I have just become one of those people who don’t mind what for the holiday is, they just appreciate that it IS a holiday! In other words, I’m employed now and that means enjoying official public holidays for the sake of them being days off=) But actually I do also enjoy my job! I like the process of turning words into words… well, what would you expect from a linguist? And also I prefer translating Russian into English than the other way round, not that I prefer English to Russian, no, it’s just that the challenge of making a long Leo Tolstoy-like Russian sentence into a short concise business English is keeping me wanting even more of such work =) Well, I haven’t yet experienced a full working week, cause this week there’s this dunno public holiday right at the end of it, on Friday, so only the next week is going to be my first full one.
Ok, now how about food?
I do keep baking and for that cause I’m also on a look for quick recipes to keep our supplies of bread and sweet things throughout the week and at the same time I’m reserving some not-that-easy recipes for the weekend (especially for a prolonged one!). Just recently I came across a very easy bread, no-knead and no-fuss, which got halved this morning after I baked it yesterday. I also made some sourdough black (brown) bread from my newly made sourdough starter which has just moved to the fridge cause after three weeks of keeping it fed twice a day I guess it should be ready to live (sleep) on its own waiting to be used. I also made really fudgy brownies using sourdough!!! (they turned out quite salty cause I was too mean to put so much sugar in them, so the sourdough made it quite salty, but they’re gone, those brownies=) And some white bread using starter which I spoilt with my obsession to put in more flour so it went out of oven quite flat but – believe me – it’s also already gobbled down, hehe.
Here’s a real treasure for those who’re beginners or completely new to bread baking and also for
lazy working people with no time to spare. It’s a quick bread, though with yeast, but more batter-like. I didn’t get that much of air bubbles inside as seen on the original recipe site, but who cares? =) This one went under ‘white bread’ label in my family. I’m copying the recipe :
English Muffin Toasting Bread (adapted from www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com) will make a small loaf in just no time!
- 3 cups all purpose flour – as suggested, I substituted 100g with whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbs sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbs instant yeast
- 1 cup milk – I used kefir plus a bit of milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil or olive oil – I used vegetable one
- cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan – I sprinkled with flour
1. In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast together.
2. In a separate microwave proof bowl combine milk, water, and oil. The liquid will feel very hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would scald you. As a reference point compare with the hottest water from your kitchen tap (unless your tap water is so hot that it burns you). – I just heated the ingredients in a pot, checking the temperature with my finger.
3. Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Beat at high speed for 1 minute, the dough will be soft.
4. Lightly grease a loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal (I used flour). Scoop the soft dough into the pan, levelling it in the pan as much as possible. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan; about 45 minutes to 1 hour (I kept mine for 1 hour, but it didn’t get over the rim of the pan as the pan was quite large).
5. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 200 ‘C. Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it’s golden brown. – I baked mine for about 27 min.
6. Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing. – I did my usual trick, taking the bread out of the pan and putting it back in the turned-off oven to get crispy for several minutes.
And now for those of you, my friends, who are not short of time for baking =) And also for those of you familiar with sourdough – and apparently who have a starter already! Although this one looks not much like the original, again, who cares =) it’s just that there is my personal touch, hm? This one went under ‘black bread’ label in my family. I’m copying the recipe:
Pain de Mie au Levain (adapted from bewitchingkitchen.com) will give you 2 loaves of flavourful bread with some amount of effort. ATTENTION! requires an overnight or longer stay in the fridge!
- 210 g sourdough starter – dunno how much exactly I put inside
- 420 g water
- 500 g bread flour – I used all purpose mixed with wheat and rye bran and ‘8 Grains’ bread mix
- 130 g rye flour
- 11.5 g fine sea salt (13 g if using unsalted seeds) – I just put in about 2 tsp salt
- 30-35 g seeds of your choice – I used flax seeds, caraway seeds, black sesame and pumpkin seeds
Mix the flours, water, and sourdough starter until they form a shaggy mass. Let it stand at room temperature, covered, for 30-45 minutes (autolyse). Add the salt and mix it by hand (here my huge rubber spatula came handy). Add the seeds and mix gently by hand to incorporate the seeds and knead the dough by folding 4 times during the first hour, at 15 minute intervals (google folding). Let the dough rise undisturbed for another full hour, in a warm place, covered (I forgot about it and so it rested longer).
Refrigerate the dough for 12 to 24 hours (very important step! – which I had to shorten…), misting the surface lightly with olive oil (which I forgot), and covering with a plastic wrap…..
The next morning remove the dough from the fridge, remove the plastic and cover it with a towel (which I also forgot…), to rest at room temperature for 2 hours before shaping. Meanwhile, prepare a loaf pan by lightly coating it with olive oil and sprinkling flour, especially in the corners. You can make a single large loaf or divide it half depending on the size of your pan. (I made 2 round loaves, one in a glass pan and a smaller one in a ceramic pan). Ideally, the dough should fill 2/3 of the height of your pan.
Allow the shaped bread to rise 2 hours at room temperature (here I left home and jotted down the instructions for my father – so he baked the bread!), slash it with a blade, sprinkle some flour on top and bake it in a 220 ‘C oven for about 45 minutes, with an initial burst of steam. (I asked my father to take out the skillet with water I had placed on the bottom of the oven, after 15 min. of baking).
So the result is quite nice, although it didn’t rise that much and the air bubbles are not large. I like the seeds inside (I’m not a fan of caraway seeds, though) and the total absence of yeast!
OK, one more photo =)
See you soon!