I used my 'cheat' sourdough starter for this one. It is reasonably quick because it uses yogurt and a 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast and makes a fair volume of starter. The recipe stated 180g of starter refreshed with 80% wheat and 20% rye flour. The bread is made with coconut water and also contains grated coconut. Slow rising, it sat in the fridge overnight for its first rise and I finally baked it the next evening. I love the way the aroma of the coconut takes over the kitchen when you toast it. We took the final slices with us when we went hiking in the mountains.
The various Rosellas in our garden loves eating the lavender seeds, sometimes daintily holding it with their feet while eating. It served as my inspiration for bread this week. Lavender makes me think of France, so voila, Lavender Fougasse!
The lavender flavour is very strong, so I used only a sprinkle and combined it with rosemary and orange thyme. I used my wheat sourdough starter for this one.
Leftover brandy from all those festive season plum puddings and cake. So I decided to make Sweetened Brandy Buns for brekky in the new year. Not nearly as sweet as I expected. It is quite good with something more savoury, butter and a gentle cheese like a gouda. From The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard.
I have not posted anything for ages. It has been a busy year full of life changes, gardening and travelling. I mainly stuck to my usual recipes. But I received the recipe for this interesting cake in West Australian Yoke Mardewi's December newsletter. Just had to try it and it is delicious. Next year should be more settled with lots more experiments in baking, roll on 2019!
A fond adieu to Portugal with this light semolina loaf, pao Alentejo, from Nelson Carvalheiro's recipe. It starts off with two different starters, one made with bread flour and one with rye. Left them overnight to bubble and mixed the bread the next morning. I got busy in the garden, so it overproofed a bit. I gently knocked it down and shaped the loaf according to Berndt's method and let it rise in a bowl lined with well-floured cheesecloth. It all worked well except that I could not get the required ridge when it baked. I probably did not flour the end of the roll enough before putting it down to rise. It is one of the nicest tasting breads I have ever baked. I will make it again and keep on trying to get the right ride along the loaf.
Pao de Figo. Another Portuguese bread. The filling is made by slowly cooking dried figs and fresh rosemary in port wine. You roll out the dough and spread the filling on half. Fold the other half over, cut into strips, twist and braid. The braid is formed into a circle and left to rise. But the recipe did not specify the amount of water to use. I started with half a cup and it was a bit too dry. I added another quarter cup, which was too much. The dough was a bit too soft and it collapsed in the oven. It looked like the sultan was in a hurry when he put on his turban in the morning. Oh well, it is still very good with a strong cheddar.
My sister recently bought a house in Portugal. That got me interested in Portuguese breads and I discovered their treasure trove of breads. For the next few weeks I will be baking breads from that little sunny land and aided by Miguel Forte's blog on Portuguese breads. Bolo do Caco is from the Islands of Madeira. They are made with a sourdough starter and contains sweet potato. Traditionally baked on a slab over an open fire, mine was cooked in a dry skillet on the stove over a very low heat. Soft and moist inside, probably due to the sweet potato. Tradition in this house demands that the first roll/slice of a fresh bread is eaten warm with heaps of butter.
This sourdough loaf owes its colour to activated charcoal. I discovered this bread and heaps of information on the use of charcoal on Bake-Street.com and could not resist. My dough did not look dark enough to me. I thought it resembled window putty so I added 1/2 gram extra charcoal. I still thought it was too light but resisted the temptation to add black food colouring. It turned quite dark during baking, so I need not have worried. It is a tasty loaf with a good crust and soft as a cloud inside.
To decorate my loaf I cut a stencil with hearts from baking paper both because I love baking and, while preparing it, the radio played Melanie Gardot singing: Your Heart is as Black as Night. An appropriate title for this post. Don't leave out the black sesame. It really complements the taste of this bread.