what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

2012 in review

Happy New Year Everyone – WordPress kindly compiled a review of my blog. Now we’re out of the Christmas season I should be back to normal baking soon. Oddly, once the Christmas goodies were baked I didn’t feel the need to say anymore about them. And now I’ve eaten them I’ll be searching for low cal/low fat things to start baking!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Pfeffernüsse – thanks to BreadandBikes

I saw these on Breadandbikes and just had to try them.

Rather strange making biscuits without butter, but in for a penny and in for a pound. I added half a teaspoon of ground cardamom and a half teaspoon of fennel seeds which I then ground. I used all plain flour. They got to sit for about 3 hours before I baked them.

Now Olly didn’t specify a temperature so I put them in after baking bread at 200C and it took longer than 10 mins, despite me making them 25g balls, and they sort of relaxed and didn’t stay perky like his did. I absolutely had to go out and took them out after 14 mins, and the ones on the edge of the tray were a bit browner than the others, so I guessed they were done. The finished texture is slightly chewy and somewhat like macaroons despite not having any nuts in them. I would probably cut the white pepper next time as they are quite strongly flavoured. I have annointed the undersides with melted dark chocolate and splashed some lemon water ice on the top, made with Royal Icing sugar in the hope it will set a little harder. They may be given to school teachers tomorrow, and taken in to workmates too. Thanks Olly!

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Panettone

A very quick blogging here of my experience with Dan Lepard’s panettone recipe from the Guardian the other week.

Really easy peasy lemon squeezy this one – although I’ve read other recipes that require lots of kneading and leaving and mucking about, this one couldn’t be any easier if it tried. Note that the recipe on line omits the caster sugar for the topping – follow the link and you’ll find it.

So – a very rich, egg based dough – 6 eggs!!!! – so now I have lots of whites for pavlova or something – mixed and left for an hour. In goes some fruit or some other flavoured bits of choice, leave it again. Add the topping if you like, bake!

The recipe suggests a 20cm tin, I don’t have one of those, so it went in my standard 8 inch tin lined with a cake liner and some extra to go up the sides. As it was a trial, I didn’t bother with the topping, but I’ll be doing that next time because I like nuts.

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minor victory snatched from the jaws of defeat

A lesson learned the hard way. Even the best recipes can sometimes go awry. Last week I was trying out the Cinnamon and Raisin Flapjacks with White and Milk Chocolate Topping in Pat Ring’s Cake book that I mentioned in a previous blog entry. I love eating flapjacks but seldom find recipes to my liking because the result ends up too hard and crunchy or two chewy or doesn’t cook or some other disappointment. So there I was following the instructions to the letter. The flapjack bit was easy peasy, with the usual butter, golden syrup, sugar, flour, oats, raisins and as secret weapons some vanilla essence and some ground cinnamon. The topping was to be melted chocolate with added vanilla extract. Now as ‘any fule kno‘ adding liquid to melted chocolate is going to lead to disaster – seizing up of the liquid to a chunky mess. And I’d even read the bit in Pat’s book about not doing it! I was using a brand she recommended as well, so in for a penny, in for a pound I added the requisite vanilla extract to the melted chocolate, and low and behold both the milk and white seized hard and fast. I had to melt more for the flapjack topping and didn’t add any more essence to those batches and just spread them. No pictures now exist but the result was rather yummy and I’ll definitely do the flapjack again, and might even go for the ‘without vanilla essence topping’.

There I was stuck with about 200g of seized chocolate. What to do? I Googled a bit and found a) that it is impossible to retrieve seized chocolate (no sh!t Sherlock) and b) a recipe that suggested using the seized chocolate in cookies. Aha! So I kept the bowls of seized chocolate to one side and once the flapjack was gone I set too and chopped up the seized chocolate mixes for cookies. Thank goodness they worked OK. The result was a bit less regular than the usual ones (recipe over here), but they taste just fine. seized

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