Finnish rye flat breads

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Before the big event, we decided to slip in a little time away in the Alsace and I’ve put everything on the back burner. Though now it his high time for the ‘bun in the oven’ post – I have been dying to do so for months. And, there’s one more thing: let’s make it buns! See, there is a reason for the erratic posting, extreme tiredness, some serious cooking ennui (bread & cheese for supper again, darling) and questionable dishes that should never ever see the light of day again (someone else managed to render the ‘Spanish’ chicken from Food 52 absolutely inedible?). On the other hand you are suddenly super busy getting all the (strictly necessary, right) paraphernalia and wonderful things and, even if you don’t coo at the sight puppies (really?), you’ll definitely swoon over maritime striped bodies in miniature sizes, tiny embroidered shirts and the cutest red corduroy dungarees, which I just had to buy for late spring… and those adorable blue bloomers, of course. Just to clarify: I am pregnant with twin boys. Puppies would be nice, too. One thing after the other.

 

The other buns: mini rye flat breads with a slight sourdough tang. Wholemeal or stoneground rye flour and the fermented buttermilk-yeast starter dough give them a rustic appearance, masses of flavour and just a little rise. They are perfect little buns for a hearty lunch or supper and make irresistible brunch fare with some fitting (as in going on the Scandinavian route) fishy things and herby spreads Continue reading

Potato buns

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When the humble potato met the mighty lobster

I have never gone so far to make our own burger buns (well, until now). Usually we prefer a Kaiser roll aka the ordinary German bakery Kaiserbrötchen over a soft bun as a burger vehicle: they aren’t sweet, have a crisp crust outside with a firm interior that holds up well to the weight of a hamburger & all the fixings. A bun for a lobster roll on the other hand should be richer, buttery (but not yet a brioche), soft bordering on squishy with a fine crumb structure and just little bit sweet. Potato bread rolls fit the bill perfectly and I found these worked not only extremely well as a lobster roll but also a burger bun. Continue reading

Pan bagnat

Pan bagnat

recipe in English & auf Deutsch (s. u.)

Pan bagnat is by far the best picnic food, beach or summer outing sandwich EVER. Once tried, you will not get enough of it (might as well join the pan bagnat appreciation & defense society right now). Originating from the South of France, Nice to be precise, this filled bread shares a lot of ingredients with the eponymous & equally iconic Salade Niçoise – like everything else: the amount & preciousness of the filling used to depend on your affluence. Like other recipes Pan bagnat started out as a way of using old bread: refreshing hard & stale bread with an invigorating bath (pan bagnat is literally ‘bathed bread’).

Other than steeping bread in liquid as in Pappa al pomodoro the outside of the whole loaf is sprinkled with a little water, juicy tomatoes and other garden vegetables (what is not abundantly in season at the Côte d’Azur??) moisten the inside of the bread. Being mainly a vegetable or vegetarian sandwich with small black olives, basil, green peppers, little onions (cébettes), fava beans, cucumbers etc. either anchovies or tuna are added, never both at the same time. Having tuna & egg together, pure luxury. Just a tiny drizzle of olive oil, no vinegar, no salad leaves. Continue reading

Hot cross buns

 

Hot Cross Buns – Korinthenbrötchen (deutsches Rezept am Ende)

Hot cross buns

In case you did not know, I am married to an Englishman, which has only furthered my Anglophilia and deeply rooted affection for extremely expensive paints & wall papers, Earl Grey tea with milk, P.G. Wodehouse, a fried breakfast, B&B’s, the countryside, picnics, the National Trust, Deborah Devonshire, British cuisine and to top the by no means finished list – a pinch of charming eccentricity.

Hot cross buns

In England, Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday (the cross symbolizes of course the Crucifixion). Maybe you know the nursery rhyme and song? A relative of the gorgeous Dutch Krentenbollen (soft currant buns, a sure thing to eat in Holland & bring a bag for my your Mum) these are firmer, saffron-golden and have a distinct and intense spiced taste. Other sources state that Hot cross buns have been served during the whole of Lent. I am a little bit puzzled how these rich golden buns, full of aromatic currants & expensive spices like saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & ginger could have been a daily occurrence and fit the concept of restraint (though once marzipan was considered a fast food!). The luxurious ingredients seem to me more the feast at the end, the break of the fast and beginning of the Easter celebrations.

Hot cross buns

I have failed these buns for years with some resembling fruitcakes (how to say it politely: not my thing), some turned out great – as building material, other recipes took the glazing a bit too far: a triple douse of apricot jam & sugar syrup??? Finally, Felicity Cloake presented How to cook the perfect Hot cross bun (not a moment too soon) and the next day I had several winners on my plate and never looked any other bun in the eye again: Only the tiniest of adaptations (e.g. I prefer a pure currant bun without mixed peel) and a few nips & tucks at the method.

Hot cross buns

 


 

Hot cross buns

Makes 16, adapted from Felicity Cloake’s Perfect Hot cross buns from the Guardian

update: the American cup measurements and weight in ounces are there now

 

200ml milk = ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons = 13½ oz
a few pistils of saffron (a good pinch)
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
20g fresh yeast (never made this with dried yeast, though substitute a sachet of 7g)
50g caster sugar = ¼ cup
450g strong white flour (bread flour or type 550 flour) = 3 cups = 16 oz
100g butter = 3.5oz = 1 stick minus 1 tablespoon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
3 (2+1) eggs
200g currants = 1 cup or 7 oz
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon hot water

Gently heat (do not boil) the milk, throw in the spices: saffron, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon & cloves and leave to infuse for a few hours. Warm again until tepid, strain and dissolve the yeast & feed it with a pinch of sugar.

Cut your butter into small pieces and add them to the flour into a large mixing bowl (or use a pastry blender), rub together, then mix with sugar, salt & ground ginger. Make a well in the middle, add the two eggs and beat with wooden spoon before you add the yeasty spiced milk and stir together. Continue kneading the dough by hand (at least 10 minutes) until soft & smooth. Add more milk if your dough seems too dry or hard to work. Grease a bowl, lift the dough into it & cover with a large plastic bag or tea towel and leave to prove until it has doubled in size (anything from 2 hours in warm place, more in a cooler area).

Briefly knead the dough on a flour-dusted counter & incorporate the currants until evenly distributed. Divide the dough into 16 pieces, roll those into buns (no need to count the currants in each one) and place onto lined baking sheets. Score the top crosswise, cover again with a large plastic bag and leave in a warm place to double in size.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and make an egg wash from the remaining egg with a little water or milk. Stir the flour with a miniscule amount of water into a really thick paste (like putty) and spoon this into one corner of a (tiny) plastic bag. Brush each bun with the egg wash and using your freezer bag as a piping bag (cut of the corner’s tip) draw crosses onto the buns. Bake for about 25 minutes until the buns are golden and the flour cross is still relatively white. Glaze them as soon as they are out of the oven with the tablespoon of sugar dissolved in the hot water, then leave to dry & cool.

 

 


 

Englische Korinthenbrötchen zum Karfreitag

16 Brötchen, Rezept adaptiert von Felicity Cloakes Rezept aus dem Guardian

 

200ml Milch
eine Prise Safranfäden
¼ TL Muskatnuss
3 grüne Kardamom Kapseln, leicht gestoßen
1 Zimtstange
2 Nelken
20g frische Hefe (ich benutze hierfür nie Trockenhefe, wenn gewünscht: 1 Paket à 7g)
50g Zucker
450g Mehl (Type 550)
100g gute Butter
½ TL Salz
½ gemahlener Ingwer
3 (2+1) Eier
200g Korinthen
3 EL Mehl
1 EL Zucker
1 EL heißes Wasser

Die Milch langsam erhitzen (nicht sprudelnd kochen) und darin Safran, Muskatnuß, Kardamom, Zimt & Nelken für mindestens 2 Stunden ziehen lassen. Danach die Milch wieder erwärmen (Körpertemperatur), durch ein Sieb gießen und dann die Hefe darin auflösen und mit einer Prise Zucker füttern.

Das Mehl und die in kleine Stücke geschnittene Butter in eine große Schüssel geben und zwischen den Fingern zerreiben (oder einen Teigmischer / pastry blender benutzen), dann Zucker, Salz und Ingwer hinzugeben und vermischen. In die Mitte eine Vertiefung machen und darin 2 Eier verquirlen. Die Hefemilch hineingießen und alles mit einem starken Holzlöffel verrühren bis ein weicher Teig entsteht. Danach mit den Händen (für mindestens 10 Minuten) kneten um einen glatten und elastischen Teig zu erhalten. In eine leicht gefettete Schüssel geben, mit einer großen Plastiktüte (oder einem Küchenhandtuch) abdecken und an warmem Ort zur doppelten Größe aufgehen lassen (mindestens 2 Stunden).

Den Teig auf eine bemehlte Arbeitsfläche geben und kurz durchkneten, dann die Korinthen einarbeiten bis sie sich gleichmäßig verteilt haben. 16 gleichgroße Brötchen formen und auf mit Backpapier belegte Bleche legen, wieder abdecken und aufgehen lassen bis sie ihre doppelte Größe erreicht haben.

Den Backofen auf 200°C vorheizen und das verbliebene Ei mit etwas Milch oder Wasser verquirlen. Aus dem Mehl und ganz wenig Wasser eine Paste formen (ähnlich wie Fensterkitt oder Knete) und in einen kleinen Plastikbeutel füllen. Die Korinthenbrötchen mit der Eiglasur bestreichen und anschließend eine dünnes weißes Mehlkreuz obenauf spritzen. Dazu von der Plastiktüte eine klitzekleine Ecke abschneiden und sie wie einen Spritzbeutel benutzen. Für ca. 25 Minuten backen bis die Brötchen goldbraun und die Mehlkreuze noch weiß oder nur leicht gebräunt sind.

Sofort mit der Zuckerglasur (1 EL Zucker in 1 EL heißem Wasser auflösen) bestreichen, dann trocken, abkühlen lassen und essen: sehr lecker mit Butter & einer guten Tasse Tee.

 

English muffins

English muffins

Silly me, I thought these were super difficult & tricky to make, a great hassle. Boy, have I been wrong. There is a bit of sports involved (kneading the dough by hand, very satisfying though) plus the wait while the dough proofs & rises, but that is all, I mean, you do not have to watch it. Then beauties need to be baked on a griddle (exciting) for only 10 minutes in total and you have English muffins! Muffins that are a universe away from the cardboard things you get in a bag. I am speculating that they freeze well, too; we’ll run tests if there are enough specimens.

English muffins

If you want to eat these directly, separate the two halves by slowly opening them with your hands: an Englishman never cuts his muffins with a knife, I am told. Why? To insure maximum surface-roughness, which will turn into crispy peaks and ridges when toasted and therefore reach maximum crispness. The same rule applies to the mashed potato application onto Shepherds Pie. Or leave the muffins to cool and toast at a later moment for the aforementioned crispy surface. Eat with salted butter & jam or use to make the great celebratory breakfast and brunch dishes: Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine. Hmmmh.

Let’s see. Maybe. Why not? Definitely. We got the stuff. It might go off otherwise.

 


 

English muffins

adapted from Paul Hollywood’s recipe from The Great British Bake Off

300g or 10.5oz strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon (6g) salt
1 teaspoon (6g) fast-action yeast (I used quick yeast)
1 tablespoon (15g) sugar
1 tablespoon (15g) very soft unsalted butter
170ml or 6 fl oz warmed (not hot) milk, use a little more if you need more fluid
1 egg (should be medium, mine was large and I had to add a little more flour)
flour for kneading
oil
semolina, corn meal or polenta for dusting

Pour the flour into a mixing bowl, place the salt onto one side and the yeast, sugar, butter and milk onto the other (this way the salt does not hinder the yeast). Mix together with a wooden spoon, then add the egg and form a soft, pliable dough. Add a little more flour if the dough is too liquid (if you have used a larger egg) or a little more milk if too firm. Do not be tempted to add more flour because the dough seems very sticky. Turn it onto a floured work and start kneading it wile pushing the dough with the heel of your hand away from you and stretching it this way. After about 10 minutes the dough will have become soft & smooth. Place it into the lightly greased bowl, cover with a plastic bag or cling film and leave until the dough has doubled in size (1-2 hours).
Gingerly place the dough back onto the counter top, dusted with a mixture of flour and semolina, and lightly roll it to a thickness of 1.5 cm. Cut 8 muffins using a 9cm (3½ inches) round cutter, carefully push & fold the rests together to get your bonus pieces. Place them onto a tray covered in semolina and dust the tops as well. Cover again and let the muffins rise & rest for 30 minutes. Heat a flat griddle only over low heat and bake your muffins for 5-6 minutes on each side.

Note: Hollywood rolls the dough to a thickness of 2.5 cm, those are a little too thick for my liking – and too chubby for our toaster. Roll it thinner and you will get two additional muffins, yippee!

 


 

Englische Muffins

Adaptiert von Paul Hollywoods Rezept aus The Great British Bake Off

300g Weizenmehl Type 550
1 TL (6g) Salz
1 TL (6g) Instant-Hefe
1 EL (15g) Zucker
1 EL (15g) sehr weiche ungesalzene Butter
170ml warme (nicht zu heiße) Milch
1 Ei (M, meins war L und ich brauchte nur ein wenig mehr Mehl)
Mehl zum Kneten
Sonnenblumenöl zum Fetten der Schüssel
Semolina (Hartweizengrieß), Maismehl oder Polenta zum Bestäuben

 

Das Mehl in eine große Schüssel geben, das Salz an den einen Rand streuen, Hefe, Zucker, Butter und die Milch auf die andere Seite. Mit einem Holzlöffel verrühren, das Ei hinzugeben und alles zu einem weichen Teig verarbeiten. Den Teig auf eine bemehlte Arbeitsfläche geben und mindestens 10 Minuten zu einem glatten, weichen und elastischen Teig kneten. Der Teig ist zuerst sehr klebrig, man sollte aber nicht zuviel Mehl hinzugeben, denn der Teig wird erst mit dem Kneten und wiederholtem Auseinanderziehen glatt. Am besten benutzt man einen Teigschaber um ihn immer wieder von der Arbeitsfläche zu lösen und dehnt & schiebt ihn immer wieder mit leichtem Druck des Handballens von sich weg. Anschließend zu einer Kugel formen und in der geölten Schüssel abgedeckt (die Schüssel in eine Tüte stellen oder mit Frischhaltefolie bedecken) mindestens 1 Stunde oder länger gehen lassen bis sich der Teig verdoppelt hat. Anschließend nicht mehr bearbeiten, sondern ohne viel Druck auf der mit einer Mischung aus Mehl und Semolina bestreuten Arbeitsfläche 1,5cm dick ausrollen und mit einem glatten runden Ausstecher (9cm) insgesamt 8 Muffins produzieren, die Teigreste nur leicht zusammendrücken um 2 weitere zu formen. Diese dann auf ein mit mehr Semolina bestreutes Backblech geben, die Oberseite der Brötchen ebenfalls mit ein wenig Hartweizengrieß berieseln, wieder abdecken und weitere 30 Minuten aufgehen lassen.

Eine glatte gusseiserne Grillplatte (griddle plate) oder eine schwere Pfanne nur leicht erhitzen und die Muffins auf jeder Seite ca. 5-6 Minuten backen, sie sollten eine leicht gebräunte glatte Oberfläche haben. Dann entweder noch warm vorsichtig in zwei Hälften öffnen (mit den Händen, der Brite schneidet Muffins nicht) und mit gesalzener Butter und Konfitüre essen oder eben zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt in den Toaster damit. So eignen sie sich auch prima für amerikanisches Festtagsfrühstück: eggs benedict oder eggs florentine.
 

Notiz: Hollywoods Muffins sind um einiges höher, er rollt den Teig 2,5cm dick aus und durch das Aufgehen werden sie noch größer. Auch geteilt passten diese nicht mehr in unseren Toaster, daher die dünnere Variante. Ein weiterer Vorteil: die Teigmenge ergibt 2 Muffins mehr.