I have adapted my date kefir levain bread for those of you who don’t have kefir grains and are maybe not as fond of tending small bubbling pots as I am! This is an experiment to see if I can approximate the same loaf using a small quantity of dried yeast and yoghurt to replace the kefir. Continue reading
Spot Downunder this is a special post for you!
Let me say first of all, I am big on disclaimers as you may have noticed, I am not a poodle expert. But for those Sweet Readers who are somewhat bemused by my occasional references to Ears and Fur and clipping here is what I know. Continue reading
April with her sweet showers is supposed to pierce the drought of March to the root – well it hasn’t done that so far. It has been the driest March for years here. On the plus side it means clean dogs when you come back from a walk, remarkably few snails and slugs, on the minus side the fruit trees blossom time has been exceptionally short, though very sweet.
There are blizzards of falling magnolia and cherry petals on the paving stones of Bristol; Zeb has been coming in from the garden looking like he has been on a film set with fake snow in his curls.
Last weekend saw the temperatures soar well above the norm and the English jumped into their hot pants, dug out their BBQs, dug their gardens and allotments, walked their dogs, pulled muscles if you were me, and generally got into the swing of a sudden change in season, dusting off their summer clothes and thinking about holidays, opening up their caravans, hastily sowing seeds, dividing perennials, greeting the plants that have survived the winter and so on. We didn’t get as far as BBQs, I dragged all the chairs out, Brian mended the parasol and we had a Gardeners’ lunch instead, sitting squinting into the bright new Spring sunshine!
In the raised veg bed some plants with feathery tops have been resolutely growing all through the winter. I vaguely thought they were chervil or something from a packet of mixed salad seeds. Brian dug them up and to our surprise found they were a clump of carrots that had somehow survived the frost. Our elation turned to disappointment very quckly as they were woody and inedible, so they have been added to our compost maker.
I owe you a bread post, and it’s almost ready, but as Zeb says, sometimes it’s just nice to snooze in the sun.
Here we go with two of the September breads for Mellow Bakers, who are baking their way through Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman in an easy going and take our time sort of way. Join in, bake a couple of breads with us, bake loads, it’s all good fun!
I baked these rolls a little hot, hence the colour, and they were very petite in scale. The dough took forever to prove, no idea why and I wasn’t very optimistic, but I managed to make them. Didn’t read the bit about putting them close together, if I had done that they would have risen like batch rolls and then the sides would have been soft.
I only made a half batch which was plenty for us and we had them for lunch with some good Ardennes paté. You can taste the egg and the butter in them, a little like a poor cousin of a brioche, perfectly nice as a side roll goes. I would say make sure you use good quality butter if you make these as it will show if you don’t.
They reminded me of meals in old fashioned restaurants with my grandparents, with stiff white linen tablecloths and dusty wineglasses; the waiters would ceremoniously bring you a teeny tiny roll, which you would try to eat slowly, and always ate really fast because you got bored waiting for the food to show up…. Some of the other Mellows said they weren’t too keen, we thought they were fine, they are what they are that’s all.
I could lie a bit at this point and post a picture of the rye sourdough with walnuts, but the fact is you can’t smell pictures. The rye sourdough with walnuts was not a success. I thought I would be adventurous and added some walnut oil to the dough. Unfortunately I didn’t smell the oil before I tipped it in and it had gone stale and the smell of the bread when I had baked and cut it was so bad I had to throw it away. (weeps bitter tears….) There is a moral in that somewhere…. I might make it again one day but not just yet.
To see what the bread should have looked like have a peek here at Natashya‘s lovely take on this or Andrea‘s light and open loaf and maybe visit Mellow Bakers here to see what the others come up with this month.
But to cheer you up after that sad news here is a picture of Zeb instead!