Tag Archives: Home-made

How To Make Perfect Pastry (Basic Shortcrust Pastry Recipe).

A perfect shortcrust should have a light crumbly texture which melts in the mouth when you bite into it and tastes heavenly! This is why shortcrust pastry is the most popular when it comes to home-made desserts. Today we are going to look at the basics of the preparation method, including some possible variations.

This is a fairly simple method, but there are some important steps to follow in order to get it right. To obtain a crumbly and light pastry it is important to handle the butter and flour as little as possible, to avoid warming the pastry up with your hand. If the butter melts too much during the preparation method the pastry will change consistency and the result will be heavier than it should be.

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Tips.

1. If the dough is too dry you can add 1/2 egg white or a few tablespoons of water.

2. The ideal thickness for the base of a tart is about 3-5 mm, while 1/2 cm is the ideal thickness for a cookie dough.

3. It is possible to freeze the pastry and use it within a month.

Shortcrust Pastry Basic Recipe.

Medium difficulty

Ingredients

for a 24 cm in diameter cake tin (for 6 servings)

250 g plain flour, sifted

125 g butter, cut into small pieces

100 g sugar

3 egg yolks

aromas (lemon zest or orange zest, vanilla seeds, vanilla extract etc. ..)

a pinch of salt

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Method. 

1. On a board, using a spatula, mix the butter with the sugar.

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2. Add the egg yolks, one at a time.

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3. Add the sifted flour and the aromas. Knead well using a spatula and your hands (this operation should require as little time as possible).

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4. Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper, cover with a second sheet, then fold it and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

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5. After the required amount of time, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Beat the dough with a rolling pin to soften its consistency and proceed with your recipe.

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Basic variations.

For a more crumbly pastry:
Use hard-boiled yolks instead of raw and/ or add more butter to the recipe. If you add butter remember that you can add up to 80% of the total weight of the flour (e.i. if you use 500 g of flour, you can use up to 400 g of butter).

For a lighter pastry:
You can decrease the butter down to a minimum of 30% of the total weight of the flour used in the recipe.

For a crunchier pastry:
Increase the dose of sugar, bearing in mind that the dough will be sweeter.

For a finer pastry:
Use icing sugar instead of caster sugar. You can also use Italian flour 00, which is finer than plain flour.

For a drier pastry (e.g. to make cookies):
Use whole eggs (whites and yolks), adding 25 g of sugar and 25 g of butter.

For a taller pastry (for example to make cookies):
Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the dough.

Also see Cooking Method: Shortcrust Pastry Tart Case

Preparazione Base Della Pasta Frolla (Metodo A Mano).
Oggi vedremo insieme la preparazione base per fare la pasta frolla, la pasta più utilizzata per i dolci fatti in casa. E’ un metodo abbastanza semplice, che però comporta un minimo di attenzione nella preparazione e nella cottura, specialmente se si fanno delle crostate che richiedono una cottura in bianco, cioè senza il ripieno.
Per ottenere una buona pasta frolla, friabile e leggera al punto giusto, è importante che si proceda con gli ingredienti ancora freddi e si eviti di maneggiare troppo il burro e la farina durante la lavorazione, per non riscaldarli.

Note.

1. Nel caso l’impasto risultasse troppo asciutto si può aggiungere 1/2 albume oppure qualche cucchiaio d’acqua, per dare più elasticità.

2. E’ possibile surgelare la pasta frolla e utilizzarla entro un mese dal congelamento.

3. Se volete prepare la base di una crostata lo spessore ideale è di 3-5 mm e invece 1/2 cm è lo spessore ideale per i biscotti.

Ricetta base per la pasta frolla.

Media difficoltà

Ingredienti

per foderare uno stampo 24 cm di diametro (per 6 persone)

250 g di farina 00

125 g di burro a pezzetti

100 g di zucchero

3 tuorli d’uova

aromi (la buccia di limone o arancia grattugiata, i semi di vaniglia ecc..)

un pizzico di sale

Preparazione.

1. Su una spianatoia e utilizzando una spatola, per non riscaldare l’impasto, tagliate e amalgamate il burro con lo zucchero.

2. Aggiungete i tuorli, uno alla volta, al resto degli ingredienti.

3. Aggiungete gli aromi e la farina. Lavorate bene tutti gli ingredienti, sempre con la spatola e aiutandovi con le mani solo se necessario.

4. Stendete l’impasto su un foglio di carta da forno e ricopritelo con un secondo foglio. Piegate l’impasto a portafoglio e mettetelo nel frigo per almeno 30 minuti.

5. Passato il tempo necessario, togliete l’impasto dal frigorifero, battetelo con un matterello per ammorbidirlo e procedete con la vostra ricetta.

Possibili varianti nella consistenza.

1. Per una pasta frolla più friabile:
Utilizzate nell’impasto i tuorli delle uova sode, invece che crude e (oppure) aumentate la dose di burro. Se aggiungete il burro, non bisogna superare l’80% del peso della farina (cioè su 500 g di farina si possono utilizzare fino a 400 g di burro).

2. Per una pasta frolla più leggera:
Si può diminuire il burro fino al 30% dell’intero peso della farina utilizzata nella ricetta.

3. Per una pasta frolla più croccante:
Aumentate la dose di zucchero, tenendo presente che l’impasto sarà più dolce.

4. Per una pasta frolla più fine:
Utilizzate lo zucchero a velo al posto di quello semolato.

5. Per una pasta frolla più secca (ad esempio per fare i biscotti):
Utilizzate le uova intere (albumi e tuorli), aggiungendo 25 g di zucchero e 25 g di burro all’impasto.

6. Per una pasta frolla più gonfia (ad esempio per fare i biscotti):
Aggiungete 1 cucchiaino di lievito per dolci all’impasto.

Vedere anche Cottura in bianco della pasta frolla

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Traditional Recipe: Focaccia Alla Genovese (Genoese Focaccia Bread)

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Shiny and crunchy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside, only genoese focaccia has certain qualities which, all together, define one of the best focaccias you can ever taste. Focaccia alla genovese has a distinctive olive oil taste and it requires a long leavening time in order to be so soft and delicious. Apparently, you can only taste the real thing in Genoa and this might depend on several factors (the ingredients, the humidity in the air, the water and, last but not least, the old traditional recipe).

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Today I am going to give you two recipes that you can use to make an amazing focaccia, either with normal yeast or sourdough. In the second recipe, the recipe with normal yeast, I reduced the leavening time to make it more manageable, but, of course, if you let it rise for longer it will get softer and the result will be much better.

Focaccia Alla Genovese (with sourdough).

Ingredients

350 g (12.3 oz) plain flour

6-7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

100 g (3.52 oz) semiliquid sourdough (you can replace the sourdough with 20 g of yeast)

8 g  (0.28 oz) ground sea salt

a pinch of barley malt

water

Method.

1. In a bowl, make a starter by mixing 150 g (5.29 oz) flour with 100 g (3.52 oz) of semiliquid sourdough, a little bit of water, a pinch of barley malt. Mix everything, wrap the bowl with cling film and let rise overnight (at room temperature).

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2. Mix the starter with the rest of the flour, some water, some salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Knead vigorously until you get a smooth dough (make a moist dough).

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3. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for, at least, 3 hours. After 3 hours, knead again for a few minutes then let rise for another 3 hours (actually until the dough doubles in volume).

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4. Gently roll out the dough on a baking sheet, previously greased with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Make some wells by pressing with your fingers in the dough.

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5. Let rise for 2 hours, then brush with plenty extra virgin olive oil mixed with a little bit of water and bake at 190° C (374° F) for about 30 minutes.

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6. Remove from the oven, brush with more olive oil (add water if the dough is too dry), then season with salt and serve.

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Focaccia bread (quicker recipe with yeast).

ingredients

350 g (12.3 oz) plain flour

6-7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

20 g (0.70 oz) yeast

7 g (0.24 oz) ground sea salt

a pinch of barley malt

some water

Method.

1. In a bowl, combine the yeast with 3 tablespoons of warm water, a pinch of barley malt and 4 tablespoons of flour. Mix well, cover with cling film and let it rise for 1 hour.

2. Mix the yeast with the rest of the flour, a tablespoon of olive oil, some water and a little bit of salt. Knead well until dough is smooth.

3. Allow to rise for 1-2 hours, then roll out the dough with a rolling pin (without pressing too much).

4. Let rise again for 30 minutes, then make some wells in the surface of the dough, by pressing with your fingers. Brush with plenty of extra virgin olive oil mixed with some water and bake at 190° C (374° F) for about 30 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven, brush with more olive oil (add water if the dough is too dry), then season with the rest of the salt and serve.

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Focaccia Alla Genovese (con lievito madre).

Ingredienti

350 g di farina 00

6-7 cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva

100 g di lievito madre semiliquido

8 g di sale marino macinato

malto d’orzo

acqua q. b.

Preparazione.

1. In una ciotola, mischiate 150 g di farina con 100 g di lievito madre, un po’ d’acqua e pochissimo malto d’orzo. Mescolate energicamente, poi sigillate con la pellicola e lasciate lievitare per tutta la notte (a temperatura ambiente).

2. Unite al lievito il resto della farina, poi aggiungete un pizzico di sale, poca acqua e un cucchiaio d’olio. Lavorate energicamente fino ad ottenere un impasto omogeneo (l’impasto deve essere anche umido).

3. Coprite con un panno umido e fate lievitare per almeno 3 ore. Raggiunta la prima lievitazione, impastate ancora per qualche minuto e lasciate lievitare finché l’impasto sarà raddoppiato di volume.

4. Stendete delicatamente l’impasto su una teglia (unta abbondantemente).

5. Create dei piccoli crateri con le dita e spennellate l’impasto con acqua e olio. Fate lievitare per altre 2 ore, poi infornate a 190° C per circa 30 minuti.

6. Spennellate ancora con olio abbondante (aggiungete un po’ d’acqua se la focaccia è troppo secca), salate e servite.

Focaccia (preparazione veloce).

Ingredienti

350 g di farina 00

6-7 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

20 g di lievito di birra

7 g di sale marino macinato

malto d’orzo

acqua q. b.

Preparazione.

1. In una ciotola, mischiate il lievito con 3 cucchiai di acqua tiepida, pochissimo malto d’orzo e 4 cucchiai di farina. Mescolate bene, ricoprite con la pellicola e lasciate lievitare per 1 ora.

2. Unite l’impasto con il lievito al resto della farina, poi aggiungete un cucchiaio d’olio, un po’ d’acqua e un po’ di sale. Mescolate bene, fino ad ottenere un impasto liscio.

3. Lasciate lievitare per 1-2 ore, poi stendete l’impasto con il matterello (senza schiacciarlo troppo) e formate dei piccoli crateri con la punta delle dita.

4. Fate lievitare ancora per 30 minuti, poi spennellate con abbondante olio d’oliva mischiato ad acqua. Infornate a 190° per circa 30 minuti.

5. Sfornate la focaccia e spennellate con olio abbondante (aggiungete un po’ d’ acqua se è secca). Salate con il sale rimasto e servite.

Mixed Seed Wholemeal Bread Recipe (High-Fibre Food)

A delicious loaf of bread with a lot of tasty seeds inside! This is a great breakfast or sandwich bread,very tasty, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. I actually served it with a nice salad and I really enjoyed it!

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You can prepare the dough in the evening and keep it in the fridge with a few tablespoons of water, it will rise slowly through the night. The day after you have to take it out of the fridge a couple of hours before you bake it.

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Mixed Seed Wholemeal Bread.

150 g (5.2 oz) plain flour / unbleached all-purpose flour

100 g (3.5 oz) of durum wheat semolina flour

100 g (3.5 oz) whole spelt flour

100 g (3.5 oz) of wholemeal flour

135 g (4.76 oz) of sourdough (semi-liquid, made with plain or Manitoba flour) or 15 g of yeast

1/2 tsp of barley malt

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and some more to grease the tin

8 g (0.28 oz) of ground sea salt

1 tablespoon of flax seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1/2 tablespoon of fennel seeds

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Method.

1. Toast the seeds in a very hot oven for about 5 minutes (at 200°C/392 °F).

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2. Sift and mix the flours. Add the seeds, the sourdough (or yeast), 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, the barley malt and the salt. Mix everything well until you have a smooth dough.

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3. Let the dough rise until it doubles in volume (1-2 hours for the yeast, 3-6 hours for the sourdough).

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4. Bake in a loaf tin ( 3.9 inches x 10.2 inches), lightly greased with extra virgin olive oil, at 200 ° C (392°F) for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and then serve with a nice salad.

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Pane integrale ai semi.

150 g di farina 00

100 g di semola di grano duro

100 g di farina integrale di farro

100 g di farina integrale

135 g di lievito madre (semi liquido, con base di farina 00 o manitoba)
oppure 15 g di lievito di birra

1/2 cucchiaio di malto d’orzo

1 cucchiaio d’olio extra vergine d’oliva per l’impasto e un po’ di più per ungere la teglia

1 cucchiaio di semi di lino

1 cucchiaio di semi di sesamo

1 cucchiaio di semi di papavero

1/2 cucchiaio di semi di finocchio

Preparazione.

1. Fate tostare i semi per qualche minuto nel forno a 200°C, oppure in una padella.

2. Setacciate e unite le farine. Aggiungete i semi, il lievito, 1 cucchiaio d’olio extra vergine d’oliva, il malto d’orzo e il sale.

3. Fate lievitare fino a far raddoppiare l’impasto di volume (1-2 ore per il lievito di birra, 3-6 ore per il lievito madre).

4. Infornate a 200 °C per 25-30 minuti (ho usato una teglia profonda 10 cm x 26 cm). Fate raffreddare e servite con una buona insalata.

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Make The Best Pizza Dough ( Part 2)

I already published a basic pizza dough recipe with normal yeast a few weeks ago, this is basically the same recipe adapted for sourdough. Before getting started with the recipe, let me say a few things about sourdough.

Why sourdough?
Sourdough is a natural yeast created by fermenting flour with water. It is a long process, which is not particularly complicated, but it takes some time and care.
Basically, you create the natural yeast, then you feed it and keep it in good shape, that’s really all there is to it! In exchange, your sourdough will reward you with a lot of flavour, leavening strength and satisfaction!
Moreover, sourdough is healthier and much more digestible than commonly used yeast. Another good reason to use it is the difference in taste, as sourdough’s flavour is much more delicate and pleasant than all the other yeasts.
So, don’t give up if you haven’t tried yet, instead give it a go and you’ll see the difference, I promise you!
To get started with sourdough you can follow the step by step recipe here.

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Some things you have to know before you go on with the recipe:

1. The flour-sourdough ratio in recipes is usually 3 to 1 (3 parts of flour plus 1 part of sourdough). In order to prepare approximately 500 g of dough we will use 375 g of flour with 125 g of sourdough. You can use this recipe to make sourdough bread as well as pizza.

2. Semi-liquid sourdough contains a lot of water, therefore you have to add less water than in normal yeast pizza and bread recipes. My advice is to add a little bit of water gradually.

3. Sometimes it’s useful to make the dough in the evening and then keep it in the fridge with some extra water over night. The following day, take it out of the fridge two hours before you use it (knead the dough a little, then make the pizzas and let them rise for a couples of hours at room temperate). During this process the dough will rise much better and faster.

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Sourdough Pizza Crust.

Ingredients

For 2 large pizzas

Recipe No. 1

210 g flour 00 (or plain, unbleached all-purpuse flour)

135 g whole spelt flour

30 g durum wheat flour (semolina)

125 g sourdough (semi-liquid and made ​​with manitoba flour)

10 g salt

a pinch of barley malt (optional)

extra virgin olive oil to taste

water

Note.

If you use the sourdough starter made ​​from flour 00 (or plain, unbleached all-purpose flour) the ingredient ratio changes slightly:

Recipe No. 2

130 g flour 00 (or plain, unbleached all-purpuse flour)

135 g whole spelt flour

80 g Manitoba flour

30 g durum wheat flour (semolina)

125 g sourdough (semi-liquid and made with flour 00 of plain, unbleached all-purpuse flour)

10 g salt

a pinch of barley malt (optional)

extra virgin olive oil to taste

water

Method.

1. Sift and mix the flour on a wooden board or a large bowl (use a fine sieve). Mix the flour with the sourdough and a little bit of water. Add the salt and, if you want, you can also add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of malt.

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2. knead vigorously, until you get an elastic dough. Let the dough rise in a sheltered place for 3-6 hours (the rising time varies depending on different factors, the dough is ready when it has doubled in volume).

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3. Take two large oven trays, cover them with baking paper and brush them with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, make two pizza bases and then add the other ingredients (I am going to make a pizza with mozzarella cheese and crescenza, a nice sweet and creamy Italian cheese)

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4. Let the pizzas rise for about 1 hour, then bake in a preheated oven at 190° (374°F) for 20-30 minutes.

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Impasto base per la pizza con lievito madre.

Ingredienti

2 pizze grandi

Ricetta n°1

210 g di farina 00

135 g di farina di farro integrale

30 g di semola rimacinata

125 g di lievito madre (semiliquido, a base di farina manitoba)

acqua q. b.

10 g di sale

pochissimo malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

olio extra vergine d’olio d’oliva q. b.

Nota.

Se usate il lievito madre a base di farina 00 gli ingredienti variano leggermente:

Ricetta n° 2

130 g di farina 00

135 g di farina di farro integrale

80 g di farina manitoba

125 g di lievito madre (semiliquido con base di farina 00)

30 g di semola rimacinata

10 g di sale

acqua q. b.

pochissimo malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

olio extra vergine d’olio d’oliva q. b.

Metodo.

1. Mescolate, setacciate le farine e sistematele a fontana su una spianatoia o mettetele in una ciotola grande. Unite il lievito madre alla farina con un po d’acqua. Mescolate leggermente, poi aggiungere il sale con cucchiai d’ olio extra vergine di oliva e un pizzico di malto, se desiderate aggiungerli.

2. Lavorate energicamente gli ingredienti, fino ad ottenere un impasto omogeneo ed elastico. Lasciate lievitare l’impasto in un luogo riparato per 3-6 ore (il tempo di lievitazione varia a seconda di diversi fattori, l’impasto è pronto quando sarà raddoppiato di volume).

3. Prendete due teglie grandi, ricopritele con carta da forno e spennellatele con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva. Stendete la pasta con un matterello e fate due basi per pizza, poi aggiungere gli altri ingredienti (in questo caso faremo una pizza bianca con crescenza e mozzarella).

4. Lasciate lievitare le pizze per circa 1 ora, poi fate cuocere a 190° C in forno preriscaldato per 20-30 minuti (dipende dallo spessore della pasta).

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How To Make Sourdough (re-edited).

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What is sourdough?

Sourdough is a natural yeast, obtained by fermenting flour and water. It can have a solid or a liquid consistency, depending on the amount of water used to feed it. Liquid sourdough usually rises better.

I personally recommend the preparation and use of this great ingredient because it’s completely natural, therefore much healthier and more digestible than other yeasts. Sourdough can be used to make a variety of breads, pizzas, pies and cakes with surprising results. Moreover, it makes everything taste better!

Preparing the sourdough starter.

1. First you have to make a starter. Mix 1 cup of organic wholemeal flour (the wholemeal flour is necessary for the first feed) with 1/2 cup of cool water (use non-chlorinated water, you can mix tap water with still drinking water from a bottle).
Put the ingredients in a glass, stainless steel or a plastic container for food.

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2. Stir all the ingredients together, until creamy and smooth, then cover the container with a damp cloth and let it sit for 24 hours.

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3. After 24 hours remove the top half of the mixture, then feed the starter again with 1 cup of plain flour (you can use manitoba, whole spelt or wholemeal flour, if you prefer) and half a cup of water. Stir well, cover with a damp cloth and let it sit for another 24 hours.

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4. Now you can start feeding the starter every two days. Repeat this process for about 10 days.

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5. After 10 days, you can start feeding your sourdough every 4-5 days and you can use it for your recipes.

Store the sourdough.

1. Store the sourdough in a glass jar and keep it in the fridge (with the lid on).

2. Each time you feed the sourdough let it sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature in a glass jar covered with a damp cloth (with no lid on). Then remove the cloth, close the container and put it back in the refrigerator.

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Doses.

1. Feed the sourdough the day before you use it (12 hours before). To feed the sourdough, weight the natural yeast, then add the same amount of  flour and half the amount of water.

2. In the quickest recipes, the ratio of flour and sourdough used must be 3 to 1. (e.g. for 900 g of flour use 300 g of sourdough).

3. The rising time of the dough will depend on the age and strength of the yeast, at first it may take 3 to 6 hours (however, when it doubles in size it is ready for use).

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La pasta madre.
La pasta madre è un lievito naturale che si ottiene facendo fermentare farina e acqua. Questo lievito può avere una consistenza più solida o liquida, a seconda della quantità d’acqua utilizzata, normalmente la versione più liquida ha una lievitazione migliore.

Consiglio vivamente la preparazione e l’utilizzo di questo ingrediente, essendo un lievito completamente naturale e quindi molto più digeribile e salutare rispetto ad altri lieviti comunemente utilizzati. Inoltre può essere usato facilmente nella preparazione di svariati tipi di pane, pizze torte salate e dolci con risultati sorprendenti.

Preparazione della pasta madre.

1. Per prima cosa, preparate un piccolo impasto unendo 1 tazza di farina integrale biologica (la farina integrale è necessaria per il primo impasto) a 1/2 tazza d’acqua fredda (utilizzate acqua con poco cloro, potete miscelare l’acqua del rubinetto con acqua minerale naturale).

2. Mettere gli ingredienti in un contenitore (è consigliabile utilizzare un contenitore di vetro oppure acciaio inossidabile, ma anche la plastica per alimenti va bene) e mescolare fino ad ottenere un composto cremoso. Coprire il contenitore con un panno umido e lasciate riposare per 24 ore.

3. Passate 24 ore, levate la parte dura in superficie e rinfrescare quello che resta del lievito, cioè aggiungete al composto 1 tazza di farina (potete utilizzare la 00, manitoba oppure farina integrale, come preferite) e mezzo bicchiere d’ acqua. Mescolare bene, coprire con un panno umido e lasciate riposare per altre 24 ore.

4. Ora potete rinfrescare il lievito ogni 2 giorni, utilizzando sempre una tazza di farina e 1/2 tazza d’acqua. Continuate con questa procedura per circa 10 giorni.

5. Dopo 10 giorni, potete incominciare a rinfrescare la pasta madre ogni 4-5 giorni. Arrivati a questo punto, la vostra pasta madre è pronta per essere utilizzata nelle vostre ricette.

La conservazione.

1. Conservate la pasta madre in un vasetto di vetro, chiuso con il coperchio e tenuto in frigorifero.

2. Dopo ogni rinfresco, lasciate riposare il lievito madre per una o due ore in un vasetto coperto da un panno umido a temperatura ambiente, poi chiudete il contenitore e rimettetelo nel frigorifero.

Le dosi consigliate.

1. Nutrite la pasta madre il giorno prima di utilizzarla (almeno 12 ore prima). Per nutrire la pasta madre, prima pesate il lievito naturale, poi aggiungere la stesso peso di farina e metà del peso di acqua.

2. Nelle ricette più rapide, il rapporto tra farina e pasta madre deve essere di 3 a 1, cioè su 900 g di farina utilizzeremo 300 g di lievito naturale.

3. Il tempo di lievitazione dipenderà dall’età e dalla forza della pasta madre. I tempi possono variare dalle 3 alle 6 ore, consiglio però di non guardare l’orologio ma di osservare il volume dell’impasto, quando raddoppia è pronto per l’uso.

Make the Best Pizza Dough (Part 1)

Making your own pizza dough, for the first time, is probably one of the most satisfying things you can ever experience in your kitchen. There is something magical about the whole process, from the moment you first see the dough rising, up to the moment you actually see your beautiful creation coming out of the oven. I personally enjoy everything about this process and this is why I don’t buy it anymore. Moreover, once you start experimenting with different flours and ingredients, especially if you use natural yeast (but we will see this in part 2), home-made pizza can become a truly special dish to make.

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 A few words on the preparation.

To prepare (approximately) 500 g of dough for pizza or bread you must use 500 g of flour, 15 g of yeast, 10 g salt and some water.

For this recipe I used different kinds of organic flour which have very different qualities from one another and help to create a certain harmony of flavours and textures. The amount of water in the dough and the leavening time may vary, depending on the ingredients used. This type of dough can be used, not only to make pizza but it’s also great to make focaccia and other breads.

Notes. You can decide to add extra virgin olive oil and barley malt (or honey) to the recipe or not, depending on your personal taste. The extra virgin olive oil gives a crunchier crust and the malt (or honey) will help the leavening process, but both these ingredients will add some extra calories to your recipe, so if you are on a diet,  don’t use them.

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I am giving you two options here, choose the dough with the ingredients that you prefer.

Basic pizza dough (with normal yeast)

 Ingredients 

For two large pizzas

to prepare (approximately) 500 g of bread dough or pizza base

 for a wholemeal dough 

250 g plain flour (unbleached all-purpose flour)

100 g whole spelt flour (or farro flour)

100 g Manitoba flour

50 g durum wheat semolina flour

15 g yeast

200-250 ml warm water (but add more if necessary)

10 g salt

extra virgin olive oil to taste

a big pinch of barley malt or honey (optional)

 for a plain flour dough 

If you prefer a dough made mostly with plain flour, then use:

250 g plain flour

250 g manitoba flour (or durum wheat semolina flour)

15 g yeast

200-250 ml warm water (add more if you need to)

10 g salt

extra virgin olive oil to taste

a big pinch of barley malt or honey (optional)

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 Method (for both doughs). 

1. Break up the yeast into small pieces and mix it with a bit ‘of warm water and a few tablespoons of flour. Create a small dough and let it double in volume.

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2. Sift the remaining flour with a fine sieve and make a well on a wooden board, then pour 200-250 ml warm water (gradually) and salt in the centre (also add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of malt, if you wish). Mix the ingredients.

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3. Add the yeast dough (from step 1) to the mixture and knead vigorously.

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4. Let it rise in a sheltered place until the dough has doubled volume (it might take between one or two hours).

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5. Take two large oven trays, cover them with baking paper and brush the paper with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and then add the other ingredients (mozzarella, tomatoes, olives etc.).

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6. Let it rise again for 30 minutes, then bake in preheated oven at 190 ° C (374° F) for 20-30 minutes.

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This pizza is called “Marinara” and is made with anchovies, tomatoes and crushed garlic. A very cheap and simple dish, but full of flavour!

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See also Make the best pizza dough part 2 (with sourdough)

Impasto per la pizza (con lievito di birra).

Per preparare 500 g di pasta per la pizza o da pane generalmente si utilizzano 500 g di farina, 15 g di lievito di birra, 10 g di sale e acqua.

In questo caso utilizzerò farine biologiche di vario tipo, che presentano qualità molto diverse tra loro e che aiutano a creare una certa armonia di fragranza e croccantezza. La quantità d’ acqua necessaria da utilizzare potrebbe variare leggermente, a seconda delle farine e degli altri ingredienti utilizzati, così come il tempo di lievitazione. Questo tipo di impasto può esse utilizzato anche per preparare focacce e pane.

Nota. Ho aggiunto l’ olio extravergine d’oliva e il malto d’orzo nella lista degli ingredienti, perché servono a creare una crosta più croccante e a far lievitare meglio l’impasto (nel caso del malto).

Vi darò due ricette, così potete scegliere l’impasto con gli ingredienti che preferite.

Impasto base per la pizza (con lievito di birra)

Ingredienti 

Per due pizze grandi

per preparare 500 g di pasta da pane o per pizza

Impasto con farina integrale

250 g farina 00

100 g farina di farro integrale

100 g Manitoba

50 g semola di grano duro rimacinata

15 g di lievito di birra

200-250 ml di acqua tiepida

10 g di sale

olio extra vergine d’oliva q. b.

una punta di cucchiaio di malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

Impasto con farina 00

Se preferite un’impasto semplice con farina bianca allora utilizzate i seguenti ingredienti:

250 g di farina 00

250 g di farina Manitoba

15 g di lievito di birra

200-250 ml di acqua tiepida

10 g di sale

olio extra vergine d’oliva q. b.

una punta di cucchiaio di malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

 Metodo (per entrambi gli impasti). 

1. Spezzate il lievito in piccoli pezzi e mischiatelo con un po’ d’ acqua tiepida e qualche cucchiaio di farina, fino a creare un panetto. Lasciate raddoppiare il panetto di volume.

2. Setacciate il resto della farina e disponetela a fontana su una spianatoia con 200-250 ml d’ acqua tiepida e il sale (aggiungete anche l’olio e il malto, se volgete utilizzarli). Mescolate leggermente.

3. Aggiungete il panetto di lievito e impastate tutto energicamente.

4. Lasciate lievitare in un luogo riparato, finché il volume dell’impasto sarà raddoppiato (una o due ore).

5. Utilizzate due teglie grandi, ricopritele con della carta da forno e spennellate con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva. Stendete l’impasto con un matterello, aggiungete gli   altri ingredienti (mozzarella, pomodori, origano ecc.) e infornate a forno preriscaldato a 190° C per 20-30 minuti.

My Grandmother’s Pasta Machine

I still remember the aroma of home-made tortellini coming from my grandmother’s kitchen, at my grandparents’  apartment, which is where I live now. The texture is different from any pasta I have ever eaten since then. The pasta was thicker, not very smooth and would melt in the mouth easily, unleashing a feast of comforting flavours. The meat in the filling was lean but very tasty and the broth, in which the tortellini were served, was very warm and intense.

The aroma would remain in the apartment for hours after the meal. I can still clearly smell it now, in my memories.

Today, I am using the same kitchen, the same sink (an old-fashioned genoese marble model with all the stains) and the same pasta machine that was used by my grandmother to prepare her “famous” home-made tortellini…

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Fresh Egg Pasta with Flour 00 (Step by Step)

This week we are going to prepare plain fresh egg pasta, using flour 00. This pasta can be used as a base for making a variety dishes, prepared with all sorts of creative stuffings and sauces, but we will see this in the next posts.

I generally tend to use more complex and heavier types of flour, because they are tastier and rich in nutrients. In some recipes , however, it’s better to use a finer and more delicate flour, in order to avoid covering the flavour of the other ingredients. For this recipe the Italian flour 00 is perfect for making pasta, because it is finer than normal flour, however, if you can’t find it use plain flour.

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tips.

1. The ingredients listed are for 400 g of (uncooked) pasta, but if you need a different quantity, just bear in mind that for every 100g of flour you have to add an egg. For example, if you need 200 g of pasta just halve the ingredients (and use 2 small eggs).

2 . It is important to sift the flour before using it to avoid lumps or impurities (I don’t usually say this but you should always do it).

3. Here I am using a rolling pin, but if you are planning to make large quantities of fresh pasta I strongly advise you to get a pasta machine, to make things easier.

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Fresh Egg Pasta (with flour 00)

 Ingredients

for 400 g (14 oz) of pasta (approximately)

300 g (10.5 oz)  flour 00 (or plain flour)

3 eggs

salt to taste

 Tools

a clean kitchen cloth

an airtight container

a long rolling pin

a wooden board (with a rough surface) or a table

 Method

1. Sift the flour with a sieve, add some salt, make a well and crack three eggs in the centre. With a fork, beat the eggs lightly, in order to mix the whites with the yolks. Still using a fork, combine the flour with the eggs starting from the outer edge, then continue mixing the ingredients with your fingers and begin to knead.

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2. Knead until you get a smooth dough, then wrap in a clean cloth and place in an airtight container (or use cling film). Let stand for about an hour at room temperature (if you don’t have much time, 30 minutes is fine).

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3. After an hour (or 30 minutes), take the dough and divide it into 3-4 pieces. Dust the working surface with some flour and, using a rolling pin, roll a very thin sheet of pasta. Repeat this process with the other pieces and cut the sheets as required by the recipe you are going to prepare.

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Notes.

You can make lasagne, ravioli, cannelloni and many varieties of pasta from these sheets. We will see how in the next few weeks. See also the post on spelt (farro) pasta for more ideas.

Pasta fresca all’uovo.

Ingredienti

per circa 400g di pasta

300g di farina 00

3 uova

sale q.b.

 Utensili

uno panno pulito

un contenitore a chiusura ermetica

un matterello lungo

una spianatoia di legno (con superficie ruvida)

 Preparazione.

1. Setacciate la farina con un colino grande (oppure un setaccio) e disponetela a fontana con tre uova al centro. Con una forchetta sbattete leggermente le uova, in modo da mischiare il bianco al tuorlo. Sempre con una forchetta, unite la farina all’uovo partendo del bordo esterno, poi proseguite con le dita e incominciate ad impastare.

2. Lavorate bene l’impasto, poi avvolgetelo in un panno pulito e mettetelo in un contenitore con chiusura ermetica (potete anche utilizzare la pellicola). Lasciate riposare un’ oretta (oppure 30 minuti, se non avete molto tempo).

3. Prendete l’impasto, dividetelo in 3-4 pezzi e incominciate a stendere la pasta (infarinando bene le superfici), fino ad ottenere una sfoglia molto sottile. Ripetete l’operazione con gli altri pezzi e tagliate la pasta come richiede la ricetta che state preparando.

Gluten-free Buckwheat Gnocchi (Step by Step)

I adore gnocchi! Gnocchi with pesto has been my favourite pasta dish since I was a kid. In Italy there are numerous variations of this wonderful pasta, some of which are really colourful and tasty. Today we are going to prepare a gluten-free version made with buckwheat flour. This flour might be a little expensive, but I decided to use it because of the benefits that introducing gluten-free meals in our every-day diet have. Even though I don’t have intolerances or allergies, but also because I think it’s delicious. Of course, it is also a good alternative to traditional gnocchi for celiac people.

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 A few words about Buckwheat. 

Buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb. The seeds are fruit seeds, not cereals, very similar to sunflower seeds, and with a distinctive triangular shape. They are rich in protein, important minerals ( iron, phosphorus, zinc, selenium and potassium.) and vitamins B. Buckwheat is normally used in flour or grains. The flour is very tasty and perfect for pasta recipes, in fact, in Italy it is widely used in many traditional dishes.

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Ingredients

Preparation: 25 minutes

Potatoes Cooking time: 15-20 minutes + time to cool

Gnocchi Cooking time: 5 minutes

Serves 4-5

1 kg (35.2 oz) large potatoes

200 g (7.05 oz) buckwheat flour (and a little bit more for dusting)

50 g  (1.76 oz) potato starch

salt to taste

 Tools 

wooden board or table

A large pan (with a steaming basket  or you can use a steamer if you prefer this cooking method)

a large sieve (to sift the flour)

potato ricer (or a potato masher)

a knife

a fork (or a gnocchi board)

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 Method

1.Wash, then steam or boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes (if you boil, put them in cold salted water and then, bring to the boil). Mash the potatoes and let cool. Once they have cooled down, add the flour and starch (previously sifted and mixed).

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2. Combine all the ingredients, add some salt and work until you get a soft and smooth dough (adding some flour, if necessary).

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3. Dust the board, then divide the dough into 4-5 equal pieces and roll each piece into long ropes (the ropes should be 1,5 cm [0.39 uk inches] high). Cut each rope into small pieces (3 cm [ 1.18 uk inches] long and 1,5 cm [ 0.39 uk inches] high).

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4. Use a fork to indent the gnocchi by pressing the centre and roll each piece on the fork (watch the video below) , in this way the gnocchi will absorb the condiment better.

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Watch the video:

5. Add more flour to prevent the gnocchi from sticking together and lay them a little apart from each other on a table, previously covered with clean kitchen cloths (I used a plate because I prepared only one portion). Cook as soon as possible.

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 Tips.

Boil in plenty of salted water for a few minutes. Once they rise, gently drain and season as you prefer (serve these wonderful gnocchi with pesto or with a nice tomato sauce. If you don’t follow a vegan or a low-cal diet I suggest you try them with a gorgonzola sauce).

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Gnocchi di patate e grano saraceno.

Preparazione: 25 minuti

Cottura delle patate: 15-20 minuti + il tempo di farle un po’ raffreddare

Cottura degli gnocchi: 5 minuti

Ingredienti

per 4-5 persone

1 kg di patate farinose

200 g di farina di grano saraceno ( e un po’ di più per infarinare)

50 g di fecola di patate

sale q.b.

Utensili

una spianatoia di legno abbastanza grande

Una pentola grande (con cestello per cottura a vapore oppure una  vaporiera, se preferite questo tipo di cottura)

un setaccio o un colino grande (per setacciare la farina)

uno schiaccia patate

un coltello

una forchetta

 Preparazione

1. Lavate bene le patate e fate cuocere a vapore per 15-20 minuti (o lessatele mettendole in acqua fredda salata e portando a bollore). Schiacciate le patate e lasciate raffreddare. Aggiungete la farina e la fecola (setacciate e mescolate in precedenza).

2. Amalgamate gli ingredienti con un po’ di sale, fino ad ottenere un impasto morbido ed uniforme. Nel caso fosse necessario, aggiungete un po’ di farina.

3. Infarinate la superficie della spianatoia, dividete l’impasto in 4-5 pezzi uguali e rotolate ogni pezzo fino a formare dei filoncini molto lunghi e alti 1,5 cm. Tagliate ogni cilindro di pasta in piccoli gnocchi (lunghi 3 cm e alti 1,5 cm circa).

4. Usate una forchetta per rigare gli gnocchi (guarda il video).

5. Appoggiate gli gnocchi distanti tra loro su un tavolo coperto da strofinacci puliti, leggermente infarinati (nelle foto uso un piatto perché ho preparato una porzione sola).

 Note.

Per la cottura consiglio di far bollire in acqua abbondante e salata per qualche minuto. Poi scolate e condite come preferite. Un ottimo condimento per gli gnocchi di grano saraceno potrebbe essere una salsa al gorgonzola, oppure condite semplicemente con del buon pesto o una salsa al pomodoro, se seguite una dieta vegana o a basso contenuto calorico.

Easy Fresh Egg Spelt Pasta (Step by Step)

This week we are going to prepare home-made spelt (farro) pasta. In Italy there are several kinds of pasta, made with different ingredients, colours and shapes. Each type has its own precise measurements, name and tradition. Today we are going to make pappardelle. This pasta is very similar to tagliatelle, only a little bit easier to cut, with a thin and long rectangular shape (about 1,5- 2 cm wide).

Pappardelle is made by mixing flour (usually 00 or plain) with a few eggs. In the next posts I’ll show you how to prepare different kinds of pasta, some without eggs and some gluten-free recipes as well. First of all, let’s make a list of the things we need.

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 Spelt Flour (Farro) Pappardelle.

Preparation: 30 minutes +1 hour refrigeration

Cooking: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients

3-4 servings

100g (3.5 oz) plain flour (best if you find 00 flour, which is very fine)

200g (7 oz ) wholemeal spelt flour (whole wheat farro flour)

50 g (1.76 oz) of plain flour, for dusting

a pinch of salt

3 eggs

 Tools 

a large knife

a large wooden board (or a large table will do)

a long rolling pin

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Method.

1. Mix the flours with salt on a wooden board and make a well in the centre. Put three eggs in it, then mix them slightly using a fork.

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2. Starting from the outside edges, slowly combine the flour with the eggs.

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3. Work the dough until smooth.

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4. Fold a kitchen cloth around the dough and place it in an airtight container for about an hour (during this time the dough becomes more elastic).

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5. After an hour, take the dough (dust with some flour), divide it into two parts and using a rolling pin make two thin sheets of pasta.

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6. Using a rolling pin, roll the pasta from the outside inwards (see the picture).

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7. Cut the pasta (each cut should be about 2 cm, 0.70 inches, from the next). Roll and cut both sheets of pasta.

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8. Dust with more flour and separate the pappardelle on the wooden board, then cook and serve.

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Tip. Boil the pasta in plenty of hot water, with 1/2 a tablespoon of salt (no oil needed) for 10-15 minutes. Then drain and serve with fresh pesto or tomato sauce.

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Pappardelle di farina di farro.

Preparazione: 30 minuti+1 ora in frigorifero

Cottura: 10-15 minuti

ingredienti 

per 3-4 persone

100g di farina 00

200 g di farina di farro (preferibilmente integrale)

50 g di farina 00 (per non fare attaccare la pasta)

un pizzico di sale

3 uova

Utensili

un grosso coltello

una spianatoia in legno (abbastanza grande e con superficie ruvida)

un matterello lungo

1. Mescolate le farine e il sale su una spianatoia. Disponete la farina a fontana con tre uova al centro, poi sbattete leggermente le uova usando una forchetta. Unite gli ingredienti, partendo dal bordo esterno.

2. Lavorate fino ad ottenere un impasto omogeneo. Ricopritelo con un panno e mettetelo in un contenitore ermetico per circa un’ora (in questo modo l’impasto diventerà più elastico).

3. Dopo un’ora, prendete l’impasto (dividetelo in due) infarinate bene tutto e fate due sfoglie sottili con il matterello. Sempre aiutandovi con il matterello, arrotolare la pasta per tagliarla (vedi la foto).

4. Tagliate la pasta (ogni taglio deve essere distante 2 cm circa dal successivo). Infarinate e separate le pappardelle sulla tavola. Cuocete le pappardelle per 10-15 minuti e condite come preferite.