Monday, November 28, 2011


This month's 'Fresh from the Oven' challenge is Panettone, hosted by Sarah of Maison Cupcake. Traditionally Panettone is naturally leavened, i.e. it uses a starter/culture instead of dried/ instant yeast to make the bread rise. So I decided to make it to this recipe which seemed to authentic and quite easy to follow. It involves bulking up a sourdough starter for 5 days prior to making the Panettone. I have to say I didn't choose the most straight-forward recipe, in addition to the 5 days needed to get the starter ready it then needs 12 hours for the 'first dough' to ferment and 12 hours for the 'final dough' to rise. However I am a great believer in 'Slow food' so I was prepared to give it a go, although I was slightly nervous about it as I had never made Panettone before! I was pleased with the results, I got 3 small breads and they do taste authentic even if the look a little, er, rustic. The two nicest ones will be gifts and I am keeping the mushroom looking one as a taster :-)

Cooking notes:
-The recipe calls for diastatic malt powder, I have never seen this before so took a gamble and used 1tsp barley malt - it seemed to work!
-I used sultanas and soaked them in rum and cointreau for 12 hours (whilst the first dough was fermenting)
-I didn't bother buying proper Panettone moulds, I lined large tinned tomato tins with greaseproof paper which worked well. 
-I was going to attempt to hang the breads upside down to cool as recommended in the recipe, but when I got mine out of the oven they looked a bit too fragile to undergo this treatment. I laid them down on a wire rack to cool and removed them from their tins after 15 minutes.

The dough after 12 hours rising

The glaze and sugar dusting

Before going in the oven

The mushroom shaped one!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Last Christmas I was given a French Patisserie course in Paris as a present (best present ever!) - and last weekend we finally got to go! It was an afternoon course so we spent the rest of the weekend being tourists and wandering round Paris (mainly walking in and out of bakeries and bistros). Paris brings together all that is great about French food culture. I loved seeing all the independent bistros and wine bars, and the range of produce available on every corner. It is definitely a foodie city. One of the highlights for me was having lunch at Rose Bakery, I have their recipe book and have always wanted to go- it didn't disappoint, the food was delicious and mostly vegetarian.

Here are some photos of our foodie weekend:


Rose Bakery

We had lunch here, they serve quiches, salads, mini pizzas other fresh deli type food. It is mostly vegetarian and organic. Unfortunately I didn't get to try their cakes afterwards as we had to rush off as we had booked to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

My lunch

Chalet Savoyard

We had dinner here one night, I had an individual fondue savoyarde (why not?) which came not only with an enormous basket of crusty bread cubes, but also with a bowl of potatoes! Much too much for any normal appetite but I had a good try.

My fondue

We visited quite a few of the bakeries who came in the top ten 'Meilleures Baguettes de Paris 2011'. I was very disappointed to find the bakery who won the competition was shut! We tried the bread from some of the others however, and they were all very good as was to be expected! Many of these boulangeries were along the same road - Rue des Abbesses. I wish I lived in this neighbourhood- I would never tire of eating their bread. Why do we get stuck with Greggs over here??


This boulanger won 'Best Baguette in Paris 2011'- closed at weekends :-( 

My Patisserie course

In just over 3 hours we made all this:
-Early grey madeleines
-Millefeuille (puff pastry already made and chilled)
-Rhum baba
-Chocolate fondants
-Chocolate crème brulées

Making puff pastry

Making Crème Patissiere

Ganache lined ramekins for Creme Brulée
Moulds for Rum Baba
Fondants au chocolat
Infusing butter with earl grey - for Madeleines

My Millefeuille