Bready for Altamura take two?

Ooooo. I felt from the start this was going to be good. The biga was perfect, and nice and brewey…….yay!!

Day one Altamura

Altamura day one

Brewy and Bubbly after 24 hours!! Ready to use!!


  • 1 tsp dried yeast.
  • 1/4 cup warm water.
  • 3/4 cup room temp water.
  • 1 & 3/4 cups durum flour.
  • Stir yeast into the warm water and stand in warm place covered until frothy/creamy.
  • Stir in RT water and flour  to make a dough.
  • Place in lightly oiled bowl, covered with gladwrap, in a cool room temperature for 6-24 hours.
  • The longer left, the more intense the flavour. I usually do the biga at night and do the rest the following day (if i am at home) or the afternoon if I am at work so it gets 12-20 hours to bubble away.
  • 1/2 tsp dried yeast.
  • 1/4 cup warm water.
  • 1 & 1/2 cups RT water.
  • 4 cups of Durum flour
  • Pinch of salt

Dough all ready to be kneaded

  • Stir yeast into warm water and stand until creamy/frothy.
  • Mix the dissolved yeast into the biga (above) and when mixed, add in the RT water.
  • Make sure well mixed and consistency is smooth
  • Mix in the flour and the salt, 1 cup at a time.
  • When dough is formed and all flour/salt mix has been added, turn out on floured area and knead for 10 minutes.
  • Woo!! talk about increase and bubby as needed!!

  • Place dough in the lightly oiled bowl and cover and leave in warm place for first rise for 3 hours or until tripled in size.
  • When dough is ready from first rise, turn out again on floured area and shape the bread into either a round or a flatter oval shape.

    First slash after first rise

  • Slash down the middle of each loaf and place the bread slash side down on a tray well covered with flour or semolina until doubled in size or until big air bubbles are noticeable.
  • 45 minutes before you want to bake this bread, turn on the oven to 225 Celsius and place baking dish at the bottom of the oven.

    Ready to Bake

  • Slash the bread again if the slash has closed over and sprinkle with cornmeal (polenta) .
  • When oven is at correct temperature, place tray in oven and put a few ice cubes in the baking dish at the bottom of the oven.This will help the crust form, yet keep the bread moist.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes until dark golden brown ( a little more than i did above)


  • Cool and enjoy!!

The first Altamura bread was nice but I could really see the difference from using wholemeal to just durum flour and the weight of the bread itself. Still needs possibly a little more baking time (and i need a new oven) for a little crunchier crust but the crust was lovely and chewy even the next day.

Recipe adapted from Carol Fields “The Italian Baker ‘ 2nd Ed, 2011.


Heavenly Apricot Spice Brioche!! plus…..

Hubby’s Pavlova:

Not a yeasty beasty but deserves a mention as it’s a NZ dish, divine and Hubby makes it soooooo well. Not sure about the decoration below but you know what they say about ugly things!! They are usually the best.

A favourite NZ dessert…

You will need

  • 8 egg whites at RT ( see Poppy seed cake recipe to use up egg yolks).
  • 2 cups of castor sugar.
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence.
  • 1 tsp vinegar.
  • 2 tsp cornflour.
  • 450 mls cream for whipping later.
  • Sprinkles and/ or fresh fruit for decoration.

Whip those whites!!

  • Preheat oven to about 140 Celsius.
  • Prepare baking tray with baking paper on it.
  • Whip the egg whites until soft and peaky.
  • Add one tsp on sugar at a time.
  • This process takes about 10-15 minutes but you need the sugar to be dissolved and worked in as well as possible.
  • Beat in vanilla, cornflour and vinegar.
  • Don’t beat the whisk or the beaters on the bowl.
  • Spoon Pavlova mix onto the prepared baking tray, forming a round or oval shape.
  • Pile it up!!
  • Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes at 140 Celsius and then reduce heat to 110 and bake for a further 60-90 minutes until the Pavlova is dry and crisp and lifts of the baking paper easily.

Ready to ice!!

  • When cool, transfer to a plate and whip cream and place on top of the Pavlova.
  • Decorate to your taste!

Tastes divine too!!

Below is how we usually decorate the Pavlova but i think the boys told hubby that chocolate drinking chocolate would be nice, which it would taste wise but a brown Pavlova?? But as I said, it tasted divine!! 

A bit more colour …

Back to the Brioche……..

I don’t know why I do this to myself.

Talk about glutton for punishment.

I know these Brioche’s are buggers to make by hand BUT still i insist on making them….Luckily this time, not too long kneading, 20 mins to put in 300+ grams of butter. I need a new mixer with a dough hook. I have on the odd lazy occasion used the breadmakers kneading facility BUT I don’t like to use that with buttery goods as i like it to be worked in well, so by hand it is. I am looking for an old mixer, the old Kenwood’s ,you know they last for ever and I have my eye on a few so will keep you all informed!! HUGE dough hooks, good for at least 1-2 kg of dough…….and i have my beady eyes on some bannettons too:) Sigh….All the makings of yeasty heaven…

What are we aiming for?

Divine intervention from the Yeasty Gods!!

Now the recipe I used was from here so I won’t repeat it .

BUT i will add, that i used 320g of butter not 220g, so an increase in butter and take a little longer to work it in.

You also need half a cup of Raisins and half a cup of chopped apricots and 2 tsp cinnamon.

When you take the brioche out from its night in the fridge, still work as quickly as you can with it. Put it back in the fridge if need be.

Work the apricots etc into the dough and work through, don’t handle it too much though, so work as quickly as you can.

You could add the fruit just after you finish the kneading the day before, just before you place the dough in the fridge. I don’t like to add fruit etc during the kneading process unless its right at the end.

Leave to prove until doubled in size, just as in the above recipe. You may need 5 minutes more cooking time with the added fruit. From the recipe above, I got 1 brioche and one braided plait so you will get a larger plait if you are making only one or you could make 2 smaller ones , the size I did.

Leave to cool and then enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!

Lets look at the photos.

1st starter for Brioche

Ingredients and 1st starter already to go !

Eggy mix into 1st starter

Yeasty eggy mix into Dry

Form that dough!

Work that dough!

Work that butter in!!

Almost done!!

Into the fridge in an oiled bag overnight

Apricots, Raisins and Cinnamon

Grease the tins!

Ready for proving

Add in the Fruit and Spice

Ready to roll and braid

Ready for egg wash

Bit of a prove

Mmmmm ready to eat!!

Sooooooo Nice!!


Scrummy Yummy Yeasty Karisik Pide:


Karisik means mixed grill in Turkish, err I am lead to believe so I just hope it doesn’t actually mean something terrible:).

So delish, I have to show you straight away before making you wait till the end. Now this one below is not the one i made today but one i made in Istanbul. All the other photos are from today 🙂

Mmmmm Pide

My lamb mince filling was just so scrumptious, it was gorgeous. I suppose working in the garden all day and being VERY hungry helped but this truly was divine!! Not quite to the standard of my friend above BUT very very close.

So let’s get Yeasty beasty.

Just like to say , this is very similar to a pizza dough, so you could make pizza with it or calzone or even a Cornish pasty type thing. You also can make double to dough and freeze it. A friend rolls out the dough and freezes like that, all ready to go for next time. Great time saver:

Scrummy Karisik and Karsarli (cheese) Pide:

Makes 8 Pide.

For the Pide you need:

  • 3 cups of strong bread flour or all-purpose(if no strong).
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil.
  • 1 egg beaten.
  • 1 cup milk warmed.
  • 2 tsp sugar.
  • 3 tsp dried yeast.
  • Pinch of salt.
  • 1 egg beaten for egg wash.

Pide dough ready to go into hot water cupboard (please note, this is double the recipe!!)

For the filling you need:

  • 350g lamb mince.
  • 3tsp garlic.
  • 2 chillies (medium heat)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika.
  • 2 tsp cumin.
  • salt and pepper.
  • 1-2 cups of grated cheese (your choice but a strong cheese is best as you use less).
  • 2 tomatos diced.
  • 1 capsicum.
  • 1 red onion (but white is ok).
  • 4 slices bacon cut up or sausage cut up.

Mince filling

  • Warm milk and stir in sugar until dissolved and stir in yeast.
  • Cover and place in hot water cupboard until creamy ,usually 20 mins.
  • Place dry ingredients in a bowl and stir through.
  • Mix egg and oil together and stir into yeast mix when ready.
  • Slowly pour into dry ingredients and form a dough.
  • Turn out on (or do in bread maker on knead cycle).floured area and knead for 5-6 minutes until smooth and elasticy.
  • Place in lightly oiled bowl , cover with gladwrap (loosely) and a tea towel and place in warm place until doubled in size. Usually 60-90 minutes.

Meat Filling:

  • Place lamb mince in hot fry pan.
  • Cut up chilli, onion and garlic and place in with mince when 1/2 cooked.
  • Stir mince. Make sure you separate the mince so it’s not all clumpy.
  • You can drain off fat if you wish, if any but i have to say it adds to the over all taste.
  • Add in cumin and sweet paprika and stir lightly.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • While this is cooking, dice tomato and capsicum and place in a  little bowl and put to side.
  • Cut up bacon into small pieces.
  • When mince is cooked, leave to cool. DO NOT place on dough whilst hot/warm.

Dough risen and ready to chop!

  • Remove dough from warm place and turn dough out on floured area.
  • Cut dough into 8-9 pieces

Dough ready to roll out

  • Roll out to oval-shaped dough. Not too thin, but not too thick.

Ready to Fill!!

  • Place dough on tray with baking paper on it.
  • Pre heat oven to 220 Celsius.
  • Put lamb filling, tomatoes, bacon ,capsicum and cheese on the oval dough.
  • Roll the edges in so it resembles a boat (see below)
  • You can also do bacon and cheese fillings.
  • You can do what ever filling you like. A spicy beef or chilli chicken would be nice too 🙂 You are only limited by your imagination or what you think tastes great!!

Ready to cook , just needs egg wash

  • Give a brush of the edges with the egg wash.
  • Place in oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and gorgeous!!

Scrummy Yummy!

More scrummyness………

Enjoy, enjoy and enjoy.

Some special treats coming up this week.

A NZ bread and a new fruit brioche i am testing ( a new recipe i made up) …..All looking very good so far….. and i think I am almost ready to use the sourdough starter that i have been brewing for a lovely Levain style bread.

Lots to do and look forward too……………..Mmmmmmm warm brioche…

Thanks to i love lucca tours and and for the recipe which i adapted 🙂

A spot of tea & a Chelsea bun?

Chelsea Bun- See the texture……..No squishy white bread facade here!!

I must say when i was in England, i didn’t have a Chelsea bun but i did have a Sally Lunn and a bath bun. That gives me more yeasty beasties to do another day as both are from the yeast family!! Created for the Hanover royal family, it is believed the Chelsea bun was made in a factory in Chelsea about early 18th Century,  hence the name 🙂

My middle son, loves Chelsea buns and I love them as they are relatively easy, ok, they take a little time, but the dough can be used for other things like cinnamon sticky buns, cream and jam rolls and the list goes on………..Really you are only limited by your imagination.

Said boy …..with Minni

The dough i make, is not true to the Chelsea buns we get here , as our buns here are horrible bloody white things with a smear of cinnamon and a sprinkle of raisins and a revoltingly sweet icing. Buns my arse, more like hideous white bread squashed together!! Blurgh!!

See, this is what I mean!! Insipid white dough…………..

I can’t remember the recipe I used originally but I have adapted it to make it more buttery as it was originally quite bland tasting, with heaps of spices and occasionally i add pistachio’s or walnuts to one 1/3 of the buns (as BOYS don’t like nuts) or if i feel very risqué, i will do like a nut paste (similar to that used in baklava filling) and mix it in all of them. Strangely, they don’t say anything but do ask what spices i used??? Ha ha my secret.

Once again I digress………..

Yeasty Beasty Chelsea buns:

  • 3 tsps dried yeast
  • 2 tsp castor sugar
  • 1 cup warmed milk
  • 4 cups strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 120 g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten

Chelsea bun dough before punching it down!!

  • For the Chelsea Bun Filling:
  • 1.5 cups raisins
  • 1/3 cup peel (optional) or you can just add lemon and orange zest if you don’t like peel.
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

Rising nicely


  • Dissolve 2 tsp sugar in the warmed milk and mix in yeast.
  • Cover and place in warm spot until creamy and frothy 15-20 mins.
  • Sift flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and rub in the butter.
  • Remove yeast from warm place and mix in beaten egg.
  • Add yeasty egg mix to dry ingredients and form a dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured area and knead 5-6 minutes.
  • Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and place in warm place until doubled in size , usually 60-90 minutes.
  • Combine Chelsea bun filling ingredients in a bowl EXCEPT the butter and mix well.
  • When dough is ready, turn out on lightly floured area and knead for 3-4 minutes.
  • Roll out with lightly dusted rolling-pin a rectangle of 55 cm by 30cm roughly.
  • Brush with melted (not hot please) butter and then sprinkle all the filling on the rectangle BUT leave a gap of about 3 cms from the end of the dough of one side of the 60 cm length. This is the side that you will roll towards. I do this so when I roll it up, I don’t get over spill as I roll that end piece.
  • When you are rolling, try to do it tightly as you would a swiss roll, so be patient doing it.
  • When the log is rolled, I cut 12-16 pieces depending on how much rise etc I have got from my dough and place in a well-greased roasting dish or rectangle baking pan.
  • You need a pan/ tin with a good 4cm + in height as these buns are quite high.
  • Remember these will double in size ok? so leave room in the pan width wise as well (see photo above where you can see the space i have left).
  • Cover and place in warm spot for 1-2 hours until double in size.

    Ready for the oven

  • Preheat oven to 200 Celsius.
  • Place buns in the oven and bake for 30-35 mins.
  • As soon as the buns are in the oven, place sugar and water in a pot and bring to gentle boil.
  • About 10 minutes before the end baking, brush glaze on buns, don’t be shy, be generous.
  • When cooked, remove and glaze straight away again and leave to cool in pan.

Just out of the oven

When cool, you can make a white fondant icing and drizzle this or you can leave the buns as they are!! Entirely up to you.

I find these best eaten the day you make them but good for toasting the following day and day after. Would also make a good bread and butter pudding too, if there were any left:)

A touch of icing to keep the Lads happy:)

Don’t forget the fillings are up to you but then you need to rename them.

Cranberry and raisin mix is nice, sometimes i be a bit naughty and put vanilla essence in the milk !! Nuts are all nice and you could go savoury and make cheesymite scrolls. Cheese and Vegemite instead of raisins etc and no sugar, and maybe less butter too?  Even bacon, cheese and onion would be nice, like a pull apart. The yeasty possibilities are endless.

Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy:)

P.S: Forgot to say, Muscovado sugar is VERY nice instead of brown sugar.



Back to the Yeasty Beasty! Frittelle anyone?

Si, si, si per favore!!  I have to say these little beauties (in general) are gorgeous and so easy to make . The ones in Venezia are sublime, especially the ones with the pastry creme in them. Heavenly. I have seen other variations throughout Italy but i didn’t take much notice at the time:(  They were selling something similar at night in Siena at the odd stall around the city. Not at Palio time, in winter…….

So this my Frittelle friends, is what we are aiming for!!

Assorted Frittelle mmmmmm

Lets get Yeasty!!

Fritelle dough


  • 4 cups of flour, I used strong bread
  • 1/2 cup of castor sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 & 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp dried yeast
  • 6-8 cups oil  for frying err preferably NOT fat.
  • 1  jar Nutella err, not quite as large as this one in my photo!!
  • 2 tsp cinnamon for garnishing
  • 1 cup castor sugar for garnishing
  • A big Beasty!!


  • In a bowl warm half the milk, add in the sugar to warmed milk until dissolved
  •  Stir in the yeast.
  • Leave in warm place until creamy/frothy.
  • Place all dry ingredients in a bowl, flour and salt.
  •  Stir the eggs and half of the milk together and add it to the flour mixture a little at a time.
  •  Add the yeasty mixture to the flour mixture and stir until all the ingredients are combined.
  •  The dough will be wet and sticky. Don’t be alarmed!!
  • Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let rise for about 5 hours when it should have doubled in size.

Pour that Oil in!!

On the matter of oil, my husband and I have often debated getting a mini fryer. He says no, we would put on 5-10 kgs in a VERY short time and sadly i think it is true but then when i make something like this, doughnuts, beignets or deep-fried ice cream balls, then we have this huge pot of oil (which i will filter) which will be on the stove for a while until its used. When I cook, i like to use olive oil but sadly the cost of filling a pot with olive oil would make the cost of the frittelle astronomical! The kids use the oil and make chips a few times (but that for them is LABOUR intensive) and i will slowly chip away at it but i do wonder, ” mini fryer”? Would be easier and i could just pop it in the cupboard. Hmmm, more pondering maybe?

Hmmm wondering???

Back to the dough:

  • Prepare the sugar and cinnamon mix on a large plate.
  • When the dough is ready, stir it again. It should be sticky. If it’s not, add a little more milk.
  • In a heavy pot for frying, heat the oil . I don’t have a thermometer but i usually test the heat by putting a wee piece of raw food in it. My granddad used to spit in the oil!!
  •  Spoon the dough batter into the oil. I used a tablespoon but the original recipe used an ice cream scoop. Not plastic obviously!!
  • Fry until the frittelle are cooked through, about 5 minutes. I like to turn them over with tongs. They brown pretty quickly. Don’t overcrowd your pot as they will take longer to cook .
  • Remove the frittelle with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with paper towels to drain.
  •  Once drained, quickly roll them in the sugar.
  • Poke a hole in the frittelle and fill a pastry bag fitted with a tip with Nutella and pipe Nutella into each frittelle.
  • Best eaten when warm.
  • Don’t forget the most important thing!! Enjoy, enjoy and enjoy!!


Almost all gone

filled with Nutella

P.S : You can easily insert other delights into these, white chocolate, milk chocolate, jam, pastry creme, cream, moro bars err perhaps not cream,  the list is endless……..But things that hold shape and have some heat resistant are probably better. My son seemed to think jelly lollies would be nice!! I don’t think so…………You could,  if you were really adventurous, make it a savoury recipe but that we will look at another day 🙂

Frittelle how i love thee!!

Recipe adapted from Luscious Lucca Blog @ i love Lucca tours which was originally adapted from