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Tag Archives: Kitchenaid

Ciabatta James Morton Style

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Ciabatta is that lovely bread distinguished by all those holes! It’s light and flavoursome, keeps well and is also amazing toasted or made into bruschetta. In need of  a reliable recipe, I consulted James Morton in his great book Brilliant Bread for how to make this bread.

I was making ciabatta for the first time this week. I had friends over for dinner to celebrate the arrival of a shearers’ table which has been sojourning in the Southern Highlands for too long. I had hot-smoked a side of salmon and wanted some nice bread to serve it with. I ended up serving it with dill pickles, creme fraiche, focaccia and the ciabatta loaves. Here’s a photo of the hot-smoked salmon. For the recipe on how to hot smoke, check the recipe from my post on hot-smoking.

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Ciabatta can be tricky to make as the dough is very wet and hard to handle, so be prepared for this. James suggests using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, which makes the kneading easier.

I discovered that James has a simpler recipe online. It looks good, and I am keen try his “pared down” version.  See James’ simple ciabatta here.

But here is the recipe from James’ book Brilliant Bread that I have made successfully.

Ingredients

300g strong white flour
100g plain flour
7g instant yeast
10g salt
200g sourdough starter
350g tepid water
Semolina, for dusting

Method

Into the bowl of your electric mixer (I used my KitchenAid), rub the flours, yeast and salt, keeping the yeast and salt on separate sides of the bowl.  Add the starter and water and form into a extremely wet dough.

I followed James’ instructions for the electric mixer, here, although you could knead by hand for 10-15 minutes. Beat the dough with the paddle attachment of the mixer until it comes away from the sides and easily passes the windowpane test.

Cover your bowl with cling film (I use a shower cap) and leave to prove. This can be 2 hour room temperature prove or leave for 10-12 hours in the fridge. The dough should have at least doubled in size.

Turn the dough out on to a heavily floured surface. Using floured hands, fold the dough in half so both the top and bottom are both floured. Move it around a little to make sure the bottom is totally coated, and add more flour to the top. Flatten very gently into a  rough rectangle, then cut into 4 strips, being very careful not to deflate the dough and lose those bubbles which will be your holes!

Gently transfer each strip onto a heavily floured tea towel. As you move them, stretch them out until they are long and “slipper-like”. The loaves don’t need to be exact they are after all rustic loaves. Leave to prove on the tea towel for about 1 hour, or until wobbly and noticeably increased in size.

About 40 minutes before you bake, preheat your baking surface in the oven set at  240 degrees C or 220 degrees C fan forced.

Turn the ciabattas (be very gentle) on to a board dusted with semolina, so what was the bottom is now the top – this helps to redistribute the bubbles for a better crumb. Slide the loaves on to the hot baking surface and throw 1/4 cup of water on to the sides of the oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. (I think I could have baked my loaves a little longer – they were not brown enough).

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Scarlet Berry and Mandarin Cake with Meringue Buttercream

IMG_3014I am now the proud owner of a Kitchenaid! It’s scarlet red, very shiny and lovely to look at. And SO easy to use. A gift from my friends for a special birthday, organized by Mlle X.

IMG_2770So this was Kitchenaid christening weekend. I’m  a devotee of The Great British Bakeoff http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013pqnm. After watching an episode I just have to bake.

The cake is loosely based on a recipe from that program by Mary Berry. I substituted whole mandarins plus some marmalade for the all-marmalade version.

The cake is not for the fainted hearted, as it is dense and fruity and quite heavy. I think I would make the all-marmalade version next time. The equal quantities of butter to sugar made it a little rich, so maybe a little less butter would lighten it too. But if you want a dense and flavourful cake, you certainly achieve that here.

I filled and iced the cake with meringue buttercream. The Kitchenaid produced a stunning result! Mega rich!

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Cakes (2)

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 large free range eggs
200g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 small whole mandarins, chopped and blitzed in a food processor
2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp chunky Seville orange marmalade

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Butter two 20 cm round cake tins and line with baking paper. Butter the paper.
Cream the softened butter with a Kitchenaid or similar mixer until soft and creamy. Beat in the sugar gradually, then continue to beat until it becomes pale and fluffy.
Gradually beat in the eggs, beating well after each addition.Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and gently fold into the mixture with a large metal spoon. When thoroughly combined, stir in the blitzed mandarins, marmalade and milk.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and spread evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and and a skewer inserted in the cakes comes out clean. Run a round bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen and then carefully turn the cakes out onto a wire rack. Flip to right side up. Allow the cakes to cool completely before filling and icing.

Meringue Buttercream 

Ingredients
4 egg whites
2 cups white sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Method
Place the egg whites and sugar into a metal bowl and set over a saucepan filled with about 5 cms of simmering water.
Heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 60 degrees C.  Transfer the heated egg whites and sugar to a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Mix at high speed until they have reached their maximum volume, 5 to 10 minutes.
Mix on medium or medium-high speed while pinching off small pieces of butter and throwing them in. Mix in vanilla. Continue beating for about 5 minutes until the meringue and butter mixture is completely amalgamated, thick and of frosting consistency.
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Filling and Topping

Spread one of the cakes, thickly, with half the buttercream using a palette knife. top with sliced strawberries or other scarlet fruit, and a little fruit from any good marmalade. I used my homemade mandarin marmalade.

Top with the remaining cake, ice with the remaining buttercream, and decorate with berries and marmalade fruit as you fancy!

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