Trifle

Just as my mother makes it and it’s delish… sometimes the bananas are exchanged for cling peaches!

Ten More Bites

I make trifle only once a year – over the Christmas holiday, when a big creamy, custardy, boozy bowl of indulgence seems like just what Santa ordered…;-)

This is a very different trifle to my Grandma Ivy’s, which calls for red and green jello, candied fruit and optional coconut macaroons(!).

(If I’m to realise my ambition of cooking every family recipe in Fern’s Food, I’ll have to give it a go some Christmas, but we’re keeping it classic this year.)

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The Hand Built Finn. My Sourdough Diaries.

Did I mention I love bread?

ALMOST ITALIAN

The other day I ran out of bread. I can’t eat ‘white death’ or spongy packet bread of any colour, dosed with preservatives to make it last forever. Neither can I eat the fake sourdough marketed to look like the real thing sold in a well-known supermarket or the stuff from hot bread places. I perused the specialty bread section of the supermarket where racks of famous city bakers display their tempting loaves,  Dench, Baker D Chirico, La Madre, Phillipa’s: there’s not much change from $10 for an ‘artisan’ loaf, rivalling the smashed avocado as the real cause of inner city hipster poverty. We went without bread that day.

Home made Finnish Rye. Just add smashed avocados. Home made Finnish Rye. Just add smashed avocados.

I hurried home and hastened along my trusty starter, Sorella, another offspring of Celia’s Priscilla, a consistently reliable sourdough starter in any weather.  It’s important, when baking your own loaves, to seek out…

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Fifty-Fifty Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread | the perfect loaf

As you might know, I always like to experiment. To tinker. To change. Even when things are already working well I seem to dig in and just have to adjust. My previous work with whole wheat almost always utilised a stiff levain (around 65% hydration) but here I opted for 100% hydration liquid levain. I made this change mostly to see if the result would be all that different, but also because I wanted to add flexibility to this bread — knowing that I, or you out there, could make it with a stiff or liquid levain just the same. I find there are advantages and disadvantages to both but when it comes down to it as long as you adjust the total water in your recipe you’ll get a great result no matter which type of starter you maintain or levain you use.

Another absolute gem of a post by Maurizio over at The Perfect Loaf.  Head over there to see it!

Sourdough starter

Yet another way to produce a sourdough starter… awesome!

Ten More Bites

Sourdough starter

Sourdough bread baking is on the rise (pardon the pun). To get in on the action, the first thing you need to do is acquire some sourdough starter.

There are three ways to go about this. The easiest way is to get some from a “culture-d” friend (like me). You can order dried starter culture through the mail, which should arrive with instructions on how to activate it. Or you can make your own.

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THE DEVIL’S BREAD

This is definitely a thing… I want it NOW!

Bewitching Kitchen

For those who like it really hot…

Diablo Bread

It’s been a while since I blogged about bread, in fact I have a nice bread post waiting patiently in a long line to show up here, but last weekend I stumbled upon a very interesting recipe, and made it right away. I  simply could not wait to share because it’s so unusual and intriguing. A very simple no-knead dough using instant yeast, but here is the devilish twist: the dough is flavored with red pepper flakes and…. ready for this? Sriracha sauce!  Can you imagine it? Now, I am a certified Sriracha-cheerleader, but never imagined adding it to bread. Apparently no one had, until DeKay did a search in google for Sriracha and no-knead bread, and came up empty-handed. He took matters into his own hands (sorry, lousy pun), and made this version.  I could not wait to try it. It turned out awesome, and I…

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A Sad Tale… and a little rant!

On Saturday morning, my son arrived bearing assorted breakfast foods; tomatoes, mushrooms, fruit juice and an 800g wholemeal loaf.  Apparently, I was to supply the steak, bacon and eggs.  Of course, I dutifully prepared breakfast and we enjoyed it immensely.  On his departure a few hours later, he said that I should keep the produce he had bought for myself.

The next morning, I decided to toast a few pieces and popped them into the toaster. Whilst waiting for the toaster to do its thing, I casually looked at the labeling on the loaf of bread… surprise!

non-handmade

Untouched by Human Hand

If ever there was a food that requires the touching by a human hand, IT HAS TO BE BREAD!

Rant finished, thank you.

Armenian peda bread

Bread, Cakes And Ale

Peda with wild garlic fava dip

A week ago I did a post for a bread recipe I had in an old 1994 notebook called Los Angeles peda bread. It was accompanied by another recipe simply called Armenian peda bread. The former, I subsequently discovered, is probably a version of Armenian flatbread called matnakash. This Armenian peda (their word related to pide and pita), meanwhile, is another minor mystery, with the source of the recipe I wrote down back in 1994 unknown. Similar breads can be seen online, but I’m afraid I can’t find a more specific Armenian name for it.*

Ignorance notwithstanding, like the LA peda, this is another great sharing bread, perfect for tearing up at a family gathering – like we did over the weekend with sister-in-law Sharon, niece and nephew.

As with the LA peda, this version is basically just a conversion and slight update of the one I…

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Types of yeast for baking

Bread, Cakes And Ale

3 x yeast From the left: fresh yeast, active dry yeast, instant yeast

One of the awkward things about writing recipes for baked goods leavened with yeast is that there are three different types of yeast available commercially. Each has a slightly different quality, each is used in a slightly different way, and there are several different names to boot. It can make for some convoluted recipe ingredient lists.

I wrote more here about the specific species of yeast that we use for foods and our relationship with them, but here I want to look at the types of commercial yeast and how you use them.

Leaving aside sourdough / natural leavens / wild yeasts, the three yeast products in question are: fresh, active dry yeast and instant yeast.

Fresh yeast

Fresh yeast

Also known as cake yeast, compressed yeast and, in Italian, lievito di birrafresca (fresh beer yeast), fresh yeast is my…

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