Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Bread Rolls made with Bakels Mix

We rarely bake bread ... and only made the foray into the arena last week due to the purchase of a packet of 'bread mix'.  I always find it disappointing that such 'ready to make' items invariably require the addition of numerous ingredients so what they really are is "ready weighed out quantity of gluten free flour mix". The Bakels mix was no different... on closer inspection of the package (and with the benefit of my reading glasses) additional to the mix, we required water (acceptable not to be in pack!), veg oil (same as water) and 7g dried yeast (this is where I struggle... why not have a sachet of yeast in the flour mix? Not everyone has dried yeast in the cupboard)

Gathering the water, oil and yeast, baking began.

The yeast was added to tepid water ... and reacted well, producing lots of nice bubbles (bubbles = active yeast = soft bread)

Next the bread mix was added, then the oil.  Using the electric hand mixer, with dough hooks, the bread was kneaded for 5 minutes in total.

Turning the bread out onto a floured (using GF flour) silicone sheet, it was formed into a large ball and then, because we were baking rolls, divided into eight.

 The bread rolls were put onto an oiled baking tray, covered in oiled cling film and placed in the airing cupboard to rise... they were left a little over an hour.

Having heated the oven to 220ºC, the rolls were baked for 15 minutes, when they were checked (and found to be browning well) They were returned to the oven for another couple of minutes and then removed to be cooled on their baking trays.

Cutting them open when fresh, they were bouncy with a light crust and smelt very appealing.

We'll definitely try these again, when the mix is on offer, and will try adding cheese, seeds and other things to the top of the rolls next time.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Amaretti Biscuits

Looking through this week's Waitrose Weekend paper, we spotted a recipe by Martha Collison for Amaretti Biscuits.  As they contain very few ingredients and are naturally glutenfree, we decided to give them a go.

As usual, it would be too simple to actually follow a recipe... and due to 'ingredient limitations' (only had one egg...) we decided to make a half batch.  This meant we needed to use - 1 egg white, 75g caster sugar, 87.5g ground almonds, a few drops of vanilla bean extract and icing sugar (for dusting).

Using an electric hand mixer, the egg white was beaten to stiff peak consistency.

The caster sugar was added in thirds and thoroughly combined.

Next the almonds were also added in thirds and mixed in well using a silicone spatula.
Finally, a few drops of almond bean extract were added and mixed through well.

The mix was then divided into (roughly) 10g balls and rolled in icing sugar before being put on a silicone sheet covered baking tray.

Baking the biscuits in a pre-heated oven (170ºC) for 10 minutes, they were checked to see if they had expanded and turned a light golden shade... they were returned to the oven for another couple of minutes before being removed and allowed to cool completely.

The biscuits were lovely freshly baked... but seem even more delicious the next day (having been stored in an airtight container overnight) as they have a crisp outer and soft, gooey centre. Very tasty indeed... and will be added to the 'must bake regularly' list!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Welsh Cakes

My Granny was Welsh, she made great Welsh Cakes... and I remember making them with her.   However, Welsh Cakes are usually made on a griddle, a flat iron plate, which I don't have.  Having a new 'ceramic non-stick' frying pan, we needed a recipe to try out its non-stick properties and Welsh Cakes fitted the bill nicely.

I don't have my Granny's recipe but I do think the one I made up is pretty close... apart from using gluten free flour (which I don't think existed back in Granny's day!)

The ingredients we used were:-

225g self raising flour  (we used Dove's Farm gluten free)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
110g butter (Granny used to use lard)
75g caster sugar
75g mixed currants
1 large egg beaten

Using a bowl, we mixed the flour, salt, spice and butter.  We used a hand balloon whisk to get a breadcrumb-like texture (and this also 'saves' my ailing fiingers from too much effort)

Next the sugar and currants were added and mixed through.

Finally the beaten egg was added.  At this point, the mix it may be a bit dry still, so if needed, use a little buttermilk or yogurt, to make the dough soft enough to be able to brought together (we did add yogurt to ours).

Once the dough came together and wasn't too wet or dry.  We lightly pressed it out, then rolled to about 5-7mm thick.  The dough was then cut in 5cm rounds.

Heating the pan, the cakes were cooked - you can use a heated griddle, lightly buttered frying pan, or as we did in a ceramic coated frying pan (it worked very well.

Cooking till browned on one side, the cakes were flipped/turned and cooked on the other side (about 3 mins a side... but depends on heat, thickness and the level of 'cook' you're aiming for).

Once cooked on both sides, the cakes were removed, placed on a plate and drizzled lightly with caster sugar.

Eaten warm, they were delicious.  They were also very tasty with a cup of tea and, surprisingly, kept well in an airtight container.