Sunday, June 29, 2014

Soaked Whole Wheat Bread

I have discussed the benefits of eating grains in a previous post, Grain Pain, so won't go into the nutritional aspects again. In that post, I mentioned that I have a Skippy Grain Mill and was planning to use it to grind my own wheat and use it for soaked wholewheat cooking. Well, I haven't had a lot of time to do this lately, but find myself with some time on my hands again.

I've been experimenting with sourdough, too. Sourdough requires a lot of dedication and planning. If you want to make a loaf of bread, you basically have to start two days before! It doesn't require a lot of hands on activity, mostly just sitting around doing its thing, but when it's ready to have something done to it, you have to be there to do it! So, I'm back to thinking of other ways to use our own wheat to make my bread and am revisiting the soaking idea. I found this recipe at Don't Waste the Crumbs and have given it a go with a few tweaks of my own and using the Thermomix. If you don't have a Thermomix, just mix by hand.  It's not totally wholewheat, but this will hopefully make it a little lighter and less dense.

Here's how to do it:
(Start the evening before)

The Bush Gourmand

480g whole wheat flour, freshly ground if possible
140g white bread flour
240g buttermilk (or use ½ cup yoghurt mixed with ½ cup whole milk)
¼ cup cold water
90g soft butter

Add to the Thermomix bowl and mix on dough setting for about 3 minutes or until the mixture begins to come together. It will resemble play dough.

Place in a ceramic bowl and cover with plastic wrap and leave to sit on the bench overnight or for up to 24 hours. It will look darker on the outside of the dough. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal and the bread will not be dark in colour.

Next morning, continue with the recipe below:

½ cup warm water
1 Tbsp rapadura sugar syrup (Maleo) or 2 Tbsp honey
2 ½ tsp dried yeast
2 Tbsp macadamia or other mild tasting oil

Mix together in a small jug and leave to prove for 5 minutes.
Place soaked dough back into Thermomix bowl - break it up a little. Add the proved yeast mixture and knead on dough setting for 3 minutes.

1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp bread improver
½ tsp Vitamin C powder

Add to the dough and knead for a further minute on dough setting. Remove from bowl and place on to bench or silpat mat. Knead by hand for 5 minutes until smooth and silky. Shape into a round ball and place back into the (greased) ceramic bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to double in size.

Roll dough out into a rectangle shape.

Once proved, remove dough from the bowl and place onto a lightly floured work surface.

Roll the rectangle up from the shorter side and tuck in the edges.

Place into a bread tin and cover once more with the greased plastic wrap.

 and leave to rise again until it's come up above the sides of the tin.

My bread tin measures 26cm x 11 cm. I bought it online from All About Bread.

Place into a hot oven, around 225C. After 10 minutes, reduce to 200C and bake for another 20 minutes or so. Check whether it's cooked by carefully removing from the tin and tapping the base. It should sound hollow. If not, place the loaf back into the oven straight onto the racks and bake a further 5 to 10 minutes.

I like the top of my bread nice and dark, so very happy with this. If you prefer a lighter coloured crust, preheat oven to 200C and cook at this temperature.
The loaf feels nice and light and has a wonderful texture.

...and it's delicious with lashings of butter and my homemade dried apricot jam.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Condensed Coconut Milk

Condensed Milk is often an ingredient in ice creams and cheesecakes. I don't ever buy it because it's way too full of sugar, and the wrong sort of sugar too. By the wrong sort, I mean high fructose corn syrup.

Most big food companies have replaced normal sugar with this insidious ingredient.  It is cheap, 25% sweeter than sugar (but they didn't reduce the amount) and is highly addictive.
High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS is made by using enzymes to convert the glucose in corn syrup into fructose.

Fructose is absorbed and used differently to sucrose, or regular sugar, in the body. Without the fibre and pulp from fruit (where fructose is normally found) to balance out the sugar content, fructose heads straight to the liver and triggers a process known as lipogenesis - the production of lipids, or fats. This makes it a major cause of liver problems such as fatty liver and worse. It also spikes blood sugar and can lead to overproduction of insulin. This constant increase can lead to insulin resistance, obesity and Type II Diabetes. If you would like to learn more, watch "The Men Who Made Us Fat" on ABC on Thursdays. It runs for three nights over three weeks, but I believe it will be available on iView for a while.

Anyhoo, I found a recipe for a large quantity of biscuits that needed a tin of Condensed Milk. I don't trust anything from the Nestle company, so decided to make my own. Just for a change, I thought Coconut Condensed Milk might be a nice change. I looked at Quirky Jo's recipe (, but ended up doing it a little differently.

Here's my recipe:

Coconut Condensed Milk
2 x 270ml Ayam Coconut Cream (I can't guarantee good results if you use another brand)
70g coconut syrup (you could swap out with 100g maple syrup as Jo does, or 70g coconut sugar)

Place into Thermomix bowl and cook on 100/speed 3/60 minutes. Then repeat for a further 10 minutes on speed 4 at 100. Transfer to a bowl or jar to cool. I ended up with over 300g of condensed milk.

There is a definite coconut taste, but the biscuits it was used for didn't taste of coconut. That recipe will be posted next.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Flourless Microwave Chocolate Pudding

I've seen recipes for these chocolate puddings in a mug all over the internet and have never succumbed. However, tonight, I just couldn't help myself, I NEEDED Chocolate Pudding! I looked at quite a few recipes and ended up making up my own. I like the idea of flour free, so decided to use almonds instead of flour.
Neither my DH or I could eat a whole one, so I would now split this recipe and make two puddings in small cups or mugs.
I like to use a cup and saucer for this. Make sure you choose one that can go in the microwave.

Picture shows full recipe in a large cup

Flourless Microwave Chocolate Pudding
(Makes 2) 
The Bush Gourmand

35g (2 Tbsp) fresh almonds (hazelnuts would also work)
10g (2 Tbsp) cocoa or cacao
3 Tbsp coconut or rapadura sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp thin cream or full cream milk

Add almonds, cocoa and sugar to bowl of Thermomix or food processor. Grind on speed 9 for 10 seconds in Thermomix or process until fine. Scrape down.
Add egg and cream and blend again. Using spatula, scrape into two cups.
Place in microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Serve on the saucer with cream and ice cream.

Note: Microwave ovens vary in power. You may need to experiment. Start with 1 minute 30 seconds and increase if necessary.