Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tangy Yogurt Flat Bread

      Are you a fan of focaccia? That's basically what this is..A chewy flavorful bread that can be enjoyed in a few different ways. You can cut this into squares and serve as is. Or you can serve it with some flavored oils or even honey. We've also made sandwiches with it by carefully slicing it across the top and then adding in meats and cheeses. 
        I sprinkle the top with nigella seeds,a touch of flaked sea salt and a drizzle of garlic olive oil. Life is good..

Tangy Yogurt Flatbread

1 cup Boiling Water
1 cup Plain Yogurt
2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
2 tsp. Salt
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1-1/2-2 cups Bread Flour
Oil for coating the pan as well as for the top of the bread
Nigella Seeds,Sea Salt,Sesame Seeds..whatever you like!

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the boiling water and yogurt. Stir to combine and allow to cool to just warm. Ass the yeast and the whole wheat flour. Stir with a spatula,cover with a tea towel and let hang out until it becomes fluffy,1-2 hours and as little as 30 minutes. It just depends on how warm your kitchen is! 
         Add the salt and 1-1/2 cups of the bread flour. Knead on speed 2 for 7 minutes,adding any additional bread flour as needed to achieve a smooth and elastic dough. The dough will appear sticky at first so don't fret and add in to much flour. Give it some time and add in a tablespoons worth of dough as needed. Place dough ball into a lightly greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in volume,1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400/200c. Grease a 13x 9 inch pan with either non stick spray or olive oil. Press the dough into the pan and making sure to press it all the way out into the edges ( the dough is very easy to work with and shouldn't be a problem to press it out evenly). Cover pan with a tea towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Dimple the dough with the handle of a wooden spoon or your fingers. Drizzle the top with olive oil and nigella seeds.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Slightly cool and cut into squares.

Yield: 1 large Focaccia
Source: Recipe Fiction

Friday, May 8, 2015

Farmer's Cheese? Let's Make Some!

            I decided to take the lukewarm plunge into cheese making. I'd love to go all in but at this stage of the game I am going to have to stick with the easy stuff. Not that regular cheese is hard to make but the equipment that's needed isn't high on my list of things to purchase.

So this cheese recipe if for those who have about an hour to kill,some whole milk, apple cider vinegar,cheese cloth,and some herbs and salt. That's all you need.

This isn't a hard cheese by any means. I would say this has the consistency of feta when it comes to the crumbly texture but no where near as salty. The flavor will largely depend on the herbs that you use. It has a mild flavor and does not melt. It's great crumbled over a salad or sliced a bit thicker to be placed on a cracker. 

Lets take a moment to chat about the milk that's used. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on Raw Milk, please use that. I know they are a bit iffy on that back home but I am lucky enough to be able to purchase it at a local farm without any issue. However, since most people won't be using it, I went ahead and just whole milk from the store. It worked just fine for me so go ahead and give it a try with whatever type of milk you can purchase. I can't say for sure how it will work if you use a low fat milk. I personally wouldn't try it but if you do, let me know!

Farmer's Cheese

1 Gallon Whole Milk
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 TBS Herbs of choice..I used Herbs de Provence
1 TBS Salt..it's not at all salty so don't worry about the amount

** You'll also need a double layer of cheese cloth**

Line a colander with your cheese cloth and place into the sink.

Pour the milk into a large heavy bottom kettle..like a soup kettle! Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat and please make sure to stir it frequently to stop it from scorching on the bottom. When the milk comes to a boil,turn the heat down to low and immediately pour in the apple cider vinegar. Give it a quick stir ( I used a wooden spoon) and you should see the milk curdling instantly and starting to turn into curds and whey. I think it took me a total of 2 minutes before I was ready to pour the mixture into the colander lined with cheese cloth.

Pour the mixture into the cheese cloth and then run cold water all over it. It should look something like this..
           At in the herbs and salt and mix until combined. The cheese is hot so use a wooden spoon to gently help getting it all mixed in. Tie the cheese cloth up,twist it and then press it down to get the remaining whey out of it. You don't want to make it to dry but make sure you give it a seriously firm press down. 

Let the cheese hang for 2 hours over a bowl (my bowl was dry after the two hours but depending on how firmly you pressed down on the cheese, you may or may not have excess whey still dripping out.
       After the 1-2 hours are up you can wrap the cheese up and pop it into the fridge until it gets nice and cold. We didn't like it warm and even a 24 hour resting period in the fridge works wonders too. After that enjoy it however you like! It will last up to a week in the fridge..just make sure you keep it covered!

Yield: One medium ball of cheese!!!
Source: Pocket Pause and Nourished Kitchen