Tag Archives: Bread

Home Comforts: Easy White Sour Cream Bread

4 Jul

When I went to New York I took a trip out to Ellis Island. I have always had an interest in the migration experiences of people given that I am the child of two migrants to this country. I like to think of myself as an exotic cocktail 😉

The display as you walked around the processing centres complete with photos of those seeking to migrate to the US was really touching and gave you an excellent perspective on how the people lived while they were waiting to see if they would be accepted and allowed to stay. One of the really interesting things was the food served. I can’t imagine the challenge of trying to feed all of those people with all those different backgrounds and ages. They had menus of the typical day on the walls, not an inspiring read. I bought the Ellis Island cookbook while there and then proceeded to read half of it while standing in line waiting for tickets to a Broadway show. One of the reoccurring themes was that many of the new arrivals to Ellis Island were both perplexed and besotted by some of the food they were served, including white bread and cereal or ‘morning soup’ as one arrival called it

Fresh Bread ready for buttering

Fresh Bread ready for buttering

Mutti often talks about the first time she ate white toast, something that was not served in her house, and how much she loved it. I of course was given white bread and toast as a child, but given that I more often than not have multi grain bread, white bread still affords a degree of comfort and pleasure, particularly slathered in too much butter, but we all know how much I love butter 🙂

I made this loaf on the weekend. It caught my eye while reading The Guardian online and it was easy to do and delivered an excellent soft result, particularly good when toasted. I made no real change to the recipe except to only add water as I thought I needed it and I added slightly less sugar. Served as a side to some baked eggs it was like a warming hug on a cold and miserable winters night.

Do you like white bread? What is your favourite comfort food?

Easy White Sour Cream

recipe by Dan Lepard at Sour Cream White Bread

  • 125g cold sour cream
  • 100 ml of hot water and 150 mls of cold water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1  7gm sachet dried yeast
  • 550g  white flour, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Oil, for kneading

1. Mix the sour cream with the boiling water, 100 mls of the cold water and the yeast, using a whisk or fork to combine.

2. Add the salt, sugar and flour to the cream/water mixture and use your hands to combine until a ball forms. Add the remaining 50 mls of water to ensure the dough comes together using only as much of the water as you need.

3. Leave the bread in a warm spot and cover with glad wrap and a tea towel for 10 mins

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4. Lightly oil surface with a neutral vegetable or rice bran oil and lightly knead the dough for 10 seconds. Leave aside again under glad wrap and a tea towel for a further 2x 10 min intervals with light kneading in between.

5. Then leave the bread aside for 50 -60 mins until the dough has at least doubled in size.

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6. Stretch out the dough with your fingers until 2 cm thick and then roll up tightly and place in an oiled and lined loaf tin and leave for another 60 – 90 mins under a tea towel until the dough has again doubled in size.

Dust the top with flour and place into a hot oven and bake for 40 – 45 mins. The bread should be hollow on the tops and sides when knocked.

Eggs and Toast

Eggs and Toast

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The Perils of Sharing: Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

25 Jun

I am a sharer…. Ok I am often an over sharer 🙂 I think this compulsion comes from a desire to make people feel comfortable in my company and I really hate awkwardness. My sharing usually comes in the form of verbal diarrhoea, if I could force group hugs on people I would, instead I talk. I make self-deprecating jokes and even on occasions do a little comedy sketch, however my tendency to share doesn’t always connect. This disconnection occurred quite recently when meeting someone new at work. I was asked how I felt having my office so close to the Director, did I have to be really careful to be quiet and look efficient? I pointed out to my colleague that given I had no ‘inside’ voice being quiet was never going to happen. I went on to explain how the director is so focused on his work that I can tap dance right past his room and he would never even know. I then proceeded to do a little tap number complete with jazz hands…….. I was met with a completely blank face and I realised that my attempt at humour and warmth was clearly not translating well. My response, keep on talking at the person in a friendly upbeat tone until they capitulate. I am still waiting… 😦

Sharing morning tea

Sharing morning tea

Surprisingly sharing translates even worse with people I have just met in random public places. Recently I was standing next to a middle aged man at the bus stop when it was pouring with rain. He did not have an umbrella and I saw the rain literally stream down his face and down the back of his suit. In what I thought was an act of kindness and maybe even chivalry, I simply without saying anything moved my umbrella over a little so that he could get some protection from the rain. He looked at me peculiarly and I just smiled back at him and said you looked like you were getting a little wet. He didn’t respond but just shuffled a bit. We stood for a while longer cramped amongst other people waiting for the bus, not saying anything (serious self control for a person who abhors a silence) when a bus finally arrived and people started moving slowly towards the entrance of the bus. The stranger and I started to move with the crowd, I did my best in the jostling to try and continue to share the protection of my umbrella. He looked at the umbrella and at me as if I was clearly deranged and wielding the umbrella with a sinister purpose, maybe to steal his wallet or a lock of his thinning hair, finally he turned around and said’ I don’t want your umbrella’ and got himself lost in throngs of people before boarding the bus and continuously looking over his shoulder as if I might spring out and molest him with my spotted umbrella and charitable attitude.

This cake will encourage all to enjoy your generous spirit and even forgive you the occasional impromptu tap dance. I made a few modifications because of what I had in the cupboard and fridge. The cake was deliciously moist and had a host of complimentary flavours that made it a great mid morning snack with a cup of tea.

Are you a sharer? Would you have offered your to share your umbrella?

Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

8- 10 slices

adapted from Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

  • 110 gms unsalted butter
  • 15 gms of crème fraiche
  • 4 small ripe bananas
  • 150 gms caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 gms plain flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ bi carb soda
  • 80 gms of dried blueberries
  • 80 gms of shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Butter and line a loaf tin

2. Process or mash the bananas and crème fraiche together.

Banana and creme fraiche

Banana and creme fraiche

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Allow the butter to cool a while and then add the sugar.

4. Once the sugar is combined and dissolved in the butter, it should be a thick  mixture, add the mashed bananas and eggs.

5. Fold in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and coconut.

6. Finally lightly fold in the dried blueberries.

7. Spoon into the loaf tin. It will be a very thick.

8. Bake in the oven for 40-50 mins until skewer comes out clean and the cake has come away from the sides of the tin.

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Newly Discovered Talents and Garlic and Parsely Hearthbreads

23 Aug

Anyone who has made bread will know that it requires a great deal of wrist action in the kneading process. I have been told I have excellent kneading technique. While I was of course completely flattered to be told that my kneading technique was superior, by a professional no less, it is rather disappointing to know that one of my few easily identified talents is unlikely to be much use to me in my chosen field of employment. I suppose at least I always have options if the law isn’t for me! 😉

Bolstered by the previously mentioned flattery and the fact that humiliation is a well known companion, I decided that I was going to overcome my fear of making bread. When I find myself in times of baking self doubt Nigella Lawson comes to me, bearing wisdom throughout her cook book ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’. Safe in the hands of my trusted brunette sister I embarked upon the recipe for her Garlic and Parsley hearthbreads, the recipe did not fail and I was able to produce two lovely loaves of gorgeous garlic and oil doused bread.

I can assure you if you are in anyway apprehensive about the baking of bread, this recipe will not disappoint. It is the most luxurious of garlic breads and can be scoffed while standing over the baking tray just freshly out of the oven, so even if it is not a complete success no one will be the wiser!

Who do you turn to for baking wisdom?

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads

Recipe by Nigella Lawson

Serves 6-8

  • 500 gms of white flour
  • 7 gms of instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp of table salt
  • 300-400 mls of warm water
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (you can use regular olive oil).

Garlic and Parsley Oil

  • 3 Heads of garlic
  • Large handful of parsley
  • More extra virgin olive oil.

1. Combine the flour, yeast and table salt in a bowl and put aside.

2. In a jug or bowl place the warm water and olive oil.

3. Using a dough hook on the slowest speed add the water into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is slightly sticky but combined and forming a ball.

4. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You should see real bounce back when you stretch the dough. You can do this part with the dough hook at a higher speed but I wanted to utilise my new found talent!

5. Oil a large bowl and place the kneaded dough into the bowl covering with oiled glad wrap. Place in a warm spot to rise for approximately an hour or until you can tell it has doubled in size.

6. Once risen, take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down using your knuckles to release any air.  Leave it to rest for a further 10 minutes. Divide the dough into two and roll the dough out until about 5 cms thick. Put each loaf on a lined baking tray and then try to stretch the dough a little further using your fingers.

7. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

8. Cover the trays with tea towels and put aside to allow to get puffy, this takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Use your fingers to make little dimples across the bread, the oil, garlic and parsley will pool in these little dimples.

9. Pour the garlic parsley mixture over the breads and place in the oven. Bake for 20 – 30 mins or until golden and the parsley mix is dark. Top with some Maldon salt and serve.

Garlic and Parsley Oil

1. Trim the garlic head and place on a small square of alfoil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap the garlic in the foil and then wrap the package in another layers making sure to allow space around the garlic. Place in a preheated oven on 190 degrees and bake for 45 mins.

2. Place a good handful of parsley leaves into a food processor along with the garlic that has been squeezed from its skin and add olive oil while processing the parsley. The oil dressing should be runny and easy to pour. So just keep adding oil until you get the right consistency.

Irish Soda Bread Rolls

3 Aug

In Food technology (home economics) class I distinctly remember making beer bread. Beer acted as the yeast component so the bread was easy to make. I am not sure if you can have beer in a food technology class anymore given it probably violates some education department rule, but I doubt the teachers worried about us girls secreting the beer away for later consumption given that we thought beer was for boys.

When I took the formerly sticky dough out of the oven I was delighted to find I had successfully created bread and immediately christened myself a girl genius.I insisted Mutti allow me to make some bread at home for Dad. I was sure that he would enjoy another vehicle for the consumption of beer. My memory is he wasn’t that fussed, probably preferring his beer liquid and with a foam head.

My bread skills have not improved much and although I no longer make beer bread I do on occasion make Irish soda bread. I had a hankering for some baking, but Miss Wallflower had declared cake baking verboten and so I decided I would make some soda bread instead. I usually make one large loaf, but saw this recipe for soda bread rolls and thought this may be a nice change.The only change I made to the original recipe was to use half wholemeal, half white flour. But you can of course use all white or all wholemeal. The consistency is like a cross between a savoury scone and a damper. The bread doesn’t keep that well, it is best on the day baked or the next day. But it sure fills you up and is lovely warm, with slatherings of butter

Warm Rolls

Do You bake bread?

Irish Soda Bread

Adapted from a recipe by Angela Nahas from BBC Good Food Magazine July 2012 edition

  • 1.5 cups of plain flour
  • 1.5 cups of wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp of bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

1.  Pre heat oven to 210 degrees

2. Line  a flat baking tray

3. Put flours, cream of tartar, bicarb and salt in a large bowl

4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk

5. Mix together. I find this easiest to do with my hands.

6. Once combined turn on to a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes. Remember you are not trying to activate gluten so it does not require extensive kneading.

7. Break the dough off into 6 balls and using your hands make into rough balls.

8. Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 mins. The bread should sound hollow when knocked top or bottom.

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