Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf

Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf | Selma's TableYou can’t rush sourdough bread making. The physical time spent on making the bread is minimal however the proofing takes time; time to develop the wild yeast and those coveted bubbles, to develop the gluten strands  and  to develop that unique flavour. I like to think of it as nurturing. And it’s so inherently satisfying, almost on a primal level, to be able to produce the staff of life, using ancient methods – made with wild yeast, additive free ingredients and with a pedigree. My starter, Twinkle, comes from Celia’s starter, Priscilla, which is nearly 8 years old.  Since I got my starter from Celia of the fabulous blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, last month, I have been baking bread – getting to know and learning how to handle Twinkle just like a would a baby! So it’s all about setting out a time plan starting with when you want to bake or eat the bread and working back from that. I tend to start on a Saturday afternoon, to bake a basic sourdough loaf on the Sunday morning but this Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf takes a little longer because it goes in the fridge for the yeast and flavours to develop slowly and more fully.

Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf | Selma's TableOver on Twitter, there is a small group of us who started baking our Pricilla originated sourdoughs at the same time. Led by Celia, we have the most hilarious, informative and inspiring conversations. This Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf was inspired by Annie’s efforts and has also led Celia to bake the most gorgeous looking fruit loaf too!  Other people dip in and out of our conversations, commenting, offering advice or asking questions. Oh, and it’s mostly on Australian time so when I’m getting up, they may or may not have had a glass or two!! Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf | Selma's Table

Start the Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf a couple of days before you want to bake. I started the process on Friday afternoon and baked the loaf on Sunday morning. The full, printable recipe with some links is below but in a nutshell, this is what I do. I start by feeding Twinkle to make a poolish. Then I add the rest of the ingredients to make the dough and squelch the lot together for a minute. After half an hour, I stretch and fold the dough a few times. This goes into a lightly oiled bowl and sits out on the counter to bulk prove overnight. The next morning, I incorporate the dried fruit using the stretch and fold method, place the dough back in the cleaned and oiled bowl and leave it in the fridge until the next morning. The photo below is what I woke up to! Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf | Selma's Table At this point, I incorporate the cinnamon sugar and shape the loaf. This sits out on the counter to proof once more for 30-45 minutes, while the oven heats up and then goes into a lidded casserole dish, gets slashed and bakes for 20 minutes with the lid on. After another 30 minutes with the lid off, this is what it looks like…go on – you know you really want to give this a try! Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf | Selma's Table If you’ve had starter from Celia or from me, give this Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf a go once you are comfortable with baking Celia’s Overnight Sourdough.

Some resources – Emilie of the Clever Carrot, who got her starter from Celia a year ago, has this brilliant beginners guide to sourdough on her blog. She has been baking the most gorgeous looking breads – bakery worthy!  The Weekend Bakery have a couple of great videos on how to fold and stretch dough and also how to shape the loaves. I have added the video links to the recipe below, in the appropriate places.

Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf

  • Servings: 1x approx 750 g loaf
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

For the sourdough poolish

Day 1At 1 pm –  Remove ¼ cup of starter from the fridge and feed her ¼ cup each of bread flour and filtered water, followed by ½ cup of each at about 4pm. By 8pm your poolish will bubbly and ready to incorporate into a dough.

For the fruit soak

Day 1At 8 pm – Soak 200 g dried fruit of your choice – my mix included cherries, cranberries, sultanas and raisins with 100 ml strong hot black tea and leave out overnight. Drain well before using.

For the Fruited Cinnamon Sourdough Loaf

  • 200 g bubbly sourdough poolish
  • 300 – 320g filtered water
  • 250g organic white bread flour
  • 250g organic wholemeal bread flour
  • 9g fine sea salt
  • fruit soak, well drained
  • 1 tsp cinnamon mixed with 2 Tbsp sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Day 1At about 8 pm – Pop a large mixing bowl on the scales and reset the scales to zero.
  2. Measure in 200g of the poolish and reset the scales to zero.
  3. Pour in 300g of filtered water and reset the scales to zero.
  4. Measure in the flours and the salt.
  5. With a clean hand, squelch everything together for about a minute or so. If it is really dry, add a little more water – wholemeal flour can be very thirsty. Scrape off all the bits on your fingers, into the bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and leave it to rest for ½ an hour. (The first time I made bread, I wanted to protect my manicure and popped on a disposable latex glove to squelch. Not much sticks to the latex so I have carried on using one every time I make a loaf.)
  6. If your bowl is large enough, you can “knead” in it. Otherwise, scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and spread it out a little. Start to stretch the dough (which will be sticky but just persist without adding any extra flour) by pulling it and folding it over on it self. Do this several times until the dough starts feeling a little more elastic. This is called the stretch and fold method.
  7. Clean your large bowl, and lightly oil it and place the dough inside. Cover it with cling film or a shower cap and leave it out overnight. This is called the bulk prove.
  8. Day 2 – The next morning, you will find the the bowl is pretty well full of bubbly dough. Scrape it out again on a lightly floured surface and gently pull and stretch it out into a rough rectangle. Spread with the well drained fruit soak. Fold the dough over it in thirds, (like an A4 letter), then do the same again. Gently stretch it out into a rectangle and repeat the folding once again, as best as possible.
  9. Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with cling film and put the bowl in the fridge to prove. (Putting it in the fridge, slows down the rise you can leave it in the fridge for a couple of days if you need to.)
  10. Day 3 – The next morning, the dough will be doubled in size and full of bubbles; somewhat resembling an alien life form!
  11. Pre-heat your fan oven to as high as it will go.
  12. Gently scrape the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, and gently pull into a rectangular shape. Scatter over the cinnamon sugar and fold in thirds, stretch and fold into thirds again.
  13. Shaping the dough – Seam side down, drag and pull the dough towards you, cupping it with your hands and keeping the seam on the bottom, Make a quarter turn and repeat until you have a nice tight gluten coat on the top. I pulled mine into an oval shape as I was doing this. Cover with some oiled cling film and leave out to warm up and rise for 30-45 minutes.
  14. Line a lidded casserole dish with parchment paper and flour the paper. Transfer the dough into the dish and slash the top as you wish – I made 3 diagonal cuts to the top.
  15. Cover the dish and place in the oven. Turn down the heat to 220C fan and bake for 20 minutes.
  16. Remove the lid, turn down the heat to 190C and bake for 30 minutes. Check that the bread is cooked by tapping on the bottom to see if it sounds hollow. Otherwise, put it straight onto the oven rack and bake for 5 more minutes.
  17. I know it’s difficult, but let it cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing into it!

You can of course bake this on a pizza stone or on a baking sheet. If you do, put a few ice cubes or some water into a muffin tin or small tin and place on the floor of the oven to generate steam.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's TableWhen I first moved to London on my own in the early nineties, I worked as a P.A. to a Greek hairdresser. He and his English wife had been crowned London Hairdresser of the Year a couple of times – a reputation which they were really living off at that point. We were paid a pittance for the opportunity to work there and shine in the reflected glory of their name. I learned a great deal about the “show biz” end of hairdressing there – the photo shoots, the big national and international hair shows, the video shoots, the trade events.  When there was an event on, the hours were long and it was expected that everyone that needed to, would pitch in as necessary. I could be typing scripts and cue sheets and the almost daily changes until midnight – this would be for the elaborate hair shows that would be taken, models, wigs, outfits and all to Japan where this company had a big sponsor. For photo shoots it was usually a 6am start to get to the studio and start prepping the girls for hair, make-up and clothes. Themes, storyboarding and clothes styling were my involvement for this sort of thing, though to begin with I would be briefed with the ‘vision’ then make the phone calls to source clothes for the vision and finally bring back what I could scrounge, as hair shoots don’t really come high on any PR or designer’s list of where to loan out clothes to show their lines. Nonetheless, I managed to come back with racks of clothes for the shoots to take to the studio or the trips where his wife would oversee the vision. Eventually I was trusted enough to be invited to these events to help select the clothes and dress the models. It was a far cry from the happy, busy, personal growth and client focused, customer service driven, suburban salon I had worked in before.

Occasionally, the couple would invite the Art Team back to their house for some food (it was never a meal) to brain storm or invite all the staff over for a barbecue if an event had been particularly gruelling with the salon staff having to prop things up while the Art Team were on a punishing schedule, out of the country or working on a trade event. And it is,  of course, the Greek food that is of interest in this case – in those days, I had only eaten Greek food at that wonderful Bayswater institution, Halepi, in West London –  and also another in Claygate that included plate smashing as part of the post-meal entertainment. The barbecues that we were invited to at their house were memorable – some of his family members would be there; the men presiding over a number of small coal grills, tending to  an assortment of meats and Greek sausages as well as half a lamb on a spit. The salads were many and varied too. But the dish I remember the most was that of lemony, oregano scented potatoes – gorgeous waxy Cyprus potatoes that braise slowly in a little stock, lemon juice and oregano.

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's TableThis Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread recipe takes it’s cue from those potatoes, though it is much more than that, of course. It is a another one-pot meal where the flavours and textures all mingle to produce a wonderful dish that is more than just a sum of it’s parts. Some of the bread and vegetables absorb the juices from the chicken and become gooey and soft whilst the rest roast and get crispy and chewy and sharp with the lemon – you can add things like artichoke hearts too if you wish or splash in some stock or wine towards the end for more of a wet roast. It is immensely adaptable to what you have in your pantry and I hope that it acts as a springboard for you – do try it with the bread though – it’s an unusual and fabulous addition!

In the photos you will note a couple of sweet potatoes which I have not included in the recipe below as I wanted to have these for my lunch the next day and not as part of this dish. We love having rocket/arugula with this – the sharp, peppery flavour is another wonderful contrast.

Greek inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Aliwaks Roast Chicken with Bread and Garlic

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 kg free range/organic chicken
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste
  • 1 Tbsp Sundried Tomato and Basil Paste
  • Juice of two lemons, separated and plus one whole one
  • 3-4 slices of stale sourdough bread
  • 1 head of garlic – cloves separated but skins left on
  • 2 leeks, cleaned of any sand
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp Green and Black olives stuffed with sundried tomato, garlic and rosemary
  • 8 Sundried tomatoes
  • 700 g waxy potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt
  • Greek “Olive Branch” EVO oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix the Harissa, sundried tomato paste and the juice of one lemon together to make a runny paste.
  2. Untruss the chicken. Remove as much visible fat as you can from the cavity and discard along with the trussing. If there are giblets, freeze them to make gravy another time.
  3. Smear the paste all over the chicken and inside the cavity and leave to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
  4. In the meantime, slice the bread into large cubes, slice the leeks into 1 inch segments and peel and halve the potatoes and arrange in a large roasting dish. Scatter over the garlic cloves, olives and the sundried tomatoes. Squeeze over the juice of the second lemon and sprinkle with oregano and sea salt.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F
  6. Stuff the chicken with a halved lemon
  7. Lubricate the bread and vegetables with some olive oil and arrange the chicken on top, making sure that it is sitting on some of the bread and the potatoes which will absorb the chicken juices. Pour over any remaining marinade that has been left on the plate, back over the chicken.  Drizzle a little oil over the chicken and sprinkle with sea salt to help the skin crisp up.
  8. Cook the chicken for 20 minutes at 220C/425F and then turn down the heat to 180C/350F and give the pan a shake, turning over any bread and vegetables that are not covered by the chicken. Roast for another 40 – 55 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken and until the juices run clear at the leg joint.
  9. Turn off the oven. Remove chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Keep the vegetables and the bread warm, also loosely covered, in the residual heat of the oven.
  10. Carve the chicken as you wish but make sure that everyone gets a good mix of crispy chewy, roasted vegetables and bread as well as some which have absorbed the chicken juices – it is a real textural revelation!

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In My Kitchen – March 2014

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In My Kitchen is is hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial where she is joined by bloggers from all over the world affording us a glimpse of what they’ve been up to that month. I have been following (silently – sorry Ceila!) the series for a little while now, enjoying a little nosey into the kitchen sink dramas of others, everywhere. Well, I am taking the plunge today and  giving you a peek  into my kitchen, in what I hope will be a regular monthly post.

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In my kitchen, I have two, much loved, Le Creuset cast iron, ridiculously heavy pans. Many years ago we had an old, romantic, overgrown Victorian garden. It was a magnificent garden, in which we discovered a covered-up-with-years-and-years-worth-of-leaves-and-twigs, big rectangular pond complete with a fountain, which was overhung by a beautiful weeping willow tree – the source of much of the muck. A couple of weekends were spent clearing it out, fixing the fountain and filling it up with water, koi and aquatic plants. The garden was also full of all sorts of fruit trees – apple, pear, walnut, plum and cherry – it really was a magical place. One year we harvested more plums than we could eat so I decided to make a chutney. I took out my large, old faithful Le Creuset dutch oven and proceeded with the recipe. I left it burbling gently on the hob, wandered into the garden to skim leaves off the surface of the pond and got chatting to our neighbour who convivially produced a glass or two of wine. By the time I got back into the kitchen, the chutney had cooked down and burnt to a cinder- the sugar had carbonised and was welded to the bottom of the pot completely destroying my beloved Le Creuset. No amount of scrubbing, soaking, or scraping over the next few weeks could lift off that burnt-on mess. I shed tears throwing out Old Faithful. I was overjoyed to receive a new one as a gift the following Christmas, and have since acquired a smaller oval one — but I have never made a chutney again!

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In my kitchen I have a handmade utility knife from the Japanese Knife Company. It is completely handmade by a small group of highly skilled artisan nokaji whose skills have been passed down for 4 generations. It is my favourite kitchen tool. I bought it 17 years ago it from a very knowledgeable elderly gentleman  at a food show, who really impressed me with his calm and serene manner. I  have remembered him often and have never forgotten how he thinly and quickly pared an apple using only a simple little paring knife. Twelve years later, I attended a knife skills course and was surprised and delighted to find that he was teaching it. In the literature that they give you before starting the course, we were asked to bring in our knives so that we could learn how to use them properly and also have them sharpened. When I handed him mine, he recognized it immediately (despite the fact that it has no markings on it anywhere) and even knew the Japanese artisan who had made it – how amazing is that?!

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In my kitchen I have sourdough bread, handmade by Duncan, who cycles over to me every week, to drop off one of his artisan loaves of bread. Last summer, I volunteered to help out at our local Food Festival and met some wonderful local people and producers as well as the talented husband and wife team behind The Elephant Bakehouse. They ran a tasting workshop as well as a stall and I am happy to say that the stall sold out well before the festival was over. They produce the most delicious varieties of artisan sourdough bread using local (as much as possible)  organic flour.The flavours are complex and the texture dense, chewy and so, so satisfying – no comparison can be made to the flabby mass produced sliced loaves which have never been touched by human hand. Duncan makes the bread himself and his wife looks after the rest of the business – they are both really passionate about their bread and with every reason. They are in the process of securing local premises from which to start baking for the greater community. My son takes two slices, toasted, spread with peanut butter and carefully wrapped in tinfoil on his way out the door in the morning, to eat on his way to school.

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In my kitchen I have a jar of pretty pink beetroot sea salt. In October, I visited Cape Town, staying with close friends. I had an amazing time, visiting lots of fabulous restaurants and shops. One of the places that Alex took me to was Babylonstoren. It describes itself as a Cape Dutch Farm with vineyards and orchards surrounded by the mountains of the Drakenstein Valley. It is a stunning working organic farm with fabulous restaurants, shops, a spa and tastefully furnished whitewashed cottages for guests to stay in.

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1. Gorgeous chickens running free
2. The Drakenstein Mountains
3. Babelstoren

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1. Beautifully presented salad and sandwich at The Greenhouse
2. The cured meat room in the Farm Shop Barn
3. A view of the gardens

It oozes style, charm, beauty and character everywhere you look and no wonder as it is owned by Karen Roos who used to be the editor of the South African edition of Elle Decoration. We met up with a friend of his, Simon, who is a passionate and knowledgeable gardener. It didn’t surprise me to hear that no expense had been spared to make Babylonstoren what it is today. The “Farm Shop”,  unlike anything you have seen before, is housed in a series of rooms in one of the barns from where I came away with this stunning beetroot sea salt. I love pinching some over a buffalo mozzarella and watching the pretty pink colour stain the milky white cheese.

in_my_kitchen_march_13In my kitchen I have a jar of delicious home made jam. As I don’t make chutneys or jams, I am always grateful to receive homemade versions from friends. My friends from Cape Town visited London just before Christmas and brought me a jar of this amazing Plum, Chilli and Cherry Jam which Rob had made. It is fabulous with goat’s cheese. Don’t you just love the adorable jar with the chalkboard label?

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In my kitchen I have fridge magnets. Not any old magnets, mind but words with which to compose all sorts of messages. I love these because they are food related. They have been packed away and then in storage for quite a few years so it has been a delight to get them out again.

in_my_kitchen_march_13This is what my son put up on the fridge the other day – should I be worried?

Well that’s it for this month. Many thanks to Celia for coming up with this series and hosting it. This is the link to take you to the archives http://figjamandlimecordial.com/in-my-kitchen/ Please do go over and look at what other bloggers are up to in their kitchens!