January was extraordinary dark this year. I miss the sun and feel that without I lack creativity. Yesterday, finally, we had a sunny day and so we spent a day outside. Coming home my mind happily mingled different ideas I had recently to bake a whole grain brioche.
As adding some rose hip powered helped me to archive a better gluten structure in this bread I decided to test its power in a whole spelt variant of brioche. With some sweet starter for flavour and some finely grated orange peel to break the slight bitterness of whole grain, I kneaded a dough containing a good amount of egg and butter. Kneading a brioche dough is always thrilling. As soon as the butter is added to the mixture, it turns in a sloppy mess. This happens with wheat brioche dough as well, so do not panic. Just keep kneading. The dough needs time until it starts to come together once again, but it will. As spelt sensitive to overkneading, it is advisable to keep an eye on gluten development . Nevertheless aim for full gluten development. Then you will be rewarded with a delightful brioche with a tender crumb. The flavour is rich and buttery, with delicious orange notes. For me, it is an enrichment of my Sunday morning breakfast, especially in combination with my favourite orange jam!
My plans for the first of advent were somehow different, but as I caught a mean cold I have to spent the day on the sofa instead of baking something delicious for Christmas. The only good thing is that I had enough time to browse through the unpublished recipes. I rediscovered the chocolate panettone I bake last Christmas but never published the recipe.
And so I used the time to publish it now, nearly a year later. It is a delicious twist on the classic recipe which combines the flavours of chocolate and citrus fruits. And just like the “normal” panettone this chocolate version is baked with sweet starter only which adds a delicious deepness to its flavour.
And with this last year’s delicious treat in my mind I begin to dream about what to bake for Christmas this year….
This is already the third batch of this orange marmalade I cooked in the last month. Partly because the marmalade is so delicious and partly because I tweaked every batch a bit more until I reached a state of perfection (at least for me). The idea of cooking and then pureeing whole oranges I took form Christine Ferbers “Jam bible”. And already the first batch made after her recipe was great. But the bitterness was a bit to strong for me and so I started to tweak. I changed the time for cooking and the ratio of juice and whole fruits.
And I tested different kinds of oranges. My favourite is the Canoneta, but every juice orange is a good choose as the mesocarp (the white thing between rind and fruit) is thinner and so the marmalade is less bitter. But if you can get tangrin I can only highly recommend to add some to the mixture, too. They add a deepness of flavour that is incomparable.
And so the third batch is now a big candidate for the title “Favourite Jam of 2017” and in combination with freshly baked brioche it can replace every cake for me.
Easter without some Easter Bunny Buns is possible – but somehow sad. Easter Bunny Buns in various shapes belong to my Easter Breakfast since childhood. And so I used some of the dough I kneaded for the Easter bread to form some Bunnies, too.
For an easy shaping two things are important: kneading the dough to full gluten development and cooling the dough for about two hours in the fridge. This solidify the butter and adds some plasticity to the dough. The bunnies I formed with the cold dough are simple but already the forth variant I have on the blog (Here you can find Number one, two and three. Its already a little collection of possible shape 😀 !
I tried this little Cookies some years ago when a colleague brought a bag of his moms christmas cookies when he came back from the Alsace. The bag was filled with beautiful and delicious cookies, like Linzer Ringe. And there was this rather plain, simple square cookies. But with the first bite I was in love. So plain they look so brilliant was their taste: a mixture of lemon and orange with a hint of almond was a great counterpoint to all the (delicious) vanilla and cinnamon Christmas flavours. And so I begged and begged and begged until the dear colleague brought a recipe when he came back from a family visit. I tested it and realized while making that it was for the second lemon cookie in the bag: Délices au citron – a good cookie, too but not the cookie I fell in love with…
And so I searched long and for some years. And finally I found a recipe that sounded similar: Orangenschnittli. I changed the recipe more and more, until it fits to the flavour I remembered. They need some days for ripening, as the flavour has to diffuse and melange for the perfect taste. But then this little cookies are a clear new favourite of my cookie plate: easy to make and so delicious!
Spelt is a favourite and so I was regulary asked if my Stollen can be baked with spelt flour, too. I answered “theoretically yes” and decided to bake a Stollen with spelt flour instead of wheat, too. I like to have a practical background for those answers.
The dough contains only minimal changes to the regular recipe: I used a mixture of sultanas and currants instead of raisins and I reduced the amount of yeast, too. And I replaced the wheat flour with spelt flour, of course.
After three long weeks of resting time we cut the spelt stollen for the first Advent. And it was as moist and mellow as a good stollen has to be. Maybe it is a bit more mellow then the normal recipe, but that was the only difference I recognize. The different spices are stronger then the slight spelt flavour and I doubt that I could tell the spelt and wheat stollen apart when blind testing. And so I can tell now with own experience: Yes, you can bake a spelt stollen!
Relaxed and in good company was our start into 2016. I hope, you landed good in the new year as well!
For a late breakfast we always have the traditional new year pretzel and for this one I did something I planed to do already for some time. I transformed the favourite sunday braid recipe to spelt flour. To increase the water binding capacity, I added a water roux and for a stronger starter, I build the dough similar to a pandoro with a first and a second dough. This enhance flavour and makes the yeasts stronger as they already have the change to adapt to the higher sugar content.
The Pompe à l’huile is a traditional french Pastry which is part of the “Les treize desserts”, the thirteen desserts served on Christmas. It is a very rich, sweet Bread and flavoured with orange blossom water and Orange peel. It’s crumb reminds on a rich brioche but it is not prepared with butter but with olive oil. Since I made the Schiacciata di Pasqua for Easter I knew that olive oil in a sweet bread is not a strange but a very delicious idea.
The recipes which I found in the net where all made with a lot of yeast. As this is something I don’t like so much, I decided to use some of my sweet starter as preferment, as I was feeding it anyway to make it strong for the Pandoro I plan to bake. The sweet starter is so mild, that even with this long fermentation it just gives a complex flavour to the bread, but with no sour tones. It harmonize very well with the orange flavour and the subtle spiciness of the olive oil.
Nearly always I prefer to drink water for refreshment, most of the time sparkling water, sometimes tap water (the tap water here has a very good quality). But when the temperature rise I sometime I like to have water with some flavour. A virgin hugo for example or a simple glass of water with a piece of orange or lemon. And when the temperature hits the 37°C mark like in the last days, I even like to have a glass of a cool homemade Orangeade.
My version 2.0 profits from the experiences with making orange powder. Simmering the orange and lemon zests sets free much more flavour and colour then simple infusing the zests in the orange juice. That I double the amount of the zests helps of course as well. And if the second orange is not needed for juice then cut them in pieces and use them to serve with the orange. This adds even more flavour and looks beautiful as well.
Two Kilogram of bitter oranges found their way into my kitchen last week. Not for making marmelade – there I prefer the sweet variant – but for making candid orange peel! But for making candid orange peel I needed to juice all of them. And I was suprised about the great flavour of the juice, combined with a clear tartness. And there was no trace of bitter flavour.
But what should I do with the delicious juice? A bitter orange curd, of course! I did a big batch as I had enough juice which had to be used. Two of the glasses I gave to dear friends – the rest I kept for myself. Together with my favourite braid this makes a perfect breakfast on sunday!