Sunday 29 April 2007

Tea with Bread and Jam

The day started out cold and miserable and so I decided to stay indoors and bake some bread. I found a recipe for Baguettes on ‘Anne’s Food’ another blog I regularly read. Having never attempted them before I decided to give it a shot. The original can be viewed here. She does state that the dough will be “very soft” but I’m not sure what I did wrong but my dough ended up so soft that it actually started to flow across the countertop after I turned it out after proving. I hastily scattered it with lots of extra flour and managed to work it into a more stable dough. Apart from this minor hitch the recipe was very simple to follow and produced a wonderful tasting, light dough with a crisp golden crust.

The overall taste and texture of the bread reminded me more of Ciabatta than a Baguette, not that that’s a bad thing. I will defiantly be making these again. If you want to eat this bread by the afternoon you will need to start preparing it early in the morning as it needs quite a long proving time.

Ciabatta Style Baguettes
(Adapted from ‘Anne’s Food’ blog)
600ml warmed water
800 - 850g strong plain flour
30g fresh yeast
1 tsp salt
Extra flour for dusting

Place the flour in a very large mixing bowl and gradually incorporate the water, whilst mixing together using an electric beater and a dough hook.
Add the salt and mix for around 3 minutes until you have a smooth, soft dough.
Crumble over the yeast and mix for a further 3-5 minutes. The dough should become very soft and stretchy.
Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for 3-4 hours.
Line two baking trays with baking paper and lightly dust with flour.
When the dough has doubled in size, tip the batter out onto a very, very well floured surface and divide into two. (The dough will still be extremely soft).
Working quickly shape each half into a long baton shape and transfer each one onto a baking sheet.
Dust each one with a little flour and leave to prove for a further 30 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 275C and place a cake tin full of water in the base of your oven to create a steamy environment.
Place the breads into the oven and bake for 10minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to 200C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire wrack to cool.
Makes 2 baguettes.

Mango Jam
I bought a couple of mangos as they were ‘buy one get one free’ in my local supermarket. They looked and smelt lovely and ripe but on tasting one I was very disappointed to find it was very fiberous, with an astringent aftertaste. Rather than waiting in the hope that it would improve, I decided to turn it into jam as I find cooking poor quality fruit often improves it no end.

This jam is actually more like a fruit spread, than a jam as it doesn’t set quite as firm as a normal jam. It also doesn’t contain as much sugar, meaning it won’t keep as long but also means it’s not overly sweet and tastes very fresh and strongly of fruit which I prefer. It went wonderfully on the above bread. I should image it would also be great on toast, fruit buns, scones or as a filling for cakes.

It was very quick and easy to make and really transformed the mango, bringing out its sweet tropical flavour and fragrance. The colour is such a vivid, sunny, golden colour that makes it perfect for a summery afternoon tea.

1 large mango
50g caster sugar
160ml water

Heat the oven to 80C and place a jam jar and lid in the oven to sterilize.
Slice and peel the mango into strips. Cut each strip of mango into very small cubes.
Place into a smallish saucepan along with the water and sugar.
Heat on high until the mixture comes to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
After 10 minutes the mango should be very soft and looking bright and translucent. Mash the mango using a potato masher to achieve a thick smooth puree.
Allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the puree as thickened and turned jam like.
Remove the jam jar from the oven and fill with the mango jam. Quickly screw the lid on tightly (using washing up gloves to prevent burns) and allow to cool on the side before refrigerating.
Makes 1 large 370g jar

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow that jam is a magnificent colour! Hhm I love mango, will have to try this sometime