Family recipe · sourdough

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

Last weekend I experimented with spelt flour which I had never used before in baking. I drew upon my basic sourdough recipe which I use most of the weekends when baking black bread for my family. I also use it for baking so-called white bread as well. So you can almost call it a family recipe now.

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

I cannot say that the whole-grain spelt flour added in rather small amounts in relation to the bulk of all purpose flour brought in some specific flavour. Also, there was my sourdough culture which is rye.

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

So in the end,  the baguettes had quite a dense crumb with a general whole-grainy look and flavour. But that flavour they had for sure!

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

1 year ago – Spring in St Petersburg. The Beginning
2 years ago – Stirato or Italian Baguettes
3 years ago – 2,800 km of Russia Seen from Above
4 years ago – What a Peach! Sunny Cake and a Zesty Cranberry Cake
5 years ago – Pane al Cioccolato… Senza Cioccolato

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes adapted from basic sourdough bread recipe originally adapted from Darnitsky bread recipe

Ingredients:

For the starter:

  • 1 Tb rye sourdough starter from the fridge
  • 100 g water
  • 100 g rye flour

For the bread:

  • 200-220 g of water
  • 150 g spelt flour
  • 200 g all purpose flour, more if needed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pumpkin seeds

Procedure:

Take a tablespoon of sourdough starter from the fridge and mix it with 100 g of water and 100 of rye flour, then leave it overnight.

In the morning when your starter has puffed up, add 200-220 g of water, 150 g spelt flour and 200 g all purpose flour, salt and pumpkin seeds. You should get quite thick though sticky dough so keep adding all purpose flour as needed. You should be able to fold the dough. Leave it covered for more than one hour, making at least one fold in between (if it’s too sticky, use either more flour or water your hands). Now you can either flour a glass bowl or a proofing basket, shape the bread into a round loaf, flour it and place it in the bowl, cover and leave to rise for an hour. Alternatively, you can make baguettes by dividing the dough in two and then folding and rolling each part to create 2 baguettes, place them on paper / baking mat, then cover and leave the shaped dough to rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 225 ‘C with a pan / tray on the bottom to create steam and a reversed tray in the middle (as a sort of baking stone). Reverse the loaf onto a baking mat / paper, make several slashes and slide it onto the hot tray / slash the baguettes diagonally and slide them onto the reversed tray together with the paper. Pour some water into the pan on the bottom to create steam. I usually do not change the temperature but if I see that the loaf is browning too much, I might decrease the temperature or move it to a lower rack. The baking takes from 30-35 minutes for the baguettes to 45-50 for a loaf.

Remarks: I tried hard to shape these baguettes, working the dough quite a lot by folding and rolling and re-rolling, and they puffed up nicely in the oven, also growing quite chewy crust.

Result: Flavourful and chewy. You might not tell at once that they are made with spelt flour but these baguettes are perfect for breakfast. Pumpkin seeds are good too!

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

Here pictured with the precious Piave cheese from Italy’s Veneto region:

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

It was a pretty Sunday morning and I took a lot of photos of the baguettes. I also spotted this thingy here which is a projector for silent cinema reels we have of me and my sister. My Mother is being busy converting the films into megabytes of me and my sister doing the pretty mundane things – without a sound 🙂 Yes, sometimes I do feel I was born way earlier than what my passport claims!

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

Adding this post to my Sourdough Bread collection.

G.

architecture · no recipe · on USSR / Russia · travel

Ryazan and a Bit of Moscow

Ryazan

On the first weekend of December I continued my adventures in Russia visiting Ryazan, and old city some 180 km away from Moscow. I took a train from St Petersburg which arrives pretty early in the morning. After getting some more sleep and a substantial breakfast at the hostel I went out to see the sights. It was snowing and there was unfortunately no sun at all. My first stop was at this church (Borisoglebsky Cathedral) which has a street running underneath it:

Ryazan

It was super slippery walking there but here it is from the other side:

Ryazan

Walking a bit forward to the Ryazan Kremlin I found this wooden house with a menacing note that informs its tenants of an imminent resettlement this summer… I hope they will somehow keep the building (just two steps away from it is an almost entirely burnt down wooden mansion ‘under reconstruction’).

Ryazan

The door was open:

Ryazan

I can imagine it’s not very easy living in such place but it’s so elaborate and just beats flat all the later built stuff around… Note the external thermometer outside of the window – don’t believe the weather forecast, trust your own sight:

Ryazan

Finally I got to the Kremlin where the tourist life was about to begin. It was Saturday after all:

Ryazan

It’s a pity there’s no observation point on any of the bell towers in the city (or did I miss anything?) cause it would be great to see the landscape – and the cityscape – from above. The rives Trubezh and Lybed, the tributaries of the larger Oka river, create a curious and beautifully carved landscape with meadows and hills.

Ryazan
Somewhere beyond the city lies the territory described by the Russian writer Konstantin Paustovsky whose short stories we all read as children in Russia. The old-school wooden building in blue is the river pier from where you can travel to the Oka river:

Ryazan
The Kremlin is traditionally situated on the top of the hill surrounded by the river streams. This is a part (ruined) of the Shelter for People (as opposed to the Shelter for Nobles situated nearby) and the Church of the Holy Ghost with a non-common two-pinnacle style.

Ryazan

I really liked this People’s Shelter building which curves a bit in the center:

Ryazan

The Ryazan Kremlin was founded in 1095 (which is also considered to be the foundation year of the city itself) and it continued developing mostly throughout the 13-18th centuries. Even though its walls are made in brick is preserves the traditional white-washed wall style:

Ryazan

I really like all those architectural details:

Ryazan

Enhanced with the snow:

Ryazan

These two buildings house the local History Museum where I spent almost third of the day, not only escaping from the cold but also actually learning something about the region – and about my country too.

Ryazan

There was this exposition on a woman who collected local crafts in the beginning of the 20th century. Looking at all those intricate embroidery, lace and skillfully woven cloth made me sigh and conclude that we’ve lost such a huge part of our heritage. We don’t know it, we ignore the meaning of all those colours and symbols and patterns.We don’t even know the parts of the traditional Russian costume.

Ryazan

There is also these reconstructed halls which look pretty touristy although I appreciate their attempt at recreating something super-(kitchy)-Russian:

Ryazan

After the museum I went on exploring the Kremlin (and the city).

Ryazan

The windy and mostly white-washed wall territory of the Ryazan Kremlin has a later Assumption Cathedral with this amazing mosque-like door which was unfortunately closed as it can only be visited during the warm(er) months. This is the main church in the city.

Ryazan

Here it is seen from the mound together with the bell tower and the wall inside which there is a… toilet 🙂

Ryazan

The mound looks really cool:

Ryazan

There’s a short street called Rabochaya (Working) running almost back-to-back with the mound. It has several obviously non-inhabited wooden houses like this one, built somewhere in the beginning of the 20th century I suppose:

Ryazan

This is another cathedral which is decorated with the colourful tiles looking particularly good against the (decadently non-) white walls:

Ryazan
Looking at the Kremlin from the Soborny (Cathedral) park and the Church of Spas-na-Yaru:

Ryazan

With all the churches and cathedrals, Ryazan has two Bezbozhnaya streets – Atheist or literally God-less Streets. TWO. Pervaya (First) Bezbozhnaya and Vtoraya (Second) Bezbozhnaya. They probably have other problems to solve than to rename those two streets, like the center of the city in a somewhat bad state:

Ryazan

I wondered off the Kremlin into the pedestrian Pochtovaya (Post) Street visiting of course the local post office in the search of ANY postcards that won’t be sold in packs. The green building behind the statue (to some famous nobleman) used to be the city’s main bank. Ryazan has a number of imperial buildings dating back to as early as the Peter the Great’s times.

Ryazan

As I spent quite a bit of time in the museums I did not see some of the minor musts of the city. What I can tell you is that the city is a bit of a maze and I discovered most of the sights by actually getting lost while trying to find some other sight. I really liked the presence of several rivers in the city and the way Ryazan builds up on their banks. The only drawback was that I couldn’t find that much of local food there: when I asked about anything local, a puzzled shop-assistant told me they have local kotlety (meat patties) 🙂   So I bought this black bread from the Tula region (another old city around Moscow, famous for its pryanik, samovar and weapons) instead:

Moscow

This is a sourdough rye bread made with fermented rye malt, molasses, kvass wort concentrate (used to make the traditional beverage kvass) and such (a variety of) spices as allspice, black pepper, cardamom, coriander, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. The bread is called Starorussky Nasuschny (Old-Russian Daily or Vital) and it has three bogatyr (aka old-Russian supermen) pictured on its package. The bread was soft and really flavourful! To accompany it I bought some – finally – local  cheese:

Moscow

The cheese – called Myagky Ryazansky (Soft from Ryazan) was somewhat close to Adygea cheese but more dense. The cheese is made from cow’s milk and salt (not too salty). I used it for a pie with fresh coriander and tvorog from the same dairy farm.

So my verdict on Ryazan: it’s big and thus less cozily attractive as Vladimir (or Suzdal). It has interesting stuff in its museums and a rather concentrated old center. Not many local crafts / food detected though. Should be a very nice place to walk in summer with the rivers, hills, an island and the meadows.

Moscow

Later that day I took a fast double-decker train that circulates between Moscow and Voronezh (the region I visited last November) and in just two hours I was in Moscow. The weather was expected to be quite harsh but we ventured out on a (substantial) walking tour in the district of Khamovniky where the craftsmen would make and sell their linen fabric (the now – light – swear word ‘kham‘ originally meant linen fabric) many many years ago. I have never been to this part of the district which is situated closer to the end of the bend that the Moscow river creates (here it is on the map). Our first stop was at the Novodevichy Convent which we all know about from the school history lessons and for the famous people buried there and which is planted right there in the middle of the huge megalopolis. The Convent, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Moscow, has survived almost intact from the 16-17th centuries and is now sort of an open-air museum of Moscow baroque architecture. It is called Novodevichy for a reason (oe a number of reasons): it being new in comparison with the other – older – monasteries and a convent (devitsa = girl) also used for exiling unwanted tsar’s wives and other royal females, like Peter the Great’s grandmother.  

Moscow

While wandering in the district we also had a chance to admire this late 17th century church of St Nicolas in Khamovniki which after an apparently recent renovation looks pretty cake-like. They say Leo Tolstoy used to frequent this church as he lived just several meters away:

Moscow

And it was exactly his house that we also visited that day – located in the same formerly Dolgokhamovnichesky (Long / Big Khamovnichesky) Lane, now Leo Tolstoy Street. Tolstoy lived here in 1882-1901 and created many of his works like The Kreutzer Sonata and Resurrection.

Moscow

The wooden house appears quite small from the outside but has actually quite a number of rooms as it got rebuilt and upgraded several times since its construction in the early 19th century. They say most of the things (I mean exhibits) are Tolstoy’s original belongings. Thanks to his fame and the general love and respect from the official Soviet side, we can now see not a reconstructed but indeed preserved interiors.

Moscow

Some of the rooms look super modest (like the tiny bedrooms with tiny beds and almost nothing else) whereas others look pretty kitchy and crowded with things. Even if you’re not that into Tolstoy’s writings, I would recommend visiting his museum for the sake of the ambience, as a peek into the life of Moscow intelligentsia in the late 19th century. The territory is surrounded with a fence, there’s a garden and some auxiliary constructions (should be nice in summer – as all things are!). It’s also such a quiet place in the middle of the high-rise high-tech Moscow that you can hardly believe it was not erased to the ground. It reminded me of the recently visited Surikov’s museum in Krasnoyarsk – these places just take you away from the real life for a moment.

Moscow

Tried to get some food pictured for my future posts – but in vain. There was a weekend of sunny days but… nothing new or unusual to share with you.

Adding this post to the Travel collection.

G.

architecture · no recipe · on USSR / Russia · travel

Winter Dreams of Vladimir and Suzdal

Suzdal - Vladimir

I recently ventured out on a short escape from the city life to two of the Russia’s so-called Golden Ring of historical cities, Vladimir and Suzdal. They are situated close to Moscow and there’s a direct train that will take you there overnight from St Petersburg. Both cities are among the oldest in Russia classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and both have a long story to tell.

Suzdal - Vladimir

I arrived in Vladimir so early in the morning that managed to gain several hours of sleep at a hostel before going out to explore the sights.  First, I took a bus to Suzdal, which long long ago used to be even larger and more important than Vladimir.

Suzdal - Vladimir

A local bus took me to Suzdal pretty fast and when I got there I was among the very few tourists (more of them arrived later) who were not scared by the wind, snow and general gloomish atmosphere.

Suzdal - Vladimir

However, it actually added to the overall impression of a tiny town resembling an open-air museum more than anything else.

Suzdal - Vladimir

With the whitewashed walls and the white snow (which do not seem that white when you come close to them) and the white sky, Suzdal in winter is a perfect place for listening carefully to its secrets, not disturbed by the hoards of tourists.

Suzdal - Vladimir

I took multiple pictures from all the angles although I was constantly worried that my camera’s battery would freeze. It’s obvious that in summer you are supposed to spend much more time near each point of interest just because it’s warmer but at the same time you probably will not as you will be facing loads of tourists trying to do the same.

Suzdal - Vladimir

Can you feel the fragility and the sophistication of Suzdal in winter?

Suzdal - Vladimir

Its old walls told me stories of the past: after all the town counts almost 1000 years of written history!

Suzdal - Vladimir

It was huge before Moscow became prominent and it had so many churches as no other Russian town could boast of.

Suzdal - Vladimir

But now the only thing that keeps it alive is the tourism: the smallest of all the Golden Ring cities (the concept was introduced in the Soviet era) has the greatest amount of tourists.

Suzdal - Vladimir

The things that you might want to visit in Suzdal are all situated within a walking distance, starting from the Trading Arcades (see pictures 5, 6, 8) and the nearby Kremlin (see the photo above and 5 photos down), which is the oldest part of the town (10th century),..

Suzdal - Vladimir

…with this 13th century church that has a very attractive door:

Suzdal - Vladimir

and the 16-18th century halls and Archbishop’s chambers with whitewashed walls:

Suzdal - Vladimir

It was 10 am when I got to the Kremlin – so deserted:

Suzdal - Vladimir

But the restaurant’s door was half-open:

Suzdal - Vladimir

Just noticed the somewhat conflicting pavement – too new to match with the whitewashed walls.

Suzdal - Vladimir

Looking at the picture above taken from the wooden Church of St. Nicholas makes me travel back to that moment.

Suzdal - Vladimir

Cold.

Suzdal - Vladimir

Snowy.

Suzdal - Vladimir

While the town was patiently waiting for the buses to come in with the tourists, I went to the open-air museum which gathers log-houses and wooden churches of the 18-19th centuries exemplifying the traditional Russian architecture.

Suzdal - Vladimir

For me, the most interesting part is what you can see inside of the log houses.

Suzdal - Vladimir

I know that all this is done for the tourists but…

Suzdal - Vladimir

…it’s so cozy inside! and warm 🙂

Suzdal - Vladimir

Inside almost each house you’re welcomed by a lady or two dressed in traditional clothes who is ready to tell you about the old habits, explain to you the use of all those objects and… discuss politics and smartphone applications 🙂

Suzdal - Vladimir

There are also two windmills, several storehouses and other constructions you would find in a village. There is also a stone house of a well-off merchant.

Suzdal - Vladimir

Leaving the cozy museum of the wooden architecture, I went back to the Kremlin:

Suzdal - Vladimir

…and then proceeded on till I got to the Monastery of Saint Euthymius which I decided to leave for future since I wanted to see Vladimir in the daylight too. On my way I spotted numerous facades, this one, for example, is in the Old (Staraya) Street :

Suzdal - Vladimir

this one is very festive:

Suzdal - Vladimir

and this one looks beautiful:

Suzdal - Vladimir

and this one looks fancy too:

Suzdal - Vladimir

I liked this surviving house dating back to the 17th century with this small ‘baby’ attachment, to my mind – for storing stuff.

Suzdal - Vladimir

I took my old-school bus back to Vladimir and walked there quite a bit along the main street, occasionally turning into the adjacent streets when something caught my eye. Like this tile:

Suzdal - Vladimir

Or this Art-Nouveau school (now university):

Suzdal - Vladimir

It’s interesting that from our first visit to Vladimir about 16 years ago I can hardly remember anything. Even this hallmark of the city, the Golden Gate, somehow did not get engraved into my memory:

Suzdal - Vladimir

It’s lower part is authentic (12th century) while the upper part was added / renovated in the 18th century. The center of Vladimir is pretty low-rise to say the least:

Suzdal - Vladimir

And here’s how it looks from the top of the ex-water tower which is now a museum dedicated to the old Vladimir: how the town looked like before and what the life there was like.

Suzdal - Vladimir

The top floor provides you with a view over the town with its small houses, churches and hills.

Suzdal - Vladimir

A street close to the museum with the road post:

Suzdal - Vladimir

Further along that street:

Suzdal - Vladimir

Another view over the city:

Suzdal - Vladimir

The dusk was already there when I got to the Assumption (Uspensky) Cathedral:

Suzdal - Vladimir

But it looked even more sophisticated and a bit eerie in this bluish light:

Suzdal - Vladimir

The horizon got lost in the snow:

Suzdal - Vladimir

When I got to the St Demetrius Cathedral (12th century), the daylight was gone:

Suzdal - Vladimir

The town turned its lights on and I walked here and there popping into local shops and ended up buying pryanik with cherries (they say Vladimir used to be famous for its cherry orchards) and wild apricot and lemon jam from Dagestan 🙂 I also bought this bread called Mstyora bread:

Mstera Bread

It’s a light rye bread made with rye malt and coriander made according to the recipe from Mstyora in the Vladimir region. Mstyora is actually better known for its miniature art. They make miniatures with a black background similar to the more popular Palekh art which I used to dream of when I was a child – I begged my Mom to buy me a tiny lacquered box to keep my precious objects there.

On the first photo: Stained-glass window at the Vladimir bus station.

This post goes to the Travel series.

G.

bread · sourdough

Improvising with Sourdough Bread or Being Lazy?

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

I’ve grown lazy enough these days to start baking without a recipe. This concerns both bread and sweet things. Not all of my free-baking experiments are successful but I guess I get some extra pleasure from those which do happen to be successful. And there’s always this risky feeling of experimenting which I do enjoy!

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

So what I do is feed my rye sourdough culture with rye flour + water and then after an overnight rest I divide it and use the larger amount for the rye bread and a smaller for white bread. Sometimes if I just need some white bread, I feed the culture with white flour.

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

Thanks to the now mature sourdough culture (been using it since 2011) I usually do no add any yeast, but this time I wanted a more ‘fluffy’ result with my white bread, so I added a bit of instant yeast to the dough. I also tend to overload my bread with seeds and bran, so sometimes it all results in quite a dense and moist crumb, just like this time when I also added rye malt:

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

Oh, breaking this just-out-of-the-oven bread is so very tantalizing!

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

Of course the rye version which I make with rye flour + all-purpose / whole-wheat flour does not rise as much in the oven – although it does rise a lot before baking, as this rye flour is so very reactive!

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

If you’re looking for a perfect sourdough bread recipe, it doesn’t exist. I mean, you should probably just figure it our for yourself. I ‘created’ mine out of Darnitsky bread recipe which I’ve been using for quite a long time already.

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

For me, the best formula is to take several tablespoons of sourdough culture from the fridge, feed it with about 200 g of water and 200 of rye flour, then leave it overnight. At this point you can either split it for two breads or make one large loaf. Then I add about 200 g of water, 200 g or more of rye flour, more or less the same amount of white flour, salt, various extras like wheat, oat or rye bran, coriander, sunflower, pumpkin or flax seeds, oatmeal, rye malt, sometimes honey etc. I try to achieve a sort of thickish dough so that it will keep the shape, if it’s going to be rye bread it will be sticky but you should be able to fold it and almost knead it. I then leave it covered for more than an hour, sometimes I make several folds and leave it for some more time to rest (rise). I then flour a glass bowl, shape the bread into a round loaf, flour it and place it in the bowl. Alternatively, I make rolls if I see that the dough (usually with more white flour than rye) is quite easy to shape. I leave it to rise for yet another hour covered and preheat the oven to 225 ‘C with a pan on the bottom (for steam) and a reversed tray in the middle (it acts as a baking stone for me). I then reverse the loaf onto a baking mat / paper, make several slashes and slide it onto the hot tray. I pour some water into the pan on the bottom to create steam (not much so that it evaporates and I don’t need to take the pan out during the baking). I usually do not change the temperature but if I see that the loaf is browning too much, I might decrease the temperature or move it to a lower rack. The baking takes from 25-30 minutes (for the rolls) to 45-50 for the loaf.

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

This might not sound as a very precise formula but then this is what I call experimenting with the sourdough! You never know even with a perfect recipe whether your bread will come out right or not, because this living thing called sourdough culture can have its moods 🙂

Improvising with Sourdough Bread

What’s your personal sourdough bread formula?

Adding this post to Sourdough bread collection.

G.

bread · cookies · sourdough · sweet

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread and Cookies with History

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

In this anti-winter days – at some point the temperature reached +11 here! – I would like to share with you two recipes: a recipe of Finnish rye flatbread known in Russia as Krayushki and oatmeal cookies with chocolate and nuts… and history. Will start with the bread. You might already know that I love rye bread, especially the sourdough. I can eat it plain, with cheese or even with honey or jam. Like this:

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

This particular bread is notoriously chewy and super rye-ish and I love it even more as the best part of the bread loaf is exactly these hard-to-chew “edges” that we call krayushki in Russia. The authentic version is made with sourdough culture but don’t worry –  you can make the flatbreads with yeast, too.

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

I’ve tried the recipe several times, experimenting with the procedure and the ingredients, and failed only once when I forgot them in the oven which resulted in ehhm rusks rather than flatbreads 🙂 The photos in this post show two versions. Here’s a different one from the bread pictured above, shaped as a circle with a whole in the middle. It was very handy when in the Finnish village they would string multiple breads on a stick and hang them to the ceiling:

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

A year ago – Best Soviet Winter Movies. About Food Too!

Two years ago – Vermont Sourdough and Yellow Roses

Three years ago – Winter’s Here. Time for Spicy Rye Bread

Four years ago – Flammekueche – how time to make some!

Ruispalat or Finnish Sourdough Flatbread translated and adapted from www.povarenok.ru will make very flavorful and quite authentic in their taste flatbreads. Numbers in brackets indicate the amount of the ingredient needed if you do not use the sourdough culture. See my remarks in italics.

Ingredients

  • 375 g (500) rye flour – I mixed in some all-purpose and once – some wholewheat flour
  • 325 ml (450) water – I use about 25 ml less because there’s this extra water needed for the rye malt
  • 2 Tbs rye malt, mixed with hot water 1 hour before, or extract
  • 2 Tbs molasses or honey or sugar dissolved in water – I omitted this as it was not mentioned in the procedure
  • 10 g salt
  • 2-3 Tbs bran for sprinkling the top – I used oat bran
  • 1 Tbs ground coriander – do use this much, it’s so tasty!
  • 5 g (13) fresh yeast – I didn’t use yeast at all
  • 250 g (none) sourdough culture, 100% hydration – I refreshed my rye sourdough

Procedure

Dissolve your sourdough culture in lukewarm water (30 ‘С), add yeast (the author remarks that this will help soften the crumb but I didn’t use it). Sift in the flour, add rye malt and begin mixing the dough with a spoon or in a breadbaking machine. Add the coriander and the salt and mix a bit. This is (unless you use a mixture of flours which I did) a 100% rye bread so the dough won’t benefit from a long mixing anyway. Cover the bowl and leave the dough for 1-1.5 h.

Flour generously the surface and spoon the dough out on it, flouring it too. As for the shaping part, there are different possibilities:

— Roll out (which I could never do, so I just water the palm of my hand and flatten the dough with it) to thickness of 8 mm – 1 cm and cut into rectangles. Prick the dough with a fork and move to the baking sheet (this is a tricky part so I would suggest rolling the dough already on the baking silicon mat. The author warns you against using baking paper as they stick a lot. I still use baking paper but flour the surface quite heavily).

— For a super-authentic look, spoon the dough out into two heaps onto a wet surface (here too I use a heavily floured paper – it would have been impossible to transfer my dough once shaped!). With wet hands form each heap into a circle. Flour the baking sheet heavily, the same as the top of the circles. With the help of a wet knife, transfer the circles to the baking sheet. Flatten them with wet hands. Cut a whole in the center of each circle with a (shot) glass. To make the ‘rays’ use a wooden stick (an ice cream stick works well) with which you will make indentations (but do not force the stick right to the bottom).

For both variations, cover the dough with a linen towel for 50-90 min (90 min if using the sourdough). Spray the top with some water and sprinkle with oat bran generously. Put in the oven preheated to 200 ‘С and turn down to 180 ‘ С after several minutes. Bake for 12-15 minutes more. Do not overbake as the flatbreads should remain soft! (here I realized I had to increase the temperature to about 220 ‘C and bake all the way maintaining this temperature, otherwise the indicated 12-15 minutes turned into 30 minutes and still the breads would be too moist. So I baked them also at the top shelf for some minutes to get a crustier top).

Remove the baked bread from the oven and wrap it into a towel. Enjoy!

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

Remarks: I’ve made this recipe several times, trying various shapes, cuts and baking time / oven temperature. Even if sometimes I failed to make them look ship-shape ( I also tried baking them as separate ovals or as a sheet of rectangles cut halfway through), they would still taste great. Work out the most convenient shaping procedure for yourself! By the way, these flatbread freeze well and do not take much space either.

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

Result: These chewy breads are just wonderful. The combination of rye malt + coriander makes them very flavourful! And some of these breads did rise to the point when they split in two layers, letting you separate them or use them as a pocket and make a double sandwich, mmm!

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

***

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

For the dessert today here are these tasty sweet chocolate cookies with ground oatmeal, walnuts and pistachios! The story behind these cookies is that someone who paid for the recipe 250 dollars thinking it was 2.50 USD instead, decided to spread the recipe all over the net so that no one would have to pay that much for a cookie recipe! And you know what? The recipe is really nice and the result is probably worth the price… But I’m definitely grateful for having this recipe for free 🙂

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie adapted from www.browneyedbaker.com will make sweet and crunchy cookies that would certainly sell very well and justify the price paid for the recipe! For the original recipe visit the link above – and you won’t have to pay anything for that either 🙂 Here are my changes and remarks:

I also put some oat bran into the coffee grinder together with the oats. Used less butter and substituted regular sugar for the brown sugar. As for the chocolate, I used 1 chocolate bar – part of which I grated and part chopped into pieces. I had a very limited amount of walnuts so I also added some pistachios.

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

Remarks: I made my cookies pretty big so had to bake them longer. Be careful with the baking time though as I definitely overbaked the first batch. The recipe will make quite a lot of cookies but be ready to repeat the process very soon 🙂

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

Result: These are great cookies! The walnuts add to the nuttiness of the ground oats, there’s something toasted about this cookies too. Which makes me agree with the author that these cookies are truly hearty! The melting chocolate inside is so oh-oh!

Adding these recipes to Sweet, Chocolate and Sourdough collections.
G.

bread · German recipe · sourdough

Two Good Sourdough Bread Recipes

Sourdough Bread from www.hefe-und-mehr.de

Sourdough bread… for me it is the quintessence of ‘Russian food’. Along with kefir of course 🙂 Well, they do have the ‘wild yeast’ stage in common! And you can make both at home, by the way. I’m still making my kefir with this creamcheese recipe, just skipping the straining stage. And then enhancing it with a slice or two or an entire gorbushka (the butt piece of the loaf and the best piece too) of crusty sourdough bread. Here are two recipes – one of a ‘white’ bread for breakfast and the other of a ‘black’ bread for lunch and dinner.

Rolled Oat Sourdough Boule from www.ashaggydoughstory.com

I’ve been using this recipe for some time now, each time altering it but mostly making dark or ‘black’ bread with it. The recipe is perfect for those who are only beginning to bake sourdough bread. But it is also just fine for those who need a basic recipe easy to remember and a procedure easy to follow.

Sourdough Bread from www.hefe-und-mehr.de

A year ago – Three Times Chocolate: Danish Swirl Bread, Panforte and Cookies

Two years ago – Sablé aux figues or Fig Jam Shortbread

Three years ago – Pommes. Pommes de Terre too

Sourdough Bread adapted from www.hefe-und-mehr.de is a super recipe which leaves you so many ways to explore! For the entire recipe and detailed instructions, visit the link above.

My changes: I usually increase the amount of rye flour, add whole wheat flour, rye bran, seeds, etc etc. As for the procedure, I normally bake the bread a bit longer at the highest temperature, cause I really like it crusty!

Sourdough Bread from www.hefe-und-mehr.de

Remarks: I usually mix the starter in the evening, leaving it to ferment overnight, then proceed with the recipe next day. Also tried leaving the rising dough in the fridge and it baked wonderfully. The only problem here is that the dough sticks to the ‘basket’ (I’m using heavily floured glass bowl) so that when you turn it over, the top of the loaf gets damaged a bit. But this you can always remedy with a cross slash 🙂

Result: The crumb is thick and particularly chewy if you add seeds. The procedure is easy and flexible and the recipe is super-adaptable. Each time the bread is somewhat different although the recipe stays the same.

***

Rolled Oat Sourdough Boule from www.ashaggydoughstory.com

And here’s the ‘white’ bread, although it would have been whiter if I hadn’t added quite a lot of whole wheat flour and hadn’t used rye sourdough culture. However, this is still ‘white’ to my mind, so we’re eating it for breakfast. Made huge goryachie buterbrody (hot sandwiches) with this bread, mmm! I know, I know, this is all very cheap gourmandise but I like those microwaved sandwiches with cheese and herbes de Provence on top 🙂

Rolled Oat Sourdough Boule from www.ashaggydoughstory.com

Rolled Oat Sourdough Boule adapted from  www.ashaggydoughstory.com will make two big loaves that slice perfectly to make tasty buterbrod! The original recipe (follow the link above) will give you all the necessary instructions.

My changes: Used 4-cereal mix (barley, oats, wheat and rye) instead of just plain oats. My sourdough culture is made with only rye flour so the result was darker than what it should be with the white flour culture. Also couldn’t resist the temptation to add about 500 g whole wheat flour instead of all-white flour. For the want of covered bakers I used a cast iron pan and a pan covered with aluminum foil. I also baked my loaves a bit longer.

Rolled Oat Sourdough Boule from www.ashaggydoughstory.com

Remarks: The procedure is quite flexible so you can adapt it to your lifestyle so to say. The recipe makes quite large loaves so you might want to freeze one once it gets completely cool (I normally do that).

Result: This bread tastes great and looks great – with this swirly slash on top. Don’t mind the oats that will fall off 🙂 Just enjoy the chewy yet soft sourdough bread: crusty with airy crumb!

Rolled Oat Sourdough Boule from www.ashaggydoughstory.com

I’ve posted some more oatmeal bread recently. Adding these two recipes to Sourdough bread collection.

G.

bread · Italian recipe · leftovers · sourdough

Italian Sourdough Bread with Potatoes and Herbs

Pane con Patate ed Erba Cipollina from freebakery.blogspot.it

This is my first officially-spring post in 2015. And it’s about bread, you know… I’ve missed the blini-themed post this year as I didn’t make any Russian blini (crepes) this time. However one recipe I tried making for this year’s Maslenitsa period was pretty nice – the Swedish pancakes which were thin with just a little bit of flour, making them more like an omelette or a dessert. Ah, wait, there was another – quite challenging – recipe of wheat & rye pancakes which were really tasty with maple syrup.

Pane con Patate ed Erba Cipollina from freebakery.blogspot.it

I like using potatoes in bread recipes but sometimes they become the cause for a very short life of the bread. Not that we eat it so fast that it doesn’t last long but mostly due to the very addition of the potatoes to the yeast dough. They seem to create this sticky moldy mess in the middle of the bread in several days. I hope that this recipe I’m sharing with you today is different – at least it doesn’t have that much moisture in it. But it is very-very soft and at the same time so potato-chewy! Slice and enjoy:

Pane con Patate ed Erba Cipollina from freebakery.blogspot.it

A year ago – Sunflower Seed Rye Sourdough or We Need Sun Here

Two years ago – Thessaloniki and Sprouted Grains and Welcome Spring!

Three years ago – Mangoes and Rye to Welcome Spring

Pane con Patate ed Erba Cipollina or Potato and Herbs Sourdough Bread adapted and translated from freebakery.blogspot.it will make a chewy moist sourdough bread. I could not find the original recipe copied some time ago, it’s not available online anymore. So here is its English version (see my remarks in italics).

Ingredients:

For the biga fermented for 10 hours at room temperature:

  • 90 g bread flour (farina tipo 1)  – I normally feed my sourdough with rye flour
  • 60 g water at 26 °C
  • 15 g rye sourdough culture

For the main dough:

  • 410 g bread flour  – I used a mixture of all-purpose + rye flour
  • 210 g water at 26 °C
  • 10 g rye sourdough culture
  • 8 g salt – I added less as my mashed potatoes already contained salt
  • 250 g mashed potatoes – you can use leftovers!
  • 7 g chives – I used various chopped herbs, left over from lunch

Procedure:

When the biga is ready (after fermenting at room temperature for 10 hours), dissolve it in water in which you have already dissolved the additional 10 g of sourdough culture. Add the mashed potatoes, then gradually add the sifted flour (I couldn’t resist making a mix with rye flour). Add the salt and make it absorbed by the mixture, then add the chives. Leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes, covered. Make folds at thirty minute intervals, 5-6 folds in total (I made 5 folds but not precisely each 30 minutes…) so that your dough is ‘mature’. Leave for 20 minutes after the last fold, covered. Preshape the dough and leave for 15 minutes, covered. Make a boulle and place it into a floured basket for 40-50 minutes.

Slash the top of the loaf and bake it at 250 °C with steam for 15 minutes, then at the same 250 °C but without steam for 25 min more (here my bread started burning which I could easily tell from the smell of burning flour) and then for the final 10 minutes at 200 °C without steam and with the oven door slightly cracked (I had to switch the oven off for the last period and leave the bread inside).

Pane con Patate ed Erba Cipollina from freebakery.blogspot.it

Remarks: This is a recipe that helps using leftover mashed potatoes and probably even herbs (that’s what I did) and turns your plain bread into something more flavourful. I was using potatoes mashed with milk and butter which added some richness to the crumb. But you can use plain mashed potatoes for sure. Just add more herbs!

Pane con Patate ed Erba Cipollina from freebakery.blogspot.it

A close up of the crumb:

Pane con Patate ed Erba Cipollina from freebakery.blogspot.it

Result: The crumb is soft and crumbly, the crust is, well, in my case – burnt (rye flour that I used for sprinkling the basket also ‘helped’ here I guess). But the great thing about burning this bread a bit is that it tastes just like potatoes cooked in the ambers of a fire (or in the Russian oven)! I didn’t get much of the flavour from the herbs but for sure the addition of the mashed potatoes make this bread into a full-fledged meal.

Pane con Patate ed Erba Cipollina from freebakery.blogspot.it

Adding this to my collections of Sourdough bread, country-specific recipes and recipes using Leftovers (where you can find more ways to use your leftover mashed potatoes).

Went to De Phazz concert yesterday – what a voice & instrument show!

G.