Baking Amy

A year of baking disasters and triumphs

Gluten Free Artisan Bread

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I’ve always loved food but I’ve always preferred eating it to making it (except for dessert). Lately I’ve found myself getting more and more excited about making food, healthy food, and I’m jumping on the ‘make from scratch’ band wagon! I’m only just realising how quick and easy everyday items like bread, yogurt, peanut butter… can be. I must have been living under a rock. Artisan bread is a brand new discovery for me and I’m already in love with it although I’ve only made it once. If you’ve never heard of artisan bread it is the quickest easiest bread you will ever make. You basically throw all the ingredients in to a bucket, let it rise for two hours and then keep it in the fridge until your ready to bake. When you are ready to bake you pull a piece out of your bucket, shape it, let it rise and a little while and bung it in the oven. Absolute genius!! There is now absolutely no excuse to buy shop bought bread again as homemade is only a few minutes of effort away. As I’m cutting down on the amount of wheat I eat I decided to make a gluten free bread. I found this recipe on Quirky Cooking’s blog but it is originally from the book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Recipe

  • 300 g brown rice flour
  • 220 g sorghum flour
  • 380 g tapioca starch (tapioca flour)
  • 2 tbsp. instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp xanthan gum
  • 4 large eggs
  • 670 g lukewarm water
  • 65 g neutral flavoured oil (eg. macadamia, grapeseed, sunflower, light olive)
  • 30 g honey

 

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large container, I used a 5.5 litre square container with a lid because I couldn’t find a round one anywhere. If you can find a round container go with that as the flour sticks in the corners making it difficult to mix in
  2. Combine the wet ingredients and pour onto the dry ingredients (the original recipe says to add them in a certain order and add the water a third at a time, I didn’t read that until after I’d mixed mine together but it worked out fine)
  3. Sit at room temperature for two hours then place in the fridge over night for the flavours to develop
  4. With we hands take a grapefruit sized piece of dough, lay it on some baking paper and smooth the surface with water, try not to handle it too much
  5. Let the dough rise for 1.5 to 2 hours
  6. Preheat the oven and pizza stone to 230°C (my ovens maximum temperature is 190°C and it turned out ok), also place a baking dish on the bottom shelf
  7. When the dough is ready to bake but it on top of the pizza stone and quickly add a cup of hot water to the baking dish, bake for 35-40 mins
  8. Allow to cool completely before slicing or it will be a bit doughy

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Lemon Slice

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Mmmm, I do love a tangy lemon slice, this one come from Inner Pickle. It’s pretty yummy but would have been even better if I hadn’t of over worked the shortbread, thus making it tough AND over baked the curd. Double oops! Actually triple oops because I only lined the base of the tin and it wasn’t until I put the slice in the oven that I realised that I should have lined the sides as well so I could actually lift it out of the tin when finished, oops!

I think my problem is that I get distracted easily and I forget what time I put things in the oven. Maybe I should start using a timer? Despite my short comings, it does taste rather delicious and was very quick to put together, which was good because I’d just run the 8 km Angling for a Cure run for Cystic Fibrosis and didn’t have the energy to spend much time baking.

Method

Base:

  • 125 g butter, softened
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅓ cups plain flour, sifted

Top:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
  • Pure icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease and line a ~20 x 30 cm slice tin
  2. Beat butter sugar and vanilla extract until creamy
  3. Add flour and stir in until it looks like crumbs
  4. Press into slice tin and bake for 10 mins until just starting to turn golden brown around the edges – allow to cool
  5. Mixing the topping ingredients together and poor over the cooled base, bake for 20 mins or until just set
  6. Leave to cool in the tin, slice and dust with icing sugar if you wish

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Blueberry Clafoutis

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This week I discovered a new food: buckwheat. I had absolutely no idea what it was, but oh my, am I glad that I discovered it. You would be forgiven for thinking it was related to wheat as the name is very deceiving, but it isn’t, it’s a seed from a plant related to rhubarb and it tastes a little nutty. So what do I do with this buckwheat? I make porridge!

I always thought that my Weetbix, All Bran and banana breakfast was pretty healthy until I read this quote “cereal in a box is not food”. That got me thinking, and suddenly I saw the light and I am never going to eat cereal in a box again (unless I’m running incredibly late for work). I never particularly liked it anyway. I use the porridge recipe from the Healthy Chef and add some stewed fruit on top with a sprinkling of nuts – delicious! I also made buckwheat pancakes on Sunday which were equally delicious if not more so topped with Greek yoghurt, berries and a drizzle of honey. So why don’t you give buckwheat a go, it’s not only delicious and good for you but it’s pretty cheap, especially for a health food.

You may think that with all this talk of buckwheat that this week’s desert was made with it. Well I’m sorry to disappoint but it wasn’t, but I did make a dessert that was completely new to me; clafoutis from Charismatic Baking. I have never baked or eaten one before and have no idea what the texture is supposed to be like but it looks so delicious that I just had to try it. It was an incredibly easy dessert to throw together, it took about 5 minutes to get it in the oven which was good because I only started making it as my husband took the roast off the barbeque. I used frozen blueberries, which I think was a mistake because after 35 minutes it was still very soupy in the middle, which I don’t think it should have been. In the end I think I overcooked it a bit. It was still delicious though served straight from the oven, but as it cooled it tasted a bit like omelette. When I went back to the original recipe, the pictures showed a runny centre, so I think you need to cook it until it’s golden brown and just set on top. I’ll have to try this one again, its too yummy not to.

Recipe

  • 300-400 g blueberries, rinsed
  • 80 g plain flour
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg white
  • 300 ml milk
  • Icing sugar to dust and/or cream to serve (optional)
  1. Grease a 22 cm pie dish and heat oven to 160C
  2. Place blueberries into bottom of dish and spread out evenly
  3. Whisk the eggs until frothy
  4. Add in the combined dry ingredients
  5. Slowly drizzle in the milk whist whisking
  6. Pour over blueberries
  7. Bake for 35 minutes

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Raspberry & Orange Upside Down Cake

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This was a quick little cake that I just threw together yesterday. I can’t tell you where the recipe comes from as I cut it out of a magazine years ago, and I have no idea which one. The orange flavour was pretty strong, which I love but my raspberries where rather tart and the cake overall was a little dry. Maybe I overcooked it again, but I did cook it for less time than the recipe stated, although I think my bundt tin was a little larger than it should have been. That could also explain why the top of my cake stuck to the pan. Every time I make bundt cakes the top sticks, I even used soya spray this time, which nothing seems to stick to, but it didn’t help. Maybe next time I’ll use my smaller tin and I might throw in some Greek yoghurt to. I’m not usually one to mess with a recipe but this batter was rather thick and I think the yoghurt would work well to make it a little looser and a bit moister. Blueberries would also be good instead of the raspberries.

Recipe

  • 175g butter
  • 155g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest (I used two oranges)
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 75g plain flour
  • 100g almond meal
  • 80ml fresh orange juice
  • 300g frozen raspberries
  • Demerara sugar and cream to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and spray a 24cm bundt tin with oil. Line the base with non-stick baking paper (why didn’t I see that in the recipe when I was making it?)
  2. Beat butter, sugar and zest together until pale and creamy
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each one
  4. Fold in the combined flour, almond meal and orange juice
  5. Put half the raspberries in the base of the bundt tin, cover with half the batter, add the remaining raspberries and then the remaining batter
  6. Bake for 50-55 mins (I think mine took 40 mins) or until a skewer comes out clean
  7. Cool for 10 mins in the tin before turning out
  8. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and serve with cream

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A cheats week

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I thought about making a huge chocolate malt cake this weekend, but as it is my birthday tomorrow I am expecting my husband to buy me a cake. Two cakes in a few days is just too much cake for me so I did something that I NEVER do. Living in my pantry for at least the last 12 months was a Zumbo box kit for salted chocolate macarons. I’ve never made macarons and box kits really don’t appeal to me, which is why its been in my pantry for so long. But, I really couldn’t be bothered making anything else and I thought it would be a good thing to make with my boys. It was actually really easy and they don’t taste too bad. Now I’m keen to make them from scratch but that will have to be another weekend.

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So as I made a cheats desert I thought I would share with you a couple of bread recipes from Quirky Cooking that I have made recently. If you haven’t discovered this blog yet then you really should make your way over there. Yes, she has a wonderful machine called a thermomix which she uses for most of her recipes, but don’t let this deter you, if like me you don’t have one.

Spelt Tortilla

  • 300g white spelt flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2tsp baking soda
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • water

I make these every week, they are incredibly yummy and really easy to make (if I can make them without it turning into a disaster then so can you). Just put the first four ingredients into a food processor, blitz for a few seconds and then drizzle in the water until it forms a ball. The dough will be quite sticky. then you pinch some off and roll it out as thin as you can on a floured surface. Shake off the excess flour and put into a hot, dry frying pan. Cook for a few seconds either side and its done! If you want them to stay nice and soft, put them straight onto a plate and cover with a tea towel.

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Quinoa & Chia Seed Flatbread

  • 150g white quinoa
  • 2tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 180g water

Toast the quinoa in a dry pan for a few minutes and then grind to a flour along with the chia seeds. I used my Magimix for this but it didn’t do too well at grinding to a flour, the result was half flour have whole seeds, I must find a better way! Add the salt and water and mix together. The dough is incredibly sticky and not dough like at all. Line a baking try with baking paper, drizzle on a bit of oil, put some of the dough on top, add a little more oil to the top of the dough (to stop it sticking to your fingers) and pat out to about 3mm thick. make them as large or as small as you like, then bake in a 200 C oven for 30 mins for a crunchy flat bread of less if you like it softer. Mine where pretty crunchy, maybe a little too crunchy for my liking but my fussy three year old loved it and keeps asking for more. Apparently if you use less oil they will be less crunch so that is what I will try next time.

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Macadamia and chocolate chip brownies

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Why oh why do I keep making the same mistake?! Every time I bake a cake I over cook it. You’d think that two months into my challenge I would have learnt how to tell if a cake is cooked or not, but apparently not. Maybe I am unconsciously sabotaging my baking so that I don’t eat too much of it. Hmm, I might be onto something there. If I made a beautiful cake that was the epitome of perfection then I wouldn’t be able to stop eating it, but if it is less than perfect and a bit overcooked then I really don’t feel like eating that much of it.

Yesterday I made some brownies from the book Mix and Bake by Belinda Jeffery. I love this book, Belinda’s cakes are just beautiful and usually fool proof. The picture in the book is of a lovely gooey-fudgy brownie that looks divine. Mine however, turned out a bit dry and more cakey than gooey. I’m beginning to wonder if I should ditch the wooden skewer method of testing the ‘doneness’ of cakes, would a toothpick work better? Or maybe I should just trust the cooking time in the book as being accurate. Even though my brownies didn’t turn out quite like they should have they are still pretty good and you really should try this recipe.

Method

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 180g good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 385g castor sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g roasted macadamias cut into large chunks
  • 100g good-quality dark chocolate buttons
  • Icing sugar (optional) to serve
  1. Roast the macadamias at 180°C until fragrant and leave to cool (leave the oven on when cooked as the brownies bake at 180°C)
  2. Butter a 23cm square cake tin, line with foil, butter then line the base with baking paper (I have no idea what the purpose of the foil is, if you know I would love to hear from you)
  3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heavy based pan over a low heat until the butter is nearly melted. Stir and set aside to cool
  4. Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture (I transferred the chocolate to my mixer bowl but you don’t have to) and mix well
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated
  6. Add the flour and stir until combined but don’t overdo the stirring
  7. Fold in the macadamias and chocolate chips
  8. Put the batter into the prepared tin and shake gently to level the top
  9. Bake for 40-45 mins or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the brownie comes out with very moist crumbs clinging to it (REMEMBER it should be gooey and if you insert your skewer into a piece of melted chocolate then it may look like you brownie is undercooked). Another good indicator that it is ready is to rest the palm of your hand lightly on the surface and gently jiggle the brownie from side to side – it should feel wobbly firm (do this rather than the skewer, I didn’t trust this test but I should have!)
  10. Cool the brownie in the tin on a wire rack
  11. Once cool, chill the brownie in the fridge for 30mins so it can firm up making it easier to slice with a hot dry knife

These brownies can be frozen for up to three weeks or will keep for one week in the fridge in an air tight container.

Blueberry Peach Buttermilk Cake

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I know this post is late again, but I’m not slacking off I promise. My mother in law is visiting from South Africa at the moment and as she’s sleeping in the office I don’t get much opportunity to use the computer.

Mid-week I was thinking of making either a carrot cake or a peanut butter cake. I hadn’t really settled on a recipe but that was no surprise. Then on Saturday night when I was writing my shopping list (I have small children, my nights out on the town are well and truly over), I still couldn’t decide on a recipe, but I had realised one thing, it needed to be quick and simple! The reason being was that in just a few hours I had to wake up early and cycle 50km in aid of MS Australia. Then, as if that wasn’t far enough, I was going to cycle home. As I have never cycled 85.5km before I thought I might be a little tired when I got home. I wasn’t wrong! So something simple was needed and I was now feeling like something fruity, peach and blueberry’s to be exact. I still couldn’t settle on a recipe so I instructed my husband to buy the fruit the next day and I would make up my mind then and hopefully have all the ingredients I needed. In the end I decided on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It makes a lovely small, light cake and it’s the first cake I have made recently that my husband has told me is really good without me having to ask him, so it must be good.

The only problem with my cake is that all the fruit sank to the bottom, probably because I cut the peaches much too large (I was rushing because I’d already made the batter before I prepared the fruit). It also seemed to brown really quickly, so I covered it up with some foil to halt the browning process. Any type of fruit can used, stewed apples and cinnamon would be nice, served with a dollop of thick custard or any kind of berries and a dollop of yoghurt if you want to be healthier, or whipped cream if not. It doesn’t need anything on the side though, a nice cup of tea does nicely instead. I mostly stuck to the recipe with the exception of only sprinkling 1 tablespoon of sugar on top instead of 1 1/2 as it seemed like rather a lot.

Method

130g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
56g unsalted butter, softened
146g plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C and grease a 20cm round tin
  2. Cream the butter and sugar then beat in the egg and vanilla extract
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and add a third to the butter mixture until just combined
  4. Stir in half the buttermilk until just combined, then another third flour mixture, remaining buttermilk then remaining flour
  5. Sprinkle the fruit on top followed by the sugar
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean

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