30/01/2013 § 3 Comments
I’m obsessed with double oven bread-making!
Ever since my first double-oven loaf came out of the oven, and that magical smell of home-made bread filled my home, it’s got me. I look at loaves in the supermarket, I turn away and scurry to the flour aisle to see what yeasty combinations spring to mind.
Last night, instead of rolling the risen dough in flour, I used oats – plain old porridge oats. My dough was quite sticky, so I did a thick sprinkling and then worked them into the dough to give it more body. When it was in the cast iron pot, ready for the oven, I sprinkled more oats on top with a lightning twist of herb salt too. Here’s the result …
We enjoyed a meat and root-vegetable casserole with hunks of this loaf for supper last night.
I’m managing to fit bread-making in around work – early in the morning while the kettle is boiling, I quickly mix up the dough. Then I cover it and leave it close to a radiator while I’m in work. About half an hour before I get home, Himself puts a cast iron fish kettle (or a casserole for a round loaf) into the oven and when I get home, I quickly work the dough (no kneading required) roll it up into malted flour – or oats – and pop it into the oven.
Within the hour my nose tells me it’s almost done and ready for the lid to be removed, and a little browning to happen – and it is magical, that smell of bread baking – it fills the whole house and there we have another loaf. Sometimes it remains untouched until the following morning, but more often we’ll have a slice or two with our supper instead of potatoes.
I’m tending to use all white bread flour for the original mix these days, and then rolling the dough in something more exotic – malted flour, rye for a crispier crust, oats or whole grains. I’m thinking what else I can use.
And, I’ve started another quilt – Scandinavian inspired colours – all I want to do is bake and quilt!
24/01/2013 § 6 Comments
Yet another amendment to my Happy:Smiley recipe for week 4 – you must know by now that I can rarely ever do exactly the same thing twice in a row (except crochet maybe)!!
In the last 24 hours I’ve enjoyed and achieved just a few little day-to-day things that have made me feel – well, just sort of satisfied. Not ecstatic or shouting-from-the-rooftops-happy; they’re really nothing very special at all, but I’ve enjoyed them, felt happy and smiled! Here are my 4, caught in 24 hours …
1. Some like it hot!
Misty just loves a bit of warmth. She usually has her nose on the slate hearth and we have to physically drag her away – either when we smell scorching, or when she puts her paws over her nose ‘cos it’s toasting! She’s such an old softie. Belle prefers the sofa, with an ample supply of cushions to cuddle up to!
These 2 collies are, I swear, almost human. Belle has started coming upstairs after we’ve gone to bed – she snouts at the lounge door until it opens for her, then creeps upstairs. She nuzzles me until I tell her to go back to bed, then she very quietly pads back downstairs to her sofa! I think it’s a very Belle-type goodnight kiss!
2. What’s on today?
I look at my calendar many times each day and I can’t tell you how much pleasure I have from seeing that simple saying, in the middle of a patchwork cushion that I made, on my first Adaliza calendar. I remember the day I made it and taking it out into the garden to take the photo – happy days!
3. The best thing (even though it isn’t sliced)!
Not sure if we’ll ever buy bread again. This simplest of recipes produces simply amazing loaves. I’ll swear it’s nothing to do with me – it’s incredibly simple. I made the floury-yeasty dough in a couple of minutes yesterday evening, covered it in clingfilm overnight and then got up early to bake this loaf. I used strong white bread flour (different from my recipe here), but then rolled the dough in malted flour so it’s a bit nutty. It really does taste as good as it looks! Give it a go – on the side with homemade soup, or with a dollop of homemade jam on top & a slice of cheese – yum! Cheese & jam – try it – awesome combination!
4. Flicking over the pages
I’ve read these before, maybe 20-odd years ago. They belonged to my mother and I remember her telling me about the magical stories of rural families and Romany life in the 1800’s that wends it’s way through all 3 volumes. I think I bought one of them in Winchester for her – in the Oxfam bookshop! I love that Mum loved them, I love the travellers’ tales & superstitions, I love the descriptions of farming life and I love turning the thick pages to rediscover the tale unfolding.
Have you read them? I’d love to hear from anyone else who’s enjoyed them. We visited Montacute in Somerset – the village in the book – last summer. I desperately want to go there again and imagine the characters living there, walking to the little Church and exploring the woodland walks.
I’m trying to keep to my New Year’s theme – to dare to go confidently in the direction of my dreams. It helps to feel happy inside – and to keep smiling!
18/01/2013 § Leave a comment
A day for baking, and walking, and snuggling and quilting …
After a walk with the dogs down to the farm and then home again, I tucked Flora up for the night in her thick meadow-hay & shavings bed in her hutch. A mug of hot, parmesan sprinkled, rib-sticking soup with a slice of still warm double oven bread was a perfect way to thaw out.
Followed by more warmth & comfort – my favourite sweet treat …
Yum! There’s nothing like some home-made comfort food.
Big decision now, do I put my feet up and crochet (which will keep them very warm), or do I finish a new quilt that I fitted in today around my animal & kitchen duties? Not sure which will win, but I hope you’re warm & cosy this evening, wherever you are.
Enjoy the weekend.
15/04/2012 § 19 Comments
no kneading, no double rising – just a bit of time and a perfect loaf …
Alicia over at Posy Gets Cosy produces amazing loaves so I did a bit of video watching to see how it’s done. And then, as always, being unable to follow a recipe – I threw a few ingredients into a bowl, mixed a bit and waited.
It’s well worth the wait and absolutely delicious. Try it – it’s as easy as can be …
Here’s my take on the recipe & ingredients …
2 cups strong white bread flour
1 cup malted grain flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 packet (7 gm fast yeast)
dash of cider vinegar in approx 1.5/2 cups cold water
I put all dry ingredients into my mixing bowl, gave it a whirl to mix and then add the water + cider vinegar. Add the water carefully – 1 full cup and then the rest in dribbles until you have a dough that isn’t too heavy and my test is that it should mostly drop off the mixer.
Now I love using my KitchenAid but it’s really not necessary. It suits me to clean the mixey thing then cover and leave the dough to do its stuff in this bowl, but this dough would easily mix up with fingers or a wooden spoon in a mixing bowl.
Don’t knead it, just clean around the edges of the bowl then cover with a cloth or cling-film for a minimum of 8 hours. I left my first loaf for about 19 hours (overnight)!
Then when the dough is risen and squishy …
Heat the oven to 220 degrees and place a cast iron casserole (mine’s a huge Le Creuset pot), with the lid off, in the oven to heat up too. (Heat the lid too on a separate shelf).
Remove the sticky dough onto a floured surface and gently fold in the edges so they are at the base of the loaf and the top is smooth. Sprinkle with oatmeal or flour.
Place a square of ovenproof greaseproof/parchment paper into the really hot casserole then plop in the loaf, smooth side up, and cover with the casserole lid. All this cast iron is SERIOUSLY hot, so use a good oven glove and make sure there are no dogs underfoot to trip you up in the kitchen!
Cook for 30 minutes covered, followed by 15 mins or so with the lid off.
Leave to cool a bit before cutting … if you can wait that long!
The next batch of dough is already covered but I suspect that this loaf won’t last long past the boy’s breakfast time! I’d better have a slice or two first …
End Note :: that loaf lasted approximately 12 minutes from the time the first of our boys arrived downstairs this morning! I made another one, in a long cast iron pot that’s been standing in the kitchen for at least 2 years, never having been used! I dusted it off and …
A petit parisienne loaf which has just been devoured alongside home-cooked marmalade ham and coleslaw salad for dinner. It was still warm from the oven, and didn’t stand a chance once those hungry boys arrived!
Pop over to see Wendy at Handmade Monday – there will be lots of interesting updates on what everyone’s been making.
I’ll have a quilt to show you very soon – it’s called Wildflower Meadow!
Enjoy the rest of Sunday evening.