Archive for » February, 2013 «

I have a bread machine. And I like it. It is one of the few bread machines that are actually worth buying. It is the Tefal XXL bread machine.

The other day I decided to make bread at home and I measured all ingredients, put them in the machine bowl and after starting the machine I realized that the mixing unit on the bottom of the bowl is stuck and does not rotate.

(Well, to admit honestly, it is kinda my fault: I was not supposed to put the mixing bowl in the dishwasher, and even if I did, I should have put some machine oil on the rotating parts, so they don’t gather rust. Oh well – I did fix the machine eventually and now it works, but this is not the point.)

What was I supposed to do with 500g of flour, salt, sugar and yeast mixed already while the bread machine was not working?

Throwing away the ingredients was not an option, reading a blog on bread making was not an option, running to the neighbors to find one who knows how to make bread by hand was not an option…

The colsest thing that came to mind was to call Vassilena.

After a 5 minute conversation in which she explained in detail what I should do and what to look for, I managed to get on the right track. (And I am blogging this because the result was way beyond any expectations).

So, let me share the recipe and the idea of baking a bread – Vassilena style:

Ingredients: (for 1kg bread)

405 ml warm water – how warm: when you put in your finger in the water it does not feel warm nor cold

2 teaspoons salt – salt is important for the bread and it helps form and shape the crust (technically if you put more salt the bread will have thicker and darker crust)

1 tablespoon sugar – the sugar is used as a fuel to the yeast (in practice, the yeast is composed of microorganisms, which eat sugar and flour and fart, hence the bubbles in the bread)

500 grams of white flour

60 grams of unsifted rye flour *

130 grams of sifted rye flour *

2 teaspoons yeast

100 grams of walnuts or almonds

* if you do not have or do not want to use rye flour, you can just replace the amounts with regular flour

The rest is matter of patience and some work.

Here is the flour I am using:


How to make it:

Start by measuring the water and puring it in a large bowl. Keep in mind that you can measure the water on the measuring scale. 1 gram is 1 ml.

Make sure to sift the flour, so it is fluffy. This is important, so the flour can get some air inside, so the yeast can breathe later on.

Put the flour on top of the water, add the salt and the sugar and mix slightly. Then add the yeast.

Mix well for about 10 minutes until the dough is well mixed and it slightly springs up when you touch it.

Add the walnuts or almonds and fold them in by mixing the dough another 2 minutes.

Leave the dough in the mixing bowl, cover it with a plastic bag or plastic foil and let it stay for an hour or two.

Now, this step really depends on many factors: the warmth of the water, the room temperature, the amount of yeast even.

If your room temperature is not too high, you can actually use the oven and warm it up slightly on the minimum setting for a minute. Then you can just leave the oven light on – the warmth of it is more than enough to keep a good temperature while the dough is raising.

And now you have to find something to do: read a book, chat, blog, drink some beer if you wish.

Come back in an hour or two and check if the dough has doubled in size. If it has – then start punching it down – kneading it, so the yeast farts can get out.

After the air bubbles are out of the dough, shape it well and place it in the bowl in which it will be baked.

Cover it with the foil again so it does not dry up, and wait. Drink another beer, probably?

Come back to it in an hour or hour and a half and see if it has doubled in size. If it has, start the oven and heat it up to 225 C. Take out the dough first while the oven is warming up.

When the oven is ready, place the dough inside and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 200 C and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes.

If you want to have a softer bread, make sure to put a bowl with water on the bottom of the oven so the steam can circulate around the bread.

Take the bread out, cover it with a bread cloth, and let it cool.

Eat it any way you like.

By the way, if you have a bread machine, you can use it to mix the ingredients in the first part – just add everything in the bowl and start the machine for 10 minutes.

Thanks, Vassilena!

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IMG_0457Pics2_I guess the birds also get tired of flying and sometimes they decide to just climb the stairs as people do.

I wonder what they would do if they get tired of climbing the stairs – take the elevator probably?!


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