Category Archives: other

Evaporation fridge

Sometimes you just don’t have room in your fridge for a huge bowl of dough, starter, leaven, whatever else you have over-bought which is festering in there.

There’s a temorary solution.  You become a smug scientist for the day. Holly Goodhead if you will.  “Recipe” wise, you will need:

plastic box with a tight lid which your bowl (or whatever) will fit into
double bed sheet
bucket
water
a clothes peg or similar

What you do:

Put your bowl, covered in cling film in the box.  Soak the bed sheet in the bath until its wet through.  Wrap the box with the bed sheet leaving a corner hanging out somewhere. Twist it up to make a wick-like end. Put on the clothes peg to stop it unravelling.

Put the sheet covered box in a windy place. A balcony, garden table, doesn’t matter as long as there is some wind passing over it.

Fill the bucket with water and stand it next to the box.  Stick the “wick” end in the bucket.  The wind causes evaporation of the water contained in the sheet, this “pulls” heat from the box and it cools. The bucket of water and the wick keeps the sheet wet.

Wallah*! You now have your own evaporation fridge, and are the envy of all your friends.  It’ll keep your dough cool even on hot days, as long as there is wind passing over it. The stronger the wind the cooler the box and its contents become.

* It’s voila of course. I just like Wallah.

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Chillis

I am awash with chillis. Drowning in them. Thai green ones, habaneros, serrano del sol, you name it, I have it.  Proper arse-blowers, fire creating bullets of loveliness, red balls of kerosene-exploding-in-your-face trauma.  Wonderful.

How to incorporate them into a bread recipe? Umm aah. Wizz them up with oil? Roast them and squish them into dough? Make small rolls containing a devilish surprise? Stuff them and wrap them with a chickpea flatbread?

So give me your ideas please.  If you’re a bored housewife (can I say that? Is it PC?), maybe I should say “stay at home mum”? No that’s dull. The porn industry doesnt make films and magazines called “bored stay at home mums” do they?  So bored or not, housewife or not, let’s have your ideas!

Best bread idea (ie the one I like) wins a jar of chilli chutney, sent presto pronto.   I’ll close it a week from today, ideas in the “leave a reply” section below please.

ETA – Made Als chilli pain au choc.  Nice but used too much cardamom (my fault entirely), and actually, it’s not going to use enough of the chilli mountain.  So am going to go with the Jesus idea of a curry bun, using a vegetable chilli and packing it into a naan-style chickpea bread.

So the Messiah gets the jar of arse blowing bullets of gloriousness.  Well done the lord.

Give your leaven a good seeing to

Some of you (most I hope) will  be baking this weekend, and your leaven will quite happily sit in the fridge waiting for its next use.  When you received it, you’ll have immediately refreshed it following the initial instructions.  It’ll probably be quite stiff as well, but fear not.  You can quite easily keep refreshing it every 7-10 days, it’ll be fine, but it’s a bit like giving your lover flowers every week. Nice, but gets dull, so try the following: Forget the flowers, and give your lover a crotchless leather jump suit.

100g room temp water
50g strong white
50g rye flour

Or if you want to be more adventurous, a strap-on or a session with Delta the dirty dominatrix

100g room temp water
50g spelt flour
50g strong white

The flour you use for the refreshment is up to you – initially I suggested using strong white, and this gives great results, but try something else. Just remember that whatever flour you use, it needs to have gluten, or it’ll die, like a neglected mouse who starts to eat its own feet. Don’t forget to post up comments! and send images if you can be arsed

roll

Word Press growing blogs list + requests

Apparently this is number 62 on the Word Press “growing blogs” list. Over 2000 unique visitors in less than 7 days. ‘mazin’.

Remember the point of it – spread the leaven, get people baking their own fantastic bread. Please keep emailing the send requests. Tell me how many people you’re sending it too. Tell me what recipes you want, communicate!

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Fougasse

This gallery contains 5 photos.

You see Fougasse all over France – It has a distinctive shape, and its name (if you give a monkeys) is derived from the Latin “Panic grasse focacius” which means “bread to be baked under the hearth”. Why am I … Continue reading

Leaven ideas

Keep in mind that your leaven is a living thing. It’s like a pet, it needs to be fed. But, exactly what you feed it is your choice; it doesn’t have to be white bread flour. If you want to increase the depth of flavour to change the taste and characteristics of your bread, feed it with rye flour, or wholegrain, or mixed grain, or with a malted flour of some kind – it’s totally up to you. Remember though that it needs to be flour which contains gluten, so whilst you could add say, some spelt flour, don’t make all your feed spelt, as it may not activate properly.

Once you have something that you prefer, just keep on feeding with that type of flour as normal, and over time the flavour will develop even more. In time, post up what you’re feeding it with and lets see how you’re doing. Pics would be great – if you struggle to upload them, send them to the leavensent email address and I’ll upload for you.

But I don’t have the time

Stop moaning ffs! Are you so important that you can’t spare a few minutes here and there?  I’ve adapted the below from a great article in the New York Times so if you are in fact, Rupert Murdoch, and you want to make some fast bread but not compromise on flavour, then do the following the evening before you want the bread:

You’ve mixed your dough, cover and let it rest for ten minutes. Knead it for a full minute (you can spare the time, right?) then flour the bowl well, put your dough back into it and stick in the fridge and cover it tightly with cling wrap. You can now leave it overnight. The low temp in the fridge retards the fermenting process so it’ll be quite happy overnight. In the morning, put a decent sized cast iron casserole pot (with lid on) or other post that can go in the oven and turn the oven on to full whack. Take your your dough and leave on the worktop until the oven is at temperature.

Once the light goes off, take out your pot, remove the lid and carefully but quickly tip your dough into the red hot pot. Replace the lid, and put it back in the oven.  Leave it along for 40 minutes, do not be tempted to look at it.  When the time is up, take the lid off and leave for a further 15 minutes.  Voila.  Note that this will not get you the light airy texture of a long-proved bread, but it’ll still kick the arse of anything you can buy in the supermarket, and kick it hard.

And stop moaning that you don’t have time, all you were going to do is fester in front of the TV or lie in bed. Convenience is killing food quality, ready meals and all that crap. To produce something like this does take time, but it’s immensely rewarding, so try it. If you can’t be arsed, then there is no place for you here, so go back to your Dominos pizza, Uncle Bens sauces and big macs. Not that there’s anything wrong with those now and again of course, but you know what I mean.