8 DAYS AND COUNTING…

8 Days to go to reach my Kickstarter target, which ends on Friday 7th June at 3.45pm – so make a note in your diaries. There’s still £575 to raise, so if everyone could really push this last week – that would be awesome.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1463531908/british-brotform-project-tooling

fougasseThere you can read up about what I’m trying to achieve, see how my brotform works and take a look at the ad spaces available in the pledge section.

Anyone who’s ever taken an ad in the national press knows how expensive that can be even for a single appearance, so I think my ad spaces are a bit of a bargain for a 12 month starting period (the two side spaces come in at around 82p a day), and of course I’m also looking for a site sponsor, who’s company details will sit proudly above my main banner. Once the business is thriving, three businesses are going to have some pretty sweet advertising spaces.

I mentioned a few days ago that I’ve been transferring the content of my blog over to here, so hopefully my subscribers will come along too. Eventually I’m hoping that this site will become a little baking community where apart from buying the British baking products, people can post recipes, discuss product designs and generally come for advice or a bit of a foody natter.

8 days & counting…..get involved!

http://www.breadstead.co.uk/

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POST WEEKEND…

17 Days to go to reach my Kickstarter target, and pledging passed the £1000 mark over the weekend. Hurrah!! Pats on the back all round. Big up yourselves.

SHELLLOAFStill need to find a couple of advertisers and a site sponsor. If you know a business that may be interested – please share. The website will be the main point of sale for my brotform and all subsequent products, and your ads will be seen on every page of the website, as the banner is a constant..

Anyone who’s ever taken an ad in the national press knows how expensive that can be even for a single appearance, so I think my ad spaces are a bit of a bargain for a 12 month starting period (the two side spaces come in at around 82p a day), and of course I’m also looking for a site sponsor, who’s company details will sit proudly above my main banner. Once the business is thriving, three businesses are going to have some pretty sweet advertising spaces.

I mentioned a few days ago that I’ll be transferring the content of my blog over to here, so hopefully my subscribers will come along too. Eventually I’m hoping that this site will become a little baking community where apart from buying the british baking products, people can post recipes, discuss product designs and generally come for advice or a bit of a foody natter. Visit the website http://www.breadstead.co.uk/
or follow me on Twitter @breadstead

17 days & counting…..get involved! :)

Thanks.

Mike.

http://www.breadstead.co.uk/

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An Appeal….

This is Ken’s story.

SAD

Ken is a food mixer. The conditions he’s forced to live in are appalling. He lives with myself and four other people in a shared house in Manchester. He sees none of the benefits appliances usually enjoy, space to forage and socialize, the sun on his face, Flash surface cleaner. Conditions in his kitchen mean he can only be left out in the open for less than 30 mins a day, the rest of the time he’s forced to exist under cover, like an embarrassing parrot.

COVERED

Each day he faces fresh horrors. What will be dumped on top of him? A pan lid? An unwashed mug? A jar of dubious eastern European pickles? It’s no life.

I left my ipod in the kitchen last week. I came downstairs to find the headphones swinging glumly in his brushed aluminium bowl. “God Is In The House” by Nick Cave was on repeat. It had been playing for six hours.

Apart from helping cut down on the needless import of a product which can be made right here in the UK, the Great British Brotform project can help mixers like Ken. Once the business is up and running, I can move him to a kitchen of his very own, where he can run free as nature intended, throw off the shadows of his cover, and flirt with the kettle.

State of the art computer technology has enabled us to recreate just how this may look (below).

Please, visit the Breadstead pages on Kickstarter & Twitter, and if you can’t pledge, spread the word as far and wide as you possibly can.

Do it for Ken.

http://www.breadstead.co.uk/?p=1

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1463531908/british-brotform-project-tooling

KITCHEN

FREE

FLUME

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What the foug?

This is a bit of a makeshift recipe, but I’ve made it twice now with great results so I thought I’d better share. Quantities are about as exact as I can be, but you’ll probably have to add a little extra flour or liquid, depending how the olives affect the mix.

Olive Fougasse

fougasse

Start with 400g of strong white bread flour. Add 2 tsp sugar, 2 sachets of easy yeast and about 400ml of warm water. Whisk until smooth then cover & leave somewhere warmish for anything from a couple of hours to overnight. Longer the better. I leave my doughs & starters in big buckets with lids that the local Indian takeaway get their yogurt delivered in. If you ask, I bet they’ll let you have a couple. Very handy.

While your starter chuffs away, chop your olives. I use green ones I get in a big jar from our pound shop. Starting weight of 700g with a drained weight of about half that. Chop them roughly and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.

Once your starter is ready, scrape it out into your mixing bowl or the bowl of your processor. Add 200g of spelt flour and 200g of granary style grain flour. Add your chopped, drained olives, 2 level tsp of salt and 1 tsp ground black pepper. Set your mixer going, or get your hands in. Have another 100 – 150g of mixed spelt/granary flours ready, as the dough will take this as your olives start to give up their oil into the mix.

clean whatever you raised the starter in, and when the dough comes together and is smooth and just manageable, pop it back in & cover. Leave to rise for about 90 mins.

Take a handful of garlic cloves and chop roughly. Heat the garlic with a cup of good olive oil gently in the microwave or a pan (don’t burn the garlic – easy in the micro). Rosemary is also great added at this stage. Let this infuse while the dough rises.

Take your raised dough, cut in half and shape. This will make 2 huge loaves. brush baking sheets with the garlic oil, flatten your dough & slash however you like (plenty of inspiration online on how to shape fougasse). Brush each loaf liberally with the garlic oil, getting into all the cuts, then leave to rise on the trays for about an hour.

Bake for about 25 – 30 mins at 200. Check, and if needed, revolve after 20 mins.

The first time I made these I used rosemary in the oil and on top as they baked and they were awesome, but I couldn’t get hold of fresh this time, and my plant in the garden is long dead. Chilli flakes would be great too.

Enjoy 🙂

fougasse2

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There will be spud

Greetings, traveller. It’s that time of year. It seems it was only a heartbeat ago I was putting away summer cooking things last year & digging out the heavy casserole pots, and now here it is again, already! Where does the time go? I blame global warming.

Anyway. This was an improv dinner yesterday for me & my girl. It’s an adapted version of a corking gratin I make with peppered mackerel, but she isn’t too keen on the stronger fishy taste so I substituted tinned tuna. If you use mackerel you’ll get a richer, deeper coloured dish.

Tuna, leek & potato gratin

5 floury baking potatoes
2 leeks
275g canned tuna in brine
1 x 284ml pot of single cream, or as I used, Elmlea or light cream
60g fresh grated Parmesan
75g grated strong Cheddar
1tsp mustard
1tspn chopped rosemary (dried herbs would be ok – just use a pinch less of each)
1tspn thyme
Garlic – 2 large or 3 small cloves crushed
Milk
Salt & pepper
Butter
Olive oil (light is fine)

Trim & chop your leeks. A handy way to wash them is to run a sharp knife right through from the green end to the base, but don’t cut right through the base – leave about an inch. Roll the leek 90 degrees & repeat. Hold the leek by the loose green ends & the base & push together gently. The leek will now open up so you can rinse away and grit under a cold tap.
Dry well & chop then fry in a little olive oil & butter until soft. Season with salt & pepper.

In a jug, pour in your cream, then rinse the tub to halfway up with milk & add to the cream. To this, add your mustard. I used English but wholegrain is great.
Add your cheeses, garlic, herbs, 1/2 tspn salt & lots of black pepper. Stir well

Slice your potatoes widthways to about 3mm thick, or the thickness of a pound coin.

Butter the base of a large casserole type oven dish, largest you have probably,
the kind that are usually rectangular or oval and about 3″ deep.

Place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of your dish. Add a layer of leeks then a layer of drained tuna chunks. Repeat until you get to a final layer of potato at the top. The lower levels of slices can be just placed roughly, but your top layer can be a little neater, I usually start at the outer edge, place a slice, cover that by half with the next slice, like scales, and work my way around the dish, then make inner circles until the top is covered. Press down lightly. Aim to leave about 5 – 10mm from the top of the dish.

Slowly pour over your cream mixture. This will disperse throughout the gratin as it cooks.

Dot with knobs of butter & give a final grind of salt & pepper.

Cover tightly with foil & bake at 190 for 1hr. Remove the foil & test with something fairly blunt like a butter knife. If not completely soft return to the oven, covered, until it is.
When it’s soft, place back in the oven uncovered for 10-15 mins to brown the top.

Allow to cool slightly then serve with vegetables. I serve my veg without butter or oil as there’s already plenty in the gratin itself.

Leftovers will microwave well the next day.

Enjoy : )

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STICK IT.

More breadsticks folks! Go on, you know you want to.

I made these with a standard white dough with a few mods. Blitz up a small can of sweetcorn in a food processor. Then blitz half a jar of sundried tomatoes, a jar of pitted green olives and finely chop a couple of chillies. Cheese time. I guess I used about 125g of strong Cheddar & 75g of Parmesan – both grated. Add all this to your flour at the beginning with a pinch of salt and 1tspn oregano, remember your dough will now take less liquid because of all the moisture in these extras.

After your dough has had it’s first rise and has doubled, roll & twist into shape & place on well oiled baking trays. Drizzle the tops generously with more good olive oil and top with whatever you like before allowing a second rise before baking in batches at 180 for 15 – 20 mins or until golden. I did half plain, half sesame seed, but any other seeds work well. Sea salt and crushed black pepper is also good. With the extra wet ingredients, you’re going to end up with a softer breadstick. If you find the oustside or ends are getting too dark before the middle seems done, reduce your temperature.
Enjoy, peeps.

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Chilli. Cheese. Pretzels.

 

 

All of my favourite foodstuffs together in one place – bread, cheese & chillies.
What’s not to like?

Start with a standard white bread dough but with a little less salt than you normally add (to allow for the salt in the cheese). Finely chop as much fresh chilli as you like. This is one of the few occasions I remove the seeds. I used a bag of three fat mixed chillies from the supermarket.
Now on to the cheese. I used some leftover Emmental & one of those small ‘sausages’ of smoked cheese you find everywhere. Use whatever you like or whatever needs using up.
I worked it out to be about 270g for this batch of dough, which used around 600g of flour, but you can add as much or as little as you need without getting into too much bother. finely dice your cheese & add to the dry ingredients, chilli & a teaspoon of Oregano. Proceed as normal with your bread dough and allow to prove.

After one rise it gets a little more tricky. Knock back your dough and cut it into pieces around the size of a large egg, although size is completely up to you. Roll a piece into a long, thin sausage about a foot long & shape. If you don’t know how to tie a pretzel knot or are a bit rubbish at them, like me, there are tutorials on youtube.

Allow your shaped pretzels to have their second rise (on oiled trays or boards)
while you prepare the next stage.
Take a large cooking pot or frying pan, big enough to take three or four of your pretzels at a time with space between & put it on the heat.
Fill with 3 or 4 inches of boiling water, 1tspn of bicarb & 1 tspn of sugar.

Once all of your doughs are shaped & have had their second rise, carefully drop a few into the boiling water at a time. Cook for 1 minute each, gently splashing the tops with the water as you would with the fat when frying an egg. Carefully scoop them out & place on well oiled baking sheets. Continue in batches until they’re all ready. As they come out of the water they’ll be quite wet & sticky, and this is the best time to top with any seeds, rock salt, crushed pepper etc.

Bake in batches for about 15 – 20 mins at 200 or until they’re a deep golden colour
& cooked through.

You can really add any flavourings you like to these, sweet or savoury, but my favourite are savoury, topped with crunchy rock salt & seeds. The boiling stage is a bit of a pain, as with making bagels, but once you get a little production line going from pan to oven it becomes quite simple.

Enjoy : )

 

 

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