Almond yogurt

Another simple yogurt, delicious as a dessert or in the morning before starting your day.

Chocolate muffins

It was Saturday, 7pm and my daughter was begging me to make together a cake. As I was enough tired of course I was thinking of the most simple cake and I even suggested her something like a chocolate waffle. But my daughter said no and it was no way to convince her. Oooook, so we took together a well known cookbook and we have reviewed together the photos. She has stopped to a page called "Cupcakes au chocolat"... and I was happy that she has liked it as it looked to be a simple one.
The good thing was that we had agreed on the recipe to do together so we went to work. I was gathering the recipes, my daughter was breaking the chocolate in pieces and so on. All done, all mixed, but before putting the composition into the little golden papers I have voiced the question "Have I missed any ingredients?" and I was reading the list of them. My daughter stated quickly "Yes mommy, the blueberries". "Huh, what blueberries, there are no blueberries in this recipes?" Or yes, they were... in the photo, as decoration. I felt so bad realizing that my daughter actually has chosen this recipe simple because she likes so much blueberries. Well, I had none so I had to improvise. What about some hazelnuts? It was a great choice and she was very happy to decorate them herself. Ah, and I forgot to mention that the recipe had a topping. Well fine, but my daughter likes these muffins to eat them in the morning, just before she is dressed up to go to the creche. Would you imagine this scenery of her eating a muffing with topping? I can... :D so no topping. And more... most of the toppings are containing a lot of fat and sugar so, lets not over do it. Light is better.

Another note to the original recipe, the author was mentioning that you'll get 30 cupcakes from this composition. Are you kidding? Are you doing there tiny cupcakes? I barely filled 8, so if you want more, just multiply the quantities of ingredients/

Now about the taste .... they are perfect: not so sweet, dark with a strong chocolate flavor, great raise and cracks without falling down (by the way, I made the photo the next day)... in one word, delicious. Highly recommended.

Basic country bread

I've finally got a loooooong desired ingredient in my pantry: a special flour called Manitoba. After looking for months from where to buy it, I found a serious English website to deliver to me 25kg of this flour at a decent price. If you are wandering what is so special about this flour, well it's all about gluten or proteins. The usual flour I can get from supermarket or farms around my house, it has 10-11% of gluten. I was admiring so much the breads made with American flour and I was craving for that kind of flour. But Manitoba is not American flour is Italian. It has instead the same particularities, a high gluten percentage (15%). I need to say this because is funny, this adventure is quite international: Italian flour that resembles the American one, sold by an English website,  delivered to Belgium and baked by a Romanian :)) )
So, my dream came true, the flour arrived to my house and I was so excited to try it.

My first choice was an old recipe of Chad Robertson with which I was not very happy how it succeeded before and at that time I have blamed the flour. It was now the time for a big retrial.

Lots of hopes, and indeed when I have combined the flour with water and sourdough, what I have obtained was a dough that resembled more to the glue. Its structure, instead of breaking by itself, it was like an elastic. However, the hydration of this bread was awful. Even after 4 stretch and folds didn't get any shape, and when I have put it on the board it was running all over the place. I have blamed the flour before but was not its fault. Salt had nothing to do, and I couldn't say that my water is too wet for my bread :D. It is something else that I've missed in this recipe to be considered a success. Chad Robertson does a kind of autolyse with sourdough included. Comparing to Ken Forkish recipes, the fermentation is done in a shorter time. I am not sure what is the trick of this recipe but it doesn't impress me at all.

Nevertheless, the more I bake bread, the more I become my own critic so, lets see the things globally: the bread was great as taste. Not so bubbly crumb as I was expecting (as I had to add 100g more flour when shaping) but when you take a bite, there is nothing that you can say bad about it.
I also reduced the amount of salt, just as a trial, and I can conclude that I prefer the version with 20g of salt instead of 15g.

This was my schedule and recipe this time:

Blueberry ice cream

I am so fond of blueberries that I have bought from the market last time too many boxes. What I haven't noticed then was that they were too much ripped and when I've got home I realized that they should be eaten very fast. OR... to be used in something. I couldn't dare to heat theses lovely berries, either had the time to look for a nice cake so it had to be something extremely quick and easy. What? Ice cream of course.
And they ended up to be one of the best popsicles I've made.

Hazelnut brownies

Chocolate, chocolate.... and cakes.... combine them and you'll get a brownie!

I made this cake at the wish of my daughter. In fact we were doing it together: I was cutting the chocolate, she was throwing them in the bowl to melt... and what a lovely experience we had!
When I've read the recipe I had one remark... there is no raising agent in this cake.... no baking powder, no yeast.... hmmm... I was wandering if will raise or just stay flat and dense. Well, when the cake was in the oven I was watching it closely in the beginning to see if it will become solid at first and get a crust. When I saw that this was happening I was going away from the oven and do other thing. When the alarm of the oven rang, I had a shock... seeing the most weird raise of a cake. It was tall on the edges and in the middle in 2 little hills. When my daughter saw it, she said loudly...mommy it got breasts... and we all had a good laugh together. (you can see them in the plates by the way :) )

The brownie was incredibly delicious... so my daughter ate 3 pieces, one after another. DE LI CI OUS ! And a little secret .... I'll redo this cake for the birthday party of my daughter .... sssssst.

Pain de mie (version 2)

I was looking for a a good recipe for "pain de mie" or sandwich bread. I had once another try (here) and it was OK, but I'm still searching for the perfect one.
The idea of redoing this type of bread came into my mind when I saw a video stating that cast iron tins are perfect for this type of bread because they cook evenly. I cannot confirm this hypothesis, and it can be seen even in the photo that there was no real difference between the 2 baked in cake tins and the one baked in cast iron tin. On the contrary, the one baked in cast iron (top right) was difficult to take out and I had to scrub a bit to clean it, while the ones put in non-stick tins went out perfectly. I was expecting a more brown color on the bottom of the one made in cast iron. This still remains to be retested anyway.
In my rush of making this bread, I forgot one ingredient: butter. The original recipe was asking for 80g of butter in addition to the listed ingredients. It happened to me to measure the butter, to put it in a cup and microwave it for 20 second to melt it down. The problem was that I forgot the butter there and I realized this when  the loaves were already in the oven. Nevertheless the difference in taste or texture was not that big.
I am not a big fan of sweet breads, not that I dislike them, but let's say I prefer the salty ones with no sugar or milk inside. This one contains just a bit of them and it is acceptable. This bread ended up quite fine but to be honest I am still looking for the perfect recipe ...

Ricotta cake

Last weekend I wanted something.... something sweet, but not that sweet, something delicious but not difficult to make, something with a rich taste but not fancy.
And I was searching for this something in 3-4 recipe books that I had at hand. My eyes stopped on a recipe that was called "Gâteau à la ricotta".... hmmm a kind of thicker cheese cake.... this sounds good doesn't it? Simple? Yeeees, more simple than putting all the ingredients in the mixing bowl cannot be. So, it was the cake of my thoughts and here it is its recipe.

Vortex cake

This cake was a total disaster when it has arrived on the table. Its story is quite funny, like taken out from comedy movies. I made it at home for the birthday of my friend's daughter. A combination between white and dark cake dough to alternate, like a chessboard. Although it went out quite easy from the pan, parts of the cake remained on the tin walls, so I had to take them gently and reconstruct the cake shape. I made a photo and then easily I have transferred the cake into a cake box for  transport. Everything went fine until I was taking out the cake from the back of the car. Having one hand busy, I took the cake box by the handle. When it was half way out of the car the bottom of the cake box fell down and the cake was facing down on the back seat of my car. Ruined...but not totally. Lucky me that I have not made a sticky chocolate glazing on top of the cake :)). So, I put back the big pieces and just imagine to present yourself to a birthday party with such a disastrous cake. :)) :)) :))

The taste of the cake was OK. I am so glad that I have reduced the amount of sugar that the original recipe was asking. Common, 500g of sugar for a cake is way to much for me, 200g was more than enough. It raised very nice in the oven, but what I didn't like, it was that the white and black layers of the cake didn't really stick together and the cake was quite dissembling by itself. Maybe is just a matter of aesthetics but sometimes it counts ( like when you make it for a birthday party :D ).
The cake was very easy to make and the taste was also good, so from these perspectives I can only recommend it.

Whole wheat sunflower seed bread

I made this bread in parallel with the French bread. It suited perfectly the schedule as one was with yeast and the other one with sourdough and I could bake them one after another without over proofing one. Of course the yeast one was the first and this one, with sourdough, was just ready to be baked when the first one was out of the oven. As 50% of it was wheat flour I was not expecting to raise so much and indeed it raised decently. It got a crumb more dense but a nice country aroma.

The flavor was also increased by the addition of  sunflower seeds in the dough.

Redcurrant icecream

This is a simplified version of my previous Redcurrants popsicles. Having some extra redcurrants makes me invent all kind of ice cream recipes.

French bread

I balanced a bit our bread needs per week and I realized that with latest visits, we need more than what I was usually baking every weekend. It was the time then to make 2 breads in the same time and this one, with yeast, was one of them.
I also realized that in the last weeks I have produced more sourdough to be discarded than normal so I needed a recipe to through it in. That would not be the raising agent as yeast works much faster than sourdough but would add a bit of sour country flavor to the bread.
The next days I saw that the bread was getting dry much faster than I was used when I was baking only with sourdough. The taste of this bread is excellent, however it losts its moisture quite quickly comparing to the sourdough ones.

On the other side, again a dough that was a pleasure to work with and a pleasure to see it raising so fast.

Honey yogurt

A sweet yogurt that remains healthy as the sweetness comes from honey. It is extremely simple as the only ingredient that needs to be added is honey. And this is how you can transform a basic yogurt into a dessert.

I made this recipe before, but this time I have simplified by excluding the powder milk and by making it on the baking stone in the oven. (see my previous recipe here)

Double-fed sweet levain bread

I am struggling for a while to get a bread with a good structure inside and nice holes. Not that this would give me my perfect bread but it is a challenge with myself. I blamed the flour, I blamed the recipe and a lot of other elements. This time I manage to get my dream. A nice airy and chewy crumb and an incredible flavor. When I took the lid off, I was disappointed to not see a clear score but when I cut the bread.... this was a revelation. Comparing to the first 3 breads of Ken Forkish, this one had a different method: bulk fermented at room temperature and proof in the fridge over night. The next day, when I have opened the fridge I was shocked ... it had raised so much that it was almost over the banneton. So, immediately I had to turn on the oven and wait to be ready to bake.

Great recipe, great bread! Strongly recommended.

Lemon drizzle cake

A royal treat for me and my family today. I wanted a cake that should have been not so sweet, not so heavy and with a sour flavor. Lemon was the first ingredient that have crossed my mind and I have found a recipe in Princess Margareta's book. The initial recipe was asking for 400g of sugar in total. Sorry guys, that is way too much sugar to put in a cake for me, so I have used only half of quantity and I could have even cut more. The result was delicious. My daughter loved it very much ... and for me this what counts.

Avocado lemon popsicles

Ice cream? YES, ice cream again! Avocado, lemons, chocolate and pistachios? How does this sound?
Simple, blend and freeze. Melt and coat. Then taste .... mmmmm....

Bacon bread

This is my third bread from Ken Forkish book. Every new recipe I try gets better and better. This one is special. Is not a vegetarian bread as it contains beacon. This gives a delicious taste and aroma to the bread. You can almost eat it as it is. If your bacon is salty, do not add more than 10g of salt in your dough.
I also changed something comparing to my previous Ken's bread I made, by mixing the dough more (~15 minutes) to get a better elasticity. And it really helped. The dough was a pleasure to work with and it was not loosing its shape. Somehow I managed to proof it right, only guiding my senses and it raised nicely.
Comparing to the initial recipe, the overnight fermentation took longer for me as we were facing some cold summer days but on the other side, it fitted perfectly my schedule.