Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Floating Loaf - Adapted from Maria Speck's Recipe

The author of Taste of Beirut suggested I look into this very interesting bread that requires minimal kneading and rises inside a vat of water. I was pretty sure it would work, but wanted to know more details, so I looked for a few more sources.

I found a source that had pretty detailed step-by-step photographs, i.e. Bread Experience.

Anyhow, I'm going to share my experience with the Floating Loaf.


2 Cups AP Flour
1/2 Cup Spelt Flour
1 Cup + a little more luke warm water
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
2 Tsp Brown Sugar
5.5 g Baker's Yeast
Corn Meal (for sprinkling on the oven paper)

Step 1: Mix all dry ingredients except for the sesame seeds.

Step 2: Add 1 cup water and mix and add more water if you think it needs more. The dough should be pretty wet and sticky but you should be able to make a ball with it.

Step 3: Roll in flour.

Step 4: Put the ball of dough into a vat of water. I used tap water, but if the water is heavily chlorinated in your area, I would let the water sit in the vat for a day to let chlorine evaporate a bit. Wait until the ball of dough floats to the surface. In my case, it took 8 minutes for this to happen, but the time can vary.

Step 5: Now knead it a bit on a floured surface and then put it on top of oven paper that you have sprinkled with corn meal. Cover it with a tea cloth/dish towel and let it rise for another 15-20 minutes or so. When it has risen, wet it with your fingers (fingers will warm the water a bit) and then sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. I used a brush during winter once and my loaf caved in. It's going to be baked anyway so why worry about fingers touching the dough?

Step 6: Preheat the oven to 220C (425F).

Step 7: The oven should be pre-heated by the time the bread rises so slide it onto the hot baking tray inside the oven and bake it for 20-30 minutes or until it is golden brown. I baked mine for 30 minutes.

We had aged Manchego cheese with fresh basil and rosemary inspired by Jana's display from Jana Around the World , green Spanish olives, and Cannellini Bean Spread from Steamy Kitchen with our freshly baked loaf of bread. It was a pretty nice lunch.

The beauty of this loaf is that the cooking time is relatively short. You can basically make freshly baked bread in around 60 minutes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Beef Boregi with Herbs and Pine Nuts from Elra's Cooking

This was my first attempt ever, at using filo pastry and as I tried to separate the layers of filo from the package, Elra's words came to mind.

"You might not use the whole package, but always nice to have extra just in case you tear some."

And boy did I tear some...

In the end, I cheated by using bits of the torn pastry to patch-up holes in the rolled-up filo in the pan. It took 65 minutes before the top of my Boregi was nice and brown.

For the recipe, please go here.

I totally recommend this recipe and really loved the filling!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blue Poppy Seed Sourdough Dinner Buns

I feed my starter once a week, and when I do this I pour everything into a plastic bowl and add 1 cup AP flour and 1 cup water and let it proof. This used to take more than 10 hours, but these days my starter is ready in a few hours.

When my starter is ready, I put half of it inside its container and feed it with 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup water. I use the rest of it to bake bread.

Now, this week I wanted something different. I wanted something different but not difficult or complicated since I had been dealing with some annoying things related to my water purifier for two days.

So I just made bread according to S. J. Ross's recipe adding around 1 Cup spelt flour into the mix and divided the dough up into 16 parts and topped them off with blue poppy seed.

The result was warm wholesome sourdough buns that tasted great with garlic parsley butter.

Here's the recipe.

Blue Poppy Seed Sourdough Dinner Buns


2 Cups Sponge
1 Cup Spelt Flour
2 Cups AP Flour*
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Tsp Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Coarse Spanish Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Blue Poppy Seeds

*Approximate amount. Depending on the state of your sponge and other conditions, you may need more or less.

Step 1: Add the spelt flour to the sponge and mix it.

Step 2: Add the sugar and oil and mix some more.

Step 3: Add the rest of the flour and knead it until it is more or less mixed.

Step 4: Let it rest for 30 minutes and then knead it around 100 times.

Step 5: Let it rest for another 30 minutes and then knead it around 100 times.

Step 6: Let it rest for another 30 minutes and then knead it around 100 times.

Step 7: Let the dough rest until it has risen to around twice its original size. If you create an indentation with your finger and it does not spring back your bread is risen.

Step 8: Divide the dough into 4. Roll these into thick logs and then divide these into 4 again. This will give you 16 buns.

Step 9: Cover your baking tray with oven paper and put some coarse corn flour on it.

Step 10: Place the balls of buns on the paper and cover with a kitchen cloth and let them rise for 1-2 hours.

Step 11: When they have risen, dampen the tops of the buns with luke warm water and sprinkle blue poppy seeds on them.

Step 12: Put a steaming tray of boiling water on the bottom of the oven and put the oven tray in place. Close the oven and turn it on. The temperature should be set to 175C (350F).

Step 13: Bake for around 30 minutes.

Step 14: Serve warm with dinner!