Schiacciata con l’uva…can you remember it?

rosemary

schiacciata

Some time a go when I was still a girlfriend, I was introduced to a man. We exchanged names and shook hands. It was a pleasant meeting, he seemed to be a likeable fellow, and being a friend of a friend, maybe we would meet again, maybe not.

A little further down the track and we did meet again. Mr Chocolate remembered him well, and gently pushed his newly wed wife towards the man in an enthusiastic gesture.

“You remember my now wife? he beamed.

“Sure!” said the man just as enthusiastically

I looked confused. Turning towards the man, I held no recognition of his face at all. I looked back towards Mr Chocolate, hoping for another clue. Nope nothing there. Clearly they were both mistaken and we had had never previously met before. (hmmmph!... thinking I must have been mistaken for a previous girlfriend.)

Introductions were made once more, and after a time we left again. Mr Chocolate assured me we had met previously but as I had no memory of him and usually “never forget a face!” I sincerely doubted him.

So when a third time meeting occurred another year or so down the track, Mr Chocolate (probably a little cautiously) said “Brydie you remember *Ben don’t you!” With his eyebrows up a little higher than normal and perhaps a slight edge to his voice.

“Of course I do babe. Ben…how are YOU?!” Smiling and giving the guy a big hug. I sucked up my complete and utter confused-stranger-alert face I wanted to put on, and instead put on my so-happy-to-see you my old friend face on.

Pleasantries passed between us, a lunch was had and again we left. No awkward moments for Mr Chocolate this time as I had remembered the man I met several times before.

Although I hadn’t. I still had no recollection of this man what so ever. Not one little scrap of face recognition did I have. All I knew was this was the man whom I was expected to remember due to having met him several times before.

Mr Chocolate and I laugh about it now, and refer to him as the man who I can’t remember. Certainly not for a lack of personality, as he is lovely (so Mr Chocolate tells me.) Just for some reason he had refused to jump into the recesses of my memory bank.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Now what does this have to do with bread? Well schiacciata is another word that refuses to stay in my memory bank.

Grape and Rosemary Flatbread? Don’t worry, I’m all over it. Starts with an S I’ll say. Italian regional flat bread…delicious…dead easy to make. Sounds a little like sciatica, also ends with an ‘a’. But remembering the name Schiacciata?

Probably as much chance of remembering that as I do dear *Ben.

* And no, I still can’t remember what his real name is.

Schiacciata con l’uva

(Grape and Rosemary Flatbread)

the bread…

400g starter

750g flour

500mls water (approx)

2 tsp salt

MIx in your usual sourdough fashion and roll out on to a large tray. Last proof and add your remaining ingredients just before you pop it in to the oven.

or

if you have no starter use this how to make bread recipe

600g flour (4 cups- I use strong bakers flour)

2 tsp dried yeast

400mls tepid water

 3 tbls olive oil

2 tsp salt

for the top…

add all of this after the last proof and just before you pop it into the oven

couple of sprigs of my potted rosemary

extra salt (I use Murray River Salt)

some great local olive oil

dark grapes

Baked at 230C for about 20 minutes with a little steam.

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This post submitted to the always drool worthy yeastspotting

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lunch time dutch crunch

dutchcrunch2

dutchcrunch

Tuna, asparagus, tomato and cheese toasted sandwich. That was my favourite sandwich of choice when I lived on a tropical island covered in goannas, snakes and partying backpackers. Perhaps an odd choice for that point in my life, but it worked and I was hooked on them for quite a while. I had timed the toasting to just the right crunch, to get the cheese just so, and the taste just right. With a light tropical sweat on my brow, and evening party plans being made, that was my tropical island lunch.

Day old slightly stale cheap bakery bread topped with peanut butter. That was my lunch of choice when I first moved to Sydney. With barely any furniture in my newly leased flat, my fluffy white cat pushing against my feet for attention, my lunch time choice was the cheapest of the cheap. Certainly no crunch in this lunch. I was lucky to get the sandwich actually swallowed without at least two glasses of water.

These days, my lunch of choice is usually an open sandwich on something dark and grainy. Not for the rest of my family though. I made these dutch crunch rolls recently and they were declared a new lunch time favourite.

You can easily make them with any basic bread recipe, (commercial yeast or sourdough) and all you need to do is add a thick paste to the top before baking. Giving your lunch a little extra crunch.

dutchcrunch1

Dutch Crunch or Tiger Bread

Sourdough Bread

400g starter

750g flour (5 cups)

750mls water

2 tsp salt

Commercial Yeast Bread

see this post if you have never made bread before and think you might like to give it a crack. 

600g strong bakers flour

2 tsp dried yeast

400mls tepid water

 3 tbls olive oil

2 tsp salt

The Crunchy Paste

1/2 cup water
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup rice flour

Mix together to form a thick paste and add to half way though the last prove of your dough.  Bake as you normally do, (I do 230C with steam.)

This post submitted to the inspiring yeastspotting

sprouted quinoa sourdough

crumb

sprouting

The beauty of sourdough is it really is incredibly forgiving. There is no set way that you have to do things. It’s this part that appeals to me, as me and a regular routine don’t usually skip hand in hand.

Fasten it up, slow it down, make it with more water, make it with less water, cook it in a super hot oven, cook it in a slow oven. Leave it for 24 hours in the fridge? Yep, still good to go. Sure with all those changes, it might not have the same delectable taste of the the local sourdough bakery down the road, but your working conditions probably aren’t the same either. Phones get rung, children need feeding, appointments need to be kept and sometimes well, to be blunt you just couldn’t be arsed.

For these many reasons, this is why I love sourdough. It’s adaptable. Pretty much what ever I throw at it, it comes back with a tasty totally exceptable loaf of bread. It might not be winning awards, but it feeds hungry bellies, and it is good and true in a wholesome kind of way.

Putting sprouted quinoa in my sourdough sounded ridiculously wholesome. Thanks to my little friend Instagram, I have a steady supply of inspiring bakers around the world giving me advice, encouragement and all round inspiration that is pretty hard to top at the moment.

Sprouting had been at the back of my mind since I had had some delicious sprouted granola in Byron Bay, and with a steady supply of encouraging pictures via Instagram it was time to jump on board.

I tried sprouted organic brown rice first, delicious. Next up, quinoa it was. Dead easy in our summer, and whoosh… before I knew it they had little tails. Into the bread they went, which  resulted in a lovely moist, chewy crumb.

With a sprouted quinoa sourdough under my belt, now I just have to decide what to sprout next?

sproutedquinoa

Sprouted Quinoa Sourdough

400g starter

750g flour (5 cups)

500mls water

(5 minutes in the mixer)

(30 minutes snooze)

200g sprouted quinoa

2 tsp salt

(5 minutes in the mixer)

(60 minute snooze)

three way fold

60 minute snooze

three way fold and shape

overnight nap of 12 hours in the fridge

bring it back to room temperature

slash

230C preheated oven with steam.

 sprouted

this post submitted to the bready inspiration yeast spotting

Fruit and Nut Rye

There is something about truly wholesome food that feeds the soul. A simple seasonal dish, fruit and vegetables picked at their best. Honest food that nourishes, heals and restores.

It could be something as simple as revitalising an appetite or tantalising those taste buds. Inspiring to cook better. I was watching a cooking programme the other day and got so excited about the simple ingredients the chef was using. The presentation was beautiful, the colours, the textures and also the fact that it took just a few minutes to prepare.

Food is exciting. It can be wonderfully vibrant. It brings people together. The textures, the smells, the colours all mixed together can do so much. As I quite often write, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to take half a day to prepare.

Packets don’t have the same effect. Jars are unlikely to as well. Fruit and vegetables with their genetic diversity dumbed down for convenience and then stored for great lengths of time do not have the same qualities and effects of their seasonal local heirloom variety counterparts.

I love sweet things, and don’t have any issue with sweet recipes in moderation. However I do think that in our society sugar is being used as a substitute for taste. Salt is right along side it. A product lacking in flavour, health, anything nourishing what so ever will be added to. What with? Sugar and or salt. It deadens the taste buds, you want more, your satisfaction levels get confused and more gets consumed. Using ingredients that are easily identifiable, and letting their real flavours shine through brings dishes to the table that make a person smile.

Listen closely to a small child with their favourite simple piece of fruit, and more often than not, slow enjoyable eating sounds will be heard. A sun kissed strawberry brings nothing but happy slurps and red stained fingers and mouth. Taste buds heightened and ignited. A lesser strawberry would still be consumed, but leaving no satisfaction, taste buds lying dormant and on finishing it, you’ve already forgotten about it and moved on.

Bread is no different. For this bread I wanted something that nourished every part of me. A couple of slices for breakfast that would leave my taste buds awakened and my body energized.

Fruit and Nut Rye

300g starter

200g strong bakers flour

100g rye flour

50g linseed

100g sultanas

50g chopped pecans

25g unprocessed wheat bran

1 tsp dark malt flour

275mls (approx) water

1 1/2 tsp salt

handful of raw almonds

Mix all ingredients together except the salt. Resting period for about 40 minutes. Add the salt and mix again. Two long proves with a quick knead in between. Shape or pop in an oiled loaf tin, making sure you throw in a handful of whole raw almonds at the bottom of the tin and bake at 240C with plenty of steam. I baked this one for about 40 minutes. Then gently flipped the loaf out of the tin and into the oven again for another 5 or so minutes, bottom side up, to toast the almonds a little more. Cool on a rack, then wrap and leave over night before cutting into.

This post submitted to the wonderful yeastspotting

Time, sourdough and a little Pecan and Prune Bread

Sourdough seems to put a lot of people off by the time factor of it all. Before I started making it last year, I liked the idea of sourdough, but even making the  starter seemed too lengthy, too time consuming, and a whole lot of hassle really. When I finally jumped in and just made the thing, it was a ohh, is that all? So with the starter bubbling away, I jumped in and away I swam with my sourdoughy… err… dough.

So is it time consuming?

Does it take a lot of work?

Does the convenience of sliced shop bread lure me over some times?

Time consuming, I don’t think of it as. (Saying that, I’m not trying to fit in with a paid job that requires my attention away from home for the majority of the day.)

You do have to plan a little. I don’t wake up in the morning and think ohh, today I shall make sourdough and have it on the table by lunch time. It’s usually a 3 day process, but it certainly doesn’t take 3 whole days to make it.

Sourdough is using natural yeast, so it works on its own time. Some times that sourdough is a sprightly young energetic woman with places to go and people to see. Bubbly and so full of spirit.

Some times that dough is a lethargic old man, shuffling along in worn out old slippers and a battered zimmer frame. You get stuck behind him, and you just know you can’t over take, as it would be rude. You just have to slow yourself down some and let the old fella set the pace.

Either way sourdough is boss. You can fiddle and tweak a little by finding a cooler spot to get it to slow down some or finding a sunny warm spot  to fasten things up a little. It all depends on the activity level of the starter, the flour and the room temperature though.

So does it take a lot of work?

No, not really. A starter feed= 1 minute. Wait 8-12 hours, feed again. Wait 8-12 hours, feed again. Wait 8-12 hours, mix up dough with a mixer and dough hooks. A plain dough=5 minutes of getting ingredients together and mixing. Go do something else more exciting for about 40 minutes, then mix again adding the salt. A quick 30 second knead. Leave it on the bench to think about things for a while. Read The Monkeys a story, have a shower, eye off some dark chocolate and then whack it in the fridge over night. In the morning, shape it (5 minutes), pop it on some trays and let it come back to room temperature- 4ish hours, slash. Bake.

1+1+1+5+30 sec+5  

That’s 13 minutes and 30 seconds of hands on time with the dough (a basic, nothing crazy loaf) over several days+ waiting and baking.

Some times I have to wait for the rising dough and sometimes it has to wait for me, we both have to be a bit flexible, which is the wonderful thing about sourdough, it is flexible. You can adapt the whole bread making process to suit you. I’ve mentioned this as one of my methods on making it work, but there are many other ways that other people do it, some that work for me and some that don’t. If it doesn’t fit in with your life style it’s going to become a pain. You don’t want it to become a pain.

So do away with the watch. Judge your bread on how it looks and just fiddle with it until you find out what works for you. Sometimes my loaves aren’t the greatest. Sometimes that extra 3 minutes baking turns into 15 and dark and crusty have a totally new meaning. Sometimes I don’t feel like washing yet another doughy mixing bowl, but… I always enjoy eating it and so do my family.

And that’s the trade off.

So jump in, give it a go, and if it doesn’t work out for you, it might later down the track.

*********

…and does the lure of sliced shop bread ever tempt me?… No chance. 

Pecan and Prune Bread

200g starter

50g oats

8 pitted and chopped large prunes

80mls hot water

large handful of chopped pecans

300g strong bakers flour

200-250mls water

1 tsp salt

Starter at 100% hydration. The 80mls of hot water to soak the oats and prunes beforehand. Mixed together and using a method that suits you.

(Baked at 240C with steam.)

* This post submitted to yeastspotting

slowing it down to eat some rye bread

 

Sourdough is not a quick process. It’s slow, likes to amble. Take its time. Focus it’s energy on the job on hand and then gradually release all of that sourdoughy goodness. Especially slow in winter. I don’t mind though. I’m in no hurry. The bread and I have no place special to be, and if I did…well the bread can wait. Sourdough is like that. Occasionally moody and a little flighty, but regularly reliable, and keen to just make peace with what ever is happening. I like that.

I had started with a 100% rye from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf. I took my time, didn’t hurry it along. It turned out ok, but I wasn’t thrilled. Mr Chocolate had mistakenly washed up my 2 tablespoons of crucial gelatinized mix to go on top of the loaf, and it all looked a little too floury. I had been nervous about putting the sticky mass dough in my banetton, so had floured a teatowel to line it instead. The loaf just came out looking like a floured teatowel though. Never mind. I’ll try a again.

Trial one

Second time around and I thought I would tweak the flavours a little. I wanted a more in-depth flavour, and also banished Mr Chocolate from my gelatinized mix at the crucial time. Flavour was better, and I didn’t bother with a banetton, just freeformed a rough round shape and pegged the sides of the baking paper to cradle and support it a little. It did rise, the top looked a little glossy, and several cracks developed while rising…. but it wasn’t quite there yet. What was missing?

Trial Two

Third time around, and the weather was cold. It certainly was going to take longer than the 5 hours recommended to let it rise. Once baked, I left it for 48 hours wrapped in baking paper before I cut into it. This really did seem to help in the development of the flavour, but….

Trial three- it’s getting there. The flavour was certainly there, but not quite there yet…

Fourth go. It tastes good.

I’m done.

Trialing and tweaking I’ve enjoyed doing, but I still find it a bit of a pain to make on account of it being so sticky. The taste is there though. It was really cold the day I made this one and it certainly didn’t double in size. It was a loooong cool prove, probably 12 hours on the bench all up plus 12 hours in the fridge. I’m still sticking with the hand shaping and laying on bakers paper rather than a banetton, I didn’t bother checking the temperature of the boiling water asper Dan Lepard’s instructions, (things aren’t that slow round here.) Just whisked when it’s boiled. I also think wrapping it afterwards is very crucial. The taste is a light sour, really tight crumb and I think the linseed and dark malt flour I added give a bit more depth, to which I like.

It’s filling, it’s good for you, The Monkeys won’t have a bar of it, and that suits me just fine. I can eat my way through it… slowly.

                                                                          

My changed ingredient list is as follows, for the method and some other invaluable notes on Dan Lepard’s more original recipe- jump over to Zeb Bakes. The lovely Joanna made this a little while back and it was really interesting to see what she thought of the same recipe.

100% Sour Rye

adapted from The Handmade Loaf
300g rye starter
75mls cold water
450g gelatinized rye mix
400g rye flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp dark malt flour
50g (1/2 cup) linseed meal, or LSA
gelatinized rye mix- 90g rye flour and 360 mls water
**********
The night before make up the gelatinized rye mix, using just boiled water and whisking flour in immediately. Leave two tablespoons aside for the top of the loaf. Whisk cold water into thr rye starter and then also whisk in the gelatinized mix. Then add remaining ingredients.
On to an oiled surface, try and squish it into the shape you want. Smoothing it round and leave it for 5 (ambitious for me)- 12 hours on a baking paper cradle or banetton. Until it’s risen a bit anyway.
Spread the remaining gelatinized mix on, spray with water and pop in the oven at 210C for about 50 minutes.
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This post submitted to yeastspotting.

Fruit and Nut Sourdough

Each week I make a loaf of sourdough just for me. For me, me, me.

Anyone else is quite welcome to eat it too. However, The Monkeys usually clamp their lips shut and swiftly shake their heads at the offer and there are usually far too many fruity pieces in there for Mr Chocolate to happily call these loaves his own.

So, I make one up for me. It does the whole week and I get to start the day off in a way that kicks starts the happy tastebuds.

Add a cup of chai tea drunk from my favourite op-shop green mug and the day begins.

I’ve played with The Almost Uber Healthy Loaf, a Spiced Apple Loaf, Dan Lepard’s Raisin and Cinnamon Loaf and now this little buddle of goodness. Packed full of all things good and healthy, there is no guilt at all when I slap inch thick peanut butter on it.

Fruit and Nut Sourdough

300gms starter

100gms (about a cup) mixture of pecan halves, linseed meal, sunflower seeds

1 tps dark malt flour

25gms (1/2 cup) unprocessed bran

150gms sultanas, chopped prunes (they were squishy and soft already, if they were really dried I would have soaked them first.)

1 tps cinnamon

190gms strong bakers flour

300mls water (approx)

1 1/4 tps salt

almonds to decorate

The usual mix, rest period, add salt, mix again. Prove, fold, prove, shape, prove. Baked at 240C, for approx 20mins and then lowered to 200C for approximately another 10 minutes. The toasted whole almonds on top give a lovely crunch to the slices.

This post submitted to the fabulous yeastspotting

Apricot and Sunflower Sourdough

I have four new comers in my little kitchen at the moment and I love them all equally.

A flat bottomed wok- who knew cooking could be so quick and easy with this little fella.

A hand made wooden Huon Pine mini rolling pin- beautifully made. I fell in love with the workmanship and needed a smaller one than my broken handled marble one. It really is the perfect little roller. Light and smooth…(not generally like my pastry.)

A super sharp lame (French blade for cutting my sourdough)- slash, slash, slash!

and….my new Banneton. Otherwise known as Brotform or Brotformen…Other, otherwise known as a little basket to prove your bread in. This I have to say is my favourite. Lovingly stored away at night, ready to work its banneton magic on my bread the next day. If I tucked it up and gave it a good night kiss, I wouldn’t be surprised.

… Mr Chocolate might be though.

Apricot and Sunflower Sourdough

200gms starter

2 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup dried chopped apricots

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1 tps salt

3 heaped spoonfuls natural yoghurt

water: enough for elastic dough consistency

Mix ingredients together, then leaving for an hour or so. Into fridge for a lovely long and slow ferment for 12 hours. Out of fridge and fold the dough. Leaving to prove for approximately two hours. Fold again and popped into my lovely, lovely new banneton. Prove until, I couldn’t stand the excitement any longer and had to pop the dough in the oven to see how my new basket had shaped up. Baked at 250C with steam on top shelf for approximately 20mins and then down to the bottom shelf for a further 10 minutes.

This loaf I have made a few times now and I’m really happy with the results. It keeps beautifully and still toasting well a week later. Topped with the Lime and Cumquat Marmalade and my morning begins.

* This post submitted to Yeastspotting.