Showing posts from June, 2011

Plain Old Loaf

I’ve decided to stop experimenting with fancy enriched breads and make a standard, good plain old loaf of bread. I keep meaning to try different shaping and slashing techniques, but normally forget about it by the time the shaping time comes. And its so much easier to quickly shape a loaf on a counter and pop it into a banneton.

I have a large oval one (for 1 kg loaf), one large round one (for 1 kg loaf) and one oval medium (for 750 g loaf) banneton – Mr Ranty told me that he got them all from Manufactum not from BakeryBits as I thought. I very rarely use the medium sized one, only when I am trying to make a small loaf for someone as a gift or have too many loaves on the go. What I would really like, is a mah-ussive banneton, so I can make giant loaves of bread, you know the ones you see when you go to markets somewhere like France. A massive loaf of bread, that you probably wouldn’t even buy as a whole – they sell them by weight – how cool is that? Can I have a chunk on bread, ohhh, a…

Cocoa or Cacao

I am also trying out another cake this weekend – got a friend’s birthday and an engagement party to go to and I’ve offered to make a cake for her. I don’t know why I do this to myself – I would love a nice and relaxing weekend, but I keep getting myself involved in these different “projects”.
I’ve been testing out “Cake” section in “The Hummingbird Bakery” book, and this cake has been tempting me for a while.

Brooklyn Blackout Cake
Adapted from “The Hummingbird Bakery”

100 g unsalted butter, softened
220 g sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
20 g cocoa powder (Green and Black)
25 g Venezuelan black 100% pure cacao grated (Willie’s Supreme Cacao)
2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
170 g flour
160 g milk

Chocolate custard
290 g sugar
1 Tbsp honey
85 g Venezuelan black 100% pure cacao grated (Willie’s Supreme Cacao)
80 g cornflour
55 g unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate to decorate

Don’t be put off by the fancy cacao – the only reason I am using it, its cause I ran out of cocoa powd…

Feeling fruitty

Any hope on a lie in went out of the window when Mr Ranty remembered that he is meeting up friends to go go-karting this morning – at 9 am in Slough. 9 am!!! 9 am shouldn’t even exist on a Saturday morning. Alarm goes off at 7, Mr Ranty out of the door at 7:30 and I’ve managed to get another hour of sleep, before the kitties decided that its time to me to get up and feed them – oh well, might as well make myself useful.

While my corn loaf is baking (see previous post), I am gonna make up a fruit loaf. This is another one of my own recipes, I made it up a couple of months ago, and the results have been really good so far, but as usual, I am gonna try and mess up the recipe even more :)
I love the smell of fruity, spicy toast in the morning, slathered with butter with a cup of hot coffee. I haven’t managed to find a bread spicy and fruity enough, so I’ve decided to make my own.

Spicy and Fruity Loaf

250 g starter (100% hydration)
260 g water
40 g whiskey / cognac / brandy
300 g white four
200 g…

Tired and corn-y

This is not summer, I am telling you. Today is supposed to be the longest day of the year, and you would expect a little bit of sunshine, but its grey and cold and it looks like its gonna rain any second.

Have tickets to go and see a play at the Globe tonight, but I am so knackered that I’ve decided to stay at home instead. End of the week and my head feels like its going to explode, not the best of moods to be sitting out in the cold, trying to take in the greatest of all bards. But … it is good time to try out a new recipe – shall we?

I am craving sunshine and I’ve decided to add a bit of sunshine in my evening by making a corn loaf. Not a corn bread, not that sunny, buttery, crumbly American cornbread (although it does sound good just as I type it), but a white loaf, lavoured with corn meal and chillies.

I am making this recipe up as I go along, lets hope its gonna turn out okay.

Corn and Chilli Loaf

250 g start (100% hydration)
200 g water
100 g milk
370 g white flour
130 g fine corn meal

Rye adventure

My rye starter is looking nice and healthy, its time to test it out.
Was only going to try making one rye bread, but looks like I’ve got a lot of starter – much more than the recipe requires, means that I can try out two different recipes – yay!!
First one is “Seeded Rye” from “Bread Matters” by Andrew Whitley and second one is “MiniOven favourite 100% rye” from TheFreshLoaf website.

First one, hmmmm, I think I’ve messed something up already. I’ve been feeding my rye starter 1:1 ration (by weight), keeping it at a 100% starter. The book’s sour rye is kept at 200%, with 2 parts water to 1 part flour. The recipe asks for 160 g of sour rye, so, I’ve figure, I could just use my starter and adjust the recipe to fit it. I meant to reduce the amount of flour, but somehow ended up reducing amount of water – muppet!! Tried mixing it all in my mixer, and got something that looks like a crumble topping instead of a dough. More water, hard to tell exactly how much, trying to achieve “a very soft dou…

A "special" day

I am having a very "special" day - poured a cup of coffee twice over myself - twice!!! Grrr, managed to get it all over my desk and keyboard at work and all over myself, cleaned it up, cleaned myself up, dried everything, came back and did it again all over.
Definitely a special day, once of those that you just want to pack everything up and go home.

On a more positive note, I've started feeding my starter last night, converting a first white starter (50% hydration) into a liquid rye one (100% hydration). I've started feeding it 30 g water / 30 g light rye flour every morning and every evening.
I received a request for a 100% rye bread, and am thinking of trying out one of the recipes from Andrew Whitley "Bread Matters" book. I've had that book for a few years now and still yet to make a single bread out of it. For some reason I find that book quite scary - there is a lot of explanation of different ingredients, and I tend to skip through them a lot. Meani…

Coconut galore

Its warm and grey with an occasional shower, a typical London early summer afternoon – a perfect time to make a cake. Here I am, talking about myself as a bread nerd and the very first posting I do is about a cake! The thing is, I went a bit baking mad last week and have made three types of bread. Considering that its only me and Mr Ranty (plus two cats, but they don’t count, as their bread consumption is minimal), I don’t think I can make any more breads this week. But a cake – well, that’s a different matter.
I’ve been feeling very Thai lately and asked Mr Ranty to make me a Thai curry. He dug out his favourite Thai book – “Thai Food” by David Thompson - and we are having Pork and Green Peppercorn curry for dinner. Being an uber foodie, he decided to make his own coconut cream, as you do! We stocked up on coconuts in Chinatown yesterday, and now have a boat full of coconut milk and mountains of shredded coconut. What a girl to do, but make a coconut cake.
I decided to try a recipe fr…

Starting afresh

I've created this blog a while ago, thinking that it would be a good way of documenting my learnings and share my baking experiences. And, of course, it didn't go any further than that :)

Don't get me wrong, I still bake, and I have had (and still have) a fair share of mess ups and a few really good results. My problem is that I just throw things together as I make things up, and then struggle to understand what went wrong or what worked really well.

So, thats it - from now on I will be posting my creations, hoping to share them with you my dear readers, and learn about myself along the way