Sometimes I bake…

Spelt and Polenta Sourdough 

Ingredients:

400 gr strong spelt flour

100 gr Instant Polenta (i/o corn flour)

9 gr fine salt

60 gr bubbly spelt sourdough

350 gr warm water

I did 4 stretch-and-folds 30 minutes apart, let it rise for about another 2 hours and then popped it in the fridge over night. 

I fail at shaping, so in the morning I sort of lightly folded it in its bowl with my spatula, then transferred it into a bread baking pan and let it rest for about an hour or a little more. When it looked nicely puffy, I sprinkled it with Polenta, slashed the top (tricky, as very sticky still). Put it in the over at 230C, with another baking pan full of boiling water. Turned the pan by 180 degrees after 20 minutes. After another 20 minutes I removed the bread from the pan and baked it another 5 minutes to crisp up the bottom.

#sourdoughbread #speltsourdough #polenta

Talking about sourdough, this is a German book about baking with sourdough, that is challenging, but good:

Brotbackbuch Nr. 4: Backen mit Sauerteig (hardcover)
by Lutz Geißler

Not a book for beginners in my opinion. When I started baking bread with sourdough about a year and a half ago, this book completely overwhelmed me.

I now use it as a reference for the theory and technique of sourdough baking.

I haven’t really baked many recipes yet, but I plan to remedy that.

Romcom with baked goods

Accidentally Engaged: deliciously romantic and feel-good – the perfect romcom for 2021
by Farah Hero

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The book blurb roughly sums up the first half of the book. Enjoyable, humorous, not too silly and not too much drama. Well, ok, there is some slightly unnecessary drama in the middle and a lot of drama towards the end, but that is par for the course in contemporary romance. The characters remain likable, including the family and friends and nobody is TSTL. I wanted to smack Reena‘s mum once or twice, but it all turned out well. 

Reena‘s actions at one point confused me, as they seemed to come out of the blue and didn‘t make much sense to me. Grown-ups in contemporary romance don‘t always behave as such and failure to communicate is often a given.

There is baking and sourdough starter and delicious Indian/East African food…

“I know you think I’m weird, but you’re the one who brought a sourdough starter for a weekend in the country.”

It made me feel slightly bad for keeping my sourdough starter in the fridge so much and for declining a friend’s offer to look after it during a short holiday. I am pretty sure I will try Reena‘s parathas at some point. I would buy the cookbook, too. 

I read some reviews by Muslim readers and can see why they are not happy about the book. If you are looking for a book that represents Islam and Muslim life, this is not it.

If you are looking for light romance and great food though, you are bang on with this. I almost cried twice towards the end and I am somewhere between 4 and 5 stars. I want samosas now…

Everyday Sourdough

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: Practical Recipes & Techniques for the Home Baker with Almost No Kneading
by Emilie Raffa

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I got this for my current sourdough obsession. I followed the sourdough recipe of the author in her blog and decided to try out her book as well. I leafed through it from front to back and liked the look of it and the bits I did read so far.
This looks like a good beginner‘s book with clear instructions, with accompanying photos of how to knead, shape, etc…

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It tickled my funny bone that she recommends Le Creuset as a dutch oven for baking… guess what I have sitting in my kitchen for roasts… score!

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I raised my sourdough starter for almost two weeks and at the end of last week finally dared and made the Everyday Sourdough Bread. It‘s the first bread recipe in this book, aka the beginner‘s loaf.

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And here it is, a little flat (I probably overproofed it), but with a crunchy crust and a mild, tangy flavour. Yay!

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I am pleased with this book and it’s hands-on, practical recipes and and step-by-step photographs. Recommended! I will continue to work my way through its recipes.

Beautiful book, but not very practical…

Sauerteig: Echtes Brot und mehr
by Sarah Owens,  Ngoc Minh Ngo (Illustrator)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Good: 
Beautifully made book with pretty photographs. I like that it is sorted by yearly seasons.

The Not-so-Good:
Complicated recipes with many steps, not for beginners.
Many unusual ingredients.
Very time-intensive recipes.
A very complicated starter recipe.
Explanations are very wordy. With lots of text. I prefer clearer instructions.

And the Critical-No-Go for me:
All the recipes for making bread result in two loaves. I am single and have no freezer. What am I to do with two loaves?

So this book is pretty to look at, but mostly not usable for me. I will probably make some of the slightly simpler recipes in this at some point and then revisit my rating. Maybe I will even make one of the breads, giving one of the loaves away to friends as a present. But this will not become my go-to-book for bread making. 

Luckily I found a much easier starter recipe online and now ordered that author‘s sourdough baking book. Review of that one to come!

Reading makes hungry…

I give you an excursion into bread baking!

Spelt-carrot bread

Ingredients:

  • 300 g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 100 g buckwheat flour
  • 50 g golden linseeds
  • 50 g five-grain breakfast cereal
  • 25 g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cloudy apple vinegar 
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp bread spice (nutmeg, cumin, coriander)
  • 380 ml water
  • 1 pkt dry yeast
  • 150 g carrots (two medium sized carrots)
  • + a little butter or vegetable oil to grease your baking mold
  • + Bread baking mold
  • + Shallow pan

Instructions:

Start your oven on the lowest temperature.

Add linseeds, cereal and seeds to a bowl. Pour over most of your water (boiling) and let the mix stand for a little. I added my honey and vinegar to that as well.

Dissolve your yeast in the rest of your water, about half a cup,  lukewarm—not hotter! 

Add flour, salt and bread spice to a mixing bowl. Add your seeds mix and yeasty water, mix well. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and put on a grate in your warm oven.

Peel and grate your carrots. Clean up your mess. That should give your dough a chance to rise a little. Take it out of the oven and mix in the grated carrots—gently! Set overn to 180 C.

Put the dough in your greased baking mold, smooth it out a little on top with a wet spatula and sprinkle some linseeds on top.

Ready for the oven…

Place mold in the oven. Place the saucepan with a liter of boiling water in the bottom of the oven. It keeps your bread moist and helps to get a nice crust.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and if needed, bake a little longer. The bread should sound hollow when you knock on it. Let bread rest for five minutes.

Out of the oven…

Take it out of the mold and let it cool. Voila:

Ready to eat!