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.

No-knead November loaf in Garbatella

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Heading back to Accra after some days in Rome, in our neighborhood of Garbatella. In Caro Diario, Nanni Moretti drives through this archway on his Vespa. Garbatella is getting trendier, which still seems odd, but is still a great place to live and visit.

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Piazza Eurosia in sunshine, with Roman fragments.

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Via delle Sette Chiese. Oh yes, and I baked! I actually doubled this and made one big and two small loaves, but here is enough for one.

No-knead loaf in Garbatella

5 grammes fresh yeast (or 3 grammes dry)
425 grams water
100 grammes wholewheat flour
400 grammes white wheat flour
a handful of sunflower seeds
8 grammes salt

Mix all this up, to a shaggy mess and  leave it on kitchen counter with bowl covered for a few hours while you go for apertivi.  When you are back, fold the dough over itself with a spatula for a couple minutes, until you have a firmer dough ball that can be tipped over into parchment paper. Lift that into a bowl or baking tin, cover it and leave in fridge overnight to rise. Next morning, heat oven to 250C and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool before slicing, and enjoy!
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Easy sourdough polenta bread rolls for Sunday lunch

20140413-115840.jpgIt is a quiet Sunday morning in Rome, and we have a lunch invitation from friends with a private garden. Private gardens are rare here, as most of us live in flats, and even a large terrace is a luxury, though in most films set in Rome everyone seems to have rooftop terraces with stunning views. We like our little balcony, where I grow herbs and dry laundry, and where friends can smoke and watch the traffic.

Still, on a sunny spring like today, it will be glorious to go out for lunch, to drink prosecco in the sun, while the barbecue sizzles and we enjoy the company of good friends. They live near the Appia Antica, so we may end up there later. I should probably excavate some sunscreen, and a hat. As my contribution, I am bringing these easy sourdough polenta bread rolls.

Easy sourdough polenta bread rolls for Sunday brunch

100g mature sourdough starter (100% hydration, this one was rye/wheat based)
30g coarse rye flour
70g polenta
50g wholewheat flour
350g plain flour (here, 00)
350g water
5g salt (add after half an hour)

For baking, a little poppyseeds or mixed seeds

The evening before: mix the ingredients, and stir. Cover bowl with a shower cap. Leave for half an hour, then add salt and fold dough in bowl (a spatula or spoon works for me). Enjoy dinner and a couple old episodes of Black Books, and fold the dough a few more times. You will see the dough developing structure, and increasing slightly in volume. This is a typical 500g flour/350-400g water recipe, it generally works for both yeast and sourdough baking. More water may be needed, depending on the flours used. I added polenta this time, just for a little extra crunch.

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Here’s the dough after a night in the fridge. And that’s my starter in the jar in the back, fed yesterday — I just do 50g or so, then feed before baking, without discarding extra starter – it seems to work. I’ve been leaving it unrefrigerated more, which seems to improve it, and baking smaller batches of bread. Anyway, back to the bread rolls:

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Divide the dough in half, and roll it into a rough sausage shape. It will be quite sticky. Using a spatula or knife, divide each roll into 6-7 pieces. You could roll these into a nice tight shape, using more flour, but I wanted a more rustic type roll and just dolloped then onto a baking sheet with baking parchment. Optional: sprinkle some seeds on the rolls, pressing down slightly so they do not fall off. Let rolls rise 20 min or so while oven heats up.

Bake at 230C for 20-25 minutes or so, in the middle of the oven, until they look golden and sound hollow when tapped from below. These took about 25 min, a bit longer than expected, but done they are and off to lunch we now go, with piping hot rolls (and sunscreen….)

20140413-122912.jpgA very good Sunday to you all!

Notes: I started the dough last night, you could swap out the sourdough with 1 dry yeast and make it the same way. I added seeds to only half the bread rolls, as there will be small children present at the lunch who are not fond of seeded bread.