Tag Archives: Garbatella

No-knead seeded bread on Good Friday

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Garbatella! Yes, I am having a Roman Easter, which is very nice indeed. Back for five days to see my husband, which is lovely, and I am making the most of it. So nice to be home in our neighbourhood Garbatella, even with the grafitti and grey skies. Today was all errands: bank, pharmacy to get medication for the next three months, plumbing store to get a new kitchen faucet, with food shopping in between and a stop at the bakery for pizza bianca  and brutti ma buoni biscuits.

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It is 20C here (68F) and many neighborhood dogs are still in coats. Beats me. I keep bumping into neighbours who exclaim “Ma dai! Sei tornata!!”  – you are back! No, not yet, I say.  Many were carrying bags with Easter eggs, which here are large, extravagantly packed and voluminously wrapped. The supermarkets are full of these Easter eggs, as well as colombe, which are like a panettone but shaped like a dove.

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I am working my way through my culinary wishlist for this trip: fresh gnocchi, fresh strawberries, chinotto, pizza margherita, icecream, Aperol Spritz …..  and of course, baking some bread. Such a luxury to do that without sweating! I was thinking of an overnight slow-rise dough, but this is a slow afternoon dough, in between errands, so I upped the yeast a bit. I’ll be baking bread to freeze for my husband, so more one-person loaves.

No-knead seeded bread for Good Friday  (makes 2 medium loaves)

600 ml water
10 grammes fresh yeast (or 5 grammes dry yeast)
600 grammes plain wheat flour (here 00)
200 grammes wholewheat flour (here Italian integrale)

25 grammes flax seeds
2 tsp salt

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Combine the water and yeast, until yeast dissolves. Add flour. Mix in a bowl. After ten minutes, fold in seeds and salt Cover the bowl (I like hotel shower caps) and let it rest countertop in room temperature (20C) three hours. Then, uncover the bowl and fold the dough in the bowl for a couple minutes with a wooden spoon or a spatula, you’ll feel it get stretchier. Line your loaf tins with baking parchment, to make it easier to get the bread out. Now, divide the dough into your loaf tins — maybe 2/3 full, each tin? Depends on loaf tin size, here I divided it by tin sizes (385 g/385g/670g). Cover the tins with a kitchen towels and leave to rise again, for 90 minutes or so.  (If you are in a warm kitchen, maybe an hour). Bake at 230C for 40 minutes until done.

Voila! Not bad. Two small loaves,  and one medium one. I might just take a small one along to as a contribution to tonight’s apertivo at a friend’s house. She always serves nice cheeses and nibbles. Thereafter, out for pasta at a local trattoria. Amatriciana, carbonara, gricia, cacio e pepe….. Choices, choices!

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I also found some crema di pistachio today (like a sweet smooth peanut butter) and am wondering if I could bake with it. Something like cinnamon rolls, but filled with pistachio cream?  It might all just melt and be terrible, it’s not pistachio paste. OR…… (see the lightbulb going off above my head here?) Tomorrow night I am trying out my new Danish cast iron pan for æbleskiver, or munker: pancake puffs. Too hot in Accra to try, so the pan came back to Rome with me. I will report back. Those might be very nice with pistachio cream. To be explored.  

 

 

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Chilly Rome, and helkornbrød III

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A cat basking in December sunshine. We had ambled up the hill to meet friends from Accra at the farmers’ market on Via Passino, and a lovely sunny morning it was. Laden with biscuits (brutti ma buoni, neretti, cantucci)  we brought them back for a lunch of cacio e pepe ravioli from the pasta shop downstairs, with a market-bought lemon and fruit crumble for dessert. It’s been a very nice Roman day.

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Walking back through the narrow streets of old Garbatella, on our way home. It is really odd, knowing that in twelve days I’ll be headed back to Accra again. Am I packing for three weeks there, or a year ? There is still no news on what 2018 brings, which is rather nerve-wracking. As usual, baking is calming and feels soothingly productive when most else is uncertain. Tonight we see friends, so this bread is coming along as our contribution. My husband is baking jollof-flavoured focaccia, so the kitchen is warm and toasty and smells divine.

Since I am only here for a few weeks, the pantry is low on seeds and flour types, so it’s variation III of helkornbrød, wholewheat bread with cracked wheat. Here are variations I and II. This time I also used overnight-soaked cracked wheat, but I added a pre-ferment overnight sponge for flavour.

Saturday potluck bread: helkornbrød III

The night before:
150 grammes of whole cracked wheat
250 grammes of water
Leave to soak over night in covered container, on counter in cool kitchen (17C) or in fridge.

Also the night before:
50 grammes plain white wheat flour (I used 00)
100 grammes coarse rye flour
100 grammes wholewheat flour
10 grammes fresh yeast, crumbled (or 5g dry yeast)
200 grammes water
Stir together. Leave over night in covered container, on counter in cool kitchen (17C) or in fridge.

Next day, in large bowl:
500 grammes plain white wheat flour (I used 00)
100 grammes wholewheat flour
15 grammes fresh yeast, crumbled (or 7.5g dry yeast)
250 grammes water
3 tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
+ the soaked cracked wheat with any leftover liquid
+ the overnight sponge

Stir it all together, mixing well and folding with spatula, you will see the structure develop. Moist, sticky dough but not wet: I was thinking of round loaves this time, hoping the dough would not collapse if baked free-form without tins, but still wanting a decent hydration. Very guess-timated here. Leave to rise until nicely doubled. Here it was left for four hours in the kitchen, while we went off for our market walk and had impromptu lunch guests, which was great.

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When our friends had left and the wine glasses were washed, I folded the dough vigorously in the bowl with a spatula for a few minutes, then split it in two and shaped two rounds, sitting on parchment paper. I covered these with a tea towel and let then rise again for an hour or so. I slashed them before baking and sprinkled both with some water right before they went into the hot oven. Bake at 225C for 45 minutes or so, depending on your oven, on lower rack.

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Off to dinner they go! These could maybe have had five more minutes in, but the jollof focaccia also needs baking. It sounds odd, but is really good for apertivi! Same Gabriele Bonci dough as usual. A very good weekend to all.

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Two very hot days in Garbatella

Piazza Bonomelli, deserted in the afternoon heat. What a luxury, 48 hours at home in Rome! Our suitcases are packed for the return to Accra: freshly baked cantucci from Tuscany, truffle salami from the farmers market here Sunday, migraine medication for three months, and a little mozzarella. Let’s hope my suitcase is not delayed 24 hours again…

The Lucifer heatwave is still in force, too hot to do much. Quiet streets, 37.6C right now but not yet passing the 2003 record of 40.6C. 

Caffe freddo at the Bar dei Cesaroni up the hill, a Roma stronghold. Nero the parrot is still there. Good that things do not change too much here!

Photo from January when it was MUCH colder.