30 Nov 2008

Chocolate brioches

There are some unspoken rules most of our bakers are aware of; or maybe we make them ourselves? So I've always thought that once in a lifetime a baker should have made a brioche. This weekend I decided that it's my time. And because I believe that one should progress with small steps, I made little brioches.

Although it did cost some effort, it wasn't as difficult as I'd expected. The recipe of Ursula Ferrigno (Pane e Panini) was uncomplicated and well written. This was my first attempt and it won't be my last.

Chocolate brioches

  • 250 gr. flour (tipo 00)

  • small pinch salt

  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

  • 5 gr. active dry yeast

  • 1 tbsp. water, lukewarm

  • 3 eggs, beaten

  • 4 tbsp. milk, lukewarm

  • 125 gr. butter, small cubes at room temperature

  • 175 gr. plain chocolate, small cubes

  • 1 egg, beaten

Sift the flour, salt and sugar in a big bowl. Add the yeast, water, 3 eggs and the milk. Mix the ingredients till you've got a soft dough. Knead it and add every time a cube butter. Knead after each cube till the butter is fully dissolved in the dough. At this point the dough is not tacky but sticky. Don't panic but put the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest in the bowl till it reaches room temperature. Punch the dough down and divide it in 12 even pieces. Add just a little bit flour if necessary to handle the dough. Form little balls of the dough and flatten each ball. Put a cube of chocolate in each bull and form a tight ball. Make sure you close the dough thoroughly.

Put each ball in a buttered muffin form or in a small brioche form. Cover and proof for 30 - 45 minutes. Brush the buns softly with the beaten egg. Bake the brioches 12- 15 minutes in a preheated oven (395 dgr. F./200 dgr. C).

28 Nov 2008

Vanille chocolate traybake

Okay, so it's not a Picasso. Did Picasso bake cakes? No, but he surely would have if he'd had this recipe.

This cake is one of the lovely recipes written by Mary Berry in her 'Ultimate cake book'.
It looks wonderful marbled and is dense, soft and very easy to make.

Vanille chocolate traybake

  • 225 gr. soft unsalted butter
  • 225 gr. caster sugar
  • 275 gr. self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cacao
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 50 gr. chocolate chips


  • 50 gr. plain chocolate, broken into pieces

  • 50 gr. white chocolate, broken into pieces

Pre-heat the oven to 180 dgr C. (350 dgr F.) Grease and base line a 12 x 9 in (30 x 23 cm) roasting tin with greased greaseproof paper.
Measure the margarine, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, milk and vanille essences into a large bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes. Spoon half the mixture into the tin and spread it over the bottom.

In another bowl, blend the cocoa with the hot water. Cool slightly and mix it with the remaining cake mixture and with the chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture in the plain cake mixture and spread it evenly on top.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35 - 40 minutes or until the cake has shrunk from the sides. Leave it to cool in the tin. Melt the plain and white chocolate separately. Spoon into two separate small plastic bags, snip off the corner of the bags and drizzle the chocolates all over the top to decorate. Leave it to harden before cutting into squares.

21 Nov 2008

Tagliatelle with smoked salmon and samphire

Have you ever tasted samphire? It tastes salty and reminds you of the sea. A few years ago I ate it for the first time during my holiday in Zeeland, at the Dutch coast, and loved it right away.

This recipe is part from me and part from a magazine of a supermarket. Instead of cognac you can use brandy, vieux or even wodka.

Tagliatelle with smoked salmon and samphire

  • 400 gr. tagliatelle

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 200 gr. smoked salmon in pieces

  • 75 cc. cognac

  • 200 cc. cream

  • 25 gr. butter

  • 200 cc. tomato sauce

  • freshly grind white pepper

  • garlic

  • 150 gr. samphire
Wash and drain the samphire and bake it just a few minutes in garlic and 1 tbsp. olive oil.

While cooking the tagliatelle al dente; you can make the sauce by baking the onion very softly in 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add the smoked salmon, cognac and the cream. bring it softly to the boiling point. Add the tomato sauce and the white pepper and bring it again just till the boiling point. At this moment the sauce starts thickening. After about 2 minutes it will be thick enough.

Drain the pasta and serve it with the sauce and the samphire.


Stormy weather in Holland. Rain, sunshine, hail, storm and snow; we've seen it all today. Just a nice day to make it cosy indoors by baking buns. These buns are very easy to make and it takes little time.

The origin of this recipe must be from the year 610 a.c. and the shape of the buns refers to the arms and hands of praying children. The message was simple: when you pray, you get a pretiola. So, no praying, no bun!
Later on they named them Pretzels.

Well, my children didn't have to deserve these buns by praying; but they helped shaping them. And those little warm hands made the bread rise wonderful.


  • 450 gr. all purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 7 gr. dried yeast

  • 300 cc. milk

  • 25 gr. butter

  • 1 egg

  • coarse salt

Warm the milk lukewarm and add the butter to it. Make a dough from the flour, salt, yeast, milk and butter. Knead it for to minutes. It will be a soft and silky dough. Let it rise in an oiled bowl til it has doubled it's size. Slash it down and divide it in 20 pieces. Shape each piece and let is rise for another 20 minutes.

Brush the buns with the egg and sprinkle them with a bit coarse salt. Bake them in the oven (400 dgrs. F./ 200 dgrs. C.)in 20 minutes.

18 Nov 2008

Swedish rye crisp

As a loyal follower of the breathtaking adventures of the bread baking babes I felt challenged by their recipe of this month: Rosendals' crisp bread. To prevent crawling back I announced my plan to Grain Doe, who happens to be responsible for this. Instead of making a new starter I used my wheat starter 'Elvis'.

Thanks to Baking Soda and Lien, I knew not to knead to much so I just mixed it carefully with a wooden spoon. The dough was a bit sticky. After a few hours my kitchen looked as if there'd been a snow blister but the result was crisp and tasty.

Oeps, forgot to make the fork holes but just in time to make the last ones with little holes. Just a nice opportunity to give it a scientific approach. I'll let you know (when we've eaten them all) if there was any difference. Thank you Grain Doe for this recipe and this adventure; it was great fun!

When you want to make those swedish crisps, just click on this link.

14 Nov 2008


The minute I saw this recipe in the magazine 'Taste of Home' I had to make it! It wasn't the first time I read that adding potatoes to breaddough makes the bread more tasteful. But this time it was combined with herbs too. We'd just planned to eat an uncomplicated kind of cassoulet and that was the perfect moment to try out these buns. A few minor adjustments and...........tadaaah!
Potato breadrolls
  • 3 cups flour

  • 1/2 cup mashed potato flakes

  • 1/4 ounce instant yeast

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1/2 tablespoon minced chives

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 1 egg

  • 6 tablespoons grated cheese
Mix half of the flour, potato flakes, yeast, honey, chives, salt and parsley. In the meanwhile heat the milk and sour cream to lukewarm and add it to the dry ingredients. Knead the ingredients 4 minutes with the Kitchenaid.

Add the egg and the other half of the flour and knead for another 7 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is very sticky. Place the dough in an oiled dough and cover it. Let it rise until doubled in about 1 hour.

Divide it in 12 pieces and shape each to a roll. Cover each roll with cheese. Place them next to each other in a greased baking pan, cover it and let them rise again till almost doubled in size. Put the baking pan in the middle of the oven, 375 dgrs. F. (190 dgrs. C.) for 30-35 minutes. Remove the rolls out of the baking pan and put them on a wire rack.

What happened with lemon jelly?

One of my favourites at the breakfast table is a slice of homebaked sourdoughbread with a little bit of lemonjelly.

The last few months however, the supermarket doesn't sell it anymore and even a few delishops I visited gave a 'no' at my request. What's the problem? There are enough lemons on the market or at the groceries. Well,time to look for a nice recipe and make it myself. It can't be so hard to make jelly.

The following recipe seemed easy and it results in enough lemon jelly for the next six months.

  • 6-7 lemons
  • 1 kilo jellysugar
  • 250 cc fresh lemonjuice
  • 500 cc water
  • 3 jars for approximately 250cc each

Make sure all your equipment is very clean. Put the pots on a wet towel so they can stand the heat of the jelly without bursting. Peel the lemons thinly and and cut the peel in little pieces.

Boil the lemonpeel 10 minutes in 100 cc. water and add the lemonjuice, water and jellysugar. Lower the heat when it boils and let it bubble for 4 more minutes. Fill the pots till the edge, close them and put them upsightdown back on the wet towel. Turn them after 5 minutes and leave them to cool down.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.


One of the great things at this part of the year are the apples. Especially the fresh and sour goudrenet is our favourite. Combined with cinnamon, sugar and sometimes with mint they are great in applepies, cakes and appletriangles. The last ones are just so easy to make that our son learnt to bake them when he was only 10 years old.

  • 10 squares puffpastry each 13,5 cm (5,5 inch)
  • 2 sour apples (goudrenet) peeled and diced
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the diced apples, cinnamon and two tablespoons sugar;
Put in the middle of each square 1 - 1,5 tablespoon of the mixture;
Fold the square diagonal tot a triangle and make sure you seal the edges carefully with a tiny bit of water.

Make the outside of the triangles wet with water and strew them with sugar.
Put them 20 minutes in the middle of the preheated oven at F 400 dgrs (= C 200 dgrs.).

12 Nov 2008

Our Daily Bread

When I was about 10 years old we lived in the centre of Rotterdam. Helping my mother with the shoppings, I bought our bread a few block away at a small bakery. Although there wasn't much to chose, the bread was delicious and I always started eating on the way home. I still remember how wonderful this bread tasted.

A few years ago I decided to start baking my own bread. I longed for a nice tasteful bread without all kinds of additions I cannot even pronounce. After a full year experimenting with a breadbaking machine, and different sorts of flour, a beautiful kitchenaid took place of the breadbaking machine. Since then our daily bread exists of the Norwich Sourdough and the Basic heartbread of Rose Levi Beranbaum (Bread Bible). And you know what? The Basic Heartbread tastes just like the bread I used to eat when I was a the age of ten.