Showing posts from 2011

A quest for a perfect Lemon Cupcake - part I

I’ve been thinking about making lemon cupcakes, and been looking for a recipe that is very lemony, but also very light, with a soft creamy finish. As you can guess, thats pretty much mission impossible, as most of the recipes I see are either too dry, too cake like or not lemony enough.
So, the two recipes I am considering at the moment are “Making Cupcakes with Lola” by Victoria Jossel & Romy Lewis and “The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook”. I want to try the recipes as they are, which means that, due to the copyright restrictions, I am not allowed to post the recipes, however, I think I can talk about generic comparisons, measures and formulas.

Amazingly, both recipes state that you will get a dozen of cupcakes from each recipe; however, the Hummingbird recipe uses nearly twice the volume of total ingredients as compared to Lola’s ingredients weight. I have only tried one of Lola’s recipes (see Cinnamon Twist Cupcakes blog), but I have found their recipe a bit too stingy on the ingredi…

Orange WholeMeal

This is just a quick bread, but is looking to become one of my favourites. I didn't follow a recipe as such, and its not as exciting and imaginative as some of my previous loaves. I pretty much just looked around the kitchen and in the fridge and threw in everything I could see. Only 20 minutes before Ms Ranty wakes up, so this is going to be a quick post.
Here is the basic recipe, feel free to tweak juice/water/cream ratios as well as white/wholemeal flour mix - let me know what you get
120 g starter200 g water 90 g orange juice 20 g single cream 300 g white flour 200 g wholemeal flour 1.5 tsp salt
Pour starter, water, juice and cream in a mixing bowl and give it a good stir with a spoon, to make sure that the starter is well mixed in with all the other liquids. Add the flours to the mixing bowl and mix the dough on speed 1 for 6 minutes - pressuming you are using a free standing mixer, like KitchenAid. Cover the bowl and leave to rest (autolise) for 20 minutes. Add salt and mix for ano…

Blueberry Pie

I was walking past my local fruit man on Friday afternoon as just as I was passing him, he started shouting “two for a pound, three for a pound”, and I found myself drawn to his table – I do love a bargain. Three boxes of blueberries of £1 – how can I walk past that??!! And boxes of blueberries only mean one thing – a good old fashioned blueberry pie, mmmmm

I found a number of recipes for a blueberry pie, but none of them really described what I had in mind, so I’ve decided to combine them all together and came up with my own one :

Blueberry Pie

250g flour
110g cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon

550g blueberries
100g sugar
2 Tbsp cornflour
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon

1 egg, whisked with a fork

Place flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a food processor. Add butter, cut into 1 cm cubes. Pulse everything together, until everything resembles fine crumbs.
Add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, pulse the mixer a bit more. Add 1 Tbsp of iced water, and pulse aga…

Vodka Cranberry Bread

About a year ago we got some New Zealand 42 below vodka and we managed to drink about two thirds of it. I don’t know why we left the rest of it - a very unusual situation in our household! Anyway, I was baking a lot of sweet goodies around that time, using real vanilla pods and we decided to experiment with adding used vanilla pods to the remaining vodka to see what that’s going to do to the flavour. A year later I discovered the bottle at the back of the drinks cabinet and it is just like a very concentrated, very alcoholic vanilla essence. I don't suggest you start prepping a year before making this bread, so you can just use vanilla vodka or regular vodka and a teaspoon of vanilla. However, if you do use vanilla in your baking, I definitely recommend you use real vanilla pod and make the full use of them by storing used vanilla pods in either vodka or sugar to make vanilla flavoured vodka or vanilla sugar.

Vodka Cranberry Bread

100g white starter (100% hydration)
170g water

Malty Poppy Seed Bread

I had every intension to bake a Multigrain Bread, following Nancy Silverton’s recipe. Got a gook out, read all the ingredients, drafted a timeline to suit my weekend and the recipe and …. ended up baking two completely different loaves – all made up recipes too. What is it they say about best laid plans?

When I did ask Mr Ranty what I should bake, he mentioned a sandwich he buys from EAT that uses some of brown malty bread with poppy seeds in it. That sounded like an interesting idea, so I decided to give that a go. Bake bread to match something I’ve never seen and never tasted – if that’s not a challenge, I don’t know what is

Malty Poppy Seed Bread

118g white starter (100% hydration)
25g barley malt
25g molasses
90g milk
200g water
400g white flour
100g rye flour
1 ½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp poppy seeds

Place starter, water and milk in a free-standing mixer. Add barley malt and molasses into the mixing bowl – you can probably just chuck all the ingredients together, but I wasn’t sure whether …

Mexican Corn Bread

An impromptu bake – Mr Ranty was cooking up a storm , Elvis chilli (his phone miss-spelling Evil chilli) and I thought some Corn Bread would go nicely with it.
I’ve checked a couple of books I have and I couldn’t find anything that appealed to me, so I’ve decided to just try throw a few things together and hope for the best.
I also didn’t think of it until afternoon, around 3 pm, so I had to use some commercial yeast in the dough – something that I try to avoid as such as I can.

Mexican Corn Bread
100g white starter (100% hydration)
150g double cream
205g water
230g corn flour or very fine corn meal
230g white flour
¾ - 1 tsp dry yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
1 small jar of sweet corn (drained) - I use Green Giant, they are my favourite
1 ½ tsp salt

For topping :
1 small chilli, sliced (optional)
Cheddar cheese, grated

Place starter, cream, water, flour, yeast and sugar in a free-standing mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix on speed one for 6 minutes, leave to autolise (rest) covered with a …

Lets get it Started

As I’ve recently started giving away my starter (free to a good home), I thought I’d do a non-baking post, but one about the actual starter – how to care for and love it.
When I first started, gosh, it must be about four years ago now, I remember being very confused about what to do with it, how to feed it, how much to use, etc.
So, here is a dump of everything I can think of, things you might want to know when you first get into sourdough baking.

Acquiring a starter
Beg, steal or borrow starter from someone you know or your local bakery or friends. There are lots of places online you can buy starters from too, and they come with full instructions on how to activate it. I say “activate”, as normally you would receive starter in a form of powder, and you would need to convert it into a proper liquid starter. Failing all that, you can start your own starter, again lots of links on google that will tell you how to do that – it will take about a week or so to do it from scratch, but you’l…

WholeWheat and Chocolate Cherry

I didn’t think I’ll be baking again until the weekend, but what do you know – all the seeded bread is gone and only a tiny bit of challah remaining. Time to get baking again, not that I am complaining or anything :)

With all the rioting going on in London I’ve decided to work from home, just to be on a safe side. Which means that I have a bit more time in the morning to do the mixing, can do shaping late in the afternoon, and will have some bread ready by tonight – 1 day sourdough, sounds like my kind of project.

I normally prefer to retard my sourdoughs in the fridge for 8-12 hours, especially if I am making a more rustic bread, but with some recipes you can have it all done and dusted in a day, starting first thing in the morning and baking it last thing at night. Just to be on a safe side, I am going to add a bit of sugar of the recipes to speed up the whole process, I don’t feel like staying up until wee hours in the morning just to finish baking (I have done that before, I am tha…