Archive | July 2013

Warm Roast Chicken and Sourdough Bread Salad

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This is one of my all time favourite recipes and it works well when you are having a large group of friends and family over for dinner which we did last night.  I first saw this recipe earlier this year in the Saturday Guardian Newspaper, written by Yotam Ottolenghi. (If you haven’t discovered him yet, you’re in for a culinary treat- I have his book called ‘Ottolenghi- The Cookbook’) He said this recipe was his take on chicken and bread salad from Zuni’s restaurant in California- I am dying to go there, but haven’t yet, however I also would highly recommend their cookbook.  This is now my take on Ottolenghi’s recipe.

You bake the chicken slathered in a tasty herb butter and then in the last 20 minutes you add chunks of sourdough bread to the baking dish. The bread soaks up the chicken juices and herbs and then becomes crisp. You let it cool a little and then tear up the chicken in to chunks and add the pieces of tasty sourdough bread, various salad leaves and raisins infused with sweet vinegar.

Yesterday I made this white sourdough loaf IMG_0559

to use in this recipe.

Ingredients

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp picked thyme leaves
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Salt and black pepper
1 free-range chicken (1.5kg)
150g  sourdough bread, torn roughly into 3cm pieces
50g raisins
5 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
rocket and spinach leaves to cover the base of a large serving dish
about  3 tbsp olive oil
30g toasted pine nuts

Method

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Put the butter, garlic, thyme and lemon zest in a small bowl with a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, and mash together.

Put the chicken in a baking tray just large enough for it to fit with some room around the sides for the bread. Massage the butter all over the chicken and under the skin – use your hands for this – then roast for 10 minutes. Turn down the heat to 190C/375F/gas mark 5, and roast for 30 minutes, basting occasionally.

Add the sourdough to the tray and roast for a final 20 minutes, turning and basting the bread once, until the chicken is cooked and the bread has absorbed most of the roasting juices and fried in the heat.  Remove from the oven and put the chicken on a  carving board to cool down. If the bread isn’t quite crispy enough, put it back in the oven in its baking dish for another 5 minutes and take it out when you think its crisp enough for you.

Meanwhile, put the raisins, vinegar and sugar in a small frying pan over a medium flame for two to three minutes, until the sugar has dissolved, and set aside. When it’s cooled a little add some olive oil to make up a dressing

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, but still warm, pull the flesh off the bone into bite-sized pieces. Put the leaves on a large platter and add the chicken, crunchy sourdough pieces and spoon over the pine nuts and raisin dressing.

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Sourdough Bread Sticks

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Its been a gloriously hot and sunny weekend here in London. I was in the mood for bread sticks that you can dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or eat with olives or drink with cool crisp white wine, or all of the above. I found a recipe in ‘How to make bread’ by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. This is a lovely book that makes great bed time reading because the pictures are so beautiful and the recipes always interesting. I have adapted his recipe to make it a bit simpler to follow. I also baked it using my bread stone. I really recommend you treat yourself to one if in any way you feel you are becoming a serious home baker. At some stage soon, I will show you how to make Pizza and a bread stone really makes a big difference. You can buy one on line from http://www.bakerybits.co.uk, if you live in the UK, or you can usually get one in good kitchen shops, or from http://www.breadtopia.com, if you live in the USA. Incidentally looking at these web sites comes with a health warning- once you start looking at them, its going to be hard to stop and before you know it you will be dreaming about making bread and wanting to bake bread when you go camping (like the man on the breadtopia website, and I particularly recommend his camping trip film)

Sorry, where was I? Ah yes, back to making lovely breadsticks that are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle with a mild sour taste. You can either bake these on the same day as you mix the dough, or you can put the dough in the fridge and bake when it suits you.

Ingredients

1 2/3 cups of strong white bread flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup white sourdough starter

1/2 cup + dessertspoon of water

1 tablespoon olive oil

semolina for sprinkling

2 baking sheets, lined with baking parchment

1. Refresh you sourdough starter 1 or 2 days before you want to bake. (see my blog on making sourdough bread with your own starter on how to refresh)

2. Mix together the refreshed sourdough starter with the water and olive oil and stir well, so that the starter becomes more evenly distributed in the water

3.Add the flour and salt and mix with a spoon and then by hand so that all the flour is hydrated. This dough is drier than my previous bread recipes

4. Leave for 1/2 hour, covered with cling film or a shower cap

5. Fold the dough by pulling to one side and then folding over and then pulling to the other side and folding over. Then repeat

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6.Cover and leave for 1/2 hour and then repeat the folding as in step 5

7. Cover and leave for 1/2 hour and fold again

8. At this stage you can cover it and put it in the fridge for up to a week and take it out when you want to bake the bread sticks. Remember to let it come to room temperature for at least an hour before you are ready to shape it. Or, if you want to bake it straight away,  leave it to rise at room temperature,  for about an hour and a half.

9. sprinkle a little flour on a work surface and then empty out the dough

10. Spread the dough out with your fingers until you have a rectangle about 5mm thick

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11. Cover with cling film and let it rest for 15 minutes

12. Then use a sharp knife or a bread scraper to cut into roughly 1cm wide strips

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13. sprinkle the work surface to the side of your dough with semolina. stretch each bread stick a little and then roll in the semolina

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14. place on one of the prepared baking sheets lined with baking parchment, and sprinkle a little more semolina onto the baking sheets

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15. cover loosely with clingfilm and let it rise for 1/2 hour

16. Heat the oven with your breadstone in it, to 245 degrees c. If you don’t have a breadstone then you can just put them in the oven on the baking sheet (with the baking parchment underneath)

17. Boil 2 cups of water and put it in the bottom of your oven in a roasting pan

18. After your oven has heated for about 1/2 hour, turn it down to 200 and bake the breadsticks on the bread stone (if you have one) for about 12 minutes until lightly browned

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19. Cool on a wire wrack- but luckily you can eat them pretty much straight away!

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Sourdough bread rolls – in a hurry

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I love to have freshly baked bread for breakfast- but I don’t want to have to get up at the crack of dawn to shape and bake the bread for it to be ready for 8am.

These rolls are the answer.  I used my usual recipe for sourdough bread using your own starter (see previous blog) with 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour and some malted wheat flakes thrown in to add a malty taste. I ordered them from  www.bakerybits.co.uk- a fantastic on line artisan bread baking equipment and supplies website. Do have a look. I also recommend you buy a ‘lame’ which is a special bladed knife for slashing bread so that you can control where it splits as it bakes.

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I made the dough on Monday night and then wasn’t ready to bake the next morning, so I left it in the fridge for 3 days and took it out  at 7am and shaped and baked it, ready hot steaming and lovely by 8am.

Ingredients

1/4 cup of refreshed sourdough starter (see previous recipe for details of how to refresh your starter ready for baking)

2  3/4 cups strong white bread flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups water

2 handfuls malted wheat flakes

Method

1.Put the starter in a mixing bowl and add the water and mix so that you break up the starter into smaller pieces

2. Add the bread flour, malted wheat flakes  and salt and mix so that all the flour is hydrated and leave for 1/2 hour

3.  Now fold  the dough three times using a large spoon, scooping the dough from the bottom and pulling it up and over itself (see my previous blog on making sourdough bread for more details)

4. Cover with cling film or a handy hotel shower cap and leave it out over night.

5. Next morning, put it in the fridge  and leave it there until you are  ready to bake your rolls (it can be left for up to a week)

6. Take half the dough out of the fridge and leave it in a bowl for half an hour to begin to come to room temperature (this is enough for 4 rolls which easily fit into a medium sized Le Creuset, but you can take all the dough out and make 8 rolls if you like)

7. Put a covered casserole dish (like a Le Crueset) in the oven and preheat to 245 degrees c.

8. Break the dough into 4 roll sized pieces and shape them into torpedo shapes and leave on a floured surface for half an hour covered with floured cling film

9. with a sharp knife or ‘lame’ slash the dough 3 times

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10. then bring the heated covered pot out of the oven ( it will be really hot so take care) and put the rolls  in the pot one by one and cover and put back in the oven

11. bake for 15mins

12. lower the temperature to 200 degrees and take the lid off and bake for another 9 minutes

13. put on a wrack to cool

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Then enjoy your breakfast!

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