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!
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
3 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons sugar for clear glaze
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.
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.
Cover and let rise until doubled in a warm place (see above).
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.
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!
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.
For the glaze combine the hot water with the sugar and stir until the sugar almost completely melted. Gently brush the risen brioches.
This kind of flatbread is a very popular street food from the Italian region called “Emilia-Romagna” but now you can find it not only in Italy but in many other countries.
The original piadina is non-fermented bread prepared with lard, but in this version we will use the sourdough starter (perfect if you need to refresh it) and I will use olive oil instead of animal fat.
I can remember the piadine as streed food, filled with thin slices of prosciutto crudo or with cheese.
Today you may find all kind of piadinas, filled with many different ingredients but the most important thing is to enjoy it still warm, soft inside and crunchy outside.
My filling this time? Smoked salmon with a fresh guacamole sauce with chopped tomatoes. So good!
Italian Flat Bread with Sourdough Starter – Piadina al Licoli
Dissolve the sourdough with the water, add flour add the other ingredients and knead well until combined and it comes together (use a kneading machine if you have it!). If necessary add a few more tablespoons water.
Wrap with foil or cover with a bowl and lest rest at least 60 minutes.
Cut into 6-8 slices and shape them into balls, place them on floured surface, cover with an inverted big bowl and let rise until when almost doubled.
Roll out each ball to rounds of about 25 cm (10 inches). You will not need flour on the table.
Put the rolled out piadine on a tray using parchment foil to separate them. Or prepare them one by one cooking them just after rolling each one out. Pinch each one with the fork all over the surface before cooking them.
Now heat up your non-stick skillet to medium high. Don’t add any kind of oil or fat!
Bake dry on the first side, when well roasted, flip it and bake the other side. The piadina should be pale, but with dark brown spots. Be careful not to burn it. During baking if necessary pinch them and turn them with the fork. In about 3-4 minutes they should be ready.
Tip: I have two old nonstick pans that I reserved for this recipe or to roast nuts. I use both at the same time!
Work water, starter and honey with the kneading machine until well combined-
Add about 100 g flours and work until combined, and then add the other after about 100 g in the same way and other 100 g again. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Now add the last 100 g with the salt and work until smooth. To see if the dough has been kneaded enough look for the ‘window pane’ effect. To do this cut a piece of dough from the ball, hold it up and try to stretch it out into a thin sheet.
Let sit in a bowl (covered with a dump towel) at room temperature for about 1 hour and then place it in the fridge overnight. If you do not have the time place it in a not to warm place (about 12-18°C) for at least 6 hours.
Remove the dough form the bowl and stretch and fold it for about 5 minutes. Let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours.
Now take out the Dutch oven form the oven, carefully transfer the bread with the baking sheet, cover and immediately bake for 30 minutes at 230°C for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for other 15-20 minutes until the desired color of the crust is reached.
Remove from the oven, place on a grid (without the foil) to cool down completely before cutting.
Here is my choux recipe which I’m keeping since years.
I was used to prepare the sweet variation, but now I used them for a savory recipe using them at the place of “vol aux vents” cases with my vol au vent recipe for a Valentine Day suggestion. In this case I omitted the mushrooms and I used instead some diced parley root, but both would work fine!
For this special day I suggest to use either only one piece as entree or 3-4 pieces as main dish. Adapt the quantity of the filling to the needed portions as the empty choux can be kept for a few days or for other preparations.
For decoration I used carrots cut outs with cookies cutters (boil 3 minutes in salted water) and a few drops cream of balsamic shaped with a toothpick to hearth!
Read the procedure before starting to prepare the dough. The flour should be at room temperature!
In a saucepan combine water, butter, salt and sugar. Bring to boil.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the flour: it’s very important to the flour all at once!
Immediately stir using a wooden spoon (I use the spoon with the “hole”) and stir until you get a homogeneous mass.
Bring back to medium heat and continue to stir until it pulls away from the walls (this takes about 2-4 minutes).
Now remove from the heat and let cool down under 56°C before adding the eggs (this will prevent denaturation of the proteins of the eggs). For this step add the eggs one while incorporating them using the hand mixer. The dough now should be shiny, smooth and thick enough that it will keep the shape after piping (not running!).
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
For baking I use a silicon mat, but a parchment foil would be great as well.
You can drop the dough using the spoon on the parchment foil, but for this Valentine suggestion you either spoon it into a piping bag to pipe into heart shapes, or press gently into a heart shaped cookie cutter, or repeat until all the dough is used up. You may also correct the shape with a wet finger.
Bake for 15 minutes at 220°C until risen and golden (don’t open the door).
Then cook for other 20 minutes at 150°C opening shortly (2 seconds) the oven for a few centimeter from time to time so that the steam will escape.
Switch off the heat. Turn the choux upside down and let them to cool down in the oven. For this step the door should stay lightly open (I use my wooden spoon to prevent closing again of the door)
You can fill this to your taste or keep them in an air tight container until needed.
I confess I did not create this recipe, but I’ve adapted several recipes to this one with a great success.
At the beginning I was planning to prepare this with green lentils, but as I noticed I did not have them at home I looked for a valid substitute. In the pantry I had red lentils, but I also found something better: a wonderful colored mixture of pulses!
The recipe begun with the preparation of the Ethiopian spice mixture: the Berbere Spice Blend!
This was needed for the pulses and for the chicken!
The following steps were very easy and this main dish is also a very much appreciated combination had been created!
100 g sourdough starter (substitute: 1/4 cup water + 1/3 cup flour + 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast)
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt to taste (about 1/2 tablespoon)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (instant flour)
The evening before combine starter with water and flour. Stir well, cover loosely and set in a warm place to ferment.
The next morning add 2 cups of water 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of spelt flour, stir well, cover loosely and let ferment.
When the batter is well fermented and bubbling add salt and the additional 1/2 cup of flour, if you think it is not ready, wait until next day or add instant flour or some baking powder, My dough was perfectly spongy and I added simple all-purpose flour. Stir well.
After about one hour stir well and place a non-sticky skillet on the stove to heat at medium temperature.
Don’t use oil, place a ladle of batter in the center of the skillet and with the back of the ladle distribute the batter in the pan. Cover immediately.
Check from time to time and when the batter does not appear wet and it is set remove the bread form the skillet and place it on a plate. In general it is not necessary to bake this on the other side.