Each morning when I take the train to cologne, I look through the window to see the beauty of our little river agger and its valley (Aggertal). An attentive Observer can see Great Crested Grebe dancing their mating dance, discover a doe with its fawn, different kinds of geese and sometime even a hare. And I love to see small waft of mist over the water, enlighten by the rising sun. And sometimes I wish I could ask the train driver to stop so I could enjoy a view a little longer.
And so this bread is a little homage to my home valley, with my very active sourdough starter, flour from the local mill and water which is (of course) from a side river of the agger. It catches the essence of home between its crispy crust and airy crumb!
We love Gnocchi. And we love wild garlic. And combining both sounded delightful for us.
So we decided to cook wild garlic gnocchi when we meet to cook together with my sisters family. And this time we were not lazy when making gnocchi (like we are when we make ricotta gnocchi) and form them first to little balls and then roll them over a fork to got the authentic look. Petra linked a great Video showing the method very well. And when one is forming the dough into small balls and two a rolling the balls over a fork, the gnocchi are fast done.
We ate them with a mushroom ragout, it was a delicious dish and a great day with the family!
The Inspiration for this wild herb fans was Michas wild garlic pesto. But instead of using only wild garlic I used other wild herbs I found when I strolled through in my parents garden: wild garlic, ground elder, sorrel and salad burnet. From the domesticated herbs I choosed – like Micha – some leaves of mint and lovage. I can strongly recommend to make a bigger batch of the pesto, it is great for seasoning risottos or pasta dough, to season a salad sauce or for a spring time variation of remoulade.
But back to the wild herb fans… I decided to make another dough then for the herb fan rolls, using sweet starter and making the dough stripes a little bit longer, placing them as a “U” shape in the muffin form. This give the rolls a nice shape.
The rolls are delicious, perfect to start the barbeque season.
Another Idea I brought home from our holidays in Alsac is to cover a baguette with poppy seeds or sesame. For the baking marathon last weekend I put the idea into practice and bake some Baguette au pavot (with poppy seeds) and Baguette au sesame (with sesame). After I formed the baguettes from my favourite dough with sweet starter (you can use this yeast dough Baguette, too) I wet their surface a little bit and turned them in sesame or poppy seeds. After proofing (according to the recipe) I slashed them lengthwise and baked them like written in the recipe,
The fragrance of the freshly baked baguettes were divine. And the taste were incredible, too.
This was not the last time baking these baguette variations!
When I baked the little Colombinas about five years ago I was already searching for the traditional paper mold for Colomba pasquale. But I had no luck finding one neither in the “real word” nor in german onlineshops. And so I finally give in and bought a silicon mold, ignoring my dislike of this kind of baking molds. And the mold was delivered just in time, so the only thing I had to was to refresh my sweet starter and start baking.
Raisins and candid orange peel would make my beloved one rather unhappy, so I choose semisweet chocolate drops and chopped candid almonds instead. The fits well with my first colomba memory, when some years ago a former colleague brought back a big, chocolate filled colomba after visiting her parents in Italy. The dough for the dove is similar to my pandoro recipe, but this time I kneaded the butter into the dough. The dough was easy in handling and after baking I was able to unmold the colomba without any problems, much to my relief.
After cooling down we cut the dove and the first bite of it was pure delight. The crumb could be torn into long strands and was as light as a feather, and the combination of chocolate and candied almonds is great, too! This colomba is a real dream dove!
It is tradition in Attendorn, a small city in the Sauerland, that the pastor will issue a bless on the “Ostersemmel” (which means Easter bread) on Holy Saturday. It is a big event, that takes place in front of the church where the citizens of the Attendorn will hold their bread into the air. The Bread is forked on both ends, a shape that should depict the Christian symbol of a fish.
It is a bread made with rye, wheat and caraway seeds. My interpretation of the Ostersemmel is made with 30% Rye and Sourdough, and the recipe yields to breads. With a round cookie cutter I make an inprint for the eye, like I saw it in some pictures.
It is a perfect bread for caraway lovers like me, very aromatic with a soft crumb and a shiny crust.
To dye easter eggs with different natural dyes is always great fun for me. This year I had the idea to use plant juices instead of the time consuming boiling and filtering of plant extracts I used until now. Since I call an old juice centrifuge my own I bought some red cabbage ad red beet. That the red beet would yield a fair amount of juice I knew, but what would happen with the red cabbage? To my great joy the yield of cabbage juice was amazingly high, too.
I mixed the cabbage juice with baking soda or vinegar and let the hard boiled eggs sit in the solutions for some hours. When I take the eggs from the soution, the red beet juice has dyed them in deep red, while the cabbage juice with soda yielded green eggs. The eggs from the red cabbage juice with pink when I take them out but turned brightly blue during drying. I dipped one of the blue eggs shortly in the red beet juice and so I get a dusky pink egg as well.
I baked a decorated loaf once again, this time as part of a present for my boyfriends grandmother (as I told before there is a birthday each week in April). But instead of using my normal recipe and shape I decided to go for something new. And so used another recipe and shaped the bread with a small loaf in the middle, surrounded by a poppy seed covered braid and with a little rose on the seam where the ends of the braid meets.
And because I can not cut into a present, I doubled the recipe and baked a “normal” loaf as well. I cut it when it was just cooled and I was in love with its fine crumb and crunchy crust in a moment. A very delicious bread!