Hahahaa, I’ve just been offered to work as a cashier in a medical clinic! Oh myyyy =) sometimes I just
can’t stand the recruiters, they never look at you CV, they just have to fill in a vacancy… hm. Well, that’s a food blog, right? Tonight I thought that the time has come for some nice bread, as that is what I specialize on, so to say =) So here we go, some white bread for breakfast and some black (brown) for dinner. The title for my post is an almost word-to-word translation of a Russian proverb that goes “Hleb vsemu golova“, where the head, golova, means rather a ‘chief’. That’s true!
Recently our already much suffered kitchen has been attacked by some tiny bugs, not the ones that are disgustingly flat and brown and you cannot kill them, the new breed is so tiny you can miss them, they prefer cardboard boxes and even matches! and they invade everything… I tried vinegar “bath” for my shelves, I put everything in a separate bag, I threw away the boxes, I made a prophylactic overnight stay in a freezer for all my pantry goods… And now what happened? They’ve moved on to other shelves and drawers with even no edible things in them! ahhhhhhhr =( So I’m struggling, I’m fierce =) at least the birds we’re feeding outside our window are happy to eat each day several types of grains which would have been otherwise thrown away – a healthy balances diet with some occasional tiny meat=) Those birds are just hilarious, we enjoy looking at them, they revive gloomy days by their chirruping and sometimes arguing and my expert Mum can easily identify girls from boys, field sparrows from city sparrows etc etc etc. We call it “free canteen for birds” =)
So now I’m trying to forcedly finish some grains and also I bought about 2 kilos of whole wheat flour in that Finnish store and also some real polenta! (you wouldn’t disagree, that if you go to the centre of the city for a job interview and don’t get a job, you just HAVE to buy something useful? And also I had to resist a temptation to buy a discount blouse and to spend even less for the above mentioned foods=)
OK, for WHITE BREAD there’s Olive Rosemary Bread (which has no starter compared to Kalamata Olive and Dill / Rosemary Bread) and an eeeeasy-peasy Herbed Batter Bread, both from one of my sources of inspiration for bread recipes, a really great blog Cookistry.
Olive Rosemary Bread (almost with no change taken from Cookistry) will make a small, salty but lovely loaf!
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1/2 cup semolina – in Russian we call it manka or more officially mannaya krupa and that’s what falls from heavens=)
- 2 cups all purpose flour – I used more
- 1 tsp cracked dried rosemary – I happen to buy it and used even more
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives, drained – I bough some cheap stoneless black olives from Spain and they were very salty but quite Ok
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs olive oil (GREEEEEEEK!)
Although Donna Currie suggests making the dough in a mixer, I invece am training my elbows =) In a bowl combine water, yeast, and semolina and set aside until it’s bubbly, about 10 minutes (although there were no bubbles in my bowl, I continued cause my yeast is still not that old and I didn’t want to start all over again with anyway non-existent new yeast).
Add the flour and rosemary and knead
with the dough hook by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough might seem a little bit dry, but the olives will add more moisture, so there’s no need to worry (and they did!).
Add the salt, olive oil, and olives, and knead until the olive oil is incorporated and the olives are well distributed in the dough (my dough was really weeeeeeeeeeeet, so I had to add more flour).
Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and return it to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled, about 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 ‘C and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet (I usually use semolina for this).
When the dough has doubled, flour your work surface lightly and turn out the dough. Knead briefly, then form the dough into your preferred shape. Place it on the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down (I rarely roll the dough, maybe that’s why it cracks in the oven…). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes (I kept it rising more, cause usually there’s something else baking at the same time and the other thing has to wait. I also brushed the top with some egg and sprinkled on some flax seeds).
Slash the loaf as desired and bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.
My bread didn’t get much larger, perhaps my yeast really needs changing. But the result was mmmmmmm! and very quickly finished=)
Next bread (not yet finished) is really easy, hence its name (batter is always easier than dough!):
Herbed Batter Bread (adapted a bit from Cookistry) will make a small but delicious loaf!
- 3 cups all purpose flour, divided – I added some oat bran not to affect the colour of my white bread =)
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water – I mixed some potato water left after boiling potatoes with warm water
- 1 Tbs white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried dill – I had a lot of fresh dill, so it went into the batter
- 1 tsp celery seeds – have no idea where to get them so I used flax seeds and some pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp dried savory – I happen to have it
- 2 Tbs olive oil (Greek=)
- baking spray – just used more oil
Spray a loaf pan with baking spray (or just grease it with oil/butter).
Combine 2 cups of the flour with the yeast, water, sugar, salt, dill, celery seeds, savory, and olive oil in a medium bowl.
Beat on low with a hand mixer Beat with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to high (the speed of your hand=) and continue beating until the gluten is well developed – the batter will hold together in sheets if you try to lift it with a spoon.
Add the remaining flour and mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is evenly incorporated into the dough. Transfer the dough to the baking pan.
Wet your hands and smooth the top of the dough and even it out in the pan.
Spray the top of the dough with baking spray or cooking spray (or just grease it with your finger) and cover the pan with plastic wrap. Set aside until the dough has doubled in size – about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190 ‘C.
When the dough has doubled (I rarely have it really doubled), remove the plastic wrap and bake until the bread is nicely browned and cooked through – about 45 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.
That’s a quick and easy bread, so be quick in eating it! =)
And at last only one variant of brown bread:
Moroccan Whole Wheat Bran Bread (adapted from moroccanfood.about.com) will make one round flat bread which is amazing! try also Moroccan White Bread with Bran which finished so quickly, I don’t even have a photo of it.
They say bread is khobz in Arabic and this particular one is ideal for serving with Moroccan dishes.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour – I made a mixture of buckwheat flour, all purpose flour, wheat and rye brans and flax meal =)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup wheat bran – I also added additional rye bran
- 2 Tbs white sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs yeast – I used instant
- 2 Tbs vegetable or olive oil – I used a mixture of them
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- additional flour for kneading
- wheat bran for dusting the loaves and pan
Dust one or two baking sheets with some bran.
Mix the flours, bran, salt and sugar in a bowl. Make a large well in the centre of the flour mixture, and add the yeast.
Add the oil and water to the well, mixing to dissolve the yeast first, and then stirring the entire contents of the bowl to incorporate the water into the flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and begin kneading the dough. If necessary, add flour or water in very small amounts to make the dough soft and pliable, but not sticky. Continue kneading for 10 minutes (hoho, I did it less, I’m a lazy perfectionist…), or until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
Leave the dough intact or divide it in half (I made just one round bread). Shape each portion into a smooth circular mound, dusting additional bran beneath and over the dough as you work. Place onto the prepared pan(s) and cover with a towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
After the dough has rested, use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough into circle(s). Cover with a towel and leave to rise about one hour or a little longer, until the dough springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.
Preheat an oven to 225 ‘C.
Score the top of the bread with a very sharp knife, or poke the dough with a fork in several places. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes – rotate the pans about halfway through the baking time – or until the loaves are richly colored and sound hollow when tapped (I had to bake it more time). Transfer the bread to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool.
Result: This bread got really close to what we call black bread! Lots of wholesome bran in it, mmmmm!!! And you won’t notice how quick that flat round bread finishes…
Ok, see you soon, have a very nice weekend!