savoury sourdough twister

This bread is made with homemade sourdough starter (check previous post), rather than shop-bought leavening agent/yeast, which I mix with strong bread flour to make the base for this.

INGREDIENTS

1 & 1/2 cups sourdough starter

2- 2 1/2 cups strong flour

1/2 tsp salt

100g ricotta

c. 200g spinach

4 spring onions, finely chopped

freshly ground pepper

salt to taste

nutmeg, freshly grated, (liberal amount)

1/3 cup olive oil. and more to drizzle over

1/3 cup trahanas (dried)

STEPS


1. Mix the first three ingredients, form a dough ball, and knead for about 10 minutes before setting aside somewhere warm to rise for about 90 minutes;

2. Steam the spinach briefly to soften it, drain very well, and chop coarsely;

3. Place spinach in a bowl and mix with other ingredients but not the oil and ricotta;

4. Knock back the air, and roll the dough out into a 15 cm x 40 cm x 1 cm oblong shape;

5. Scatter the filling on the dough, crumble the ricotta, and drizzle with the oil before folding the dough along the long side;

6. Wind this into a coil (cf., photos), and place on a polenta-dusted tray, drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle with some salt flakes, and let rise for a second time for a further 60 minutes;

7. Preheat the oven (fan) to 180 degrees C – place an empty roasting tin on the rack below in which to add cold water about the time you put the sourdough twist in the oven – this will help create a steamy oven which makes for a better bake – when the oven is ready, pop the bread in for 50-60 minutes. When ready, wipe with a wet cloth and let it cool down a little on a cooling rack.

COMMENTS

Other combinations:

  • fatty black olives, lemon zest, coriander/parsley/mint, garlic, ricotta or feta, and spinach
  • feta, spinach, spring onions (cf., photos)
  • cherry tomatoes, bacon lardons, crumbled cheddar, and fresh thyme (cf., photos)
  • pine-nuts, cheese, basil, oil and garlic
  • sauteed leeks, and cheese
  • sauteed mushrooms, cheese, thyme, and garlic
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cinnamon, fruit and nut sourdough twister

This bread is made with homemade sourdough starter, rather than instant yeast, (check previous post) which I mix with strong bread flour to make the base for this.

INGREDIENTS


1&1/2 cups of sourdough starter

2 cups strong flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar, and some to sprinkle over the bread before baking

1/2 cup olive oil or butter

1/2 cup moist brown sugar (e.g., muscovado)

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup currants (or other vine fruit)

2 tsps ground cinnamon, and some to dust the bread before baking

 

Cf., two attempts as per the photos above

STEPS


1. Mix the first four ingredients well into a dough that holds together and knead on a surface until the dough becomes elastic (c., 10 minutes); leave it somewhere warm for about 90 minutes to rest and rise;

2. Knock the air out of the dough and roll it out into an oblong shape roughly 15 cm width x 40 cm length x 1 cm thickness;

3. Dust with the cinnamon, crumble the sugar, sprinkle with the currants and the walnut pieces, and drizzle with the oil (or, if you’re using butter, crumble it all over);

4. Turn the dough along the long side into a long wrap encasing the filling, then wind it into a coil, place on a pollenta-dusted tray, and leave somewhere warm for 60 minutes for it to rise again;

5. Dust with some sugar and cinnamon, and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Bake for c. 50-60 minutes at 180 degrees C in a preheated steamy oven. Enjoy warm or cold the next day – though warm is much nicer as the sourdough is at its softest.

COMMENTS

To create a steamy oven, when you turn the oven on to preheat it, place an empty roasting tin on the rack below the one you’ll  be placing the bread; when you’re about to add the tray with the bread, quickly add about 2-3 cups of cold water to the preheated tray which will by then be extremely hot.

hot cross buns

This recipe yields six but it can easily be doubled as I’ve copied it from a recipe for a dozen (cf., http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/sweet/hot-cross-buns.html )

INGREDIENTS

30g sugar plus 1 tsp

1 level tbsp dried active yeast

225g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

A pinch of the following in powder form: cloves, cinnamon, allspice, mace and nutmeg (OR 1 tsp of mixed spice)

zest from a lime, lemon, and half an orange

50g currants

30g mixed peel

30mL warm milk

1 small egg, beaten

c.20g melted butter or oil

for the glaze: some reduced fruit syrup or 2 tbsp sugar heated with some water and reduced to a syrup

STEPS

1. First stir one 1 tsp caster sugar into c.75 ml lukewarm water, then sprinkle in the dried yeast and leave it until a good frothy ‘beer’ head forms

2. Sift the flour, salt, zest and spices into a mixing bowl and add the remaining sugar, the currants and mixed peel. Then make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture, the warm milk, the beaten egg and the fat. Now mix it to a dough before kneading

3. Transfer the dough on to a clean surface and knead it until it feels smooth and elastic – about 7 minutes. Now pop it back into the bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for the dough to rise – 60′ should do the trick

4. Then turn it out and knead it again to knock out the air and bring it down to its original size. Divide the mixture into six round portions, arrange them on the greased baking sheet. Leave them somewhere warm again for about 25′ to rise once more, covering again loosely with cling film. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 200 C.

5. Bake the buns for about 15 minutes. Then, while they’re cooking, melt the sugar and c. 2 tbsps of water and reduce to a syrup with which to brush the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.

redcurrant and chantilly chocolate cake

This cake was inspired from an early Friday morning trip to Dalston’s fruit and veg market  where I picked up three punnets of fresh redcurrants – an ingredient I was intrigued by as I’ve never used it – for just £1! So, when fruit comes that cheaply, well, you have to make it work…

The taste of fresh redcurrants alone is mildly unpleasant to my palate – I find the aroma isn’t sufficient to carry the tartness. However, when complemented by sweeter, and possibly, citrusy, notes, I think it can all be made to sing.

Here I’ve whipped up a citrusy peppery chantilly to sit along the fresh redcurrents in between the two layers of chocolate sponge – the sponge did come out a little too dry despite 200mL of olive oil but that’s because I was being too cautious and left it in those 5 unnecessary minutes.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 300g redcurrants
  • icing sugar to dust
  • some cassis de dijon/some other fruity liqueur, or some cooled fruit juice reduction, to brush the sponge layers

Sponge

  • 175g (c.200mL) olive oil
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g SR flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • about a handful of fresh red currants
chantilly cream
  • 300mL double or whipping cream
  • zest of one lime
  • tsp of freshly pounded-to-powder mix of chili flakes and black and pink peppercorns
  • pinch of salt
  • one drop of lemon extract/essential oil (optional)
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
METHOD
  1. Grease and line with greaseproof paper a 20cm/8 inch cake tin, and preheat oven to 180C (fan)
  2. Cream/beat the sugar and oil into a large bowl
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, add the vanilla, and continue to beat for about 5′, if using an electric mixer, or c. 10′ if whisking manually
  4. Sift the flour and mix in the cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Now sift half of this quantity into the wet mixture, and gently fold (to avoid the gluten from overdeveloping) as you’re after a light sponge; not a tight bready cake.
  5. Gently fold in the rest of the dries and take a handful of floured redcurrants and mix in gently as to not pop them
  6. Turn the mixture into the lined tin/mold and bake for 30′-35′, or until a skewer comes out clean
  7. Leave to cool – when cool, turn out onto a wire rack, remove the paper, and stand it upside-down, then cut into two layers and brush the insides with some of the liqueur you end up using to sweeten and moisten the sponge
  8. Prepare the chantilly, by whipping together the icing sugar and the other ingredients listed above (NB., be careful not to over-whip the cream into butter; this can happen in seconds)
  9. Dollop the chantilly onto the bottom layer and strew with the redcurrants, reserving a few bunches decorate the top of the cake
  10. Place the top layer, decorate with the reserved redcurrants and dust with icing sugar.
  11. Cover with cling film and chill overnight preferably or at least a few hours before serving