Tag Archives: Short & Sweet

Parmesan Pastry Piggies and Mince Pies

Rough Puff Parmesan Piggies

Before you ask, I don’t know who is going to eat all these…

I made double quantities of Dan Lepard’s light rough puff ‘spelt’ pastry ( I used kamut instead of spelt) from Short & Sweet and an excess of short crust pastry for my lemon meringue pie as well over the Easter weekend.

I used the first lot of the rough puff to make a quick lunch dish for my guests when they arrived, rolling it out and cutting it into rectangles and topping it with cheese, chorizo and butternut squash as I have done previously. This time I gave the pastry an extra fold, the one called a book fold and I fancy the layers were better for it, or else it is just practice which gives me hope that one day I will be brave enough to try making croissants.

Why did I make two lots? I ask myself questions like these and you might like to share in my waffly thought processes: I made two lots thinking vaguely that it would come in handy and while you are doing one lot of endless folding and chilling you might as well do two, at least that is what they always say in books don’t they?  But then I forgot all about the second lot till a night or two ago and was stricken with pastry guilt.

After some discussion about how long it could keep with Carla and Jean on Twitter and thinking that five days was pushing my luck as it was looking just a touch grey, despite being wrapped tightly in cling film, I hastily rolled it out last night and made these little parmesan piggies and some other bits and pieces from the puff. I was really pleased with the way the piggies kept their shape and got nice fat bellies though, so I might do that again one day.  Gingerbread puff pastry men, Christmas puff with sugar and spice on top, just random thoughts….

I also made a dozen decidedly unseasonal mince pies, only nine months to Christmas though –  as we still have jars of mincemeat left in the garage from two Christmases past,  this jar was a cherry and dried fruit mixture, recipe from Pam Corbin’s Preserves book, the fruits are soaked in loads of brandy and seem to keep forever.

And now I must get on and put up the tomato plants which are climbing out of their pots. They are looking pretty good so far !

If you want a different recipe for rough puff from Dan Lepard there is one here on The Guardian’s website which describes the technique as well.

What have you done with your Easter leftovers this week?

Short & Sweet : Rye Crispbreads and Cider Squash Farls

Sourdough Rye crisp breads – extra thin and snappy with it! The Holy Grail for me at least of rye crackers is that they should snap and be brittle, something like a potato crisp (chip in US English) rather than something you have to gnaw your way through. Stale crisp breads usually respond well to a reheat in the oven, but if they are too thick and hard then they are no fun at all.

Like just about everything in the wonderful world of bread, tastes vary and this is what makes it all the more worthwhile making your own and finding your way to the breads you want to eat yourself.  Continue reading

Dan Lepard’s Wholemeal Bread

This week is the wholemeal bread challenge from Short & Sweet. You can find Felicity Cloake’s version of this recipe here on the Guardian website in which she explored different ways of approaching the wholemeal loaf and ended up liking Dan’s the best.

I made two different loaves this time; Dan helpfully writes up the recipe saying it is a starting point to finding the loaf you are happy with.

Once you have had a go at the basic one, you can move on to exciting variations like ale and spelt and unleash the creativity of your inner bread baker! I know you have one in you or you wouldn’t be reading this!

I can eat 100% rye with great delight but something about too much wheat bran gives me indigestion. English stoneground wheat is always full of huge flakes of bran and I would rather have a finer milled German style whole wheat, though it seems almost impossible to buy here in the UK. Presumably any whole grain flour will give you dietary fibre, so you could use spelt, kamut, einkorn or emmer all possibilities for getting that fibre content into your daily bread.

I went for a 50/50 blend of wholemeal and white in one of these loaves and of 50/50 kamut and white in the other. These breads don’t use milk, but they do use butter which improves the keeping qualities of the bread and is very traditional in English loaves.

I used regular sugar in both as per the recipe and for my money that was a mistake as I have got used to using spraymalt to sweeten Brian’s white breads and I should have used that in these. The taste of regular sugar is too much for me in bread like this, though I imagine it is there to mask the slight bitterness of the wholemeal. I wonder if apple concentrate would be nice?  It’s all about personal taste, so do vary recipes to suit your palate and experiment with sweeteners if you use them. Spraymalt is particularly nice, comes in lots of varieties, fascinating to read about it on the Muntons site.  It is fairly easy to get hold of if you have a local brewing shop or from online beer making sites and I think Bakery Bits sells it too.

The contrast in the doughs was quite marked. Dough 1 was sedate and quiet, whereas  Dough 2 with the kamut was soft and bouncy and increased quickly in volume. Despite being a high protein flour, its gluten is very different from that of regular wheat and the surface of the dough pocketed and opened up quite a lot, giving a rugged rustic quality to the finished loaf. I couldn’t get it to form a smooth sheath at all on shaping. It also sprang dramatically in the oven unlike the wheat one which rose a bit but didn’t do anything very exciting.

Both loaves make light sweet bread, easy for toast, very English in style. Not quite my thing but I am sure the sort of bread that pleases many people. it’s a very easy recipe for beginners to follow too, watch the timings, handle the dough gently, if you are not sure about shaping it use a tin which you butter and dust with flour and you’ll be fine.

For a forthright discussion about the role of fibre in our diets and the ramifications for children’s health in particular read Lou’s  post on Please Do Not Feed the Animals.

For the round up post for last week’s sweetie extravaganza and some fascinating links click here and have a peek at the other round ups for the Shortandtweet group. Join in any time you feel like it, all welcome!

Edit: 

Just thought I’d add a few links to other bread posts which incorporate wholemeal flour but are very different from this one….

For a sourdough bread using mainly wholemeal have a look at this old post of mine from the Mellow Bakers project with the grand name of Miche Pointe-a-Calliere. Another very good bread is this Rustic Bread which uses a mix of flours, including wholemeal to produce a very pleasing loaf and in which I incorporated some left yoghurt whey.

 Another very popular bread that uses wholemeal flour is Dan Lepard’s Golspie Loaf, one of the star breads in the Hand Made Loaf. This is one I make regularly for my neighbour who is a big wholemeal fan. There is a picture of it in this little slideshow post.

Olive Oil Potato Flat Bread – Dan Lepard

Short and Tweet Baking in November from Short & Sweet

olive oil and potato bread Dan Lepard Short & Sweet

I went for the Welsh Rabbit version of this flatbread with a delicious topping of leeks and cheese which Dan Lepard suggests as an alternative way to finish this bread and this is how it turned out. As the topping involved a sloosh of real ale we finished the bottle of St Peter’s Organic with our supper. Win win!

We ended up with an enormous bubbling bread which filled the house with good smells and pleased Brian no end as he has been doing all the cooking lately. Continue reading