Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Silo Bakery

Silo Bakery, Canberra.
My favourite Bakery.

The view from our table (I wanted to peek).

Chocolate Croissants

Baguettes and Ciabatta just baked!

Crescent Croissants
My goodies from the bikeride.


Kingston Sourdough

I took particular interest in the shape, colour and texture (and flavour) of the sourdough loaf since I have been making my own.
Walnut and Rye Sourdough Baguette

Lemon Tart and Burnt Caramel Custart Tart


Gorgeous aeration and soft olive oil crumb.

Renee and I had a picnic with some of the bread and some yummy dips and cheese we put together.
Renee brought a chickpea, chilli and capsicum dip that was amazing and lots of other goodies. I got some sheeps brie from the providores in Manuka that was also lovely.

Growing Heirloom Tomatoes #2

A touch of red.

All the tomatoes are growing well.

Today I picked the first batch of red ones.

We have had heavy rain in Dubbo this last week and a couple of the really ripe tomatoes split down the side. i suspect from too much water and over-ripeness. We wanted the whole truss to start to ripen before harvest but have realised we will just pick as we go while the weather isnt that warm.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spring Potato and Egg Salad

Spring Potato and Egg Salad

6 fresh free range farm eggs, hard boiled
handful of fresh chives with flowers
handful of fresh parsley
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 gherkin, diced into tiny cubes.
1 tbsp capers
2 desiree potatoes, peeled
4 kipfler potatoes, peeled
1 carrot, peeled, halved lengthways and finely sliced
3 tbsp natural greek yoghurt
1 tbsp dijonaise

Boil potatoes in salted water till just done but remain firm (not soft). Set aside to steam off.
Cut boiled eggs into quarters.
Dice the potatoes into chunks.
Finely chop the parsley and chives and add half to the yoghurt and dijonaise. Season.
Mix the potatoes into the dressing with the other ingredients.
Scatter the eggs on top and the remaining herbs.
Season with Pepper.
Garnish with chive flowers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wedding Breads

Eliza and Paul had a wonderful wedding on a lovely farm called Oxley Downs just south of Dubbo. There was a salt ceremony that gave reference to 'the salt of the earth', and as each partner put grains of salt into each others bird cup, the grains are joined for eternity.

A long time ago salt salt was a very important and valued commodity (especially before refridgeration). Salt is essential in bread as it preserves and adds flavour to the final meal. This was referred to by the celebrant who added that its always good to have spice in your life and that salt is a symbol of preservation in marriage.

Oxley downs is a wonderful farm run by Liz and Scott Tourle. They have an amazing vegetable garden full of the seasonal greens of spring, and many strawberries.

I made some breads for the wedding between Eliza and Paul, and I decided to make different flavoured breads to symbolise the complexity but also the joy of marriage; sweet sundried tomato and brown sugar foccacia, fruity sourdough, savoury baguettes, soft olive oil ciabatta, and wheat wreaths for health and prosperity.


 For the baguettes, wreaths, wheat sticks and pretzel shaped breads I used White Semi-sourdough dough.

The recipe for the Potato, Garlic and Herb Sourdough is here on this website.
Also there was White Sourdough with a variety of seeds for toppings.
See also the Foccacia recipe and the Ciabatta recipe.

This cool kid liked the Foccacia.



600g strong plain flour
13g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast
400ml warm water
20ml olive oil
20ml milk
15g salt

knead for 10 minutes
rest 10 minutes
place dough in oiled container covered with plastic and prove for 1.5 hours.
Every 30 minutes turn out the dough, press into a rectangle, fold one third over onto itself and then the other third over that. Turn 90 degrees and repeat. Place back into container.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Halve the dough. Press out on well floured baking trays and prove covered for 15 minutes.
Add toppings and sink fingertips into the dough to create the dimpled effect and catch some of the topping.
Prove for further 15 minutes.
Slide into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

 I used basil pesto and sundried tomato, pine nut and brown sugar toppings.

River Cottage Ciabatta

This recipe comes from my River Cottage Bread Book. I have improved my knowledge and technique for making this bread after a long process of practice and research - looking at books and online websites and forums for tips and tricks. I have found the Sourdough Companion, and the Wild Yeast websites really useful. One common thing I read is that people take a few loaves, or a few dozen loaves, to get things right with making their own bread they are happy with and that isnt unpredictable anymore.

If you enjoy making bread you will go a long way fast. There are many ways to get advice too. I was impressed that on some of the online forums people post pictures of a cross-section of their loaves and get a diagnosis by the pros (artisan bakers and home bakers that subscribe to the forum) as to the quality of the bread. It is amazing that these people can look at the number and size of the air bubbles, the crust and crumb, the stodgyness of the lower bottom crust, and the shape of the loaves among other things which enables them to give precise advice about where and how the amateur baker might have gone astray. This can range from too long or short proving time to not enough water or too much or too little kneading, as well as the level of activity of the wild yeast starter used.
Below are two identical pieces of dough that were proved supported by linen cloth. The difference is that I rolled one over (and therefore upside down) onto the rimless baking tray (makeshift peel), and the other (at the front) was picked up with my hands and placed the same way up on the tray. As you can see it was deflated by my handling, and I was really gentle.
I had the same problem last time I made this bread and I resorted to just proving on baking trays after that. However proving with support (on linen) really makes a nicer loaf I think. I have decided that the rolling action works well, as can be seen by the following picture. The corresponding two loaves are on the bottom left hand corner of the image, and you can see the stark comparison.

When I cut them, the deflated one was dense and not spongy, and the air bubbles were really small. The rest of the loaves were wonderful and had large holes and wonderful spongy airy texture (see below).

750g strong white flour
250g semolina flour (I used Duralina)
10g powdered dried yeast
25g fine salt
800ml warm water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Mix all ingredients except the salt together and autolyse for 10 minutes.
Add the salt and stretch and fold it in to combine.
Bulk prove for 3 hours, stretching and folding at each 30 minute intervals. This gives structure to the gluten.
Stretching and folding will get easier as the gluten develops. Try wetting your hands with water before doing it (or olive oil) so they are slippery, not dry with flour. You dont want to add any more flour to this wet dough.

After the bulk prove, turn out onto a bench dusted with semolina and divide into six even portions.
Make the portions rectangles when cutting.
Lightly degas by pressing each piece all over then fold over from the long side to create a loaf that is 4 times long as it is wide. Place on floured linen cloth to prove until doubled in size.
Alternatively, place on a baking tray dusted with semolina (to avoid sticking) and cover with a plastic bag.

Preheat the oven to full.
Gently roll each loaf onto a peel or rimless tray/board from the linen so they are upside down (this evens out the bubbles).  Slide onto baking stone and spray oven with water.
The baking stone adds fierce heat form below instantly to make the bubbles there rise and assure a good texture. It is not essential however, and if you have a thin baking tray the loaves should rise okay.
Bake for 10 minutes on full, then at 200degC for 15 minutes.

Cool completely (at least 30 minutes) before slicing, otherwise it will be doughey and sticky. You must let it continue to cook while it cools this way.

Serve with extra virgin olive oil (I use a lemon myrtle olive oil for dipping in dukkah).

These rolls also go well with a salad dinner in summer or a winter stew or a soup or even for lunch with air dried tomatoes and salami or for breakfast lik e the other day when we had an omlette to go on our long car trip....

Roast Potato, Garlic and Herb Sourdough

Roast Potato, Garlic and Herb Sourdough

Once I had made a few loaves of Sourdough, I decided to use some additional ingredients to make a special loaf for a wedding last weekend. Dan had made a potato gratin the night before, so I used the extra raw potatoes and roasted them in the oven with rosemary and garlic till they were half cooked. This way of preparing the extra ingredients allows the potato to lose some moisture but since it isnt fully cooked it does not disintegrate when folded into the sourdough dough.

800g white sourdough dough
1/2 cup potato in 1.5cm cubes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
Combine the potato cubes, rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a small bowl and toss together.
Season with salt and pepper, then put in oven on a tray and roast for 10-15 minutes until cooked but still firm to the touch (not powdery). Allow to cool.

Fold the potato into the sourdough dough once it has finished its final prove before being placed in the fridge overnight. Shape the dough into a round loaf and place seam side up into a proving basket or colander or any round basket or bowl you have at hand. Put in fridge overnight for 8-10 hours.

The next morning, remove from fridge and place in a warm area to prove until the dough bounces back at a slight indentation with your finger. This took my dough 3.5 hours. The books say anywhere between 1-4 hours for typical sourdough prove out of the fridge, and this depends on the humidity and temperature of your room. Apparently about 22-24 degrees C is a good temperature to prove this dough. I check on the dough and if it is noticeably expanding after 30 minutes I preheat my oven to full because I anticipate it will be ready to bake within an hour.

Once ready to bake, upturn onto a peel or rimless baking tray, spray the top with water and place a parsley leaf on top, then dust with rye or plain flour. Slash the sides to create a square in the middle.
Slide onto a baking stone in the oven.
Spray the oven with water and add some icecubes to a tray in the bottom to let off more steam.
Bake for 20 minutes then check and turn if you have hotspots in the oven. Bake for approx 15 more minutes.

Allow to cool completely before slicing.

White Sourdough

White Sourdough

765g plain flour (preferably organic, though I used Laucke's bakers flour)
400ml lukewarm water
20g finely ground sea salt

Mix all ingredients except the salt together and stretch and fold/knead for 10 minutes.
Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the salt over and knead for 15-20 minutes till smooth and elastic.
Cover and rest for 1 hour at ambient room temperature (approx 21degC).

Turn out onto a bench and lightly press into a rectangle. Fold one end 1/3 back onto itself and the other end over that. Turn 90 degrees and repeat. Prove for a further hour covered.

Divide the dough into two or three even sized portions and shape into the loaves you want.
Place in a floured proving basket or makeshift container with a floured teatowel seam side up, or on a baking tray seam side down, covered. Leave for 30 minutes then place in the fridge overnight for 8-12 hours.

The next morning, remove the loaves from fridge and place in a warm spot (approx 25degC) to warm up.
Preheat the oven to full.

When the loaves spring back with a light poke they are proved - this could take 1-4 hours.
My loaves took 3 hours to prove even though it was quite warm (~25degC). I suspect this might have been due to my starter not being as active as I had hoped. Dote on your starter!**
Slash the loaves and slide onto a baking stone while spraying the oven with water.

Add icecubes to a tray in the bottom to create more steam.
Bake for 20 minutes then turn the loaves and bake for another 10 minutes until the loaves have a crust to your liking and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Another loaf I made for the wedding with chia, quinoa, linseed and sesame seeds.

White Semi-sourdough Bread

I used one quantity of semi-sourdough dough from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook to make these baguettes, wreaths and knot rolls.

White Semi-sourdough

540g white sourdough starter
680g white bakers flour
275ml water
5g dried yeast or 10g fresh
12g sea salt

Combine all ingredients except the salt and form a dough ball.
Turn out onto floured bench and knead for 10 minutes.
Cover with plastic and rest for 20 minutes.
Press out to a rectangle, scatter over salt and then roll up and knead for 5 minutes.
Rest for 10 minutes, covered.
Knead for a further 5 minutes until you can create a window with the dough.

Divide the dough into seven even sized portions, form into balls and rest covered 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to full.

Flatten each piece into a rectangle double its width in length. Fold one end over a third onto itself and the other end over the first fold so you have another smaller rectangle with the seam facing you.
'Crimp' the dough along the long side folding it towards you. Do this about three times to make a long baguette, then roll out to create more length, about 25cm long. See shaping baguettes here.

Place on floured linen cloth seam side up and prove for 30 minutes until dough springs back when lightly poked.
Roll onto a peel or rimless baking tray so they are seam side down and slash with a sharp knife.
Slash either diagonally across the width about 6 times along the length, or slice the baguette every 5cm almost all the way through to create a wreath: then fold over every second portion of dough (see picture below).
Make any other shapes you like.

Slide onto baking stone and spray oven with water.
Bake for 15 minutes then turn around and further bake 10-15minutes till golden brown.