I learned today that strong flour aka bread flour is actually quite different than plain flour. It's got more protein and gluten in it. It also turns out that my local grocery store does not appreciate my desire to bake bread. The only regular bread flour they had came in a 5kg bag. Considering that I was buying other groceries and that I walk home from the store, not to mention how rarely I ever bake bread... I didn't want to buy 5kg, so I ended up in the health/organics aisle buying a 1kg bag of "Organic Egyptian Gold Flour" which was almost the same price. It was a bit of a frustration.
The pumpkin soup, aka butternut squash soup, I found while reading a story by Ethehunter - she referenced the recipe after describing "Gran's Butternut Squash Soup" in the story. I tried it and fell in love.
Butternut Pumpkin Soup from Ethehunter
1 large butternut pumpkin (peeled and chopped)
broth or bouillon (I use veg, she recommends chicken)
2 small red chillies (or 1 jalapeño)
1" fresh ginger, grated
3T brown sugar
salt & pepper
1-2 t cumin
1/2 c heavy cream
queso fresco, sour cream or Greek yoghurt
- Put squash, ginger and chilli/jalapeño in a large pot and cover with broth.
- Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat, 20-30 minutes, or until squash is soft.
- Let cool and take out the peppers.
- Blend soup until smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, brown sugar and cumin. Adjust spices to taste.
- Add cream and adjust spice as desired*
- Garnish with queso fresco, sour cream or Greek yoghurt.
* If you're making enough for leftovers, don't add the cream to the whole pot, because it makes the soup spoil faster. This may seem like common sense, but I've made this mistake more than once.
I recommend adding sour cream to this, the Greek yoghurt is OK but not great and... well I have never seen queso fresco at the store so I've never tried it. A piece of advice for this is to be careful about the use of chillies/jalapeños - I added the two chillies today, but only used half a squash - there was a really spicy afterburn.
I forgot to take a picture before I finished all the soup. This is while it was cooling, before I put it in the blender. Half a squash (this much) made two good sized bowls of soup, a whole pumpkin would probably serve four.
500g (3 1/3 cups) strong flour
10g fine sea salt
325 mL warm water
5g Fast Acting Yeast
- Mix yeast with warm water.
- Combine sifted flour and salt in mixing bowl.
- Pour yeast water into flour and stir until well mixed.
- On well-floured board, knead dough for 12 minutes.
- Place kneaded dough in well oiled bowl, cover (with a towel) and let sit for ~1 hour in a warm place.
- Move dough to board and beat the air out with fists.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6.
- Heat oven to 240C.
- Roll dough out onto an oiled baking tray (I lightly oiled a piece of wax paper on a baking tray, because I'm finicky). The recipe says to roll into a rectangle, but I went for 'somewhat oblong' and about 3/4" thick.
- Let rise for 30 minutes.
- Press into dough to create irregular dimples on the surface.
- Spread washed and chopped rosemary, crushed and chopped garlic and coarse sea salt across the surface of the bread. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Serve warm, it's delicious.
Dough rising in an oiled bowl.
Preheating the oven, dough is dressed with rosemary, garlic, oil and salt.
The finished product, we sliced up about half of it and dipped it in the soup.
I'm still not sold on the bread, I think I have room for improvement, but boyfriend said he liked it, and so I'll take that as due praise. I guess I just need more practice in bread making. The wine was delicious though!