Onion Rolls

  • When I visited one of my aunties in Białystok we often talked about cooking and recipes.
  • She mentioned making making bread rolls with onions on top.
  • I did not get an actual recipe and looked some up instead.
  • You can call these cebulaki – (cebula = onion in Polish).
  • However I did find that they are often called bialy as they are a traditional recipe from Białystok.
  • I discovered you will find these for sale in New York as they were brought there by Polish and Jewish émigrés from Białystok around 1920.
  • The traditional topping is fried onion and poppy seeds.

Ingredients – Rolls

  • 200g & 50g plain flour
  • 150 ml warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of dried yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white – for brushing

Ingredients – Topping

  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoons of butter
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Ground pepper
  • ½ tablespoon of poppy seeds

Method – Rolls

  • Mix the milk, yeast, sugar and 50g of plain flour.
  • Leave for 20 minutes
  • Put the 200g  of plain flour, salt, yolks and yeast mixture in a bowl
  • Mix together to form a soft dough.
  • Add a little extra milk if this is too dry.
  • Knead for 10 minutes – set a timer – till you get a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave for 1½ – 2 hours.
  • Line the baking tray with baking paper.
  • *
  • Make the onion topping.
  • *
  • Lightly knead the dough for a few minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 6.
  • Roll each one to make a ball.
  • Place the balls on the baking tray and flatten each one.
  • Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven  to GM6 – 200°C.
  • Using finger tips or the base of a tumbler flatten the centre of each roll.
  • Brush with beaten egg white.
  • Put  the onion and poppy seed mixture into the centre of each roll. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  • *
  • Serve warm or cold.

Method – Onion Topping

  • Thinly slice the onion and cut the slices into quarters.
  • Fry the onion in butter till golden brown.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Leave to cool completely.
  • Mix in the poppy seeds.

Using Dried Sourdough

On a recent visit to my local Polish shop I came across packets of dried sour dough.

I had never seen these before and bought a couple to try them out.

There was a recipe printed on the back of the packet and this is what I used.

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  • I have noticed many Dr. Oetker products in Poland and in England.
  • I thought the company name was made up but have found this is not so.
  • Doctor August Oetker was a German chemist and was one of the people who invented baking powder.
  • He started a company in 1891 and the first product sold was Bakin, which was a measured amount of baking powder to be added to 500g of plain flour when making a cake. 
  • His family still run what is now a multi-national company.

Ingredients

  • 150g rye flour
  • 350g strong flour
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet of dried sourdough
  • 1 tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 400ml of lukewarm water (approx)
  • *
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons of seeds eg – sesame, linseed, caraway
  • *
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame or caraway seed
  • 1 teaspoon of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of water

Method

  • In a large bowl mix the rye flour, strong flour, sugar, dried sour dough and the yeast.
  • Slowly add the water to get a soft dough that you can knead.
  • Knead dough for 10 minutes, set a timer.
  • Cover the dough – a shower cap is good – and leave in a warm place to rise.
  • This could be for an hour or more.
  • *
  • Line a long Continental style loaf tin – approx 10 by 30cm.
  • Use a single sheet and push the paper into the corners.
  • *
  • Add the oil and seeds to the risen dough and mix well in.
  • Knead to a smooth dough for 10 minutes.
  • *
  • Push the dough into the tin and smooth flat.
  • Brush the top with water, seeds and flour.
  • Cut slashes with a knife in the top.
  • Cover and leave for an hour or more to rise.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 – 220°C.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Lower the temperature to GM5 – 190°C.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.

 

Yorkshire Tea Cakes

I have been looking at some old Yorkshire recipes and tried out this recipe for soft bread buns – tea cakes in Yorkshire  – bułeczki in Polish.

This recipe is so easy and the tea cakes are delicious – I think I will be using this recipe often.

Ingredients

  • 340g plain flour
  • ½ tablespoon of dried yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 30g of butter
  • 220ml of milk & water – lukewarm

Method

  • Mix the yeast, sugar and milk and leave to froth up.
  • In a large bowl rub the butter into the flour.
  • Add the salt.
  • Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix well.
  • Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for an hour.
  • Grease a baking tray.
  • Divide into 6 pieces and shape into flattened circles.
  • Place the circles, evenly spaced onto the greased baking tray.
  • Cover and leave for 30-40 minutes
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 – 220°C
  • Bake for 10- 11 minutes.
  • Leave on the tray for a few minutes then put them on a wire rack to cool.

Wholemeal Bread

  • Whilst doing some research on old Yorkshire recipes, I came across this one for a wholemeal loaf.
  • I used wholemeal spelt flour.
  • It is so easy and quick to make and the result is wonderful.
  • The original recipe was for a much larger amount – I have cut it down.
  • Milk is used in this recipe and I think this is why it is so good.
  • There is no kneading or shaping.
  • However you have to bake it in a tin.
  • It has a super crunchy crust.

Ingredients

  • 500g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 15g of dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 125ml of lukewarm water
  • 400ml of lukewarm milk
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

Method

  • Mix the yeast and sugar with the lukewarm water.
  • Leave it to start frothing.
  • Put the flour into a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre.
  • Stir in the yeast mixture and some of the lukewarm milk.
  • Leave it for 10 minutes.
  • *
  • Beat in more of the milk to give a stiff batter.
  • Add the salt and beat some more.
  • Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour.
  • *
  • Pre-heat oven to GM6 – 200°C.
  • Very well grease a 20 cm diameter baking tin.
  • Using a large spatula put the dough into the tin.
  • Leave for 20 minutes.
  • Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

 

Sourdough Crackers

  • Have you got a lot of wheat sourdough starter?
  • Many  instructions say to discard some of your wheat flour starter before feeding it.
  • Do you consider that is a big waste?
  • Here is a recipe that uses some of your starter.
  • Use equal weights of starter and flour.

Ingredients

  • 100g of unfed sourdough starter
  • 100g strong flour
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30g butter (or 30ml more oil)
  • Large pinch of salt
  • *
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh rosemary

Method

  • Pre-heat your oven to GM4 180°C.
  • Line a large baking tray.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Mix all the ingredients to give a soft dough.
  • Roll out the dough as thinly as you can.
  • Put the dough onto the tray – pulling it out to make it thinner.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and press in some rosemary.
  • Use a knife or pizza wheel to cut the dough into rough squares.
  • Bake for around 25- 30 minutes.

Wholemeal Flour & Rosemary

Rye Starter & Caraway Seeds

These are great as soup accompaniments, with dips or cheese.

I have made some with 50g demerara sugar in the dough and sugar not salt sprinkled on top. and then with 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds as well as the sugar.

 

Other Variations to try

  • Buckwheat flour
  • Rye flour
  • Mixture of flours
  • Other herbs
  • Other seeds
  • and so on ….

Oatmeal Bread

  • I have been doing lots of yeast baking recently and came across this recipe.
  • It is adapted from – Favourite Lancashire Recipes compiled by Dorothy Baldcock, Published by J. Salmon Ltd.
  • It is a very delicious and easy to make soft bread.
  • This amount makes two cobs.
  • For centuries oats have been used as a stable food in the hilly areas of the North of England.

Ingredients

  • 250g oatmeal – or blitzed rolled oats
  • 300ml of milk
  • *
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dried
  • 50ml of water
  • *
  • 350g strong flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 50g melted butter
  • *
  • Extra oatmeal for dusting

Method

  • Put the oatmeal and milk in a bowl and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  • Dissolve the sugar in warm water and add the yeast.
  • Leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes until it starts to froth.
  • In a large bowl mix together the soaked oatmeal, flour, salt and melted butter.
  • Add the yeast and mix until you have a soft dough.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes (set a timer!).
  • The dough should be soft and pliable.
  • Shape into a ball, cover (a disposable shower cap is good) and leave to rise until doubled in size.
  • *
  • Knock back and knead for 2-3 minutes.
  • Shape into two round cobs and place on a lightly floured sheet.
  • Cover and prove again until doubled in size.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM8 230°C.
  • Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with oatmeal.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Zakwas – Sourdough

I have been on a long quest to find out how to make a really good sourdough bread.

I have make various rye bread versions, the easiest being a no knead version.

What I wanted was a recipe that used a sourdough starter, zakwas – in Polish,  for a wheat flour loaf that was a “classic” shape.

I wanted a loaf that looked right, tasted good and had a lovely crispy or chewy crust.

Every book or article that I read had loads of advice much of it contradictory.

I tried different methods with different degrees of success and several complete failures!  Sometimes I knew what had gone wrong sometimes I just did not know.

I was getting the taste most of the time but getting the shape without an exploding crust was more difficult.

I kept wondering how my grandmother and others in generations past had made this type of bread with ease without the aid of books, articles and videos found on the internet.

The best advice came from two sources – the book – all you knead is Bread by Jane Mason and several YouTube videos by Tomek Lach – these are in Polish.

  • I am now writing up the results of many months of baking trials.
  • Timing given in the book are often not enough – depends on many factors.
  • I have found that leaving the refreshed starter or the dough for hours longer – even overnight, works.
  • My latest loaf tastes wonderful, the crust is lovely, the shape is nearly right.
  • I am hoping that next time it will be spot on!

Sourdough starter – zakwas

  • To make this you put 50g of rye flour and 50ml of water into a large glass preserving jar on day 1 and stir, cover and leave for 24 hours.
  • On days 2, 3, and 4 you repeat this.
  • On Day 5 it is ready to use.
  • Or you can keep it in the fridge – topping up once a week with a couple of spoons of flour and water.

Day 1 – refreshing the starter

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of starter
  • 60g of wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons of water

Method

  • Mix the ingredients together to make a thick paste.
  • Add more water if needed.
  • Place into a bowl and cover – shower caps are good for this.
  • Leave for around 12 hours at least – often I have make this in the morning and then leave it at room temperature or in the fridge overnight.

Day 2 – making the dough

Ingredients

  • Mixture from day 1
  • 300g of strong wheat flour
  • 200ml of water (may need more)
  • 1¼ teaspoons of salt

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough.
  • More water may be needed – a wetter dough may be harder to work but better in the long run.
  • Place on a floured board.
  • Knead for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • Try not to add much extra flour.
  • Form into a ball and place in a bowl.
  • Cover and allow to rest for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Pretend the dough is a clock face-pull a piece of dough out at noon, stretch and fold it back.
  • Repeat going around the clock face.
  • Cover it again and leave to rest for 1 hour.
  • Repeat this resting – pulling – resting twice more.
  • That is 4 rest and 3 pulls in all.
  • *
  • To shape the dough put it gently on to just a very lightly floured surface.
  • Try to use as little extra flour as possible.
  • Stretch and fold the dough to get a round ball shape.
  • Tucking the dough into the the base of the roll with your fingers.
  • Place in a proofing basket
  • I have found it is better to place a cotton or linen floured napkin over the surface.
  • This makes it easier to turn out the risen dough.
  • I now have a special circular piece of cotton specially for this.
  • It is best to wash this without the use of fabric conditioner or perfumed detergent.
  • Place into a large plastic bag or use a shower cap to cover.
  • *
  • Allow to rise until it has grown in size by 1½ times.
  • This can take 2-3 hours or even longer – depends on the heat in the kitchen.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 8 – 230°C.
  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with greaseproof paper and sprinkling on semolina or flour.
  • Gently tip out the risen dough onto the sheet.
  • Cut three long slashes in the top with a sharp knife.

 

 

  • Bake for 10 minutes then turn the heat down to GM6  – 200°C.
  • Bake for another 20 minutes.
  • Check the base sounds hollow.
  • Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Different wheat flours

You can alter the type and proportions of wheat flour and can use whole-wheat or wholemeal flour.

I am trying different versions out and have made a loaf with 60g of whole-wheat in the refreshed starter and 150g whole-wheat and 150g strong flour for the dough. It was a little heavier but tasted super.

There are many  variations to try out!

 

Poolish Rye Bread

I recently posted about a wheat bread I made using the Poolish method.

As this was such success I thought I would try out a Poolish recipe this time using rye flour.

There are lots of steps and it takes most of the day, so it is best made when you are at home with other things to do in between.

A Poolish is a pre-ferment usually combing equal parts of flour and water (by weight) with some yeast.

This recipe is adapted from Bake it Better  – Bread – edited by Linda Collister, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.

Ingredients – Poolish

  • 250g rye flour
  • 150g strong flour
  • 15g fresh yeast (7g dried)
  • 300ml  lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Method – Poolish

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug
  • Leave for about 5 minutes.
  • Make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Bring it all together to make a thick lump free mixture.
  • Cover the bowl (a shower cap is good)
  • Leave at room temperature to rise for about 4 hours.

Ingredients – Dough

  • Poolish
  • 200g rye flour
  • 100g strong flour
  • 125ml lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • *
  • Milk to brush loaves
  • Extra caraway seeds for sprinkling on loaves

Method – Dough

  • To the Poolish add the water and mix to make a smooth batter.
  • Mix the flours and the salt.
  • Add the flour and salt to the Poolish  and mix.
  • You will have a soft and heavy, sticky dough.
  • Leave uncovered to rest for 5 minutes.
  • *
  • Add a little water if it feels too stiff.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • *
  • Put back into a large bowl and cover (a shower cap is good).
  • Leave to rest and rise for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Knock back the dough.
  • Roll into a ball.
  • Cover and leave for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead a couple of times.
  • Divide into two.
  • Shape each piece into a ball.
  • Cover loosely with a dry tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.
  • *
  • Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper.
  • Knead and fold and shape each ball into an oval.
  • Place the two pieces on the baking sheet.
  • Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220°C
  • Put a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  • *
  • Cut 3 slashes in the top of each loaf.
  • Brush lightly with milk or water.
  • Sprinkle with caraway seeds.
  • Put the loaves in the oven.
  • Quickly pour a glass of water into the roasting tin (the steam helps to give a good crust).
  • Close the door and bake for around 10 minutes.
  • Reduce to GM6 2O0°C  and continue baking for 25 minutes
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.

Poolish Bread

A Poolish is a pre-ferment usually combing equal parts of flour and water (by weight) with some yeast.

The origin of the term Poolish is that it is named after a method used by Polish bakers around 1840 when it was brought to France.

However – Poolish is an old English version of Polish and this term seems to be most used in France where polonais is the word for Polish – strange!

Fermentation is carried out at room temperature for some time – long enough for the Poolish to bubble up and increase its volume. This can take anywhere from 3 to 24 hours.

Using  Poolish is said to give a light texture to the dough, develop a sweetness of flavour and also give a good colour in the crust.

This recipe is adapted from Bake it Better  – Bread – edited by Linda Collister, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.

The original amounts made two very big loaves so I the second time I made this,  I cut it down, to make two small loaves – these are the instructions below.

Ingredients – Day One

  • 25g wholemeal flour
  • 150g strong flour
  • 10g fresh yeast (5g dried)
  • 175ml water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Method – Day One

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug
  • Leave for about 5 -10 minutes.
  • Mix the two flours together in a bowl.
  • Make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Bring it all together to make a thick lump free mixture.
  • Cover the bowl (a shower cap is good)
  • Leave a room temperature for 20 – 24 hours.

Ingredients – Day Two

  • Poolish from day one
  • 125ml water
  • 250g strong flour (maybe a little more)
  • ½ tablespoon of salt

Method – Day Two

  • To the Poolish add the water and mix to make a smooth batter.
  • Add 125g of the flour and mix it in by hand.
  • Add the salt.
  • Gradually add the rest of the flour until you have a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Add more flour if necessary.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • Put back into a large bowl and cover (a shower cap is good).
  • Leave to rise till double in size – around 3 hours.
  • When it looks nearly ready – line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper.
  • Knock back the dough with your knuckles to deflate it.
  • Cut the dough into two pieces.
  • Leave them to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Knead each piece for 1 minute.
  • Shape each piece and put it on the baking sheet.
  • Dust them lightly with some flour.
  • Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220°C
  • Put a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  • Cut 3 slashes in the top of each loaf (oops I forget the 2nd time!).
  • Put the loaves in the oven.
  • Quickly pour a glass of water into the roasting tin (the steam helps to give a good crust).
  • Close the door and bake for around 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.

No Knead Sourdough Rye Bread

This recipe is taken from Tomek Lach.  He has many extremely good videos on YouTube – they are however in Polish.  His videos include ones on yeast, sourdough, bread and pizzas.

I have tried out several recipes and tips.

This recipe is so easy as there is no need to knead – you just need time and patience. It can take up to three days.

You need to have some – zakwas – sourdough starter.

To make this you put 50g of rye flour and 50ml of water into a large glass preserving jar on day 1 and stir, cover and leave for 24 hours. On days 2, 3, and 4 you repeat this. On Day 5 it is ready to use or you can keep it in the fridge – topping up once a week with a couple of spoons of flour and water.

Ingredients – Day One

  • 2-3 tablespoons of zakwas – sourdough starter.
  • 150g of rye flour
  • 150ml of water

Method – Day One

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Cover with a shower cap.
  • Leave for 12 hours minimum (overnight is good)

Ingredients – Day Two

  • The mixture from day one
  • 200g of rye flour
  • 200g of strong white flour
  • 200ml of water
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons of salt

Method – Day Two

  • Mix all the ingredients into a thick paste.
  • Get a large loaf tin (often called a 2lb tin).
  • Use one rectangle of grease-proof paper to line the tin.
  • Spoon all the mixture into the tin and smooth the top.
  • Cover again with the shower cap and leave for at least 5 hours – I have found that overnight is good here again.
  • Put the tin into the cold oven.
  • Put the oven on to GM7 –  220°C.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.
  • Take out and leave for at least 30 minutes before cutting into the loaf as it is still baking.

Variations

  • Adjust the types of flour – maybe use a light rye if you used a dark one before.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of seeds into the dough mixture – such as caraway, pumpkin or sunflower.
  • Add seeds to the top of the loaf.

Note

The bread keeps for several days and is good toasted or you can slice it up and freeze it.