Friday, December 19, 2014

Recipe: Baked Spelt Doughnuts

Ever since hearing about baked doughnuts I have been wanting to try them. I make fried doughnuts probably once or twice a year, if we're lucky, so I didn't feel the need to bake them due to an over consumption of fried food. I just wanted to try it. And last weekend I did just that.

It was perfect doughnut making weather - a lovely rainy day. I used the same dough recipe for my baked doughnuts as I use for my fried ones.
I'm surprised to say that I didn't notice a difference in the flavour of the baked doughnut compared to the fried one. Both are equally as delicious.
The thing I love about the baked ones though, is that I didn't have to stand in front of a hot wok of oil, worrying about temperatures or oil splattering. I just baked the doughnuts on the same trays as they were risen on. Whilst they were baking, I melted some butter and mixed together my rapadura and cinnamon. I brushed the doughnuts with butter once they were baked, to help the sugar mixture stick. Far more relaxing and easy peasy.

Anyway, enough about how much I enjoyed them - I've posted the recipe below so that you can try baking your very own doughnuts if you like. I hope you enjoy them and do let me know what you think of them - are you a fried doughnut lover or do you prefer the baked ones I wonder?

Oh, the other wonderful thing about baking them is that if you use a doughnut cutter, you get to do cool things with the 'holes'. I put mine together in a Christmas tree shape. I love the way it turned out.

We're not an overly festive bunch, but I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas! Whether you have a traditional celebration or are minimalist, I hope the day is everything you're hoping for. I actually can't believe we're nearly at the end of another year. xx

Baked Spelt Doughnuts
300mls lukewarm Water
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Salt
3 tblsp Rapadura (or sugar)
80gm Butter, melted
4 1/2 cups Unbleached Spelt or White Flour
2 tsp Yeast

Butter, melted, to serve
Cinnamon & Rapadura (or sugar), to serve

Mixing the Dough:
Method 1 (Breadmaker)
Put ingredients, in the order listed, into breadmaker. Set on Dough:Bread setting - ours goes for an hour and a half. Make sure you check on the dough 5 minutes into mixing, it may need more flour.

Method 2 (By Hand)
Put ingredients, in the order listed, into a large bowl. Mix until it begins to come together in a bowl, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a soft, elastic dough has formed. Return to bowl and allow to rest and rise in a warm place, covered, for an hour and a half.

Rolling out the Doughnuts:
Line several baking trays with none stick baking paper.

Dust a large silicon mat or board with flour and turn the dough onto the surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough until approx. 1cm thick. Using your chosen cutter (see note) cut out doughnuts and place on trays. Cover and let rise for 25 minutes or until doubled in size. 
During the last 5 minutes of rising, preheat your oven to 190 ÂșC.

Bake the doughnuts for 10-12 minutes, or until firm and very lightly golden. Mix cinnamon and rapadura together in a bowl and set aside. 
Transfer doughnuts immediately to a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 seconds before brushing with melted butter and rolling in rapadura mixture. Serve warm.

Note: This recipe makes a large batch of doughnuts. The doughnuts are lovely with a cup of tea or coffee the next day, but if you don't want left overs than this recipe is easily doubled.
If you don't have Spelt, then whole wheat or unbleached white flour will work just as well.

PS If you'd like to try fried spelt doughnuts, you will find my recipe here.


Monday, December 15, 2014


I probably don't need to tell you how proud I am of this cheese. The fact that I have dedicated an entire post to it, and allowed room for five photos in that post probably speaks for itself.
I kind of feel like it's our first block of cheese. As I mentioned in my previous post, we have made Fetta before. But what I didn't mention was that we had a few hiccups with it in the making process. The end result was still lovely cheese, but it could have been better.

This block, however, this beautiful round Pepato, had a perfect making process. It was relaxing to make as everything went smoothly.
After soaking in it's brine for 8 hours, it had to dry on a rack for two days. Then early this morning it was ready to go back into the cheese fridge to mature for a month or two (it can mature for up to 12 months, but I'm realistic and know we won't hold out that long). We sliced it into eight wedges, packaged them using the vaccum sealer and put them into the fridge. You can of course mature your cheese as a whole wheel, but we thought it made more sense just to slice it up now, rather than packing the whole wheel, and then having to repack it in it's wedges once it is mature. This way we can just get out one wedge at a time to use, which will completely wipe out the chance of any being wasted due to spoiling.

I'm really looking forward to tasting it. You can probably expect to see this cheese feature in yet another post when the time comes, although I'll try not to dedicate an entire post to it again:-)

*Pepato is a semi-hard cheese, traditionally made with sheep's milk. It is made with pepper corns, which are added to the curds after removing the whey.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

On Milking & Cheese Making

 It's so new all this milking business. We've had our ups and downs, had a few challenges we've had to overcome and (inevitably) lost a few buckets of milk along the way. Since becoming the owner of a lactating milking cow and learning to milk by hand, I have found myself on one or two occasions literally crying over spilt milk.

Because we're soft hearted we chose not to take the calf away overnight. For those that don't know, it is standard practice for the calf to be locked away from it's Mum overnight once it's about a week old. This doesn't actually bother the calf or Mum that much.
I've had people tell me that after the first few nights, the cows actually come and drop the babies off at the right time and are happy to leave them there overnight. They get an afternoon/evening of grass munching without having to worry about their baby - free babysitting!
The cow is then milked in the morning, and then the calf is let out to enjoy his Mama's milk all day long.
But, as I mentioned above, we're soft hearted. We couldn't bare to lock our calf up.As long as we can get enough milk to fulfil our daily needs, we'll be happy. Cheese and yoghurt making is a bonus - like anything else, something you do when you have excess produce.

This method has made it a little tricky at times. We figured out early on Smokey's (the calf) drinking patterns, and knew what time to milk at in the evening and afternoon for optimum milk yield.
We had it sorted - against the odds, we were winning.
That was, until he changed his drinking routine.
As summer has rolled in, the sun has started rising earlier. And Smokey's gotten older, and calves drinking patterns change with age.
We had a bit of milk-less week not long ago. Due both to Smokey's changes to the milking schedule and to us losing the bucket of milk. We always had enough to drink though, just not enough to make cheese from.
We're on a good pattern now though, we're averaging about 4 litres a day.
A good amount, considering we've been told that we won't get any milk with the calf on 24/7. And considering a cow's lactation also isn't as good first calf round (fact), I think it's going pretty well. Actually I'm pretty chuffed.


Today my Mum and I made cheese. We made Pepato. We haven't made Pepato before. In fact we've only made Fetta. And Ricotta. We've made more Ricotta than anything else. It's easy. All you do is heat up the milk, and then in the right order and at the right times add vinegar, and stir and let it sit and then scoop the curds out.......and enjoy them warm with butter and herbs....mmm!

Did you know that it takes 10 litres of milk to make 1 kilo of cheese? 
It feels more like we're making whey and the cheese is a by-product! 
It's wonderful stuff, whey. 
Well, whey from proper cultured cheese. Not so much from ricotta where the whey has vinegar in it. Proper whey is a good garden fertiliser, the fruit trees are supposed to love it. We dilute it in a watering can, like you would any other fertiliser. It's also excellent for the chickens; we use it instead of water to wet their mash. Whey is also used in lacto-fermenting.

Another thing about cheese that you probably didn't know is that it is time consuming. Of course everyone knows that cheese takes time to mature, but the time to turn the milk into the product that needs to mature is time consuming too. Different cheeses have different making and maturing lengths. 
We started this particular cheese at 9 o'clock this morning, by a quarter to 1 it was finally ready to press overnight. The time in between the hours of 9 and 1 were spent flitting back and forth to the cheese, maintaining the temperature and stirring it as needed. 

Cheese making is slow, but it's fun, and kind of relaxing. And boy does it send a thrill through me when I get to cut the curds. It's not the actual action itself, but the realisation that a little warmth and rennet made the milk miraculously turn into curds, which will in turn become cheese. 

So, I haven't a picture to show you of the finished cheese, as it's not actually finished yet. It has to go in a brine, and then go into the cheese fridge, and then dry for a few days, and then mature for as long as we can keep our hands off it before it will finally be finished. I'm very eager to taste it, and will try to get it up here before it is completely devoured. 


Phew, this post is longer than usual! If you made it all the way down here, thank-you for reading :-)
Actually I'd just like to pause here and say thank-you to all of you that come by here and read - whether you read regularly, or only occasionally, leave a comment or not, I really am grateful that you take time out of your day to stop by here for a little while.

Now, do you have any plans for the weekend?
I hope you have a good one and enjoy what's left of the week!

Sarah x

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