Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Here’s a new sourdough hot cross bun recipe that I’ve been playing with! It’s an adaptation of our tried and trusted yeasted bun recipe, but with a slightly better flavour (according to Pete and Small Man).

A couple of tips: firstly, make sure to use a ripe, bubbly sourdough starter. Pop a teaspoonful into a glass of water and if it floats, it’s generally good to go. If you’re not sure how your starter should look, please visit our FAQ for photos and tips.

Secondly, don’t rush the final prove. Hot cross buns are notoriously slow to rise once shaped, so make sure your dough is nice and puffy before you pop it into the oven. Mine took an hour and a half today, but it was worth the wait – if you bake too soon, you’ll end up with heavy buns. Here’s how my dough looked just before piping…

Dough

  • 1kg bakers/bread flour
  • 100g ripe, bubbly sourdough starter
  • 14g fine sea salt
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 large (60g) free range eggs
  • 4 tsp mixed spice or allspice
  • 150g currants
  • 500g full cream milk, heated gently and then cooled to blood temperature, or UHT milk, unrefrigerated

Cross

  • 3 Tbsp self raising flour
  • 2 Tbsp cold water

Glaze

  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 4 Tbsp caster (superfine) sugar

Note: this makes 24 hot cross buns and bakes perfectly in a sheet pan measuring 40cm x 28cm (15½ x 11″). I used to bake a dozen at a time, but there were never enough to go around! The recipe should halve well if needed.

1.  The evening before baking, whisk together the starter, sugar, melted butter, eggs, milk, currants and mixed spice in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and salt. (Note: I use UHT full cream milk, unrefrigerated and straight out of the carton.)

2. Squelch all the ingredients together with clean hand to form a shaggy dough. Allow the dough to sit in the mixing bowl, covered with a clean tea towel or a pot lid, for about 30 minutes.

3. Uncover the bowl and give the dough a brief knead.

4. Cover the bowl again and allow to rise overnight (8 – 10 hours). I leave it on my kitchen bench to do this.

5. The next morning, turn the risen dough onto a floured bench and give it a couple of gentle folds, then divide it into 24 equal pieces (about 90g each). Shape each piece into a small ball, trying to keep the currants inside the ball as much as possible (currants on the outside tend to burn). Place them side by side on a quarter sheet pan which has been lined with a sheet of parchment paper (four rows of six, evenly spaced – they’ll rise into each other). Allow to rise, loosely covered with a tea towel, until doubled in size (mine took about an hour and a half, don’t rush this bit, let them get good and puffy). In the last half an hour of rising, preheat your oven to 210C with fan.

6. Mix the SR flour and water together to form a paste and spoon it into a plastic freezer bag or small piping bag. Clip off the very end of one corner. Pipe crosses over the top of the buns, doing all the lines in one direction first, then the other. Spritz the tops with water.

7. Turn the oven down to 200C with fan and put the buns in. After 15 minutes, turn the buns around and bake for a further 8 – 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

8. When you’ve rotated the buns, start making the glaze. Heat the milk and caster sugar together in a small saucepan until thick and syrupy. Stir constantly and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil over. When the buns are finished, pull them out of the oven and paint the hot buns with the glaze. Allow to cool on a wire rack before scoffing.

I splodge the glaze on with a pastry brush using a swirling action. Just for fun, actually…

The buns are surprisingly tender…

Best of all, baking two dozen at a time lets you share with all the neighbours…

Four dozen made, and it’s not even Easter yet! If sourdough sounds a bit time consuming, rest assured that our yeasted buns are also very tasty and much quicker to make. Opinion is divided on which is better, actually! If you’d like to give them a go, the recipe is here. Enjoy! ♥

Read Full Post »

Monogrammed Sourdough Loaves

I’ve been going crazy with the fish tweezers!

After my initial experiments with embossing sourdough loaves, I thought I’d try monogramming initials on. My first attempt was a bit dodgy…

…but look how it turned out!

My friend Emilie is visiting Sydney at the moment, so I made her a monogrammed loaf as well…

So much fun! If you’re trying this, I’d suggest using a lower hydration dough as the firmer texture is easier to pinch with the tweezers. I might try a more intricate pattern next…watch this space!

Read Full Post »

Embossed Sourdough Loaves

I’m SO excited by this discovery that I’m sharing it with you before the loaves have even cooled down!

Last night, I was reading about the Azerbaijani dessert Shekebura, which uses specialised tweezers to pinch a design into the pastry before baking. I thought it might translate to sourdough, so this morning I made up a batch of our cooking class dough and gave it a go.

After proving and shaping the loaves in bannetons, I made one long slash down the side (to control the rise and ensure that the loaves didn’t burst), then set to work with my fish tweezers…

I actually squealed with excitement when I took the lids off the pots! The finished loaves have beautifully patterned crusts…

I’ve found that dusting with fine semolina prior to baking enhances the pattern – you’d probably get an even more pronounced effect with a coating of flour prior to baking…


I’m wondering now if I can emboss more detailed patterns or possibly even words onto the surface…

Have a go! It’s definitely something worth experimenting with! ♥

Read Full Post »

Following on from our sourdough blueberry cake (previous post), I thought I’d try using leftover starter in place of buttermilk. I had to add a teaspoon of lime juice to raise the acidity level, but the finished cake was deliciously tender and flavoursome.

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 150g almond meal
  • 200g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150ml liquid sourdough starter*
  • 1 tsp lime juice (if needed)
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • mulberry jam (any jam or curd should work)

*I didn’t fuss too much about the starter – I used mine straight out of the fridge and just eyeballed the quantity in a cup measure. Taste it first to see if you need the extra lime juice.

1. Cream together butter, sugar and zest, then mix in eggs and vanilla. Beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

2. Stir together the flour and almond meal in a separate bowl.

3. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then the starter and lime juice, then the rest of the flour, mixing well after each addition.

4. Spoon half the batter into a well-oiled bundt pan, spoon on a layer of jam, then top with remaining batter. Bake in a preheated fan forced 160C oven for 40 – 45mins, rotating the cake halfway through if needed.

5. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with icing sugar before serving.

I tried this cake again in my 20cm square tin with removable base (which was sooo much easier to wash than the bundt pan). It needed a few minutes longer in the oven, but produced a gentle, easy eating cake that the boys are finding irresistible. And as Pete and I are becoming more lactose intolerant in our old age, we’re very happy to find a way to revisit all the yoghurt and buttermilk cakes that we’ve had to avoid in recent years.

So the next time you have leftover sourdough starter and some jam, bake a cake!

Read Full Post »

Last weekend, I taught a couple of friends how to bake sourdough from scratch.

Over the course of the morning, I discovered that as a face to face teacher, I have limitations. I try to provide a lot of information, which can be difficult to take in fully during a few hours on a Saturday morning. Sometimes it works well – Helen sent this photo of her first solo loaf the following day, and it was perfect

A couple of days later, I had a text from my other friend which began with…“Ok, so the Japanese tea towel caught fire..”

Hmm. I thought I’d better write notes.

I’ve written several sourdough tutorials over the years – our original Overnight Sourdough Tutorial, which I wrote in 2014, is still one of the most popular posts on our blog. Following that came our High Hydration Overnight Tutorial in 2016, which was almost as popular. But the way I make my dough is constantly evolving – the High Hydration tutorial adopted the newer trend of using a much smaller proportion of starter to flour, and I’ve reduced it even further after reading Emilie’s excellent book, Artisan Sourdough Made Simple.

So this blog post is a rundown on how I’m teaching my friends to make sourdough in 2018. I’ve cheated a bit and used notes and photos from our previous tutorials – the method has been tweaked, but it’s still basically the same. There are also a couple of new videos showing the current shaping and slashing techniques I’m using.

. . . . .

An integral part of the process is the baking of the dough in an enamel roaster. This makes a world of difference to the finished loaf. If you haven’t already invested in one, they’re very affordable, especially compared to enameled cast iron. You can buy the Wiltshire brand at David Jones, or the Falcon brand at Peters of Kensington. If you’re in the US, there are heaps available on Amazon at very reasonable prices…

. . . . .

Begin with your starter bubbly and active. Start feeding it up about eight hours before you need it. Don’t even contemplate making dough if it doesn’t look like this. Test it by putting a small spoonful into a glass of water – if it’s ready, it will float.

Please, please, please read this post on how to feed and care for your starter…

Start at least an hour before you’re ready to go to bed and measure out 100g of bubbly starter into a large mixing bowl…

Add 700g of cool or room temperature water…

Add 1kg bakers or bread flour…

Add 18g fine sea salt…

With a clean hand, squelch everything together, then scrape off your hand and cover the dough with a shower cap or tea towel. Let it sit on the bench for half an hour or so…

ostn6

After the dough has rested, uncover it and give it a quick knead (for about a minute or so)…

Cover the dough with a shower cap, beeswax wrap or wok lid and leave it on the bench overnight.

The following morning, it will look like this (but without the speckly bits as I no longer add wholemeal – sorry, it’s a recycled photo)…

ostn9

Dust the bench really well with fine semolina (rye flour, rice flour or just bakers flour will also work). Scrape out the dough…

ostn9a

It will be soft and puffy, and a bit sticky…

ostn9b

Now here’s the trick…using your spatula, scrape under the dough on one side and stretch it up…

ostn9c

Fold it over the top of the dough…

ostn9d

Repeat with the other side…

ostn9e

Do the same thing with the bottom part of the dough…

ostn9f

And again with the top section…

ostn9g

These four folds enclose all the sticky bits of the dough inside, leaving a completely semolina dusted (and therefore much easier) exterior to work with…

ostn9h

Using your spatula, divide the dough in half.

A note at this point: I have a large oven and several enamel roasters, so I always bake at least two loaves at the same time (usually three). If your oven can only fit one loaf at a time, you can either make a half batch, or divide the dough in two and return one half to the covered mixing bowl. Begin preshaping the second loaf when you place the first loaf into the oven…

ostn9i

Shape each half into a rough ball by folding the edges into the middle…

. . . . .

. . . . .

Leaving the dough balls seam side up, dust the tops with semolina…

ostn9k

Cover with a clean tea towel and allow the dough to rest for about 15 minutes. This preshaping process makes the dough much easier to handle…

ostn9l

Uncover the dough and flatten each ball, then shape them into oval loaves. I do this by folding the edges in at the top and bottom, then folding the dough in half. Here’s a new video of my current shaping technique…

. . . . .

. . . . .

Place each shaped loaf onto a sheet of parchment paper, seam side down, then cover them with the tea towel again and allow them to prove for a further 30 – 60 minutes…

ostn9m

Alternatively, you could put them into tea towel lined bannetons – roll the shaped loaves gently in fine semolina first if you’re planning to do that, and put them gently into the baskets seam-side up (you’ll invert them out onto the parchment paper later).  Let the dough rise for a further 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature in your kitchen.

At this point, turn your oven on and preheat it to 230C with fan.

Once the loaves have puffed up a bit, it’s time to slash. If the dough is in bannetons, turn it out carefully onto parchment paper.

The easiest thing to do is to make just one long slash down the side, and it’s a technique that works well. You can use a serrated knife, a lame or a razor blade…

If you’d like to try something fancier, you might like our “half starburst” slash. Use a sharp razor if you’re going to attempt it – the single slash will be fine if made with a serrated knife, but the fancier patterns need a thinner blade. Remember to slash with panache!

ostn9o

Here’s a new video of my slashing patterns – I gave up on using a lame ages ago and now just wield my razor commando style. I end up with a lot of tiny cuts on my fingers, but I like the control…

. . . . .

. . . . .

Lifting by the sides of the parchment paper, lower each loaf into an enamel roaster. Spritz the top of each loaf with a little water, if you like (it’s not essential). Cover with the lids, then put them into the oven, reducing the heat to 220C with fan. Note that the pots are cold – I don’t think it’s necessary to preheat them.

Set the timer for 20 – 25 minutes (you’ll figure out how your oven bakes after the first couple of tries. I now bake for 23 minutes with the lid on!)…

ostn9p

At the 20 (to 25) minute mark, uncover the pots to release any remaining steam – the loaves should be well risen and just starting to brown. Leaving the lids off, rotate the pots, then close the oven again and set the timer for a further 20 minutes…

ostn9q

After the second 20 minutes, the crust will be dark brown and crisp. At this point, I pull the loaves out of the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. If you’d like the loaves darker, take them out of the pot and place them directly on the rack for a further 5 – 10 minutes.

Here’s a photo taken from our cooking class…

The finished loaf should feel light and crusty. It will sound like a hollow drum when tapped on the bottom. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing…

ostn9t

Here are the loaves I slashed in the video above…

I’ve found that the loaves keep well for a couple of days in a beeswax wrap

If you’re new to sourdough, I hope you’ll give this method a go. I don’t have any starter to share at the moment, but lovely Emilie’s book has clear instructions on how to grow your own, and I believe she’s also selling her starter Dillon via mailorder. Have fun! ♥

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: