the bread that I had to try

apple sourdough bread || cityhippyfarmgirl

Baking.

There is quite a lot to love about it isn’t there. The textures, the creations, the science of it, the…eating. Rather a lot to love about the eating part of it. Sourdough for me, sits pretty firmly up top of the figurative ‘baking love list.’ Love the taste, the flexibility of it and the fact that not one of my loaves ever seem to be the same. Ever.

I saw this little loaf of doughy goodness recently on another blog and fell in love. I wanted in on that, yes indeed. It looked fancy and fiddly and it wasn’t, and I LOVE that. Let’s give it a crack.

apple bread || cityhippyfarmgirl

And so I did. And I loved it, we loved it.

I loved the effect, they loved the eating part.

Yep, very pretty Mama, now lets eat!

cheese and salami bread || cityhippyfarmgirl

sourdough bread || cityhippyfarmgirl

Notes from the kitchen-

-This recipe isn’t really a recipe, it was simply playing, and a lovely excuse to try this new method from Living a Little Greener.

– I also used water kefir as my liquid when making up my dough as it needed using, but please use an everyday bread recipe if that’s more accessible to you. The visual results will still be the same.

– Sweet or savoury (one apple and one salami/cheese) this method gets 10/10 for me. Easy to cut up and pop into lunch boxes.

– As Bruise Mouse states, roll it out on the tray or paper you are baking on, I forgot the first time and it was a little nerve wracking moving it.

* Basic Sourdough Recipe here

* Basic Yeasted Bread recipe here.

Water Kefir Filled Loaf

400g starter

1 tsp yeast

150g softened butter

750g flour

600mls water kefir

3 tsp salt

Make it and bake it.

Baked at 220C until golden.

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A story of currant buns, mice and permaculture

currant buns- cityhippyfarmgirl

currant bunsWhen I was a little girl I used to have a poster from Autumn Story- Brambly Hedge (by Jill Barklem). I don’t know where I got it from and I don’t know where it went, but it had embedded in my mind, and was still remembered fondly as an adult. I loved that picture. Every part of it spoke to me, on a level I couldn’t explain as a kid.

Decades later as a mother now, my own children have several of these books by Jill Barklem. I knew I still loved, and was more than happy to read them whenever I was asked to. But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when it all finally clicked.

I loved these stories, loved these pictures and was drawn in a sentimental way to the seasonal themes. Not because I wanted to be a mouse, with long held dreams of having a tail. But because they were living a life that I aspired too, (and strangely enough, seems I’ve always aspired to.) It was a kind of ‘duh’ moment, where I frowned a little, and the light inside my head clicked well and truly on.

brambly hedge

Autumn Story- Brambly Hedge

Let me try and explain…

First up a description of what the Brambly Hedge books are about, “…a community of self-sufficient mice who live together in the tranquil surroundings of the English countryside.” Self sufficiency on a community level…damnit, these mice were surely permaculturalists!

With adult eyes, I look at the beautiful pictures in these books. I see kitchens full of preserved goodies, dried seasonal foods hanging from ceilings and berries being collected to make sweet pastry lined pies. With busy tables full of bustling family members,   seasonal festivities, crafting, natural earth building, hell…they even had laden cake stand with hand made tea cosy.

brambly hedge

So many things I held dear, had interest in or aspired to, was right there…in a mouse book. It was hard not to smile and get a little bit excited when I explained it all to Mr Chocolate. By this time, I know he’s well used to odd thoughts and conversations flying from me, but even he agreed that yes, on closer look they did indeed seem to be living a life that I often speak of. With a happy heart, I suggested to my boys, that we read them, one more time before bed, and possibly again the next night. (I never know, it might in turn create a long held dream of their own to have an interest in permaculture, seasonal living…or at the very least, to grow a long tail and a pair of small pink ears.)

currant buns

So what do currant buns have to do with mice, permaculture and childhood books? Well if  I’m going to let myself get completely absorbed in the books, I should have the appropriate food on the table, don’t you think? Currant Buns seemed liked a good choice, and one that a small community of rural living little mice might also enjoy, don’t you think?

Currant Buns

300g starter

2 tsp dried yeast

150g currants

100mls hot water

300mls cream

750g (5 cups) flour

50g brown sugar

250mls water

2 tsp salt

Soak your currants in 100mls of hot water for an hour or so beforehand. Add all your ingredients together except your salt. Mix well, and leave for 40 minutes. Add salt and mix again, (I use my mixer) or knead on a lightly floured surface until well incorporated and dough is smooth. Leave to prove for a couple of hours, with a couple of knock backs in between.  Shape into rolls and place on a lined tray, allow to prove for another hour or so.

Bake at 220 for approximately 15-20 minutes.