Thursday, 31 August 2017

Bread: soft crust sandwich bread

Looky-look!  Doesn't it look great?

It smells great too and I can't wait to taste it!

Made the usual bread way but with 5 to 10 minutes hydration time between mixing in the wet ingredients and starting to knead.

325g milk
25g unsalted butter
1 tsp golden syrup
500g strong white flour plus a little more for dusting
heaped tsp salt
heaped tsp fast-action dried yeast.

Melt the butter into the golden syrup, add the milk, mix well and heat to warm.  I used the microwave for this.
The rest is normal bread method with 15 mins at 180C and 20 mins at 160C

The shiny look comes from rubbing some butter over the top when it comes out of the oven.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Bread: basic cob loaf

I have copied this from my main blog because it belongs in here too.

I found this book on the 'reduced' shelf of a local 'sell everything cheap' type shop and pounced on it with glee!
My goodness, it is a treasure chest of recipes.  Each one I have looked at so far I want to make and I can see it's going to be a 'make a new one each week' situation.  I can't do more as I don't get through enough bread to justify more.

Today, I started working through, leaving the first recipe, which is soda bread, for when my friend (who can't have yeast) comes to stay, and going on to the second, a very basic cob   More or less the recipe I use but without the sugar and oil so just water, yeast, salt and water.  I'm always amazed that such very simple ingredients can produce something so tasty and mouthwatering.

It's just finishing off in the oven as I'm typing so by the end of this entry it should be out and I can take a photo.  The only problem is that it seems to be coming out a bit flat and that, I am sure, is down to my shaping.  You create the tension in the loaf by shaping and, as I usually use a tin, I'm not great at it.  Much do better and I will work on it!

And here it is, hot and fresh out of the oven.  Not bad for before 8:00 am, eh?  But I will definitely work on my shaping technique and the slashes need to be deeper and much more even.

As it is a very basic loaf and the recipe is already out there, I see no problems with listing the ingredients.  The method is what you do with all bread so I won't post it here.
I made half amounts so . . .
350g strong white flour
extra flour for dusting
5g fine sea salt (I used ordinary salt)
a scant tsp fast action yeast (around 4 to 5 g)
around 225 mls/g lukewarm water

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Bits and bobs bake

I call it this because really you can use whatever you like as long as it's roastable.  I'll detail what I used but you don't have to stick with that.  Amounts are also variable - just think of what you would normally do for the number of people for which you are cooking

new potatoes, well scrubbed and cut into chunks
courgettes, onions, red or yellow pepper, small tomatoes, all prepped and chunked to same size as spuds
(I would also have used a few cloves of garlic if I'd had any)
some herbs from the garden (I used rosemary and thyme) or dried herbs
salt and pepper

some passata (not much) or make a tomatoey sauce from puree with water.
cooked meat - leftovers are perfect - or some pulses if you want to go vegetarian

grated cheese

In a roasting dish, add the vegetables, seasonings and herbs, pour over some oil (you don't need a lot) and mix to  'ensure maximum retention'  (I've been reading Harry Potter!).  I use my hands for this.
Cover with foil and bake in the oven (about 170 C) until all the veg is soft.
Remove the foil, turn up the heat, stir and pop back in so that they can start browning.  It doesn't take long.
Add the cooked meat and the tomato passata/sauce and mix.
Pop back in the oven until the liquid is bubbling and everything is hot.
Sprinkle over grated cheddar and bake for around ten minutes more.
Serve immediately while bubbly hot.

With what I had, I went all Mediterranean-ish but you could use so many other veg, depending on availability.  A good way to finish off those odds and ends.  Also, really filling.

walnut and mixed seed wholemeal bread

I've just used the recipe above to make THE most delicious 'posh' bread.  It's the recipe I always use for my breads but with the added nuts and mixed seeds.

I did half amounts to make a 1 lb loaf and it's just as well really because I'm eating it like it's the last loaf on earth.

The halved amounts are:
250g strong wholemeal flour
half tsp fast acting yeast
half tsp each of salt and sugar
a splash of oil
175 mls warm water

45g chopped walnuts and 30g mixed seeds (it looks quite a lot but it is just right)

The method is as in the link except that I cheated and used Thermione for the kneading and the knocking back.

It's so scrummy I can't stop going at it . . . which rather defeats the frugality of it all but never mind.

The basic loaf is very frugal anyway and while the additions take it out of extreme frugality, when you think of what you have to pay for a loaf of that type and quality, it's extremely good value.
Next time I will use half and half wholemeal and granary.

Rhubarb jam

It's been a long time, so sorry.

I had sticks and stacks of rhubarb after we sorted out the rhubarb patch at the allotment.  I froze some but I made some gorgeous rhubarb jam which is very frugal despite the jam sugar because the rhubarb itself was free so I'm sharing it with a clear conscience.

Trim, wipe and chop the rhubarb. Weigh it (important so don't forget)

Stew the rhubarb in a little water in a large pan until soft. I'm lucky enough to have a maslin pan but any large pan would do.
Remove from heat and add the same weight of jam sugar as the rhubarb weighed. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice (from a bottle is fine). Stir well and leave for the sugar to dissolve into the fruit.

While that's doing or when you're ready, whichever is later, thoroughly wash your jam jars and lids. Put the jars on an oven tray in a cool oven (about 80 to 100 C fan) and place two saucers in the fridge to check for set.

Put the fruit/sugar on a lot heat , stirring regularly, until it starts bubbling. Turn up the heat and cook it (still stirring) for about five minutes and then take it off the heat and check for set. If it hasn't reached setting point, boil for another five minutes and check again.  Mine set first time, despite the low pectin.

Rhubarb is low in pectin, but the jam sugar and the lemon juice should sort that one out.

This link is the best article on setting point that I have seen - point 4, the wrinkle test, is what I use and it always works.

Once set, ladle into the warm jars, screw on the clean lids and allow to cool before labelling.

Basically, this is how you make all jam although if the fruit is high pectin I use ordinary granulated (a lot cheaper), not jam sugar.