Saturday, 16 June 2012

Hairy Bikers Bakeation Challenge - Germany

Whoops!  I've slacked off for a couple of weeks on my Bakeation Challenge, but I did 'Jubilee' it instead, so I won't feel too guilty.  This weekend I'm having a go at the German Potato Bread recipe or Kartoffelbrot.  I would dearly love to try the Riesling Wine Cake and the German Bee Sting Cake, but until I can start running again to offset the calories, a bread recipe it shall be!

I used up some old Charlotte potatoes that had started sprouting for this recipe and am doing the all white flour version. 

Its seems very odd adding potatoes to a bread dough, but it should make it super moist.  You use so little water than usual, that it will be interesting to see how it works out.

Potatoes were boiled and mashed well.  Then the liquid was added to the mix.....

Followed by gradually adding the flour.....................

I have again kneaded mine in the Kenwood, but only for 5 minutes before popping it out onto a floured work surface and kneading lightly for a further minute. 

Last weekend I made another Scandinavian Rye bread or at least tried too.  I must have left it in the Kenwood too long (only 7 or so minutes) as it felt rather sticky, not smooth and pliable as it should.  Still I shaped it, let it prove and popped it in the oven.  It looked great for the first 20 minutes of baking and then it totally deflated.  This along with my baking pride.  Another lesson learnt.  Using the Kenwood is great for relieving the shoulders, but there is a real fine line between a perfect knead and over-doing it!  I digress, back to the Potato Bread.....................

I let the dough prove for an hour in an oiled bowl, then popped the lovely soft dough out on a floured surface and squashed it.

It was almost like you could feel the softness added by the potato.  I folded it in on itself and left the dough to prove again for about 30 minutes. 

I slashed the top and scattered the onion seeds over the top (also known as nigella seeds) and popped it into a 200c fan oven.  I only needed to bake mine for 27 minutes, but I had managed to knock the temperature up by 10c for the first 10 minutes or so of baking.  Either way, check it well before the suggested baking time.

And voila!  One Kartoffelbrot loaf and boy is it moist.  You can't really taste the potato in it, but it gives a lovely texture to the bread and is surprisingly light and airy .  I had mine simply with some goats cheese.  Delicious.  I was sceptical about trying it, but really glad I did!

Next weekend its Eastern Europe where I get to choose from Slovakia, Hungary and Romania!

Happy baking!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Rise of the Sock Monkeys!

Now I would hate you to think I have been totally idle recently, but as the baking and knitting is on the slow back-burn I thought some more Sock Monkeys were the order of the day.  A perfect excuse came in the arrival of 2 1/2 year Maya to stay for the weekend.  As she walked into the kitchen and saw a little monkey sitting on the table, her smile made making them all the more worthwhile. 

For some strange reason, that can only be thought of in a toddlers mind is the naming of said monkey as Mildred the Ostrich Monkey.  By the following morning she was simply known as Poppy......................

I still find my lovely 101 year old Singer Sewing Machine the best to make the funny monkeys and its a great excuse to get her out on the kitchen table.

As you can see a second monkey is ready to be paired up with a new owner, plus there are many more pairs of socks begging to be 'Monkey'ed....................

Should keep me busy for a while!

How spoilt have I been though, as the lovely Rainflower from Ravelry has made me a gorgeous Chandra shawl out of some Manos del Uruquay Silk Blend yarn I had in my stash.  Its soooooooooo soft and yet so light, that I can't help stroking it.  She's a very talented and speedy knitter and I am eternally grateful to her for this Karma kindness.

Happy crafting...............................

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee Union Jack Fondant Fancies

Now, I'm not an overly patriotic person.  Yes I'm proud to be British, but you won't see me flying lots of flags for big events, such as the Royal Wedding or the Jubilee.  However, spurred on by a street party in our road yesterday, I thought I would make my own little baked attempt at a Union Jack.  Trawling through the web, I came across these brilliant looking Union Jack Fondant Fancies and just couldn't resist giving them a go!

I made sure my butter was nice and soft this time and it does make such a difference to the smoothness of the batter.  Its also less likely to curdle when you gradually add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar.  I only added a splash of milk to loosen the batter a tad. 

The recipe doesn't stipulate what size eggs to use, so I chose medium eggs and the batter looked OK to me.

Also I only have round cake tins or loaf tins, so I used 2 x 2lb loaf tins instead of a 20cm square tin and it worked a treat.

The cooking time was only 24 minutes, so a bit of a result.

The cakes were allowed to cool and then cut in half horizontally.  You then drizzle on the lemon sugar syrup.  I thought is was a good idea to put the clingfilm under the cake before I did this as I didn't want to waste any syrup!  Topped with the butter cream and then the strawberry jam and sandwiched together, before being chilled for a couple of hours.

Mine only got chilled for about 1 1/2 hours as they had a party to go to!  Topped with a mango & lemon conserve to bind the marzipan to the top, each cake was cut into 12 pieces and popped into Jubilee paper cases.

And here's the the yummy butter cream and jam filling.........

I decided to coat the fancies with the fondant icing in the paper cases, as I just couldn't get the icing on without it dribbling everywhere, including down me and I hate wastage.  Plus how they got it nice and smoothly down the sides I do not know.  I put my icing in a piping bag which did help control it.

However, as I was more interested in creating a white top for my Union Jack, I didn't worry about covered sides.  All I can say is thank goodness I saved a couple back for my Mum to try, as they disappeared faster than you can say 'Fabulous Fondant Fancies'!

My little salute to Queenie.  I think she would approve!

Happy Jubilee!!