust so far:
I baked it in a casserole dish, on top of an upturned casserole dish which stayed in the oven from the start and is therefore already hot. I think I’ll keep this setup, given its great results!
Yesterday I had a bit of inspiration for baking. I fancied something chocolatey and muffin-like, so I browsed my cookbooks, especially “La ciliegina sulla torta” from the famous Italian blogger Jessica Leone. This book is a present from my mum, who bought it after reading her blog, tried her recipe for Belgian waffles and adopted it as her default one. That’s huge. My mum used the same waffle recipe for decades (with unanimous approval) and went so far as swapping it for a new one. So when I found a soft chocolate cupcake recipe, I was sure it would come out great.
Moelleux is the French name for a chocolate cake with soft center (see this page [in French] for a great description). It became the favourite word of my geeky friends when we attended FOSDEM earlier this year and feasted on moelleux at our reunion dinner.
I edited the recipe a bit, because I didn’t want to use butter. I used coconut oil and coconut paste instead. I added too much flour and I compensated that with a spoonful of soya yoghurt and one of almond mousse. The recipe suggested to bake them for 15 minutes for a soft centre, or 20 for a firmer texture. They ended up in between a moelleux and a brownie, with a hint of coconut.