Feeling a Little Bananaish?

Hmm, I have ummed and arghed over this because it’s not really a bread.

Delicious BUT not really breadish…….

I looked OVER many many recipes as I thought maybe I was missing something but nope, all cakey like recipes.

My question is this, “Why is this called a bread ? “

David Lebovitz asked the same question


and I am sure many others have as well. Continue reading

Bready for some crocodile bread?

I kid you not. Romanesque Coccodrillo !! A Baker from Rome called Gianfranco Anelli is the creator of this bread 🙂

Starting the Biga for Coccodrillo Pane

I was very worried when I got to the final stages of this bread as it was 3 days in the making and it was very very wet. In hindsight, I will use a loaf tin or mould………..It looked like this big flat greyish blob. I thought bloody hell, will need to redo but after looking at some other piccies of it and more importantly the texture, it is ok, not great but for a first go at this bread, not bad. I used mostly durum integrale rather than plain durum flour as I realised at the last-minute that I had no durum flour so I will redo the bread again in a week or so………..It tastes really nice and is holey as expected but maybe a little longer proving and cooking for slightly darker crust. Argh, you live and learn!! Not every loaf will be fabulous the first time:)I think with the durum flour and not integrale which is heavy, it will make a world of difference.

NB: You need 3-4 days for this bread.

First BIGA (starter)

  • 1/2 tsp of Dried Yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup Durum flour
  • 3/4 cup stone ground flour
  • Add sugar to warm water, stir till dissolved & add dried yeast.
  • Cover and place in warm place until creamy/frothy.
  • Add flours and stir for a few minutes until well mixed.
  • Cover with gladwrap and leave in RT room for 12-24 hours.
  • Day Two:

Day Two Biga

2nd Starter:
  • 1 & 1/4 dried yeast.
  • 1/4 cup warm water.
  • 1 &1/4 RT water.
  • 1/2 cup Durum flour.
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Stone ground flour.
  • Mix the yeast into the warm water and leave until creamy/frothy.
  • Add RT water and flours to yeast mix and stir well.
  • Add above mix to the 1st starter and combine well.
  • Cover with gladwrap and leave for 12-24 hours at RT.

Day three

  • Day Three:
  • 1/4 cup of Durum flour
  • 1 & 1/4 Stone ground flour
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • Add flours and salt to the starter. 
  • You need to mix this on a low-speed for 20 minutes or mix by hand for 20 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a large bowl, giving the bread room “to breathe” Cover very loosely with a damp tea towel.
  • Leave to rise for 5 hours. You need to rotate the dough every hour in the bowl.

Bit of a worry!!

2nd Rise & shaping :
  • Pour dough (it will be very wet) onto a floured area.
  • Have plenty of flour on hand.
  • You will not be able to work it much but just fold and tuck edges under the bread.

Maybe be ok?

  • Place on well floured and papered baking tray.I sprinkle cornmeal down as well.
  • Cover with damp tea towel and let rise for 60-90 mins until full of air bubbles.

    Hmmm ok?

Preheat oven to 245 Celsius:
  • Just before placing bread in the oven, cut dough with dough scraper down the middle of the dough and part the bread slightly.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes .

No so bad, inner texture ok but more proving and cooking and a different flour!!

Recipe adapted from Carol Field’s “Italian Baker” 2ed, 2011 and various tips from the every wonderful and inspiring bakers from http://www.thefreshloaf.com/

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!! Still tasted yummy.


Feeling a little Devilish today?

Today, NOT strictly yeasty beasty or bread at all………..But when my baby wants to cook with me and will allow me to do it with him like we used to all the time,  how can I say no and discriminate against NON- YEAST products. He makes a mean chocolate cake with vanilla bean icing!! Mmmmmmmmmmm

Soon to be not seen!

Especially as SOON he won’t want to cook with mumma, being on the cusp of teenage hood as he is and i will miss my helper until he is about 17-18 I suppose……..

Cream the butter and sugar!!

We have used the wonderful recipe of a Devils food cake from David Lebovitz and tweaked it for NZ conditions. I love David’s blog, he is so funny and he is able to laugh at himself and his fellow americans and their somewhat quirky ways. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/08/devils-food-cak/

Without further ado:

Alex’s amazing moist chocca choc cake with vanilla bean icing.

  • 2 cups of cake flour
  • 120g butter
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 9 tbsp of dutch cocoa
  • 1.5 cups of castor sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup warmed milk
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups of sifted icing sugar
  • Vanilla bean pod
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 50 g butter
  • 1-2 tbsp milk to mix.

Add in some fresh coffee


  • Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.
  • Add in eggs, one at a time.
  • Add in vanilla essence.
  • Prepare coffee and pour into milk .
  • Preheat oven to 180 celsius.
  • Sift dry ingredients (flour, salt, cocoa, BP)
  • Add baking soda to coffee milk mix, stir well.
  • Add half of dry and half of milky mix to butter mix.
  • When combined well, add rest of dry and milky to butter mix.
  • Pour into prepared and lined baking tin.
  • Look at using 20 cm tin but it’s not hard and fast but remember the bigger the tin, the less height you will get.
  • I usually use a tin that I have had for ever, it will be passed on to my kids:)
  • Place in oven and bake for 30-35 mins or until skewer comes out clean.
  • Carefully slice cake in two or you could bake this in two pans or just leave it as one cake and not layer it.

Mmmmm, lovely chocolate mix..

Strange what chocolate cake will attract!! Especially when this specimen usually doesn’t come out of his room:)

  • Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 mins BEFORE removing from the tin. Cool on a rack until cold before icing.

Fresh from the oven

Ready to ice

  • To make the icing, sift icing sugar into clean bowl
  • Scrape seeds from Vanilla pod and mix in icing sugar
  • Mix softened butter through icing sugar
  • Add in essence
  • Add enough milk until firm but creamy paste is achieved.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Use icing as filling and icing.

With vanilla bean icing:)

Now have a slice!! Well done Alex!!

Cut a HUGE slice to have with a coffee or Tea and ENJOY!!

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!