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Tartine durum bread

With the crazy schedule that I had in the last time I simply forgot that I made this bread almost 1 month ago and I simply didn't have the time to publish it. So finally, here it is.

I have tried a lot of recipes lately but this one was outstanding. I made 2 loaves of this bread, one was eaten immediately and the second one I put it in the freezer. It is not such a big surprise to tell you that even the frozen one was eaten from a glance. And this, not because we were that hungry but because this bread is a jewelry. Its white crumb and dark crust are contrasting in a beautiful way adding to the impressive taste and texture also a pleasure to look at it first before taking any bite. Let's see the recipe...

Traditional Romanian pretzels

Pretzels... ah those Romanian pretzels. Every time I go back to Romania I cannot resist stopping in front of a little patisserie that sells pretzels. We call them "covrigi". They are just a simple dough with all kind of toppings. My favorite version is with poppy seeds and coarse salt. Probably because of me, my daughter started to love them as well. She loves them now so much that last time when we have been to Romania she told me: "Mommy I would like to take our house, my daddy and my little brother and move to Romania". I was astonished about this remark so I asked her why. Her answer was as simple as this one "Because in Romania we have pretzels".
With this comment from my daughter, I couldn't do more than putting pretzels on my TO DO cooking list. So now it is the perfect moment, as on the 1st of December is the Romanian national day. Happy National Day my dear Romanians!

10000... well this number has nothing to do with the reasons mentioned above, but with something that I love very much.
A bit more than 3 years ago, when I started to love to make sourdough bread, I was looking for a place where I can learn, share and be in contact with people having the same passion as me. As I couldn't find the perfect community of bread baking on the web, I decided to make one myself. It is called Bread lovers. Since then, in this journey of learning and sharing I've met a person with who I simply "clicked" on the same passion. I didn't know him before but I have found out that we were living in neighbor counties. One day he made a trip to Belgium and we have finally met face to face. His name is Rick and he was happy to join me as a moderator in this community. He put a lot of effort in inviting members to this community, to back me up every time I was in holidays, maternity leave or just busy and, at a certain moment the community grown its own identity. Now, the community has reached the incredible number of 10 000 people. I wouldn't have thought that so many people are interested in bread baking and this makes me very happy. One person more loving to make his/her own bread is one person less buying the low quality bread. Thank you Rick from all my heart, this community wouldn't have reached so far without you. Thank you to all the active members who were sharing all their beautiful bread creations, thank you to all "listener" members who are here to learn and admire the bread posts.
We've learned together so much, thank you to you, all 10000. This community belongs to you !


Ingredients:
  • 500g all purpose flour
  • 300g water
  • 20g of fresh yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 30g sodium bicarbonate
  • 50g melted butter
  • poppy seeds
  • coarse salt

Directions:
  1. Mix for 10 minutes the flour, water, salt, yeast and butter with a standing mixer.
  2. Cover the bowl with a lid and let it raise for 1h.
  3. Cut the dough in pieces. I count around 12 pretzels, but it only depends on you how big you would like to have the pretzels.
  4. Take a large pan, fill it half with water and bring it to boil. Add the sodium bicarbonate and mix 2-3 times with a spoon.
  5. Roll each piece of dough until arrives to have 60cm long. Make with this roll a U reversed letter and cross back the ends, sticking them to the dough. Following this movement you'll reach to the specific shape of Romanian traditional covrigi (pretzels).
  6. Submerse each pretzel in boiling water for 1 minute. Take them out with a slotted spoon and lay them on a tray that has on the bottom a silicone or baking sheet paper. I used 2 baking trays as it only fit 6 pretzels in each tray.
  7. Sprinkle the pretzels with poppy seeds and salt.
  8. Bake them for 25 minutes at 200ºC.

Recipe inspired from here.




Homemade fabric softener

When I was pregnant with my second child, one of the smells I couldn't stand was the one of the freshly washed clothes with a well known fabric softener. In fact I couldn't stand any artificial strong smell. That made me thought of changing some habits. To solve the problem back then, I simply gave up using a fabric softener. After that period has passed I restarted to use it but not for long.
I have in mind a totally natural fabric softener and I'll do it one day. Till then I tried another simple recipe. The thing that convinced me started with a laundry accident. Without noticing I washed a brown wool pull of my husband at 60ºC. Imagine that later he wanted to wear it and ... surprise... the sleeves were to short, the pool was also too short and too narrow. Thinking that I managed to ruin it completely I started to wear it myself. In the meantime I found out about a trick to stretch back a wool pull with hair conditioner. It was hardly to believe it but I didn't have anything to loose so I tried it. I put the pull in cold water with hair conditioner and let it there for 30 minutes. Then I rinsed it gently and stretched it slowly on a flat surface. Unbelievably it came back to its shape after 3 days slowlydrying at room  temperature. If you think a bit, it makes sense, as wool comes from an animal and normal laundry detergents are not made for washing hair.
What this story had to do with the homemade fabric softener? Well, that made me thought that ahair conditioner might work as a laundry softener so I tried it.

Tartine buckwheat flaxseed bread

After all the tests with the basic country bread. it was the time to experiment some variations with other types of flours. Buckwheat was the choice for this one. It is not an easy flour at all. It gives also a heavy taste and a change of color to the bread. But is healthy and I like its taste. Let's see...

Clove bath bombs

Let's continue the adventure with bath bombs. This recipe is more compact as it contains more liquid compared to my previous recipes.
With a lovely spicy aroma of cloves, do you think you can resist using them with your next bath?