Monday, 13 January 2014

Bread Beautiful Bread

A new year a fresh start and I am taking that mantra with my bread making! In the past year I have learnt:

1) Fresh yeast is not worth buying, goes off too quickly and is not for me.
2) Sourdough is fun, creative, my husband loves it but is a lot of effort.
3) Old large tubs of fast action yeast is not going to work well.
4) Fresh fast action yeast is indeed amazing.
5) My kitchen aid makes me nervous after two break downs... I will post on this later.
6) Kneading by hand is fun and rewarding but still the kitchen aid is easier.
7) Make sure you have the right size loaf tin... very important to avoid brick like loaves!

So we a renewed sense of purpose I have been researching how to perfect my bread.  Yesterday I made an amazing loaf if I don't say so myself. I made a white loaf with the normal Paul Hollywood tin loaf recipe:

- 400g strong white bread flour
- 8g salt
- 7g fast action yeast
- 25g butter
- 250ml cool water

Now what I did differently was to hold out with my kitchen aid through the grinding noises and the head bouncing and let it knead it fully rather than to finish it off by hand. I also added less water to begin and more to pull i together rather than adding more in. I believe that as I didn't add anything to the dough like extra oil through kneading that is why it tastes so good. It is soft and moist where as lasts week loaf was dry and oily. Don't get me wrong my last load didn't drip with oil, but it had that texture that bread and cakes tend to have when oil has been added, the dry larger hole texture that oil in recipes bring.

I also read about glazes and topping on Gina's blog Home Joys and mixed up an egg (white and yolk with no water) and brushed this onto the bread before going in the oven and scattered on a mix of sesame seeds and black onion seeds. I had also wanted to slash he top to make it bloom in the oven but my knives are all fairly blunt so didn't want to ruin my bread and squish all of the air out of it trying. I think I will purchase a bread blade at some point, perhaps after starting a sour dough again. 

I put a tray of cold water in the bottom of the oven to make the oven steamy as this is meant to improve the shine. If I am honest I am not sure I do notice the difference with this one. Perhaps I need to do one with and one without of the same dough to test it!

Finally I melted some butter (homemade!) in the microwave and brushed this onto the hot bread as I came out of the oven.

Doug and I will eat this at work for lunch with homemade soup, Carrot and Cumin. The recipe for this came from the New Covent Garden Food Co. A Soup For Every Day Book.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

New Years Resolutions

So that time of year has arrived where I vow to improve myself this year. Now I am not a breakfast type of person which is strange as I was brought up to eat breakfast every day. So this New Years resolution is to eat breakfast every day! 

My breakfast of choice so far has been Bircher Musili or overnight oats. My mum was given the recipe originally by a friend about a decade ago and I used to make it at Uni to power myself though the exam period. It is yummy, healthy and as low releasing energy but be warned it isn't too cheap. So here it is!!

1) Mix 100g jumbo oats with 200ml milk and a handful or two of frozen raspberries. Mix up and leave to soak overnight or at least an hour in the fridge.

2) In the morning, take the oats out of the fridge and grate an apple into the bowl with the oats (I peel mine too) before hand).


Then mix in a handful or two of toasted flaked almonds, about 100ml natural yogurt and a teaspoon of honey to taste. And voila, Bircher Musili!!

I like to put my Musili into washed out jam jars to take to work to eat on the way to work!