Khubz
Homemade Granola

Granola with yoghurt, a great way to start the day.  Problem is, sugar is the first ingredient in much of the granola you can buy.  Fortunately, it’s quite easy to make your own.  So wifey and I set out to make some.  We based our granola on a recipe posted by the Amateur Gourmet, which in turn is adapted from the book Baked.  Below is our adapted recipe after a couple of experiments.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, e.g., canola or olive (not extra virgin)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped in half
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried figs or chopped dates (both are delicious)

Preheat the oven to 150 celsius.  

Line a baking pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the salt and cinnamon.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, sugar, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.  Pour the resulting syrup onto the oat mixture and use your (clean) hands to thoroughly combine.

Spread the mixture on the baking pan making sure that there’s plenty of lumps (I found that many of the lumps break down, so keep it lumpy for texture).   Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

With a spatula, flip the mixture then sprinkle the almonds over the granola.  Bake for 5 more minutes.

Flip the mixture again, and sprinkle the hazelnuts.  Bake for 10 more minutes.

Remove from the oven.  Put the pan on a cooling rack and let it cool completely.  Once cooled, sprinkle the dried fruit.  Transfer gently (with your hands) to an airtight container.

In an airtight container, this should keep for a week (or months if frozen in an airtight bag), but I doubt it’ll last that long!  The result was a nice combination of chewy and crunchy.  Serve with yoghurt or milk.

Notes:

  • Original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon salt, we found that to be too salty.
  • The original also suggests the oven be heated to 160 celsius, but we though that the granola was toasted a bit more than what we’d like.
Farinata

Baking with flours other than wheat (and its relatives) can be a welcome change every once in a while.  This is why when I first heard of farinata, an Italian pancake-like flatbread made with chickpea flour, I thought it would be a nice accompaniment for dinner.

I used the recipe posted at Lucullian Delights as the main inspiration, but also incorporated some ideas from Mark Bittman’s recipe.  Below is the recipe as I made it.

Ingredients

  • 150 grams chickpea flour
  • 350 millilitres water (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt (or 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons oil oil (not extra virgin)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

Sift the chickpea flour in a bowl to get rid of all the lumps.  Add the water, salt, and pepper and stir until everything is well incorporated.  The consistency of this batter should be somewhat similar to cream (quite loose).  Let it rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees celsius.  

Stir the pine nuts into the batter.  

Slice the zucchini thinly.

Pour the oil into a 20 x 30 cm baking dish (or a similarly sized dish), and make sure the pan is well coated on all sides.  Pour the batter into the pan, and stir it in the pan to incorporate some of the oil into the batter.  Layer the zucchini on top of the batter to cover, and sprinkle some extra salt (preferably kosher) and the chopped rosemary on top.

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes (rotating it half way through), or until golden brown and delicious.  Let it cool down to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Notes:

  • I’ve never had these before, but I believe it came out a bit thicker than it’s meant to be.  Next time I’ll either try to make less, or try using a bigger pan.
  • Some onion (as Bittman suggests) might be nice.
  • The edges of the farinata were really stuck to the pan.  Maybe use a non-stick baking pan.
  • I really need to work on my photography skills!  The farinata looks way better in real life than it does in this photo.
Soft Burger Buns

I usually don’t like to bake (or consume) pure white bread, but I’ve had a hankering for it for some reason now.  I decided to go with Peter Reinhart’s Soft Sandwich Bread from his book, Artisan Breads Every Day.  Like any good scientist, I’m taking notes to figure out what I should do differently the next time, which I’m sharing with whoever is interested.

Below is the recipe as I made it.

For the bread:

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 425 grams lukewarm buttermilk (about 35 degrees)
  • 794 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons gluten
  • 2 teaspoon table salt or 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 60 grams honey
  • 85 grams vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1 egg

For the egg wash and seed topping (optional):

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • sesame seeds (nigella seeds would be nice too)

I use all purpose flour (stoneground, 10.9% protein content) because I couldn’t find any organic bread flour here in NZ. This is why I supplement it with gluten.  If using bread flour then there’s no need for the additional gluten.

You can use milk instead of buttermilk, but I like the sourness buttermilk adds.  It offsets the sweetness of the bread a bit.   I used homemade buttermilk.  Mix 3 parts milk with 1 part cultured buttermilk, and leave at room temperature for about 24 hours, or until it looks like and smells like buttermilk.  Yoghurt can be substituted for the buttermilk.

The procedure for making the bread is as follows.  

Whisk the yeast with the buttermilk and let it sit for a minute or so.  In the mean time, whisk the flour, gluten, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the honey, oil, and egg and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon (or a wet hand).  Add in the yeast mixture and mix with the spoon for a minute or so.  Let it rest for 5 minutes.  In the mean time, oil a clean bowl that is big enough to hold the dough once doubled.

Dump the dough on a big enough surface and knead until the dough is smooth; it took me about 10 minutes.  You’re looking for tacky but not sticky dough (think post-it note).  If the dough feels too dry add more buttermilk (or water), if it’s too wet add more flour.  Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the bowl rolling it to coat the whole ball with oil.  Cover with cling-film and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (and up to 4 days).

On baking day, take the dough out about 2.5 hours before you plan to bake.

I shaped the dough into 85 gram rolls and knots (made 17 in total), but you could use it to make two loaves.  Mist the dough with oil and cover with cling-film.  Let it rise for 2.5 hours at room temperature (or until doubled in size).

About an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 200 celsius (if making rolls), or 175 (if making loaves).  If making rolls, brush with the egg-wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds a few minutes before baking.  Bake for 12-18 minutes (rolls), or 40-45 minutes (loaves).  The target internal temperature is 85 celsius.

Once done, cool on a rack and don’t dig in until the bread has thoroughly cooled.

The bread was soft and delicious.  Wifey concurs.

Notes to self:

  • It seems that the bread overproofed a bit in the fridge.  It could be because it’s pretty warm these days (25 degrees).  Perhaps next time I should use room temperature buttermilk if it’s warm weather.
  • I let the shaped rolls rise for 1.5 hours (not 2.5).  I think they might have been slightly underproofed (a couple of rolls have cracks).  Perhaps 15 minutes more would have done the trick.
  • I accidentally added a bit more honey than Reinhart suggests (he suggests 60 grams, I used 70).  The bread wasn’t too sweet though.
  • I actually ended up using the exact same amounts of flour and liquid Reinhard calls for, which is unusual because I normally need to adjust by adding more flour to get to the right dough consistency.
  • My knot rolls were undone.  Next time much pinch them closed.

Submitted to YeastSpotting!

Blueberry cheesecake brownies (adapted from http://www.acatinthekitchen.com/?p=152). Served this last Saturday.

Blueberry cheesecake brownies (adapted from http://www.acatinthekitchen.com/?p=152). Served this last Saturday.

Pane Siciliano, following Reinhart’s recipe.

Pane Siciliano, following Reinhart’s recipe.