Cooking with… PZ – Saatenbrot

I have been sitting on these brunch with PZ pictures for what… months now? And I don’t know why, I think part of it might have to do with what can you say when you have a friend who comes to your house with a freshly baked loaf of super seedy bread and then helps you prepare brunch except #blessed?

But more seriously, I take my brunch very seriously.

Just this past weekend as I was stumbling out the door on Saturday morning for a waffles and ice-cream brunch, Mel, my apartment mate was all:

Mel: Do you brunch every weekend?
Me: *pause* Yes?
Mel: That’s cool.
Me: *in my head* That’s expensive.

Which is why, when the Singapore Martha Stewart (I need a shortform of this nickname) volunteered to bake bread to anchor Sunday brunch at my place, I + my flatmates + one (one of their boyfriends, that is) were enthusiastic about a) being cheap and b) eating some high quality stuff.

Here is PZ actually arranging the smoked salmon in a pleasing way, so as to enhance the taste.

We, the barbarians that we are, were happy to eat it off the foil it came on. But you know, this was cool too.

PZ aims to not buy bread in the shops anymore and instead wants to shift to only consuming the bread that she makes. I’m not sure why she wants to do this. Could it be because the bread we buy from the shops is full of weird additives that are giving us cancer? Possibly. Could it be because the bread she bakes is ludicrously tasty? More probably.

I prepared a creme fraiche lemon dill dip which you see here and eggs en cocotte. And of course we had lots of coffee and fresh blueberries. These pictures solely exist to torment you.

And remind me of a lazy Sunday that I want to get back to.

Oh! PZ kindly shared the recipe for the bread that she made (adapted from here):

Makes 1 loaf

48g whole wheat flour
28g dark rye flour
100g water
1g of salt
64g flaxseed

7g rye mother starter (100% hydration)
71g dark rye flour
71g water

43g dark rye flour
48g bread flour
62g water
2g instant yeast
4g salt
64g toasted sesame seeds
1 egg white (for the egg wash)
14g of mixed sesame seeds and flaxseeds, for the topping

Prep the soaker and starter a day before you bake the bread.

Day 1
In the morning, stir the soaker ingredients, cover and let it sit at room temperature till evening. Repeat with the starter ingredients in a separate bowl.

In the evening, mix the soaker and starter together with the final dough’s ingredients.

Knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Knead more vigorously for 4 minutes, and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Knead 1 more minute, and the dough should be somewhat sticky.

Place it in an oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight.

Day 2
Take out the dough and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Stretch and fold the dough to shape it, and place the dough seam-side down.

Brush the exterior with egg white and roll the dough in the mixed seeds for topping.

Transfer the dough into the loaf pan and spray some olive oil on it. Cover and let it proof for 45 to 60 minutes, till it’s 150% in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240C.

Place a ramekin of water on the bottom of the oven and position the rack in the middle.

When the dough is ready after proofing, bake at 240C for 10 minutes, then 220C for another 10 minutes, and 180C for the last 10 minutes. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

*Not pictured: An impromptu blueberry crisp we made out of leftover blueberries which we served with vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice-cream. The pictures were too ugly to share and I didn’t really want to mess with the beauty above.


Moodily lit , gently washed veggies, posed for your pleasure.
Moodily lit , gently washed veggies, posed for your pleasure.

Weekends = brunch. Brunch with friends this past weekend was an at home affair of hastily cooked scrambled eggs, value-pack sausages, caramelized onions, white buttom mushrooms (ok this was legit) and lots of leftover fancy-ish baguette from Marche.

Now what does one do with half a baguette. Eat it all with a big hunk of melty butter?

Tempting, yes, BUT being the culinary overachiever I am/compulsive creative food finisher, I decided to make Panzanella, an Italian bread based salad that was inspired by my flatmate, Mel’s mention of how good the dish was when she had visited Sopra.

I didn’t get to got to Sopra that one time because I was probably vegetating at home. Still the fact that I missed out on this bready wonder, really bothered me.

These baguette remnants was my chance at redemption, absolution.

And a carb party FOR ONE!

Serves 2 (haha) – read the recipe all the way through, it takes about an hour and a half to make

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
olive oil – enough for drizzling the peppers with to bake
extra virgin olive oil – enough for the salad dressing
2 medium sized tomatoes
large green pitted olives, as much as you want
capers, as much as you want
1/2 baguette loaf/bread of your choice
1 1/2 tbsps red wine vinegar
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
large handful of fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Drizzle a splash of olive oil over the peppers and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the peppers are softened but not charred.

Place them in a bowl and cover with cling film for about 20 minutes.

Blanch the tomatoes by plunging them into a saucepan/jug of boiling water for one minute, or until the skins start to peel away.

Take out the tomatoes with a spoon that has holes and dunk into a bowl of cold water.

Once cool, the skins should easily peel away easily – it did for me!

Cut the skinned tomatoes into eighths.

Remove the seeds and push the seeds through a sieve over a bowl to extract the juice.

Put the tomato eighths into the bowl you intend to serve the salad in.

Peel back the cling film and gently peel the skin from the peppers. If this is difficult or the skin does not come away easily, it means you haven’t roasted them long enough. Discard the seeds from the peppers. Cut the flesh into large strips and put in the bowl with the tomatoes.

Mix the olives and capers with the tomatoes and peppers.

Rip the bread into large chunks and put aside.

Mix the vinegar, garlic and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with the tomato juice. Use as much oil as you think is necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.

Add the bread pieces to the bowl and leave for at least an hour so that the bread soaks up all the juice.

After an hour mix the ciabatta with the tomatoes and peppers. Tear in the basil leaves and using your hands gently combine all the ingredients.

It’s ready to eat!

* Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit and BBC.

You now know why I chose the other shot as the first photo...
You now know why I chose the other shot as the first photo…

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Banana Cake

2014-01-05 08.08.38

This cake has gotten a lot of love in my house. The whole thing basically disappeared over the course of a few days.

That doesn’t always happen.

I think it’s obviously because I am now a baking genius.

Or it could be the peanut butter and chocolate.

Nah. It’s probably me.

*Recipe from Averie Cooks. You want to check her version out. Her photos are stunning.

Banana Bread

I haven’t done a post in while not because I haven’t been cooking. Au contraire I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen!

That also means when I’m done cooking I can’t be assed to take pictures or share recipes.

This is banana bread I made a week ago. I ate half the loaf and froze the other half for breakfasts on the go. Here is frozen slice defrosting on top of my hot tea. I am A GENIUS.

2 (big) or 3 (small) very ripe bananas
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

In a bowl mash bananas. Stir in eggs, yogurt, coconut oil, sugar, honey and vanilla.

In a another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.

Stir flour mixture into banana mixture. Stir in walnuts.

Pour batter into a greased 9 by 5 loaf pan.  Bake for 55 mins to 1 hour.

*Adapted from Barbells and Bellinis.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

I’ve been eating this all day, err day.

pumpkin bread

Actually I’ve been eating this for breakfast. Occasionally.

BUT! It’s really quite good and the texture is fantastic. This bread came to be because I bought a tin of canned pumpkin and a jar of pumpkin spice. I made a pumpkin latte and then stared at both ingredients and realized I had made a fatal error in judgment and was not going to be able to finish either. Ever.

I also realized I had greek yogurt in the fridge because I had been on a smoothie making frenzy over the weekend and decided I needed to use that up. And all the bananas I froze for the smoothie making frenzy. I found this bread online and voila!

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees celcius.

Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice in a bowl.

Whisk the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, bananas, eggs, yogurt and vanilla extract in another large bowl. Mash the bananas separately, first.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes.

Toothpick/knife will have a bit of gunk on it but its fine.

*This bread isn’t very sweet so I like to spoon a tsp of maple syrup on it and let it soak in before eating.
**Adapted from Closet Cooking.