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Pizza from Scratch, with delicious thin crispy dough

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When it comes to pizza, I find that everyone has their own particular preference for what they like and what they definitely don’t like. My daughter is horrified by the idea of anyone having pineapple on pizza- and I must say I agree. I really don’t like thick doughy crusts and my husband doesn’t like capers. Some people have a preference for when and how they eat pizza- I think you have to eat it with your fingers- and my father in law thinks that pizza does not constitute  real dinner and should only be eaten as a snack.

Now I’ve gone through a litany of what people don’t like, I want to tell you what I think makes for a good pizza. You have to have a thin and crispy dough, with a generous amount of mozzarella, a great tomato sauce and grated parmesan and the moment it comes out of the oven you need to sprinkle it with rocket. There are other great pizza toppings like anchovies, olives, thinly sliced red onion, chorizo and when my husband’s not looking, capers. It needs to be baked in a blisteringly hot oven, with a little semolina to stop it from sticking and giving it an extra crunchy bottom.

The other important part of the pizza making experience is having a pizza stone that you pre-heat, a wooden pizza peel for transferring the pizza on to the piping hot pizza stone and a metal pizza peel for taking it out of the oven. You can get all these items from Bakery Bits on line http://bakerybits.co.uk, John Lewis or the beautiful kitchen shop Divertimenti.  However if you don’t have this equipment, don’t worry you can use a baking tray, on which you assemble the pizza and then put the whole thing into the pre-heated oven.

Ingredients for the dough

3 cups white bread flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
a little semolina

First thing this morning I made a no knead bread dough, by mixing the flour yeast and salt together and then stirring in the water and olive oil. I then covered it with a shower cap (see no knead bread recipe in previous blog if you want more detail). I left it on the counter all day and when I came back from work it had developed well.

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I folded it several times to get most of the air out and then put it onto a floured counter and cut it in half with a dough scraper (mine comes from bakery bits)  and then I cut one of the halves into two pieces

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I then rolled out these 2 quarters into circles, making sure I had plenty of flour on the work surface and it wasn’t sticking, and covered it with cling film.

(I put the rest of the dough in a bowl in the fridge and will make it into a small loaf of bread tomorrow)

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I pre-heated the oven to 245 degrees F, with the pizza stone in the oven, for half an hour and then got the pizza toppings ready

Pizza topping ingredients

tomato sauce made with an onion, a tin of chopped tomatoes and some fresh basil
one 220g ball of mozzarella, per pizza, cut into small pieces
grated parmesan
half a red onion thinly sliced
sun dried tomatoes chopped
thinly sliced chorizo
and any thing else you like on pizza

 

Next I sprinkled a little semolina on to the wooden pizza peel

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and I carefully placed the dough on the pizza peel, by rolling it round the rolling pin and unrolling it on to the peel

I then put the pizza ingredients on it – laying the mozzarella on to the tomato sauce, followed by the sundried tomatoes, parmesan and the red onion on the top

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When the oven had pre-heated I transferred it to the pizza stone and baked it for 10 minutes

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I took it out of the oven with my metal pizza peel and put it on to a big bread board

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and covered it with rocket.

Within moments it all disappeared!

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I then made a second pizza- two was just about enough for 3 people

Do try this recipe and let me know how you get on- it’s really is easy

I’m going to submit this blog to yeast spotting- take a look its a great website: http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/

Gluten Free Bread made with Rice and Buckwheat flours and Mashed Potato

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I have a number of friends who only eat Wheat free or Gluten free bread. They complain that this bread is a) expensive b) brick like. So by popular demand here is my recipe from my second attempt at making Gluten free bread. (I don’t need to tell you about the details of my first loaf- but the words ‘heavy’ and ‘dry’ and ‘hardly touched by my family’ spring instantly to mind) This loaf however was tasty and aerated throughout- so much so that when I brought it in to work today to share it at lunchtime, two of my friends said ‘I can’t believe its Gluten free’ and it got wolfed down pretty quickly. It went really well with aged Gouda and pear chutney- mmm…

My inspiration came from Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s excellent book ‘How to make Bread’ – and I have adapted his recipe in various ways, including using mashed potato rather then potato flour. As Emmanual points out there’s no need to knead it as there’s no gluten to be worked and its just a straight yeasted bread.

Ingredients

1 2/3 cup rice flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of mashed potato
1/3 cup of oats (you’ll need to check that who ever is eating this can tolerate oats- if not you could use buckwheat flakes)
1/3 cup of sunflower seeds
1 tbls poppy seeds
1 tbls sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp dried instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups + 2 tlbs warm water
1 tblsp molasses

Method

1. Mix together in a bowl, the flours oats, seeds, instant yeast and salt.

2. Add the mashed potato and stir in so that it is fairly evenly distributed

3. Mix the molasses into the warm water and add to the other ingredients and stir

4. It should now have the consistency of cottage cheese

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5. leave it covered by a shower cap or cling film for an hour

6. Transfer it to a buttered loaf pan

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7.  Pre- heat the oven to 450 degrees C.

8. Cover the dough and leave for half an hour, or till it nearly reaches the top of the loaf pan

9. Sprinkle the top of the dough with sesame seeds and poppy seeds

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10. Turn down the temperature to 220 and put a baking tray in the bottom of the oven filled with 1 cup of boiling water ( this will create steam and help you get a lovely crust)

11. Bake for 15 mins at 220- then turn the oven down to 200 and carefully slip the bread out of the bread pan and put it back in the oven straight onto the metal wrack (make sure you have good oven gloves for this)

12. When its nicely browned with a good crust all over and it no longer feels damp on the outside, take it out of the oven and put it on wire wrack to cool

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Hope you enjoy it, let me know how you get on

The First Breadcompanion Bread Making Course

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One of my favourite things to do is to share my enthusiasm for bread making- what better way to do this (other than writing this bread blog for you, dear followers) than spend a day with friends teaching them how to make Artisan Bread. I held it at my friend Rebecca Rauter’s house. She is a fabulous cook, and a brilliant food stylist, with a great eye. Her kitchen is very beautiful and has been featured in the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2012/aug/24/french-chateau-london-terrace#/?picture=395104483&index=6) and made a lovely setting for the course. Do have a look at this link for some of the stylish work she had done (http://vimeo.com/channels/rebeccarauter/33528315)

I started by giving everyone cinnamon rolls and coffee

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and then we made rye crackers and rolled out no- knead bread dough, which I had prepared the evening before, for Pizza.

rolling out dough for rye crackers

rolling out dough for rye crackers

rolling out pizza dough

rolling out pizza dough

While we had been preparing the pizza and the rye crackers, I got everyone mixing up their no-knead bread dough and then we baked a no-knead bread, from dough I had prepared the night before.

No knead bread and crackers out of the oven and preparing pizza to go in

No knead bread and crackers out of the oven and preparing pizza to go in

In the afternoon we focussed on how to make Sourdough Bread and everyone mixed up all the ingredients to make their own sourdough dough and then we baked the dough I had prepared the night before

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At the end of the course, everyone went away with no-knead bread dough and Sourdough dough which they baked this morning.

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But the best part of the course for me has been all the photos that I have received today  of the bread that my friends  baked this morning- fabulous!

Here’s a selection

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