Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A day spent making bread, pt. II.

Pulla bread was something i stumbled upon randomly and decided i wanted to tackle. I was drawn in purely because of its aesthetics and after making it i can safely say it's delicious to boot.

Finnish Pulla Bread

+ 2 cups milk
+ 1/2 cup warm water
+ 1 cup sugar
+ 1 tsp. salt
+ 1 tsp. ground cardamom
+ 1 packet rapid rise yeast
+ 9 cups flour
+ 4 eggs
+ 1/2 cup butter, melted
+ 1 egg, beaten for top of bread
+ sugar, for dusting

  • Directions
  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm.
  2. Stir in the lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs. In a large bowl combine yeast and 2 cups of flour. Add milk mixture to flour and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add about 3 cups of the flour and beat well; the dough should be smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter or margarine, and stir well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff. You may need to use slightly more than the recipe calls for.
  3. Turn out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down, and let rise again until almost doubled.
  4. Turn out again on to a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 3 again. Roll each piece into a 12 to 16 inch strip. Braid 3 strips into a loaf. You should get 3 large braided loaves. Lift the braids onto greased baking sheets. Let rise for 20 minutes.
  5. Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Check occasionally because the bottom burns easily. You may need to cover half way through baking with foil to avoid burning the top of the loaf.

A day spent making bread, pt. I.

Today a large portion of my day was spent making bread. Not one type of bread but two very different kinds. One sweet, one savory, it seemed like the perfect balance. The first was a loaf of Olive and Sea Salt Sourdough. Adapted from a basic bread recipe i make on a (sometimes more than) weekly basis. The recipe is as follows, i'd highly recommend it.

Basic No-Knead Bread

+ 6 cups flour
+ 1/2 tsp. rapid rise yeast
+ 2 tsp. salt
+ 2-3 cups cool water

Mix together dry ingredients throughly. Add water in increments until dough is shaggy and sticky, but will keep its shape somewhat. Cover with cling film and let rise for anywhere between 12-18 hours (easiest if done overnight). Lightly flour and work surface and place dough on it. Fold it over itself two or three times, forming a loose ball. Cover gently with cling film and let rise 15 minutes. Form dough into another ball quickly, but gently and place again on floured work surface. Cover with a cotton dishtowel and let rise for 2 hours. Turn over to 450 degrees and let the 6-8 quart cast iron or enamel pot warm as the oven heats up. Place dough seam side up into the hot pot and shake to evenly distribute dough. Bake with the lid on for 30 minutes, then lid off for 15 until browned. Cool on a rack.

(In order to make this an Olive and Sea Salt loaf fold in diced black olives and sprinkle with flaky sea salt before baking.)

Recipe and pictures for Pulla coming next!

A wonderful thing.

The wonderful thing about buying peonies at this time of the year and asking specifically for them to be tightly closed, is one morning, a day or two after you get them, the flowers surprise you by opening up and saying hello.

Life Looks Like This, London Edition.

(photos stolen from sascha)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Has Sprung.

Spring has officially sprung in london and my first peonies of the season were bought today. This is a big deal, i'm looking at you durga and maxine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Found a photobooth in London!

And We're Back!

Back in London! Here is the weekend in six pictures.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sometimes Old Is Best, Pt. II.

Yes, it's real folks. Hot dog pie.

Sometimes Old Is Best.

There's one part of our house that hasn't been touched since it was built in the mid sixties, and i would have it no other way. In fact, i've been the one person in the family that's stood up for this bathroom's static existence for years. I thought i'd immortalize it in photos.

Winding Down.

Well, after being home for two weeks now, and looking through all of the pictures i've been taking, i've realized that here, and everywhere else i live, my life revolves around making good meals. I've also been lucky enough to have sunshine and trees in bloom all around me. I have to stock up before my return to rainy london.