Weekend in Rome, bread baking again


I had three days in Rome, and as usual baked some bread, between seeing friends and sorting bank issues. I’d bought some buckwheat flour in Paris to make crêpes, and used some here. Some items in my food cupboards in Accra and Rome have terrible food miles. Anyway, I wanted an everyday loaf that would freeze and slice well, so I keep trying variations of no-knead bread. This is getting close to what I have in mind. Sourdough would be better, hopefully I can get back to that eventually.


At my old bus stop in Garbatella: things do not change that much.


May weekend bread  (this made 4 small loaves)

25 g fresh yeast (or 12 grammes dry yeast)
3 tsp salt
1300 grammes white wheat flour (here, 00)
250 grammes wholewheat flour
100 grammes fine rye flour
100 grammes buckwheat flour (farine de sarassin)
50 grammes flax seeds

1.5 litre water  (sorry I forgot this when first posting)

Dissolve the fresh yeast in the water, then add everything else. Mix everything well, fold and fold with a strong spatula. Cover bowl (I use a plastic shower cap) and leave it to double for a few hours at room temperature. I folded it again, then divided dough between four mall parchment-lined bread tins. With bigger tins this might make 3 large loaves. Leave to double again, with a kitchen towel covering the tins. Heat oven to 230C and slash the tops with scissors right before loaves go in, so edges do not crack. Bake for 45 minutes or so, depending on your oven. Cool on rack before slicing.

Note: this dough was a little less wet than last time.


Garbage piling up in Rome. There is a good system for separating rubbish (bins for plastic and aluminum, paper, organic, glass and then the rest) but when it does not get collected, it quickly accumulates. Accra is not the only city with a waste problem.


On a more pleasant note, despite the bad graffiti, the street shrines are still there, with plastic flowers and candles.

A few days in Garbatella, and a lemon/blackcurrant curd tart


I’ve been in Rome for a week for work, and despite the rain it has been lovely to amble round the neighborhood (Garbatella), drink coffee, meet neighbours tut-tutting over the weather, grafitti and state of the roads, and of course enjoy fall food.


Cavolo nero at the market. And artichokes, broccolo romano, cicoria, mmmm….


Friday night apertivi at the butcher’s up the hill, on Via delle Sette Chiese.


Artichokes at the market: we were on our way to Eataly to see their new IKEA section, interesting. At least a good place to get ziplock bags without going to Anagnina.

Alberto Sordi

Alberto Sordi commemorated on Via Antonio Rubino.

The lemon/blackcurrant curd tart

One shop-bought pastry crust (here, gluten-free pâte brisée)
One jar lemon curd
One jar blackcurrant curd

Blind bake the pastry crust for ten min or so at 200C. I used baking beans. Then pour in the two curd jar contents, and cool until serving.


We bought the blackcurrant curd in Maldon, and it was very nice. The artistic swirl foreseen did not quite work, but this was delicious. Also super easy.




Enjoying Rome, and helkornbrød II


It is very strange, being back in Rome for a few weeks. Being slightly cold most of the time, taking the bus, brushing your teeth in tap water, having a hot bath. How cheap food is, especially cheese and celery. Horse meat in the supermarket, not goat. Not hearing chickens at dawn. Still being a badly dressed foreigner (a straniera, an obruni). Seeing so many friends and neighbours, who exclaim: “You’re BACK!”  Explaining that the move is pending, that in 19 days I head back to Accra, and wanting to make the most of it while we are here.  Enjoying the food: the coffee, fresh pasta, Roman pizza. The thrill of seeing prepped puntarelle. Rome is amazing. Not that Accra is terrible, by all means.


There was a Garbatella street run today, so the police had closed the piazza and we could hear the loudspeakers and see runners meandering through. Here, the kiddie section is passing by.

Last Sunday I baked bread, reveling in being cool enough to knead dough comfortably. I made helkornbrød, whole cracked wheat bread using the cracked wheat packet recipe. Today I made it again, halving the amount of fresh yeast and adding rye flakes.

Whole cracked wheat bread II (helkornbrød)

100 grammes whole cracked wheat
50 grammes rye flakes (or coarse oatmeal)
250 grammes water
2 tsp salt
* This should be mixed and soaked overnight – this time I did that. Then added to dough with water and yeast next day.

750 grammes plain white wheat flour
100 grammes wholewheat flour
100 grammes coarse rye flour
600 ml tepid water
25 grammes fresh yeast
50 grammes vegetable oil

Mix ingredients, knead 4-7 minutes. Cover and leave to rise until pillowy, and dough is doubled in size, a couple hours in a cool kitchen, bowl covered with a hotel shower cap. Fold dough for a few minutes in the bowl with a spatula, it helps the structure. Shape and split dough between two loaf tins. Leave to rise an hour or so, then bake at 225C on lower shelf in oven for 45 min. I slashed these slightly right before baking. If you take it out of tin, and tap base, it should sound hollow. Take out of loaf tins and cool on rack before slicing.


I was a bit overwhelmed by the supermarket selection today: ricotta, mascarpone, broccolo romano, pecorino cheese with truffle…… So much I have missed, and now I hardly know where to start. But yes, I bought puntarelle, and anchovy fillets in oil, so that will be a lovely puntarelle salad tomorrow night. Maybe with this bread.