Basic Bread Recipe

Fascination “Bread”! Bread is life and the preparation is magic! I always love to see how the dough is rising and how it grows while baking! I love baking bread so much, that I could stay days in experimenting and baking again and again; if possible in the wooden oven. This is a wonder, which occurs every time I make my dough!

How to knead dough ad how to give the shape to the loaf is something that need to learned and some exercise is needed. I strongly recommend to check the internet and look at videos about this topic.

In this post I give you a simply basic recipe, you should try to follow this and then make your variations.

During the past 2 years I started to make bread with sourdough (100 % hydration aka same quantity of flour and water in the culture), but this does not mean that sourdough recipes cannot be converted in recipes for commercial yeast. Keep in mind: you may substitute “1/2 cup sourdough starter” simply with “1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon yeast (instant, dried or fresh)” and it works perfectly! The rising time will be different: wild yeast (sourdough) is usually slower, but this is only a question of planning and experience.

For standardized baking recipes the exactly amount of the ingredients is required and for this reason the weight of the ingredients is an important factor, but if you do not have the possibility to check the weigh or you need simply a quick recipe, this goes very well and I made very good experiences with this.

In my case 1 cup = 220 ml water and 1 cup = 125 – 130 g all-purpose flour (I checked the weight); the weight of the flour depends on the kind of the flour and the adsorption of water is different.  This dough should not to be too wet (about 60% hydration), for this, I can work this independently of the kind of flour and I seldom need to add more flour or liquid.

I change the kind of flour to my need and inspiration, I can remember the great whole-wheat flour I used in Norway was excellent, but also the mixed grains flour I bought in Italy was superb!

I you need a smaller amount of dough, the simplest way is to use a smaller cup or a glass and I reduce the amount of the needed yeast.

If I know that the flour I will use for the second rising is “heavy” lot of grains and maybe seed, I prefer to use plain white flour for the first rising.

Variations for the dough:

It’s in the mixture for the second rising where I mostly add other ingredients; these may be savory but also sweet or even sugar if I want to make brioches!  Here a few examples: olives, herbs, chopped sun dried tomatoes, nuts, sunflower seeds, dried figs, candied orange zest…

Variation for the filling:

This recipe can be also used for filled breads, e.g. Turkish “pides”; during our holiday in Norway, we filled the bread simply with canned tuna fish mixed with pesto (+salt/pepper).

Variation for the topping:

The easiest way is simply to dust the loaf with flour and make some cuts (aka scoring the bread), but nice results can be get sprinkling some seed , brushing with water, milk or oil for a focaccia after flatting the bread making holes and sprinkling them with water, salt and rosemary.

Some of my recipes based on this water/flour proportions:

Basic Bread Recipe

  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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For the basic bread you need:

Starter (equivalent to 1/2 cup sourdough starter):

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast

First rising

  • 1/2 cup starter (see above)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour

Second rising

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil (if using white flour I love to add some olive oil)
  • Additional ingredients to taste

Topping (make you selection or play with you phantasy)

Procedure:

  1. Check the yeast combining the ingredients for starter and checking after 20 minutes (or according the package) if the yeast is alive.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the first rising into a big bowl, cover and let sit until spongy. The time depends of the kind of yeast (if using sourdough starter I combine these the evening before or early in the morning) and the temperature.
  3. Add the ingredients for the second rising knead shortly and let lit for about 20 minutes. Now knead again until smooth. I perform this step directly in the bowl using a dough spatula and folding over the bread until done. Let rise a few hour until doubled.
  4. Now it’s time to shape the bread (for the suggestions check at the end of the recipe)
  5. The last proof depends on the temperature, in winter the oven (switched off, light on) is the best place for this step, but the temperature should not exceed 30°C!
  6. When the bread is almost doubled it’s time to preheat the oven to 220°C.
  7. Bake in at 220°C for about 20 minutes or until begins to turn light brown and if you press the crust you feel it is crunchy enough, if not, bake for a few minute again.

Shaping bread suggestions;

Reipe: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Dolmades me Avgolemono – Stuffend Wine Leaves with Egg-Lemon Sauce

Spring, sun, flowers, herbs and missing Crete!

During my walk through the garden I noticed that the fist wine leaves were almost big enough to be used for one of my favourite Greek dishes: dolmadakias (diminutives of dolmades)! Now in early spring the leaves are very light, tender and even if even still small, I decided to try to make this without meat (lamb or beef

As the same times I had some asparagus on hand, I decided to prepare also the egg-lemons sauce, which is perfect for both preparations!

Usually for this recipe, we use pine nuts, but as did not have such of them just now at home, I decided to uses some previously roasted pumpkin seeds; and WOW! This was real great!

I collected only about 30 leaves about 10-12 cm wide (yes real small, but tender!) and these made 3-4 cm sized dolamadakias.

Note: this dish often served lukewarm and the lemon leaves would taste even better the next day.

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  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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You need:

Leaves:

  • 30 young tender fresh grape leaves (double the filling and the sauce if you have big leaves), washed and stem removed

Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 cup vegetal broth (or simply the hot water you used to prepare the leaves + salt)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, copped
  • 2 tablespoons, chopped roasted pine nuts (or roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1/2 lemon, grated peel of
  • 1 cup water (I used drained liquid form the stuffed leaves +  the blanching water for the leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Additional lemon juice

Procedures

  1. Bring about 1 liter of water to boil and place the leaves in hot water. Drain the leaves after 3 minutes (preserve one cup of water). Set aside and don’t discard the water.
  2. Fry the onion in the oil just until translucent, add the rice and the broth. Reduce to simmer.
  3. Add the herbs and seed, cook until the water is adsorbed for about 6-8 minutes, the rice will not be cooked through, but this just fine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place a small amount of this filling (about 1 teaspoon or more if the leaves are big) on the backside of the leaf near the stem and then close it. For this step, I first fold the left and right side of the leaf toward the center and I roll it up starting from the side of the stem (like the spring rolls).
  5. Place one tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of you pot, and then place the stuffed leaves one by one, near each other, opening side down so that they don’t move. If you have more leaves you some leaves to cover the bottom of the pot or (even better) a few thin sliced potatoes (addition to your meal)!
  6. Try to make two layers of the leaves in the pot (size depends on the leaves and the pot!)
  7. Grate le lemon zest, set aside; juice the lemon and set this aside as well.
  8. Place parts of the peel or additional lemon slices over the stuffed leaves, cover with the water (add to the water previously salt to taste), add about 1 third of the lemon juice as well.
  9. Cover with a small plate the stuffed leaves, so that they don’t move while cooking. Cover with the lid and simmer for about 40 minutes (adding some more water if needed). Drain out the liquid and use it for the sauce.
  10. If you have rice leftovers, cook them in a small saucepot with water as a risotto until done.
  11. For the egg-lemon sauce blend together the egg, the lemon juice the lemon zest, the drained liquid from the stuffed leaves, the cornstarch and the olive oil.
  12. Very slowly heat the sauce in a small saucepot until it thickens (do not let it boil but add more water if needed). Adjust salt and pepper. If you need add more lemon juice to taste.
  13. Serve the stuffed leaves with this sauce.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

Today I do not pretend to bring you a completely new recipe. Once again as in the…. I will bring a variation using a different kind of flour: an Italian flour blend of mixed grain.

The proportion are similar:  ½ cup starter + 1 cup water + 3 cups flour and salt.

Take care to refresh your sourdough starter with white flour as usual!

Enjoy this beautiful crunchy bread!

Mixed Grain Sourdough Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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You need:

FIRST RISING

  • 1/2 cup starter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour

SECOND RISING

  • 2 cups flour mixed grain flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

TOPPING

  • Flour fort he working surface and to coat the bread

Procedure:

  1. The evening before or early in the morning combine all the ingredients for the first rising into a bowl, cover and let sit.
  2. After 2-8 hours (2 hours by 30°C – 8 or more hours by normal room temperature), add the mixed grain flour and the salt. Knead shortly and let lit it sit until you see that it begins to rise.
  3. Knead well again, cut into two pieces and shape each of them to a ball (boule) giving strengths to the walls.
  4. Dust well with flour and place them on the well-floured tray where you bake them.
  5. Make 3 long incisions: about 1 cm deep and crossing in the center of the bread.
  6. Last proof depends on the temperature. When the breads are at least doubled, preheat the oven to 220°C.
  7. Bake in at 220°C for about 20 minutes or until well browned, this takes about 30 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool down on a grid.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Amaretto Mousse in Chocolate Cups

A stunning presentation for a special event!

You may prepare the chocolate cups in advance, fill them with the mousse and freeze until needed. Just before serving arrange on single plates and voilà a wonderful dessert is ready!

It was fun to prepare the cups and I will prepare these again!

Amaretto Mousse in Chocolate Cups

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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You need

Chocolate Cups (pieces)

  • 15 g white chocolate (optional), chopped
  • 120-150 g dark chocolate, more if needed
  • Silicon molds for muffins or other shapes (each for about 100 ml content)

Zabaglione mousse

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 60 g sugar
  • 4 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
  • 4 egg whites or 1/2 cup heavy cream

Serving suggestion (to taste)

  • Shaved chocolate (white or dark chocolate)
  • 250 g strawberries
  • Amaretto liqueur to taste
  • Heavy cream (whipped) to taste

Preparation

Chocolate Cups

  1. Place the chopped white chocolate in a small plastic bag and close it tightly with a knot.
  2. Hold the bag over the knot and dip the part with the chocolate for 2 seconds in hot water. Take out and knead the bag with the chocolate with your fingers, dip very shortly again and knead. Repeat until completely dissolved.
  3. Drizzle the white chocolate on the sides of the molds. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Melt dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of hot water stirring constantly until dissolved. Remove from the heat. Brush the sides and the bottom of the mold using a food-safe paintbrush with the dark chocolate taking care not to damage the white chocolate decoration. If needed prepare more melted dark chocolate to make the cups walls thicker.
  5. Place in the fridge to cool down and to set completely.
  6. Gently remove the cups from the molds and place them in chilled place

Zabaglione mousse

  1. Beat egg yolk in a heatproof bowl with about 40 g of sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the amaretto and place the bowl over a pot of boiling water; take care that only the steam and not water gets in contact with the bowl.
  3. As soon as the zabaglione begins to rise place the bowl over in vessel with cold water and stir from time to time until cooled down. Place in the fridge
  4. As soon as the zabaglione is cold, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks (or the heavy cream) add the sugar and beat until glossy. If using the heavy cream do not overbeat!
  5. Gently fold the beaten egg whites (or heavy cream) under the zabaglione.
  6. Fill the mousse in the chocolate cups and refrigerate (for a chilled mousse) or freeze for at least 2 hours (for ice-cream mousse) or until needed. Best use the same day.

Serving suggestion

  1. Prepare shaved chocolate
  2. Arrange sliced strawberries in single plates, spoons some amaretto over them.
  3. Place the filled chocolate cups in the plate near the strawberries.
  4. Decorate with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Sourdough Brioches with Orange

Our delicious oranges from Crete (the best I know!) inspired me to prepare homemade candied orange zest and since then I am using them for different recipes.

Just before Easter, I prepare my “Colomba” again (Easter Italian Dove Cake) and this week these easier version perfect for breakfast and for giveaway!

In recipe I mentioned the soft candied orange zest; I made it at home boiling the cleaned orange peels (after easting the orange first) in water, throwing away most of the liquid and adding the sugar (same weight as the zest). I’ve boiled until the water was evaporated and the zest quite dry but still soft. I spread it on a baking tray and the next day I sliced it and placed it in small jars.  In order to prevent mold, I placed the closed jars in a pot with boiling water (covering half of the height of the jars) and after simmering for at least 30 minutes, switched of the heat and waited until cooled down in the pot. This is not the conventional way to prepare the zest, but it’s easy for me and I love to have this wonderful ingredient ready to be used.

If you don’t make the candied orange zest yourself, I suggest soften it for a few hours in little hot water prior use.

We know that not everybody has his culture of sourdough, for this reason a placed the alternative directly in the ingredients!

Sourdough Brioches with Orange

  • Servings: 40 pieces
  • Difficulty: medium
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You need:

Dough:

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration), alternative: 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup flour + 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 orange grated zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (for the dough)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup of soft candied orange zest (best if made at home)
  • Additional flour for rolling out
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter for brushing

Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar for clear glaze

Procedure:

  1. Combine in a big bowl the sourdough starter, stir well, add the first cup of flour and stir well again. Cover and place in a war warm place to rise (I use the oven with only light on). The best temperature is around 26-27°C.
  2. When the mixture is foaming add the orange zest, salt, the first 1/4 cup of butter, the sugar, and the egg. Stir well. Mix together 3 cups of four with the orange zest and add them to the dough. Stir and knead until well combined. You may stir/knead with the dough spatula in the bowl or use the kneading machine. The dough should result wet but not too sticky. If necessary, add some more flour.
  3. Cover and let rise until doubled in a warm place (see above).
  4. Divide the dough into two portions. Roll out the first portion onto a floured surface to the size of about 50 to 40 cm. Brush with 3 tablespoons of melted butter and roll the dough form the longer side. Now you have cylinder about 50 cm long. Cut the cylinder into 2.5 cm slices and place each one in a prepared muffin mold (I use silicone ones so I don’t need to prepare the surface). Repeat the same with the second part of the dough.
  5. Place a heat-resistant bowl of warm water into the oven and place the molds in the oven to rise. Depending on your yeast/sourdough and the temperature, this takes 1 hour to a few hours!
  6. Let rise until they rise (I let them rise until three fold volume!) and preheat the oven to 170°C (let the bowl in the oven.
  7. For the glaze combine the hot water with the sugar and stir until the sugar almost completely melted. Gently brush the risen brioches.
  8. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown!

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Orange Chocolate Mousse

It is super easy to prepare a decadent and excellent chocolate mousse. This basic recipe can be adapted to many liquor of your choice, but I found the combination of chocolate, amaretto and orange superlative especially if you have good quality oranges (I used Cretan oranges! ).

You may prepare the mousse the day before, but the quality of the eggs is very important and for safety reason I recommend not to keep this too long in the fridge. Depending on where you live and on the quality of the eggs you get, you should opt for the best safest quality and work properly (salmonella are not in the egg, but on the shell!) and if necessary buy pasteurized eggs.

If you are in the hurry, you may use ready-made whipped cream instead.

Orange Chocolate Mousse

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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You need

Mousse

  • 150 g chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto liquor (or Grand Marnier or other liquor to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 orange, finely grated zest
  • 2 very fresh eggs, separated into whites and yolks

Topping

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • Orange zest strips (fresh or candied)
  • Shaved chocolate

Procedure

  1. Place chocolate, amaretto and heavy cream in a large bowl set over a bain marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer. Stir until the chocolate melted. Turn off the heat and let stand until lukewarm.
  2. With the mixer, whip egg white until firm. Set aside.
  3. Then with the mixer beat the yolks with the orange zest and add this mixture into the cooled chocolate cream, stir to combine.
  4. Fold the whipped egg whites all at once into the chocolate mixture and refrigerate for approximately 4 hour or until set.
  5. Just before serving beat the heavy cream with the powdered sugar.
  6. Top the mousse with the whipped cream, the orange zest strips and the shaved chocolate.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

 

Nachos de Pollo – Chicken Nachos

In my life I have prepared nachos only once  ( Nachos de Camarones) and my family asked me to make some more.

This special wish came perfect with the given list of ingredients I for the game “ready set cook” as tortilla and chicken were among the options.

The combination were done quite quickly and the result delicious.

I did not add cheese (as not in the list J ), and exactly had been appreciated as the dish resulted lighter; I think I would have added some cumin, but all spice was a great alternative and finally the addition of the thick yogurt made the dish fresher!

I recommend not adding too much salt, as the chips are usually salted; adapt the quantity to the chips!

Nachos de Pollo – Chicken Nachos

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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You need

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400 g chicken breast, skinless, boneless diced in 2 cm pieces
  • 1 cup diluted chicken broth (don’t add to much salt)
  • ½-1 cup tomato sauce, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • hot Sauce, to tast
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to
  • 8 cups tortillas chips (not too salted)
  • 8 heaped tablespoons thick yogurt to served
  • Additional cilantro or parsley, chopped

Procedure

  1. Fry gently the garlic with the butter in a medium saucepot until fragrant add chicken and gently roast stirring from time to time for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth and tomato sauce. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken turns tender.
  3. In the meantime, arrange the chips on four oven save dishes and place them at 80°C/180°C to preheat them in the oven.
  4. When the chicken is done and sauce thicker add cream, hot sauce, spices, cilantro and adjust with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove the plate from the oven; pour the chicken sauce over the tortilla chips, dot with yogurt and top with fresh herbs.
  6. Serve immediately with extra yogurt if desired.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/