get your hands dirty [bread]

I know! Three posts in three days! What is going on?!?! Don’t get used to it, I still have two essays to finish. Ok, one to finish, one to write. This is not going to be a regular thing.

Until after I hand my essays in and do my speeches.

Ok, so after I finished writing the homemade nutella post, I went into the already-dark kitchen (it’s only nine fifteen, people! I’m used to going to bed before you guys!) and did a little after dark baking.

Yes, it is a bit of a habit of mine to bake/cook late at night. I get restless, I get procrastination-y, I get the munchies. You understand.

I wanted to bake crusty bread to serve with dinner – I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned but at my house, we take it in turns to make dinner for everyone who happens to be home for dinner that night during the week. Every few weeks we have a night off because there’s six of us and only five weeknights (I can do maths!) and this week, I made white bean and spinach stew. (It was delicious, by the way. Yes, I will be posting. No, I’m not sure when.)

So I had to start tonight because I have uni tomorrow so I don’t have time to let the bread rise during the day, I have to let it rise in the refrigerator overnight (by the way, refrigerator, WHERE IS YOUR D?) Oh, hey, check out this awesome thigamabob:

I’m aware it’s a bowl with a lid. Guys, it’s a BOWLwith a LID. No need to get glad wrap out every time you want to let dough rise! Just pop the lid on! Magic.

It’s pretty easy to make crusty peasant style bread. Stir the flour, water, salt, yeast together. Let it rise. Bake it. Eat it. Easy.

After I put it in the fridge, because I am becoming increasingly unable to leave a dirty kitchen… I was going to say overnight but really, at all – I cleaned the kitchen and then put the dishwasher on (three cheers for dishwashers!) and then came and wrote this.

This actually reminds me of when I went to Surrender. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it… oh, yeah, that was a hectic few weeks back there. Surrender was amazing. While I was there, I did a bread workshop.

Now, it may seem a little weird to have a bread workshop at a Christian social justice gathering, but this was all about getting more in touch with God, with the earth, the things you eat, what sustains you. What brings us together. We come together to break bread, drink wine, share stories, give and receive love. Bread is powerful. Bread has been around almost since people have been around. Bread is so life-giving. Bread’s pretty dang awesome.

Get your hands dirty. Make some bread.

Artisan Bread

Adapted from girl versus dough

I quartered the recipe and I’ll give you the measurements I used next to the measurements you’ll need for the full four loaves. They’ll be pretty small if you want to do it that way but one was enough for seven people to have one slice, so it was perfect for our dinner.

3 cups (3/4 cup) lukewarm water (about body temperature)

1 1/2 tbsp (3/8 tsp… that was why it didn’t rise so much.. should be 3/8 TBSP…ah well) active dry yeast

1 1/2 (3/8) tbsp coarse salt

6 1/2 cups (1 4/5 cups) bread flour

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon until it’s all coming together. Dust flour over the top and lightly knead until you have a slightly sticky ball of dough. Grease a bowl (the same one you mixed it in if you want to save on dishes) dump the dough in, cover with glad wrap and let rise two hours (or overnight in the fridge).

If you made the full amount, split it into four separate balls. Dust each with flour again, and turn the dough around in your hands, tucking it under as you go, until it’s a smooth and elastic ball. Sprinkle polenta over a baking sheet and place the dough (evenly spread if you’re making more than one) on top, and let sit for about 40 minutes.

At about the 20 minute mark, preheat your oven to 230ÂșCelsius. Slash a sharp knife through the top of your loaves a few times, and place your baking tray on a top rack (when it’s done sitting:) and put a deep dish half full of hot water underneath it. Bake about half an hour.

When it’s done, it’ll be a lovely deep brown colour. Take it out of the oven and let it cool before slicing and serving. I didn’t let mine cool very much. I like hot-out-of-the-oven bread. Dip some in your homemade nutella.

raspberry olive oil muffins

My boss has these muffins that he makes and they’re really popular. You make them in a texas muffin tin (extra large… yum…) and they’re made with oil and they have berries in them (yeah.. I am so articulate today.) And they’re amazing! So I wanted to recreate them for snacks because I get hungry at uni and if I get hungry and I don’t have food on me I’ll buy something unhealthy because I’m shopping while hungry. Not a good idea.

So I looked on my favourite baking sites and found this recipe by Smitten Kitchen, so I decided to make a control batch before I changed things up a bit. Well, controlled by raspberries. I do love me some raspberries.

The thing about baking when you have a bunch of assessments to do is that it’s procrastinating, and I didn’t want to do that so I studied for a bit and then made these and then… failed to study more because it was late by then and I scarfed down a muffin even though I really shouldn’t eat that late at night (especially sweet things). Then I procrastinated a bunch more on the internet.

Then, a week later, I wrote this. Then, two days after that again, I’m posting it. I’m sorry I’m such a busy, frazzled person. I made you muffins. Eat them.

Olive Oil Muffins

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ok, so as I said, I made this as a ‘control recipe’ that was no where near controlled. I swapped in some almond meal, I didn’t use sliced almonds, I added raspberries. They were still delicious. There will be more muffins soon. Just let me finish my essays.

1 3/4 cup plain flour (I swapped in 3/4 cup almond meal for flour)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons orange zest (I used the zest of one orange)

2 teaspoons lemon zest (I used the zest of one lemon)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons milk

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (I used about a cup of whole almonds, blitzed them in the food processor, toasted them and then blitzed the big bits again. It wasn’t ideal and I’ll probably do it differently next time.)

about a cup of frozen raspberries

icing sugar, to sift over

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spray a 12 hole muffin pan with canola spray and dust with flour. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, almond meal (if using) baking powder and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and zests until they are really light and fluffy. Beat in balsamic vinegar and milk.

Pour the olive oil in a thin stream as you beat. Crush the sliced almonds as you add them or just dump the blitzed almonds in. Gradually fold in flour mix with a spatula just until incorporated.

Fill each muffin cavity almost to the top with mixture. Crush some raspberries into each muffin and stir in with a fork.

Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in tin, then on a cooling rack. Eat one asap, but be careful, they’re fragile. Sift icing sugar over and serve with butter.