Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Courgette Bread

We've missed the last few Fresh from the Oven challenges due to travelling here and there, but we couldn't miss this one, since it's our friend Sally from My Custard Pie hosting. Sally's blog is one of my favourite to read. This woman has the ability to always catch my attention. I love the way she writes. Reading her posts one never knows what she would start and end up with. Sally could make an ordinary life story attain such a deep spiritual meaning and at the end completely keeping pace with the story she would offer you something delicious bursting out of warm cosiness. She's always extremely positive and cheerful, and like a real English lady, she has a lovely sense of humour.

Sally challenged us to make courgette cluster bread which was a good reason for us to bake with vegetables again. We've made pumpkin bread before, which was very good, but somehow we are always too lazy to try it again. Plus we had a lot of vegetables from Ivan's parents.

We've twisted a little bit the original recipe according to which the salted grated courgettes must be drained form the water(which is supposed to be discarded), then washed and dried. Instead this we went with draining the courgettes but keeping their water as a liquid part for the dough. If I am to lie I would say thus the bread would have a more prominent courgette taste. But the truth is we found it easier to skip the washing an drying process by simply using the drained liquid. Also, this way it was easier to figure out the amount of salt needed.

There was parmesan used in the recipe that would give a cheesy tinge of this bread, but we had non of it in the fridge, if you do have any, add some in the dough.

And the last change – we added dill weed since it's like a habit to me – when there are courgettes, there is dill weed.

The bread was super delicious, even to be eaten plain, on its own. We even ruined the rule “first shoot, then eat” since I was too eager to try it.

Go visit My Custard Pie for the original recipe and do cast a glance at what the other FFO members have come up with.

Courgette Bread Recipe:

  • 450 gr courgettes, grated coarsely;
  • 10 gr salt;
  • 675 gr strong white bread flour;
  • 20 gr fresh yeast (or 2 sachets of easy-blend/fast-action yeast, or 14g instant dried yeast);
  • 1Tbsp sugar;
  • 80 ml tepid whole milk;
  • 25 ml olive oil;
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried dill weed;
  • milk, to glaze;
  • sesame seeds, poppy seeds, to sprinkle.

Mix grated courgettes with salt, place them in a colander and leave them for an hour in order to drain away the liquid. Do not discard the drained liquid, collect it as it will be used later.
Combine milk and fresh yeast, set aside.
In a large bowl sift together flour, dill weed and sugar. Make a well in the center, then pour in the milk-yeast mixture, olive oil, the liquid drained from the courgettes and the courgettes themselves. Mix with hand mixer equipped with dough hooks to form dough. Knead on low speed for 10-15 minutes. (The dough could be kneaded by hand but since it's a little bit sticky, it's easier to use hand or stand mixer equipped with dough hook.) Cover the dough and leave it to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Transfer the dough to a floured counter top and shape it the way you like. Here we've used two thirds of the dough to make small buns and the other third has been used for the flower cluster bread. Place on a lined with paper baking pan and leave to prove, covered with a linen tea towel for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180. Provide some sort of steam source – we are placing a small pot with hot water in the oven. Glaze with milk, sprinkle some seeds on top. Bake with steam for the first 10 minutes then continue without the steam source, until nicely golden. Remove from the oven and cover with a clean linen towel to keep the buns soft.

Monday, August 8, 2011

mojito on the loveliest balcony

Back at home! You haven't heard a word from me for 3 months, but here I am again. I was tired and exhausted, not of baking, of course not.

The pastry course is over, the early wake-ups too. No more heat and sweat into the pastry kitchen. But you know what? I miss it. There are many new things I've learned about myself. Like, I do love to be in the kitchen! Way more than being in front of the PC, way more than writing. Not good news for the writer but extremely clarifying for the pastry maker and dreamer in me.

As for the course – it wasn't what I expected it to be. Nothing like the chocolate making course we attended two years ago – training and practice, learning new skills. This one was more like real work in real kitchen. Not very inspiring but a kind of experience.

Conifers and moss from the wood.

I learned that my temper isn't so bad as I've always thought it is and I do work well with other people. You know, I work at home, alone, so this was a great challenge for me – to work in a team – and I was ok with that.

All the furniture on the balcony is found on the street but it looks so good after Plami's renovations.
Also, working in a kitchen isn't so exhausting as I've thought it would be. I mean the physical part. Sitting ten minutes in a comfortable chair after work(= course) and I was on my feet fresh as a spring sprig, ready for a long walk and the best part – mojito on the balcony with Plami (Ivan's sister). Maybe I should have started with this.

These are forest strawberries and they had an enchanting aroma.

The balcony, I'm in love with it. It's so cosy and snug, and relaxing, and full of flowers but not crammed, and it's blue – what's not to be loved. If the bench was bigger I should have moved to sleep there at night.

Actually the bench is a refurbished baby bed.

Almost every night, together with Plami, we were sitting on that bench having a glass of mojito and sweet talks over a hearty jazz on the background. I was responsible for picking the finest mint sprigs from the big pot, then Plami was crushing them in the glasses along with some limes and sugar using the end of a rolling pin. Then it was time for the ice. We had an improvised technology for that one too – the ice used to be packed in a clean kitchen towel then smashed on a stone with a metal hammer. I have no idea why there was a stone but it was a very worthy thing when there is no ice crusher. Of course, at the end of my one month stay there were a couple of torn kitchen towers but we had a great fun. If you see the mint now when I'm no longer there to graze it – it's huge.

The big pot with mint, oregano, geranium, forget me nots and lobelia.

In two words, I had a wonderful stay in Sofia, although the pastry course wasn't very inspiring. But I got home with two great recipes from the course – one is for choux pastry for eclairs and the other one is for cheese cake. In the past we had some problems with the choux pastry so I'm happy I've broken the neck of this task. Stay tuned for future posts about it.

Basil sprouts.

There is no recipe today. I just wanted to say you hi, I'm back.


Related Posts with Thumbnails