30 March 2009

Dan Lepard mill loaf

Well now.
I've created the leaven, detailed DL steps here for you too, & I had quite a large batch to use at the weekend, so I made 2 of his mill loaves from the handmade loaf book

yesterday, with 500g of the agent.

I never really understood what the fuss was with sourdough leaven, people talk about the acidity & slight sourness.
& I can now tell exactly what they are on about.

Yeast bread is a completely different, & I much prefer this form of bread, the artisan baker sort that you get in markets.

So, here we have 2 mill loaves, quite an easy method to follow, I printed mine out and ticked each stage of the process off, whilst reading the Sunday papers at my leisure

500g my white leaven
550g water at 20deg (just rest it at room temperature)
600g white flour
300g wholewheat flour
100g rye flour
2.5 tsp fine sea salt

8:00 am till 9:00
  • whisk leaven with water, add the flours with the salt, and mix well with your hands
  • cover the bowl & rest for 10 mins
  • lightly oil a clean surface and knead the dough for 10 seconds, rotating it by a quarter at intervals, shape into a ball & cover & rest for 10 mins
  • clean & dry your bowl well, and rub with a little oil
  • another 10 sec knead & back into the clean bowl for a 10 mins covered rest
  • another 10 sec knead & cover & rest for 30 mins

9:00 till 11:00
  • knead the dough for 10 secs and cover & rest the ball for 1 hour

  • knead the dough for 10 secs and cover & rest the ball for a second hour

11:00 -- till 15:30
  • divide your dough ball into 2

  • dust your surface lightly, and knead each dough for 10 secs & rest for 10 mins covered on your surface
  • flour 2 clean tea towels to prevent any sticking during this next shaping & resting process
  • lay one dough ball onto the floured towel, and press it down neatly & flattish with your hand
  • fold the top left corner in 2 inches, the right top corner in 2 inches, and the centre point you now have fold down 2 inches, firmly sealing the edges without air locks
  • rotate the dough 180 deg, and repeat the 3 folds ............... like so

  • fold directly in half along the central horizontal you see
  • & gently press and roll together, gently manipulating it into a rugby ball with tapered edges
  • repeat with the second dough & fold each gently with their tea towel, with that seam up-side
  • rest, covering both with a 3rd tea towel & rest for 4 hours - they will slowly rise, doubling in size

3:30 the baking
  • preheat the oven to 220 deg
  • I use a tefal non-stick mat, but dust an oven tray with semolina
  • gently roll one risen dough onto your tray, so that the seam is under-side now
  • dust with flour & slash boldly
  • spray the loaf with water & bake for 50 mins - I turned mine half way through
  • rest on the bars in the cooling oven afterwards for 5 mins
  • cool on a wire rack

that under-side in the end is rather neat

now bake the second loaf likewise

28 March 2009

using Dan Lepard leaven

I'm confused but giving it a good go.

I've fed the leaven 2 days ago: equal parts 150g water to 150g white flour

removed 250g leaven 1 day ago

& added it to 900g room temperature water & 1 kilo flour (300g wholemeal, 700g strong white)
that's a ratio of 1/2: 2 : 2
90% hydration?

put it in the fridge over night

taken it out of the fridge this morning & turned the mass. It's quite sticky but manageable

the confusion?
I'm not sure what to do with it now. I was planning to make bread rolls, and not-hot cross buns, my husband doesn't like sweet things so I just play with idea

to be continued later today ........................


& in the end I made these 2 delicious mill loaves :

25 March 2009

coronation chicken

I do prefer coronation left-over turkey sandwiches to chicken
& it has to be breast

chicken breast, poached for 25 minutes
1 teasp very finely grated shallot
1 – 2 teasp mild curry paste, or powder

sweat the shallot. Add curry paste or powder, cook out and cool

stir in these remaining ingredients: 150 mil mayo, 1 - 2 tablsp soured cream, 1 tablsp mango chutney, ½ lime juice

poach chicken breast & cool
chop up & add to the coronation sauce (plus saltana if you like them)


by Nigel Slater
my adaptations - no prosciutto ham, colour the sausages first


2 free-range eggs

125g/4½oz plain flour

150ml/5fl oz milk mixed with 150ml cold water

1 level tbsp grain mustard

salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 gloster pork sausages

3 tbsp dripping or lard, I used goose fat
  • whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, mustard and seasoning, beating out any little lumps of flour. The consistency should be about that of ordinary double cream, but no thinner
  • rest for 30 minutes in the fridge
  • brown your sausages in a frying pan
  • preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7
  • put the dripping or lard in a roasting tin and leave it in the oven until it is smoking
  • pour in the batter - it will sizzle softly in the hot fat - then arrange the sausages in the batter
  • transfer the tin back into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden
here it is after 15 mins, I cannot open the oven door

serve with brown onion & madeira gravy, made with good stock, onions, flour, worcestershire sauce & madeira, strained

and crispy, golden roast potatoes

24 March 2009

knäckebröd revisited

I am much happier with my Dan Lepard dark rye crispbread results, click for recipe.

with a couple of amendments to the first attempt,
I followed the superior version of the recipe in the handmade loaf

& added 100g of home-made, room temperature rye natural leaven, which I made last week
I whisked the leaven, water and yeast together with a balloon whisk
& I rolled the crisp breads out to 3 mm

The crispbreads look similar, but are pleasantly snap-able now

18 March 2009

Dan Lepard leaven

I'm thinking I've never been a real baker, a true artisan.
My dependence upon dried yeast pips has to have counted against me.

So I've given myself a good kick in the rear, bought the Dan Lepard handmade loaf book I've been coveting for so long, and started my very first leaven.
I confess I cannot tell you what that leaven business is all about yet, I'm at Day 4 in the process.
But no doubt in 2 weeks time, I'll be producing loaves and breads and baking that will have the French falling at my feet in adoration.

That's the plan in the Painter house anyway

the process for that liquid gold that is leaven

Remove the rubber seal you see here from your jar if using

Day 1
50g water at 20º C
2 rounded tsp rye flour
2 rounded tsp strong white flour
2 rounded tsp currants or raisins
2 rounded tsp live low-fat yoghurt - home-made full fat yoghurt in my case

  • Mix all the above ingredients together in a Kilner jar. I sterilized mine, I hope that's OK.
  • Leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

Here's how it looks after that 24 hours.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Day 2
50g water at 20º C
2 rounded tsp rye flour
2 rounded tsp strong white flour

  • Stir the above into the leaven, starting with the water.
Here's how it looks

  • Close lid and leave again at room temperature for 24 hours.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Day 3
100g water at 20º C
4 rounded tsp rye flour
4 rounded tsp strong white flour

Here's how it looks when you open the lid
  • Add water & stir
  • Add the flours

Here's how it looks as you close the lid to leave for another 24 hours

~ ~ ~
~ ~

Day 4
100g water at
20º C
125g strong white flour

as you open the lid, here's how it looks - I hope that water is OK

  • Remove 3/4 of the mix & discard.
  • Add the water and stir.
  • Strain out the raisins & return mix to the kilner jar
  • Add in the flour and stir well - it's quite thick now

Here's how it looks before leaving for another 24 hours

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Just Day 5 of the process to go ........................................... to be continued

Excitement after 12 hours into Day 5.
The leaven has erupted, I've never been so pleased to clean my kitchen shelves

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Day 5
opened after 24 hours

remove 3/4, mix in water & then the flour

leave for another 24 hours, & the same reaction this morning again. I'll have to use a larger kilner jar

17 March 2009

saag aloo

recipe by death by curry
& very tasty it is too

large bag fresh spinach, washed well
3 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
groundnut oil or ghee butter for frying
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1/4 tsp ground cardamom seed
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tablesp grated fresh ginger
salt & black pepper

  • dry fry coriander and cardamom seeds, and blend
  • place clean spinach in a large pot.
  • add potatoes cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • lower the heat to a simmer, and cook about 12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  • meanwhile heat the oil or ghee in another saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and cook them until they start to pop.
  • add sliced onion and garlic and saute quickly over fairly high heat until translucent, stirring often.
  • add all the spices except salt and saute a moment more.
  • remove from heat.
  • when the potato mixture is tender, drain it in a colander over the sink.
  • reheat the onion and spice mixture, add the potato-spinach mixture, and gently stir fry. Taste and season.
  • simmer over low heat about 10 minutes, until the mixture is fairly dry and the spices have been absorbed well
see also home-made naan breads

home-made pitta bread

4 cups (300 mil) white strong flour - 2 cups wholemeal + 2 cups strong white here
1 packet dried yeast
1 teasp fine sea salt
a good glug olive oil
1 cup (300 mil) tepid water

  • mix the dry ingredients together, & add the olive oil and the water
  • incorporate into a dough mix
  • rest for 1hr30 to double in size

  • knead your mix into dough balls
  • flour your surface & roll out to pitta shapes
  • set grill to highest setting & cook for 3 minutes turning once

  • if freezing wrap up at the dough ball stage
  • defrost at room temperature leaving balls intact, flour very well and roll out as normal

16 March 2009

simple spicy chicken pitta


chopped raw chicken breast
pitta breads - see how to make pitta breads

home-made harissa
blitz 4 deseeded red chillies, 4 fat cloves garlic, plenty fresh chopped coriander or 2 tsp ground coriander, juice & zest of one lemon, extra virgin olive oil

salad - iceburg lettuce and chopped tomatoes tossed in mayonnaise

  • marinade the chicken breast chunks in the harissa ingredients
  • sauté till charred and cooked, or bake pieces for 20 minutes
  • grill or griddle the pitta breads
  • slice and stuff with the salad, topping with the chicken pieces
  • squeeze lemon over the top

10 March 2009

Dan Lepard rye crispbreads

Swedish dark crisp rye bread, adapted after Dan Lepard

I was thinking about how to make ryvitas. I've always enjoyed them since I was a teenager & after a discussion on the Beeb re Scandinavian knäckebröd, went to my new book


The Handmade Loaf book, by Dan Lepard, and chose it as the first recipe to try out

They are nutty, very savoury & go perfectly with cheese or sweet jam
I've just had some as my favourite snack - with marmite & cottage cheese

I had a hiccup the first attempt, the yeast didn't react as much as I hoped, so I had to adapt the process as you see it before you, to make compensations

The only problem I'm having is to get these more brittle - I'll work on it

The recipe really should be made with proper DL leaven I'm sure

200g rye flour
180mil tepid water
1 tsp fresh yeast at room temperature
1/2 teasp sea salt

  • gently crumble the fresh yeast into the tepid water, add 2 tablespoons of the flour & leave covered for 15 minutes to ferment - a little longer if there is no reaction
  • add the salt to the remainder of the flour & pour into the fermented yeast mix
  • cover & leave in an ambient place for 3 hours - mine doubled in size in the oven with the light on

  • on a teflon mat, heavily flour the mix & your rolling pin, you don't want any sticking
  • & roll to 3/4 cm depth

  • cover with a damp cloth (if you don't it cracks) & cling film
  • rest for 2 hours to double in size
  • gash into cracker sizes & stab masses of indents into the surface (this helps keep them brittle)
  • bake at 200 for 40 - 50 mins, turning the tray at intervals

  • leave on the oven bars for 10 minutes as the oven cools, & dry your knäckebröd on a wire rack overnight, or for 24 hours

9 March 2009

simple light fruitcake

light & very moist non-sweet fruitcake - the butter cream makes such a difference


225g self raising flour
half teasp all spice powder
1/4 teasp baking powder
*100g butter cream - use ordinary butter if you wish
200g raisins, use any combination of fruits
2 tablesp muscovado sugar
2 beaten eggs
70 - 100 g milk - soya milk is fine

* the butter cream -
120g butter & 130mil full fat pasteurized milk

  • just to tepid but no more, warm through the butter and milk
  • liquidize on full for 2 minutes, you get a single cream texture
  • refridgerate overnight
  • whisk your cream with an electric whisk till it turns to creamy butter

the fruitcake

  • beat all the ingredients together for 2 minutes
  • pour into a lined 6 inch, non-stick cake tin
  • bang down so their are no airholes
  • cover with baking paper to protect the surface
  • bake at 160 deg for 1hour45 till a skewer leaves the cake clean
  • cool your simple light fruitcake on a wire rack before cutting
  • If you use ordinary butter, you will have a firmer cake, like this