Friday, 31 July 2015

Homemade Sourdough

These past weeks I've done so much, and time seems to pass so fast.

Still, there was time for a trip each week and after the Isle of Wight, last week we went to explore the area around Chichester by bike. We stopped in West Wittering, which has the most impressive beach I've seen since the last holiday in the Netherlands, which was about four years ago.

West Wittering Beach

It was low tide when I took that photograph, but this    s p a c e  ... isn't it amazing :)
I just love the beaches and the waves. Oh, and if you happen to come to this area, do take the ferry from Bosham to Itchenor. It was the most amazing ferry I've ever been on! A three meter boat was totally not what I had expected xD

But now that's enough of impressions ;)

Exciting things have been going on in our kitchen this week! And no, this is not a joke! I was actually jumping around excitedly when my first ever half-sourdough-bread started to RISE in the oven. It had been a very dense ball of dough and it did in fact look less than promising, but it turned out just as if my Mum had made it =) And according to my housemate it looked as if was from the lovely Czech bakery we have in town.

...That's just to let you know what you can expect if you choose to take up the experiment challenge =P
If you want to jump around excitedly then give it a try!

But to start from the beginning: I finally started a sourdough about two weeks ago! Something I'd wanted to do for ages, waiting for the right time to come, which of course has never happened. ... So I just went for it.

Basic Sourdough

Recipe by Ines Feucht

top left: directly after mixing, bottom left: day 1, right: day 3

Prep time: 1 week


  • flour
  • water
  • 1 big glass jar
  • 1 cloth
  • 1 rubber band
You can use wholewheat flour or regular flour. Don't use any self-raising flour, though!


  • Day 1: Start with ½ cup flour and and ½ cup lukewarm water. Place in the jar and mix well. Place cloth over the jar and secure with a rubber band. Place the jar in a dark, warmish place.
  • Day 2: After 24 hours add ½ cup flour and ½ cup lukewarm water. Mix and cover and return to the warm place.
  • Days 3 & 4: Each day empty the contents of the jar into a bowl. Clean the jar, since otherwise mold may develop if the sides of the jar are not clean, since you are keeping it in a warm place. Mix the starter in the bowl. Place ¼ cup of the starter back into the jar. Add ½ cup of flour and ½ cup lukewarm water and mix well. Cover and place back in the warmish place.

You can use the leftover starter in waffles or pancakes - I will post a recipe for you.

  • Day 5: Proceed as on days 3 and 4, but only add ¼ cup of flour and ¼ cup of water.

After this time you can use your starter as in any recipe it is asked for.

  • Feeding: For feeding keep ¼ cup of starter and add ½ cup of flour and ¼ cup water.
    • If you use it on a daily basis, proceed each day as on day 5.
    • If you use it on a weekly basis, proceed the same way once a week, keeping the starter in the fridge. In this case you can put a lid on your jar.

Minor deviations from your feeding schedule (missing one day or getting the time of the day wrong won't affect your sourdough, but make sure to maintain your overall pattern.

Note: After day three the sourdough became less bubbly and didn't seem as active anymore. I was a bit worried, but it doesn't seem to have done any harm. So if the same happens to yours, don't freak out and just keep on feeding it.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Spice Infused Sweet Potato & Green Lentil Stew

During the past two days I've read quite a few new things about website functionality.
My usual self-learning-by-doing enthusiasm has totally kicked in (jay!, I love just to forget time doing that - I really do!) and I have created a Pinterest account (--> see the button in the sidebar). Today I've pinned all my blog recipes onto a board and if you are a Pinterest enthusiast you can now follow me there and re-pin recipes.

Consequently I got tangled up in the jungle of articles on Rich Pins and rich snippets and have now decided to use this amazing website called RecipeSEO for marking up my future recipes so that all future content is indexed correctly.

Probably you are just here for the next recipe ... then you have to scroll down ;)
Otherwise you'll need to go on reading about my IT week =P

This sort of came up, as I was helping to design the website of the volunteer organisation I am involved in. I embedded a Google Map, trying to make it responsive and putting up a Facebook widget. All that on Wordpress, which I didn't have a clue about. Right now all of that is working, which is a great thing :)

I also made huge progress with the data problem my dissertation data had caused me, so now I am tackling the next riddle it is posing me.

But I haven't been doing this all week all day long ... ! Monday I had a friend over for dinner and made a Sweet-Potato-Lentil-Rhubarb Stew I had found on My New Roots. It was absolutely delicious and I can only recommend it!! Currently it is the only savoury rhubarb recipe that I know, but I would love to try some more. This was followed by some very chocolatey Chocolate Ice Cream, which is a regular at my Mum's table when guests are coming over.

Having dinner guests is something I really like, as I feel it makes it extra nice to make an effort and surprise someone with a lovely dinner... At least if we're talking of up to six people. I'd still need to practice cooking for more than that. My Mum and I only ever did that at a few rare Christmases and I remember it as being a sort of tricky thing. But that may have just been due to the fact that everyone seemed to have special food wishes ;)

I was having a hard time deciding which recipe to share first, but I am going for the sweet potato green lentil dish I made after a stunning and exhausting day on the Isle of Wight.

We had been cycling from Ryde to Shanklin, and passed some places with absolutely stunning waves, with a view of towering, high cliffs. I think at some point I was just looking at the waves for fifteen minutes, finding myself completely mesmerised. I could have stayed like that for hours and hours, just watching the force of the waves braking against the railings.
There are beaches with fine sand, lots of seashells and it was just, as I said, amazing. In favour of that my mind is completely blanking out the hills we cycled up and down ;)

Spice Infused Sweet Potato & Green Lentil Stew

Recipe by Ines Feucht

Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2


  • 1 medium sweet potato, in 1cm cubes
  • green pepper, in 1 cm squares
  • 3 large spring onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced finely
  • size of half a finger piece of ginger, diced finely
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds or mustard seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ground coriander
  • chili flakes
  • green lentils
  • hot water
  • 1 - 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt
  • pepper
  • rice


  1. Prepare vegetables and set the rice (or whatever side you like) to cook.
  2. Heat olive oil over low to medium heat in a large pan (something that has a lid in any case). Drop in a few poppy seeds so that you can see when the oil is hot, which is when they start to sizzle. Add remaining poppy seeds, star anise, cumin, coriander and chili to the pan. Stir to coat and let sizzle on low to medium heat for a few minutes until they have a fragrant smell.
  3. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes until softened.
  4. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add sweet potato, spring onion and green pepper. Fry on medium heat for a few minutes until they have started to soften and do not look completely raw anymore.
  6. Add lentils, water (start with less, you can always add more) and soy sauce. Stir. Put on the lid, bring to a simmer and let simmer, covered on low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are soft. Check if water is needed from time to time.
  7. Season with honey, salt and pepper and, if necessary, soy sauce.
Serve on rice, drizzle with parsley and lemon oil.

Parsley & Lemon Oil

Recipe by Ines Feucht

Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: for 2 servings


  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Mix all the ingredients and adjust seasoning as desired. I recommend blending this up in a blender (if it can do very small amounts).

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Thyme & Sesame Bagels

Happy Sunday! I know that, at least if you are in Portsmouth, this may not be the loveliest of days, but it is exactly the right day to read this and think about freshly baked goods ;)

I've got some more novelties lined up for you. Okay, maybe just one, but let's start with the the more important things, such as food, first!

This week I've tried so many new recipes and taken lots of Instagram photos that last night that I couldn't remember when the last time had been that I had had pasta. So, with the surprise bag of ingredients that a friend of mine had brought from the shop I made us some stir fried sweet potato, thyme-mushrooms and bok choi with lemon, soy sauce and lightly fried spaghetti. We loved the result and it was exactly the right thing for the day. For some reason, pasta is a food I often turn to when I feel like I need something that is definitely going to work and is sort of comforting, that is exactly the right thing after a long day and a busy week.

I think that today I may have finally gotten one step further on my dissertation work, so I deserve some time off for posting after spending lots of time on it during the week ;)

Well, I have to admit that I had a day off going on a trip to London. On that day there was a tube strike, so it was crazily busy and it was amazing to be back here in the evening with nobody out on the streets and  . . .  the silence!
It is a great place to visit and we had a great time seeing the ICA and wandering around in Tate Modern, but one day in the city centre is definitely enough for me. I think this time my art interpretation skills were not spot-on, but amazingly there was one, a video of a cube of sugar cubes being drizzled with crude oil, where we actually agreed on what we thought it was supposed to mean. Probably that was completely different from the artist's intention, but let's not be too critical ;)

In galleries I always find it amazing how people have such different opinions about artworks and I like the thinking that in art usually you won't be right or wrong.

These bagels are something that is right, though ;)
It was an experiment, so I noted down some things I would change the next time I am making them, but am sharing these notes with you!

Thyme & Sesame Bagels

Inspiration from these Whole Wheat Za'atar Bagels

Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour rising + 10 minutes + 2 hours rising + 30 minutes + 20 minutes baking

for 7 bagels
550 g wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp dried yeast
1/2 tsp honey
100 g luke warm water
2 tsp salt
3 tsp cornflour-locust bean gum mixture (or 1 egg) *
60 g water
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 handful fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp organo, dried
3 tbsp honey
2 l water
coarse salt
sesame seeds

  • For detailed yeast dough-instructions, see here.
  • Start the dough by dissolving yeast and honey in 100g of water and pouring into a well in the middle of the flour. Let rise, covered in a warm place until the dough has visibly started to rise.
  • Add salt, egg/fake egg*, sesame seeds, thyme, oregano and, gradually, water. Knead into a smooth, soft, non-sticky dough. Let rise until the volume has doubled.
  • Set 2 litres of water to boil in a wide pot. Preheat your oven to 230°C (upper-/lower-heat). Use 20°C less if using fan heat.
  • Divide the dough into 7 pieces of equal size (they will weigh about 120 g). Form each piece into a small roll. Keep water at hand. Wet your index fingers. Poke one index finger from the top through the roll, lift up and poke the other finger through from the bottom. Making rotating movements with both hands, stretch the hole with your fingers until it is about 6cm in diameter. Place formed bagels on a non-stick baking sheet.
  • When the water is boiling, stir in the honey and lower heat to a slight simmer.
  • Have a soup plate with sesame seeds on hand.
  • To boil the bagels (first try with a single one and then you may be able to do two at a time):
    • Gently drop bagel into the water. Using a slotted spoon, nudge it from time to time to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
    • After some time the bagel will rise to the surface. When it does, after 15 seconds, flip it over and boil for another 20 seconds (approximately).
    • Lift it out with the slotted spoon and place in the soup plate with the sesame seeds. Flip.
    • Return to the baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with a little bit of coarse salt.
  • After boiling all bagels, bake for 10 minutes, flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a rack and enjoy immediately. If eating them after a few hours I recommend re-heating them on a toaster as it crisps them up very nicely.
  • If you want to freeze them, freeze immediately. Let defrost in a plastic bag later and place on a toaster to crisp up when defrosted.

*Video: see explanation below

*Cornflour-Locust Bean Gum Egg:

Mix 300 g fine whole cornflour with 30 g locus bean gum. You can buy locust bean gum in health food stores or organic shops. Make sure there are no clumps. You can use a sieve for this. Keep in an airtight jar. To substitute 1 egg, use 2 tsp of the mixture and mix with 40g water.

And now the exciting news ;)
I did a video of me making these bagels, so have a look (on YouTube itself the quality is a bit better)!

I hope it is useful! I apologise for it not being super professional and me walking in and out of the picture, but as I will never have a perfect first video I thought I might as well get started with this one.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Swabian Hearty Bread Rolls

I have had a very productive and busy day today so far! Besides baking these delicious rolls I spent some time on my job search. So keep your fingers crossed for me that one day I'll be successful ;-) But I guess, as the saying goes, persistence is the key to success ;-) Sometimes, that is...if you don't make the same mistake all over again all the time. After that I indulged in my weekly cleaning project =P and in between ...

... I made these delicious rolls! So here we go in case I have confused you earlier on.

Usually I make a batch and freeze it so that I can take some out each day for lunch without any hassle ... I just love home-baked bread! I have had some conversations about my seemingly snack-like lunch...but, honestly, real, crunchy, hearty bread is so much more than a snack!!!

Bread rolls also remind me of weekends when I was a child. During the week we'd have bread, but on weekends it would be bread rolls. That was before the time when my Mum started baking, so I was a very small child then ;-)

My Dad drove to the bakery in the next village each Saturday and Sunday morning, since that used to be the one where they'd still make the bread themselves from scratch. They used to have different breads and rolls on different days of the week, since, when you actually make things from scratch, you cannot make 30 kinds of bread each day.

That reminds me... ! Have you ever seen Laugenbrot (= pretzel bread)? Actually, myself, I have only ever seen it in this specific bakery. Laugenbrötchen (= lye rolls), Laugenbrezeln (= pretzels) or Laugenstangen (= pretzel breadstick) are very common and available everywhere, but Laugenbrot doesn't seem to be. I loved to pluck it apart, as, since it was braided, like a Hefezopf bread (= braided sweet yeast bread), it was possible to divide into pieces in the places where the different strands met. I love thinking back to all the amazing things they used to bake....but let's get back:

The bread rolls: In the morning we'd have rolls with butter, jam, chocolate spread, honey or Eszet-Schnitten.
Eszet-Schnitten are very thin chocolate slices, available in different degrees of darkness, that you lay on your bread. I don't eat them anymore these days, but putting them on freshly toasted toast (on weekdays) was so much fun! They'd melt and go all gooey and, well ... CHOCOLATE! =)

The following recipe is similar to the Potato Bread one, but slightly heartier. Since it doesn't contain milk you only need items that you may have in your pantry anyway and if you'd been using nut milk it saves you that one step of making it.

Swabian Bread Rolls

recipe inspired by a recipe by Adelinde Häußler

Time: 30 minutes + 1 hours rising + 15 minutes + 3 hours rising + 15 minutes + 35 minutes resting & baking = 5 h 35 min (not all working time!)

for 7 rolls
100 g water, lukewarm
2 g or ½ tsp dried yeast (or twice the amount fresh yeast)
½ tsp honey
450 g whole wheat flour
50 g whole rye flour
½ tsp bread spice (usually a mixture of fennel, coriander and caraway seeds)
125 g potatoes
12 g salt
¼ tsp nutmeg, ground
½ tbsp red wine vinegar

  • Dissolve yeast and honey in water. Grind up the bread spice in a mortar or with a blender. Place flour and bread spice in a large bowl and mix well. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the water-yeast-mixture. Mix with some flour from the sides of the well until you achieve a mud-like consistency. Sprinkle with some flour from the sides and cover with a lid, plate or cling film. Let rest in a warm place for an hour

  • In the meantime: Cut the potatoes in small pieces (1.5 cm size) and steam until very soft. For this place them in a metal colander or a steaming basket. Take a pot of a suitable size for the colander and add about 3 cm of water. Place the colander in the pot and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and let cook in the steam for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are very soft. Keep the water.
  • Mash the potatoes and add some of the cooking water as you go to achieve a creamy consistency. (I use a potato masher and do this in the pot I cooked the potatoes in, since you need something with an even bottom surface).

  • When the yeast has visibly started to rise, add the mashed potatoes, nutmeg and vinegar. Also add the salt, but don't pour directly on the yeast, as direct contact causes some of the yeast-cells to die. Add a slight bit water. Knead until everything starts to come together and add more water as necessary.
  • When you have reached that consistency take the dough from the bowl and form into a ball by folding in the sides and rotating the ball of dough until the bottom side of the dough is smooth. Turn over and return to the bowl. Cover the bowl and return to the warm place. Let the dough rise until it has at least doubled in size. This may again take about 2-5 hours, depending on the temperature and the amount of yeast.

  • Pre-heat your oven if necessary. You'll want 210°C. Use upper and lower heat. If you have fan heat turn to only 190°C. Place a casserole dish with a bit of water in the oven to let steam develop.
  • Keep a bowl of water at hand. Wet the surface you'll be kneading on. Remove the dough from the bowl and put onto your surface. Divide into 120 g pieces and evenly divide up any leftover dough. I had seven rolls.
    • Form rolls: Using the same technique as for the whole of the dough before, do this with the first roll. Then, place, open side down, on the surface and move your hand in circular movements, as if you were rolling a ball in circles over the table. This will make the rolls more ball like, as opposed to the flatter shape they may have had before. Don't worry though if it doesn't entirely work, it is all a matter of practice and your rolls will turn out fine no matter what!
  • Repeat with all rolls and place open side down on a flour-covered baking sheet. You can also use a non-stick baking sheet. Wet all the rolls with water.
  • Let them rest for 10 minutes in a draught-free-place. Bake for 25 minutes. To test for done-ness, tap the bottom of a roll with your finger. It should sound hollow.

  • Let the rolls cool on a rack and eat immediately or place into freezer bags immediately after baking and freeze. If you do this take them out a couple of hours before you want to eat them, keep in the freezer bag and the re-heat on top of a toaster-oven.

You can turn this into a bread by baking it according to the instructions in the Potato Bread recipe.

PS: Don't forget you can now follow me on Instagram! The link is on the right side in the sidebar.