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Archive for the ‘Baking tips’ Category

So, having presented this lovely fluffy bread last time, I shall now give you some different filling options for it. You can tuck almost anything in your focaccia as long as it’s enough small and thus goes deep in the dough. If it pops up, it might burn and give the whole bread a yucky taste. I haven’t tried all the following fillings out yet, but I’m rather convinced they’d work, too.

Salty foccaccias

Crushed garlic soaked in olive oil

Olives – with stone or not

Little cubes of meatballs or ham

Feta cheese cubes – preferably oiled too

Blackpepper, oregano, basilicum… on the top

Sweet focaccias

I love sweet focaccias – and to make them even better it’s important to pour some sugar-syrup on the top. You make this by quickly boiling a random amount of sugar together with random amount of water. After the focaccia is done (and it’s very important that it really is done, since if you put it back into the oven the lovely sugar-syrup will burn on the top), you pour couple big spoons of this transparent liquid on top of the bread. Let the whole thing cool down and mmm, it’s so delicious… …and yes, a bit sticky, too.

Small grapes or cherries (haven’t tried cherries – could work or not)

Pieces of anykind of dark chocolate – the one meant for baking might give the best result though

Baking vanilla sauce

Sugar-vanilla sugar-soft butter mixture, mmm… could be delicious – as long as it doesn’t burn

Coconut in some form

Crushed cardamom, fennel on top or e.g. lemon in the sugar-syrup

Just try everything – focaccia is so big bread that you can fit something in one corner and other stuff in the other, to try out new flavours! Oh, and tell me if you find something fabulous, or if you figure out that something doesn’t work out at all!

Marika~

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The temperature of your dough affects quite a lot to how it acts when baking – if you have warmer hands or warmer weather it’s likely to be more stickier than on a cold day or with cooler hands. Well, it is quite difficult to change your body temperature or turn off the sun so measuring the ingredients with a thermometer is a good way to at least have your dough started at the right heat.

I didn’t before see the need for this exact measuring, but after realizing how I had used way too warm water due to my old thermometer (also my hand), I changed my mind. But I still say – it’s not obligatory.

A good dough temperature varies between 21-25°C. A good rule is to use your common sense – if it is the coldest day of the year, but you know you’ll heat up the room to over 20°C by warming up the fireplace, there is not that much sense of reading the weather and making a warm dough. So yeah – the warmer expected the cooler dough desired.

And then some math! Baking can be quite scientific, too. Here is the formula; desired dough temperature x 2 – flour temperature = desired water temperature. Let’s say you want dough of 21°C, ’cause it’s a hot Finnish summer. Our flour is as warm as 27°C now and then we want to know how cold water we need. So..?

21 x 2 – 27 =15. So that means water should be 15°C. Living so high up here, the coolest water my tap allows me to get at this time of the year is around 17°C, so having some water in the fridge is essential to get it correct. Then you just do some more measuring to get your water to the correct temperature and voilá – we got it!

As said before, this formula can also be seen on the Gallery-page among the pictures of White bread with overnight sponge, it’s the “Schedule” -photo.

Marika~

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Huh – what a busy week it is! I even had to let my breadmachine to bake for a chance, since I can’t find the time myself. Well, luckily next Sunday looks emptier, so I think I might finally have time to show you some sourdough baking with focaccia.

But ok – if you are as impatient as I often am and f you already want to get your sourdough in use, you can try replacing the sponge of the “White bread with overnight sponge” with the equal amount of your bubbly leaven. The result is yummy as well – just the dough is a bit stickier and harder to control. But it’s a good practice!

So, we have a week now before the promised focaccia and well, you can start preparing yourself for this mission. Keep building up your sourdough and check that you have something to match these following equipments;

1. Spatula – needed for mixing when feeding your sourdoughs.

2. Box – mine is pink, but I’d prefer a see-trough-box. This will be used when your focaccia is proofing between the foldings. Pretty much anything enough big with a lid will do fine.

3. Scrapers – to clean the edges of the bowl, baking surface, spatula, your hands etc.

4. Thermometer – to get your dough in the exact temperature. This is not necessary, but rather useful if you like to get it perfect. A small one with a digital-screen would be ideal and actually I’m waiting for mine to arrive with the post. Main thing is that it’s enough fast and also works also with cooler temperatures.

1. Small and smaller bowls – to measure your sourdough, yeast, water and salt.

2. Baking bowl – big and simple plastic one would be the best. Mine is metal with a rubber bottom. The metal tends to scar ’cause of the scraping and the rubber makes it harder to move when kneading – not a good choice for this.

3. Measuring cans – something good to pour water from. Bottles work well too, and actually if the weather is like it is in Finland now (32°C) it’s good to keep some water in the fridge for baking.

4. A tray for folding – I have this aluminium one with some edges and it’s super. Just oil it a bit and folding goes well, so something like this is good. I used to use baking paper on top of an oven tray, but it was quite sticky and moved a lot.

5. Oil can – one doesn’t necessary need this, but I love mine. It makes it easier to pour the oil on top of the bread in the end and well – it is cute.

And of course it’s good to have an oven, running water and electricity. Well, also an oven tray and some kitchen towels wouldn’t be bad to have around. And if you have a baking stone, that is of course lovely too.

Then we wait for the next weekend ! Oh, and  make sure you got about 6 hours time in your calendar before starting your dough!

Marika~

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Only few days ’till x-mas – I mean, ’till your sourdough is ready to be used in baking. Just have to get trough this 5th and 6th feeding – rest is just building the leaven stonger and turning it into a real 100% hydration sourdough.

But, since this feeding process is becoming quite an everyday-thing, let us go on with it without extra chit-chat today.

Day 5

353g               The “total” mixture made the four first days

248g               To be removed and tossed (about 3/4 of the mixture)

105g               Mixture remaining

100g               Water (bottled)

125g               12-14% protein white flour (organic)

So, we again remove 3/4 of the mixture. Then we feed it, first stir in the water, and then the flour. Scrape down the edges, close the lid and leave in room temperature again until the next day.

Day 6

330g              Our creation so far

280g              To be removed and tossed

50g                Mixture remaining

75g                Water (bottled)

75g                12-14% protein white flour (organic)

So, this is our first 50%-50% water-flour feeding. Having opened the lid, you should have a bubbling and aromatic leaven in your jar. And to keep it active, you shouldn’t over feed your tamagotchi – maximum seven times the amount of the leaven you have after tossing some of it. Say, we’d have the 50g left, that times seven is  350g divided between water and flour is max 175g of each.

Anyhow, this feeding (50g of old 75+75 of new stuff) is a good one. Of course, when you know how much you’ll need for your baking the next day, you can feed your leaven according to that. The main thing is that the amount of flour equals the amount of water. Oh right – I think you know by now what to do with the ingredients, but just to rehearse one more time; Stir first the water and then the flour into the old mixture. Scrape down, close the lid and place in room temperature.

Day 7 and beyond

Keep making your sourdough stronger before getting it into too rough baking action. Doing this will make it even bubblier and the aroma gets stronger, too. Like said before, the feeding instructions from day 6 are very suitable for this part.

How to store your leaven now?

Assuming you’ll continue baking with me there is no need to forget about one’s sourdough. You can even keep it in the room temperature, if you have time for baking a few times per a week. Being a busy student, I store mine in the fridge . It works quite good since the summer is rather hot here at the moment and I have time to bake only once a week. Due to these facts my sourdough would be quite too active on the first day after feeding and then the next day all the bubbles would die out and it would be hungry again. I refreshen my leaven 2-3 times a week, to keep it’s belly full. When I feed it for baking I let it stay in room temperature. You should too, and the best it to feed it even couple times and days before using – but at least once is a must.

So, next we’ll get to the recipes – but before showing you sourdough-baking, here on the side is a little peek of what will be coming up next time!

Marika~

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