Friday, 30 November 2012

Goodbye Rye Smile... Hello Mal's Edinburgh Allotment

This blog has been archived due to Google's limits on capacity for uploading pictures.

You can catch up with me at the following link:

Mal's Edinburgh Allotment Blog

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Cracking Pumpernickel

Here's the Wikipedia picture of a slice of pumpernickel:

...and here's the result of seven hours baking today...

Not bad you might say, but that's the crust.  Inside things are a good deal soggier

Matters were not helped when the loaf split on turning out:

I've tried this recipe 3 times now, without success. Fourth time lucky?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Campagrain - DIY

The remit was clear:

"Nothing white - I want a hair shirt loaf!"

Time to roll out the Campagrain experiment

Campagrain?  Oh yes, that flour mix with a blend of five flours and four seeds

but which grains, which seeds - a closely guarded secret, except  it's

wheat, malted wheat, rye, oat, barley and sunflower, sesame, brown flax and yellow flax

(can that really be for real:  "brown flax and yellow flax").

How does it taste?

Like $£X in a hair shirt!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Onion and Bay Loaf - Mellow Bakers

This is something I would not have tried (nor the lemon one) but I am pleased I did.  Thanks Paul at mellow bakers.

Sad to say I appear to be the only repeat offender from the group as contributors have dwindled.  Oh well,  we get to eat the results, and this one was appreciated by the family.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Mellow Bakers - Dan Lepard's Mill Loaf

Guess what I forgot to slash my loaf.  It might have been because I was preparing the Onion and Bay Loaf hot on the heel of this one. You can tell I cut this loaf before it cooled properly. It's a great tasting loaf  even if I had to start up a new white starter (adaptred from my rye starter) for this one and also for the other two breads this month. (Give us a break from white starter, pleeease  Paul)

Adaptations.  A teaspoon of malt extract instead of malted grains. I'm out just now. I added yeast to get the bake done on Sunday night rather than Monday when I'm off to work, sob. It was ready for my sandwiches as a result. And I did use the bread machine for kneading.  Otherwise entirely in line with Dan.


p.s. Radio 4 Food Programme on Sunday was "Sourdough" .  Listen again before next weekend. I am as I only caught the last 5 mins. Andrew whitley featured but it was a different Dan.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Getting Caraway?

Spot the difference

This is Joe Ortiz's Jewish Rye (from The Village Baker).  It's made with a milk sour and has surprisingly little rye in it (about 20%). The other key feature is caraway seeds.  This flavouring splits our house in two .
The sour was nice and bubbly but the sponge was sluggish and after adding the salt the dough was sluggish too.  I ended up missing my afternoon baking slot (I had to go out taxi-ing) so the final rise was extended from the recommended 40 mins to 3 hrs.  It held on but there wasn't much extra activity left in the dough for the oven.  As you see I divided the dough into two and kept one caraway free.  The taste is great - but better still with the caraway!


Here's a bread that has become a tradition in New England

It's made with one cup of flour replaced by a cup of maize meal (corn meal or polenta). The other ingredient that makes it "Anadama" is molasses. I used less than the recommended 3 tablespoons and used  just 1 dessertspoon of black treacle.    

The results were great, and went down well with the whole range of consumers. It's a great effect to top these loaves with course ground grains - a sort of visual clue to what to expect flavour wise. A nice light flavoursome loaf with a great crust.

As suggested by Floss Dworkin I may use oatmeal instead of cornmeal next time.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Barmy Bread

Mellow Bakers third bread for August is this barm bread. It has no commercial yeast but a barm starter instead.   

Barm Bread ready for the oven
I was very pleased with the picture above because it was a close match to Dan Lepard's picture in The Handmade Loaf.  I was even more please with this next one too:

Fresh out of the oven
I have to admit that instead of following Dan's method of toying with the dough at hourly intervals throughout the day I I used the following method:

Risen dough in banneton basket
 Plonk the barm starter mixture and other ingredients (just flour water and salt) into the bread machine and let it knead away for 15 minutes. Switch off and go to work.
Risen dough turned out
Return at lunchtime. Divide dough into two and shape. Plonk the dough balls into two floured muslin lined banneton proving baskets.  Cover with floured muslins topped with cling film.  Go back to work.

On return in evening heat up the oven. Tip the risen dough onto a parcment lined baking sheet, slash, and pop in the oven gas mark 7 for max 40 mins.  (Lepard suggests 50 to 70 mins at GM7 - that would deliver a blackened loaf in my oven!

So I'm out about not following the guru's methods - but think he has done a great job of enthusing people to try a wider range of breads.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Blini(s) - Doing Without Delia

To date I've relied on Delia for my blini recipe (and bumped up the buckwheat to about 50%) but Dan Lepard's blini are 100%  buckwheat  -  part buckwheat groats (kasha) and part buckwheat flour - would it work?

Well aside from sticking like hell when I tried the first one on a griddle (after which I switched to the recommended non stick pan) it was plain sailing and they tasted great - every bit as good as the wheat addition ones.  No more folding in beaten egg white, this is how I will make blini in future!

Pile them high

Half way there

A map of India?

Saturday, 18 August 2012

White Thyme Bread - Lepard/Apent

Mellow Bakers August breads start with Dan Lepard's White Thyme Bread which turns out to be a version of the bread demonstrated on the Hairy Bikers Bakation trip to Norway's Apent Bakeri

I have to admit to borrowing from both in order to adapt the process to my Saturday. Like Dan I used some dry yeast but after an initial 15 minute knead I only folded the dough once and didn't add any salt or oil until the folding.

The results were scrumptious and only being a small loaf it was wolfed down at the first sitting.

If you want to see how Apent/Hairy Bikers do it here's the link again:


Friday, 3 August 2012

Sourdough Starter - Goodbye

Yesterday I made a sourdough loaf 

and used all my white starter, finally washing out the plastic tub which has been taking up space in the fridge for the last year.

 It’s been a tear, but after a few weeks of procrastination I finally turned that corner and incorporated the whole starter into a last celebratory 100% sourdough (no commercial yeast) loaf. 

Sourdough Crumpet
 Why? Because after 10 months I've decided I need the fridge space.

Appent Style 

Hubble Bubble
So I've decided to just keep my rye starter!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Five Grain Loaf

I like the idea of this recipe, but it didn't turn out quite as I expected.

All set for the second rise in muslin lined banneton

No chance of sticking with floured muslins loosely covered with cling wrap to retain moisture. How did they manage before cling wrap?

Nicely risen:

...and given a oatmeal dressing and slashed:

End result -

Somehow the slashes haven't behaved the same way as Dan Lepards.  I guess there wasn't any oomph left in the loaf . Either that or I baked it for too long.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Mellow Bakers Ale Bread with Wheat Grains

Cooked Wheat Grains

Malted Grains

Ground malted grains

Active starter
 Method -  Mix together a bit at half hour intervals and rise for two hours in a muslin lined banneton
Banneton deployed
Now the difficult bit - Slash with a Union Jack shape

Dressed and Slashed
and bake

I did a St George Cross too!

A good fun loaf.  Taste report to be added later.

Taste: Great! Not too sweet, moist but not soggy. Interesting range of textures from the cooked grains through to the malted grains (which had a bit of bite as I hadn't ground them down completely). Great crust. Every mouthful a pleasure!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Lepard v Whitley revisited - Rye Bakeoff

 It's deja vu all over again!

You should always wait 24 hours before cutting a rye loaf.  But tonight I'm breaking all the rules. As part of the Mellow Bakers Challenge I baked Dan Lepard's Light Rye: This includes White flour and yeast .

Lepards's Light Rye
 I also did my version of Andrew Whitley's Brodinsky Rye which is 100% Rye and 100% Sourdough.  I was really pleased because it didn't stick to the pan!
Whitley's Brodinsky 100% Rye 
Side by side it's easy to be seduced by Lepard's big rise

Comparisons are odious - aren't they just!
And the web is less gummy (inevitably) even though it was still just a little bit warm.

World Wide Web
Brodinsky bread has coriander as a flavouring and Light Rye uses caraway.

Both excellent it's hard to avoid the appeal of that extra bit of oomph. so maybe I'll be adding extra yeast and white flour as a matter of course in future.

It's been great to prove that you can bake decent bread with just sourdough rye - but then to submit to the inevitable - as many bakers have done before.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Wheelie Quite Good

Cut a few corners with this one due to bad timing but the result was good. 

Cant understand why Dan recommends spraying with water despite dressing with flour. Also found the slash around the circumference to be a bit of a waste of time. The oven temperature and timing is too high and too long in the book. I lowered the gas mark by one  chopped ten minutes off the timing and even then my raisins were in danger of charring.  One other thing - why rye starter in this recipe?These foibles aside - not bad at all.

Alsace loaf with rye

Mellow Bakers are baking Dan Lepard's  "The Handmade Loaf" and June has got three great loaves:

This was one of the first I tried so I was happy to revisit this one.

It makes 5 batons but I've only got a double baguette tray so there was a bit of a log jam!

 DL uses more sweetener than I would.
 The whole grains are wheat not rye, because my storecupboard is already overflowing with ingredients (and no one stocks rye grains locally).

(and that's just the flour bin)

I am beginning to suspect that my dried yeast packet has been open so long that the yeast is no longer very active.
Why does Dan use some rye starter in two of the three recipes this month but not in the third one: Light Caraway Rye (where he uses a 2hr old milk sour). In  this one it seems justified but is used in the same proportion (along with yeast) in the Raisin Ring.

My experimentation with 100% Sourdough Levain, 100% Rye Flour continues to be thwarted at the point where I try to remove it from the pan:

Here's the lid of the Pullman to prove it rose to the top - and stuck hard!

I've not given up yet!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Oh Baguette - there goes the bread machine

I decided to go back to basics and do a white baguette today. It went very well:

The tools of the trade - baguette tray and improvised lame - coffee shop stirrer and razor:

Sadly my bread maker  - which I only ever use on the dough setting - died in me. The spindle just fell through the base.  I do hope there's not a retaining nut in the bread! With the seal gone the liquid will escape from the mixing bowl.  So it's a new bowl.