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Chive Blossom Vinegar

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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Edible flowers can add a splash of colour and fun to a wide variety of dishes and chive blossoms are one of the few that add flavour too. This pretty, light purple, edible flower smells mildly of garlic with a hint of floral and taste similar to chives. They can be used dried or fresh, tossed in a salad, to garnish a dish, or used to make compound butter. They are also an excellent ingredient to infuse vinegar. Making infused vinegar is a great way to preserve the flavour of chive blossoms, and it makes a thoughtful hostess gift.
If you want a more onion-y flavour to the finished vinegar, add 2-3 tablespoons of chive leaves. White wine vinegar works well with chive blossoms, but champagne vinegar or apple vinegar would work just fine too. Just keep in mind that using stronger flavoured vinegars, the flavour and the colour of final infused vinegar would be different.
You can double the recipe if you have lots of chive blossoms. The finished chive blossom vinegar will keep for up to 6 months at room temperature in your cabinet or a year in a sealed bottle in the refrigerator. Use chive blossom vinegar in marinades, salad dressings, drizzle on roasted vegetables, and for any recipe where you would like to add mild onion flavour to.

  • 60 - 100 Chive blossoms, washed and dried
  • 750 ml White wine vinegar (or regular white vinegar)
  1. Thoroughly rinse the chive blossoms and spread them onto a clean towel. Pat the blossoms dry.
  2. Put the chive blossoms into a sterilized jar, pour the vinegar over until they are completely immersed in the vinegar, leaving some space atop so that the vinegar doesn't react with the seal or the lid.
  3. Leave it in a dark cool place for 1-3 weeks until the vinegar reaches the desired intensity. Strain into a new sterilized bottle. Discard the spent blossoms. Store the infused vinegar out of the direct light in your cupboard.

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Blackberry Rosemary Curd

Monday, July 18, 2022

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This blackberry curd with rosemary is silky-smooth, fruity and creamy, sets beautifully and is made with blackberries, rosemary, lemon juice, raw sugar, butter and egg yolks. It works with both fresh and frozen blackberries. It's easy to make and tastes absolutely fantastic. Serve this bright and vibrant fruit curd on top of pancakes, ice cream, a dutch baby, meringues, on toast or enjoy it by the spoonful! Store the curd in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

  • 350 g Fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp Rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 100 g Raw cane sugar
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 60 g Unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  1. Place the blackberries and the rosemary in a small pot set on medium-high heat. Break them up with a fork to release the juice.
  2. Cook for 5 minutes before removing it from the heat, then use a stick blender to process them to a puree. Push the puree through a sieve, catching the liquid in a small saucepan or bowl set beneath your sieve. I ended up having 180 ml, about 3/4 cup blackberry liquid. Save seeds and pulps for the bread-baking or dump it to the compost pile.
  3. In a small heavy-based saucepan, heat the blackberry liquid over low-medium heat until simmering. Stirring quite regularly, let it simmer and reduce until you have just half of reduced liquid, about 90 ml. It will be rather thick by this point.
  4. Now add the lemon juice and raw sugar to the thickened blackberry liquid in the saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the egg yolks and immediately whisk until full combined.
  5. Heat the mixture over the low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely. As soon as the sugar has dissolved, add in the butter one piece at a time, stirring until it completely melt in before adding the next.
  6. Continue to cook and stir for 5 more minutes. Check if the mixture thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If not, continue to cook and stir until thicker.
  7. Pass the mixture through a sieve to ensure it is totally smooth before transferring to a sterilised jar. It will thicken as it cools. Store the curd in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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Blackberry Streusel Cake - Brombeer Streuselkuchen

Friday, July 15, 2022

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Blackberry Hedgerows

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Blackberry Hedgerows

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Streusel cakes come in all sorts of variations and are always very popular. This one baked with spelt flour and blackberries is delicious for the whole family. This coffee cake recipe combines a fluffy, tender butter sponge cake base, while a traditional one usually features a yeasted batter, and a streusel pastry. The sweet, sour taste of the wild blackberries hidden under a thick layer of crispy crumble pastry goes perfectly with the sweetness and richness of butter cake. Although it has a really fancy look, this cake is actually fairly easy to make!

BottomStreusel
  • 300 g Blackberries
  • 120 g Butter, softened
  • 120 g Caster sugar
  • 2 Large eggs, at room-temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 200 g White spelt flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 80 ml Wholemilk, at room-temperature
  • 100 g White spelt flour
  • 20 g Hazelnuts, chopped
  • 75 g Sugar
  • 75 g Butter, softened
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Lightly butter a 24-26 cm / 8-10 inch heart-shaped or round spring-form pan. Line the bottom with a piece of baking paper.
  2. Rinse the blackberries briefly under cold water in a sieve and drain on the paper towels. Beat the softened butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Mix the flour with the baking powder and pinch of salt in a bowl.
  3. Stir in half of the flour mixture until roughly combined, followed by the milk, and then the remaining half of the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan and place the blackberries over the cake batter.
  4. Combine the flour, hazelnuts and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the blackberries.
  5. Bake the streusel cake on the middle shelf for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Peter Reinhart’s Kaiser Rolls with Pâte Fermentée

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

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The distinguishing characteristics of a Kaiser roll / bun (In German, it's known as a Kaisersemmel, Kaiserbrötchen or Sternsemmel) is the star pattern on the top, a thin, slightly crisp crust and a soft, dense, and chewy crumb. They are invented in Vienna, and thought to have been named to honor Emperor Franz Joseph. In the 18th century, the price and weight of the bread roll were regulated by law. In 1789, the bakers' association therefore sent a delegation to Emperor Joseph II to ask for free pricing for the roll. The emperor was so impressed with the bakers' craftsmanship that he approved the removal of the roll from the statutes and the roll was therefore called the emperor's roll / Kaisersemmel.
They are excellent for all kinds of savory and sweet breakfast toppings but also a great base for any sandwich variations. The traditional method for sharing a kaiser roll requires a series of overlappign folds, like making a paper flower. I am using Peter Reinhart’s simpler knotted roll design showed on The Bread Baker's Apprentice page 82. If you want them to be perfect, use a kaiser roll stamp or use an apple cutter to make the roll more like a rosetta.
Pâte Fermentée is the French word for ‘old dough’, a type of preferment that can either be freshly prepared or a piece of "old" bread dough separated from the last dough after bulk fermentation. It is made up of flour, water, salt and commercial baker’s yeast. It is the only yeasted pre-ferment that contains salt. It gives a complex flavour to the bread, it enhances crust colour and makes the gluten network stronger, making the resulting rolls significantly better than their commerical counterparts.

Pâte Fermentée (page 105)Main Dough (page 175)
  • 2 g Fresh yeast
  • 90 ml Water, at room-temperature
  • 135 g Organic white bread flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 2 g Sea salt
  • All of the pâte fermentée
  • 280 g Organic white bread flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 5 g Sea salt
  • 1-2 tsp Barley malt syrup
  • 5 g Fresh yeast
  • 1 Small egg
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 180 ml Water at room-temperature
  • Poppy seeds for the topping, optional
Easy Knotted Roll DesignTraditional Overlapping-fold Technique
  1. Dissolve the yeast in water and then mix with the salt and flour in a mixer for 4-5 minutes on slow until it forms a firm ball. Place the dough ball in a bowl and cover with a plastic film. Allow to rise at room temperature for 2-4 hours and then in the refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days.
  2. Take your starter out of the fridge and cut it into a dozen small pieces. Put the pieces in a bowl and let them come back to room temperature, which takes about 30-60 minutes.
  3. Place all the ingredients for the dough in the bowl of your mixer. Knead all ingredients with a dough hook on slow for 5 minutes and on fast for 4-5 minutes to a smooth dough. It should pass the windowpane test and be soft but not too sticky.
  4. Lightly grease the mixing bowl with a bit of olive oil and return the dough ball in it. Let the dough ferment at room temperature until it doubles in size, 60-90 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 9 even portions. Roll each dough into 16-inch / 40-cm long. To form a knotted bun, take the left end and put it over the right end forming a loop. Then loop the right end through the center. Repeat with the left end but in the reverse direction. Now the both ends should be in the middle to fill the hole. Place the knotted bun upside down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal. Repeat with the remaining dough portions. Alternatively, try the traditional overlapping-fold technique.
  6. Cover with a plastic wrap or kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, then flip them so the top of the roll is up and let them rise for another 30-45 minutes until the buns are double their original size.
  7. Meanwhile preheat the oven with a tray at the bottom of the oven to 240C/460F.
  8. Spritz the surface of the buns with water and place it in the middle of hot oven. Pour a cup of water into the tray at the bottom of your oven. Lower the temperature to 230C/450F and bake for 25-30 minutes until the buns are golden brown. Remove the rolls from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack.

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Sourdough Bread with Old Bread and Seeds

Saturday, July 09, 2022

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To keep bread fresh for longer, it really only needs one thing: more water. Easier said than done, because simply dumping more water into the dough just doesn't work. Depending on the variety, flour can only absorbs a limited amount of liquid. The higher the W-value of a flour or its protein content, the more water can be bound. For example, the most highly refined soft flour has a W index of between 90 and 180. It absorbs up to 50% of its weight in water. Plain flour has a W index of between 180 and 250 and absorbs up to 65% of water. Spelt contains less gluten than wheat, and can therefore bind less water. As a general rule, the darker the wheat flour, the better its ability to absorb liquid. The lighter the flour, the more coarse-pored, fluffy and soft the crumb of a loaf can develop. Basically, old bread porridge is just flour cooked with water, which causes some of the starch to gelatinize, very similar to 'tangzhong' method, which helps retain a lot of moisture in dough. But in this recipe I am using old bread instead to make this 'pudding or porridge-like' starter.
I love adding nuts and seeds to my bread. If you do too, then one thing to rememeber is to soak the seeds and nuts beforehand. Otherwise, they take the moisture out of the dough and the bread will become dry again. The seeds are brewed with boiling water and get swollen with water. Cool it before adding to the bread, where they provide taste, bite and great nutritional value.

PrefermentOld Bread 'Porridge'
  • 80 g Active sourdough starter
  • 80 g Water, lukewarm
  • 80 g Organic wholemeal flour
  • 50 g Stale bread or breadcrumbs
  • 140 g Water
  • 14 g Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Honey
Seed SoakerMain Dough
  • 70 g Seeds (sunflower, flax and sesame seeds)
  • 50 g Boiling water
  • 400 g Plain flour
  • 210 g Water
  • 240 g Prefement
  • 160 g Old bread 'porridge' (part of the water evaporated during boiling)
  • 120 g Seed soaker
  1. Combine the sourdough starter with the warm water, then add the flour. Let rise for about 3 hours until the preferment has doubled.
  2. Grind the stale bread into crumbs in a blender. Toast the bread crumbs in a medium skillet over medium heat. This will provide an intense flavour for the bread. Add the salt to the breadcrumbs and then mix everything with the water. Bring the mixture to the boil. Simmer until the mixture has thickened considerably. Remove from heat, stir in the honey and leave to cool, covered.
  3. Put the seeds in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover and leave to cool as well.
  4. Roughly mix the flour and water, cover and set aside for 30 minutes. If the preferment has still not doubled yet, then leave the dough in the refrigerator until the preferment is ripe.
  5. When the preferment has doubled, knead it with autolysis dough and the old bread soaker in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix slowly for about 7 minutes, increase the speed and knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 8 minutes. Now lower the speed and knead in soaked seeds.
  6. Place the dough in a lightly greased container and for 3-4 hours and let it rise at room temperature until it has significantly increased in volume, but not quite doubled. Stretch and fold the dough after 60 and 120 minutes.
  7. Scrape the dough on a floured work surface. Stretch the bottom end a little and then fold it up. Fold in the sides one by one and press down, then fold over the top. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Repeat the procedure and form the dough into an oval. Place the dough in well-floured proofing basket with the seam side facing up. Let rise for another 2-3 hours. The dough should spring back quickly when lightly pressed.
  9. Preheat the oven to 250C/500F with a Dutch oven or a Roman pot for an hour. Turn out the bread dough onto a piece of baking paper, score the dough with a sharp blade if desired.
  10. Lift the baking paper with the bread into the preheated Dutch Oven or Roman pot. Cover with the lid and bake for 35 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 210C/410F and remove the lid. Bake for about 25 minutes until brown and crusty.

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