This is my Food blog. My Cooking blog. In particular, I’m going to talk about BAKING. Not exclusively, I hope, because I can also make a mess of other areas of cooking, not just Baking.
I select a recipe, and try to follow it. Sometimes it works. Other times, it doesn’t. And mostly, I don’t know why. I suspect user error.
What went wrong (and if I have a criticism of recipe books in general, it’s that the recipe goes right and what you do when it doesn’t is not what the author set out to describe) is what I’m dedicating myself to. It’s a principal difference that I’m hoping to establish in this blog. Successful cookery writers write about success. My blog’s about failure – and hopefully, how to overcome it.
I’m embracing the wider world community. Let’s see if I can make a success of baking. Will you help?
Once upon a time I’d never even heard of sourdough. In fact, I was middle-aged by the time I did, and I only heard of it because I started making my own bread. Funny thing is, that for most of man’s civilised existence on the planet, that’s what bread generally was. Or if it was bread and wasn’t sourdough, it was by definition a flatbread!
Explained at its simplest level, sourdough is bread that is naturally leavened. No baker’s yeast, just a form of wild yeast. If you’re a bread baker, you start off with either an original culture of your own, or you are given some by a friend and you then nurture it. Basically, it’s a pet, but one of the few you can eat without people getting upset.
My oven sucks. This was brought home to me when recently I was about to put a loaf in the oven and I got a call from my son and daughter-in-law asking me to come over for some emergency grandchild-sitting. I asked them to turn their oven on and drove over (it’s about 10 minutes away). So I stuck the loaf in the oven and it was a revelation. No turning the loaf and altering the heat to try and get an even bake. No burnt top and half-baked bottom. It was the best-baked loaf I’d made. I guess relying on the oven we bought with our house 16 years ago means that a past-it baking capability is par for the course. I’d known this for a while of course, just not how bad. And I’d seen La Cloche on the BakeryBits web site and although it looked like a solution I hesitated, finally deciding near on £50 just for an oven to put in my oven was a bit much. Now, I decided that it sounded worth it. And I had a birthday. So … I bought one.
A first foray into a promised land of taste and texture
I’ve read about autolyse a few times recently and its promise of improved taste and texture was attractive. What’s not to like? So I gave it a go. It didn’t work out. At all. Look, there it is, flowing out of the tin. It’s possible that I made a mistake; in fact I’d go so far as to guarantee it. Trouble is, I don’t know what I did wrong!
One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns! Easter time, and traditionally Hot Cross Buns make a seasonal appearance. Of course, seasonality is a rare thing these days – and with this recipe (from Tom Herbert of Hobbs House) you’ll want every day to be Easter! It’s fruity masterpiece. Continue reading “Hot Cross Buns”
Teacakes – a lovely buttery afternoon treat – and pretty easy to make, too!
Another tea-time treat to go with the crumpets recipe I posted about recently. Autumn’s bringing out the comfort foodie in me and there are few more comforting treats that a mug (not a cup, a mug!) of tea accompanied by a teacake, sliced, toasted, and spread liberally with butter. After a walk kicking damp leaves aside, it’s a moment of heaven. Or you can just miss the walk and go straight to the treat! Continue reading “Teacakes”
I love crumpets. As autumnal temperatures return, it’s a pleasure to come in from the chill and toast a couple of crumpets, smother in jam, and with a nice cup of tea… well, if you’re English, it’s heaven. And if you’re not, well you can always pretend! It’s a delicious pause in the day.
Oh yes. If I was to nominate my favourite treat, this would feature very highly on the top treat list. In the mood, right at the top. It’s part nostalgia: I remember I would be sent from my grandparent’s house in the village they lived in outside Halifax, Yorkshire, to a little baker’s shop a few yards away and to bring back little egg custard tarts. The bakery has long gone, of course, and today you can pick these up, packaged in cellophane and cardboard, at your local supermarket. We love them because they are delicious AND often reduced. But could I produce something better? Continue reading “Egg Custard Tart”