breads & crackers

porridge sourdough & raisin rye variation

4th October 2023

A sourdough journey…

I am just starting on this path of bread making, so my knowledge is basic, and with each loaf of bread, I am still learning and experimenting. The joy and accomplishment felt when you pull a freshly baked loaf of bread out of the oven to feed your loved ones is immense.

This recipe takes into account that you have a sourdough starter already sitting in your fridge waiting to feed and bloom. If you don’t, many wonderful books and blogs will take you through this process. You can also ask around; you probably know someone who has one, or if you live in Portugal, I am delighted to offer you some of my own.

This is my favourite bread recipe; the porridge mixture gives the bread a custardy crumb, which is exceptional! The recipe evolved from the porridge bread served at the ‘Spring’ restaurant in London and has been baked and baked until I successfully achieved a loaf similar to theirs.

Here are a few tools and tips before starting your loaf of bread:

tools

  • Necessary – a big mixing bowl, tea towels, electronic scale, Dutch oven (size 22), sharp knife or razor blade, sturdy oven mitts.
  • Ideal but unnecessary – I use a round 20cm x 8cm proofing basket. (You can use a colander lined with a tea towel inside, but a proofing basket has a special shape and material that allows more air in), dough scraper (handy when shaping the dough.)

ingredients

  • Bread flour or baker’s flour – you can bake with pizza flour, wholemeal flour, spelt, rye flour – any flour with at least 10g of protein per 100g; you can check by looking at the bag.
  • Sourdough leaven (starter), sometimes called sourdough, is a form of natural yeast that you have to keep alive in liquid form (as opposed to dry yeast, which you can keep in powdered form.) It makes your bread rise and gives it its nice sourdough flavour. The starter is the most important part of the bread. See below as to how to maintain it. Test the starter by adding a spoon to a cup of warm, tepid water – if it floats, it is ready to go.
  • Rice flour is an excellent non-stick flour for shaping and dusting the basket. It doesn’t become sticky like regular flour, making it easy to work with, and it doesn’t turn black in the oven.
  • Different types of flours to bake with – you can start with just your regular bread flour, but it’s gratifying to try out baking with different types of flours, e.g. wholemeal, rye, and spelt and see how the bread changes which ones you like the flavour of. I love spelt because it tastes better and is a flavourful grain! It’s a good idea to start using a majority (at least 60%) of baker’s flour and then add other types.
  • Salt – I use rock salt in all my baking, based on Ayurvedic principles. It’s important not to add salt until after an auto-lapsed/hydrated period (this is the first step when you add the water, leaven and flour.)

feeding your starter:

I keep my starter in the fridge. I do this as a security measure if I forget to save some aside. The day before I bake, I take what I need from the starter, feed it and place the remaining back in the fridge. I don’t bake bread daily, so I don’t want to feed it constantly, and there is much less waste. Because my starter has been in the fridge, I try to give it two feeds before I use it. I usually take it out the night before, discard some and feed it again for bread-making below.

Above, left is the starter just feed, next is after 2 hours, then 4 hours and lastly, 6 hours, bubbly and ready to use. I have also used it after 4 hours. The bread isn’t as good as a starter after 6, but it still makes a great loaf.

Drop a spoonful into a bowl of room-temperature water to test the starter’s readiness. If it sinks, it is not ready and needs more ripening time. When it floats on the surface or close to it, it’s ready to make the dough.

If you see that the starter has risen and has started to go back down, it has fermented too long and reached its peak, then started to deflate. I don’t suggest using it; instead, discard leaving 10-20g, then feed it 50g flour and 50g water. I live in a relatively cool climate, even in Summer, so these times could be different in your place.

This is my routine that works well. I make a loaf once a week (these times could change in the summer season.)

  • I take my starter (sourdough leaven) from the fridge in the evening, just before bed, around 9.00 pm, the day before I intend to bake. Measure out 40g (Important – feed the leftover starter, replace it in the fridge); feed the measured starter – 1:3:3 (40g+120g flour+120g water.) Allow it to sit overnight; the 1:3:3 ratio gives it a good feed for that period, and it doesn’t run out of food and collapse.
  • Usually, by the morning 7.00 am, it is active and ready to go. With this active starter (even if it has deflated), I make a lemon sourdough pound cake or the most delicious savoury pancakes, keeping aside 10-25g or whatever is left in the jar (for making a loaf of bread), which I then feed – 1:2:2 (25g+50g flour+50g water.) Set aside and ferment for another four – six hours or until doubled or tripled in size. Usually, by 1.00 pm, it’s ready to use.
porridge sourdough 

Makes one medium loaf

preparing the dough – approx 4 – 7 hours

overnight in the fridge – 12 – 16 hours

baking – 40 minutes

dough

300g warm water

100g sourdough starter, well-fed, bubbly and ready to use

1 Tbsp/10g olive or rapeseed oil

80g wholegrain spelt flour

420g white spelt flour

12g fine rock salt

porridge mixture

40g rolled oats or barley flakes + 10g linseeds + 200g boiling water

~

a sprinkling of sesame seeds or oats, optional 

rice flour for dusting

porridge

1. Add the oats and linseed in a small saucepan, then pour in the hot water and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes. Cook over medium heat for 5 – 10 mins, remove from heat and allow to cool down.* 

sourdough

2. Weigh 300g of warm water into a large bowl. Add 100g of your starter. Stir briefly to combine, and add the oil and flour. Give it a good stir until no dry patches remain, then cover it with a plastic bag or a damp cloth and leave for 40 minutes to autolyse/hydrate.

3. Add the salt; use your hand to thoroughly scrunch and mix the dough until everything is evenly distributed.

4.  Bulk rise: Cover the bowl again and let the dough rise in a warm place for around 3-4 hours until doubled in size. During this time, with wet hands, every 30 minutes, turn and fold – reach down, lift up one side and then stretch it up and over the ball of dough to reach the other side, where you can press the end down gently so it stays put. Repeat all the way around the dough.

*Add 190g of the cooled porridge mixture after the first two series of turns, about 1 hour into the bulk rise.

As time progresses, the dough should become puffier, lighter, smoother, stronger and easier to handle.

5. After the dough has risen sufficiently, turn it out onto a lightly oiled/floured work surface and shape it into a boule by making a series of folds (same as before, using as little flour as possible) to create a smooth, taut surface on the underside. Sometimes, my dough is a gooey mess, and I fold the best I can. This is why I usually use an oiled surface; even though it is a gooey dough, the result still bakes up into exceptional bread.

6. Heavily flour (rice flour), a large round proving basket (or large colander, or bowl lined with a tea towel.) Optional: Sprinkle sesame seeds or oats on the counter and gently roll the dough into them before transferring to the basket, seam-side up. If the seams are gaping, pinch them closed. The dough should fill half the basket.

7. Cover again and let prove in the fridge for 12 – 16 hours. It could rise to more or less fill the basket. If it hasn’t quite done that, don’t worry – it will rise further in the oven.

8. Bring the dough out of the fridge, and set aside on the counter. Put your empty lidded casserole in the oven and heat the oven to 250C/480F (or as hot as it will go.) Wait 40 minutes for the pot to get really hot. Then, carefully tip the dough into the hot pot with its round, smooth side on top. Slash the top a few times with a sharp blade. Immediately replace the lid and return the pot to the oven.

9. Bake for 35 minutes. Then remove the lid, turn down the heat to 230C/446F and continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the crust is a rich brown. Cool completely (this is important!) on a wire rack before cutting. The loaf will keep for three days in linen or paper bags. Using plastic makes the crust soft.

raisin rye variation

Follow the recipe above; replace the oats with 40g rye flakes + 10g linseed. Soak 1 cup/125g raisins for 30 minutes, drain and set aside. Add the raisins and rye-porridge mix, plus 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder and 1/8 tsp cardamom powder (optional), after the first two series of turns, about an hour into the bulk rise.

challah rolls

23rd February 2021

Challah is a type of yeasted bread popular in Jewish cuisine, it is similar to a brioche but with no dairy. Challah usually contains eggs, however, like my other challah recipes, this one is vegan –  light, fluffy, dairy and egg-free. Before baking, I brush the dough with oat milk and top it with sesame seeds. 

These rolls might seem like a lot of work because they are small and braided, but they are very easy to make. The shaping isn’t tricky at all; if anything, they are a lot of fun. They are even a great project to do with young children! I have put a link below to see how the braiding is done, or go to @goodnessis Instagram stories.

challah rolls

Preparation 2½ – 3 hours

Baking time 25 minutes

Makes 8 small challah rolls

The recipe uses a mixer with a dough hook, but you can easily use your hands.

dough ingredients 

2 Tbsp/20g flaxseed

1 cup + 2 Tbsp (246g) oat or nut milk

6 Tbsp/60g olive oil

1 heaped tsp active dry yeast

1¼ cups/150g whole spelt flour

2¼ cups/350g white spelt flour

¼ cup/40g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

toppings

oat milk for brushing

sesame and poppy seeds

preparation 

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, whisk together the flaxseeds with warm oat milk, oil and yeast. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed, until the mixture foams, about 5 – 6 minutes.

2.  Add the flour, sugar and salt to the yeast and milk mixture, turn the machine onto the lowest setting and knead on medium speed for about 5 – 10 minutes.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, or if too dry, add more liquid, a teaspoon at a time. The dough should feel tacky but shouldn’t stick to your hands.

3.  Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to sit in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours until well risen and doubled in size.

plaiting the dough

4.  Take out the dough and divide it into eight equal pieces, approximately 110g each.  Using your palms, starting from the centre and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope approximately 40 cm long.  

For easy braiding instructions, refer to this video – jump to 1:02 mins.

5.  Place the strand onto the work surface, bring the end piece around, and pinch it into the middle of the strand to look like a number 6. Then, take the long strand and bring it over the top and through the loop; allow it to hang while you gently pull and twist the loop into a figure 8. Take the strand and bring it from underneath and over the right side so that it tucks down into the bottom of the figure of 8. Gently pinch it underneath.

6. Place on a baking tray and repeat with the remaining 7 pieces. Brush with oat milk and sprinkle with poppy and sesame seeds.

7.  Cover loosely with an oiled plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 – 1½ hours.

8.  About 15 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 180C/350F.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate the tray halfway through. Allow to cool down before cutting into them fully.

variation

  • 6 rolls – divide into 6 pieces, approx. 145g each – roll to 45 cm.
  • 10 rolls – divide into 10 pieces, approx. 90g each – roll to 35 cm.
  • You can leave the dough rising overnight. After the first rise, when the dough has doubled, store it in the fridge covered with plastic wrap. The following day, leave room temperature for an hour and resume braiding.
  • You can make them pull-apart rolls: place the shaped rolls into a lined baking dish close to one another so they touch each other after the second rise/baking.

note

  • Make sure to divide the dough into evenly sized portions for even baking.

round challah for Rosh Hashana (vegan)

15th September 2020

Round challahs are traditionally baked for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, to symbolize the continuity of life – and on Rosh Hashana, we dip challah and apples in honey to symbolize our hopes for a sweet New Year. For this reason, Rosh Hashana challahs are often sweeter than those served the rest of the year. Some add more sugar than they normally do to the dough, others add raisins, or sprinkle cinnamon and sugar.

May this coming year be filled with sweet blessings and may it bring you closer to your own inner HAPPINESS.

round challah for Rosh Hashana

If wanting to make this a traditional three-braided challah – click here for instructions on how to braid.

Preparation – 2½ hours

Baking time -35 minutes

Makes 1 large round challah

The recipe uses a mixer with a dough hook, but you can easily use your hands. 

ingredients 

2 Tbsp/20g flaxseed

1 cup + 2 Tbsp (246g) warm milk or almond milk

6 Tbsp/60g olive oil

1 tsp active dry yeast

1¼ cups/150g whole spelt flour

2¼ cups/350g white spelt flour

¼ cup/40g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

toppings

oat milk, for brushing

black and white sesame seeds

preparation 

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, whisk together the flaxseeds with warm almond milk, oil and yeast. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed until the mixture foams, about 5 – 6 minutes.

2.  Measure out the flour, sugar and salt, whisk together and add to the yeast and milk mixture, turn the machine onto the lowest setting and knead on medium speed for about 5 – 10 minutes.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time or if too dry, add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.

3.  Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to sit in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours until well risen and doubled in size.  The longer it sits the better the bread.

4.  Take out the dough, knead a little with the heel of your hands and work it into a ball.

plaiting the dough

5.  Divide the dough into four equal pieces, approximately 214g each.  Using your palms, and starting from the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope approx 23-inches or 60-cm long.  Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces.

6.  Place two strands parallel to one another in a vertical manner. Weave one strand horizontally through the two vertical strands, placing it on top of the left-hand strand and underneath the right-hand strand. Do the same with the remaining strand, but weave it underneath the left-hand strand and on top of the right-hand strand. The strands should sit snug to each other, with no space in between, looking like a large plus sign. (Refer to the photos below and watch this video, it is more difficult to explain than it is to do.)

7.  Starting from the bottom of your plus sign, take the left-hand strand and cross it over the right one. Moving counter-clockwise, do the same for the remaining strands.

8. Now switch directions. Look at the very first strand you crossed at the bottom of your loaf (it should now be horizontal instead of vertical). Take what is now that strand’s right-hand neighbour and cross it over going clockwise. Do that with the remaining strands.

9. Keep switching directions until you have run out of dough to plait. You may have to stretch it a little to weave it all together.

10. Pinch the remaining dough together and tuck them under the loaf so it looks nice and neat. Transfer the braided loaf to the baking tray, brush with oat milk and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.

11.  Cover loosely with an oiled plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1½ hours.

12.  About 15 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 180C/350F.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow the challah to fully cool down before cutting into it.

Shana Tova!

Update:

Here’s another way to make a round challah. Watch this video with very easy instructions. Divide the dough into three pieces and roll each strand into 65cm long and proceed.

carrot-turmeric seeded rice bread (gluten-free)

12th August 2020

We had a very special guest this weekend, who was gluten-free, so it was a good opportunity to try Amy Chaplin’s gluten-free bread from ‘Whole Food Cooking Every Day’. This bread has a lovely moist crumb and leaves you feeling nourished and satisfied. It is very easy to make and goes nicely drizzled with olive oil and spread with homemade hummus.

The moist texture of this bread is the combination of soaked seeds and grains, rolled oats and psyllium husks.

Psyllium comes from the seeds of a herb called Plantago ovata that is mostly grown in India. When water is added to psyllium husks, they form a thick gel that helps bind the dough in this recipe.

note

  • Be sure to buy psyllium husks, they form a thick gel that helps bind the dough in these recipes.
  • Keep in mind you need to soak the seeds and/or grain overnight before making this bread.
  • This recipe is extremely versatile; if you don’t have one of the nuts or seeds, simply substitute whatever you have on hand. You can also omit the carrot and turmeric for a more neutral-tasting bread.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or in the fridge for a week. The sliced bread freezers well.

 

carrot-turmeric seeded rice bread

Makes One – 11.5 x 21 cm loaf

Recipe from ‘Cooking Whole Foods Every Day’ by Amy Chaplin.

Pre-preparation 8 hrs

Preparation 20 mins

Baking 1hr 20 mins

ingredients

1½ cups/280g short-grain brown rice, soaked overnight

½ cup raw unhulled sesame, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds, soaked overnight with the rice (above)

1 cup/250ml water

1 cup/100g rolled oats

2 Tbsp/8g psyllium husks

1 Tbsp aluminum-free baking powder

3 Tbsp coconut or olive oil

1 tsp fine rock salt

2 tsp turmeric powder

2 medium/115g carrots, grated

black sesame, sunflower or pumpkin seed for sprinkling over loaf

preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a 11.5 x 21 cm loaf pan with parchment paper, leave at least a 1-inch overhang. Set aside.

2. Pour the soaked rice and seeds into a large strainer and rinse. Place the strainer over a bowl and set aside to drain.

3. In a food processor, place the soaked rice and seeds, water, oats, psyllium husks, baking powder, oil, salt and turmeric powder – process until well combined and the grains are broken down but the mixture still has texture.

4. Add half the carrots and pulse until just combined, then add the remaining carrots and pulse to incorporate.

5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, making sure to spread it into the corners, sprinkle with sesame seeds or seeds of choice.

6. Bake for 40 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 40 minutes, or until the edges of the bread are golden and have pulled away from the sides of the pan. Lift and cool on a wire rack. Be sure to cool the bread completely before slicing.

homemade pita

8th March 2019

Making pita bread feels like magic!  It is surprisingly easy to make and starts with a simple yeast dough that gets baked in a very hot oven. The heat activates the yeast and creates steam, which makes the dough puff up dramatically, forming its signature pocket. The pita will deflate as soon as it cools, but the pocket remains.

To note  

  • It is important that the temperature in the oven is very hot and stays hot.
  • A pizza stone is very helpful to have when making pita, however,  preheating a baking tray works just as well.
  • To ensure a pocket, don’t roll your pita out too thin.

homemade pita

Makes 8 medium pita

ingredients

1½ cups/320g warm water

2 tsp/8g dry yeast

1½ Tbsp/12g sugar

3 Tbsp/30g olive oil

3¾ cups/490g unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp/5g fine rock salt

preparation

1.  Grease a large bowl with oil or ghee. Set aside.

2.  In a bowl with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl (if mixing by hand), combine the water, yeast, salt. Let it sit for 5 minutes, at which point the mixture should look foamy. Add the salt and oil, and then gradually add the flour with the mixer running on low speed.

3.  Knead the dough for 5 minutes, it will look a bit shaggy at first but as it continues to knead, it will come together. After 5 minutes if the dough is still sticking to the bowl add a tablespoon of flour at a time so that the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Do not add too much flour. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky.

4.  Using oiled hands or a bread scraper place the dough in the oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth or a beeswax sheet to rest at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 – 2 hours.

5.  Using an oiled bread scraper or a knife, turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and divide into 8 equal portions – approximately 105g each.

6.  Flour your hands and mould each into a ball by stretching the top and tucking the edges under, achieving a round shape with a smooth top. This is a great video demonstrating how to do this – jump to 3:00 mins.

7.  Place the balls 1-inch apart on a well-floured board, cover them with an oiled sheet of plastic wrap and let them rise for 30 minutes.

8.  While the pita rounds are resting, preheat the oven with the baking stone inside to 250C/480F.

9.  Use a rolling pin to lightly roll out the balls of dough into circles, ¼-inch thick (for thinner pita bread) or ½-inch thick (for thicker, puffy pita bread) and approximately 5 – 6-inches in diameter, you don’t want to press out all the air and make them too thin. Do your best to keep an even thickness.

10.  If using a pizza stone, gently lift a pita, with your fingers and flip it onto the hot baking stone (if your stone is large enough place three more pitas onto the baking stone) – bake for 5 minutes, or until cooked through and puffy. You don’t want them to brown.

11.  Take out of the oven and repeat with the remaining four. Cool on a rack. Fill with home-made hummus and salad or the next day cut into triangles, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with za’atar and toast in the oven to serve with your favourite guacamole.

Suggestions

  • If using a baking tray, preheat the baking tray when resting the pita rounds and when sufficiently hot flip the pita onto the tray and bake as above.

Variations

  • For a whole wheat variety, replace some of the all-purpose flour with 1¾ cups/230g of whole wheat flour.

no knead bread

17th February 2019

No knead bread gives a gorgeous, crusty loaf, with very little hands-on time. The use of a dutch oven (cast iron pot with a lid) creates a moist environment for the bread as it bakes, I use an old Le Creuset pot for this, however, I have read that an enamel, Pyrex or ceramic pot works just as well. The wet dough and long fermentation are the keys to success. The rough seam, when placed in the hot pot, creates unexpected beautiful results, so there is no need to slash or score the bread.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast.

Pour in the water.

Then stir with a wet hand or a wooden spatula to form a sticky dough.

Cover the bowl with cling film or beeswax sheet and leave overnight or for at least 12-18 hours in a warm place.

With oiled hands, pull the sticky dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over a few times forming a ball.

Lightly dust a proofing basket or a medium bowl with rice flour and place the dough inside, seam side down and cover for another 2 hours.

About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 260C/500F and place your dutch oven inside (with the lid on) to heat up.

After the second rise, take the preheated dutch oven out (taking care and wearing oven mitts) and lightly flour the bottom surface.

Invert the dough into the floured dutch oven. If the dough didn’t land evenly, give the pot a shake and it should right itself.

Cover the pot with the lid, and pop it back in the oven. Bake the bread for 30 minutes covered and then 10 – 15 minutes uncovered.

Tip the bread out of the pot and cool on a wired rack. Allow the bread to cool completely, to fully establish the crust and set the crumb.

no knead bread

Preparation – 15 hours

Serves 8

ingredients

3 cups/390g unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp fine rock salt

½ tsp/2g dry yeast

1¼ cups/275g warm water

rice flour for dusting

preparation

1.  In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast, pour in the water, then stir with a wet hand or a wooden spatula to form a sticky dough.

2.  Cover the bowl with cling film or beeswax sheet and leave overnight or for at least 12-18 hours in a warm place. The slow fermentation is the key to flavour.

for the second rise

3.  With oiled hands or a bowl scraper, pull the sticky dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over a few times forming a ball. I like to gently lift up the dough as I fold it over so that the dough is being stretched.

4.  Lightly dust a proofing basket or a medium bowl with rice flour (the rice flour will not blacken when baking) and place the dough inside, seam side down and cover for another 2 hours.

5.  About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 260C/500F and place your dutch oven inside (with the lid on) to heat up. It may be cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic.

6.  Once your dough has finished its second rise, take the dutch oven out (taking care and wearing oven mitts).

7.  Invert the dough into the floured dutch oven. If the dough didn’t land evenly, give the pot a shake and it should right itself.

8.  Cover the pot with the lid, and pop it back in the oven. Bake the bread for 30 minutes covered and then 10 – 15 minutes uncovered.

9.  Tip the bread out of the pot and cool on a wired rack. Allow the bread to cool completely, to fully establish the crust and set the crumb. It has a lovely crackling sound as it cools!

Enjoy!

suggestions

  • Cover the proofing basket in a heaped tablespoon of seeds (black and white sesame, flaxseeds & poppy seeds) before putting the bread inside.
  • If you think that your dough will be sitting out for a longer 24h period, then reduce the amount of yeast to a ¼ teaspoon. 

variations

  • Replace 100g of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
  • Replace the wheat flour with spelt flour. You may need to increase the amount of water because wheat absorbs more moisture.

homemade challah (vegan option and no eggs)

5th October 2017

challah - 1 (5)

I  always look forward to sharing this bread when the four of us are all together.  And, especially if we are lucky enough to have our family or friends join us on these Friday nights. This is where we savour the opportunity to pause, bless and reflect on the week just passed and to light the candles as a reminder of that inner light inside all of us.

What is left-over, we spend the weekend eating with all sorts of delicious spreads.

india - sugarcane juice - 1 (3) india - sugarcane juice - 1 india - sugarcane juice - 1 (1) india - sugarcane juice - 1 (2)
Freshly pressed sugar cane juice – Mysore, South India.

challah - 1 (3)

homemade challah

Preparation – 2½ hours

Baking time -35 minutes

Makes 1 large, challah or 2 small.

The recipe uses a mixer with a hook dough, but you can easily use your hands. 

ingredients 

2 Tbsp/20g flaxseed, plus 6 Tbsp/80g water

1 cup/230g warm milk or almond milk

60g butter – room temperature or 6 Tbsp/60g olive oil

1 tsp active dry yeast

1¼ cups/150g wholewheat flour

2¼ cups/350g regular all-purpose flour

¼ cup/40g light brown sugar/coconut sugar

1½ tsp fine rock salt

preparation 

1.  In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Whisk together the flax seeds with 6 tablespoons water – allow to sit for 10 minutes.

2.  Add the warm milk, butter/oil and yeast, leave undisturbed until the mixture is foaming, about 5 – 6 minutes.

3.  Measure out the flours, sugar and salt, whisk together and add to the yeast and milk mixture, turn the machine on the lowest option and knead on medium speed for about 5 – 10 minutes.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time or if seemly too dry, add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.

4.  Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to sit in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours until well risen and doubled its size.  The longer it sits the better the final bread. I usually prepare the dough in the early morning, and let it sit until about 1 o’clock when I come back from errands.

5.  Take out the dough, knead a little with the heel of your hands and work it into a ball.

plaiting the dough

6.  Divide the dough into three equal pieces with a sharp knife or bench scraper.  Using your palms, and starting from the centre and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope the desired length.  Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces.

7.  Place the three, side by side and pinch together the top ends and carefully braid the three, like you would if you were braiding or plaiting hair.  As I braid, I gently pull them length-wise to keep them as even as possible. Pinch together the ends and tuck them slightly under.

8.  Transfer the plaited loaf to the baking tray and brush with ghee/oil and sprinkle with poppy and sesame seeds.

9.  Cover loosely with an oiled plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1½ hours.

10.  About 15 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 180C/350F.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into it.

When it is just the four of us, we have been enjoying the challah with a simple vegetable soup, a salad and a bowl of guacamole, and for dessert, slathered with homemade jam.

variation

  • replace the wheat flour with spelt, may need to reduce the amount of liquid used.

challah - 1 (6)

Goodness shared by Stacey

easy spelt focaccia & a vegetable garden

13th June 2017

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I make this focaccia every Sunday as an accompaniment to our traditional pasta night.  I mix the dough in the morning and leave it covered on the side for a full day, the extra fermentation adds flavour to the bread.  You can also make it days before, and store in the refrigerator after the first rise, the dough develops a more complex flavour, and you can pull part of it out to make dinner – just be sure it has time to come to room temperature before shaping and continue with the recipe.

I usually make one large focaccia but since our move a month ago, I have a temporary small oven that fits two narrow trays – I make two oblong focaccia.

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Quality of Food

‘A very natural lifestyle in which we could collect fresh vegetables every day would be even more ideal, however. Growing a small garden can serve that purpose to some degree. There are also many other benefits one may experience from having a small garden. For example, one may gain beneficial exercise, as well as deep satisfaction in doing garden work. If done in a measured and relaxed way, it may lead to a calm and quiet mind.’ 

~ Dr. Shankaranarayana Jois – The Sacred Tradition of Yoga

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easy spelt focaccia

Makes 1 rectangular or 2 small focaccia. 

Recipe slightly adapted from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce.

‘You can top the focaccia with almost anything: a liberal pouring of oil and a dusting of salt, a handful of fresh herbs, olives or sautéed vegetables, or a flavourful tomato sauce. However, you plan to top your focaccia, before cooking pour a generous glug of olive oil over the top – especially around the edges – for a crunchy golden crust’.

ingredients 

1¼ cups warm water

1 tsp active dry yeast

tsp sugar

1 cup/120g whole-spelt flour; plus additional for kneading

2½ cups/320g white spelt flour/all-purpose flour

1 tsp fine rock salt

2 Tbsp olive oil + ¼ cup (divided) for drizzling over the top

herbs, spices, or other toppings of choice

preparation 

1.  Lightly rub a large bowl with olive oil. Set aside.

2.  Add 1¼ cups warm water, yeast, and sugar to another bowl. Stir, and allow the yeast to bloom and bubble for about 5 minutes.  (If it doesn’t, it may be inactive; throw it out and start again.)

3.  Add the flours, salt, and 2 Tablespoons olive oil and mix to combine to form a sticky dough.

4.  Knead by hand, turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and silky.

Or, to use a food mixer, fit the dough hook and add the water, yeast, and sugar to the mixer bowl, stir, and allow the yeast to bloom and bubble for about 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.

5.  The first rise, put the dough into the oiled bowl, turning it so that the top of the dough is coated with oil. Cover with a towel and leave for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

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6.  Generously oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

7.  The second rise, place the dough on the baking sheet or pan, and stretch the dough out with your hands (it helps to oil your hands) into your desired shape, and dimple it with your fingers. Cover with an oiled plastic wrap or a damp towel and leave to rise for 1 hour.

8.  Preheat to 200C/400F.

9.  After the dough has completed its second rise and has puffed up on the sheet, drizzle with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt, herbs or spices, or toppings of your choice.

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10.  Bake for 22  – 25 minutes, until golden brown. Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tablespoons oil while still hot from the oven.  Allow the bread to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Serve it with your favourite pasta or top it with mashed avocado, grilled zucchini, tomatoes, red pepper, fennel and a sprinkling of fresh herbs and salt.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

chapati

12th July 2016

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Chapati has become a regular event in our house. They are wonderful drizzled with ghee and served with a simple dal, or vegetable palya. I also love them alongside a bowl of guacamole or roasted red pepper spread.

There are different varieties of chapatis available; one made with no fat, one made with oil and one made with ghee. Chapati made with ghee will support the physical and mental health to the fullest extent. It is recommended to be consumed while warm, as it becomes harder when cool. A chapati made with oil is also tasty and healthy and keeps its softness when it has cooled. Chapati can be consumed at any meal time, in all seasons and supports all constitutions.

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early morning vegetable garden

chapati

Preparation 30 minutes

Makes 5 chapati

Recipe shared by our teacher, Ganapati Aarya.

Chapati is traditionally made with Atta, a granular flour milled from soft Indian wheat that yields very tender chapatis – which I buy from here.  If you are able to purchase this type of flour, it is recommended. Otherwise use a combination of cup wholewheat and cup white flour, resulting in a softer, less tough chapati.  Regular whole wheat flour (sifted to remove the larger bran particles) can also be used.  It may take a few attempts before finding the flours which suit best in your country of residence.  

Making chapati is great in getting the whole family involved in the kitchen. Each person rolling out chapati makes it fun and easy process.

ingredients 

1 cup/130g flour (or use ⅔ cup white & cup whole wheat)

¼ tsp salt

2 Tbsp/10g melted ghee

¼ cup/55g hot water (or enough for a kneadable dough)

to make the chapati dough 

1.  Into a bowl, place the flour and salt – whisk to combine. 

2.  Pour in the ghee and hot water and stir with a spoon, slowly bringing the dry ingredients into the wet, until mostly combined.

3.  Knead, adding water if needed (a teaspoon at a time), to create a tender dough. Knead until smooth, shining and does not stick to the hands – 5 minutes.  Set aside, covered for 5 minutes. 

4.  Divide the dough into 5 equal portions and shape each into a ball. Take one ball, flatten slightly into a disc and flour both sides, then roll into a thin almost transparent circle using a rolling pin. Makes sure each chapati is symmetrical so it puffs up well.  Set aside covered with a towel/individual sheets of baking paper, and repeat with the remaining balls.  

to cook

5.  Preheat a skillet or non-stick pan (tava) over medium heat.  Once hot (it is important that it is hot), cook the chapati until bubbles start to appear, about 1 minute.  Flip and cook until brown spots appear underneath, about 30 seconds.  It should start puffing like a balloon, which could be helped by pressing gently on the forming bubble with a cloth and thus expanding it over the entire surface of the chapati.  

6.  Flip twice more for 30 seconds on each side. Be careful not to overcook, otherwise, they will be dry and crunchy.  Stack and cover the chapatis as you continue to cook the remaining ones.  Serve immediately.

When made on a regular basis, becoming familiar with the process – chapatis become quick, easy and enjoyable to make.  Serve with a simple dal or Green Bean Palya. 

Goodness shared by Stacey

amaranth-sunflower-spelt bread

24th May 2016

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Treasured gifts.

Divine teachings.

An Ocean of Gratitude.

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thank-you Kristin

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This recipe was introduced to me by Gillian.  She made it one night accompanied with a delicious beetroot borsch and a green salad.

A wonderful bread to go with a simple soup for a no-fuss dinner.  I love eating this bread the next day, with a thick spread of salted butter and a dollop of home-made jam/a drizzle of honey. Feels like a perfect balance between a bread and a cake.

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amaranth-sunflower-spelt bread

6 – 8 servings

Recipe slightly adapted from ‘Angelica’s Kitchen’.

She goes on to say, ‘ This is a highly nutritious bread that cries out for a leguminous accompaniment. Try cutting it into thick wedges and serving it alongside your favourite bean dish or soup. It can also be cooked in a cast-iron skillet, bringing it straight to the table and served piping hot.  The bread has a satisfying, complex texture in part because some of the sunflower seeds are mixed into the batter while others are sprinkled on top.’

For a savoury addition, add some sautéed fennel rounds or chopped olives and a sprinkling of rosemary on top of the bread before baking.

I like this bread with more sweetness, so I added extra maple syrup to the recipe.  If wanting it less sweet as in the original recipe, use only 1 Tablespoon of Maple syrup and increase the milk to 1 cup.

for the amaranth

1 cup water

½ cup/100g amaranth

¼ tsp fine rock salt

for the bread

½ cup/65g sunflower seeds – divided

1½ cups/200g whole-spelt flour

½ cup/70g medium ground cornmeal (can use polenta)

1½ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

¾ cup/165g unsweetened almond milk

¼ cup/45g olive oil (mild tasting)

3 Tbsp/30g apple cider vinegar

¼ cup/70g maple syrup

to cook the amaranth

1.  Place the water and salt in a small saucepan, bring to boil, then add amaranth, lower flame, and cover – simmer for 35 – 45 minutes or until the water has absorbed.  Set aside and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  It will be sticky and wet.

to make the bread

2.  Preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan or a round skillet.

3.  Spread the sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

4.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ¼ cup sunflower seeds.

5.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and cooked amaranth.

6.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients together – mix thoroughly, but do not over-mix.  The batter will be thick, but pourable.

7.  Pour the batter into the pan/skillet and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup sunflower seeds. (I also like to add a sprinkle of sesame seeds.)

8.  Bake for 45 – 55 minutes till golden, or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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