Flour is powerful stuff.

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Flour has been around for a long long time. The earliest recordings go as far back as when they found wheels to grind corn and wheat. It is the main ingredient in most cultures across the World for daily staples such as bread and doughs, and comes in a huge variety of different types, proteins ratios, derivatives and flavour.

It is used in so many recipes I just could not it all into one post and still keep everyone interested, so here is part one, some basic recipes and uses- to more advanced….

There are also a staggering number of flours available…
Here I will be blogging about general all purpose plain flour, self raising, and white bread flour.

I am making just going to do a couple of recipes to start off.

Basic white sauce- to make a morbier, prosciutto and spinach mac cheese- plain flour
Simple cinnamon buns- self raising
Brioche- prosciutto wrapped Camembert baked in brioche- white bread flour

Lets begin……

Basic roux.

A basic roux is a paste like substance made to thicken sauces and bases.
It is made with flour and water.

For use is a very basic white sauce.
X 200g butter
X100g plain flour
X 300-500ml milk
Seasoning
Bay leaf

To make the roux.
Melt the butter in a pan on a medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously until a amber coloured paste is formed. Allow this to ‘cook’ in the saucepan for a minute or two. This cooks out the flour and removes that floury taste that white sauces can sometimes have.
Add the milk a little at a time
,storing or whisking all the time until? Combined and you have a thin mixture.
Add the seasoning and crank up the heat,but do not let the mix boil.
As the mixture heats up,the mix should thicken until the desired thickness is reached keep on the heat. Take care not to burn the bottom of the pan. When desired thickness is reached take off the heat and use.

I used the white sauce for a simple home made cannelloni using pre cooked lasagne sheets filled rolled and white sauce on top- yummy!!

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Turn it into a cheese sauce– at this stage to make it into a cheese sauce, take off the heat and stir through 70g of cheese per person- I don’t see why any cheese can not be used…

Turn it into bechamel, half and peel an onion and stud with 6 cloves, place in the milk and heat the milk until hot, but do not boil, then use as above….to make the sauce for a croque-madame/monsieur add a handful of Gruyère and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

I made a cheese sauce and used it with Morbier- a fantastic French cheese, re rind and chop roughly add to the warm white sauce to melt.
Add to cooked pasta, grilled prosciutto and wilted spinach, top with pepper and paprika and grill for 10 minutes until golden brown- amazing!!! the morbier really revs up a boring mac cheese.

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Sticky Cinnamon Buns

Dough

x 480 g self raising flour
x 2 tablespoons sugar
x 2 extra teaspoons of baking powder
x 1 teaspoon salt
x 3 tablespoons butter
x 150 ml milk

Filling
x 4 tablespoons butter
x 200 g brown sugar or white sugar
x 3 teaspoons cinnamon
x 60 g raisins/sultanas- optional

Glaze
x 90 g icing sugar
x 30-50 mls milk, i used water but it wasn’t thick or white enough….
x 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste

Method

For the filling, in a small bowl combine softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and raisins to form a crumbly mixture.
In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Cut in softened butter, stir in milk to form a soft dough.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
Spread the filling on the rolled out dough.
Roll up the rectangle, with a sharp knife slice into 12-15 small rolls
Lay on a baking tray, or I like to pile them into a baking dish, sprinkle over a bit more cinnamon and I add a few more raisins into the mix

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For glaze, combine powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
Once rolls are finished, drizzle on glaze and serve warm.

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Brioche, prosciutto wrapped Camembert baked in brioche – This is a fab Paul Hollywood recipe- I cant really beat it, but I did use a Camembert, personal choice, and I would season the inside if I did again with cracked black pepper and maybe a spoonful of sharp onion marmalade on the inside too…just to balance the sweetness.

375g strong white bread flour
50g caster sugar
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
75ml milk
3 large eggs, plus 2 beaten eggs for glazing
185g unsalted butter, softened

Method

Mix the flour, 1 tsp salt, caster sugar, yeast, milk and eggs together in a mixer using the dough attachment for 5 mins until the dough is smooth. Add the butter and mix for a further 4 mins on medium speed. Scrape the dough bowl and mix again for 1 min. Place the dough in a container, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 6 hrs before using- I left mine in the fridge overnight, and it was fine…..

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Wrap the brie/ Camembert in the prosciutto and set aside. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 25 cm circle.At this stage I would add a table spoon of sharp onion chutney/marmalade before wrapping the brie/Camembert   just to balance the sweetness when baked.

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Place the wrapped Brie in the middle of the circle and fold the edges in neatly. Put the parcel onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and brush with beaten egg.

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Chill in the fridge for 30 mins, then brush again with beaten egg and chill for a further 30 mins. Leave to rise for 1 hr at room temperature.
Score with a criss cross just before going in the oven- you could try different patterns….

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, then bake for 22 mins. Serve warm.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed Flour Power part one- part two well be looking into types and how to use them…. we’ll be making choux pastry, rye breads and semolina flours. Also a look into gluten free thickeners and breads.

Have fun….

Bake Love xxx