Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Fougasse looks like an ear of wheat. In the old days, when people baked in wood fired ovens and had no thermometers to check their temperature, they used "fougasse to assess the temperature of a wood fired oven. The time it would take to bake, gives an idea of the oven temperature and whether the rest of the bread can be loaded". I think this is a delicious way of checking the temperature. These are the first fougasse I baked, but surely not the last one.

This month the Babes are baking fougasse and I’m joining them. Elisabeth of Our Kitchen  asked us to bake fougasse. We can use any dough we like, as long as we shape it into a fougasse. I hadn’t baked a Norwich Sourdough for a long time, so I used this dough. I used  the extra dough to make a great pizza.

There a many flavors you can add to a fougasse. We just found green cardamom pods and I still had some Nigella seeds. And I always have sesame seeds, black and white, in the house. I decided to bake one fougasse with cardamom and Nigella and the other one with roasted black and white sesame seeds. On top I sprinkled some coarse sea salt.
I mixed the seeds in the dough and after one hour I placed the containers in the refrigerator for the night. The next morning I shaped them and just before they were proofed enough I sliced them with a bank card into a nice tree shape.

Fougasse is delicious flat bread with a crusty crust and a nice crumb with holes. You can play with the dough; just white flour or with some whole wheat and rye, with sourdough or yeast, use seeds, nuts, dried fruit, or....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Poviticia for World Bread Day 2011

Today is World Bread Day and I want to bake something special.

Zorra, the founder of World Bread Day, says: 'October 16 is a day that should heighten our awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Of course we can not solve this problem by baking a bread, but perhaps some of us will share their baked bread with someone who is not as lucky as we are'. Thanks Zorra for this great initiative! 

When we were in Holland we visited Peter’s daughter, Nieke and her husband Miron and their daughter Stella. There we also met Visnja, Nieke’s Croatian mother in law. We talked about baking bread and she told me about Poviticia, Croatian walnut bread. She told me that her father loved this bread, but her mother couldn't bake it. I told her I would (try to) bake it for them; Nieke, Miron, Stella and Visnja. Because we can’t give them the real bread, we will share it with friends from other countries. This way, more people will enjoy this Croatian Poviticia. Visnja told me Poviticia means simple bread, and I can tell you its fun to make.

Sharing the bread was fun too. I used 1/3 of the original recipe and this got us a big sweet bread; more than enough to share. The first piece was shared with Dutch and Canadian friends in Thailand. The second piece we shared with Australian and Japanese friends. And the third part we shared with Thai and Burmees people who normally don’t eat much bread.  
The taste was good. I have no idea if it tasted like the original Croatian Poviticia, but all who ate this sweet bread, liked it a lot. Maybe one day I can bake it for Nieke, Miron, Stella and Visnja? It would be nice to eat this festive bread together.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tartine Country Bread with Kalamata Olives and Rosemary

We bought fresh Kalamata olives and we have a beautiful Rosemary plant in the garden. What should I bake with these nice ingredients?
Off course a Tartine Country Bread. Most of my Tartines (see my discovery of ....) were baked in my flowerpot or ceramic pan. The result is great, but the shape is every time almost the same. This time I wanted something different and shaped this bread.

While writing this post, the bread is out of the oven. It looks and smells very nice. In the oven I have some tomatoes, onion slices and garlic with sea salt, pepper, dried rosemary and olive oil. It’s roasting very slowly and the kitchen is starting to smell like Italy. This evening we had a nice Italian sandwich. This tartine also taste delicious; crust is crunchy, crumb is soft. The olives add the extra flavor and there is a little sent of rosemary.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Croissants with sourdough, what a success!

For a long time I saw beautiful croissants baked by fellow bakers. I wanted to give it a try too. I wasn’t scared by the bakers who wrote on how difficult it is to bake croissants. I like a difficult recipe, this keeps my thoughts were they should be. And as soon as we found the special folding butter I could bake them. (ok, we bought margarine before using the expensive real butter).

I already knew what recipe I would use: Croissant with natural starter (sourdough starter) from Suas’s Advance Bread and Pastry Cookbook. I found a great description at Sue’s blog You can do it at home  

I had another reason to make croissants; I wanted to bake Tartine’s Morning Buns. You need croissant dough for it. I did and they were great, but I have no photos, because we were in a hurry to go to Holland. These Morning Buns tasted delicious and looked great, but they were too big for us. Maybe for an afternoon snack?

The croissants were great and I will bake them again and again. Not only because I still have a lot of folding margarine left, but because these home made croissants are delicious and fun to make.
I agree with Sue; “It is achievable and the results are truly rewarding”.

Monday, October 10, 2011

French countryside bread with poolish

We were off for 3 weeks, back to Holland. We went to be with Peter’s dying father and his family. It’s touching to be with someone you love who is dying. We stayed for 3 weeks.

When we left in a hurry to Holland, I dried my starter and now I’m reviving it. But, before we can eat fresh baked sourdough bread I have to bake some with yeast. No problem with this great recipe I found.

This recipe I found at Uit de keuken van Arden  (it’s in Dutch) is a great recipe when you have no idea what to bake and like a good crusty crust and a soft crumb. I went for 2 loaves and that evening we had great Dutch cheese sandwiches.

The evening before I made the poolish.