A few days ago I went to the Mill to collect some flour to develop new recipes and asked Alessandro if he had any new interesting products. Happens that I just arrived on a lucky day while freshly ground wheat germ was available. Wheat germ is no more than 3% of the entire grain kernel, and is generally discarded because of its more intense flavour and the presence of moisture which can reduce shelf life of the flour. A product rich in vitamins, starches, proteins and lipids, wheat germ is really good for our health. Presence of Omega 3, Omega 6, vitamins A and D, make it a very valid aid for skin, hair and helps fighting free radicals too. To best preserve all its nutritional qualities the advice is to eat it raw (in this way all its properties, especially vitamin E and B and fatty acids are kept intact) in addition to milk, yogurt or soups but without exceeding a daily dose of 50 g. Being a highly perishable product in order to keep more than a few days you can toast it lightly to remove the moisture which encourages rancidity and mould formation.
Easter is around the corner and this year instead of the traditional colomba I decided to venture into new shores and try a recipe of which my friend Rita told me so much about last year. Rita has been a good friend for many years and over the time I also had the chance to meet all of her family. Back in the days they used to run the most famous pastry shop in Chiasso. Her father often told me about the pastries that they sold and also lent me several books (although pastry is not really my field, even though I always promise myself to sooner or later and bake some of the delicacies illustrated in these magnificent volumes). In short, they know their pastries. So, last year speaking of colomba and various Easter cakes and breads Rita asked me whether I knew this sweet bread which is traditionally baked and eaten in Como, la resta. Characteristic of this sweet loaf is the insertion of a branch of olive tree in its centre. I was immediately fascinated by this traditional bread and promised myself to try this recipe sooner or later. Luckily this year Easter falls shortly after my column of recipes for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook.
You wouldn’t suspect it. From the outside yet another bun, soft as a pillow no doubts about it, but perhaps a little bland for taste buds all too accustomed to the combination of white bun, chocolate, fruit juice. The staple of almost every kid’s mid day snack. But no don’t be fooled, these buns are planetary. A cosmos made out of cocoa and toasted hazelnuts in which a planet of soft-hearted chocolate floats, the milky way dough flavoured with tonka bean containing a primordial explosion of flavours. The bun you didn’t expect, which in itself contains all that is good, sweet, rewarding. An idea which originated from an assignment, may be too complex for the beginning of a new adventure. I’ll give as a gift to Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook then. I hope this makes you dream of starry nights and cocoa flavoured planets.
I’d been wanting to try out this bread for a long time, actually since I have been given Jeffrey Hamelman’s book “Bread” for a gift last Christmas. It’s a nice way to break a little from the routine of baking large loaves, rolls and grissinis. An easy bake yet a stunning decorative bread. A perfect recipe to post for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. The original recipe I took inspiration from which is indeed the one by Jeffrey Hamelman and his book “Bread“ although instead of a mix of white and wholemeal flour I decided to use only white flour (the farina bianca nostrana I get from Maroggia’s Mill mulinomaroggia.ch) to not interfere with the flavours of the ingredients I added to the dough. The bread is crunchy on the outside and has a soft crumb. Dark chocolate, candied ginger (here you can find the recipe to make it at home) and orange zest go wonderfully well together. I did not add sugar to the mixture to enable the flavours to come out in all their aromatic notes and to be able to taste the contrast between them. The intense chocolate flavour, freshness of the orange and the tingling sensation the ginger gives to the palate are quite special. I must admit that the only thought of those ingredients put together make me think of Christmas, what about you?
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…
Thanks to my new diet and lifestyle in the past months I have come across many ingredients that I did not really know or had never tasted so far. Among these millet flakes, which have become a staple for a creamy breakfast or even an afternoon snack. This ingredient immediately struck me for its taste and creamy texture. I was so intrigued by it’s qualities I decided to pull together a recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. And here it is. The addition of millet flour provides with a more dense focaccia than the ones made with wheat flour only, with an extremely creamy and fragrant crumb. This focaccia is ideal for a quick and filling lunch, something handy to take with you. My mouth is already watering, what about yours?
There are days blessed with perfect recipes, during which experiments in the kitchen exceed all expectations. Those are the best days. The bread recipe I am sharing with you today in Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook is the result of one of these magical days. Baking bread in a cast iron pot is one of of my favourite techniques, one that never disappoints me and I always recommend to all baking fanatics.
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Focaccia mon amour. Once you’ve been to Genova and gained two solid kilos by feeding yourself daily with focaccia there is no possible way out, as this crispy and soft flatbread leads to severe addiction. Along the years I baked many focacce, the first one published in the blog was a gorgeous artichoke and red cabbage focaccia for Sourdough Surprises, then I ventured into potato focaccia and developed a recipe for semolina focaccia too. But up until now I had never baked a rustic version of focaccia. This is the reason why I decided it was about time to experiment a little with whole flours too, for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. Maroggia’s Mill special pizza flour helps the dough to develop and proof in the best possible way, providing with a soft crumb and a crunchy crust, while the rye flour gives this focaccia a rustic flavour and texture. Long fermentation, needless to say, helps obtain a more digestible bread, with an aromatic and soft crumb reason why I will never stress enough about the fact it is so much worth the wait of a day. With the sunny and warm weather finally setting in you can bake a batch to share with friends for a Sunday picnic brunch. This focaccia is simply heavenly with soft goat cheese and fresh salad. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and bake?
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!
It’s almost April, the time to test your baking skills with difficult doughs, the time for Colomba! I tried this recipe last year and I am very sad not to be able to replicate it this year too, due to a lack of time. This Colomba, the original recipe is by Giorilli and this it the re viewed by Fables de Sucre, is simply perfect. A fragrant cloud with a compact, soft, buttery and well developed dough. Scent of vanilla and citrus, perfectly balanced, blend very nicely with the buttery texture. My guinea pigs loved it! As with all very rich doughs, such as panettone, there are some basic rules. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…