How I love the cold season. Vendors at every turn of a corner, the thick smoke coming from the roasting racks. Paper cones filled with roasted chestnuts keep my hands warm. Autumn and winter are my favourite season for their distinctive perfumes and flavours. Chestnuts come in the first place of my cold season food top ten. Sweet and fragrant, once amongst the staple food of our ancestors here in Ticino it has now become quite an expensive ingredient to buy in stores. Definitely not an every day ingredient if not for those who have the chance of being able to go in the woods and pick some. Every now and then I treat myself with a bag of chestnut flour and bake kolache. Lately I have been experimenting a bit and came up for this recipe for a bread I took to a dinner with friends. It’s flavour is intense and lends itself well to accompany a vegetable soup which is so seasonal. Chestnuts, walnuts and polenta are all products which are typical of my region and blend perfectly. This bread is one with a strong personality, it is rich and dense and keeps fresh for several days…a bit like bread did in the old days.
Today for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook I want to present you with a very practical and entertaining recipe, as well as delicious of course! Bread in a can is the perfect example of how man can use anything as a cooking tool. Really, there is no point in owning multiple moulds and bread tins when you can re-use tin cans. Besides the result is so nice and the rounded slices of bread are perfect for making appetizers!
Bagels. If I’m not mistaken this is the second recipe I tried after discovering my passion for bread baking. The first one was the Cottage Loaf, a bread which has been the staple of my baking when sixteen. Around that time my father used to travel a lot to the United States, something which I guess summed up with my passion for american tv series and MTV played a role into feeding my interest for this bread. I then did a 10 day holiday in N.Y. where I religiously followed my plan to eat a typical american breakfast every single morning, with the rule of changing both menu and place every single day. Amongst the breakfast I had there where bagels too, of course. I would opt for a classic philadelpia cheese and smoked salmon bagel, straight from the oven and still warm. No doubt one of my favourite breakfasts during my american holiday. I haven’t been baking bagels since, for no reason really. This time a pretty weird idea to use Maroggia’s Mill flour came to my mind. Liquorice flavoured bagels! Take a look into Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook with me and let’s see how these beauties can be baked at home.
I simply love breakfast. Sweet or savoury it makes no difference at all, it’s just one of my favourite meals by virtue of its versatility. I discovered kanelbullar while “bakery hunting” for my morning breakfasts in Copenhagen. Not that i didn’t know well it’s british-american counterpart, the cinnamon bun, but what intrigued me the most was its shape. Braided breads of all sorts have always an effect on me, it must be my aesthetic and artistic inclinations playing a big part in this fascination.
Flatbreads are amongst my favourite breads. Why? First of all they are already portioned and ready to be eaten on the go for a quick snack or stuffed for an easy lunch to take with you to eat on your mid-day break. They also make the perfect side dish bread, to be dunked in rich gravies, to clean the plate from the tomato sauce that hasn’t been trapped linguine or spaghetti or even to be used instead of cutlery to scoop food from the plate as one would do with a spoon or a fork. No slicing, no morsels, no fuss. For this recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook I thought to add a little flavour and spice to the dough by simply mixing in some mustard. Heavenly…you don’t need to spread mustard anymore as the flavour is already in the bread! These pitas are pillowy soft, melt in the mouth and keep fresh up to 5 days if stored in plastic bags. You can also freeze them and keep them stored on case of a bread emergency. Simply pop them in the toaster or the oven!
Laugengebäck is the whole spectrum of breads that are boiled in a solution of water and caustic soda (in the order of 3% on the amount of water and not more, being caustic soda highly corrosive) before being baked. I simply love any kind of bread that undergoes this process while it gives a shiny crust and a very characteristic taste. Since my early childhood I favoured this kinds of breads which are usually vaguely rubbery and a little sticky on the surface. Bretzels are one of those breads I cherish. Although more or less ten years ago I had a moment of “Sils only bread baking” (here in Switzerland these breads are called silser) only once I tried to bake bretzels. Failing miserably. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…
Sultanas, either you love them or you hate them. Usually when offering a cake containing raisins or even panettone (which strictly requires raisins in its dough) I hear choruses of protest rising: “Noooo pleaseeee, not sultanas.” So just imagine the joy and amazement when asking my three years old niece Ada what she liked to eat the most she answered: “”Sultanaaaaassss!”. Not to mention when I noticed she was surgically dissecting the buns to remove the sultanas, but not to eat the soft inside of the bread…no sir, that he just ignored it at large and focused her attention on the berries. And what about you? Are you a sultanas lover us or hater? Well in any case the basic recipe for these buns is spot-on if you need something easy to bake for your children’s afternoon snack. The size of the buns is ideal for children my niece’s age who cannot manage to get through large bread rolls or buns, the dough is extremely soft and light and 100% vegan! If sultanas are just too hard to swallow you can replace them with chocolate chips, nuts, or other ingredients according to your taste.
In the past few weeks me and my father have been going gathering wild garlic (here if you want to know more about where and when to find it) and in addition to making a small batch of pesto we froze for the cold winter nights I thought I’d try out a bread recipe for a change. I took inspiration from a bread by Hamelman, the actual original recipe is for fougasse, changing some quantities adding a little oil and flour. I must say I’m very happy about these soft and aromatic rolls which I happily include in Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. If wild garlic is not to your liking you can always use some basil. These fluffy and fragrant buns can be filled with any ingredients, simply be eaten as they are or as an accompaniment to a fresh salad!
Ooops, I messed up with the blog. Many of you may have noticed that last Friday I mis-scheduled my post. Instead of posting a recipe for the Mill I posted a recipe for macarons…too many things to do, appointments, too many bad days and then I lost track of the usual scheduling (I have to go back to the good habit of writing down a special calendar only for blog posts). I apologize to Alessandro, who has to deal with my head in the clouds, and all of you that expected a new recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. I have to get used to the new routine Macro-Monday and Baking-Friday. The recipe that I am finally posting was developed very spontaneously, going with the flow feeling the dough as it takes shape under the kneading hands. Bread rolls so fragrant, soft and tasty you simply cannot fall for them. To give them a special flavour and rustic texture I added whole rye flour (I think it is quite plain to everyone how much I love this flour) and extra virgin olive oil. Have them for breakfast or just a quick snack to fill your hungry belly. Want to try and make them together? Continue reading / Continua a leggere…
Yet another Friday and yet another loaf. There will be changes in the blog and in Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook in general. As you know I embarked this new path of macrobiotic diet in order to solce a health problem, and have no other choice, for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook, to focus more on the bread (especially ones made with wholemeal flours which are more suitable for the regime that I must follow). I won’t do any biscuits, cakes nor dessert recipes, at least not for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook as I don’t really think macrobiotic sweets and desserts fit into such column, because they have too many banned ingredients and even though I am allowed to have a little taste of banned foods better not risk to fall into unnecessary temptations. I have in mind a new project, which I will talk about later on. In short from now on, concerning Maroggia’s Mill cookbook, I will publish only bread, breadsticks and crackers recipes. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…