Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Artisan again,Sourdough-Whole Wheat and Ragi/Nachni bread

Artisan Bread.
No fixed formula, no fixed soft white bread slices.
Sourdough bread is bread made with a cultured starter instead of standard bakers yeast.
 The bacteria strain is wild and free and undoubtedly healthy.
Being introduced to a myriad of bacteria does wonders to your immunity.
I'm sort of getting obsessed with healthy and healthier bread these days. Maybe its all to do with the big container of Ragi /Nachni grains I asked someone to buy for me from down south-organic grain from Andhra Pradesh ,India.
And lets face it , the breads are coarse.
I can make myself eat them-all in the name of good health ,but its a little difficult to convince sweet child to eat it.
An uphill task it is , but I seem to have found a way with sourdough.
This blog post was lost in a viral infection and a relapse of a viral infection that sweet child went through in the last one week.
Somewhere all cakes and cream gave way to chicken broth and toast and sourdough bread.
The viral relapse has left me exhausted, wanting some TLC myself...these are the times I just want to scream out Loud "I want my Mommy!!!".
So ,I bake.
With a vengeance.

For the

Sourdough Starter

You need to start at least 2 days before.

you need

1/4 + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Nachni or Ragi flour
warm water
pinch yeast

Mix the first 1/4 cup flour with about a cup of warm water in a glass jar or bowl with a lid ,you need a batter like constituency. Add the yeast and cover and place in a warm place over night.
Next morning, add the 1/4 cup of wheat flour and some more water to the fermented batter. You are cultivating wild yeast to make a totally unique bread.
Allow this batter a day and the next day add the ragi or nachni flour and give it about 6 hours before your quest for the best bread begins.
Refridgerate what you don't use and feed the starter regularly.
36 hours after and some refrigeration later my sourdough was good to go.

 For the

Artisan again,Sourdough-Whole Wheat and Ragi/Nachni bread...

You need

3 cups more or less whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ragi or nachni flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp honey or a tsp of sugar
1 cup warm water
3-4 tsp olive oil or any vegetable oil - I used Canola
11/2 cup sourdough starter

Place 1 cups of the whole wheat and all the ragi or nachni flour in a large bowl and add the salt , honey ,warm water and the starter.

Stir together with a spoon.

 Knead this   gently adding in the oil and a little of whole wheat flour as needed.
Tip the dough onto the work top and knead stretching it to ease the gluten.

You may add a tsp or two of warm water.
Knead the dough well ,not too dry nor too wet.
Place in an oiled bowl and cover and allow it ti ferment or cure for about an hour or two.  When the dough is double , tip it out into the workspace and gently knead it.
Cut into two and roll into loaves tucking the edges under.
Place on a greased baking tray and cover.
In about an hours time heat the oven to 200°C . Place a steel bowl half filled with water on the last shelf.
allow the oven  to heat for at least 10 minutes.

 Pop the baking tray in and wait dor 35 to 40 minutes.
I have tried slashing my bread with the sharpest of blades luke Matt Moran, however, every time the stabs look like failed attempts at assassination.
Anyways, 40 minutes and my bread is done.

Knocking on the back of the loaf tells you how well it has baked. A wee brush of butter is not going to harm a sandwich....

Cover and cool and slice when needed.
The flours are dense, so the bread is hardly going to float...
But it has a distinct character, a tangy after taste that goes well with soups.

 It needs no butter and makes a mean French Toast, open Bruschetta wannabe and can take the attack of a spoon or two if peanut butter.

And its healthy.

Carbohydrates, topped with protein and a low fat spread make a wonderful meal.
This is our favourite way to toast bread. Drop some butter on a hot pan and place a slice of bread on it. The bread will be buttery, toasty and soft and is a great snack or breakfast option.

The sourdough starter must be fed daily and a loaf or two made in a few days for optimum health.
I fed the sourdough starter ground oats once... not that it developed into a stallion , but it's great for cleaning up the arteries.
So eat all the cream and red meat you want , but come back to clean up and detox with an artisan whole wheat Ragi sourdough bread soon.

PS Sweet Child is now attending school after mocking me for panicking... I don't think he will forgive the 20ml blood loss that I instigated for testing for infectious diseases though...
Well, we live in hope...

So what are you baking today???

Note:This recipe is a variation of what I saw in MasterChef Australia...what I forgot and what I remember,I know not...but this works.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cookies and Cream Cake -The Best Ever White Cake with Oreo Cookies

The best thing to happen to a hostess is to cook a meal so well that there are no leftovers. Sad ,for those of us who love to have reheated leftovers for breakfast or a midnight meal.
But when meals end way past midnight and the ghouls and evil spirits are at their prime (as coached by the Paranormal Activity series -their time is 3 am ) there remains no scope for a midnight snack.
OK ,there were no leftovers either.
Before my impending old age fogs up my brain...I must out this cookies and cream cake down.
this was a special for friends who are moving to a coveted place , Jodhpur,Rajasthan...
Yes hubby dear was amazingly green eyed when he came to know they are heading where his heart lies...
Solace, we'll have a place to crash on our next trip to Jodhpur,Rajasthan.
Yes, its on the agenda...
I love Oreos,have baked and made desserts with them earlier.

The little lady is nicknamed Jadoo ...magic and this was for her. A total sweetie, gentle, well behaved and all that .We have a soft corner for little angels...

Oreo in every bite and some more.
A white cake to die for and a frosting that is light and speckled with Oreo cookies.

Cookies and Cream Cake -The Best ever White Cake with Oreo Cookies

You need

1 1/2 cup All purpose Flour or maida
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup whole milk plus 1 tsp vinegar for the butter milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup vegetable shortening or dalda or clarified butter or ghee
1 tsp vanilla essence

 Grease and flour an 8 or 9 inch cake tin and pre heat oven to 180°C. Sift the flour and the baking powder and salt twice and set aside.

Start with the two fats - the oil and the dalda or shortening.  Whisk in the sugar with an electric blender.

 Beat in one egg at a time and then the egg whites.

Add the vinegar to the milk and set aside. Add the flour mix in three batches alternating with the buttermilk.

Add in the vanilla essence - my coffers were dry, rather the essence bottle was empty, so I added a tbsp of whiskey in stead -"Blender's Pride" ,only hoping it wouldn't turn into "Blunder's Pride" .
Fortunately, the cake was great.
Add in the crushed Oreo Cookies and fold them in.
  Pour the batter into the tin and place into the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes.
Test for doneness with a toothpick .
Allow to cool for 20-25 minutes and demould.
I fell asleep after I brought the cake out, after all I was up since 5 am. Our school had organised a cross country race for the students,the teachers were out chaperoning the students so that no untoward incident happened...the kids had to run through the bye lanes of a small village...fortunately no one rang any bells in the cover of darkness, no one let the dogs loose or burst any crackers in any body's courtyards...
 The de moulded cake was soft...
My cake was more interesting,beautifully speckled crushed Oreo Cookies twice baked,soft and crisp...awesome and I was out to make it even better.

Once cooled,the cake needs to be sliced in half and placed on a service platter.

To make the cake the Real McCoy with the Cookies and Cream magic ...
you now need

4 cups whipped cream -I used non dairy whipped cream
1 cup powdered crushed Oreo Cookies
1/2 cup whole milk
8-10 halved Oreo Cookies

Place the top half of the cake on the service platter and pour a little milk to moisten the cake.
Mix one cup of the whipped cream with the powdered crushed Oreo Cookies and some milk.

Spread this on the cake and place the top half of the cake properly and pour a little milk over.

 Do a dirty crumb coating over the cake and  place the cake in the fridge.

Just before serving, frost the cake neatly and pipe rosettes on the cake.
Place the halved Oreo Cookies on the rosettes.
 Sliced and eaten...

The topping is not so smooth anymore,because sweet child decided to make the frosting smoother. Yeah,really!

So ,I had to sprinkle some sprinkles...
Forgive the pictures and their darkness.
Tired woman here.

Served, the cake was appreciated by all.
So much so,that there were no leftovers.

This cake was soft, just enough chocolate and just enough be almost like a light kick on the palette after a hot and spicy mutton curry dinner.
Jadoo, the young lady was impressed...mission accomplished.

Bookmark this for your next baking endeavour...
Cookies and cream and cake...

So what are you baking today???


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