Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Seriously healthy stuff

May 13, 2013

In my last post I linked to a recipe for the Life-Changing Loaf of Bread. I made it yesterday.

I made a few changes to the method. I used honey instead of maple syrup. I don’t have one of those fancy flexible silicon pans, so used an ordinary (small) loaf tin, but lined it with baking paper. I mixed the dry ingredients in a bowl instead of the tin and added the liquid phase (water, honey & coconut oil). If I was doing it again (and I definitely will), I’d use my Thermomix to blend the oil onto the dry ingredients first, (a food processor would do it as well). This is the way I make my mueslii, which has coconut oil in it. The reason being that coconut oil is solid at room temperature and I warm the jar in the microwave to be able to measure it out. In the recipe it has to be added to the water and honey and so the water has to be warm so that the oil doesn’t solidify again. When you whisk it up and pour it into the dry mix, you end up with oily smears over the inside of whatever you use to mix it in. Therefore much easier to blend the oil onto the dry ingredients and then add the water/honey mixture.

Anyway…..what happens is that the water is rapidly absorbed into the mixture. I think it’s the psyllium husks that take up most of it, but linseed also forms a gummy layer when water is added to it. So if you’re doing it this way, you have to get it into your tin reasonably quickly. Don’t take a toilet break before you do it, otherwise you’ll find the whole lot has congealed into a sort of seedy jelly. All the water will be absorbed as it stands. I left it a couple of hours before baking.

The mix in the tin, ready to bake. It’s quite solid and gelatinous:

bread 001
After baking:

bread 002
Sliced (with an electric knife for a good clean cut):

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I had a slice with my morning coffee. The flavour is bland. It needs either something in the mix to pep it up or something tasty spread over it. A herby cream cheese something-or-other, or vegemite if you’re desperate.

The original writer says it’s delicious toasted. Read her blog, especially the Q&A’s for the comments. I’ll try it toasted next. I’ll also put a couple of tablespoons of dried pumpkin into my next batch. Should give it a few colourful flecks.

There’s no doubt that this is seriously healthy stuff. A couple of loaves in your pack the next time you go trekking in Nepal and you’ll sail effortlessly to the top of Everest. Well…almost.

Later edit:

I toasted it under the griller. Takes a while to brown, but verrrry nice, with real butter, not that imitation stuff with the trans fats (margarine, in case you didn’t know).


May 9, 2013

Orange capsicums
Those orange capsicums I wrote about here are slowly ripening. They’re right out in the open and it’s just not warm enough now to ripen them quickly. Where I am, 50 km south-east of Melbourne, the season isn’t quite long enough for capsicums, unless they get an early start, and I try to do this by sowing the seeds on a heat mat, in June. Putting them out in the open wasn’t a good idea—next year I’ll try to get them into wicking boxes against a north-facing wall and see how that goes. I could pick them green, of course, but I want at least some ripe so I can collect seed. They’re so attractive but so expensive to buy:

capsicum 004

New seeds
I love getting seeds in the post. Today was a bonus—two deliveries. One from Rangeview Seeds (first time I’ve ordered from them) and one from a member of the Ozgrow garden forum. I went purple & red with Rangeview:

Tatsoi (Chinese cabbage)… Deep Purple
Traviso Chicory… Early Red
Mizuna… Purple Peacock
Mizuna… Red Robin
Mustard Greens… Ruby Streaks

and a non-red
Salsify… Black Duplex (because I’ve grown ordinary white-skinned salsify and wanted to try the one with black skin).

The red pigment in these plants is due to anthocyanins—powerful antioxidants that can scavenge free radicals in the body. I’m on an anthocyanin kick since discovering how much I like red cabbage steamed with a sprinkling of sugar and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Gotta knock off those free radicals!

Plus look at this photo of Red Treviso Chicory. So pretty I’ve just got to grow it:


How’s this for seed packaging? Just like Christmas presents. Beautifully done:

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And just as beautifully done inside the pack:


The second pack of seeds, from the Ozgrow member, were all tomatoes. I’d sent him some asparagus seed and got these in return:

capsicum 003

He says Nicoleta is one of the best varieties he’s ever grown, so I was keen to try it. These are all new ones for me. Roll on tomato season!

Chooks:you gotta larf… or… how I wish I’d had the camera!
Oh, not my chooks…although they are laugh a minute sometimes. No… I’m talking about the ones in the free-range egg farm at the end of our street.

My girls still aren’t laying after their moult, so I’m buying eggs. I was going out, so threw the egg carton into the car to call in on the way home. Normally I’m there early in the morning, but this day I was later. The chooks are let out of the sheds at 11 am, after most of the laying has been done. They stay out till dusk. There are 2 sheds. I once asked how many they had…I can’t remember whether there are 5000 to a shed or 5000 in total. Either way that’s a lot of chooks.

It was after eleven so masses of chooks were foraging in the grass, dust bathing and generally digging holes. I parked the car by the shed, went over to the fence and yelled, “hello girls!”. I thought they’d ignore me, but a seething mass of moving feathers made a dash to the fence, all talking at once and wanting to nibble my fingers. I was a bit panic-stricken, as more and more came over, thinking that the ones against the fence would get crushed in the melee. I took off and went into the shed to collect my eggs and chat to the owner. When I came out they were still massed by the fence. Did they think I had a treat for them? 5000 treats?

I got into the car and drove off. LOL. They ran along the fence following the car until I was out of sight. How I wished I’d had the camera!

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread
I came across this recipe recently. It looks ultra-healthy. I have all the ingredients to hand except the maple syrup so I’ll use honey and give it a try:


Thermomix bread & the window pane test

January 25, 2012

When I wrote this post about the success I’m having with Thermomix bread, a reader commented and asked if the dough was sufficiently strong enough, after kneading by the Thermomix, to pass the window pane test.

It was  the first time I’d heard of the window pane test (think what I’ve been missing all these years!).

I made bread rolls yesterday and can proudly report (for Fiona) that the dough passed the test!

I couldn’t take photos because I had too many things happening at once, had doughy fingers and couldn’t find the camera (it turned out it was in the car).

But I found this site with good photos of the technique.

The dough was so strong, I had to really pull on it to break it into roll-sized pieces. I’m surprised because the recipe calls for only 1 min and 30 sec of kneading. Doesn’t seem like a lot when I think of standing at the bench for 15 min or so, doing it the old way.

It makes me wonder how hand-kneaded and machine-kneaded dough stacks up. One day I might do a loaf by hand again, but wouldn’t ever bother to use a bread machine again.

Photo shoot

January 9, 2012

Some photos from around the garden.

A view of the wicking box line. Butter beans in the front, followed by beetroot, bread wheat, lettuce and capsicums:

Close-up of the lettuce. This was self-sown. Lettuce seed is so easy to collect and I have lots of it. Bread wheat in the background. I’ve grown ordinary wheat successfully before, so thought I’d try the high-protein wheat I bought for the bread. Every 100 g I can grow means an extra batch of bread. (I still have to buy the bread flour from the supermarket for the other 400 g flour in the batch):

Lemon Verbena is my favourite choice for herb tea in the morning. It has an attractive terminal flower head. I’m drying the leaves for use over winter when the plants have died back:

This is the first time I’ve tried basil in a wicking box. That’s a silver beet in the centre, trying to muscle its way in. It was only a tiny seedling when I planted the basil and wasn’t growing at all. Now it’s taken off. I wonder if it likes the basil as company:

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), a local native plant. It likes water and has established itself around the pool edges. It flowers in summer and the bees love it:

This is the only apple on this particular tree. I’m very excited about it because it’s a seedling from my Red Delicious tree. Apples don’t come true from seed, so I have no idea what it’s going to taste like. I’m hoping it will be good, because the tree itself is huge and will be a bonus for the garden:

Green Zebra tomatoes, close to ripening:

This is ordinary wheat, planted in a wire circle. I last grew it in 2007 and found a jar of it in the cupboard. Now that I have the Thermomix and can grind my own wheat into flour, I thought I’d start growing wheat again. This is probably a low-protein variety so will be good to make wholemeal flour for baking things other than bread:

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia sp.). I was given this plant by the Mornington Community Garden Group after I gave them a talk on permaculture. Very pretty:

These are Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes. There are 8 fruits on this truss and many more trusses on the plant. It’s the first time I’ve grown this variety. Hope they’re tasty:

I offered to sow a pot of coriander seed for a friend. I just pushed the large seeds into the soil and noticed that in every spot two seedlings appeared where one seed had been sown. This is like silver beet where each seed is actually a composite of many seeds and more than one seedling will appear. I checked it out and coriander ‘seed’ is actually a fruit containing two seeds. You learn something new every day!:

Remember those tomato cuttings I took? This is one of them, planted in a pot beside the chook run. It’s almost as tall as the plant the cutting was taken from:

This self-sown pumpkin has appeared in one of the compost bins. It’s probably come from pumpkins my neighbour gave me, in which case it’ll probably take over the garden. Hers was an immense vine and they got about 30 huge pumpkins from it. I’ll let it go and see what happens. It’ll have to be gently trained to go where I want it, so that I can still access the garden!:

Chookles, duckles & Thermomix bread

January 3, 2012

A couple of days ago, a mother duck turned up with 7 ducklings.

I’ve been feeding the wild ducks ever since we moved here, with rolled oats in a dish of water (they gobble it down, the oats get filtered out and down and the excess water gets siphoned out the sides of the beak—effective, but messy). They make the trek from the pool at the front of the property opposite to the pools at the rear of our property, checking out the feed dish on the way.

Mother D came this morning, I fed her and all of them went down to the pools. Later I came back to the house and they’d returned. She had her head stuck through the wire of the Girl’s playground snaffling up some seeds. The little duckles milled around her feet.

The chooks were fascinated by these tiny, furry, peeping balls. I wish I could have managed a photo to show the expressions on their faces, but there was no time to get the camera. As soon as Mother D saw me she rushed over to beg for more oats. I put them in the dish and bolted indoors for the camera:

I wonder if the sight of the ducklings stirred some deep-hidden motherly feelings in the Girl’s genes. I’d love to have enough room to build a huge chook run (well away from gum trees that fall over and drop branches), and get a rooster for the Girls. I’d like to see them with their own flock of fluffy chickles to fuss over.


I really like the way the Thermomix handles bread baking.

I’ve made my own bread for many years now, briefly tried a bread machine and then, preferring the flavour of my own bread, went back to hand kneading.

The major benefit of the Thermomix is that it will grind grain, so the flour is as fresh as it can be. It takes longer to get the ingredients together than it does to get to a lump of finished dough.

1 minute to grind the grain
5 seconds to mix the ingredients
1 minute 30 seconds to knead the dough

The dough is tight and elastic, just the way it would be after hand kneading for 15 minutes or more, and not sticky. I roll it into a thick sausage and put it in a tin, or free-form it (or divide it into rolls), then let it double in size.

And here’s the good bit. It goes into a cold oven. Saving power. As the oven heats, the dough rises just that little bit more, then the increasing heat kills the yeast and rising stops:

Thermomix bread rolls

November 21, 2011

I finally picked up two 5 kilo bags of bread wheat yesterday:

I wanted to try the bread rolls recipe in the Thermomix:

100 gm whole wheat grain
300 gm lukewarm water
1 sachet dry yeast
1 tsp salt
400 gm baker’s flour
20 gm olive oil

I weighed in the 100 gm of wheat and ground it, then added the rest of the ingredients. Interestingly, the amounts are identical to the bread I normally bake (no improver in the Thermomix recipe, though), except that the Thermomix uses only half the water.

After mixing the ingredients in my normal loaf, I leave the mixture to double in size and then knead by hand until the dough is firm. Takes a while and I end up with a bench covered in flour and a pair of messy hands.

The Thermomix mixes the ingredients in 5 seconds and then kneads for 1 minute and 30 seconds. No time to even go to the loo! No messy hands, no messy bench.

The dough is beautifully mixed and smooth and surprisingly, not sticky.

I allowed it to double in size, rolled it into a sausage and cut it into 12 pieces. Rolled them into balls and put them on a tray.

Now here’s the interesting bit. You put them straight into a cold oven and turn it on. No preheating! 25 minutes later, they’re done. So easy!

The flavour is OK, but a bit bland compared to my normal recipe in which I add all sorts of grains, milk powder and LSA mix, so next time I’ll try that and I’ll also try a full loaf instead of rolls.

On the whole very happy with the result.

Sunday Loaf

October 5, 2008

Work through the week and loaf on Sundays? Oh, I wish! The loaf in queston is a loaf of bread. I usually make one every Sunday, cut it nice and thick and put it in the freezer. We use it for breakfast toast—one slice each. It’s so filling and nourishing that one slice is enough.

So here’s the basic recipe:

5 cups bread flour
2 teasp salt
3 teasp dry yeast
2 & a half teasp bread improver
600 ml warm water + 1 teasp sugar

To the basic mixture I add one tablespoon of each of the following:
Sesame seed
Sunflower seed
Wheat germ
Oat bran
Polenta (corn meal)
LSA meal (ground linseed, sunflower & almond)
Poppy seed
Caraway seed (sometimes I’ll use dill seed)

The flour must be bread flour, i.e. made from hard wheat with a protein content of 12-13%. Cake flour won’t do. I buy Wallaby brand bakers flour at the supermarket. The bread improver is usually also available at the supermarket.


Mix all the dry ingredients (except the yeast).
Add the yeast to the warm water+sugar and leave till it starts to froth.
Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and mix till it looks like tacky porridge.
Cover the bowl with a towel and leave to stand in a warm place until it’s doubled in size.
Turn out onto a floured bench and knead until the dough becomes firm and elastic.
Place in the tin, cover with a cloth and allow to rise again in a warm place until the dough is level with the top edge of the tin.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg celsius for 30-35 min.
Turn out of the tin immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Here ’tis: