I have to confess that baking, cooking and all these kitchen stuff is a great stress-relieving therapy. Well, maybe it sounds a bit odd but I'm really relaxing in our kitchen. It's a pity that our kitchen is so small - I wish I had all those fancy kitchen utensils and gadgets, but I'm afraid there is not enough space there to keep it all, at least not just yet. So, this is our big wish for the next decade: 'We want to have a huge kitchen with a big table for the whole family and friends...'.
Anyway, I was talking about relaxing in the kitchen... That's right, I do relax while cooking, chopping, stirring etc... It's just a great opportunity to think and switch off the brain and just contemplate the smells...even if you chop an onions :) hehehehe That's why we love being in our kitchen...
I've been doing lots of night baking lately. Is that insomnia? I don't know ;) but who cares!!! It is something magical in baking while everyone's asleep... especially bread. Ahhh... the smell of bread right out of the oven - is there anything like it?
Some time ago, I found this gorgeous looking bread in a tins recipe on one of my favourite blogs. Originally, the recipe is from Jamie's Oliver book 'Jamie's Kitchen'. It took me a while to bake it as I had to collect tins first. But I made it eventually and it was just a right moment... peaceful night, warmth of the house, light of the candles....
Bread baked in a tins (with cherry tomatoes and garlic)
Ingredients (6-8 little loaves in a tins):
1 kg wheat flour
625 mls cool water
30 g fresh yeasts or 3 sachets (7 g each) of dried yeasts
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 kg cherry tomatoes
1 whole garlic
1 bunch of fresh basil
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 dried chillies
good quality olive oil
6-8 tall cans of tomatoes, cleaned and dried.
Put the machine on the dough cycle and let it do its thing with all the bread dough ingredients. Since, I got this multifunctional food processor for my birthday, I let the machine do the job for me. If you don't have a machine, just pile the flour on to a clean surface and make a large well in the centre. Pour half your water into the well, then add your yeast, sugar and salt and stir with a fork.
Slowly, but confidently, bring in the flour from the inside of the well. (You don't want to break the walls of the well, or the water will go everywhere.) Continue to bring the flour in to the centre until you get a stodgy, porridgey consistency – then add the remaining water. Continue to mix until it's stodgy again, then you can be more aggressive, bringing in all the flour, making the mix less sticky. Flour your hands and pat and push the dough together with all the remaining flour. (Certain flours need a little more or less water, so feel free to adjust.)
With a bit of grease, simply push, fold, slap and roll the dough around, over and over, for 4 or 5 minutes until you have a silky and elastic dough. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 150 degrees and put tomatoes, whole garlic basil, salt and pepper, chillies into a baking pan and shove it into the oven for about an hour. When all ingredients are baked, peel the skin off the tomatoes and garlic. Use a blender to mix all the baked ingredients and add the mixture to the bread dough and knead until nice and smooth.
Flour the top of your dough. Put it in a bowl, cover with clingfilm, and allow it to prove for about half an hour until doubled in size – ideally in a warm, moist, draught-free place. This will improve the flavour and texture of your dough.
In the meantime, dig out those saved tomato juice cans. Give the cans a good spritz with olive oil and when the dough is ready, divide it into equal parts and pop them into the cans. Spritz the tops of the dough, cover the cans, let rise for about 1/2 an hour.
When the dough is ready, put all the cans into preheated oven to 180 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. If you want to make the bread in a regular bread pan, this recipe makes one standard loaf and you have to bake it for 30-45 minutes. Once baked, place on a rack and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.