Thursday, February 23, 2012

Biscotti Picanti

First I like to congratulate the Bread Baking Babes with their 4th Anniversary. Lien of Notitie Van Lien invited  us, Buddies, to bake Biscotti Picanti with them.
In my memory Biscotti is a very hard and teeth breaking biscuit. Not a biscuit you like to eat or share with friends. So, at first I thought I wouldn’t join the Babes with these Biscotti. But after reading their enthusiastic blogs I just had to give these “twice baked” biscuits another chance.
Thank you all, Bread Baking Babes; these biscotti are delicious! They’re crunchy and spicy. The smell and taste of black and white sesame seeds, nigella and aniseed is wonderful. And they are highly addictive. There was no time for soup or other drinks to dip them in; as soon as they were cool enough they started to disappear. Just when Peter was about to eat the last ones we had a visit of a friend. Peter and our friend couldn’t stop eating and of course she had the last one. Both of them looked at me for more Biscotti. I promised to bake them again soon.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pear Bread

Ones a year we can buy pears where we live in the North of Thailand. I had a picture in my head of a French tarte tatin aux poires. But, we left for a few days and the pears had to wait in the refrigerator. When we came back I totally forgot about the pears. Until, as usual on Fridays, I visited Susan's Yeast Spotting; the showcase of all kinds of delicious and beautiful breads. And there I saw the really cute loaves with pears, made by Heather of Heathers Sweets and Treats
Heather used Bartlett pears, one big pear for one loaf but my Asian pears are small. I decided to make one loaf with two small pears. At the time it seemed a good idea, because I usually make one loaf trying out a new recipe. If you want to make these loafs: go for both of them. They are really delicious.

Tonight two Thai friends came for dinner. Both of them are teachers in our village. One of them was our colleague. She's going to the USA to become an Au-pair. We all looked at the information the agency gave her and the program they provide for them. We will miss her dearly, but she really loves to see more of the world, meet other people and experience their cultures and she loves children.

We had a nice meal with Spaghetti Bologna and Parmesan cheese; they loved it. Since I had no baguette left in the freezer I decided to serve them the freshly baked Pear Bread. Luckily I took a photo of the bread before they arrived and just in time I took another photo of the last slice before it was all gone. 
This Pear Bread will be back next year; it is delicious. The bread has a soft crust with a nice crumb with bits of pear and a sweet smell of pear and honey. Still it's not sweet bread.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate, Cranberries and Walnut Norwich Sourdough

It's february and Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives asked us to bake Bread with Chocolate for BBD#47. 

The first thing that came to my mind was a dark brown moist chocolate pile with walnuts. But, even though I found a delicious recipe already, and I will bake this one day, it looks more like cake to me. And I promised Peter not to bake too much sweet delicious treats to help him loose some weight, I had to look for something more healthier. What's more healthier than bread with rye, nuts, berries and a bit of chocolate? Norwich Sourdough with walnuts, cranberries and off course chocolate. 
We didn't have much bread left in our freezer. I decided to bake two loaves of Norwich Sourdough, one regular and one with chocolate, cranberries and walnut

When I baked the Chocolate, Cranberries and Walnut Loaf the kitchen began to smell like a candy store or an ice cream shop. The chocolate melted and gave the loaf darker spots on the crust. Of course we had to taste a slice and we loved it. It's a ready to eat bread. One slice has it all; sweetness of chocolate, tangy of the cranberries and a nutty taste of the walnut. And all in a delicious Norwich Sourdough! 

Today,14 february, is Valentine's day. A day for lovers and also a day for friends. I baked this Chocolate, Cranberries and Walnut Norwich Sourdough as a Valentine for the followers of my blog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Olive oil bread by Bourke Street Bakery

We had a busy week because family from the Netherlands came for a visit. We had a great time sightseeing some of the beautiful places in the North of Thailand. We walked through  the jungle on nature trails, ate delicious Thai food and enjoyed our company! At the end when we came home we ate a lot of my home baked bread and they loved it. All the croissants are gone, the buns are gone and most of my experimental own designed sourdough bread is gone too. So when my sister and brother in law left for their trip back home to a freezing (minus 20!) Netherlands I needed to bake a lot of bread. Lucky me. 

I started with another recipe of Bourke Street BakeryI already tried their Carrot Cake; it’s delicious. You really should try it! I would love to have their book because it must be full of treats. 

I’ve baked bread with a lot of olive oil before, like Soft Semolina SourdoughThe Soft Semolina recipe requires more olive oil than this olive oil bread. Olive oil produces a soft crust and crumb. Normally we love to eat bread with a thick crusty and crunchy crust, but ones in a while we like this soft one too.

When I’m thinking of olive oil I think of that beautiful olive tree. I have a thing with trees, I love them. I would love to plant our garden full of big trees. It would be nice to have a variety of trees in our garden, but not all trees can grow here. For some it’s too hot. We have mango, lynches, banana (not a real tree), pomelo, avocado, trees with flowers and trees with medicinal purposes.
I’ve planted some seed of a pine tree from the Netherlands, and it’s growing. It’s over 2 centimeters already! 
We don’t have an olive tree yet, but I know it’s somewhere in Thailand. I think it would be nice to have a sapling in our garden too. And maybe a sequoia? 

There’s a list of oldest trees. The oldest clonal tree, Old Tjikko, is a Norway Spruce. Its roots are still alive after 9.550 year. The oldest single tree is Methuselah, a bristle-cone pine, lives in California. On this list there are pines, cypress, sequoia, redwood, juniper, larche, sugi and the sacred fig, also know as Bodhi Tree. A sapling from the historical Bodhi tree under which Buddha became enlightened is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date. It was planted in 288 BC.

Back to the olive oil bread. Before you can start with the dough, you need to make a pre-ferment the day before. You want to make a soft crumb and need to mix until you reach full dough consistency. You mix until the dough is smooth and silky.