Thursday, 16 October 2008

World Bread Day - German Seed Bread

People, World Bread Day is almost over (at least on this side of the earth) and I'm loaded with work but didn't want to miss out completely on this event that's created by the lovely Zorra of Kochtopf and that's very dear to me!

So this is going to be a short one. During my recent trip to Germany, I had plenty of stuff on my to-do list. Next to "meet as many friends as possible", there was "eat as many German specialties as you can possibly stomach". What shall I say, I really worked hard on that one...

Of course, one of the most memorable things I ate (apart from an incredible number of sausages and cured meats) was a certain type of bread - full with seeds but not dense and heavy at all. Still chewing, my better half requested this particular loaf to be recreated in Sydney and who am I to deny that..;-)

I started off with this recipe from Petra of Chili and Ciabatta and made the changes following below. For non-German-speakers, just a rough summary of the procedure: let the soaker rest for 3-4 hours (covered), mix the dough, let rise until doubled, degas it while stretching and folding it 2x, shape into a loaf, let rise until nearly doubled, and bake at 220 degrees Celsius.
The dough is relatively moist and rather sticky but not too hard to work with (stretch & fold helps a lot to get a good dough structure). My version produces a soft but hearty crumb (due to the different kinds of grains and seeds) and a compact but rather soft crust. It goes well with honey, jam, and mild cheeses.

PS: The first time I made it with a mixture of sourdough and instant yeast as below, the second time around I used sourdough only but can't remember for the life of me if I therefore upped the amount of sourdough or not. Hence, I need to make it again to find out...

Seed Bread

The ingredients

45g flax seeds
45g rye flour
35g sesame seeds
35g rolled oats
11g salt
206g boiling water

Final dough:
180g water or whey
all of the soaker
250g wheat sourdough, 100% hydration
1tbsp honey
360g bread flour
30g wheat germ
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp malted barley flour
up to 4 tbsp whole wheat flour (depending on the stickiness of the dough)

The source
Adapted from Petra of Chili&Ciabatta

Friday, 10 October 2008

Wedding Wrap-Up

In case you're currently contemplating to get married - I can honestly recommend doing it not once but twice. But before you cry out in dismay, I'm talking about doing it twice with the same guy..;-)

This April T and I tied the know in Copacabana Beach (not in Brazil but on the lovely Central Coast of NSW) for the first time; and this September we did it allover again in Germany - accompanied by our families and relatives (and again lots of friends) who hadn't been able to come to Australia.

Although the settings of the two weddings could not have been more different (first just a few friends, an outdoor wedding with a barbecue reception and now about a 100 guests, a very festive ceremony in a grand Gothic church, and a four-course-dinner plus a huge wedding cake buffet) a few things remained the same (apart from wearing the same dress twice..;-)

Both times it was a very relaxed celebration - it was all about having a good time with lovely people while eating and drinking as much as possible. Much to my own surprise, it was just as exciting the second time around. Until three days before, I had managed to convince myself that I was a total pro where getting married was concerned so no need for butterflies in the stomach or any such nonsense. After all, we had been legally married for almost half a year already, right? However, shortly before the wedding, we decided to write our own vows just like for the first ceremony and to learn them by heart this time which was enough for me to finally get nervous again...
But most importantly, listening to my man promising to always be my friend, companion, and lover - it was definitely enough to make me get teary allover again...

PS: In case you wonder, what our wedding has to do with the tart I'm blogging about today - my lovely workmates from Sydney had sent me off with a wonderful bunch of flowers. So once I was back in Sydney, I wanted to bake something nice for them. Thinking that I had enough shortcrust pastry in the freezer, I quickly decided on a frangipane tart. However, after defrosting the pastry, I realized that the two portions weren't the same thing - one was a parcel with streusel topping. Hence this rather unconventional take on a frangipane tart which hopefully still qualifies as an entry for Kochtopf's food blog event "Quiche, Tart & Co"..;-)

Note to self: Thou shalt not only label your freezer bags but also read the label before proceeding.

Emergency Frangipane Tart

The ingredients

Your favourite shortcrust pastry to line a 24cm-spring form pan (I use this one)

2 small eggs
50g caster sugar
a few drops of rum essence (optional)
60g marzipan, grated
100g streusel topping (like this one - freeze the remainder for another time)
50g almonds, ground

1 pear, peeled and cut into thin wedges (add more fruit if you like)

Either grease your spring form tin or line it with parchment paper. Press the pastry into the tin, forming a small rim (if you happen to have enough pastry, that is...). Prick with a fork a couple of times and fan-bake at 150 degrees Celsius for roughly 10 minutes.

Using a hand-held mixer, beat eggs, sugar, and rum essence (if using) until pale, thick, and foamy.

Add ground almonds and streusel topping and fold in gently. You don't want to destroy the foamy consistency.

There are two possibilities for adding the marzipan:
You either grate it into the bowl where it will most likely clump together again - in this case try to mix it in as gently as possible. Or you pour the filling into the tart case and grate the marzipan directly on it (I'll try this method next time).

Cover with pear slices and fan-bake for another 30 minutes or until crispy and golden-brown on top.

The source
My own invention - out of necessity..;-)