Showing posts from August, 2011

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…

Saffron Challah

I felt like another enriched dough, I’ve need looking at challah recipes for a while and decided to give that a go. I’ve tried making it twice before - once following Rose Levy Beranbanm traditional challah recipe from her site and once from Nancy Silverton’s La Brea Bakery book. Rose’s version turned out really nice, lovely and buttery and light, amazing tear-y texture., but a bit bland on the taste front The one from Nancy’s book was a disaster, didn’t rise much, and the flavour was quite bad, I ended up throwing most of it out. I must have cocked something up, because normally Nancy’s recipes work really well for me.
So, this time I’ve decided to do a bit of a mix of both recipes - vanilla and saffron challah, using just sourdough, with no commercial yeast.

Saffron Challah

118g water
10 strands of saffron
100g white starter (100% hydration)
425g white flour
10g salt
3 eggs
60g honey
70g unsalter butter, softened
1 vanilla bean
2 Tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
1 tsp caster sugar (option…

Banana Brioche Bread

Very active starter and three manky bananas call for another go at Banana bread.
I nearly used up all of my storage starter, so I used the last of it to make up a big batch of starter, to save some as a stock in the fridge and to use some this week and test out another bread recipe. Due to all the warm weather we’ve been having in London, the process didn’t take long at all and by Wednesday morning I had enough starter to store away and to play with. This time I decided to play with a recipe for Banana bread.
I’ve made Banana Bread from Breadtopia website a number of times in the last few years. But I find the texture and the flour of it more cake-like rather then bread-like, and I was looking for something a bit more like a loaf of bread for my morning toast.
I saw a recipe for Banana bread on FreshLoaf website which looked amazing, but looked too complicated for me. However the blog did say that banana bread went really nice with peanut butter, and that was it, I couldn’t get that idea…

Orange Whiskey Loaf and Seeded Boule

Another weekend, another day to try things out. I've made my fruity loaf last week, and it was gone, in like, four days. I ran out of bread in the house - had to buy some shop stuff - shock, horror!! Reminded me how much I hate the shop-bought stuff. To make sure that I don't have to do anything as awful as buying bread for a shop again, I've decided to make two loaves this morning.

I was drinking my morning glass of OJ this mornings, and decided that would make a great inspiration for a loaf of bread, something sweet for a morning toast. I’ve ended up adding some whiskey to bread as well to make it a bit more interesting, but it wasn’t cause I was necking whiskey first thing in the morning, just thought orange and whiskey would go well together.

Orange Whiskey Loaf
150g white starter (100% hydration)
100g orange juice
180g water
30g whiskey
400g white flour
50g wholemeal flour
90g rye flour
4 Tbsp orange jam or marmalade
50g unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ tsp salt

We’ve tried making or…