What Is Diastatic Malt Flour?

I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with new ingredients this week; not only have I recently discovered a wonderful local Irish wholemeal flour, but I received a surprise package from BakeryBits in the mail.
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Phytic Acid- The Antinutrient In Your Bread

When it comes to choosing our breads and breakfast cereals, I think it’s fair to say we all know we should be eating more wholemeal/wholegrain products. There are several very good reasons for this- wholemeal flour, which includes more of the outer parts of the grain, is a good source of dietary fibre for one, and the great majority of us in the western world do not eat enough fibre to maintain healthy gut function. These parts of the grain also contain far higher levels of vitamins and minerals than the soft endosperm which goes into making white flour. In fact, almost 90% of some key nutrients are lost in the extraction process, making white flour a food with poor nutritional value. For this reason, flour millers are legally required to supplement these flours with B vitamins once the extraction process is complete in order to prevent widespread nutrient deficiencies. This seems a convoluted way of producing a nutritious product doesn’t it- removing naturally occurring nutrients to later replace them with industrially-produced imitations. So we’re agreed- wholemeal all the way, right? Continue reading

Easy Sourdough Pizzas With No-Cook Tomato Sauce

I would imagine that pizza ranks highly on most peoples’ list of favourite foods, it certainly does in our house, and Saturday is generally pizza night in Chez Nous. It’s always a hit with our little people, particularly when they get to choose and arrange their own toppings. Homemade bases are always so much better than store-bought, but if you have your sourdough starter up and running you can take this to a whole new level Continue reading

Clonakilty Black Pudding & Porridge Sourdough

20150515_223959I found myself in the Cornucopia that is Cork’s English Market the other day, and with Conor Bofin’s recipe for pork belly fresh in my mind, I headed straight for the butcher’s counter. I somehow seemed to end up with the porcine equivalent of Giant Haystacks, and I anticipated significant quantities of leftovers, so I was in need of a bread which would make the most of the belly sandwiches to follow. Sticking with the leftovers theme, the inspiration (and ingredients) for this recipe came from my kids’ breakfast dishes yesterday morning. Continue reading

San Francisco Sourdough – The Insomniac’s Version

Having been subjected to a general anaesthetic for knee surgery the day before, my circadian rhythm was clearly struggling to re-establish itself yesterday morning. Bright as a lark, I found myself perusing recipes and blogs on the cursed ever-present smartphone. One of my favourite sourdough bloggers is dmsnyder on thefreshloaf.com, and I was taken by his San Francisco sourdough with added wholewheat, which looked and sounded divine. My drug-addled brain calculated that I would have just enough time to squeeze in a bake before heading back to bed in around 21 hours time, so slipping on my dressing gown, I glided (hobbled) downstairs to get to work. Continue reading

Unapologetically Onion & Parmesan Sourdough

We’re currently ‘enjoying’ a typical Irish May; with summer on the horizon the winds have picked up, and although the newly planted shrubs in the garden would probably benefit from the heavy rain, I think they are too preoccupied with recovering from the previous night’s frost to be able to make the most of it. Any thoughts of food still revolve around hearty, warming dishes and salad season feels like it’s months away. And so, when planning the weekend’s menu for the family, soup was an obvious choice for one of our lunches. Not just any soup, but peppery, meaty oxtail soup which I adore.

Now there’s nothing wrong with a good oxtail soup and crusty white sourdough, but I really fancied coming up with something much more robust which could hold its own against a bowl of liquid beef. This onion and parmesan combination sounded good in my head, and it didn’t disappoint on the table either. The aroma as it bakes is just gorgeous, but this bread is not for the faint-hearted. It really does deliver on the flavour front. Continue reading