what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

skillingsbollar – or I wish I lived in Norway

As viewers of the Hairy Bikers Bakeation will know, the first programme in the series was set in Norway. And for me so far, has provided the most useful recipes in the accompanying book. The book has more recipes in than they show in the series, which is good, but the recipe that it doesn’t have for Norway was the one that looked the most interesting to me when I watched the programme, skillingsbollar baked by Morten Schakenda at his bakery in Lom. On the TV show you can see the amazing view the bakers have out of a picture window over the river and the wood fired ovens they use. Today we had pouring rain so it was a bit like that here (not really!) but I don’t have a wood fired oven.

So to find a recipe I trawled the ‘net and found this recipe by an American lady called Marion who lives in Norway and who seems to know her buns! Morten’s book seems only to be available in Norwegian but this recipe has all you need to know.

So – ingredients are flour, milk, sugar,yeast, salt, cardamom, egg, butter, cinnamon and sugar mixed up. The cardamom goes into the dough – a secret Norwegian ingredient. And I’ve added some sultanas. And there’s an eggy wash on the top.

Unlike everything I’ve made by Dan, this recipe required real kneading – two lots of 15 minutes each! I’ve not had time to keep taking photos, so I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with these:

Just as well the bikers have announced a series about dieting!

I’ve been out supporting runners in the Milton Keynes marathon this morning, and I think I deserve a treat now! Nearly as much as the competitors did. And after I’ve done with all this, perhaps I go for a little run myself, if it ever stops raining, every time I look out, it’s at it again.

Flaky butter buns

This is my third Mellow Bakers bake for April.From Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf page 146.

Ingredients are simply flour, salt, milk, yeast and butter. After last weekend’s excessive white bun creation I only made a half quantity, but I have to say right now I wish I’d made a whole one. Husband and child went out while I was baking and the buns had just finished a few minutes before they got back and they both came in saying “mmmm croissants”. Went down very nicely with a bit of last year’s raspberry jam.  I would definitely do these again and now have more confidence about trying real croissants.

So here’s the pictures:

sourdough with 3 flours and doing slow things quickly

Sourdough with 3 flours – rye starter and then 50:50 extra strong wholemeal and strong white flours, and some salt. That’s it, no oil, no sugar, no yeast, no seeds, no absolutely anything artificial.


Indescribably good!

As a part of learning how to do this I’ve also found my oven goes up to 275 C – dare I go that high? These were started at 260 and turned down to 200 after 10 minutes.

Doing slow things quickly – what does that mean?

I’ve heard it said that people don’t make bread at home because they don’t have time. Having a breadmaker makes it easy because it does it all for you. What they are missing is the hands-on feel of mixing, kneading, smelling, judging, flouring, slashing, and finally baking. Something I have found with trying sourdough is that because it is really slow, it is paradoxically really quick and easy because the amount of baker intervention is small and spread out. With yeasted breads they have to be watched reasonably carefully to make sure they don’t rise too quickly and the cook books give periods of time like an hour, or an hour and a half, things you need to measure. Sourdough is happy to fit in around the baker. For instance, with the River Cottage approach I have been using I add starter to flour and water and leave it ‘overnight’, or in my case, ‘about six hours while I’m at work’, then it needs mixing with more flour and some salt  and kneading for about 10 minutes. I do that stage when I get home before going to do the school run. Then it is left for an hour, and then worked into a ball. So I do that when I get back from the school run – but with no rush. Then it is rested and worked into a ball again – up to four times in total – you decide! I decided on one more ball stage while I made and ate dinner and then worked into three loaves and left it to rise. Again, you have to wait for the dough, so the book says 1 to 4 hours. For me last night it was about three hours and in that time I went swimming and put Adam to bed, see no worries about the bread. Then finally when everything was quite I could bake the bread and it’s done and dusted and ready for the morning.


Savoury pies with Jarlsberg cheese and ham

Not bread as such but made with dough rather than pastry. As appeared on the Hairy Bikers Bakeation episode from Norway, and the recipe can be downloaded from here.

The dough is made from water, sugar, yeast, four, milk, salt, butter and eggs. However, the recipe makes a lot and I have had a most traumatic time trying to work this into something edible. The filling is onion, garlic, ham, cheese, parsley, caraway seeds and salt and pepper to taste, nothing to complain about with that, except the amount is nothing near enough to fill the amount of dough that appears.

I should have only made half the dough and I think even that will be too much. I’d need to watch how much extra liquid went in more carefully, perhaps starting with half the milk and then trying to form the dough.

So, the dough is made by the sponge method and you leave water sugar and yeast for a couple of hours to do its thing.

 Note that it has filled my bowl after just about 2 hours.

 Then you add the rest of the ingredients and make a firm dough, well, if I’d tried to knead it, it would have been off the worktop and all over the floor before you could say ‘watch that dough’. I added a lot of extra flour just to get it into something that be handled and nowhere near anything that could be described as firm.

Then I had to go out for a bit and when I came back it had filled the bigger bowl I’d left it in.

Going out for an hour and a half gave me time to think as I already knew I was in trouble. This is what I found:

When I got back I divided some of the dough into 90g pieces, I made 12 on the off chance that there would be enough filling to fill them. I rolled the balls with a rolling pin and put in the filling, slapped on some beaten egg to join the edges and then over the top and flung them in the oven. I made 9, there’s pictures of 8 but I’ve already eaten one! They took about 20 mins to cook and puffed up nicely.

The rest of the dough I’ve made into rolls

and saved some for pizza bases for when the family come back later on.

Not sure if I’d make them again, but they are quite tasty and I’ll have another one later with some salad for tea.

Cherry, fennel and rye loaf

My second Mellow Baker’s loaf from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf – page 106 since you ask.

Into this goes:

strong white flour, fine rye flour (didn’t have this so just sieved a bit of regular rye flour), salt, fennel seads, rye leaven, water, fresh yeast, dried cherries, cooked and soaked rye grains and white poppy seeds for dusting on the top (didn’t have them so used some golden linseeds).

The recipe is reasonably easy to follow but you have to start the day before to cook and soak the rye grains. Rye grains aren’t the easiest of thing to buy but I managed to find some in London yesterday, in an emporium where they charge £2.49 for a small sourdough loaf. The rye grains were only £1.39 and 500g will go a long way. Dried cherries are the most expensive ingredient in this loaf and I think as such might be the restricting element to making it again, so I might practise with raisins until it improves.

So pictures of what happened are down below. The dough was never soft as described in the recipe, being quite hard and resistant, and also cold to the touch. I did put it in the oven with the ‘dough rising’ setting on for a few minutes to raise the temperature while it rested for the first hour, but not enough to heat the dough. It was left to rise on the baking tray for longer than the recipe said, but I don’t think that’s inhibited it in any way.

Soft evenly combined dough…. I don’t think so, it was quite tough at this stage

After kneading after first 10 minute rest, a bit smoother

After leaving for about 2 and a half hours

baking as therapy

My aunt has not been well. And we’re off to see her and my cousin and my cousin’s son tomorrow. We’ve been to visit several times over the last few months and I take some baked goodies along too. Initially to give her something tempting to eat because she needed building up, but now perhaps to help me feel like I’m doing something to help. I don’t know if it does, but it makes me feel better and gives us something to talk about.

So today I have baked these Little Stem Ginger Gingerbreads from The Great British Bake Off How to Bake book. The book does not have a decoration on them but I added some water icing made with lemon juice and some pieces of stem ginger rolled in granulated sugar.

Next up are these Norwegian  cardamom and lemon stamped cookies from the Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking. I weigh the mixture into 20g pieces and while I don’t have a cookies stamp I use the bottom of a little plastic pot. I make about 30 of them, rather than the 24 the book says. These smell fantastic while they are baking and taste rich and buttery as well has spicy from the cardamom.

And finally while all that was going on I was making my first Mellow Bakers loaf – a Quick White Loaf with millet flakes.

made into balls and resting

shaped and starting to prove

after proving before slashing and baking

crumpets round 1

Crumpets are another flour based item that I think have risen in price beyond what is reasonable for what they are. The River Cottage bread book contains a recipe for them, so I thought I’d get some crumpet rings and give them a go.

Recipe is for 12 so I halved it to give:

225g plain white flour, 175ml warm milk, 175 ml warm water, half teaspoon fresh yeast, 5g salt, half teaspoon of baking powder.

The recipe said not to add the salt and baking powder to the dried things, but by the time I had read that it was too late!

Left it for about an hour and 20 minutes and it looked like this:

Then it had to go into greased rings in a pan. I think I had the pan too hot to start with and put too much in the first few and it might have been a tiny bit too thick:

In the last few I put a little less batter and they aren’t too thick. In all I made 7, but I think that quantity could do 8. Here are the last 6, the first one was eaten hot while I was doing the others. Well it has been hailing here today like a winter’s day, so what better than winter food?


sourdough experimenting

Bank Holiday Monday and we’re all at home and somehow bread just evaporates so I knew I’d have to bake some more. I didn’t have enough of either of the sourdough starters to make a loaf so a bolt from above said “use a bit of both”. Top idea I thought, thanks! But in a spirit of adventure I did not just change one thing about the recipe. I also adapted Dan’s basic sourdough to using more wholemeal, I did something like this:

200g strong white flour, 200g wholemeal four, 100g or thereabouts of both starters, 225ml water and 1 and half teaspoons of salt.

And I left it to rise twice before shaping, mostly because I changed my mind about going out and just had to go out for a couple of hours. So, it was kneaded for 10 seconds, left to rise for about an hour and a half, kneaded again and left to rise for another hour or so, then shaped and left while we were out for almost two hours and then baked when we got back.

Now just marking time until my new Dan Lepard book arrives and I can start joining in with the Mellow Bakers. I have also ordered some crumpet rings and hope that will make another story too.

sourdough with white starter

I took some of the rye starter and then kept adding 30g of white bread flour and 30g of water for a few days, until today when I seemed to have enough starter ready for a loaf. The starter didn’t smell as nice as the rye one, but it doesn’t smell bad or off in anyway. So I used the same flour as for the two previous efforts – 300g white flour, 100g wholemeal, 200g starter, just under 225 ml warm water because the starter was quite sloppy and 1 and a half teaspoons of salt. And asThe Guardianoften used to say et viola







Chocolate cheesecake for Easter

Hairy Bikers Belgian chocolate truffle recipe doesn’t involve a lot of baking! But I’m so looking forward to some of this…..

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