Monthly Archives: November 2020

Wild Variation on Potato Focaccine (BBB November 2020)

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BBB November 2020 summary: recipe for Wild Focaccine; playing with the recipe; wildly divergent; fixing the hydration; deciding between sage and oregano still growing in the garden; we’re harbouring a thief; information about Bread Baking Babes; Who me?? Late again? But, but, but… I baked and ate on time!!

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Potato Focaccine

On the instant a score of the famished brutes were scrambling for the bread
– Jack London, Call of the Wild, Chapter III

Wild Focaccine

Okay, so there aren’t 20 people living here. And we’re not exactly famished. But when it comes to seeing warm bread on the table, well….

This month, Elle chose potato focaccine for us to bake. Here is what the inimitable Carol Field has to say about focaccine:

Focaccia […] is sometimes shaped into small focacce, or focaccine, little discs made just to fit into the palm of the hand. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, since these little breads were originally baked as a simple treat for children, hungry bystanders, or for the bakers themsleves on the one day of the week that country women produced the family’s bread. […]
      No one knows who invented the first focaccia, but the contribution, like the discovery of fire or creation of the wheel, has enriched the experience of the civilization that followed. […]
      There are two distinct types of savory focaccia in Italy: low chewy ones that rise to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch, and much thicker ones from Puglia that get their height and soft texture from the presence of mashed potatoes in the dough. […] [T]his fragrant rustic bread […] is meant to be eaten at any hour of the day, and its flavors satisfy in their simplicity, for they come from the best that nature has to offer. […] LET THE BAKING BEGIN!
– Carol Field, Focaccia: Simple Breads from the Italian Oven | Introduction, p. 17

Both Carol Field’s recipes for focaccine and the BBB potato focaccine recipe call for commercial yeast. But during this extended time of semi-house-arrest, we have been thrilled with our Jane Mason starter. I couldn’t NOT use it. Besides, our commercial yeast expired and had to be tossed into the compost bin…. (continue reading )

Toasted Oats Bread

summary: toasting rolled oats; great bread; inspiration comes from 2 spots simultaneously: friend posting on FB and a recipe in Artisan Sourdough by Casper André Ludd and Martin Ivar Hveem Fjeld; directions? I don’ need no stinkin’ directions!

Toasted Oats Tartine Variation

Today I made my best ever bread. Whole wheat and oats.
Effortlessly light
What I have always wanted to make.
POOF! in the oven. I have never seen oven spring before.
– Gordon C, FB, 1 November 2020, 13:00

How cool is that?!

When I saw Gordon’s message, I’d just finished reading “Artisan Sourdough” by Casper André Lugg and Martin Ivar Hveem Fjeld and had already decided I neeeeeeeded to try their toasted oatmeal bread recipe soon. They toast rolled oats in a single layer on a baking tray for about 10 minutes at 350F and then soak the oats overnight in water before adding them to the dough made with whole-grain spelt and white wheat flours.

Toasted Oats, Artisan Sourdough, p.144

Most people have some kind of relationship with oats, because few grains have such character. […] [H]owever, oat flour has poor baking properties, so we only add for flavor. We toast them in flake form in the oven before we soak them. Toasting gives a wonderfully earthy and full-bodied character to the bread.
– Casper André Ludd and Martin Ivar Hveem Fjeld, Toasted Oats, Artisan Sourdough, p144

Now I could not wait to make oatmeal bread! (continue reading )

Mum’s Fruit Cake – revised

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summary: Mum’s Christmas Cake; PRM’s revision; guest-post; how to show off;

I confess that I have never made this cake… we always used to count on my mother to send us some. Many thanks to Mum for allowing me to post my grandmother’s recipe. […] Since Christmas 2011, my sister has taken over making the cake.
– me, recipes from OUR kitchen: Dark Fruit Cake, 2013

Christmas Cake 2019

My sister, P, is a great cook; she is the kind of cook who is intuitive and likes to make alterations to improve the final product. Alterations like replacing loathesome maraschino cherries with dried cherries, or entirely omitting luridly coloured candied peel, or using cashews in place of almonds, or…. (continue reading )