A few years ago, on the run up to Christmas, I spoke at a tech conference in Melbourne. It was beautifully warm and sunny, the people were lovely, the coffee was excellent, and I was just mildly confused by the Christmas decorations on the shops next to “Summer is coming!” signs. The organisers of the conference also gifted me with a really sturdy black canvas bag and a coffee mug with a similar design, which I both use often as I fondly think back about that visit.Continue reading “Nigellapocalypse”
After the success of the previous malted loaf, I attempted another version but just with malted flour. It was OK, and since I sliced and froze most of the loaf I enjoyed it for a couple weeks (it’s very convenient that way).
It was a decent loaf, but it was still too compact and felt a bit dry (even before freezing). I wondered if that was because of having used a rye sourdough starter in addition to the malted loaf. So I started preparing a white starter.Continue reading “Malted loaf, 2”
I was walking on the street on the 21st of December (and yes, I do write way after the fact), reflecting on the fact that the idea of winter solstice was fabulous: after that night, the days would be getting longer, the nights shorter, and eventually the weather would get warmer… and then my eyes noticed a branch on the floor.
I was standing outside a garden/flower shop, so I figured it must have been trimmed off a Christmas tree. And then I remembered what my grandfather used to say:
Continue reading “Foraging, I: the Christmas tree branch”
Lo que a mi casa viene, es porque me conviene.(“Whatever comes to my house does so because it’s convenient for me”)
This is such a nice bread! (specially after the last two “failures”). It’s like the ideal granary loaf, only without the “industrial nasties” (have you looked at the list of ingredients in a supermarket loaf?)… and also without any decoration, because I forgot to flour it 😂
We’re enjoying it toasted and buttered (and with a cup of freshly ground and brewed coffee… yum!)Continue reading “Malted loaf”
When I cut into this bread and saw what had happened I couldn’t stop laughing. Where did those holes come from? No, wait—they’re not holes… they are caverns!
(I think these are called “fool’s crumbs” in the specialised jargon!)
Anyway, disappointing as it looked, at least it was edible, and kept being edible for a week. Sourdough is so amazing, it doesn’t cease to impress me.
I think there are two reasons for this failure:
- the starter wasn’t quite active yet (I took it out of the fridge the night before—I should have taken it two nights before)
- the dough needed more water; this flour seems to absorb a lot of it!
- and maybe it was proving for too long? maybe I should have kneaded better? I don’t know!
Apart from that, the other learning outcome from this experience is that I tried with placing a tray with ice cubes under the bread tray, to create steam, and this time the crust didn’t break in a ridiculous way, and was quite elastic. So, that part worked! 🙂
- 200g sourdough rye starter
- 280g water 20℃
- 500g strong white flour (I used Gilchesters Organics unbleached white)
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Mix the starter with the water on a bowl
- Place the flour and the salt on a bigger bowl
- Add the liquid starter to the bigger bowl
- Mix and knead well (using the hands)
- Slap and fold for 7 minutes
- Cover and rest for 30 minutes
- Stretch and fold, cover and rest for 1 hour (repeat 3 times)
- Flour the banneton and place the dough on it
- Leave to prove for 4 hours
- Set the oven to 200ºC, place the bread three quarters down from the top, and bake for about 45 minutes.
- Then take it out and place on a rack to cool down.
- Bread number: 2 (in 2019)
- Looks: 3, the holes are really embarrassing! It didn’t raise at all, and the crumb was too compact. But—the crust was quite flexible and nicely coloured. So there you go.
- Smells: 6, somehow sour, but a bit too subtle.
- Tastes: 5, sour, but not too much. A bit too dry. And it’s so compact it will barely absorb butter or oil or anything.
- Frustration level: 6. Annoyed that after all the slap and fold effort it will not only barely raise, but develop this stupid hole. At least the result is edible, and I learned the ice cubes trick seems to work better than just spraying water before placing the dough on the oven.
- Would I try baking this again? Maybe not, I’m done with this flour! (Unless I buy another package or they send me one for free, in which case I would add more water! and a more refreshed starter).