Monday, 10 February 2014

AND I'M STILL BAKING, the ups and downs of an amateur baker

The baking continues and it has given me a new lease of life!

Its very reassuring and quite liberating to have kilo of strong flour, and several sachets of instant yeast in the cupboard, I know that in the event of nuclear war (one of my manic depressive worries), fire, flood or free falling asteroid, I have the ingredients to knock up a sandwich for the kids.  

Not all of my efforts thus far have been successful.  My crusty bread rolls looked like Farleys rusks and had the kind of texture that would be of interest to the concrete industry.  My round loaves thus far, have come out looking like flying saucers, though they are far to heavy to fly.  I don't know if it is my kneading technique (or lack of), but my dough never seems to look like Paul Hollywood's dough - it rises outwards rather than upwards.  Where am I going wrong?

I have had more success using a loaf tin, though getting the tin size and shape right is a skill all by itself.  It really is trial and error.  It took a long time to master placing an oiled piece of clingfilm over rising dough, not as easy as it sounds, especially if you are using one of those rolls where a little bit tears off and you end up with a mile of plastic string and a fat wad of clingfilm that is unusable. Remedy. Remind yourself, ten mile of clingfilm for 50p is not a bargain if you cannot use it.

The most reliable loaf I have found so far, is this simple wholemeal recipe. It only needs to be proved once, for an hour, and it is ready to bake and the kneading time is 5 mins rather than 10, so handy if you are feeling less energetic!

I had intended to put up a picture of yesterday's loaf.  My best friend (and guinea pig, lol) thought it was a 'real' loaf from the shops!  A compliment indeed.  I substitute the olive oil, for walnut oil, when I use wholemeal flour, but I use olive oil, when I make the white version.  I will see if I can get a picture of the remains if it survives the day!

My resolution to give up processed food is not confined to bread.  On Thursday evening following a trip to the market, my kitchen was filled with copious amounts of fruit that was hovering dangerously close to its use by date.  I had a good go at the grapes, but I am only one person.  Plan A was to make a strawberry roulade, but due to the hour, I abandoned the idea in favour of strawberries dipped in chocolate ganache. However, once dipped, the strawberries didn't make it to the display plate, as I got rather carried away with the tasting.  Heck, who am I kidding, I abandoned the strawberries and dived into the saucepan of ganache head first accompanied by some crushed nuts.  Now thats the picture I should have gone with.  Perhaps with a health warning such as: 'This is what happens when a woman is deprived of chocolate'.

Strangely, I continue to lose weight, my crazy diet is working!  As I mentioned before, nothing is forbidden, as long as I make it from scratch.  It is indeed also possible to make your own sweets.  If one leaves the ganache in the fridge for at least 10 hours, it can be rolled into delightful little truffles and placed in cutesy gift boxes.  Suffice to say, I have yet to achieve the waiting time required.  

I put some of the plums on top of shop bought puff pastry (yes I know, but in the case of puff pastry, shop bought is allowed), together with some crushed almonds and a little sugar.  I kid you not, a wonderful (and imo healthy) pudding in minutes.     

In retrospect buying all that fruit was not one of my better ideas, as I hadn't put much thought into how I was going use/preserve it, and its quite depressing watching your beautiful grapes turn into raisins.  I daren't look at the remains of the strawberries that are probably now stuck to the back wall of the fridge. Oh well, its been a good week, I have had over and above my '5 a day' and some of the strawberries did end up in sugar free jelly for which I will give myself a 1000 weightwatcher points.  

1 comment:

  1. well done i may even give this a try mhope your ok xx gracelandann