16/01/2019

No Knead Slow Cooker Bread


Totally inspired by Bakingqueen74, who has been baking in her slow cooker since forever, and then reminded, poked and prodded into actually giving it a go by the colourful bread recipes that Bootstrapcook has been posting. 

I love the no knead method, and I can stir it all together and just leave it to do its thing, so I went with that. This used up the flours I had hanging around. I am tempted to do a rye version too, and a cinnamon and raisin.

1 x 3.5 litre slow cooker, lined with enough non stick baking parchment that the edges poke out (helps to form a handle to lift the bread out)
2 cups strong bread flour, white or wholemeal
2 cups plain flour
2 tbs olive oil
1.5 tsp salt
1 7g sachet of yeast
2-2.5 cups tap hot water (if it’s too dry, add the half cup of water a bit at a time.)
100g juicy black olives, de-stoned and roughly chopped
1-2 tbs finely chopped coriander leaves (non essential)
1-2 tbs crispy onions (non essential)

Put the flour in a large bowl.
Put the yeast on one side, and the salt on another side of the flour.
Pour in the 2 cups of water, and the oil.
Mix really well with a spoon, or a spatula, or a dinner knife, or your hands if you want, until all the flour has gone, and the olive pieces are all mixed through.
Cover with cling film and leave to rise. Mine took about an hour or so in a warm kitchen.

Once it's doubled in size, line your slow cooker with non stick baking parchment, and put on high to preheat.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface. It might be pourable, it might be a less sticky dough, but whatever it is, DO NOT PANIC. It will still bread.

I use an old bank card as a dough scraper, and work and fold the flour into the dough, until it comes together into a smooth ball or oval shape, depending on your slow cooker shape. Oil your hands if you like, as that will also stop the dough sticking too much to you. You can even use two old bank or store cards, if you really don’t want to touch the dough.

Pop the ball of dough into the slow cooker. Leave it on high, and put the lid on.
Set a timer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
When the timer goes off, gently lift the bread out using oven gloves, and turn it over to cook the other side for another 30 minutes.

I put the whole loaf into a 200C oven for 10 minutes to get a golden colour on it too, but you don’t have to.  It is a very tender, soft loaf, and quite addictive.




13/01/2019

No Knead Cider Bread

No knead bread is an addiction. That you can go from gloop to bread in 2 hours (at its fastest) is just such a wonder to me. I love recipes that you can change up, fiddle around with, and they still work.
I found a shallot in the fridge that needed using, the tail end of a bag of bread flour, and a bottle of cider that was just out of date.

Oven temp of 200CF

4.5 cups of strong white bread flour (that's what was left in the bag)
2 - 2.5 cups of cider (more if needed)
1 heaped tsp sea salt
1 7g sachet of instant yeast
1 large banana shallot, sliced into fine half rings
1/4 - 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
olive oil

Peel and slice the shallot.
Put around 2 tbs olive oil into a frying pan, add the paprika and then the shallots. Mix well.
Turn the heat on, and gently fry until the edges, then the whole pieces start to darken, and the shallots are cooked through. You want them all cooked with a few crispy bits, but not burnt.
Set the pan aside to cool.

Put the flour in a large bowl.
Put the yeast one one side, and the salt on another side of the flour.
Pour in the cider.
Add the cooled shallots.
Mix really well with a spoon, or a spatula, or your hands if you want, until all the flour has gone, and the shallot pieces are all mixed through.
Cover with cling film and leave to rise. Mine took about an hour or so in a warm kitchen.
Once it's doubled in size, tip it out onto a floured surface. It might be pourable, it might be a less sticky dough, but whatever it is, DO NOT PANIC.
I use an old bank card as a dough scraper, and work and fold the flour into the dough, until it comes together into a smooth ball shape. Oil your hands if you like, as that will also stop the dough sticking too much to you.
For this loaf I popped it into a small, round cake tin with high side, that I'd lined with non stick foil.
Leave that to rise for another half hour, then put it into the oven.
Set a timer for 35 minutes.
At 30 minutes, take the loaf out of the tin and return it to the oven shelf to crisp up. Feel free to turn the oven down a bit to, say, 180, so nothing burns.





Family Fish Pie

I'm calling it a family fish pie because this amount will easily serve 4-6. It's worth making a big batch, and then freezing it in individual portions, ready for a late night home from work or two. We’d inherited a freezer full, as someone’s Pa had accidentally ordered 12 packs, instead of 1…

4 large fillets of smoked haddock OR any firm white fish fillet you like.
Enough milk to cover the haddock (around 1.5 pints/850ml) (I think non dairy, goat or lactose free milk will be ok here too)
1 shallot, peeled but left whole
1/4 tsp allspice or 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 bayleaf if you have one – optional
1 small pack cooked prawns
1/2 cup/125g frozen peas
1.5 kg Maris Piper potatoes
56g/2 ounces butter, divided
28g/1 oz plain flour
sea salt
Extra butter
Olive oil
4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and shelled

Fish
Cut each fillet in half crossways so that they fit in your pan.
Pour over the milk, pop in the shallot, bayleaf and the spice. The fish needs to be covered. DO NOT ADD SALT.
Bring to the boil, simmer on low  for 15 minutes, then leave to cool in the milk.
Drain, KEEP THE LIQUID in a jug, and set both aside.

Bechamel Sauce – just use the same pot you cooked the fish in
1 oz/28g butter or margarine or dairy free spread
1 oz/28g flour
The poaching liquor – probably about half of it, but judge as you go
Melt the butter on a low heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook it on the same low heat for a couple of minutes.
Slowly add in the poaching liquid, whisking all the time. It should gradually thicken.
You want it to get to a thickness that will coat the fish and the peas, not swamp it too much.
When it’s as thick as good custard, gently mix in the fish, prawns and peas. If it’s too thick at this point you can mix in more of the poaching liquid.
Pop all the fish mix into an ovenproof dish, making sure you get all the sauce out of the pan.
Cut the eggs in half, and arrange over the fish, pressing them down.
Rinse the sauce pan out with hot water and…

Potatoes
Add the peeled potato chunks to your rinsed pot, add water to cover, a good tsp sea salt, and bring to the boil.
When tender,  drain, mash well with 1 oz butter/marg/spread and a good pinch of sea salt. Taste, and add more if you think it needs it. Black pepper can be added if you like it.
If the potatoes will not smooth out enough, or are too dry, add in some of the poaching milk, 1 x tbs at a time. It needs to be smooth enough to dollop and spread evenly across the fish.
Spread the mashed potato over the top and flatten it if you can.
Use the rounded end of a butter knife or spatula to depress half moons into the mash, all the way across.
Lightly drizzle olive oil all over the top. The mash will absorb it, don’t worry.
Stand your dish on a baking tray in case of overbubble, and bake in a `180C oven for about an hour, or until the potato goes golden.
Take it out, dot with butter/spread and sprinkle very lightly with sea salt flakes.
Bake again until burnished and slightly puffed up.