Merry Christmas and a festive Stollen

I can hear the kookaburras calling outside my window and the Torres Strait pigeon in the mango tree as dusk settles here after a hot and humid Christmas eve. It’s not what many would consider typically Christmasy but to us it is.

Today I baked and prepared for our meal tomorrow. Part of it was this delicious stollen, another recipe from A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent. Get this amazing cookbook before it is sold out to make all the wonderful recipes.

As my family and I are preparing to attend Christmas eve Mass at our local church, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the peace and joy of Christmas and the holidays.

Spiced Bread Rolls – A Baker’s Odyssey Challenge #53

What could smell better than baking bread?
Baking spiced bread.
This bread has the most amazing combination of exotic spices. Mahlab a spice made from the kernels within the seeds of  the St Lucie cherry.  I bought mine online at Gewurzhaus Herb and Spice Merchants. This is a wonderful store in Melbourne can not be passed by. The scent of spices drifts up and down the street luring customers in. I dare you to try to walk past and not be enticed into the store. Go in, it’s worth it!
 And so are these rolls. Not just any dinner rolls. These bread rolls are a traditional Syrian bread roll. Gorgeous and alluring just like Gewurzhaus Herb and Spice store!
Kleecha (adapted from A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons freshly ground mahlab seeds
1 1/4 cups warm water
115g salted butter
1/3 cup olive oil
5 cups bread flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons nigella seeds
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons anise seeds
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
In a small bowl mix the yeast, mahlab and 1/4 cup of the water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes in which time it will start to froth. While your waiting melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add in the oil. The mixture should be warm not hot. Check it with a thermometre, it should be 50C/120F. Remove the pan from the heat.
To prepare the dough I prefer a stand mixer but the dough can also be mix by hand. In a stand mixer bowl place flour, sugar, nigella, sesame and anise seeds and the cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add the yeast mixture, the butter mixture and the remaining cup of water. Using the dough hook, knead on a medium-low speed for 5 -8 minutes. Scrape down the sides if ingredients get stuck. The dough should be smooth but not sticky. Add more flour or water to get the correct consistency. 
Form the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until tripled in size – about 2 hours.

Once risen, turn out the dough on a work surface. Pat the dough down and divide into 18 equal portions. Allow to rest for 10 minutes cover with a clean cloth.

Prepare a large baking sheet or two smaller pans by lining with baking paper. Roll each portion  20cm/8inch long rope then form into a knot.Brush with the egg wash and leave the rolls to rise for another 45 minutes.
In the meantime preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Bake risen rolls for about 20 minutes.

Delicious warm or a room temperature with a good dose of butter!
Any leftovers freeze beautifully.

Scandinavian Rye Bread – A Baker’s Odyssey Challenge #49

A few years ago I wandered into a large book store in Brisbane while on holidays. While my children were browsing, I made my way to the second floor which held a substantial selection of cookbooks. There I sat a little stool and surrounded myself with beautiful books. I knew our luggage would be heavy so I limited myself to choosing one book.
Little did I know that by choosing that book, on that day, would lead to Greg coming into my life and I now count Greg and his lovely wife Dorothy as dear friends.
On my return from holidays, I poured over that book. I wanted to make so many recipes. Rarely, if ever do that many recipes from one book interest me that much! So I decided to bake my way through the book. By chance, Greg happened upon my  blog and made contact. One thing led to another and this year Greg told me that he and Dorothy were making their first trip to Australia and  could we meet? So a couple of weeks ago my hubby and I spent a lovely weekend with Greg and Dorothy in the North Queensland city of Cairns.
How lucky am I?
Greg is a wealth of food knowledge and Dorothy is so incredibly accomplished in her field but they are two of the most humble and gentle people I have ever met. For me this was a small sliding door moment – buying a cookbook led to welcoming the author and his wife into my life. 
I don’t often post personal photos but this is an exception – Greg and myself in the beautiful tropical sunshine.

We talked and talked! We ate great food and wandered around together. We discussed Greg’s books. At one stage I turned to Greg and said, “Oooh, I have just made your Swedish Rye Bread! It’s delicious!” Greg gave me a funny look. Aaaah, sorry Greg, it was Limpa I was talking about! In my head I had renamed it Swedish Rye Bread. Do you ever do that?

This Limpa which is a Scandinavian Rye bread is adapted from the recipe in A Baker’s Odyssey. I have been baking bread for a long time and I would say without a doubt this is one of the most flavourful loaves I have made. Served warm out of the oven with lashings of butter it is irresistible but the next day it slices well and toasts beautifully. This bread will not disappoint!

Limpa ( adapted from A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent)
makes one small round loaf

200ml water
20mls molasses
20g butter
230g bread flour
75g dark rye flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
finely grated zest of 1/2 orange
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Heat the water, molasses and butter in a small pan over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture registers around 50C. Remove from heat while you measure and prepare the remaining ingredients.
To make the dough I like to use a stand mixer but it can all be done by hand.
Combine the flours and yeast then stir in the salt, orange zest, anise seeds and caraway seeds. By this time your liquids should have cooled down a little. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon until a stiff dough is formed. Allow to rest about ten minutes. Then if using a stand mixer attach the dough hook and knead for 5-8 minutes. Alternatively knead by hand for 8 minutes. In either case you should end up with a smooth and elastic dough. It will be a little sticky but don’t add any more flour.
Form into a ball then place the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Lightly flour the work surface, turn out the dough and pat gently to remove the large air bubbles. Form the dough into a ball by cupping your hands around the dough and rotating it. Pinch the underside together to seal and form a ball.
Place on a baking tray which has been lined with nonstick paper and cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Allow to rise for a further 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.
In the meantime heat the oven to 230C. When the dough is ready and the oven is hot, take a spray bottle filled with water and spray the inside of the oven, close the door. Uncover the dough and place into the hot oven which you spray again with water. Shut the door immediately and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is well browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Cool on a wire rack. Serve with lashings of butter!

Piroshki – Two challenges in one!

This month in the Daring Kitchen we were challenged to make Piroshki by Sara at Sassy Suppers.

Sara tells us that …”according to Anne Volokh in her book The Art of Russian Cuisine, pirozhki have been sold as street food since Peter the Great’s time. They have also been served during elaborate banquets both in Russia and Paris. At the turn of the century, one could find fabulous pirozhki at the Filippov Bakery. The hand-held fried pies would be stuffed with all sorts of things . . . meat, mushrooms, rice, eggs, cheese and jam. Pirozhki are still sold on the street in Russian cities today and many a home baker has a favorite recipe.”

I have also been waiting to try a couple of piroshki recipes from that great book by Greg PatentA Baker’s Odyssey” so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try baking and frying piroshki in a Piroshki Fest! This is adds to my personal challenge of baking through A Baker’s Odyssey with recipe #45 and #46.


A Baker’s Odyssey provides two fried piroshki recipes one of beef and the other mushroom.  A yeast dough is generally used for fried piroshki. In this case the dough for the mushroom piroshki was sweetened with a little sugar.

I used the gorgeous sour cream pastry provided by Sara in our Daring Kitchen challenge to bake Beef Piroshki using the beef filling in A Baker’s Odyssey. With the remaining beef filling I made fried piroshki. And to complete the Piroshki Fest, Lithuanian Mushroom Piroshki from A Baker’s Odyssey completed the meal!

Yep, I was all piroshki-ed out by the end. The verdict – Beef Piroshki filling from A Baker’s Odyssey is moist and delicious and is a perfect combination with the sour cream pastry or fried in yeast pastry.

For the sour cream pastry recipe please click here but this time I won’t provide the two recipes from A Baker’s Odyssey…just a little incentive to buy a copy for yourself! If you would like to join us next month in the Daring Kitchen check it out here for yourself

The sour cream pastry was rolled very thinly before being topped with the beef filling, folded and sealed ready for baking.

The yeast dough was soft and tender and easy to work with.

Little pillows of goodness encased in sour cream pastry were crimped around the edges.

My fried piroshki browned very quickly due to the sugar content in the yeast dough but the tender dough was cooked through. This minced beef filling was moist and flavorful with hints of thyme and dill.

These baked piroshki were deliciously moreish with golden, flaky pastry.

With a dab of sour cream they were perfect.

Cheese and Bacon Twist Bread with Smoked Paprika

Bread is the staple of life, some say. I have always loved bread. Bread was always on the table in my childhood and  I loved it all. Crunchy Italian breadsticks. The Italian Vienna loaf with it’s thick crusty exterior and tender and open crumb. The Australian Tank loaf so named for it’s similarity to a corrugated iron water tank. Not to mention the delicious sweet breads such as homemade Finnish breads dotted with cardamom and fruit studded Hot Cross buns baked by our traditional local baker for Good Friday only.
To those of us of Italian heritage bread is special and treated with respect which I think stems from our Catholic faith. Ingrained in me is that bread should never be placed upside down as this brings bad luck. Italian bakers bless their bread dough by making the sign of the cross over it ensuring a good rise and bake. In the Italian home bread is never wasted. With leftover bread you can make breadcrumbs, toss it into a salad or broken into your soup.
The Daring Kitchen challenge for the month of May was hosted by Tandy of  Lavender and Lime who challenged us to make our own filled bread using ingredients we love the most. Tandy gave us a bread recipe but gave us free reign as long as the bread was shaped and twisted in her particular way. I flavoured the dough with smoked paprika and filled it with my homemade pizza sauce mix, smoked cheese and bacon.  And yes, it was a hit! Thanks Tandy!

Bacon and Cheese Twist Bread with Smoked Paprika

3/4 – 1 cup water
1 x 7g packet active dried yeast
450g bread flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
40 g sugar
1 egg

40 mls olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

Filling
tomato puree flavoured with fresh garlic, oregano and salt
diced bacon
smoked cheese, grated

Directions:
1.Activate the yeast in the water for 5 minutes first. Then place the flour, yeast and water mixture, smoked paprika, sugar, egg and oil into a stand mixer bowl
2. Use a dough hook and knead for 1 minute
3. Add the salt and knead for a further 5 minutes
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface
5. Knead gently and shape into a ball
6. Rub the bowl with a little bit of oil
7. Place the dough back into the bowl, seam side down
8. Cover and leave to prove until doubled in size
9. Lightly oil your hands and punch back the dough
10. Cover and prove for 1 hour
11. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface
12. Knock back and roll out into a rectangle

13. Spread the dough with tomato puree, sprinkle on bacon and cheese to your liking.

14. Roll up tightly, lengthwise
15. Trim off the edges ( I didn’t trim the edges, can’t stand waste!)
16. Cut in half, down the middle, but not going all the way to the bottom

17. Slightly open the two halves
18. Twist the dough to resemble a length of rope

19. Shape into a circle
20. Place onto a lined or sprayed baking tray
21. Cover dough with a damp cloth and leave to prove for 30 minutes
22. Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5
23. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle on the poppy seeds

24. Bake for 10 minutes
25. Reduce the temperature to 175°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4
26. Bake for a further 45 minutes
27. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for 15 minutes
28. Place onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before cutting

Kouign amann

Isn’t it amazing the variety of recipes around the globe? Some are similar and some are very different. But each culture has their own unique way of preparing food. I particularly love that a baker can take baking basics such as flour, sugar, butter, eggs maybe a little yeast and create something which is totally their own.
This month in the Daring Kitchen we were challenged to prepare  kouign amann. Now this I had never heard of! According to our host,   Meredith. from The Poco Loco Olsons – “a kouign amann (prounounced “kwee-amahn”) is a round crusty pastry that originated in Brittany in roughly 1860. It is made with a bread dough that is laminated (think of a croissant or puff pastry) and then sprinkled with sugar before being cut into squares and baked in muffin tins”.
I decided mine could do with a square of chocolate in the middle. Yup, these are good. Very good!

Kouign amann

Servings: 12

Ingredients:

300g/10 1/2 oz / 2 2/5 cups strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
5g / 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast OR 6.75g / 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
5g / 1 tsp salt
200ml / 6 3/4 fl oz / 4/5 cup warm water
25g / 1oz / 1 3/4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
250g / 9oz / 1 1/5 sticks / 1 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, in a block
100g / 3 1/2 oz / scant 1/2 cup caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

Directions:

1. Put the flour into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add the water and melted butter and mix on a slow speed for two minutes, then on a medium speed for six minutes.
NOTE: If using active dry yeast, activate it in the water for 5 minutes first.

2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Put into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for one hour.

3. Sandwich the butter between two sheets of grease-proof paper and bash with a rolling pin, then roll out to a 14 cm / 5½” square. Place in the fridge to keep chilled.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20cm / 8” square. Place the butter in the center of the dough diagonally, so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough

 Fold the corners of the dough over the butter to enclose like an envelope.

5. Roll the dough into a 45 x 15cm / 18 x 6” rectangle. Fold the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over. You will now have a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This completes one turn.

6. Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.

7. Roll the dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and fold into thirds again. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 40 x 30cm / 16 x 12” rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with additional caster sugar and cut the dough into 12 squares. I added a small block of chocolate in the middle of each.

8. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Gather the dough squares up by their four corners and place in the muffin tins, pulling the four corners towards the centre of the muffin tin, so that it gathers up like a four-leaf clover.

Sprinkle with additional caster sugar and leave to rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for 30 minutes until slightly puffed up.

9. Preheat oven to 220°C / 200°C (fan) / 425°F / Gas Mark 7. Bake the pastries for 30 – 40 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Be careful not to burn yourself on the caramelized sugar, but don’t leave them to cool for too long, or the caramelised sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin.

10. Serve warm or cold.

Stroopwafel

What is a stroopwafel? Same question I had when I saw this was our Daring Kitchen challenge for March. So, a stroopwafel is a waffle biscuit (or cookie, depending on where you live) filled with a sticky delicious carmel which is the “stroop”. Very popular in their native country, the Netherlands where market vendors continue to make these in the traditional way and their delicious scent calls to customers.Cinnamon flavours the biscuit and the filling but maybe other spices, vanilla or finely ground nuts could be used.

Our host Juliana from Egg Day said “They are a little fiddly and timing is critical. They are a yeasted cookie dough made in a shallow waffle cookie press, like a pizzelle iron, split down the middle and filled with a gooey dark brown butterscotch filling.” Wow, Juliana wasn’t kidding! I struggled splitting these little wafels down the middle! I used my electric pizzelle maker but had to be careful not to close it too tightly lest I create a wafel so thin that splitting was impossible. Nonetheless, stroop wafels are delicious and I thank Juliana for introducing me to these delights.

This is Juliana’s recipe with my comments in red

 Stroopwafel

Servings: 24

Ingredients

For the Wafels:
1/2 cup / 120ml warm water (105-110°F / 40-43°C)
1/4 ounce / 7g / 1 envelope active dry yeast (regular, not quick rise)
1/2 cup / 100g granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup / 2 sticks / 8 ounces / 225g unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
4 cups / 500g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Stroop Filling:
1 1/2 cups / 300g brown sugar, packed
1 cup / 2 sticks / 8 ounces / 225g unsalted butter
1/3 cup / 80ml dark corn syrup (see note below)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Oil spray for cookie press (I didn’t need this, there is a lot of butter in the dough)

IF you can’t find dark corn syrup here are some substitutes

1/4 cup / 60ml light corn syrup plus 4 teaspoons/ 20ml molasses
OR
1/3 cup / 80ml molasses
OR
2/5 cup / 80g packed brown sugar mixed with 4 teaspoons / 20ml hot water

Directions:

In a stand mixer bowl combine water, yeast, a pinch of sugar from the ½ cup and salt. When the yeast is foamy (about 3 minutes) add the remaining sugar and butter, blend together. Add the eggs and mix. Add the flour and cinnamon. Mix one minute beyond just combined. Allow the dough to rest, covered or wrapped in film, while you make the stroop.

In a heavy bottom pan combine the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Over medium high heat, bring mixture to a boil, not stirring. Attach candy thermometer.
In a heavy bottom pan combine the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Over medium high heat, bring mixture to a boil, not stirring. (I stirred otherwise it would have burnt) Attach candy thermometer. Brush the sugar down from the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Bring to 234-240°F / 112-115°C / soft ball stage. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test it – at this point the syrup dropped in to cold water can be formed in to a soft and flexible ball. Remove from heat, add cinnamon. Stir until smooth. (I then cooled the pan in a bowl of cool water because I was worried about the caramel overcooking. Next time I would probably stop cooking the caramel before it reached temperature. My caramel was quite firm towards the end of making the wafels.)

Preheat waffle iron.

Measure the dough into 24 to 26 x 1 1/2 ounce / 42g balls. Roll into round balls.
Lay out a cutting board, round or decorative cookie cutter, knife, and offset spatula.

In quick order spray the cookie press, put in a ball of dough into each side of the cookie press. Close quickly using pressure to flatten the dough. Timing varies for each iron, roughly 1-3 minutes, allow your cookies to cook. Look for the steam coming from your press to diminish noticeably. You are looking for a dark golden brown. If they are undercooked they will not be crispy when cool. If they are overcooked you cannot split the cookie to fill it.

As soon as the cookie is cooked (it may be puffed, if you’re lucky) cut with the round cutter. This gives you a clean edge to halve the cookie.

Cut it through the middle to make two disks. It will be hot, use a clean tea towel to handle the cookie if necessary. Spread 1-2 tablespoons stroop onto one half of the cookie, then top with the other half. Allow to cool. If you move quickly, you can refill the cookie press after you’ve cut and split the cookie.

Those cookies can cook while you are filling the ones you just removed from the iron. If you move quickly, you can refill the cookie press after you’ve cut and split the cookie. Those cookies can cook while you are filling the ones you just removed from the iron.

Cardamom Coffee Rolls – A Baker’s Odyssey Personal Challenge #38

Growing up in a farming community that was quite multicultural one of my favourite foods was “Finish Bread” or “Coffee Buns”. I now know this was Pulla, a wonderfully fragrant Finish bread.  The Finns, like we Italians, had come to the area to make it “good” in the sugar cane industry. My mother swapped recipes with the Finn ladies so pizza became a staple in their homes and “Finnish Bread” in ours. I still have a great fondness for the beautiful spice cardamom and for the gentle Finnish people.

Today I continue my slow journey through A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent. I had baked these delicious buns quite some time ago and have just rediscovered them. So similar to the wonderful bread of my childhood with freshly ground cardamom the key to their beauty. Inside the green cardamom pods you will find brown seeds, crush them to release their fragrance.

I dedicate this post to the amazing Finish people and their families who brought joy into my life.


Cardamom Coffee Rolls

Sponge

1 c whole milk
1 1/2 c plain flour
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry or instant yeast

Dough

1/2 c sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 stick (4 tbsp or 60g) butter, soft and room temperature
1 tsp ground cardamom (slightly more if you use pre-ground)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c plain flour

Topping

1/4 c slivered almonds, chopped
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp pearl sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp water, for the egg wash

To begin make the sponge

Heat the milk to between 38C/120F to 55C/130F. Whisk together the flour and yeast then add the milk and whisk until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let is rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubles…

… and is bubbly like this.

Scrape the sponge into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar egg, egg yolk, butter, cardamom and salt. Using a flat beater beat on low for a minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes until the dough gathers around the beater and pulls away from the sides. Remove the flat beater and attach the dough hook. Add in the flour and knead on a low speed, scraping the sides if needed. Increase the speed and knead for 5 minutes. It should be soft and elastic.

Sprinkle the dough with a spoonful of flour, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled about 1 1/2 hours.

Scrape the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flip the dough over so both surfaces are coated with flour. Divide the dough into 15 portions. Cover loosely with a cloth and allow to rest for 10 minutes. In the meantime butter a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Now shape each portion into a ball and arrange in the buttered tray. Allow to rise for 1 hour covered with a cloth.

Heat the oven to 190C/375F. Make the topping by combining all the ingredients.

When the rolls have risen brush with egg wash and sprinkle with topping. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until well risen and browned.

These are delicious warm!

Jamie Oliver’s Tear “N” Share Garlic Bread

 This Sunday in Australia we celebrate Father’s Day. Though my dad is no longer with us I celebrate this day for the fathers in my life – my husband and my dear father-in-law, and in memory of my own father. For me it is a day to show our Dads that they are appreciated and loved. Yummy comfort food helps, I think. And what can be more comforting than bread and butter.
This tear and share garlic bread is perfect….soft white bread, fragrant garlic and oodles of butter!
What are we waiting for?
Happy Father’s Day.

Tear “N” Share Garlic Bread 

adapted from “Jamie’s Comfort Food” by Jamie Oliver
800g bread flour
1 x 7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
550ml warm water
100g stale breadcrumbs
Butter
6 large cloves garlic, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
125g butter, at room temp (see note)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Note: My preference is for salted butter but Jamie uses unsalted, I will leave that up to you
I make the dough in my stand mixer with the dough hook but you could easily make it by hand. In the bowl of the stand mixer place the flour, yeast and salt. Add the warm water and knead in the stand mixer on low until well combined. Increase speed a little and continue to knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to stand in a warm place until the dough is doubled – about 1 hour. 
In the meantime make your butter. I like to crush the garlic with my mini mortar and pestle with a little bit of salt but you can just use a garlic crusher if you prefer. Mix the garlic with the butter, as much parsley as you want (I like more than Jamie recommended), lemon rind and cayenne pepper.  
Take a large baking tray – mine measured about 25cm x 35 cm – and spread about 1/3 of the butter all over the base and sides, sprinkle with breadcrumbs making sure they get all the way up the sides.
Divide your risen dough into 35 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and arrange in the baking tray. 

Spread the dough with another 1/3 of the butter then allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until almost doubled in size.While you are waiting preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
When ready bake for 30 minutes or until well risen, golden and cooked through.

Hit the buns with the last 1/3 of butter!
Spread the butter well over the hot buns..
…then serve and enjoy!

Focaccia: April 2015 daring bakers’ challenge


For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to
 Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch


It’s always a thrill when the beginning of the month arrives and a new Daring Bakers Challenge is announced. I have been a Daring Baker now for almost 6 years! Yes, I can’t believe it either! How time flies and I still am excited to discover each new challenge. When it is yeast cookery…even better still. So this month when our hosts Rachael of Pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise challenged us to make focaccia I was in my element. My plan was to make it many times using different recipes however times does fly and the month got away from me. I made two simple varieties…one with garlic and rosemary and another with sun dried tomatoes and black olives. 
Thank you Rachael and Sawsan!
Focaccia Two Ways – my own recipe
3 teaspoons dried yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon malt syrup or honey
385g plain flour
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
for Garlic and Rosemary Foccacia
2 or 3 cloves garlic, sliced and mixed with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sprigs of rosemary rubbed with a bit of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes
for Black Olive and Sundried Tomato Foccacia
8 to 10 black olives, deseeded and cut in half
couple of spoonfuls of sliced sundried tomatoes
sea salt flakes
In the bowl of a stand mixer dissolve yeast with water and stand for a few minutes until bubbling slightly, add flour, oil, malt syrup and pepper. With the dough hook attached knead for 5 minutes, then add the salt. Knead again until the dough is smooth and elastic. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for about an hour or until at least doubled.

In the meantime prepare your toppings if you have not already.

When the dough is ready divide in half. Press out each half then fold it back up by bringing into the middle sides and the top and bottom. Press out and place onto a well oiled pizza tray. Push the toppings into the dough and sprinkle generously with the oil from the tomatoes and the oil from the garlic.

Sprinkly both with sea salt flakes. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

In the meantime preheat the oven at 200C then bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned and looking delicious.

Serve warm and enjoy!