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Baking

We finally managed to clear some space in the deep freeze, so I baked some bread (to fill it again, naturally).

As usual with bread I followed a ‘yeah much’ method, but did a quick search on the web for a recipe since it’s been so long since I baked bread I no longer remembered how much water to use with how much flour. I found this recipe, which I used as a guide, though going with water rather than ‘kulturmelk’.

Bread

Starter:
1 l water
1,5 dl cooked amaranth (left-overs from dinner the day before)
2 dl oatmeal
½ dl crushed linseed
250 g coarse wholemeal rye
150 g fine wholemeal rye
350 g coarse wholemeal wheat
250 g fine wholemeal wheat
1 dl millet (rolled)
½ dl sesame seeds
½ dl sunflower seeds

Mixed and left to ’soak’ for about half an hour. Then:

50 g fresh yeast
3 dl lukewarm water
1 tblsp sugar
2 tsp salt
400 g plain flour

I mixed the water, yeast and sugar, as well as a little flour and left it for a few minutes to see if the yeast would start working, since the yeast I had was a few days over its best by date, but it was fine, so I poured the mixture and the rest of the flour and the salt into the starter and let the machine do its work. The mixture seemed a little wet, so I added around 100 gr coarse wholemeal wheat and maybe as much as 50 gr of plain flour until it seemed the right consistency. I then left it to rise for about three quarters of an hour, turned it out and divided into three which I formed into loaves and baked at 200 degrees C for about an hour.

IMG_20130126_190621

They were darn good, too. Very, very pleased with myself. So pleased I followed it up today by baking rolls.

I purchased a bag of quinoa flour last year, but never got round to testing it. And searching for recipes specifically for quinoa flour brings up recipes where it’s used instead of wheat, which is not really what I want at all. I don’t mind wheat, quite the contrary, I love it. I just like using different grains to spice things up a bit, so to say. So I decided I’d just have to wing it. We cooked quinoa (grains, not flour) for dinner yesterday, so I had remains of cooked quinoa as well, and figured it should work as an added grain. I started with this recipe for rolls, and ended up with:

Quinoa rolls

200 g quinoa flour
300 g coarse wholemeal wheat
100 g fine wholemeal wheat
500 g plain flour
1 tsp salt
2,5 tsp sugar
50 g fresh yeast
7 dl lukewarm water
3 tblsp oil (rapeseed)
2 dl cooked quinoa (red)
1/2 dl sesame seeds

I mixed the dry ingredients, dissolved the yeast in the water and then added the wet ingredients to the dry, and then added the cooked quinoa and the sesame seeds. I let it rise for about half an hour, formed 16 rolls, let them rise for another half hour and baked at 225 degrees C for 15 minutes.

And they turned out great, if I may say so myself. A very nicely balanced flavour, with just enough bite from the whole grains and seeds. The only problem I can see is the price of quinoa flour. These are not going to be something we bake every day, to put it that way.

Sourdough

Fun, fun, fun!

Since March I’ve had a sourdough starter in the fridge, faithfully feeding it every week or so, and baking the occasional bread. The recipe I’ve been using most frequently is the rye bread from surdeig.no, which results in a nice bread. However, one thing I’ve been having problems with is that however lovely and fluffy the bread seems at the start of baking, by the time I take it out of the oven, it has normally collapsed in the middle, resulting in some very odd-looking slices. Not that it matters much, but it’s been a little frustrating.

See? Sunk!

See? Sunk!

But then someone, somewhere, linked to this rather strange video on YouTube:

What with the oddness, it’s very suitable for Halloween, actually. However, it’s really just an adaption of the now famous no-knead bread.

And last weekend I decided to try it out in addition to doing the tried and tested version.

I made the mistake of turning the dough onto the counter too early, so it was left sitting there for about 20 minutes. Well, sitting, it was more sort of gently oozing out to cover as much countertop as it could. It was also quite difficult to do the “fold in from each side and pick up to plop in pot” bit. And it looked rather flat when I popped it in the pot. But then, when I went to remove the lid 20 minutes later, this had happened:

And what a great use for the Cathrineholm pots!

And what a great use for the Cathrineholm pots!

Wowee.

By the way, since my starter is used to rye, I used 1 cup rye in the recipe, in addition to 1 cup plain flour and 1 cup whole wheat. Give it a go!

Quite exploded, I tell you!

Quite exploded, I tell you!

And, by the way, if you’re anywhere nearby and tempted to try baking sourdough bread, I’d be happy to provide you with some starter so you don’t have to go through the whole process (though that bit’s kind of fun, too).

The Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

The Daring Kitchen

The Daring Kitchen

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Some people made other sorts of strudel, spinach and feta sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it? That didn’t occur to me, though.

The Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

I opted for apples.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

The Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

This piece of cloth was newly washed and right in front of my eyes when I started to look for a table cloth. Hardly traditional strudel-baking equipment, but it did the job.

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

The Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

To my amazement, the dough actually behaved the way the recipe says it should. It stretched. It only formed holes when I was particularly careless.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

The Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

Transparency, I haz it. Tissue thin? Uhm, perhaps not. I suspect I should have stretched more. Problem was I was running out of space. Also, though the dough didn’t break, it did spring back. More elastic than flexible. Must find out why. So instead of 60×90 cm I gave up around 50×80.

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

The Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

However, I don’t agree very well with walnuts, so hazelnuts it is.

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

The Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

The Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

Eaten warm with ice cream. Nice, but not mind-blowing. I might try it again and drop the nuts entirely, add more raisins and rum and probably more sugar and cinnamon (I already used more cinnamon than the recipe called for).

Or perhaps try a savoury version.

The Daring Bakers: For the love of chocolate

This is my first Daring Bakers challenge, and I was very exited at the beginning of February to see what my first assignment might be. Well, it involves chocolate. This made me happy, I mean, how could something that starts with this:

Daring bakers: For the love of chocolate

be anything but good?

I meant to do the hard work (ok, not so hard, but whatever) last weekend, but was laid low with a throat infection. This weekend rolled around, and I was all set, but had shipped the husband and lass off to Hitra in order to do some serious tidying of the flat (though you wouldn’t know it from how it looks), and thought it would be a pity to make this heavenly chocolatey concoction and have no one to share it with. Hence I’m a day late, but I hope I may be forgiven…

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

The cake is straight-forward enough, I opted for a mix of chocolates, partly because of bad planning (I’d have used all Fair Trade chocolate if I’d remembered to buy it from my usual source): 100 g Änglamark Fairtrade dark (70% cocoa), 100 g Freia 70%, 200 g Freia Dronningsjokolade and some leftover Lindt 70% to make up the pound. The eggs were fresh organic ones, which might, for all I know, make a difference (the organic bit, the freshness does make a difference, I know that).

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time:  20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

So much for the cake. Wendy and Dharm provided two different recipes for vanilla ice cream, but I ended up using a recipe from the main dairy producer in Norway to make sure I got the right recipe for the type of cream we get here (no such thing as double cream in Norway) – though the cream I used was actually from their main competitor. Never mind. I halved the recipe, and couldn’t find real vanilla, so cheated with the good vanilla sugar. And the sugar I use is Fairtrade, and has a more distinct taste than ordinary refined sugar.

4 egg yolks
75 g sugar
3 dl kremfløte (cream)
1 tsp vanilla sugar

Whip the egg yolks and sugar, add the vanilla. Whip the cream and add to the mixture. Freeze, taking the bowl out every half hour or so and stirring it.

Since we had a bag of mixed berries in the freezer and I love sorbet, I thought I’d make that as well. No fancy ingredients here. I whirred the berries in the blender, with a little pineapple juice to make it go round, then pressed the pure through a strainer to get the seeds out and ended up with 7 dl pure. To which I added a sugar solution made with 1,4 dl of water and 1,8 dl sugar brought to the boil and cooled a bit. Stuck that in the freezer and took it out to stir every half hour or so as well. Easy peasy.

The result:

Daring bakers: For the love of chocolate

The “cake” was heavenly, more a sort of mousse with a brownie crust. The sorbet and ice cream went well with it, and it’s all bound to disappear quite quickly, I suspect. I need to work on my food photography skills, though. The above is the best I could do before the ice cream melted. I had a bit of a disagreement with my flash, so it’s not as sharp as I could wish.

The taste was just right, though :) Looking forward to the March challenge already (will try not to fall ill at the critical moment this month…)

Sticky toffee pudding

Whenever we’re in Britain and don’t stuff ourselves silly on the main course so that there is actually room for dessert, the husband tends to go for sticky toffee pudding every time (provided it’s available, obviously). So a while ago, going on three years in fact, I checked out some recipes online and thought “I can do that.” And then didn’t. Until this week, when I thought I’d take advantage of this baking frenzy to actually try making sticky toffee pudding. Having dropped the lass off at her grandmother’s for a sleepover on Thursday, I set to it.

I used the Ultimate Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe from the BBC Good Food website, but instead of seven puddings (seven? odd number, isn’t it?) I used my xl size muffin tin and made six.

Pudding, glorious pudding

Pudding, glorious pudding

Thing is, I thought puddings were supposed to be sort of steam baked, not just popped into a pan and coming out looking rather like another muffin? Or perhaps I’ve just been reading to much Patrick O’Brian and related literature and assume nothing’s changed in the British kitchen since the early 19th century? Anyway, it smelt delicious and looked pretty good. The next item on the agenda was the toffee sauce. It looked yummy, too.

Toffee sauce

Toffee sauce, check.

The BBC recipe suggests leaving the puddings to soak in the sauce for a day, which was just as well, as the husband was working the late shift and would not be home until after my bedtime. So I soaked:

This here is pudding soaking

This here is pudding soaking, so it is.

I didn’t have six individual oven proof dishes, so I made little “dishes” out of aluminium foil. The next day I told the husband to buy either cream or icecream, depending on whether he wanted custard or icecream with his puddings, and he opted for custard. So I tried the BBC recipe for Dead Good Custard, except I cheated and used vanilla sugar (even if it was the posh kind) rather than real vanilla. It turned out very tasty, but more vanilla sauce-ish than custardy. I suspect I should have been more patient in the “let simmer until it thickens” phase. Oh, well.

Overall judgement from the expert: Yummy, but not very sticky. Will try to do better on that point next time, suggestions on how would be appreciated.

Muffin mania

We bought muffin tins today. I’ve only ever used the muffin paper on its own when making muffins and have therefore only been able to make quite small, flattish ones. So now we are testing muffin recipes, and so far it’s obvious that with tins we’re talking a whole different kettle of fish.

First out: Just Bento’s Earl Grey Tea Muffins. I was thrilled with how much they rose and how fluffy they became. They do indeed taste just like a cup of tea with milk, though the husband thought they “need more milk”.

Yummy.

Yummy.

I then tried making some lunch muffins, using a combination of several recipes found on various Norwegian sites. These I poured into the extra large muffins muffin tin, and I suspect just one is going to be sufficient for lunch. They sure look good, but I’ll have to report back on the taste tomorrow. If it works I’ll post the recipe.

For scale: It's about half as tall as a standard half pint glass.

For scale: It is about half as tall as a standard half pint glass.

To round the evening off, I made another tea muffin batter, doubling the measurements, initially without the tea. I poured half into my medium size tins and added some frozen berries straight into the tin and stirred each muffin a bit with the handle of a spoon. I then added rooibos tea to the rest of the batter before pouring it into more medium sized tins.

I haven’t tried the berry ones yet, but I can tell you that the rooibos worked perfectly. The tea has such a sweet taste, too, that I suspect you could cut down on the amount of sugar without anyone being any the wiser. I may have found myself a new favourite.

I <3 my Bosch

Or our Bosch, I guess, as it was a Christmas present for us both. I commented when I opened the present that it was a new toy for me, whereupon my mil, who gave it to us, questioned whether the husband hadn’t had it on his list for his birthday this summer, too? Well, yes, he did. Because I wanted one and he couldn’t think of anything else to ask for. Anyway, I’ve used it twice for baking already and he’s certainly eating the results with gusto, so I guess he’s reaping the benefits too.

And I love it. I like baking, but in a very lazy and somewhat haphazard way. I don’t find satisfaction in kneading for hours (or even minutes). So a machine that really works well at doing the job for me is a dream.

So there it is. A MUM6N22 Universal Plus. With blender and meat mincer. Swoon.

And I couldn't even get it in focus. Honestly! I will try to do better later.

And I couldn't even get it in focus...

And for my birthday I want the sausage thingymabob, then we can really go crazy in the kitchen. And the pasta maker. In fact, all the extra equipment, of which there is a lot.

Oooh. Lookie. All shiny.

Anyway. For some reason I had not anticipated such a bulky and expensive gift and had therefore not stocked up on baking ingredients before the Christmas holidays (we had no eggs, very little milk and hardly any flour other than some of the plain stuff). So the first thing we made (we… well, the lass helped, sort of) were sausage rolls, as we happened to have everything we needed. We tried this recipe, and used some of the odd sausages we picked up in Riga before Christmas. In addition to the sausages I stuck some sticks of cheese in there as well. The sausage rolls turned out really tasty, the sausages, luckily, were just right for this sort of thing. I’ve thrown some in the freezer and gobbled up most of the rest… We will be making them again, though with different sausages, I suspect. Going to Riga regularly in order to shop would not be very economical.

So, what are these?

So, what are these?

After some stocking up, though as it turned out I needen’t have, really, I searched my Delicious bookmarks tagged recipes for some more ideas and found A Spoonful of Sugars Pan de Ramirino recipe. Not having stocked up on fresh rosemary, I used the dried, which worked surprisingly well. I also used the Bosch for the whole shebang, except the shaping of the buns. To persuade it to work in the olive oil rather than just swirl the oily dough round and round I had to cheat and add a little more flour. Next time I think I’ll just leave some out at the beginning for this purpose. My buns turned out rather more ragged than Angelas, but they tasted juuuuust fine. Another recipe that will quite definitely be repeated, and possibly in larger batches, as I supect these will freeze well enough, too.