All posts tagged: Baking

The Kaiser of all rolls and the Austrian bakers’ victory

Just like the rest of central Europe, in Austria there’s a long tradition of home baking that has been influenced by Bohemian, Swiss, Italian, Czech and of course German bread and pastries. But a shared passion for dainty rolled buns dates way back to the lavish 18th century empires. The fine Austrian baking and patisserie productions have been a source of pride for rofessional bakers but things weren’t always easy for them. The Kaiser in question. Once upon a time in the 19th century, the baker’s guild of Austria faced severe obstacles when the prices of bread were fixed by the state, after much negotiation and soft power politics, the guild manged to convince the Kaiser Franz Joseph I to abolish fix prices and let the free market self-regulate, after granting the petition, the gild named the popular semmeln or bread rolls after him and the Kaiser rolls rose to fame. Franz Joseph Emperor of Austria and was also responsible for taking the Habsburg Monarchy to a whole new level of power and after the …

Peyton and Byrne. British Baking

These days there’s hardly any famous restaurant, bistro or bakery that doesn’t have their own book. Im not sure if it comes from a genuine desire to share the recipes and their take on whatever food they make or if these days is just another entry on the marketing to do-list for every food business. Some books only come through as nice coffee table props, glossy pictures and expensive paper. Others apart from being pretty, actually feel genuine and tell a story. The latter is the case of this book. Posh and sophisticated, the Peyton and Byrne group doesn’t really strike as the story of a cozy cottage industry but just because a business takes off and becomes an emporium that doesn’t mean it’s less authentic. I have enjoyed reading and baking recipes from this book because they have a real feeling about them, it almost feels like baking from hand written manuscripts that had been passed down by an old aunt or grandma herself. Yes, they’re traditional British tea-time favourites with no attempt to …

5 Lessons from a failed bake

We’ve all been there, when we open the oven to find a horrible raw-burnt-and utterly inedible piece of failed dough. Our hearts sink and if you’re a beginner this might be enough to put you off from trying again in a long time and if you’re an experienced baker this can seriously make you question your abilities. After a disastrous fail MrD gave me a tight hug and said: It’s ok Pinky, it’ll keep you humble, you’ll get it right, I still believe in your bread. >Tough love at its best!< #1 Rule to succeed: in order to improve you have to fail and fail fast. Lesson #1 The autopsy. Don’t throw the monster away! understand exactly what went wrong, either make real or mental notes: is it dry? Too wet? Too dense? Did you get the flavour right? Too salty? Partially burnt? This will be important to find out the causes behind this result. Sometimes simple things such as forgetting the yeast or killing it with too hot water can ruin the whole loaf. …

I love grass bread… and chances are you do too!

Rågbröd or rye bread as we might know it is a beloved Scandinavian staple. With a rich and dense crumb and a deep, strong flavour, rye bread is often something we buy but seldom bake. Rye is actually a grass unlike wheat that is a grain Although it can be a tricky flour to work with, you just need a few tricks to make it work and in no time it’ll become one of your regular bakes. First of all, rye flour is weird to knead because it contains very little gluten proteins and gluten is what makes dough elastic when activated by water and friction. So you often find that it is mixed with wheat flour to compensate for that, also to give it a lighter texture and a softer crumb. Using a little extra yeast or pre-soaking the flour are good things to consider. I picked some good advice on how to pre-prepare the rye flour from a great scandi book. You can swap cranberries for prunes, if you prefer a crunchy texture …

Do sourdough. Slow bread for busy lives

By Andrew Whitley 2013   I found myself inadvertently thinking about improvement and how to be more proficient with my skills and disciplined to pursue new culinary challenges. Then I read something about Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of effectiveness.   And you might wonder, what does Toyota, Sony or Ford have to do with bread making? Well you’ll see: the principle behind it is to improve processes and dynamics s by getting rid of the things that are limiting efficiency.   So I thought, in order to improve my baking abilities, I need to: Avoid the temptation of only baking variations of my recurrent recipes. Stop being lazy about making a sourdough starter that only feeds one loaf. Diversify my flours. Be disciplined about keeping a record of what I bake. document- reglect-improve. Simples! Looking for some inspiration/To help me I going back to this little book I read last year by  Andrew Whitley (@BreadMatters) who is quite a celebrity in the bakingverse in Britain and also co-founder of the Real Bread campaign and sourdough evangelist. …

Bake your pie and eat it

For the unaware visitor, Pie & Mash is a picturesque, stereotypical, generic British dish, however it is neither generic not ubiquitous. But Pie & Mash are indeed a most beloved institution in east London where this working-class staple was both a weeknight meal and also a weekend treat. In victorian London, eels and other river animals were fished for food, many ended in pies served with a generous portion of “mash” that is mashed potatoes with a pool of either beef gravy or green sauce called liquor, made with parsley and the flavoured with eel stock.  Other classic fillings include minced beef or pork. Pie & Mash shops became a social hub where friends and families would meet and socialise over a pint of ale and a hearty and affordable meal. Then again fried chicken, kebabs and pizza shops have displaced many “Chippies” (Fish & chips shops) and Pie & Mash shops, but there are still some that are very much alive but will only continue to do so as long as they’re still relevant …

Soft & pongy burger baps

Is there anything more glorious than a hot and tasty patty in a warm buttery bap? Ok that might sound a bit kinky, but it’s true. Homemade burgers will always be better than bought ones, veggie or meaty they’ll be fresh, delicious and up to your high standards! So why settling for some average packed baps when you can have the most amazing buns to complement your masterpiece? This recipe makes 10 big baps but it’s entire up to you to make smaller or bigger ones, also play with the flavours, add oregano, caraway seeds or even chili paste. I usually glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds, try assorted seeds of your choice, the possibilities are endless. I never add sugar to any savoury bread but I always make an exception for these, it feels wrong until you try it and then is *aaaall fine*. To make these beauties you will need: 500g flour 1 tbsp sugar 25g vegetable shortening 10g salt 200ml tepid milk 100ml tepid water 5g dried yeast For the glaze: 1 egg …