These ginger cookies resembles, my favorite ginger biscuit I used to eat back in Sri Lanka. Oddly enough, I used to hate these as a kid but fell completely in love with, growing up. I remember the mini me wondering why would anyone want to eat the fiery biscuit when there are so many other sweet and delicious stuff out there let along enjoying them.Funnily enough, I took a packet of these to Sweden, and my colleagues at work, allegedly burnt their throats trying to eat them.
So undoubtedly, this is an adult cookie, despite not having any booze. And these are not for the faint-hearted. If you can’t handle spices, you should consider cutting down on the amount of fresh ginger used in the recipe. I used 4 tsp but the recipe states 3, as I thought this might be too much for anyone trying this for the first time.
This cookie is very similar to a gingerbread except for the fact that it uses a lot of freshly grated ginger to give it’s characteristic heat. The fresh ginger is a great addition for desserts and I love to use it in place of or in combination with ground ginger. The flavor is very pungent and it really adds warmth to a dish.
The ginger that’s grown in South east Asia is different to the ones I found here in the US and back in Australia. The Asian version is smaller, more compact and very strong. A little goes a long way. But the ginger I buy here are huge, watery and very mild in flavor. So I had to use a considerable amount to get the same heat.
I’m using both fresh and ground ginger
Make sure to grate the ginger finely, using a micro-plane. This ensures a smooth batter and the heat is distributed evenly.
If you can’t find fresh ginger, you can substitute that with ground ginger, but the flavor won’t be the same, but it will still be a warming cookie. If you feel experimental, try adding crystallized ginger for an extra kick and texture.
Feel free to adjust the heat, by varying the amount of fresh ginger you use. I suggest you give this a try first, may be make half a batch and adjust the recipe to your liking. If for any reason you didn’t like the cookie as is or if it is too pungent to eat on it’s own, you can use it in desserts. These can be used in trifels, biscuit puddings and even in tiramisu.
I have coated the ginger cookies in turbinado sugar/ raw sugar, just to add extra crisp and texture. This is entirely optional. The original biscuit was plain anyway.
dough should not be sticky so you could roll it in between your palms into ball
coat the dough ball with raw sugar crystals
place on a tray and bake until golden brown and firm to the touch
Finally, these are great for dunking! makes the perfect treat with a warm cup of tea on a cold winter evening. I love these with a glass of milk in the night.
So give these a go, burn your lips and think of me!
In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with brown sugar until combined
Add molasses, ground ginger and mix to combine
Add the egg and beat to clear
Sift flour, baking soda, salt and other spices into a separate bowl
Add the flour mixture to the above wet ingredients
Beat/mix on slow speed until everything combines together to form a dough and sides are cleared
This dough should not be sticky, you should be able to form a ball easily by hand
If it is too sticky, place in the fridge for 5- 10 minutes to firm up
Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper
Take a table spoon of dough, squash it and roll between the two palms to form a ball
Coat the dough with raw sugar and place on the rack and press to flatten a bit. Check the photo in the post
Bake for 17 minutes. But check for doneness at 15 minute mark
* it is always a good idea to bake a tester cookie, just to make sure the oven temperature is right and the cookie comes out the way you like! Depending on the tester, you can tweak the cookie size and the oven temp.
Let cool off on the tray before removing on to a wire rack to fully cool the cookies
A guide to patisserie quality french laminated pastry using natural yeast!
I will skip the long boring story about my love for laminated dough and get straight to the technical details. I have another post where I talk about nailing the croissants at home. Those points are still valid here too. The fact that you are using natural yeast, doesn’t change anything with the lamination and the rest of the technicalities of making croissants.
The most important factor here is the strength of your starter. Only you know your starter, so it is practically impossible for me to tell you when it is at it’s peak or how much of it to use. But for the moment, I will assume that you have an active starter, with a good track record of making nice baked goods. I generally consider a starter as a good starter, if it doubles in less than 6 hours (at room temperature), once fed with 1:1 flour and water. This is just a gauge I use, and has worked for me.
To rejuvenate your starter, make sure you feed it for a whole day (every 6 hours) and that it is not starved or tucked in a fridge. Once your starter is active an bubbly (just before it collapses) is the perfect time to make the sweet starter for the croissant dough. This may sound like a lot of work, but if you are constantly baking with your starter, you usually know when your starter is at it’s peak, and for best results we have to use it just before it reaches it’s peak.
Red circle shows the starter height just before it’s peak and so the red star is the time we should use the starter!
For the croissants we will make a stiffer starter, meaning using less water. In this case it is a little less than 40% water. This makes a dough ball rather than a paste. If you are not used to making stiff starters, this might seems strange at first. So by reducing water, we will slow down the activity and also, this gives us a chance to control our final dough hydration. The starter also use two tablespoons of sugar ( this can be either brown or white) This is a considerable amount of sugar and could slow down fermentation. That is why we use 50% culture. A starter made with these ratios will take roughly about 12 hours to reach it’s peak. Look at the following before and after images of the starter sponge.
To make the starter, mix the starter ingredients and knead into a firm ball. Make sure everything is combined. Now let this sit for 12 hours in a big plastic container covered with a lid or cling film. The sponge will be expanded to about three times it’s original size and would feel like a sponge when you touch it. The texture will be airy and sponge like and would smell acidic. This is now ready to be mixed with the dough.
To make the dough mix all the dough ingredients and the starter sponge in a stand mixer and mix until everything is combined. When the dough forms, take it off the mixer on to a bench surface and knead slightly by hand, just to make sure it’s consistent and no lumps are present. You do not have to make it smooth, just make sure everything is properly mixed. Check the video in the notes section below to see how the dough should feel like.
Then flatten the dough slightly, as shown in the picture below, wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for about a day (24 hours) If I mix the dough around 11 am on Friday, I usually refrigerate it till Saturday morning (9 a.m or 10 a.m). I usually do this to fit my schedule,and this retardation is forgiving, so it doesn’t matter if you over do it by a couple of hours.
This long slow proof allow yeast to multiply but without making the dough going soft. If we proof too much at this stage, we will be losing all the air during the lamination. So this is just to let the yeast kick start their fermentation.
After the long retardation, now we are ready to laminate the dough. This is the crucial bit. This is where the layers are being added. The neater the layers now, the prettier your croissants will look.
We will start this by making a butter block. I use four butter ticks and about 1/3 cup of flour to make the butter slab. I read this somewhere, that flour makes butter a little bit more stable, so when we roll out, it won’t melt as fast. Because at home, we don’t have the dough sheeters, which roll out the pastry in one go. Instead we have to try rolling several times using a rolling pin. This takes time and dough sitting for too long in the room temperature isn’t a good thing as the butter tend to melt away, taking the layers with it.
To make the butter slab, let butter go a little soft, just until it feels like play dough. Now all we do is mix butter with flour.
Take the mix out and flatten it out between two cling films. The slab should be about 3/4 centimeter in thickness. Make it to a neat rectangle or a square (about 9″ by 9″ for this dough). Refrigerate this to firm up.
For the lamination to start, the dough and the butter slab should have the same firmness. So that when we roll out, the two will expand harmoniously creating an even layer of butter and dough.
Take the dough out of the fridge, and roll it out to twice the size of the butter slab as we are going to wrap the butter with this dough. Check the image.
When rolling out the dough, lightly dust the bench and use firm motion to roll out the dough to one direction. Lift the dough up and re-flour the bench to stop it from sticking and stretching too much. If your dough feels elastic let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes before continuing.
Now wrap the butter slab with the dough and seal all sides. Now place the dough so that the closed side (the folded edge) is on either on your right or left. Follow the diagram for the folds. We will do three letter folds. If you are worried, stop at two letter folds or you can do two book folds if you like. The more you folds, the more you handle the dough and the risk of butter being melted gets higher, if you are not careful. Check the video in notes section below.
Roll out the dough to about 20 inches and do a letter fold. Wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll out to 20 inches again, wrap and chill for another 30 minutes. Take out the dough and give another letter fold. Repeat one more time. Place back in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes and roll out to 20 inches. Now we are done laminating.
Now wrap and let this dough rest for about 10 – 12 hours. Then we need to roll out the pastry to actual final thickness to cut out the shapes. What I usually do it cut the pastry in to two and roll out the two pieces separately. Final dough thickness should be about 1/2 centimeter.
Take your time doing this. If the dough seems elastic, let it rest in the fridge and roll out again. Once the final width is achieved, wrap and chill for another two hours before cutting out shapes.
Use a ruler or a cardboard block to cut the triangular shapes. And make the croissants as shown in the pictures below.
Make a slit on the top edge and stretch it slightly
Start rolling from top to bottom.
Tuck the end underneath
Once these are done, you can either refrigerate them for about 12 hours or let them proof straight. To prove these, place on a tray cover and let sit for about 8 hours. If you want to speed the process up, place in a slightly warmer place. I usually make the shapes in the midnight, let them sit there covered until morning and them place them in a switched off oven with a cup of boiling water, for about 3-4 hours. Then they are usually ready for morning tea (or brunch).
You know its proofed, when its swollen and wobbly. You would also be able to see all the layers.
Leaving a gap around croissants is important, as it will stop from sticking together and they will be baked nice and even all around
Once the croissants are ready, heat the oven to 420 ℉ and place a rack in the center. Prepare an egg wash by whisking together two egg yolks and a teaspoon of water.Once the oven is ready, paint the croissants with a thin even coating of egg wash. Be gentle not to disturb the fragile pastry. Also avoid egg wash dripping around the sides as it will seep to the bottom, get burnt and be messy.
Place the croissants in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Then rotate the trays reduce the temperature to 400 ℉ and give another 15 – 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the croissants during the final few minutes as they might burn easily. Once they are evenly golden brown, remove from the oven and place the trays on a wire rack to cool.
These are best served fresh and still warm. If you want to store them, let them cool down completely. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days. To keep for longer freeze them sealed in freezer bags. To freshen up frozen croissants, let them thaw and reheat them in a moderate oven for about 5-10 minutes.
There you have it! Homemade croissants are the best and when they are naturally levained, it’s even better! Get the recipe from below and refer to the above post for execution details. It might take time to get a perfect croissants, but practice makes perfect. Give this a go and let me know how it went. If you have questions or comments please do not hesitate to ask me either on Instagram or use the comments section below!
+/- 1 cups water and extra if needed ( add gradually, you might not need to use all of it)
For the butter slab
4 sticks of butter ( 440 g)
1/3 cups flour
For the egg wash
whisk together 2 egg yolks and 1 tsp water
Make the starter the day before and let ferment for 12 hours
To make the dough, mix flour salt and sugar in a stand mixer.
Add egg, butter, milk and start to mix. As dough comes together, add the starter and mix to combine.
Now add 3/4 cup of water and keep mixing using the dough hook. Add the rest of the water gradually until the dough becomes a stiff ball. You may not need all the water in the recipe. If it is too soft add a bit of flour.
At this stage take the dough off the mixing ball and knead on a surface to make sure everything is combined and dough is even. the dough should be malleable but not too soft.
Pat the dough flat and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a day.
When ready to laminate, thaw butter for about 10 minutes and mix with flour. Scoop out on to a plastic sheet. Place another plastic sheet on top and roll out to form a 3/4 cm thick slab. Wrap and chill.
Take the dough out and check if butter is the same softness as the dough. Then roll out a dough to a square twice the size of the butter (check photo)
Wrap the butter slab in the dough and seal sides.
Roll out to a about 20 inch rectangle. (place in the fridge to rest if necessary) Check notes below for video guides
Do a letter fold and roll out to 20 inches again
Wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour
Repeat this once or twice (if your butter hasn’t melted) more (place in the fridge to rest if necessary)
And roll out to 20 inches again
Wrap and chill for at least 10 hours (or more)
Then take the dough and divide in to two
Roll out the two pieces separately to a rectangular shape.
Thickness should be about 1/2 cm and roughly 8″ of width. The length may vary
Do not try to roll out in one go. Do a few inches at a time, wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Continue until desired thickness is achieved
Let the dough rest for about two hours finally
Then cut the triangle shapes and make croissants as shown in the images above
Do not handle dough for a long time( be quick) as this will melt the butter
Arrange croissants on a tray leaving ample space around them
Let prove until rinses and ready to bake (Usually takes about 8-10 hours or more depending on your starter activity
Preheat the oven to 400F (my oven is not hot enough so I go 420F) place a rack at the center
Once proofed, egg wash and bake the croissants for 20 minutes and reduce heat to 380F (400 F) and bake for a further 15-20 minutes ( keep an eye though)
A magical formula to take your sourdough to the next level!
Barm is usually found in the brewing terminology, used to identify the form or scum formed on the top of a fermenting liquid, like beer or wine. This barm has been used as the levain in the process of making bread from the ancient times.
As you can imagine, that would result in bread that has a complex flavor profile. If you have trained you sensors enough, you can identify all these subtle changes in bread. I personally love to dig my nostrils in the bread crumb and inhale before I toss a piece in my mouth. It is such a sensory experience.
As we don’t have access to barm in everyday life, bakers have come up with ways to recreate the same thing. Even though it is not quite the same, you can achieve similar results in terms of flavor.
Just like you make a poolish, you can combine flour, beer and starter (sourdough culture) to make your own barm. The flavor will differ depending on the beer you choose. Any beer is okay for the job and most of the alcohol will be cooked off in the process.
Use various beers to experiment and it can be quite fun as you can smell and taste the different notes of beers in the final product. Try pale ales, dark full bodied stouts, craft beers etc. and compare the results. I find this very interesting and fun and rewarding at the same time. I am a massive beer love as well, so this is right up my ally.
Making your own beer barm is easier than you think. All you have to do is mix flour and your choice of beer, cook it off on medium heat, let cool and mix with the sourdough starter. Then you let this sit overnight and do its thing. You will wake up to find the barm bubbling away. The barm will look exactly like the form you’d find afloat a beer barrel, smell acidic.
All you need is beer:flour:starter in 5:1:2 ratios
Mix flour and beer and heat to 70 C string until thickens
let the mixture cool down and add your sourdough culture and mix well
let it ferment overnight
This barm is now ready to be used to make bread. Use it in any sourdough recipe and depending on the activity level, you can decide how much to use. All you have to adjust is the hydration as the barm is very runny.
I use this in baguettes, pizza bases, foccacia, and potato bread etc. When making pizza base, I use more of the same beer instead of water to heightened the flavor but it is completely optional.
I usually use 40% of this as the levain for my pizza and baguettes. You might need to bulk the dough for longer depending on the activity of the barm.
Here is the basic recipe that I use, feel free to experiment and let me know what you think.
This is inspired by one of the recipes from my bakery school. I remember how much I loved the smell of grated apples while making this bread at school. We grated about 10 kilos of apple altogether and it was incredible!
When apples start to hit the farmers market, you know it is fall! I know from practice that fruits are at their best when in season. I couldn’t think of anything else but this bread when I bought home a dozen of fresh apples. I love all sorts of apple things, like pies, cakes, sauces etc, but for now I’ll stick to the bread.
The original recipe uses a levain to add flavor to the bread. Dry yeast is used to actually rise the dough. I though, why not use the levain to do both of these jobs, and that way, I can convert this into a complete sourdough.
Grated apples and soaked oats. Use any apple variety you like, grate using the larger side of the grater. If you grate them any smaller, it will make you dough sticker and harder to knead.
I had to give it a couple of tries to get it right! But at the end, it was all worth it. The crumb smells amazing scented with apple. And oats make the crumb softer. This loaf used an entire apple. So I think this is a great way to use up apples.
Unlike several other recipes, this bread is mixed with apple and soaked/cooked oats from the beginning. Yes this might inhibit gluten development to a certain extent, but that is expected. This was shaped in to vienna or made into a tin loaf for that reason.
You can use any sort of apple for this. But remember, some apples are juicier than others, so be mindful when adding water. The recipe only require 15% water as the moister is replaced by the apple and the soaked oats.
Bring the dough together on a floured surface. Use extra flour to dust, if necessary. The developed dough is less sticky.
Rolled oats are soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes. This will partially cook the oats and soften them. Make sure to cool it down before adding to the bread.
dough after the final fold. It has got much more strength now
The levain or the starter should be 50% hydrated. Depending on the room temperature, you can ripe it overnight. It it is warm, this might only take 5-6 hours. Make sure the levain is fully active.
I am baking this bread just like any other sourdough. I gave this extra steam though, at I wanted a good crust to form.
The previous loaf, lacked strength, so this is what I changed;
Disclaimer!!! This is a crispy cookie and it’s got tahini in it…a lot of tahini.
If you are still reading, then you’ve got to be sesame crazy like me! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to this much sesame and tahini. A lot of people don’t mind the sesame in a stir-fry but that’s it. Due to it’s distinct taste and overpowering quality tahini and sesame oil are used with caution in cooking and baking.
We make a large variety of sweets for our New Year celebrations in Sri Lanka, where I grew-up. Though I haven’t done that in years, I still relive those moments . I was a massive fan of these celebrations, all because we get to make and eat sweets.
One of my favorite things to make was the Sesame balls. This uses toasted sesame, coconut, coconut palm sugar (jaggery) and this was a flavor bomb! which got me thinking, that, I haven’t tried making it yet (it require a stone mortar and a pestle… rather a large one, not sure what to substitute this with..) If I did, I will have to share the recipe, it is so yummy!
This cookie takes me back to those days. That’s why I love this so much. If you are a lover of all things sesame, then this recipe is for you.
I love to experiment with my food. You can safely say that this is a mashup of a Brown sugar cookie and a tahini cookie. Tahini was new to me and it was love at first sight. I use it in several dishes from stir-fries to cakes. It is something you can’t eat on it’s own, cos of the bitter after taste, but works like magic when added to something.
This is the easiest cookie recipe ever ( okay may be one of the easiest) You can really mix everything in one bowl and bake them straight away and enjoy. The whole process won’t take more than 25 minutes from measuring ingredients to actually eating a baked cookie. No need to chill the dough!
One important thing, make sure you stir the Tahini before you pour it out!. Natural tahini, tend to separate and if you don’t stir, chances are you will only be using the oils (the liquid part) leaving the solids at the bottom of the jar. We don’t want this!
This cookie is great with tea or coffee and you can actually dunk this as it is crispy and would hold it’s shape. Great with a glass of milk before bed too.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with brown sugar and coconut sugar until combined. It should look like a paste
Add the egg followed by tahini, vanilla and blend to combine
Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and add to the above mix
Beat/mix on slow speed until everything combines together to form a nice dough
This dough is not sticky, you should be able to form a ball easily by hand
Prepare a baking sheet or two lined with parchment paper
Spread the row sesame on a flat plate
Take a table spoon of dough, squash it and roll between the two palms to form a ball
place the dough ball on the sesame and press lightly. Check the photo in the post
Place the cookie on a tray, sesame coated side up
Bake for 15 minutes
* it is always a good idea to bake a tester cookie, just to make sure the oven temperature is right and the cookie comes out the way you like! Depending on the tester, you can tweak the cookie size and the oven temp.
This amazingly soft and warm rolls are the best thing to start fall with. I love making cinnamon rolls. Usually they are best eaten on the same day as they lose their freshness over time. But this pumpkin roll was different. It was fluffy as a cloud and that texture lasted for 3 days.
So if you are a pumpkin lover, this is a must try. I think the pumpkin spice is what makes the whole experience enjoyable. I usually make my own pumpkin spice, but you can use the store bought one too. If you don’t like pumpkin spice, then just use cinnamon.
The dough takes a nice deep orangish yellow color from the pumpkin. I have used butternut squash for this recipe, which is my go to when making pumpkin pies too. They yield a much dense flesh than other varieties and definitely sweeter. Cut the squash in half and roast one half in the oven at about 180 C for 40 minutes. Let it cool and simply scoop out the flesh. Discard the seeds and the skin. You only need 3/4 cups for this recipe, unless you are doubling.
It is important not to boil the pumpkin, as this will water down the flesh. I find even the canned puree is bit too thin for this recipe.
The filling is what makes all the difference. Instead of just using brown sugar and butter, I have added almond mean and a little mashed pumpkin. This filling resembled what you usually get in a cinnamon scroll (the flaky pastry made with puff) Also it’s got a nice thick texture and tastes almost like pumpkin pie filling.
If you want, just use the regular cinnamon roll filling. It will still turn out delicious.
You can either bake these in a deep pie dish, casserole dish or on a tray. I like to snug them closely in a deep baking dish so they rise upwards and interior remain soft while the tops get crusty.
Make sure to leave some space when you are placing the rolls, as they will expand while the prove for the second time.
Once they come out, I’d let them cool a little bit. If you try to ice them, while they are still hot, the cream cheese icing will melt away. So let them cool off before slathering with the cheesy topping.
I normally don’t ice the whole thing, as both of us aren’t going to finish it in one sitting! You can store these away in a air tight container and freshen them up in the oven to server later. Ice them just before serving.
My weekly sourdough baking is aligned with our weekend breakfast routine. Saturday brunch, if we are home, is our most anticipated time of the week. This features my sourdough :), our favorite deli spread(smoked bacon, cheese, maple syrup, butter, relish), poached eggs, avo, beans and sausages (on someday) and home brewed coffee. We have been doing this ever since we moved to Seattle, which is almost a year now.
Back in Melbourne, we used to go out as there were plenty of good, soulful, cosy cafes that served real sourdough bread and the best coffee in the whole world. Not to mention the fine french pastries and pies and cakes and slices….
There was one particular breakfast (I have this for lunch too) at a deli cafe in the hills, which was my favorite. This was a toasted fruit sourdough served with sticky baby figs and mascarpone. I have recreated this dish many times since. The most important part of this dish, the fruit sourdough, obviously, was from a local sourdough bakery, which I used to work for two years(lucky me!). So my fruit sourdough is inspired by this bread, but I have tweaked the recipe so much over time to suite our taste.
I use different dried fruit combinations and use different spices every time to make it exiting. You can use most of the dried fruits like Sultana, Raisins, Currents, Cranberries, blueberries, apricots, prunes, plums, figs etc. I always keep it limited to three verities, two sweet and one tangy. But it’s up to you.
You can also use spices like cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin spice, nutmeg to give it some warmth. This will really enhance the flavor and the house smells festive every time I bake these breads.
Make sure to wash the dried fruits, specially the dark colored once. This will wash off excess residue and also help them hydrate slightly. I figured this out the hard way. The dried fruit tend to absorb water from the bread dough resulting in a tougher dough, which inhibits fermentation, gluten development and the oven bloom later. So washing them and patting them dry have helped me solve this problem. Also this recipe calls for a higher hydration too.
As always, incorporate the fruit at the end of the kneading, just before the bulk proof.
This will make sure the gluten development is not disturbed. Also fruit brings in sugar to the dough and to counter balance that we need to up the leaven percentage a little. Sugar is hygroscopic and will compete with yeast for water, which could inhibit fermentation.
This is why adjusting measurement is crucial. If you mix the dough with the fruits in it, more sugar is going to get incorporated into the dough, so adding fruits later prevents this. Also we just fold the fruit in, by hand and not mixing vigorously.
That’s some extra tips if you are kind of like me, curious about whats going on behind the scene. If this is too much info and you just wanted the nice bread, then just follow the recipe, which is also me sometimes.
This bread can be served in many different ways. Eat it as is on the same day, it will be moist and great with butter or maple syrup and some fresh berried. It is already loaded with fruit so you can pretty much eat it on it’s own.
It is also great toasted with cream and berries. Or cut it in to thin wedges and toast both sides. This will be similar to biscotti and you can serve with tea or coffee. I love these with lemon curd, cream cheese.
Try this bread with your favorite dried fruits, you won’t be disappointed.
To make the starter (at least 6 hours prior to making bread/preferably previous night)
Use a clean jar
mix flour and water until it resembles porridge. Add the culture, mix well again and loosely cover
set aside until ready.
For the bread
Wash the dried fruit and pat dry. Cut them in to small chunks if necessary
In a large plastic container weigh the flours, milk powder, spices
In a separate container weigh the water and oil.
Add wet ingredients into the flour mix. Incorporate well.
Let it sit for about an hour/two.
Then add the salt and starter and mix until combined and knead for about a minute or two and let rest for 10 minutes
Then give another kneading for about 5 minutes. Kneading should involve stretching and folding action. With every stretch and pull, you are making the gluten stronger.
Leave aside for another 10 minutes
Repeat this process three more times
You would notice the dough changes every time. It will become less sticky and much easier to work with. You will also notice it is a lot more stretchy, smooth now.
At this point its ready for bulk fermentation. So time to add the fruit.
Fold in the fruit and make sure to spread them evenly. Do not knead or over mix
Cover the container and place in a warm draft free place. I usually use my oven (turned off of-course :D) for this. Place a cup of steaming water in the oven to make the environment warm and moist. Or your can use a big plastic tub with lid on or even one of your kitchen cupboards.
After 45 minutes, we will give the sough a fold. So take the container out. With wet hands, stretch and fold and tuck the dough from all four sides like you are wrapping something with it. The idea is to strengthen the gluten even more. Then leave it just as before for another 45 minutes.
Repeat the folding twice more and now its time for the final bulk fermentation
This will depend on your starter activity, room temperature, humidity. So check your dough every 30 minutes. What we are looking for is the dough to have bulked in size and possibly with some few visible air pockets. Usually it will be ready in about 1.5 hours to 2 hours
Its time to shape the loaf now.
Remove the dough on to a lightly dusted surface. Fold it to make a big dough ball. This will be bouncy. This folding and shaping will remove some air but not all of it.
Leave it covered for about 10 minutes to relax.
Then it is ready for the final shaping. Shape however you like it. If you are not sure checkout some videos
Place in a proofing basket or in any container. Make sure to lay a flour dusted tea towel or flour the basket well.
Cover it completely and place in the fridge. The bread will now go in to a slow prove/bloom overnight. It will be ready for the oven in the morning
On the following day,place the oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 260 °C/ 500 °F.
If you have a pizza stone, a ceramic tile, cast iron skillet or a dutch oven, place it in while the oven heats up. Place another deep tray at the bottom most rack of the oven and fill it with boiling water. This will produce steam.
Check if your bread has risen. If you think it need some more time, you can pull it out and leave out for about half an hour or so. You can test this by gently poking the dough with a finger and if it springs back but not all the way back, it is ready.
Once the oven is hot enough, slash the bread and place it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. And then take the tray of water out, bring the oven temperature down to 230 °C/ 450 °F and bake for a further 20 minutes
Once the bread is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack.
Once the bread cools down, you can slice it with a serrated knife.
If you want to preserve, slice the loaf, store in an air tight container and freeze.
fermented rice flour and coconut milk pancakes/crepes
If you have been to south east Asia, specifically Sri Lanka or southern India, chances are that you’ve already eaten these. If not, these should be on the top of your “must have food” list, when/if you go there.
These are a very popular staple in Sri Lanka, where I was born and a family favorite in almost every household. There are different recipes and a few variations to this versatile oriental pancake.
The crispy, melt-in-your-mouth, tuile like edges are addicting! The center is soft and naturally mildly sweetened by the thick coconut milk. They have to be eaten as soon as they are made which makes the experience even more exiting. Due to this reason, you’ll always find a “hopper station” in buffets and restaurants, where hoppers are made to order.
The recipe is so simple, it only has five ingredients including the salt. This is a mixture of rice flour, coconut milk, water, salt that is fermented using either commercial yeast or a sourdough starter. The instant version, use baking soda(sodium bicarbonate) to get the bubbly effect and so you can skip the long fermentation. But you’ll get an after taste, which I personally don’t like.
In lot of house holds, they use a piece of bread instead of the yeast. This is a cleaver way of using the leftover yeast in the bread. Yes! apparently, some yeast survive the heat of the oven. All you have to do is mash up a piece of bread in a little water and add it to the rice flour mix and let it ferment!
If you want them to be completely gluten free, feel free to use commercial yeast or use a gluten free starter. Remember commercial yeast is fast acting so your batter will be ready in 2-3 hours. Use 1 tsp of instant dry yeast to ferment, roughly about two cups of flour. Activate the yeast first! Stir the yeast in a little water and a pinch of sugar and let sit for 10 minutes. Then mix that with water and rice flour to form a thick batter. This should now be left in a warm place until doubled in volume. After which you can incorporate coconut milk and salt. There you have it! GF version done!
In my case I’m using my trusty sourdough starter! So my hoppers aren’t gluten free. If you have a gluten-free starter, then of course you can follow these same steps and make sourdough hoppers that are gluten free!
The only difference when you are using a sourdough starter to ferment something, is that it takes a longer time. So if you use 1:1 ratio of rice flour and starter, it takes about 4-5 hours to ferment. You can double that time if you use 1:2 ratio. So one part starter to two parts rice flour. This is my preferred method as it allows me to mix these the night before, so I can make hoppers in the morning. Or you can mix in the morning and make your hoppers in the evening for supper. This works perfectly with my schedule, that I can actually make them on a weekday!
Ideally, for this, you need ripe starter. So feed your starter and let it get activated. If you are using leftover starter, then it might take considerably longer to ferment so keep an eye on your batter.
To make the batter, all you have to do is mix rice flour, starter and water in a big plastic bowl. Do not add all the water in. Add half of the water in the recipe and mix well. Then keep adding more water until the batter is thick but not firm. It shouldn’t stick to your hand but look like a past than batter.
Now all you have to do is let it sit in a warm place covered. You will see some activity in about 4-5 hours. There won’t be bubbles or visible action but you will see the batter rising upwards slowly. At the end of the fermentation, there will be a considerable increase in volume. But more than that, when you touch the batter, you will feel it has lightened up and aerated. This will look like, cottage cheese and you will see bubbles underneath the dough. Also it will smell acidic or yogurt like!
All you have to do now is add thick coconut milk and salt. Again go slowly when adding coconut milk. We need a runny batter but not watery. It is runnier than a normal pancake batter.
To make the hoppers, ideally you need a hopper pan and the lid and an open flames that heats the sides of the pan.
Spray the pan with cooking oil and remove excess using a paper towel or piece of cloth. Too much oil will prevent batter sticking to the sides. Heat the pan to medium hot, (shouldn’t be smoking) and ladle about a 1/4 cups of batter and swirl the pan to let the batter flow around to cover the entire area. Place on medium heat, cover with lid for 30 seconds. Then remove the lid and let the sides go golden brown and crispy. Once done, use an offset spatula or a knife to carefully release the crepe from the sides. Slide the knife all around until it is completely released and toss on to a plate.
If you don’t have a hopper pan, worry not. You can use a non stick pan to make these. They will be of a different shape, but will taste the same.
Or if you have a cast iron skillet, that’ll work too. Make sure to spray and wipe excess oil off. Heat the skillet and drop about 1/3 of a cup batter and spread the batter quickly to form a thin crepe. If you have a crepe tool, use that or use the back of a ladle. Or if you can, swirl the skillet so the batter will spread evenly. These will be flat, thin and crispy.
Egg hoppers is another variation, where you break an egg to the center and it will cook the same time as the hopper.
Hoppers are really neutral, so you can serve them with anything. We love it plain, with butter ,with a curry, coconut chutney, salsa, honey, maple syrup you name it!. This can be served as a dessert too, if you pair with cream and strawberries. You can also add brown sugar to the batter and make these extra sweet! Really the possibilities are endless.
They will lose their crispness over time, so eat them as soon as they are made. You can refrigerate the batter though, for up to a day. Any longer and it will be turn sour.
So give these a go. It is worth it! I’d love to here or see if you try it so please either leave a comment or tag me on Instagram.
Mix starter, flour, and 1 cup of water in a plastic bowl. Mix well.
Keep adding water a little bit at a time and mix until a thick paste like batter is formed
Close with a lid and place in a warm place to ferment (8-10 hours or overnight)
Add the coconut milk, salt and stir
Spay a pan or skillet and wipe off excess oil
Heat to a medium hot stage (precise heat will produce more bubbles and give a nicer lace like edge. If it’s not hot enough, there won’t be any bubbles, so the crepe will be like a sheet. We want a net like texture with a lot of tiny holes. That’s what makes it crispy
Once the pan is ready pore 1/4 cups of batter and quickly swirl the pan to spread batter evenly as thinly as possible. Thinner the better
You will need to practice this a few times
Now let the crepe/hopper cook and crisp up.
Once it’s edges are golden brown, use a thin offset spatula or a knife to release it from the pan
I use this recipe(orthodox) when I need a more stable product that I can store in fridge for a couple of days or transport to places or served in outdoors. The sponge is very stable, moist and fluffier than the one that use whipped egg whites. Rolling could be a little tricky as the sponge is thicker and I find it a little less flexible, but the flavor is unbeatable.
Eggs and sugar are whipped to ribbon consistency and dry ingredients are folded in carefully. It’s important to not to knock out too much air out or the sponge will be flat and dense.
These kind of sponges are baked for a shorter time at a higher temperature. It’s ready when the sponge is dry and springs back when pressed. Let the sponge cool down for a few minutes on a wire rack before removing the paper.
Use a generous amount of fine sugar on a parchment paper when flipping the sponge sheet over to remove from the baking sheet. This will stop it from sticking to the paper or use a clean tea towel. I prefer the tea towel method. While it is still warm, roll the sponge sheet and then let it cool completely. This initial rolling helps keep the roll from cracking later when we roll with the filling inside. It acts as a memory 🙂 so the sponge knows where to bend. This step is crucial to a smooth finish!
The filling I am using for this is a very refreshing and less sweet alternative to jam or butter cream. I’m using cultured sour cream. It’s got a sharpness and slight tang to it. Any verity of sour cream would work just fine.
I’m also using thinly sliced strawberries. I have coated the strawberries in honey and orange juice.
If you have over backed edges, just in case, just trim them off and apply some sugar syrup to moisten up. When filling, unwrap the roll and leave it on the tea towel or the parchment paper. Spread sour cream evenly and leave a little room( about 1/2 an inch) at the end so it will not overflow when you roll the last bit.
Use the paper or the tea towel underneath to guide the sponge sheet when rolling. Do not roll too tightly, as it will rack. Once rolled out completely, do not remove the paper/tea towel but place the roll seam side down, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set.
Once set, it’s easier to cut. Use a clean sharp serrated knife. If you are not serving it on the same day, then wrap the roll cake in a cling wrap to make it air tight and refrigerate.
This is a dairy and egg free recipe and for a vegan option, simply swap honey with maple syrup
Who doesn’t love a good pancake? right? But for me it has to be a good old-fashioned, made-from-the-scratch kind. Supermarket shelves are flooded with pancake mixes that comes in plastic containers, where all you have to do is add water and shake. But where’s all the fun in that!
I always love to make my pancakes from the scratch and I save the store bought ones for hiking, camping and trekking. The good thing about whipping up your own pancake mix is that you can be creative. I use different flours, oils, sugars, and milk to create unique flavors. Another good thing about pancakes is that they are like carrier for all the good produce like berries, bananas, stone fruit, nuts, chocolate to name a few. And my favorite has got to be the blueberries, when they are season!
Well, this recipe has it all. I’m using a natural leavening to give the rise to the pancake. Also the eggs are being replaced with tofu, milk with coconut milk and the butter with coconut oil. So this is a almost a vegan recipe, if I didn’t use a dash of honey that is. But you can replace honey with any sweeter of your choice, like, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, molasses or agave syrup.
This recipe actually takes much longer to prepare than a usual pancake. As we are using natural yeast, the mixture need time to ferment and get bubbly.
But it’s very simple and only got four steps to it.
Mix the ingredients, let it ferment slowly overnight, loosen batter, final fermentation of two hours. That is it!
The key to remember is that the final fermentation is where the magic happens. The yeast that multiplied during the overnight will start to speed up their activity. The batter will rise considerably and will be bubbly. So it is important not to disturb this process. The batter shouldn’t be sired after the final fermentation so as not to knock all the air out. Instead, we slowly scoop out spoonfuls and drop on to a hot skillet. This trapped air bubbles will then expand and will give the pancakes a good lift and a soft pillowy texture.
This is what baking soda or baking powder does for us in a traditional recipe.
And also, I add the blue berries while the pancake cooks. So just after you drop the batter to a pan, scatter few blueberries. This way we can make sure everyone gets berries. And the batter won’t turn all blue or purple. you can use either fresh or frozen. I like to add frozen wild blueberries, as they are tiny and sink in to the pancake nicely.
Serve these warm, drizzled with honey and more fresh blueberries!
Mix all the ingredients except for the water in a large glass bowl. You can use a food processor for this. Batter should be thick but dropping consistency. If batter is too thick, add a splash of water.
Cover the batter and leave at room temperature for about and hour. (if its cooler extend by half an hour)
Then place in the fridge for overnight (or several hours)
In the morning, add the 1 1/2 cups warm water to loosen up the batter. Check batter consistency carefully and adjust it with more water if necessary. It should be thicker than normal pancake batter, but still dropping consistency (closer to a porridge)
Leave in a warm spot for about two to three hours(depending on how warm your kitchen is)Speed this up by placing the bowl in the oven with a cup of boiling water.
After this final fermentation, the batter should have expanded considerably and you will notice bubbles on the surface
DO NOT stir the batter!
Heat a nonstick pan or a skillet
Deposit roughly about 1/3 cups of batter onto the pre-heated pan.
Scatter blueberries and turn the pancake over before the top cooks completely. (30 seconds from dropping blueberries)
Remove cooked pancake and place on a plate
Continue until the batter is all used up.
Serve with honey and more fresh blueberries.
Resist the urge to stir or mix the batter while making the pancakes, as his will knock all the air out and the pancakes will be flat.