20 March 2012

Homemade Semolina Pasta

Sourdough baking is going well. I am going to try to make it once a week. I will feed my starter twice daily, morning and night, and on the day I make bread I will mix and knead it about 1pm and leave dough to rise. At bedtime I will shape the loaves and place in Bannetons in the fridge overnight, then bake in the morning. I will make two loaves and when cool, cut them in slices and freeze them. I am wasting a lot of flour at the moment, but when I really know what I'm doing I will leave the starter in the fridge and work out a different routine of feeding it on day 5 of the week and then getting it out and feeding it twice a day for two days before baking.

At the moment I have a total addiction to dough making, so I dusted off my pasta maker (which I have used only once) and made some Semolina pasta. I don't like eggs in pasta so here is what I did:

250 grams Semolina
about 1/2 a cup (or slightly more)of water
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of olive oil

I tipped the flour onto a board and, into a well in the centre of the flour, I poured the water, oil and salt. I gradually mixed the flour from the sides into the middle, mixing all the ingredients into a dough. I kneaded it for a while and then formed a ball and let it rest for a few minutes.

I kneaded it for about five minutes, until the dough was really smooth and stretchy.

Formed it into a ball again and wrapped it in Gladwrap and left it for 30 minutes.

I cut the ball in half and formed each piece into a flat oblong and fed them separately through my Pasta Machine on the widest setting. Then folded each piece over and fed them through the widest setting again. Then I fed them through the machine on each of the settings until they were thin enough. When the pieces became too long I cut them in half. I continued until the second smallest setting on my machine. I placed each piece on a teatowel to dry for about 20 minutes.

I made a yummy Vegetable Lasagne with Tomato pasta sauce, Silverbeet, grated zucchini and grated carrot.
Layered the fresh lasagna sheets, tomato vegetable mixture, ricotta cheese mixed with garlic and nutmeg. (Three layers of each) Topped with grated cheese. Baked for 40 minutes at 200 degrees Celcius.

I made the left over pasta into some Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli. I bought the Ravioli cutter months ago and hadn't tried it. The pasta worked well for Ravioli. I boiled the stuffed Ravioli for about 5 minutes.

All this kneading has been good exercise! I really need to start knitting though. At least I can't EAT my knitting :-)

16 March 2012

Easy yoghurt

Sourdough Country Loaf

My Rye Sourdough Starter

My first yoghurt

My sourdough baking is going quite well. I had a couple of failure loaves (flat bricks)after I put my starter in the fridge and tried to make bread too soon after getting it out of the fridge. I realise now I must feed it for a couple of days before trying to use it.

I made some yummy yoghurt yesterday. Here is what I did:

Heated 4 cups of milk - to just boiling point

let the milk cool to baby bottle temperature.

Mixed two tablespoons of plain yummy natural Tasmanian Yoghurt (no added sweeteners or artificial ingredients)with a small amount of the warm milk and then stirred it back into the remaining warm milk.

Poured mixture into two warm sterilised jars which I had dried in the oven. Sealed the jars with lids.

Wrapped the two jars in two warm towels (I warmed the towels in the oven - which had been turned off) after I sterilised the jars.

Placed the wrapped jars in a supermarket cooler bag, zipped up the bag and placed it all in my microwave oven (which was turned off at the power point).

I left the jars for six hours. When I opened up the cooler bag the jars were still warm and the mixture had turned into beautiful creamy yoghurt! I refrigerated the yoghurt and the next morning it was absolutely delicious.

Next time I make it I can use my own yoghurt as a starter :-)

01 March 2012

Sourdough experiment

Experiment1:Sourdough starter white flour - This made a dense loaf which didn't really taste nice. The next day my starter was mouldy and didn't smell good. I tossed it out.

I decided to buy some Organic Rye Flour and start again. I have read lots of blogs and tutorials and watched videos and I now realise that, as every flour is different and every kitchen environment is different, I really needed to experiment with my own recipe and own timing of the sourdough loaf. Here's what I did:

The photos are all experiment 2.

Experiment 2:
Sourdough Starter
I used Organic Rye Flour and springwater in a glass jar and kept starter in my pantry cupboard lightly covered with gladwrap.

Day 1: One tablespoon rye flour one tablespoon spring water.

Day 2: add One tablespoon rye flour one tablespoon spring water.

Day 3: add One tablespoon rye flour one tablespoon spring water.

Day 4: Discard all but one tablespoon of starter and to this add half a cup of rye flour and half a cup of spring water.

Day 5: as per Day 4

Day 6: as per Day 4

Day 7: as per Day 4

Day 8: as per Day 4 - after three hours starter was smelling lovely. Slightly sweet and slightly yeasty. I had put a mark on the jar and it had risen quite a bit and had lots of bubbles.

Day 9: I decided it was ready to make bread!

Took out one tablespoon of starter and added half a cup of rye flour and half a cup of springwater and placed in new jar in fridge to keep for my sourdough starter for the future.

Discarded all but one tablespoon of original starter and added one cup of high protein white bread flour and one cup of spring water in a glass bowl. Covered bowl with gladwrap and placed it on kitchen bench for four hours. This is known as the "sponge".

Now to make the bread:To the sponge, added two cups of white bread flour, about half a cup of water, one and a half teaspoons of sugar, half a teaspoon of cooking salt and one teaspoon of olive oil. Mixed with a spoon and then mixed with my hands. Turned dough onto floured board and kneaded dough with floury hands until dough was stretchy (about five minutes). Then flattened out dough and folded it over itself a few times. When it "felt" like bread dough I gently rounded it into a ball by pulling the sides together and folding the sides under while turning. Then with top rounded side of loaf down I placed it gently into my Banneton, which had been lightly oiled with olive oil and floured well with Semolina.

The Banneton was covered with a damp tea towel and sat on the kitchen bench for about seven hours. It rose about three lines on the Banneton. I don't know whether I should have left it longer, but last time I think I proofed it too long and it was too dense, so I decided to bake it.

I preheated a casserole in my fan forced oven at 220 degrees C for ten minutes. I have a casserole with a domed lid. I have read that dutch ovens are the way to go, but I don't have one and didn't want to buy one, so I used my pyrex casserole.

I carefully tipped out the bread from the Banneton onto a piece of baking paper. Cut a cross on the top of the loaf using a sharp knife. I picked up the bread by lifting the baking paper and carefully placed bread and baking paper into the hot casserole, gave the bread a little squirt with water, put the lid on, and popped it into the oven. Baked it for 30 minutes at 210 degrees C and then took off the lid, gave it another squirt of water and baked it with the lid off for another 15 minutes at 200 degrees C.

After 45 minutes a beautiful loaf of sourdough bread was ready! Of course I couldn't wait for it to cool before I cut a slice. It was yummy, not too dense and had nice holes through it and good crumbs. Next time I must wait until it is cold before cutting.

I can't wait to make another loaf!

I read that linen bags keep the bread fresher longer, so I cut up an Irish Linen Tea Towel (sorry whoever gave it to me, but it has been sitting in the cupboard for years) and I made a small linen bread bag.

I plan to feed my starter in the fridge at least once a week by taking some out and adding half a cup of rye flour and half a cup of water. When I want to bake a loaf I will take some starter out of the fridge the morning before and feed it and leave it in the cupboard. Then it will be ready to make a loaf the next day.

It is fun and it is amazing to make a loaf of bread without added commercial yeast. It is also YUMMY! I toasted DH a BLT with cheese for lunch (Tomato, Lettuce and chives from our garden and topped with homemade tomato sauce). He approved!