Weekend in Rome, bread baking again

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Easter Sunday loaves

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Easter weekend in Rome: we went to Tivoli, east of Rome for Easter lunch for friends and a walk in Villa Gregoriana. It’s a park in a ravine, with paths, waterfalls, and grottos. About an hour and a half to walk down and up, it was lovely and green. On Good Friday we’d headed to Marconi to get me a new espresso machine for Accra, which I brought back safely in my suitcase and have now used for excellent cappuccini. It is getting easier to get OK Ghanaian coffee in Accra, which helps  (though I mix it 50/50 with my Italian Lavazza).

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From our local Garbatella supermarket: How about a piglet head?  (We resisted.)

As usual I took advantage of the lower temperature  in Rome to bake bread without collapsing in a sweaty heap. Accra is really hot and humid this week, which slows life down. It’s too expensive to run A/C all the time, so we have fans strategically placed around the apartment and try to manage, saving A/C for the bedrooms at night. So a few days of lower temperatures in Rome where it was comfortable to cook were very appreciated. Plus seeing friends, having the first Aperol Spritz in a sunny piazza, going for walks in spring sunshine – all very nice.

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No-knead Easter Sunday bread  (this made 5 small loaves)

1200 grammes white what flour (here, 00)
350 grammes wholewheat flour
175 grammes quick-cooking oatmeal
125 grammes sunflower seeds
25 g fresh yeast (or 12 grammes dry yeast)
3 tsp sal
1.35 litre lukewarm water

Dissolve the fresh yeast in the water, then add everything else. I was using up what we  had of seeds and oatmeal but the ratios seemed OK. 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 five small 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 220C 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. For these, I tool the loaves out of the tins the last ten minutes to crisp up the base  a bit, as the dough is quite wet and it can otherwise end up a bit pale. (Lesson learned.) Cool on rack before slicing.

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Catching up: Norway, London, Accra, Rome, Accra…….

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Catching up here after a lot of traveling on the last six weeks: first a white Christmas in Norway, lots of concerts and family. Sledding with our nephew. A bit of Christmas baking: this was sent by my sister, who is very fond of giraffes.

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Christmas presents from my parents: Norwegian food, some for my in-laws in London, some bound for Rome, and a few items for Accra (kaviar, apple jelly, prim). The reindeer sausage was delicious, and with all the cheese Veganuary is being delayed.

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A few days in London over New Year’s, with the English in-laws, who are lovely. Homemade Christmas cake, walks along the Thames, and always on offer: “a nice cup of tea”, which is black and strong with milk  (urrrrghhhh). They know I like my tea terribly weak by British standards. I bought mince pies (4 for 10p!) and flew back to Accra.

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One week in Accra, early January. The harmattan has been weaker this year (dry, dusty winds from the Sahara) but with lower humidity it was actually OK to walk around town. But then I went to Rome for work (such a hardship).

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Deepfried artichoke, mmmmmmm……  I had really intensive days of meetings and work planning, and very little time for seeing friends, but Rome is always lovely (despite the crumbling roads, piles of garbage – it will get better). We also had two nights in Tuscany with friends, during which I made chickpeas cacio e pepe. Really good. More to follow on that.

Now I am back in Accra for a month or so before the next trip, and am looking forward to getting back to regular cooking again. Today I am just making Italian lentil-pea soup, not very photogenic but good winter food (even when it is 31C……) The apple jelly survived the trip, so I need to bake bread soon.  For now it is just nice to unpack and start catching up here.