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Posts from the ‘Bread’ Category

French Bread topped with Smoked Garlic & Matakana Markets

There is not a week that goes by that I don’t think how lucky I am to live in New Zealand. When I first moved here, being a girl who had lived in cities all her life (Liverpool, London & Frankfurt), I used to miss the retail therapy and the accessibility of products and produce. Now I don’t really care for that stuff, I prefer to spend my spare time as you know at the beach surfing, walking, playing golf or hanging out with friends locally, eating at each others houses. I also love the fact that NZ is still very seasonal with their produce and we generally buy what is grown locally rather than imported. Over the ten years I have lived here, small farmers markets have started to appear and are becoming very popular, Matakana Farmers Market is one of them. It is an hours drive away for us but it is well worth it, the trip itself is very scenic and there are plenty of things to do on the way if you want to make it a day out.

Matakana Village not only has a wonderful Saturday market with locally grown produce and handmade goodies, it also has wonderful cafes, patisserie, boutique shops, art galleries and the area is literally ‘littered’ with vineyards. A reason in itself to visit the area. We stopped off on the way home for lunch at Heron’s Flight Vineyard Cafe and the food was fabulous and executed with love and attention to details (sorry I never get to photo my food as I am always too excited to eat it).

While at the market I bought a bag of this beautiful smoked garlic, which just had to be eaten pure to taste the smokiness of it rather than in a dish where other flavours might mask the taste. So I whipped up some French Bread that weekend (well over two days if you know Peter Reinhart’s recipes) and put my garlic in the oven to roast for 15 minutes. I literally mashed the warm garlic onto the warm French bread, drizzled some good quality local olive oil over it and dusting of salt & cracked pepper. The perfect snack with a glass of New Zealand wine of course!

Unfortunately I had only taken my wide angle lens with me and was unable to take lovely shots of the produce but did manage a few of the area. One in particular is the incredibly ‘arty’ toilets they have there!

Matakana Village and the region is well worth a visit if you are ever this way!

Here is the recipe for Peter’s French bread

Fennel Grissini & French Bread

I have ventured away from my sour dough this week and made some French bread and Grissini sticks, not instead of but as well as sour rye bread of course, I can’t neglect my sour dough baby growing in the fridge! I seem to be eating more bread since I received my Bread Bakers Apprentice book for Christmas, it is just as well that the surf has been good this week so we have managed to take plenty of exercise to burn it off. And if you saw the West Coast where I live you would understand how much exercise one gets paddling out on a board. If you look in the tourist brochures it is called the West Coast Wilderness because of it’s rugged coast line and perilous sea, which stretches from the North to the South Island on NZ, I must post some photos soon for you all to see.

Anyway, back to the bread. I have made French bread before but always been disappointed with the results, the key seems to be in the slow fermentation of the dough, a process which stretches over two days. The recipe below is from The Bread Bakers Apprentice and makes 3 French sticks but I made two and used the other part of the dough to make this grissini. The bread had a thick crunchy crust, one like I have not tasted since we where in France last year, it brought tears to my eyes and inches to my waist after consuming the lot between P and I in one day!

Day One: For the pre-ferment (pâte fermentée):

  • 2 1/4 cups (10 ounces) unbleached bread flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) water, at room temperature

Method

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until the dough comes together and knead until it goes from a sticky mess to a smooth ball.
  2. Let rise in a sealed container for about 1 hour at room temperature or until it expands to 1 1/2 times its size.
  3. Knead lightly for about a minute and return to the sealed container. Keep in the refrigerator overnight. The pre-ferment will be usable for up to 3 days.

For the final dough:

  • All of the pâte fermentée
  • 2 1/4 cups (10 ounces) unbleached bread flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) water, at room temperature

Method

  1. Take your pre-fermented dough out of the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature for about 1 hour to take off the chill.
  2. Cut up the pre-ferment into small pieces and mix with all of the above ingredients for final dough.
  3. Dust a work surface with flour and knead for about 10 minutes by hand (6 if using a machine).
  4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap, ferment at room temperature for about 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
  5. divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and use 2 to make the french bread and one to make grisini.
  6. Shaping the baguettes; Lift and pull the dough gently to required length. Crease the dough down the middle and fold like a letter, pressing the seal crease against the counter top of form surface tension. Gently roll the baguette to desired length (it may have shrank back slightly). This website has some good photos of the process and suggested videos
  7. Proof the shaped baguettes with the seam side down at room temperature for 45 to 75 minutes or until it expands to 1 1/2 times its size. I did not photograph the process but recommend you visit the above site for visuals of proofing the baguettes to achieve a tubular shape.
  8. Preheat your oven to 500°F with a steam pan, preferably cast iron, in the bottom of the oven.
  9. Transfer the proofed baguettes onto parchment paper on a sheet pan.
  10. Score the baguettes. by using a very sharp knife to create incisions about half an inch deep that overlap and run parallel to the  center of the loaves.
  11. Place the sheet pan with baguettes into the oven. Pour 2 cups of boiling water onto the steam pan and immediately close the oven door.
  12. Lower the oven to 450°F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the loaves 180 degrees and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.
  13. Place the baguettes on a cooling rack for about 1 hour.
  14. Shaping the Grissini. Roll out dough to desired thickness.
  15. Cut off individual sticks.
  16. To seed, roll unbaked sticks on a wet towel and then in a bed of  ground fennel or other seeds.
  17. Allow the sticks to proof again to double their size.
  18. Follow the same process above for baking, the only difference is the Grisini will only take 10 minutes to bake.

Heaven in my Kitchen – My first sour dough bread!

As some you will know, I have been feeding a sour dough baby in my fridge for days after receiving the Bread Bakers Apprentice for Christmas and finally, after one failed attempt, I put my first loaves into the oven on Sunday. I made a New York Deli Rye, as called in Peter Reinhart’s book and waited nervously for them to come out of the oven. What if after all this waiting and building up my expectations the bread didn’t turn out well? What if didn’t taste like the sour dough I expect? To my relief, the bread was divine with it’s thick crisp crust and dense but chewy, soft, sweet centre. We couldn’t even wait the hour to let it cool off as Peter advises, the smell tormenting us as it wafted through the house, so we dug in as soon as it was cool enough to get our hands round it!

The wonderful thing about a sour dough bread is that the flavour seems to mature after a few days rather than go stale so we have found ourselves enjoying bread all week. Tonight I am preparing a basic white sour dough, ready to go into the oven tomorrow when I will be celebrating my birthday with bread instead of cake….and why not, Marie Antoinette will have approved!

I haven’t added the recipe since it takes 6 days to make and I would be nervous about missing something critical out so instead I have linked to Peter Reinhart’s blog.

Bread Baker Apprentice & the beginning of a Sour Dough

I think I might be a bit slow to acquire this book, it has  been published for three years already but it is only in the last six months that I have come across it on the many blog touring journeys I have been on. What attracted me to the book was Peter Reinharts step by step instructions on creating a sour dough culture from scratch and feeding it for ‘ever’ I suppose, creating fresh bread each week. It came to me as a Christmas gift tis year, one I am truly grateful for.

Before I lived in Germany I ate only white bread and had a bit of a culture shock to find that not only was there a limit on white bread loaves but also all the other breads were like ‘bricks’ as we called them! How uneducated was this Northern lass? It wasn’t long though before I acquired a taste for the rye bread and sour dough breads and was chomping them down like a true local with a Bratwurst slapped in between two slices. They are the two things I miss the most from German cuisine, bread and sausages (ah, and the Apflewein Keipe Zur Sonne but that’s another story), since I have been able to bake all the sweet delights but yet to make bread & sausages but this is where my quest for them begins…I hope!. Although the artisan breads are becoming more popular in New Zealand, and we have a fine bakery in Kumeu, I would like them, dare I say it, a bit more solid and perhaps with a scattering of caraway seeds.

The book is fabulous, with lots of detailed instructions, descriptions, stories of Peter’s experiences and the science behind bread making. It is a big book, with lots to read and plenty of recipes using yeast or a self produced starter culture. My first batch of sour dough culture unfortunately failed and I threw it away, my second batch is beginning day three out of five, but I was having doubts about its performance so I searched for Peter Reinhart’s website and found it with lots of helpful tips on ‘issues’ with sour dough so I feel I am armed to succeed this time. I will keep you posted on the dough baby growing in my kitchen.

English Muffins with Cherry Almond Jam

It’s New Years morning and I call out from the the bedroom hoping to get breakfast in bed…”what’s for breakfast honey?”. “There’s no bread” is the reply so that probably means P’s tea & toast is not going to happen this morning. By 7am he is already on the phone with customers since it’s business as usual for him while berry season is in full swing. So no bread and not much else in the cupboards since I’m not one to stock up on mountains of food pre Christmas & New Year, I don’t see the point since the shops are only closed for one day. Ok, so I could make my own bread… and that’s how we cam to have English muffins on New Years day. We did have them with eggs benedict that morning but that didn’t last for a photo shoot so here they are with my homemade Cherry & Almond Jam which I will post the recipe for tomorrow.
Ingredients – makes approximately 14
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Warm the milk and water to a luke warm temperature.
  2. Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and water and stand until it begins to go foamy.
  4. In a large bowl, add the milk & yeast mixture, butter and 3 cups flour.
  5. Beat until smooth. Add salt and rest of flour, or enough to make a soft dough.
  6. Knead and then leave to rest till double in size.
  7. Knead again then Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick and cut rounds with a biscuit cutter.
  8. Sprinkle waxed paper with cornmeal and set the rounds on this to rise. Dust tops of muffins with cornmeal also.
  9. Cover and let rise till doubled in size.
  10. Heat a griddle or cast iron frying pan. Cook muffins for about 10 minutes on each side on a low heat. Keep baked muffins in a warm oven until all have been cooked.
  11. Serve with your choice of topping and enjoy!

Fennel Flower Pot Bread

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At the gardening centre the other day I saw these cute little terracotta pots and immediately thought of baking bread in them. We have our supper club evening this weekend and the theme is ‘White’, my job this time is to make the entree. I have chosen to make seafood lime and fennel parcels wrapped in poached leaks served on a butter bean puree and I thought a nice fennel bread would go well to ‘mop’ up the juices and puree. So here is my fennel bread recipe and I will get the seafood parcels posted as soon as possible. See, I don’t just make desserts every day!

To make this bread you require the unglazed terracotta pots.

Ingredients

  • 500g flour
  • 1 sachet of dried yearst (7g, about 2 tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 300ml luke warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds

Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 200 degrees centigrade and heavily flour 8 flower pots (9cm diametre).
  2. Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle.
  3. Put the sugar, salt & yeast into the luke warm water and allow the yeast to prove (it starts to look frothy).
  4. Add the water to the flour and stir with a spoon to bring it together.
  5. Knead the dough on a floured board until it becomes smooth and glossy (takes about 5 minutes).
  6. Place back into the bowl and cover with a damp cloth and put in warm place.
  7. Allow the dough to prove till it had doubled in size, it will depend on the warmth of your kitchen as to how quick it rises.
  8. Return to a floured surface, add the fennel seeds and knead again for 5 minutes.
  9. Divide dough into 8 and roll into balls, keeping the top surface smooth and any folds or joins in the dough at the bottom.
  10. Place into floured pots and bake for 25 minutes.
  11. Bread should sound hollow when tapped. Once cool prize the bread from the sides of the pots with a knife. Some of mine came out easily but others need a little persuasion.

Blue Cheese Herb Loaf

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Tomorrow we are going on a picnic with friends and one of the things I am to take is the bread. I could have just bought a loaf but that would never be as satisfying as making my own. I decided to make a loaf with a blue cheese and herb swirl through it which would go well with a glass of wine, pickles and terrine which I also will pack away in the picnic hamper!

Ingredients

  • 500g flour
  • 50g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 packet dry yeast (1 tbsp)
  • 300ml luke warm milk
  • 1 egg yolk for glaze
  • 150g blue cheese
  • large handful of  fresh thyme or oregano

Method

  • Place the flour  in a bowl and make a well in the middle.
  • Add the yeast to the warm milk and allow yeast to grow a little (will become frothy).
  • Add the yeast and milk to the flour with your hands, before it becomes a dough add the butter into the mixture and combine.
  • Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is elastic and shiny. It may be easier to make this with a food mixer and dough hook attachment but unfortunately I do not have one so I had to resort to good old fashioned muscle power! 
  • Cover dough with cling film and let it rest in a warm place until it doubles in size.
  • Knead the dough again for 5 minutes and then roll into an oblong shape (see chocolate brioche method photo) which will fit your tin in length.
  • Crumble or slice the blued cheese and lay across the dough.
  • Sprinkle herbs across the whole dough.
  • Roll the dough up loosely length ways (see chocolate brioche method photo) and put into a kugelhof cake tin for the round form. You can also use a normal loaf tin but if the tins are small you may need two.
  • Keep the dough in a warm place covered with cling film until it has doubled in size (see chocolate brioche method photo)
  • Preheat the oven at 180 centigrade.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, if you tap the bread it should sound hollow.
  • Remove, unmold and let cool on a rack.

Chocolate Hazelnut Brioche

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I don’t know what triggers new recipes ideas but food seems to be constantly in my thoughts, I even have a colleague who has started to call me cookie! The weather was rainy yesterday in Auckland so we decided to take the opportunity to do some shopping since we wouldn’t be missing anything at the beach but I found my mind was not really concentrated on what I was meant to be doing but thinking about what I would bake when I got home. I had already promised my partner that I would make him a terrine (for several weeks actually!) but I really wanted to make something sweet. Chocolate loaf came to mind and out of that was born the chocolate hazelnut brioche. I have not made brioche before and always thought it might be complicated but I found a quick version from La Tartine Gourmand and decided to use this (lovely website by the way).  I have changed it slightly and of course added the hazelnuts, chocolate & cinnamon and was very happy with the results.
The ingredients make a big loaf so if you haven’t got a big tin use two or half the ingredients.
Ingredients
Use one large kugelhof or loaf cake tin or two small loaf tins
  • 500g flour
  • 100 butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 packet dry yeast (1 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 300ml warm milk
  • 1 egg yolk for glaze
  • 150g chocolate
  • 70g shelled hazelnuts
  • 1 generous tsp cinnamon
  • 50g chocolate (chopped) & 50ml cream for the ganache topping

Method

  • In a bowl mix the flour and sugar and make a well in the middle.
  • Add the yeast to the warm milk and allow yeast to grow a little (will become frothy).
  • Add the yeast and milk to the flour and sugar and mix with your hands, before it becomes a dough add the butter into the mixture and combine.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each. 
  • Knead the dough until it is elastic and shiny. It may be easier to make this with a food mixer and dough hook attachment but unfortunately I do not have one so I had to resort to good old fashioned muscle power! If using your hands it feels like it is never going to come together with the eggs and butter but it will! Keep mixing & kneading! 
  • Cover dough with cling film and let it rest in a warm place until it doubles in size.
  • Knead the dough again for 5 minutes and then roll into an oblong shape (see photo) which will fit you tin in length.
  • Spread the melted chocolate over the dough (see photo).
  • Sprinkle the hazelnuts and cinnamon over the chocolate. 
  • Roll the dough up loosely length ways (see photo) and put into a kugelhof cake tin for the round form. You can also use a normal loaf tin but if the tins are small you may need two.
  • Keep the dough in a warm place covered with cling film until it has doubled in size (see photo)
  • Preheat the oven at 180 centigrade.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, if you tap the bread it should sound hollow.
  • Remove, unmold and let cool on a rack.
  • Put the cream in a bowl and heat in a microwave, add the chopped chocolate and stir till melted.
  • Pour over brioche letting it drip down the sides of the loaf. 

When I removed this from the oven it was 11pm, since I had to make the terrine first, so there was no sampling straight that eveing so I have to confess to eating it for breakfast with a cup of tea. Perfect way to start the day and i justified the calories by going out for a surf afterwards.

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Sorry that these photos aren’t very clear but it was quite late in the evening at this stage and there was no natural light in my kitchen which I rely on normally for taking photographs.

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