2012, for reasons regular readers will know and which I don’t want to belabour any further, was the year I pretty much gave up on the kitchen. Partly because much of what I do there was beyond me, and partly because – well, I don’t really know.
Why, for example, did I completely abandon vegetarian food? I’m not a veggie, haven’t been since about 2001 (ish – it fizzled slowly rather than stopped dead), but I do like vegetarian food occasionally (I’ve just had a bottom-of-the-fridge** veggie soup, and very good it was too, and a lentil stew is coming up either today or tomorrow – probably the latter). I also stopped making bread, and I have absolutely no idea why.
B-o-t-f soup is exactly what it says – soup made with Continue reading
On Boxing Day – do I know how to live, or what? – I wrote about getting a stainless steel dough hook for my Kenwood mixer. Big mistake. Not the writing, you understand, but the dough hook. It was dire.
The standard non-stick dough hook has a matte surface, which actually engages with the dough, mixing it properly. The stainless version, however, is so highly polished that it just slips through the dough, barely making contact. The result, 6 weeks of substandard bread, with me trying various ploys to remedy the situation before it Continue reading
As I said last time, the bowl supplied with my Kenwood Silver Chef Premier is rubbish, so I was reverting to the much better bowl from my Chef Classic.
Did that today, all the problems I’d had with the bowl went away.
I also changed my technique slightly. Normally I pour the water/vinegar/yeast starter mixture into the bowl with the machine running, then add the oil. This time, I Continue reading
I noticed some time ago that wholemeal bread flour was abrading the non-stick (ha!), surface of the dough hook, so when I recently upgraded to a Chef Silver Premier, I decided to also upgrade to a stainless steel dough hook.
Now, on the original version, there’s a plastic flange which prevents the dough, as it climbs the dough hook – a worrying phenomenon the first time you see it – embedding itself in the planetary head.
However, the s-s version has a s-s flange, and this has a Continue reading
A year or more ago I promised I’d make 100% Emmer bread – and never did.
Emmer is a primitive form of wheat that, like Spelt, Einkorn, and Khorason, dates back to when god was in short pants, and it makes very nice bread mixed 50-50 with white bread flour so, based on the fact that Italy allegedly has a thriving 100% Emmer bread industry, I thought I check it out – finally got round to it this week.
First problem Continue reading
Last Wednesday I made my weekly bread with 50% wholemeal Khorason flour instead of the normal 50% wholemeal, and it was a seriously strange experience.
Khorason, by the way, is an ancient strain of wheat that has remained unchanged for thousands of years – its origins are unknown, but it seems certain that it predates the Pharaohs. It is though to be a variant of Emmer which, itself, has been dated back to 7,000 years BC. The grain for my flour comes from the Khorason region of Iran, from which it takes it’s name (not Iraq as I might have said in an earlier post or Tweet).
Khorason is grown commercially in the US under the Continue reading
Right, then. Last year I was sold 5 kilos of something rather special. No, not drugs, something better – Swedish Spring Wheat Flour. Most of it has now been used, experimenting with it in various combinations with other flours and, on its own, in makes amazingly good rolls, with a surprisingly yellow crumb. One thing I failed to do, while I had plenty, was make a loaf using it alone.
Now, I have just one kilo left, and it’s pretty much too late.
Well, OK, I could make one loaf, but the problem is that I want to make a couple of loaves, but a kilo just isn’t enough for a couple of 2lb loaves, so I need to pad it out with something which will either have little effect on its character, or, perhaps, complement it.
I’ve a couple of white flours to choose from, both my Continue reading
15 years ago, when I moved to my current building, an elderly fridge and cooker came as part of the deal. Last year, as they were all getting a bit long in the tooth (about 30 years old), the management company “gifted” them to the tenants – by which I mean saddled us with the inevitable replacement and removal costs!
I never used the fridge, it was Continue reading
And the rest of the year, of course, but summer is particularly problematic.
My home-made bread is, as I might have mentioned previously, excellent. It has a downside though – the keeping qualities of a Cameron pre-election promise. Not a defect, except in Cameron, but I hate waste.
A loaf will last me a week, but by day three, especially in warm weather, it’s starting to smell a bit ripe, and by day five it’s furry and in the bin.
OK, not unexpected, as it’s Continue reading
As there’s not a lot of advice on using stand mixers for mixing bread dough, I though I’d share my experiences with you. I’ve covered the basics in this post – this is the detail.
Because of worsening health, even before my recent crisis, and spreading arthritis, some months ago I started using a stand mixer, a Kenwood Chef Classic (avoid the Kenwood Prospero, it’s cheap and nasty, and the dough hook is a piece of junk).
Kitchen Aid mixers, which in some ways I would have preferred, are gorgeous, particularly the special edition Candy Apple Red version, but they’re overpriced and underpowered – see footnote.
My first attempt at using the mixer was disappointing and very Continue reading