I love bread. You read these articles on the web about “trigger foods” that set off binging – back in my binging days, I used to be very capable of eating an entire loaf of bread in one sitting.
Gross, I know.
I have this deep, inexplicable love for bread crusts… I find it very strange when people don’t eat the crust. It’s chewy, crunchy, toasty… What more could you ask for!? The best thing about the bread this recipe yields is that the crust is crunchy while the inside beautifully soft and moist.
I cannot emphasize how many times I’ve tested this recipe out until I worked out one that I was really satisfied it. I still ate the batches that tasted crappy-ish, but you know. I’ve got standards.
And…because I’m also obsessed with healthy nourishment…this is one fail-proof wholewheat recipe that you can technically flavour in any way you like. I threw in some goji berries which stained my dough that beautiful golden colour. This works with either a bread machine or hand kneading, but the step-by-step instructions to the two are completely different. I’ll post both in this blog post.
Master Wholewheat Bread Machine Recipe (Butter-free)
- 250g all-purpose flour
- 200g wholewheat flour
- 40-45g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp active yeast
- 1 egg
- 40-45g olive oil
- 200ml lukewarm water
- In a separate bowl, mix the two flours and sugar together.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg and oil together.
- The following instructions are really important and should be done in this order! First – pour the warm water in.
- Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the surface over the water.
- WAIT FOR THE YEAST TO SINK TO THE BOTTOM.
- Using the same sprinkling method, sprinkle the flour carefully over the yeast layer. Do this carefully because you don’t want to just throw an entire mound of flour in. This affects the way the dough rises.
- Drizzle the egg-oil mixture over the flour mixture.
- The basic setting (primary) on any bread machine will work just fine for this recipe. Nothing fancy!
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease or line a loaf baking pan.
- In a separate bowl, mix the two flours, yeast and sugar together.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg, water and oil together.
- Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the egg-oil mixture into it. Combine the dough until sticky and just combined.
- Lightly flour a surface, throw the sticky dough and begin kneading. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the surface gleams and is a smoother texture.
- Place in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm place to rise until double in size.
- After it has risen, take it out and knead for a further 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
- Place in the lined or greased loaf pan and leave it in a warm place to rise until it has increased in size again.
- Bake in the oven for 30-32 minutes OR until it is golden brown on top and passes the toothpick test (where you stick a toothpick/baking stick in to the dough and if it comes out clean, it’s ready).
- Remove from oven and leave it to rest until the pan is cooled.
- Remove from pan and leave to rest until completely cool.
- Slice up and serve…
Recipe source: My brain
One of my mother’s achievements while raising me was “training” me to eat really spicy food. Granted I was also a glutton so whatever she ate I demanded a taste of it too, but my mother truly didn’t care whether or not my palette could handle the heat. She would prepare spicy dishes and I would just have to suck it up and eat it (or go hungry – which never happened).
So – I love my chili oil. Every now and then my mother will haul out a massive saucepan, chop up who knows how many chilis and moments later the kitchen would be filled with the wonderful aroma of cooking chilis (followed shortly by violent sneezing). We grow our own chilis in our garden (I think they’re cayenne pepper chilis) to which my beagle Socks has recently taken a partiality to. We’ve had to cage the chili plant up because they are now her new afternoon snack/natural laxative.
(The picture of innocence… Pfff.)
Simple and tasty, I decided that I had time to spare and bought some chilis from the local Chinese market and went to work cutting them up. Because I did not remove the seeds from the chilis, these chilis retained their beautiful spicy punch. It took about half a day to make, and now I have chili to last me a good three or so months.
3-Ingredient Chili Oil
- 2 cups olive oil
- About 3-4 cups chopped cayenne pepper chilis (fresh)
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- Mix everything together in one large saucepan over low heat. The oil should not bubble and plop too excessively (that’s dangerous).
- Cook until the chilis have changed from their fresh vibrant colour into one with a yellow-ish tint.
- Leave to cool before packing.
Recipe source: My brain
My mother can be the cutest person sometimes. She noticed that I’d put up a Facebook page for Carpebriem which made her really competitive and promptly set off a baking frenzy. She sent me a picture a few weeks back of these glorious honey cookies and they looked so beautiful that I asked her to help me take some better pictures of them. She happily agreed and a few minutes later sent me the exact same picture, except she’d triumphantly turned the plate.
I told her never mind and that I’d try them out for myself. :’)
These are AMAZING. They melt in your mouth, but still have this wonderfully crisp, crunchy texture. They also smell incredibly yummy. I honestly never thought that oil-based cookies could ever taste so good but clearly I was proven wrong.
Oh the wonders of dorm-room baking decoration!
I love the fact that you get to play with the dough (a thorough hand-washing prior to playing though, if you please) and I spent way too much time happily braiding the dough seeing as I no longer get to braid my own very short hair anymore.
I hope you guys have as much fun as I did making these!
Guilt-free Honey Cookies (no butter)
- 80g olive oil
- 120g honey
- 30g granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 200g cake flour
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a baking pan with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the oil, eggs, honey and sugar together with an electric mixer (or a whisk – it’s just harder work and less accurate)
- Pour the cake flour into the wet mixture and mix until combined.
- Knead the dough until it feels elastic to the touch.
- Braid the dough however you want! Try to keep the cookie size smaller than 6cm. Place the cookies on the baking pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let them cool completely.
Recipe source: My mother’s brain
I went for coffee with a friend of mine yesterday to a lovely little café in Downtown Columbus called Pistacia Vera (which literally means “green pistachio” in Italian). They’re most well-known for their pastries (especially their macarons), and I actually really enjoyed the general ambience of the place. Small, crisp and elegantly decorated, I fell in love with their white miso macaron.
White miso! In a dessert? Who knew! It’s probably my favourite salty dessert at this point and totally trumps salted caramel. As most people know, I am not partial to desserts that are very sweet. They make my teeth itch. I believe in balancing flavors. I do not believe in Cholesterol City where you throw in punch after punch of sugary intensity.
Mika and I had talked before of her wanting to have her own YouTube channel where she basically reviews food places in Columbus and I’d talked about finding some sort of direction for my YouTube channel and we were struck by the idea of co-hosting a YouTube channel where we roam around Columbus trying out and reviewing cafés and restaurants. I also had the idea where we actually do baking vlogs where we try recipes out (for the first time) and document the experience, as a sort of sub-series.
I’m super excited about this as I resent doing things without a direction, but generally struggle to find the inspiration to actually get the necessary direction.
Another fantastic opportunity that has arisen in the potential future is sending in submissions to a new food and travel magazine that is being launched in May called Cultures and Cuisines. I’m very nervous about this seeing as I have always been very shy about my writing (not the non-serious sort of blog writing that I advocate here), and the sheer potential of the greatness of this opportunity has officially given me writer’s block.
Anyway – that’s just my little update for now. I hope everyone had a fantastic week and good luck for the week ahead!
When I first started baking, I had absolutely no discipline when it came to using the right kind of sugars for particular desserts. I would chuck dark brown sugar into delicate desserts such as mousses or panna cottas and use granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar for icing… It was a real mess.
I personally don’t think that there’s technically anything wrong with how you use whichever sugar. Sugar is sugar right? So long as it sweetens something up. Well, what it affects is the quality of the final product, and so, I’ve decided to compile a basic list of what I’ve learned about the different types of sugar throughout the years.
WHITE GRANULATED SUGAR
- This is your standard “Shall I be mother?” accompaniment. It’s also known as refined sugar because all the naturally present molasses have been refined out.
- The great thing about the fine crystals in this kind of sugar is that they don’t clump up together, which makes it wonderful for:
- Mixing into drinks
- Honestly to me, caster and granulated are about 2/3 the same thing, and I’m not finicky about these small details. I like my desserts a little bit rustic, but caster sugar is a must when making desserts that need to be smooth or delicate, like mousses, meringues or puddings.
- Fun fact: it doesn’t need heat to dissolve which also makes it popular with beverages
POWDERED SUGAR (CONFECTIONER’S ICING)
- Easily identifiable due to the fact that it’s literally powdered. This is sugar that has been finely ground and then mixed with a bit of cornstarch to keep it from clumping.
- Most commonly used for frostings, caramels (debatable), glazes and dusting.
(from left to right) 1) granulated sugar; 2) caster sugar; 3) powdered sugar
- This is literally sugar that is coarse and chunky. It resembles that of the sea salt crystals you’d find on a focaccia or a pretzel.
- The crystals are large – this means that they are more resistant to heat.
- This type of sugar is popular for when you want to give whatever you’re baking some crunchy texture. Another great way of using them is for decoration and is often sold in hundreds of colours.
(above) coarse sugar
LIGHT & DARK BROWN SUGAR
- It’s weird because I always thought that brown sugar was a 100% naturally made ingredient but it’s actually white sugar that has had molasses added to it. The shade of brown depends on the amount of molasses that is added to the sugar.
- These two types of sugars do harden as they are exposed to air.
- Light: more often used in baking, sauces, and glazes.
- Dark: very popular in richer desserts like gingerbread. I personally like to throw some dark brown sugar into my caramels because it gives it a lovely slightly bitter flavour that I personally love.
(above) light brown sugar
(above) dark brown sugar