Saturday, 8 March 2014

A Baking Saturday

It's been a weekend of baking!  It started with a first attempt at a Zendala which is a fusion of Zentangle patterns and mandalas.  What doesn't show up so well in the picture is the light glitter from the gell roll pens I used to give the whole thing some colour.  I like the usual black and white but wanted to jolly this one up a bit.  Because it's spring :) Nearly.
Then I tried this.  It's another recipe from one of the birthday gift baking books and it's made with WINE.  Quite a lot of wine :).  The basic cake was easy to make and the scent of ground cardamoms, lemons, oranges and wine wafting from the oven was very lovely.  The recipe then calls for a syrup to be made and drizzled over the cake to be absorbed but this didn't work.  In fact I think it spoiled what had been a real winner.
That didn't stop the cake being devoured.  While it was still warm this Bad Thing happened!  If you want to try, it's from the Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking and (without the syrup) is bloomin' lovely.  I predict this will be taken to many girlfriends houses, nom nom.
The bread experiments continued too as I had another go at using the banneton.  I make this bread differently each time, mixing recipes, techniques and rise times.  This is what I took out of the fridge this morning.  This beastie had been in its basket in the fridge overnight, quietly rising.
And this splat is what it looked like after I'd turning it out of its basket.  I added the slashes to the top and put it into a hot oven immediately.  That's where I went wrong.  I should have given the splat an extra hour rise again and look like a proper loaf but I forgot. 
Then I waited.  Did you know bread "sings"?  When loaves are taken out of the oven, if they have a good crust as it cools down it makes little splitty, cracky, creaky sounds.  This is called singing.

And this one sang it's head off.  And despite being denied its full rising time, tasted gorgeous.  This is becoming my favourite part of the weekend, when I wake up early and sneak downstairs to bake the bread during the quiet, still time of the morning, snuggled up in big goonie working my way through a pot of coffee, listening to my bread singing and waiting for the rest of the house to wake up.
We decided we needed some muffins for after lunch.  Acting on the boys advice, I adapted the thermomix recipe I posted a couple of weeks ago and made a marshmallow and choc chip version.  I've made this basic recipe many times now and these can be knocked together and put in the oven within 15 mins so it's super quick.  There weren't many left to take a picture of so they all got pushed together to look like lots.
There are soooo many recipes to be tried and eaten.  All my recipe books have bits of paper hanging out of them where ideas have been marked, ready to be tested "when there's time"  but I'm realising that special time is never going to magically appear so I'd better just get on with it.

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