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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Cardamom buns

cardamom buns

almond and sultana buns

almond and sultana cardamom buns

 schakenda

One of my baking friends lent me this book recently.

I didn’t want to give it back.

It was the sort of book that I would quite like to sit on my book shelf and flick through for inspiration now and again. The sort of book I like to bring the pages up nice and close, scrutinise, trying to work out how the devil they made it.

It’s that sort of book, because one- it’s got gorgeous baked goodies in there and two…well I don’t speak a word of Norwegian so scrutinising the pictures is the best way to try and understand what on earth I have to do next.

I reluctantly gave the book back.

With scribbled down notes and mutterings of, more…I must try more, I then did a search for his famous bakery in Lom. The Hairy Bikers visited, and going on the surrounding scenery, the local peoples obvious enthusiasm for the baked goodies and the fact that I’m still having a quiet love affair with all things Scandinavian. Well clearly, I need to go there and eat cardamom buns, probably quite a few. I also possibly need to ask for a short apprenticeship and at the very least, need to keep watching this same segment over and over, so I can get them down pat.

Until then I’ll also keep playing with my own semi sourdough version of them. It’s a versatile dough, that doesn’t mind having things added to it (or eaten just as it is.)

bunss copy

Cardamom Buns

(adapted from Morten Schakenda)

250g sourdough starter

1 tsp dried yeast

600g flour

250mls milk

200mls water

100g sugar

100g softened butter

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp salt

Add starter, yeast and water together. Whisk and leave for an hour or so. Mix remaining ingredients together and then knead until dough is elastic (I use my mixer)  on a lightly floured surface or 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 180-190 for 15-20 minutes.

blueberry and creme fraiche

blueberry and creme fraiche cardamom buns

This post submitted to yeast spotting

surprisingly good chocolate hazelnut brownie

 

I think hazelnut chocolate is my second favourite chocolate, I boldly declared to Mr Chocolate.

It’s not quite as good as marzipan, but it’s definitely up there… trailing off just a little as I mused on the merits of both of them.

Yep… hazelnut and chocolate, they go really well together.

After voicing my new-found decision of having a second favourite chocolate, I decided I needed to revisit the taste as quickly as possible. Just in case my bold statement had been made in haste. Chocolate…check. Hazelnuts…check. Fifteen minute window period to put it all together?…check. Melt, stir, pour, bake.

It seemed too easy.

Usually my baking needs a few tweaks, a change here and there, and trialled a few times to get it right. So I was surprised after tasting a corner of this one to find it worked just the way it was. I tried another corner just to make sure. No, seemed fine there too. A third corner? Yep, pretty similar to the other two corners.

It really was a surprisingly good hazelnut brownie.

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie

200g chocolate (50%)

250g butter

200g brown sugar

4 beaten eggs

2 tsp vanilla

150g hazelnuts (I blitzed whole ones)

50g self raising flour

In a pot add the chocolate, butter, sugar and vanilla. Gently melt it down and add remaining ingredients. Pop into a greased and lined tray.

Bake at 180C for approximately 35minutes, and then let it cool in the tin.

chocolate vanilla layer biscuits

Biscuits are handy.

They can sidetrack a hungry belly that is calling out for food.

They can quieten a noisy Monkey.

You can eat them with one hand.

They can give a subtle little sugar hit, when the search is on.

You can balance one on your nose… if you felt so inclined.

And most importantly they are really easy to make.

Chocolate Vanilla Layer Biscuits, my current favourites.

Chocolate Vanilla Layer Biscuits

250g softened butter

220g (1 cup) caster sugar

4 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

450g (3 cups) plain flour

2 1/2 tbls cocoa

Beat softened butter and sugar together until creamy looking. Add vanilla and eggs, beat until mixed well. Add the flour and mix until a dough forms. Divide the mixture in half, and add the cocoa to one of the halves. Mix it in well. Roll out mixtures seperately, between two sheets of baking paper to about 1cm thickness with a rolling pin. Pop the dough sheets in to the fridge until hardens completely.

Once hardened, take the sheets out, remove baking paper and line the two doughs on top of each other. With a sharp knife, cut through the two layers, about an inch in width. Place strips on top of remaining dough and cut again, making sure it’s the same size. Once you have the four layers, cut strips into approximately 1 cm sized thickness. Lay them on a lined baking tray, and keep going with the rest of the dough.

Bake at 180C for approximately 25 minutes.

(This recipe makes quite a few biscuits… but it does depend on how much of the dough you eat raw.)

Plum Shortcakes

A good bakery is a wonderous thing. You’ll quite often find me, nose pressed against the glass, eyeballs widened, and probably just the hint of drool coming from the side of my mouth. I don’t usually go in, I don’t need to. I like just looking. Seeing what’s on offer, how they have presented different things, and getting ideas for my own baking efforts.

Many moons ago, I lived for awhile in Germany. Twice a week I would head off, cold crisp air on my cheeks. Hands wedged into pockets and music wedged into ears, I would set forth on my two buses to get to a German language class. I loved this time. I loved the German winter, I loved the alone time, I loved being in a different country, I loved learning the language… and I really loved stopping off at a bakery afterwards.

Germany bakeries are a thing of wonderous beauty. So many different types of wonderful breads, and enough sweet goodies for a young Australian gal to do more than a little drooling. Everything I ever ate was delicious. Really delicious. Sure I probably headed for the same kind of things time and time again, but when you are on to a good thing, why stop eh?

So what did I go for? Anthing vaguely fruity/ sour related. Cherry strudel? You betcha. Plum struesel? Yes indeed. They all had my name well and truly written all over them.

So with a German bakery in mind, Plum Shortcakes it was.

Fruity, not crazy sweet, but enough of sugar kick just to say … ja bitte, das ist lecker.

Plum Shortcakes

200g plain flour

100g self raising flour

150g softened butter

150g sugar

2 tsps vanilla

zest of one lemon

2 beaten eggs

plums

Cream the butter and sugar together, add vanilla, eggs and lemon zest. Then fold through flour. Into your tray/s and add halved plums. Bake at 180C until risen, slightly golden, and smells like you can’t wait to eat it any longer (cooking time will depend on the tray you use.)

Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownie Parfaits

Something odd happened recently. I had read a post from the delightful Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide on brownie parfaits, and how there had been some brownie lurking in their freezer to make these up. They certainly looked delicious, but I have NEVER had brownie in my freezer, and probably wouldn’t be having any in there in the near future. Idea pushed aside….

Several days later and I wanted to bake something to take to an important meeting full of important people, as a little thank you. What to bake?….How about brownie? (See the brownie seed had been planted.)

I wanted to make dark chocolate espresso ones, and started baking the afternoon before…. Oh snap, crackle, pop. No eggs! But it’s too late, I’d already done everything except for add the eggs.

Bugger…

Hmmm, ok, eggless brownie seems to work (after a quick scan of the internet) let’s cross eyes and hope for the best. Baked, cooled, cut….and crumble. Loads of crumbles. I think with the high cocoa content I was using with the chocolate (72%) combined with the no eggs, it just wasn’t going to happen.

But, said crumbly brownies would be perfect for say…parfait? Which is how I came to have brownies in my freezer.

A frantic call out to Mr Chocolate for eggs on the way home from work and I made up the brownies again in the evening. This time lowering the cocoa solids percentage (50%) and adding the eggs….ahhh, much better. No crumbles, and everyone at the meeting the next day happily emptied the brownie container, leaving a smattering of satisfied crumbs.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownie Parfaits

Layer your glass with brownie (eggless and 72% chocolate or otherwise)

Add mascarpone layer (250g mascarpone, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup icing sugar, a splash of milk- whisked together)

Thinly sliced strawberries

Eat with enthusiasm and a small spoon.

* I’m not sure that this actually fits in to the definition of parfait, but the alternative was to name the Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownie, layered Mascarpone and Strawberry Thing….

…parfait it is.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownie

250g dark chocolate (50%)

250 butter

60mls espresso coffee

2 tso vanilla

200g brown sugar

150g plain flour

50g s/r flour

4 beaten eggs

In a pot, gently melt the butter and chocolate. Turn off and add the vanilla, coffee and brown sugar. Cool a little, then add beaten eggs and fold through flour. Mixture is runny. Pour into a greased, lined baking tray, (23cm-ish) Bake at 180C for approximately 30 minutes.


Golden Syrup Ginger Puddings

Winter has drawn to an end, and along with it the need for heavier, warming desserts after dinner.

Eeeek, hang on a second… I’d barely got started! I had mental puddings lined up, still waiting to be made. Hold off blossoming flowers, sit tight warming day time temperatures… there are puddings to be made. 

I wanted to make something without a whole lot of hassle, and not crazy, crazy sweet. (If you want to up the sweet, put more golden syrup in the bottom.) Easy to quickly put together and heats well over the next few days… or eaten cold in the middle of the night when hunger knocks on your door...*ahem*

Golden Syrup Ginger Puddings

200g softened butter

100g brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

2 beaten eggs

2 cups of flour (300g)

1/2 cup yogurt (125mls)

handful chopped uncrystallized ginger

Cream butter and sugar, add beaten eggs and remaining ingredients. In ramekins, a couple of spoonfuls of golden syrup (depends how sweet you want it) and then spoon pudding mixture on top. Place ramekins in a tray full of water in the oven. Water should come about half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake at 190C for about 40 minutes, (cooked when a skewer comes up clean.)

spiced warm hug

Brown slop. Thats what I hear you say. Brown slop in a pretty bowl….Actually you are right, it is.

But, it’s good brown slop.

Had a light dinner and need a little something else to ease you into the evening?

One spiced warm hug coming up. That’s what this dish is, or that’s what it feels like when you eat it. Warm, nourishing, you can feel those spiced milky arms envelope you. Feeding your inner soul with its goodness of spices and hint of lemon. Giving you the quiet sugar kick that you were after with out crushing all your taste buds in one mighty swoop. Some nights don’t suit chocolate, some nights are a simple curl up on the couch with a spiced warm hug.

Some people might say brown sloppy rice pudding, I say spiced warm hug please.

Spiced Warm Hug

2 cups milk

150mls cream

1/3 cup muscavdo or molasses sugar (or any other dark unrefined sugar)

6 green cardamom pods

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried ginger

1/3 cup any short grain rice

1/4 cup sultanas

1 large strip of lemon rind

Bring milk, cream, spices to a simmer, turn it down a little lower, so it doesn’t bubble over. Now add the rest of the ingredients and stir continuously on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes. Then put the lid on the pot, turn off the hot plate and leave it for 20 minutes. Don’t peek, it’s still doing its thing.

Eat on the couch, with a blanket on your lap, and a book by your side.