Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sesame,Spelt, Semolina and Sourdough Bread

Sesame,  spelt, semolina and sourdough bread
I just bough a packet of Spelt flour from the market from a local farmer. This is the great thing about living in France. A trip to the market can never be the same as back home. Over here, a trip to the local farmers market means you can really meet people who put their love and sweat to grow the your favorite fruits and vegetable. Also, eggs, cheese, milk, ducks and guinea-fowls too. Oh! the list goes on.. . and there I came upon this cheese stand with not only wonderful goat cheese, fresh goat milk but also Wheat flour. Yoohooo!! for a home baker..this is a great find as he has Rye, Spelt and Buckwheat. Rye and spelt are not common in supermarkets but one can get them from special healtstore. So I bought it without knowing how to use it..

This sesame, spelt, semolina and sourdough bread gives not only great colour but very nutty in flavour too.

So, I came home with this packet of Spelt and didn't know how to use it. Googled and came this 4S bread from Wildyeast . Another great find.. So this is my take of the 4S bread from wild yeast.

This recipe is from Wildyeast with some modifications;

Semolina-Spelt-Sesame Sourdough
Yield: 1 kg (two loaves)
Mix plus SF: 1 hour
First fermentation: 2 hours or more
Divide, bench rest, and shape: 30 minutes
Proof: 2 hours or more
Bake: 35 minutes
Desired dough temperature: 76F
100 g white flour
136 g whole spelt flour
236 g semolina flour (coarse)
288 g water
1 g (1/3 t.) instant yeast (optional)
12 g (2 t. table) salt
141 g ripe 100% hydration sourdough starter
28 g (2 T.) olive oil
10 drops of sesame oil
80 g toasted black sesame seeds


1.In the bowl, mix the flours, most of the water, starter, yeast, and salt until well combined. Adjust the water to give the dough a moderately soft consistency. Autolyse 20minutes.

2.Since I don't have a mixer, I did a 20-count Stretch and Fold in the bowl. Took a tea break of another 15 minutes.

3.Add the olive oil and another 20-count Stretch and Fold in the bowl. Let rest for another 10 minutes while preparing the sesame seeds (toast and blend into coarse powder form)

Black sesame toasted and blended into powder form added into the wet dough

4.Add the sesame powder plus 10 drops of sesame oils and mix just until they are evenly distributed through the dough.

5.Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container (preferably a low, wide one so the dough can be folded without removing it from the container).

6.Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for 2 hours (or about 2.5 hours if you have omitted the instant yeast), with a fold after one hour.

7.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into two equal pieces and preshape them into light balls. As you can see, I didn't divide it into 2 but a big round boule.

8.Cover the balls loosely with plastic and let them rest for 25 minutes.

9.Shape into batards and place seam-side-down on a semolina-dusted board, or directly on your peel.

10.Slip the board into a large plastic bag or cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap. Ferment at room temperature for 2 hours (or about 2.5 hours if no yeast was used).

11.Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 475F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
12.Slash each batard with a slightly S-shaped cut that is parallel to the long axis of the loaf. (I didn't slash mine..)

13.Once the loaves are in the oven, turn the heat down to 450F. Bake for 10 minutes with steam (I used a spray to spray water onto the oven wall, every 2 minute for 10 minutes), and another 20 minutes or so without steam. The crust should be a deep brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for 5 minutes longer, with the door ajar, to help them dry.

Just out of the oven

14.Cool on a wire rack.

Great looking slices, fantastic when toasted for breakfast and goes very well with cheese too

Sending this to YeastSpotting giving back to where it was created.

Happy Baking everybody..  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Homemade sourdough bread

Sourdough tartines ready to be toasted for breakfast

Baking bread is my new passion. Started off with simple pizza dough to sandwitch loaf, to sourdough boule. The learning process is full of highs and many lowsssss. There are days where my loaves rise nicely and days where out came a rock, a supposed baguette turn flat just like flip-flops or days where I have nice crunchy crust but no oven spring. Then slowly, it improves.. slowly the crumbs starts from pieces of cooked dough to airy crumbs, holes are starting to appear then Tunnels!! The process is long and there are many failures but I am lucky to have a loving family who always encourage by consuming whatever bread or dough I put on the table (or they have no other choice?? Lol)

This is a country boule but my slash is still not there yet..

I am loving every minute of this learning process. I'll never see bread the same way as before..I don't buy baguettes from supermarkets anymore, only buying from those artisan boulanger..and of cause some very special bread which is not hard to fine but very difficult to choose as always there is so many to choose from.

Ever since this bread making journey started, I have a new set of routine now. I mix my dough in the evening and the first thing I do in the morning is to check on the dough. To see how it has rose and to feed my sourdough starter. Oh yes.. this starter is just like a pet. It's alive and need to be feed on water and flour :)

Nicely proofed waiting to go in the oven

So here's my daily bread:

500gm        Country bread flour
350gm        Cold water
10gm          Sea salt
5gm            Fresh yeast cake
100gm        Whole wheat sourdough starter

Day 1:

  1. Mix Flour, starter and cold water to form a thick mass. Allow dough to autolyse for an hour meaning just walk away or get yourself a cup of tea. This is to allow the dough to absorb the water.
  2. Now dissolve your yeast cake in 1 or 2 table spoons of warm water and knead in the dough. Let rest for another 30 minutes then mix in the salt.
  3. Let rest for 3 hours or more depend of the weather til you see the dough has doubled, then start to do the stretch and fold. I do all my stretch and fold in my round plastic tub. I use a spoon/rubber spatula to scoop up dough from the side of the tub fold it towards the center ( at this point of time, the gluten has developed and it should not break easily) while turning the tub to the left. This is 1. Do a  20 count of these stretch and fold, let rest for 30minutes then come back a to do another of this stretch and fold with an interval of 30 minutes.
  4. After 3 sets of stretch and fold, put the tub in the fridge for a good 24 hours or even 36 hours.  This is important if you want a very airy and light crumbs. There is not much of kneading to do but a lot of stretch, fold and wait. The long cold retardation does give the bread more flavour and character too.
Day 2:

  1. Take the tub out of the fridge, let it warm up 30 mins.  Turn out dough on to lightly dusted work surface.
  2. Cut into 2.  Preshape the pieces into balls and let them rest, covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Shape the dough into balls and place them, seam-side-up, into floured cake pan or linen-lined baskets.
  4. Cover and proof for an hour. Do the finger test by pressing lightly into dough: dough that springs back immediately and leaves no indentation indicates underproofing.  If the dough springs back somewhat but still leaves a discern indentation then it's proofed properly - with just enough rise left to give you some nice oven spring.  But if the indentation just stares back at you you've probably let it ferment too long.
  5. Preheat the oven at 220C with baking stone. You will need steam for a nice crust. For the steam, you can either spay the oven door every 2 minutes for the first 10 minutes of baking or you can poor some boiling water in to the lower tray of the oven. Since I am baking with a mini oven, I spray the walls of the oven.
  6. Just before baking, turn loves out from the linen lined basket onto a patchment paper dust with semolina, slash the loaves two or three times. I use a non-stick cake pan, so I just slide the pan on to the baking stone and bake.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes with steam, and another 15 – 20 minutes at 200C without steam, until the crust is golden brown. At 25 mins, take the loaves out and tap at the back of the loaf, if sounds hollow means it's cooked. Put them back into the oven without the baking pan with oven door ajar for another 10mins.
  8. Cool on a wire rack until completely cool then slice and enjoy!

Still a little hot but can't wait to slice open to see the crumbs..

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pain aux raisin / Cinnamon rolls for breakfast

Homemade cinnamon rolls

What do you usually eat for breakfast? In Malaysia, we have such a diversity of culture hence the variety of breakfast choice is big. From toast, rice porridge, noodle, nasi lemak to roti.. the list goes on. I think it would be easier to group them in sweet or savoury. Then we have to think of which cuisine we want..Chinese, Malay, Indian or Continental.

Cinnamon rolls with soft and creamy crumbs

Over here in France, things are much more simpler. MIL eats two biscotes (French breakfast rusk) with some butter and jam, a yogurt with a table spoon of dried fruit cereal, a bowl of coffee. Everyday for as long as I know. FH eats biscottes/baguette with jam and a bowl of coffee too. The Nyonya eats brioche/baguette with jam :) and a cup of tea. LM eats jam with biscottes(Yes. Jam with biscottes not biscottes with jam) brioche, fruit yogurt and a glass of milk.

Brioche for breakfast
I don't know if you noticed I mentioned a bowl of coffee! Yes, breakfast coffee at home is in a bowl. But why biscotte?? answer given was easier to eat, lighter and easier to digest. Why coffee in a bowl? it has always been like that was the answer from FH.. I guess it is to make dipping baguette/croissant/brioche/biscottes easier before being sent to the mouth. I think it is the same for Malaysian dipping Yau Cha kwai into hot soya bean milk.

So I have been busy trying out bread recipes. Here's the result. It is not difficult at all with all the recipes and tips given by fellow bloggers but the kneading part can be tiring if knead by hand but there is nothing to stop me :)

Here's the recipe;
# 500 g AP flour 
# 100 g full cream milk
# 200 g butter (cube and soft)
# 50 g  sugar
# 20 g  instant yeast 
# 3 large eggs
# 1 egg yolk
# 10 cl warm water 
#  1 tsp salt

  • 1 cup  brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

  • The night before; prepare your flour for the brioche,

    1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a big bowl, put in the flour and make a well in the center and pour in your yeast mixture which should be mouse like. Stir lightly.
    2. Stir in milk, 3 eggs, then sugar and salt. Mix well then knead in butter..a few cubes at a time till well combined.

    3. Leave it in the fridge for overnight.

    The next morning, as this was my very first brioche and pain aux raisin.. I woke up extra early cause I just couldn't sleep..immagine the smell of cinnamon and caramelized sugar.. wondering what will the dough look like and if it would turn out the way I wanted..yes, I have got the baking bug and there is no cure but am so happy to be infected with this wonderful bug ;p

    1. You will notice the dough has tripled in volume. Scrub it out on a well oiled working surface, pat it down lightly with well oiled hands into a rectangle shape, with the longer side near you. If the dough stick too much dust some flour over dough and working surface.
    2. Brush butter on dough but remember to leave an inch around the border for easy sealing then sprinkle sugar, salt, raisins and cinnamon on dough.

    3. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness.

    4. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish leaving some space between each roll; cover tightly with plastic wrap/cling film and let rest for an hour or until double.

    5. Preheat oven at 200C. Then brush some milk over rolls before put in the oven. Bake for about 30 mins.
    As we are only 4 at home, I use half of the dough to make a brioche loaf and half into this cinnamon rolls. Personally, I prefer the brioche loaf as I can spread it with my favourite blueberry jam. My family prefer the cinnamon rolls. What about you??

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    All from scrach


    I had so much fun the other day when I was asked to make a mash potatoes for our lunch... Lapin au Moutarde. France we eat rabbits, we eat frogs and snails (escargots) are delicacies. In Asia, rabbits are pets so the first time when rabbits were served I did felt sorry for these cute-cuddly-little-fury balls.. but after 10 years of living with a French. I now cook very good Lapin au moutarde (Rabbit with mustard sauce).

    This feather friend of mine has notthing to do with my recipe :)

    So here is the recipe for Lapin au moutarde (sorry, I don't have a good picture of the dish cause my hands were full of the gnocchi dough..ahh just too messy)


    1            Rabbit (cut into serving pieces, including the head..yes, head..and is the best part just like    fish head for Malaysians)
    4 Tbsp or more   Mustard (Strong Dijon/ Moutarde forte)
    1            Leek (sliced)
    1            Onion, chopped
    2            stalks of leafy celery (sliced)
    3            Carrots (medium, cut wedged)
    100ml    Dry white wine
    300ml    Chicken stock
    1           Bouquet garni (1 bay leaf and 5 or 6 thyme springs)
    6           peppercorns
    3 Tbsp  Creme Fraiche (heavy cream)
    Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

    1. Marinate rabbit pieces with sea salt, ground pepper and coat them in mustard. To make sure the success of this dish, I always use a new pot of mustard.
    2. In a heavy pot, heat a couple table spoons of olive oil over medium heat, brown rabbits pieces.
    3. Now add all the vegetables and brown lightly, stiring for 5 to 10 mins. Add the bouquet garni, pepper corns and pour in chicken stock to just slightly over the rabbit pieces. Bring to a boil. Skim if necessary.
    4. Simmer for an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 240C.
    5. After an hour, discard the bouquet garni and transfer the heavy pot into the oven and bake the rabbit uncover for 30 mins.
    6. After 30mins, open the oven and pour in the white wine. Bake for another 20 minutes.
    7. Then stir in some creme fraiche and bake for another 5 mins.
    8. Sprinkle some chopped parsley and serve with mash potatoes or some tagliatelle.
    I served mine with some homemade Gnocchi.

    Homemade Gnocchi

    Recipe for Gnocchi

    2 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into large cubes)
    2 cups flour ( 2 cups flour to 2 medium potatoes)
    salt to taste

    1. In a pot place potatoes cubes, cover with water and bring to a boil.
    2. Once potatoes are cooked through but still a little firm. Mash it with potato masher and season with salt and let cool.
    3. Add flour into cooled mash potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon then knead with hand. It can be very sticky.
    4. In a bowl, put some extra flour. Spoon out a big table spoon of the mixture and drop it into the flour then take out and roll it into a sausage then cut them into about 2 cm long.
    5. Use a fork, lightly press and drag the little dough ball towards you. It will form a little curved up dough ball with the fork mark.
    6. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 1/4 of the gnocchi. As they cook, gnocchi will rise to the surface of the water.
    7. Then remove with a large slotted spoon and drain well. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.
    8. Serve immediately, tossed together with your favourite sauce or just lightly brown them in a pan with some olive oil and serve as a side dish.
    Note: It is important not to add too much flour cause too much flour will make the cooked gnocchi heavy and tough, while too little flour will cause gnocchi to disintegrate during cooking. This is why I drop table spoon full of dough into a bowl of flour to make it easier to handle. The kitchen may be a little messy but its worth the extra work.

    Monday, May 07, 2012



    Today I'm not talking about food.

    Since it's spring over here in France and each time I have a stroll at the little park next door, I can't help but to walk close to flowers to admire them and breath in deeply..


    Ahhh... the fragrance is so soothing and there I realised I am not alone but surrounded by these beautiful creatures..
     Each try to look their best.. some red, yellow and black or metallic green and blue.
    Three pairs of yellow socks and a pair of red antenna

    Wish you a happy Monday :)