Monthly Archives: December 2011
Loaf rise merrily on high,
In kitchen the timer’s pinging:
Bread smells wafting through the sky,
On toast I will be binging!
After a successful(ish) crumpet run we thought it maybe time to put Gloria Bubble’s leavening powers to the test!…Loaf time!
Really easy recipe just a 1:2:3 ration of Gloria, Liquid (we used liquid whey) and Strong White Flour…and salt (about 0.05 but that totally ruins the pretty ratio).
- 125g Gloria Bubbles
- 250ml liquid whey
- 375g Flour
- 6.25g Salt
- We also added a tsp of cumin seeds for some earthy depth (then sprinkled with sea salt and freshly dried thyme to add a lighter, sweeter note (that is douche speak for we scattered shit on).).
- Mix everything and knead for about 10 minutes
- Cover and leave somewhere nice and snuggly warm until doubled in size
- Knock back and knead for a few minutes
- Shape and plonk in a loaf tin
- Cover and leave again until doubled in size
- Sprinkle with thyme and sea salt and bake 200ºC for 30-35 minutes
We made the loaf over the weekend and left it by the roaring fire to prove. As it was “Gloria Powered” not those turbo, rock n’ roll, speeding off their tits, fast-action yeasties…it took forever to double in size! She plodded along obviously taking her time knitting bubbles and wrapping them in ribbon before releasing into the dough…we were concerned we’d pushed her too hard, too fast, to furious, but she came good in the end!
If we’re honest we may have over-proved her second time around; she was taking sooooo long to rise I was going to bake the loaf the next morning…5pm, still little; 6pm, not much happening; 7pm, (like our hung-over eyes) a little puffy; 8pm good to go but a bit late for fresh bread?! 9.30pm, she was bursting from her seams so we had no choice…baking time!
Look at the air-holes! We made them! Oh Dr Frankenstein eat your heart out! My creation was totally more delicious than yours!
The other great thing is that Gloria lives! She donates a portion and then goes on her fabulous way! There is no need for a sacrifice to the Baking Gods or to Our Mother Mary (Berry).
The loaf was delightful, light and airy with that lovely sour-dough tang. The cumin and thyme worked nicely together to make it the perfect accompaniment to a warm stew or soup (we warned Simon just in time as he was about to spread some raspberry jam on a slice!).
The next job for Gloria is probably a sweet, breakfast bread…exciting…we are very proud mamas’!
She stood, nervous and quivering in her foamy gown. The beautiful débutante, Miss Gloria Bubbles turned to us and said “Wondercat, I’m ready”…
What better way for our new sour-dough starter to make an entrance than with some quintessentially English breakfast bread products; crumpets and English muffins…We always thought crumpets would take far too long to make at home, but, once you have a nice starter bubbling away they couldn’t be simpler (well, OK, buying them is still simpler).
The great thing about crumps and muffs (last time we use those abbreviations) is that you make them with excess that you’d otherwise be throwing down the drain: and we hate waste!
Gloria is one hungry lady, but as we feed her, she grows; every now and then we need to give her a bit of a nip and a tuck so she doesn’t take over the place…it is TOTALLY Lloyd in Space-The Science Project (how much did we love Lloyd in Space!?!?!)
We pretty much messed around with a few recipes to get a feel for things. We didn’t throw a hole-in-one (love a mixed-sports-metaphor) but we are well on the way to delightful bready goodness…a few more runs to score a knock-out!
Both crumpets and English muffins are basically a scoop of Ms. Bubbles, flour, a bit o’ salt n’ sugar and perhaps a little milk to thin things down…oh yeah, then a teaspoon of baking powder! Gloria is a acidic little madam so the baking powder gets her foaming at the mouth!
The first batch of crumpets were ridiculously thick. We didn’t realise how much volume the bubbles would provide so, we started about 2/3 crumpet height and ended up with monsterous triple thick (and stodgy centred) crumps; they were also a bit Gloria heavy so tasted too sour…a great first batch! The second were better but the bottoms got a little too bronzed as the pan had been on for a while (and was shit).
The English muffins were just crumpets flipped over to cook on both sides…who knew! Again they were whacking great giants but this we think, is more acceptable in a muffin!
So, we will be working on getting the ratios correct then we’ll post a complete recipe for perfect crumps and muffs (the abbreviations have grown on us).
Travelled down the road and back again; Your heart is true, your a pal and a confidant. And if you through a party; Invited everyone you ever knew; You would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say thank you for being a friend!!!
Sorry, we went to a bad place…this isn’t a Golden Girls post, it’s about German, Herman Friendship Cake…picture it, Sicily, 1912 (We’ll stop now, promise!)
Right…picture it, Christmas party, Altrincham, last weekend…Granny Dot gave us a Baby Herman! If you haven’t heard of Herman he is a version of Amish Friendship Breadthat is currently having a bit of a revival. It is basically an edible chain letter that we here at Wondercat predict will be the Zombie/Bacon/Angry Birds of 2012.
The easiest way to explain things is to show you the instructions:
We are definitely on-board with the festive here at the bakery!
This weekend was time for our annual Winter Soirée; a time to catch up with friends and family and be merry! Tis the season after all!
This year we changed things up a bit. Gone were the glazed ham, roast turkey and salmon…bring on the Bolly and canapés! Of course, there were a few regulars…
The Chadong Christmas Cake and Mykie’s Mince Pies!
The Chadong Christmas Cake is the highlight of the baking calendar for us. Not only do we try and improve on the taste of the cake each year but we also have a great time planning the décor! The Cake is the centrepiece, the fruity glue that holds the evening together…it must be perfection (or as close as we can get given the restraints of time, resource and sanity).
This year we totally revamped the fruit cake which is usually just a Delia with a twist or two. This year we wanted something different; something that still screamed fruit cake but lighter, fresher, and more appealing to the “fruit cake haters”.
The Fruit Cake Nativity
- Mary: Dried Apricots
- Wise Men: Dried Mango/Pineapple/Papaya
- Baby Jesus: Maraschino Cherries
- Angel Gabriel: Candied Mixed Peel
- Joseph: Sultanas
- Donkey: Pistachio Nuts
- Shepherds: Lemoncello, Calvados, Apricot Brandy
- Inn-Keeper: Honey
As you can see, we made some big changes! The cake batter was made with golden caster sugar a heap of vanilla and spiced with just a touch of cinnamon and a generous helping of ground ginger…light honey frivolity replaced dark treacly depth.
The design for this year was “Snow Stripe”; we wanted to create something rigid in design but with the Wondercat signature piping detail. Over all it turned out OK. There are a few areas that aren’t as surgically precise as we would of hoped for but in the time we allowed for decorating we will settle for good over great.
So, how was this mountain of blue hues received? Pretty well!
It managed to retain the essence of a good Chrimbo Cake but really was zippier, lighter and brighter. The tropical fruits and cherries punctuated each mouthful brilliantly giving something more interesting than the traditional homogeneous treacly fudge of a classic cake. This cake converted two “fruit cake haters” to total cake-munchers but the biggest compliment came from Moogi Leong; she rang the next day to say she really enjoyed the cake and that Grandma Glover (R.I.P.) would have loved it as she also wasn’t a fan of the traditional fruit cake so always had Dundee Cake at Christmas. This had Mykie in floods when he hung up the phone…we are keeping this recipe (which I will post, promise) and dedicating it to the late, great Betty Glover!
The mince pies we made using the Cranberry Mincemeat of the previous post but once again we gave things a shake! In place of the ground almonds in the sweet shortcrust pastry, we used THIS to give a richer, more nutty texture and taste. It added a slightly wholemeal feel which contrasted nicely against the sweet cranberry and citrus tang of the filling…yummers!
The evening was a blast! Wonderful to see everyone and ramp up the Christmas spirit!
Not long to go now folks…Santa’s coming!!!! Raise a glass to friends and family both living and departed and celebrate!!!!
So after a few weeks of not being able to look at a cake, bat an eyelid at a biscuit or glance at a gateaux we are back in the baking habit…oh happy day!!
We’ve been trying to rev ourselves up for a while but after two weeks channelling Takeru Kobayashi in China and thus returning looking like a giant cha siu bao; the Violet Beauregarde of the Far East if you will, we have steered clear of the kitchen.
But we’re back! Christmas has cracked us! After our traditional “Grand Opening to Christmas”-a trip to Fortnum and Mason for high tea in St James’s and a rampage through their decadent decorations (seriously, rampage…last year I managed to totally decimate a display of baubles…why didn’t I learn from classic cartoon slapstick and not take a bauble from the bottom of the pile!?); a freshly filled decanter of Pedro Ximenez and finally the erecting of the festive foliage…we could hold back no longer…
Chadong Panettone and Mykie’s Mincemeat
I’m not adding recipes as the panettone is a work in progress and the mincemeat is just a revamp of Nigella’s Cranberry Studded Mincemeat with a few tweaks.
So, panettone…bit of a disaster for a few reasons…
- I didn’t have a recipe I liked
- I decided to freestyle and make my own
- I used a tin that was too big
- I baked it totally wrong
Apart from that it was fucking marvellous!
So Christmas is here! Fragrance adverts are taking over the TV and there is tinsel everywhere (except our house, let’s be real people, we are not tinsel people)…(for some reason we’ve started calling it tinzel…well, tiiiinnnnzzzzzzeeelllll…it’s hilariously homo…try it, you won’t go back)