The rise of the micro-bakery

Happy Monday folks,

The other day I was sent this on Twitter about a Radio 4 programme discussing the apparent increase in popularity of micro-bakeries in the UK.

This was something that I was considering myself a while ago and it seems that my gut instinct was right!

You can listen to the programme here and it makes for an interesting listen.

I have always said that you can’t beat home baked bread free from all the additives and junk that is packed into store bought bread and it makes me feel great that there is this resurgence in artisan bread making and, more importantly, that people are willing to pay the extra for it even in these austere times…

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Spicy Pittas

Hi folks,

Do you like pitta breads? I baked some up last week but pimped them by adding 1tsp of cumin and smoked paprika, and 1/2tsp turmeric and they were absolutely delicious 🙂

pitta

 

This is why I love to bake my own as you can have stuff that you will never find in the shops.

How have you pimped your breads, I would love to know?

 

Birthdays – the day after the weekend before!!

Well I am finally glad that the weekend is over – how often do you hear somebody say that?!!!!!!!

It was very hectic baking for 2 parties whilst nursing a bad cold/headache but it all went well.

My final batch of baked goodies consisted of focaccia and subs:

Focaccia, subs and olive oil dip!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are looking forward to the week ahead. And are you getting excited yet – Christmas is nearly here!!

Birthdays!

Well it’s been a while since my last post as life has been tough lately :(. Still this is a busy time of year for my family. I have 4 girls, gulp and 2 have birthdays within 10 days.

I will be baking cakes and breads of various descriptions this weekend. I am being quite ambitious with one so I hope it turns out ok – and if it does look out for a photo.

Tha’s all for now, hope my transatlantic readers have a great Thanksgiving.

 

Will be back soon with a birthday cake update…

Coffee cake & pizza

Hi folks,

I have had a busy weekend, baking a lot for my kids. Weekends are great because you can take your time in the kitchen and get even better results.

I baked some pitta breads and cheese topped baguettes on Sunday. But the kids were more excited and impressed by Saturday’s efforts.

First of all I baked a lovely coffee cake.

Coffee & pecan cake

I didn’t have any walnuts so I used pecan nuts and they were delicious. And I was going to put marshmallows in the centre but had none of those either so used the sugar balls instead.

Coffee & pecan cake

Then I started on the main course. This was homemade pizza and garlic bread. I usually make 4 pizzas with the following toppings: cheese and tomato, chorizo/pepperoni, tuna and sweetcorn and chicken tikka. I also include some roasted vegetables too – normally on half the pizza so any veg averse people can avoid them!! I served these with freshly baked garlic bread and a nice dressed salad. Yummy!

My pizza selection

My garlic bread

What did you bake this weekend? I’d love you to share your efforts. Until next time…

Flour – the basis of any good bread part 2

Soft fluffy white loaf!

So, to continue on from my previous post: the carbohydrates are used as fuel by the yeast, the proteins bond to form the all important gluten strands, and the minerals are used to strengthen the gluten strands. The oil helps to maintain moisture thus keeping your bread softer for longer.

Delving a bit deeper into the science of bread making (sorry!), something happens when water is added to flour and that is the formation of gluten. Gluten is formed by the bonding of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gluten is an elastic protein that can be really stretched to form long strands. The more it is worked, the longer and stretchier it becomes. These strands form a complex mesh which helps to trap carbon dioxide bubbles produced by yeast, thus creating gas bubbles inside your dough. This is the process you are encouraging when kneading your dough, so as you can hopefully appreciate, well kneaded dough is a prerequisite for a well-formed loaf.

This is just a quick post as I am quite busy today, so next time I will describe the main types of flour and what the differences are. Until then…

Soft fluffy white loaf!