8 January 2010

New year, old bread

God fortsättning, as they say in Sweden, in the days after New Year. Literally it means good continuation, basically a wish for the new year to continue well.

We had a really good New Year in Sweden, with copious amounts of snow and more degrees below zero than you can shake a stick at.

For starters, I got to paint the New Year dinner bread my Mum aways bakes and she had a brush, which made a big difference. Sadly I didn't take a picture, but I'm definitely getting a couple of brushes for myself.

We also went to a New Year's party at a friend's penthouse near the centre of Stockholm. There was lots of Champagne and a great view of the fireworks. My friend and her boyfriend had each made a dessert - she two beautiful cakes and he some gorgeous chocolate mousse. I couldn't resist taking a couple of snaps, which I want to share.

This one had cream of forest berries inside.

This one had cream of cappuccino inside and the poinsettia flower tasted of raspberry, yummy!

There is fluffy chocolate ganache at the bottom and white chocolate mousse on top, absolutely divine.

My contribution was to bring the ready rolled white icing for the cakes all the way from England. I also made bread sticks from the basic recipe of Richard Bertinet:

500 g strong white flour
10 g fresh yeast
10 g salt
350 g water

They turned out very popular and I had to make a second batch for my Mum, who particularly liked them with "grillkrydda", which is a spice mix used for coating meat before a barbecue. My Dad thought they were a bit salty and ate the poppy seed ones. Bip liked both I think.

We're now back at home and managed to just make it home before the snow arrived, made the scenery look like the one we'd just left, i. e. covered in a thick blanket of snow and made the whole country more or less grind to a halt. Who would have thought? But speaking with my Mum, it got even colder after we left, with below minus 20 degrees C!

And we've finally run out of the sourdough bread. Yesterday I made my way to the shops to stock up on some basics and lo and behold, they'd run out of strong white flour! There must be a lot more bakers in the area, than I've previously suspected. So I had to settle for some stone ground spelt flour. I've used it before and it tasted rather like wholemeal, so should be OK. I've now mixed up my usual kneadless bread but with 6 dl spelt flour and 1 dl rye flour and had to increase the liquid to 4.5 dl to get the porridge consistency. This will take up to tomorrow morning, but is quicker than the next step in my sourdough escapades - reviving and using the dried out ferment I created in stage 2. It certainly smells just like it did back then and the instructions are

100 g dried ferment
100 g warm water

Put both in a jar, put the lid on and shake well to mix.
As you can see, it's now on the window sill, taking in the heat from the radiator. With the Winter all around us and our house not being too insulated, the average temperature has dropped to around 18 degrees and I'm constantly putting on more clothes or leaning against the radiator. The instructions are to keep this for a day or two in a warm spot, near a radiator and not to drop below 25 degrees C. So fingers crossed.

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