Sourdough loaf with lingonberries (tyttebær)

It is summer, time for iced drinks and G&Ts, but ice cubes are hard to accumulate, as my freezer is full of mysterious icy packages and boxes. It is not the chest freezer of a good Norwegian kitchen, with elg and self-fished mackerel in it, but I do hoard my Norwegian berries, salmon and extra brunost (sweet brown goat cheese). But no, it is time to excavate the freezer, make lots of ice and actually use some of my treasured stash of tyttebær, or lingonberries. Normally I would crush them to make fresh jam to have them with meatballs, or other meat, but they are also nice in bread.

Sourdough loaf with lingonberries (tyttebær)

100 g mature sourdough, 100% hydration (rye based)
50 lingonsylt (tyttebærsyltetøy) or cranberry jam, optional
45 g coarse oatmeal
400 g plain wheat flour
100 g wholewheat flour
350 g water
5 g salt
Before last rise: a handful of frozen tyttebær, or frozen cranberries.


Stir the sourdough starter with the water, My starter is made with coarse rye flour, which adds more texture and flavour, but use what you prefer. Add the flour, oatmeal and jam and mix well. Note: The jam is optional, it vanishes into the dough but goes nicely with the rye starter element, while giving moisture. It is not very sweet. If you do not have old lingonberry jam from IKEA languishing in your fridge, that is absolutely fine, just add a little more water.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. After this initial rest, add the salt. Mix well. Add more flour or water if you think the dough needs it.

Cover the bowl and let rise for about a few hours at room temperature. Fold the dough a few times (just in the bowl, using a spoon or spatula). You will feel the dough becoming more elastic and responsive, and it will increase nicely in volume. The last time you fold, add a handful of frozen lingonberries, straight from the freezer, so they are distributed through the dough. If thawed when added, they will stain the dough. No disaster, just messier. Now, fold dough into a banneton or bread tin, cover with a plastic shower cap, and let rest overnight in the fridge. (Or, if you need the bread the same day, leave for a few hours at room temperature until you see it rising nicely, then bake. I know long fermentation is better, but baking needs to fit our schedules too….)


When ready to bake: heat your oven to 250C, with a cast iron pot. When it is properly hot, take the pot out carefully. Invert the dough onto a piece of baking paper, slash the dough, and put the bread in the pot. Bake at 250C for 25-30 minutes with the lid on, then 15-20 minutes more with the lid off, until the bread looks done and the base of the bread sounds hollow if you tap it. About 45 minutes in all, depending on your oven. Cool before slicing.


Notes: Very nice with butter! I have made this in loaf tins as well, works just fine. The berries are tart but not sweet. You could replace these with frozen berries, or dried cranberries soaked in water, but that would be a sweeter taste. This is not a sweet loaf, just a sourdough loaf with little bursts of tangy flavour. Now, where is my G&T…..?

20140504-161235.jpg 20140504-161242.jpg


Cherry clafoutis with chestnut flour


Summer has arrived, and I had leftover cherries after making spicy cherry jam for cheese. Clearly time for clafoutis again! I also had some chestnut flour, and thought it might work well with the cherries. There was a gorgeous cherry clafoutis with chestnut flour on Chocolate & Zucchini, but I confess, I could not be bothered to whip eggwhites…. And I had no yoghurt in the fridge…. So I pulled out my Apricot clafoutis recipe from last year, and chanced it.

cherries and chestnut flour

Cherry clafoutis with chestnut flour

300-400 grammes cherries, washed and pitted
40g sugar
2 eggs
50g of chestnut flour (or just use plain flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
150ml of milk
a splash of Amaretto, optional
25g of melted butter (5-10g for dish, 15 for batter)

cherriesAre those cherries not gorgeous? Preheat the oven to 180C and butter your dish. Layer the apricots in with the cut side up, and pour over a splash of Amaretto, if you like that. Just enough for a little on each apricot half. Whisk together all the other ingredients to a smooth batter, and pour it over the apricots. Bake until the clafoutis is golden and puffed up. Sprinkle with icing sugar, and eat warm or cold.


Notes: I used less sugar than last time with apricots, and a little more butter. It was still sweet from the cherries and very rich, that must be the chestnut flour. It is quite low fat as a flour, but does not taste that way. I might mix a little plain flour in next time, or whisk the eggwhites for more air. There was just enough for a little leftovers the next day, good flavour. Fun to try different flours!

And for my ongoing French exam preparations…… “Clafoutis est un plat régional de France, une dessert populaire du Limousin. Sans les cerises, on ne peut pas dire “clafoutis”  mais “flognarde” , comme avec des pommes ou des pruneaux.” 


Two lighter sourdough loaves, and French vocabulary

2 loaves

Being a weekend baker, I usually feed my starter Thursday or Friday, and bake Saturday. This week was unexpectedly busy, what with a three-hour condominio assembly Friday night. The owners of flats and shops in our small building meet to discuss bills and repairs to the common areas, with plenty of side discussions, smoking breaks and gossip. Still, no lengthy shouting episodes this time, so not too bad. Still, it mean that by Saturday afternoon I was very behind schedule. So I fed my sourdough starter, left it for three hours, made up the dough, and hoped for the best. Would we have decent bread for a late Sunday breakfast?


Two lighter sourdough loaves

200g sourdough starter (rye-based, 100% hydration)
290g water
350g plain wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1tbs mixed seeds

Ideally this should be mature sourdough starter, but I gave mine three hours and made up the dough. Normally I’d use a coarse rye flour, but this time I used a lighter rye flour. Add flour, water, and seeds, and stir together. After half an hour or so, add salt and fold dough. Leave for 2-3 hours on the counter, folding a few times along the way.

Note: This dough is meant to be baked in a cast-iron pot (250C, 30 min with lid, 15 min without). For a change, I divided the dough into two smaller loaf pans instead, each with baking parchment, covered each with a plastic shower cap, and left it overnight in the fridge.

2 loaves

The next morning, take the loaf tins our of the fridge and heat the oven to 250C. Slash tops. Bake 35 minutes or so at 250 until nicely golden and hollow when tapped underneath. Cool before slicing.

Notes: As you see, the structure was good, with more air pockets than usual. I wondered if they needed a lid, as the dough looked a but flat and unpromising, but the loaves rose well. These are lighter loaves, less coarse than I usually make and with a different starter content. The crumb seemed a little damp at first, but by mid-afternoon it was lovely. Good flavour though, and a nice shape for sandwiches, so the first loaf was gone within four hours!
bread with cheddar and cheery jam

Since I am working on French vocabulary today for an upcoming exam, though I should be studying grammar, here are some phrases I have noted (correct, I hope) in French for sourdough baking, while watching Jean de Florette. Let’s just hope I get a question about hobbies! (le loisir: activity done in spare time)

pain au levain (sourdough bread)
Le levain est la plus ancienne technique connue pour obtenir du pain levé. (oldest technique to raise bread)
La fermentation, en dégageant du dioxyde de carbone, permet à la pâte de lever. (fermentation gives off CO2 and allows bread to rise)
Le goût du pain au levain se différencie nettement du pain levé à la levure de boulanger. (different taste to bread made from bakers yeast)
Légèrement acidulé, en raison des acides lactiques et acide acétiques que dégagent les bactéries lactiques du levain. (slightly sour taste, due to lactic bacteria)

la farine du seigle (rye flour)
la farine de blé (wheat), la farine d’orge (barley), farine de châtaigne (chestnut)
La farine complète (wholegrain)
Les variétés de blés bio anciens (old wheat varieties)
Le degré de raffinage de la farine (degree of processing of flour)
Une farine panifiable mais pauvre en gluten, comme seigle (flour that can be baked to bread but low in gluten, like rye)

Avoir un levain assez actif pour faire pousser la pâte (having a starter active enough to raise the dough)
Le levain: un mélange d’eau et de farine où se développe une culture de levure et de bactérie lactique.
Le levain naturel: Il faut le nourrir une dernière fois la veille de la fournée (feed starter day before)
Je nourris régulièrement mon levain (I feed my starter regularly)
La quantité de levain impacte le goût, la texture et la conservation (quantity of starter impacts taste, texture and how it keeps)

 très facile à réaliser (very easy to do). Le pli (fold), un four (an oven),

une cocotte Le Creuset (cast iron pot), une casserole en fonte dans le four
Faire du pain maison sans pétrissage (no-knead baking)

Le gonflement (rising)
Laisse le pâton gonfler à son rythme (leaving dough to rise at its own pace)
Pain au levain demande des temps de repos (sourdough bread needs time to rest)
Le temps de levée de la pâte doit être bien plus long qu’avec de la levure de boulanger (longer time needed to rise than for yeasted bread)
la panification (bread baking)
la mise en couche (putting dough in proving basket)
La mie (crumb) et la croûte (crust)

une croûte croustillante (crunchy crust), légère, doré (light, golden)
Le pain au levain est plus facile à digérer que le pain à la levure. (sourdough bread easier to digest )

Ahhh, magnifique! Now, on to office-related vocabulary in French, necessary but nowhere near as fun as reading French sourdough articles.