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Rye Sourdough Bread (with retard)

It is difficult sometimes to have some extra minutes to photograph and write a post about the food I make. Caught between the incredible busy routine and spending some quality time with my kids, there is so little time to dedicate to my passions.
Despite of all this, one Sunday, I baked my bread that turned out so spectacular that almost forced me to photograph it.
I took the bread out of the oven and brought it in the kitchen to cool it a bit before the photo session. I didn't even finished to organize my props and when returning into the kitchen I found my beautiful bread broken in pieces by my daughter who couldn't resist the smell that was spread around the house. Should I have been upset? My best beautiful piece of bread was gone, so no option to photograph it... but the reason was more noble than a photo on a post: my daughter has devoured the bread and there is no "like" in this world more important for me.
I took then the other 2 pieces of bread and made a quick photo before they would disappear too :)
After the photo, 2 weeks has passed to find some time to post the photo, the recipe and some words about it ...

As for the bread, in the recent time I only do retarder bread. The advantage is that the bread is raising for the first fermentation during the night, and depending on the temperature over the night, I can bake the bread between the morning to the afternoon instead of baking it in the evening if the bread is started in the same day in the morning.

This bread is made with a lot of rye. Yes, it has a very sticky dough but the taste is outstanding and as seen, it raised quite nicely.

Chamomile natural shampoo

When I made my first shampoo bar I didn't know what to expect. Would my hair like it? Would it be as good as the classical bought shampoo? These are normal questions when you make a radical change from store bought shampoos to homemade ones. I have now months since I completely change to use only my homemade shampoo. Although the feeling is totally different, I am very satisfied with the results and I do not have any reason to go back.
More, in my last holiday I packed one bar of shampoo. It replaced a soap, a face soap, a shower gel and a bottle of shampoo that I used to take with me. All of these into one single bar. No leaking and less space in my luggage.
Some of the bars from my previous batch I gave them to 2 of my friends. One of them seemed to like it a lot, so I have decided then that I should do my next round sooner then expected. Here it is. Same healthy and nourishing properties but different aroma and colors.

The chamomile tea brings extra benefits like reducing dandruff, helping with hair growth, preventing split ends and making your hair to shine.
Beside the chamomile tea, the rest of ingredients come also with their incredible benefits: tea tree essential oil to fight against dandruff, lavender essential oil for hair growth, cedar wood essential oil to avoid hair loss; the jojoba oil to control your hair, prevent hair loss and dandruff, the sweet almond oil and vitamin E for long shiny hair and control hair loss, the cocoa butter to repair damaged hair and I won't add all the benefits of the remaining oils as I assume they are very popular.
This mix of ingredients is a miracle for your hair. Just give it a try it ...

Simple lemon tart

I find myself lately quite often opening the door of a fast food shop for the lunch break. This is mainly due to the lack of time to cook at home for the lunch as well. Fast food indeed, but not any shop, I chose mainly the ones with organic and fresh food.
One day, after picking a salad or a sandwich, my eyes were falling on a tart, strategically placed near the queue formed before the pay. As you can imagine, I am talking about a lemon tart. That day I picked one piece. The next day, the story repeated. I was a bit frustrated that such a simple tart would cost so much in an organic shop so I said, oooook... my next cooked desert at home would be this one.
So, the lemon tart appeared on my to do list during the weekend.

I baked it and my daughter didn't want to even look at it. Hmmm.... I was confused because she usually doesn't refuse deserts and she likes very much everything that has a sour taste, including raw lemons. Then, I was looking at my tart for a moment thinking that this one would be almost fully mine. The next moment I realized that my daughter didn't know exactly on what she was saying no so I made her taste it. She took a bite, almost forced, like it was the most disgusting food, but when she had it on her tongue she looked at me and she said: "I want the whole slice!". Forget about having my own lemon tart :):):) ...

Pizza in a wood fired oven

My adventure with pizza is not really new at all. 20 years ago I remember my mother trying to make pizza at home at my request. It was a dough bought from the bakery, on top of which we were laying some yellow cheese and ham. Everything was baked in the oven and we were adding a lot of ketchup on top to give it a taste. Oh... what a fake pizza we were eating back then ....
Later, when I had my own bread machine I was so excited to revisit the pizza recipe. I learned in the meantime that for pizza not every cheese is good, and the must have ingredient was mozzarella. Then, for a good pizza you need high temperatures, so I put my oven at the maximum it could manage, meaning 275ºC .With this improvements, my pizza started to have a taste and it could have been called easily an OK homemade home pizza.
Next improvement came with the pizza stone that I was using for bread baking. I wanted a pizza that could be hold in your hands with a sturdy dough. Baking the pizza in a tray will never lead you to such strong dough. The pizza stone fulfilled my dream. There was however another problem.... the whole mess that the flour was doing to my oven and to my kitchen when sliding it to the hot stone. Due to all these issues, pizza was not a regular recipe done in my house.

BUT, everything changed last year when I had my wood fired oven. With the same old dough recipe and almost the same set of ingredients, a pizza baked in this oven is incomparable to any bake I tried in a conventional oven.
First of all, the pizza can go in the wood fired oven at a very high temperature. I usually bake my pizza when the oven is at 400-500ºC. No way you could reach this high temperature with a conventional oven. With this temperature, it takes less then 2 minutes to have 2 pizzas baked in the same time. As I normally bake 4 pizzas, the next set probably takes 5 minutes as the temperature goes down a bit.
And when my 4 pizzas are ready, also my oven gets the right temperature to bake the loaves of bread.
This is how I arrived to make pizza every week, together with my weekly bread.
The big secret of this pizza is the taste. Compared to the same pizza baked 15 minutes in a conventional oven at the highest possible temperature, the one baked in the wood fired oven for less than 2 minutes has a smokey flavor that changes the whole thing. The bread baked in a wood fire oven is definitely more tasty than the conventional one but the pizza is having a huge difference. That's the reason why, we simply cannot stop making pizza every week together with the bread.
It is by far the best pizza I have ever eat in any restaurant so far, also because you can choose what toppings to add and how much of each.

I reached perfection in terms of pizza and I am so happy that after all the adventure it took to arrive to it, I can proudly call it a success.

The toppings, I usually change them based on what I have at hand, but there are some that needs to be there: mozzarella, concentrated tomato sauce and ham.
As for the dough, I use the same quick recipe. I wonder if changing the recipe to a more fancy one, with sourdough for example, this would have an impact in taste. Is there a better best? That is something to try in the future.

Multigrain durum sourdough bread

Rustic round bread freshly baked in an wood fire oven. Anybody comes with the butter?

This is another type of bread raised over night in order to be baked the next day during the daylight (considering that we are in the winter and the days are shorter). Keeping the dough outside or in the fridge for the first fermentation helps with saving some time in the baking day.

As most of the times, this bread is made with sourdough, my preferred way to do raise a bread.