MTChallenge: Rolls! / MTChallenge: Paracul Rock’n’Rolls!

As I write it is my birthday. I woke up at 6.30 to prepare everything, both the rolls for the challenge and a sweet dessert to celebrate. So forgive me for cutting short, time is short and I even have to pack for tomorrow since I’m going to fly to the UK for a family reunion.

MTChallenge keeps lifting the stalk and I admit, I am struggling. It’s a lot to deal with, the degree of complexity, not to mention the degree of sophistication required…imagine what happened in my mind when I saw these beautiful rolls with which Giovanna challenged us. I quite not fit in. I’m rough and tough. Im not good with sophisticated things, at least not in the kitchen. These kind of challenges always make me quite anxious. On top of it the UK trip and a fridge to empty rather than to fill. So no coup de theatre, just two little recipe in order to participate. I hope Ale and Giovanna will forgive me but after all, the most important thing is to participate, isn’t it?

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Wholemeal and Cinnamon Rusks / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Zwieback integrali alla cannella

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The first meal of the day is the most important, needless for me to say it for the nth time. May it be breakfast on working days or a rich Sunday brunch spent in the company of family and friends it doesn’t really matter, it’s carbohydrates that make the difference. A proper source of energy, carbohydrates are better to be consumed during the first part of the day mainly because by approaching the night hours our capacity to burn down calories is reduced and this may lead, if carbs are consumed in excess, to an important weight gain. Today’s recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook is a twist on zwieback, a great classic of Swiss breakfasts. I admit I do prefer them much to their Italian cousins, rusks, which always seem to be inconsistent and unwilling to be properly dunk in tea. For while dunking a rusk in tea it is important not to exceed those five seconds soaking time separating a properly soaked slice from an impalpable slurry which irredeemably splashes in the cup resulting in Pollock splatters all around, staining clothing, tablecloth and newspaper. Zwieback on the other hand are more compact and can be dunk twice. Italy 0 – Switzerland 1. And why not…lets be dragged by a little national pride, roll up our sleeves and accomplices our faithful and reliable Maroggia’s Mill flours let’s bake together these crispy delights! I added whole wheat flour and a pinch of cinnamon to the mixture to differentiate our zwieback from those available on the market, but you can try to make the classic version using only white wheat flour or pick any other combinations of sweet and savoury ingredients to flavour them. For the record this recipe has been subjected to a brunch tests and got top marks from all of my five enthusiastic guinea pigs. What are you waiting for? Ready, steady, bake!

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Wholemeal Flour Friselle / Friselle con farina integrale

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Summer is almost over but some juicy tomato are still hanging on the plants of most of home gardens…a wonderful opportunity to try out a great classic of Italian baking: friselle. Have you ever tasted one?

Before moving on to the recipe let’s find out more about these delicious baked goods. Frisella (or frisedda, freseḍḍa, frisa or friseddha in the various variants of Apulia) is a bread biscuit which is only partially baked, cut in half and then baked once more to dry it. It is typical of Southern Italy regions such as Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria. Before the war, wheat flour friselle were reserved for the most affluent and celebrations. The poor ate barley flour or barley and wheat flour friselle. The characteristic shape is the result of transportation and storage needs, in fact friselle were strung on a cord to facilitate transport and storage. Fishermen used to wet them with sea water to make them soft and to be able to eat them.

Generally the bread is rubbed with garlic, wet with water and seasoned with fresh tomato and a drizzle of oil, but you can be more creative and use all sorts of ingredients…I even had friselle with lumpfish roe once! Friselle keep for several days if kept in a tin box but personally I can get through a batch in just a few days with the pretence of a snack or an aperitif!

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Spelt, wholemeal and wheat bran bread / Pane al farro-spelta, farina integrale e crusca di frumento

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Few days ago I was discussing with Barbara, on a bread baker’s group on facebook , about dough hydration. Highly hydrated doughs scare the wits out of me, and I have disastrous memories of my first attempts at highly hydrated ciabatta. Barbara encouraged me to try and hey, there is nothing as a good challenge to get me going. Since I had been doing very little baking and feeling a bit down in the previous days I decided I needed a proper kick in my backside.
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Knock Knock here comes Le Creuset’s Knob / Il pomello del desiderio

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A year ago, after a lot of internet browsing and actual drooling over pictures of magnificient breads, I decided to get my own Le Creuset pot. I longed for one for far too much time. Blame it on childhood memories of my mum’s orange set of pots, my natural attraction to all things nice and often too expensive, or the new colors that were issued in 2012. Who knows. I knew I needed one. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…