Back to normality……..

So, normality has returned after 17 days off for Christmas, and talking about food is not highest on my agenda – we eat, I work, I exercise and am a mother and a wife and that cycle continues again and again and again, so I have not had time or energy for any food projects. I did however bake The World’s Best Bread again and will now share the secret with you guys.

There is a video here – it is in Danish, but watch it as it makes the written instructions very clear! (it’s quite difficult to write it down but with the video it makes a lot more sense)

http://www.kvalimad.dk/opskrifter/verdens-bedste-broed

Anyway, you need a Römertopf, like mine or a cast iron pan to create the crispy crust and the crust and crumb you get doing it this way is down to two things: the wet dough and the moisture kept underneath the lid of the pan acting like the stem in a baker’s oven.

It’s really easy to make, but takes time and needs planning because of the time it needs to rise.

Ingredients:

  • a tiny bit of compressed yeast OR a small pile of dry yeast both no bigger than the size of a pea.
  • 650 g flour
  • 5 dl water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt

First dissolve the yeast in the tepid water. Mix the rest of the ingredients into the water till there are no dry clumps.

Cover in clingfilm and leave 9-12 hours to prove (rise).

Now spread flour onto your work surface and pour the wet dough onto the flour. Carefully fold the dough 3-4 times.

Take a shallow pan, cover it with oil, spread flour all over – now it’s ready to lift the wet, folded dough into to prove second time for 2 hours. Cover with clingfilm.

In the meantime, turn your oven onto 250 degrees – highest setting. Put the pan or the Römertopf in the oven from cold and leave it in the oven for about 1 hour for both the oven and the pan to get very hot. This is a necessary step as the bread will burn onto the sides of the pan if it is not smoking hot.

When the pan and oven has been on for an hour and your dough has proved for the second time, take the pot out of the oven and carefully tip the dough into the pan. Make sure it doesn’t cling to the sides, using a spatula or dough scraper to loosen it from the sides as it falls into the pan.

Put a lid on the pan and bake on 250 degrees for 30 minutes, then take off the lid, reduce heat to 230 degrees and leave to bake for another 15 minutes.

Remove from pan immediately and leave to cool on a rack before cracking into the bread:

Other ideas for bread: NOT: WHEN ADDING WET AND HEAVY INGREDIENTS, YOU NEED TO ADD 3-4 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF YEAST!!!

  • put cubes of feta cheese and olives in half in the dough
  • Chop fresh herbs and add cubes of cheese or feta cheese
  • Roast red onions till soft and caramelised and add to the dough
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Replace 300 g of the flour with rye flour for a coarser bread
  • Take a mixture of seeds, boil for 5 minutes to soften and add to the dough
  • Chop sun dried tomatoes and add to the dough

Enjoy!

“Rye” bread/My bread

In Denmark, rye bread is a necessary part of our diet – we simply don’t understand how the rest of the world can keep their bowels regular without this sour, fiber rich, dense product and you will often find Danes arriving on their holiday destinations, opening their suitcases and them being full of rye bread …… as you can hear, I am not a massive fan, however it is really healthy and for our Christmas lunch it is necessary to serve it with herring.

My husband turned out to be allergic til rye, which is a real shame, as he (as opposed to me), actually loves the stuff. It has been painful to watch him putting his herring on white bread – it just isn’t the same!

So this year, after I started making sour dough breads and I had a sourdough starter in my fridge, I decided to try to make non rye bread – he calls it “my bread”.

The approximate recipe:

Using ca 1 dl of my starter (which I had brought to room temperature and fed with a handful of wholemeal flour 4 hours before), I made a batter of the mix, 250 g regular flour and enough water to turn it into a thick batter.

I left this overnight and next morning it was bubbling away. I now put any seeds I could find in my cupboard (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds etc) in a small bowl (I used approximately 2 1/2 dl seeds) , covered them with boiling water (about an 3 cm/1 inch above the seeds) and left them to soften and soak up the water for approximately an hour. This mixture was added to the batter along with salt, 2 dl more warm water, flour and wholemeal flour……. this was now mixed together into a sticky, dough and left to prove for the day.

Later I poured it into a large baking tin and left it to prove for 2-3 hour again. Now it was ready to bake and I baked for 1 hour at 200 degrees………… and the result was a rye bread which my husband could eat and the rest of the family also enjoyed….

For English people attempting this: be aware – this is not a light, airy bread – it is heavy and  dense and sour – unlike bread you can buy in English supermarkets…. so don’t think you have made messed up the recipe – this is the way it is supposed to be.

Most of my baking is done without measuring, so I honestly can’t remember how much of what I put in, but when I bake a loaf next time, I will make sure to observe the ingredients I put in mores precisely and write it all down – but I have experimented my way to this loaf – I am sure you can too!!

Christmas presents for me

Well, it is no surprise that I received some  kitchen related presents this year; my brother gave me a pizza stone and my step mum bought me a Römertopf:

 

This beauty is supposed to make cooking healthier, easier and less messy as it’s an all-in-one-pot kinda pot!

Am excited to experiment with the pizza stone and the pot – have never tried either!