Tag Archives: butter

Dough by Dough

Once made, bread dough keeps for two weeks in the fridge, sealed in a plastic container. This might be obvious to you, but wasn’t to me until a few years ago. It can’t really “go off” as “going off” requires the depredations of bacteria, and no bacterium in its right mind would attack commercial yeast, which has been selectively bred to be more feral than a wild boar.

Here are a few notes. I made wet dough (80% hydration) and mixed in a generous slug of melted butter, kneading on a buttered surface, to retain the moisture level. The butter, or some kind of fat, seems to be necessary, otherwise it develops a skin in the fridge.

The first rise was done the normal way, but when I knocked it back, rather than just gently squishing it down, I stretched it sideways to about thrice its length, and then folded it in three, much as though I were making ciabatta. (Stretching the dough stretches the bubbles, so you end up with a more open texture.)

Thence into a buttered tupper, and into the fridge.

Once that’s in place, any time I feel like bread, I just break off a piece of the appropriate size, shape it, let it prove for half an hour, and into the oven.

One difference using cold dough is that it doesn’t rise very much when proving, but seems possessed of an almost preternatural oven spring. Also the yeast will continue to work, exuding water vapour, which will condense on the inside of the container and make the outside of the dough wet, so have some flour/semolina handy to dust it.

Anyway, here’s what I did.

Day Two
Some quick round buns. 10 mins in the oven.
Day Four
Stretched and rolled a strip in semolina, slashed like mad, and got a baguette like thing, although it decided to bend like a banana for some reason.
Day Five
With the Royal Wedding imminent, it seemed only right to make English muffins. Break off small chunks, roll into balls, squish ’em flat, dust with semolina, and cook in a large frypan on a medium hob, turning frequently, so they don’t become spherical.
Day Seven
After all that Britishness it seemed right and proper for something French, so the remainder was rolled thinly, had slices of butter placed in the middle, folded, rolled, folded, rolled, rested, and then turned into mutant croissants.
Looked rubbish but smelt and tasted exactly right. Egg glaze next time, for the all-over tan. Always bake croissants on a tray with a lip, as some of the butter will inevitably escape.

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Garlic Bread

For complete joy, the following Ten Step Method should be followed.

  1. buy a cryogenic baguette (the sort that’s packaged in a “protective atmosphere”, i.e. bag pumped full of nitrogen) that’s partially baked and meant for you to finish off in the oven at home
  2. crush two cloves of garlic (more, if I am coming to dinner)
  3. grate as much Parmesan as you dare (realistically about 25g)
  4. you could also add about a tablespoon of chopped up parsley
  5. mash together with 25g of softened butter (I don’t need to know how you softened it)
  6. cut baguette into slices…    …well, almost – you know what I mean
  7. put a wodge of the cheesy garlic butter in between each slice
  8. wrap in foil
  9. follow the instructions on the packet (probably 10min at 200C)
  10. exhibit extreme greed

Duck Liver Pate

Just when I think all the washing up is done, and the kitchen’s looking clean, I get the urge to do this. Oh, well.

This is fairly close to the procedure described in Appetite, plus some notes of my own. I used…

  • 400g duck livers (there were no chicken livers today due to a “supplier problem”, but then, then they had duck livers, and I couldn’t resist)
  • 120g butter (40g for frying, the rest chopped into slices)
  • 100mL single cream
  • salt, pepper, Armagnac

The livers need to be soaked in enough milk to cover them for about half an hour. They will be fried after this, so it’s worth draining them quite thoroughly. I have been warned to cut out any green bits and dark spots, but never noticed any.

Getting ready

The livers get fried in 40g of the butter, as hot as it will go without turning the butter brown.

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The livers, plus cream and the rest of the butter get hurled into the blender, with salt and pepper and zapped into mush. Slater mentions getting the butter soft first, I just slice it up, and figure that nestling against hot livers for a few seconds will do any softening required.

When deglazing the pan I slipped with the Armagnac. Then I slipped again; just to make sure. No point in flambé – just whack in the blender and zap again. This way, we hope some alcohol makes it into the pâté.

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The next phase is vital: push the mixture through a sieve. It only needs to be a coarse sieve, so will only take about a minute or two of pushing it through with the same rubber spatula with which you emptied the blender. Several lifetimes can go by if you use a fine sieve, and I’m not sure I notice the benefit. What you will notice after is lots of fibrous chewy stuff trapped in the sieve, as opposed to being in the pâté.

Once you get to this stage, you could whack the whole lot into a terrine, let it cool, and seal with some melted butter about half an hour later. This looks very pretty. My more prosaic approach is to line a tupper with cling film, pour the mix into that, fold the edges over, and put the lid on. This way the whole lot comes out in one easy block.

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Either way, the results should go in the fridge for a few hours to set.

(Note from 2013: not sure there’s enough information here to cook this: so pick up a copy of Appetite.)