Leaner Turmeric Hazelnuts Sourdough

Turmeric hazelnut sourdough

Turmeric hazelnut sourdough

Another attempt at the turmeric hazelnut sourdough, but this time a leaner one than the previous one which was really a sort of pain viennois (an enriched bread with milk and some butter but lighter than a brioche) with the spice addition.

Turmeric hazelnut sourdough
330g            T65 flour (bread flour)
230g            Water
100g            Leaven 100% hydration
 1-2g            Instant yeast
    7g            Salt
   4g             Turmeric powder
  70g            Hazelnuts, toasted

Autolyse 1hr with flour, water and turmeric.
Add leaven, yeast, salt. I used the mixer and started gently then increased the speed until the dough more or less cleared the bowl. I added the hazelnuts by hand.
Proofed 1hr before popping it into the fridge.
Shaped cold from fridge, then proofed for another hour or so before baking.
* I think I under-proofed so the next time I will either keep it out a longer time before popping it into the fridge or proof a longer time before baking.

Was quite pleased with this one. The quantity of turmeric was just right – enough to come through subtly without being overpowering (or overwhelming for the leaven!) and hazelnuts, always delicious. Makes great bread for sandwiches too. Maybe the next time, I could add just that tiniest pinch of extra turmeric, just to push the envelope…

Delicious hazelnuts ended up garlanding and not embedded in bread!

Delicious hazelnuts ended up garlanding and not embedded in bread!



Thierry Delabre’s T80 meule

T80 meule

T80 meule

Thierry Delabre is a funny French chap I discovered I don’t know how, but he’s on my Facebook page and I look at his culinary adventures with wonder. Since he discovered bread-making some time ago, it’s taken over his life in a big way. He’s kitted out his kitchen with all sorts of shiny new tools, orders flours by the bags and even delivers breads by post to friends! He’s a talented pastry chef and cook too, a real Epicurean gourmet, and has even gone on to make cooking videos. A generous soul whose love of food and life (aren’t the two mutually indispensable) just jumps off the page. I don’t know how to link to his FB but here’s the Envie de bien manger website for which he makes cooking videos. Looking at him, you’d think he’s been making food shows forever for a living ;))

Not long ago, he posted about a T80 (that’s semi-wholewheat flour) meule he made and what caught my eye was the quantity of leaven in it. I’m always drawn to breads made with more leaven not just for taste reasons but also because I get to use more of the fed leaven. The big bag of locally milled T80 from Moulin des Moissons fell nicely into place. (I would love to visit them one day.)

The first time I made this bread, I used water kefir in place of water (yes, tsk tsk, I know, I should have kept to the recipe, at least the first time round). It was a very wet dough and I mangled the shaping. But the taste…oh goodness…even Bob sat up. I’ve mentioned how it seems to me that water kefir can impart a softness and lightness to breads. The crumb was almost cake-like, and it seemed to bring out all the qualities of the wheat. It was just incredibly tasty bread that I was eating out of hand. 

I recently made it again but this time with water and a very different method from my usual. Although it was very good indeed, it was not as mind-blowing as the last one. Further experiments are due.

I don’t think Thierry will mind my sharing his formula with you, so here goes:
T80 Meule
1 kg              T80
700g             Water
500g             Leaven
  23g             Salt
    2g             Fresh yeast

Thierry’s method:
Autolyse with water and T80 for 30 mins-1 hr max. He refrigerates dough during the autolyse.
Add the rest of the ingredients, mix on 1st speed for 8 mins.
Trickle in 30-50g of cold water during another 2 mins of mixing (bassinage).
1st proof for 3 hours, with a very gentle folding every hour (i.e. two folds), taking care not to degas.
Divide and shape roughly and place in bannetons.
2nd proof: 16 hours in fridge (4-6 degrees celsius).
Bake cold from fridge.

At that time, I didn’t have Thierry’s method and I wasn’t even aware he adds a bit of yeast. So due to the emergency situation in the kitchen brought about by the detection of a rodent (YIKES!!), I ended up
- autolysing water, flour and leaven for almost 2hrs
-mixing everything minus fresh yeast till dough cleared bowl (I only added 20g of extra water)
- a couple of folds for an hr
- cold first proof in fridge for 21 hours
- divided and shaped direct from fridge
-baked after one hour at room temp

The dough had puffed up nicely in the fridge but was slightly lacking in strength, although not as much as I would have thought. The advantage of this method was that I could use my barely used couche, instead of bannetons, since the dough doesn’t sit out long enough for it to flop and lose all semblance of form. Also it was much easier to shape the cold dough i.e. less flour used.

Bench note to myself:
- try Thierry’s method
- try long cold proof again??? But this time with folds in between?? Would that work??
- try with water kefir again!

‘Pastry cream’ & berries rolls

'Pastry cream' & berries rolls

‘Pastry cream’ & berries rolls

Don’t these look festive? Somehow they remind me of Christmas. These rolls came about because rodent on the premises (don’t get me started…) has led to an inventory of the food supplies, uncovering the tub of custard powder we bought on holiday. Yes, when we were holidaying in Bob’s home, we actually looked for Bird’s Custard out of nostalgia ;))) Shockingly we were unable to find any—how could this be possible!!?!—and had to settle for some Moris or Moirs brand, which to my mind, is inferior. If my memory serves me right, Bird’s has more of a vanilla (all fake of course) taste and isn’t this scary yellow bordering on orange. Mind you, this is from someone who eats Bird’s custard once every five years or so. Bob makes it when absolutely desperate for dessert and nostalgic for some comfort food. 
Anyway, I must be the only person who can fail with custard powder. It didn’t thicken in spite of all that powder—i suspect I was impatient and heated it up too quickly—and I had to try to salvage it the next day with even more powder. Why would anyone eat this stuff, I wonder. Except we still have almost an entire tub to go through! I’ll add some vanilla in the milk the next time, and I wonder if one can actually add some powder to an actual creme anglaise – i know, the irony of it. But the lack of egg in the custard is really sadly obvious.

I had wanted to make it with fresh raspberries but laziness got the better of me and I used these dried berries we had bought from Italy. We had set out for a walk in the mountains but chanced upon a little market at the foot of the mountain. A lady was selling unusual and gorgeous dried fruits – huge cherries, raspberries, strawberries, kumquat, kiwi, etc. They were amazingly plump, barely sugared, and actually looked and tasted of the original fruit. If I could, I would have bought everything in sight. (And I still regret not buying that olive oil chopping board, sigh). So while they might look like those garish, plastic ‘fruitcake’ mix, they are anything but. It’s funny how some dried fruit in a Ziploc bag can evoke memories, but throwing those berries in made me sad. I remember the forest, the high sun and dappled paths.

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Dan Lepard’s White maize and wheat loaf

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I’ve long wanted to make this bread. Actually this phrase can be applied to most breads/cakes I make. They sit on the ‘to-make’ list forever, waiting ever so patiently, only to be passed over by new ‘enthusiasms’ (new word from the wonderful Celia’s funny post). They are sometimes seized upon in a sudden frenzy, only to be placed back on the shelf. In this constant flux of contingencies and fancies, a few actually get made. This one, for example,  materialized when i noticed the expiry date on my bag of maize flour from Italy.

White maize and wheat loaf
230g             leaven
325g             whey (I used a mixture of fromage frais, kefir and water)
300g             Italian ’00’ flour (I used a mixture of ‘0’ and T65)
100g             strong wholewheat flour
100g             white maize flour (mine was a faint yellow)
1.5 tsp          salt

After having worked with very wet doughs, this one felt uncomfortably easy to work with (yes, the irony of it). I was worried it would be a dry tight crumb, but it turned out quite nice. I want to experiment with more maize breads, upping the quantity of maize flour and adding stuff like Espelette chili and chorizo.


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summer – where you can get away with practically no cooking


Apricot lavender galette

An impromptu visit by some friends for tea and I scrambled to make the fruit galette I itch to make come summer. Luckily there were some not-that-sweet apricots that could be parlayed into a tart. And summer means I can just cross the backyard—barefoot (!! No socks!! for once!)—to pick any herb I fancy.

Galette pastry with some cornmeal
170g            mixture of T55 and T65 flour
30g             Rough cornmeal
100g            Butter
1                  Large egg
1 TBS          Sugar
pinch of salt

I had some leftover cornmeal which I just wanted to finish so I threw it in: it added an appreciable crunch. Perhaps because of the cornmeal, to my surprise, I found I didn’t need to add any water at all. The dough came together very easily and held up well. I didn’t have at the time to chill the dough after rolling it out and filling it, but highly recommended. Note to self: don’t forget a bit of cornstarch (and sugar if necessary) for the fruit!


Dan Lepard’s sweet potato cinnamon buns


I wanted very much to like this, but something was not right here. I’ve wanted to make these for the longest time. Adding some potato for a tender loaf is something I’ve done before, so I was quite sure this would work. But the dough turned out dry and the grated sweet potato bits stayed intact .

When the recipe calls for the addition of potato, I’ve always popped them into the oven while something is baking, then adding the puree into the dough. This is what I had intended to do but plain forgot to pop the sweet potato in arrghh. Could it be why?? the sweet potato not ‘dissolving’ into the dough and thus not contributing moisture?? I have seen other recipes calling for spuds to be grated in, but perhaps not quite a large qty and significant portion of the total ingredients??

Anyway, bench notes should I want to attempt these again:
- puree not grate the sweet potato
- I skipped the pecan but added 1tsp of extra cinnamon. Could do with a bit more (I love cinnamon).
- cover early enough, not just when it’s browning. The buns were slightly burnt in spots on both the bottom and top.

A pity about these buns because it’s not every day that I make cinnamon buns, and I was so looking forward to these. Meanwhile there are so many other recipes to try! So many and no time/occasion sigh…

Basic sourdough loaf & baking with water kefir

I wanted to
1. test a new T80 (semi-wholewheat) flour sourced from a local miller.
2. test out my last ‘findings’ that substituting water kefir for water makes for a very slightly sweeter and moist crumb.Until I try creating a starter from the kefir itself, using kefir helps me to use up the kefir.
My basic sourdough
350g T80 flour
50g Whole rye flour
150g Levain 100%
300g Water
6g Salt

I prepared two loaves side by side, one with water kefir, the other with water. I felt that the water loaf came together more easily and was stronger. Also the kefir dough had a slightly ‘gassy’ smell after mixing, and throughout the proofing. This is the first time I’ve encountered this, and could have something to do with the fact that the water kefir was rather fermented. (I fed it only ONCE after more than a week in the fridge.) Baked on the day instead.

Baked under the same conditions, the kefir loaf (on top) had a thinner crust and was almost similar in taste, but just that little bit softer in the crumb department. Bob, whom I annoyed by asking repeatedly, are you sure? very, very sure?? do they taste alike to you? are you just saying this because I told you?? shook his head at such inanity.