Search This Blog

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Using a Sourdough Starter to Bake White Bread

I am still having great fun with the sourdough starter I shared with you in one of the previous blogs. I decided it was high time I found out how it would fare if I baked a normal white loaf with it. And that is how it came to be that I baked white bread at home, instead of buying at the nearest shop. I hope I'm not giving it all away when I say that the test warranted the effort, leaving me very satisfied with the results.

I took this recipe from one of my favourite recipe books and adjusted it only ever so slightly.

Add 25 ml butter.margarine to a mixing bowl.
Option 1: If you are not using a sourdough starter, you need to start by combining 60 ml water with 1 package of active dry yeast and 12,5 ml sugar. Let this sit for about 15 minutes to develop and get frothy.

Add 25 ml sugar to the butter.

Add 10 ml salt to the bowl.

Now add 500 ml lukewarm milk to the bowl. Stir to dissolve everything in the milk.

Add 500 ml sourdough starter to the mix. As my sourdough starter is grown with wholewheat flour, it will result in something less than white bread. For a fully white bread, I would have to painstakingly grow the starter from White Bread Flour. I won't bother as I prefer brown bread, but you may want to do this.

Now add 6 1/2 cups (6 1/2 x 250 ml) White Bread Flour to the wet ingredients.

Bring the dough together.

You need to knead the dough. Normally I do this on the table top, but I will let the dough rise in this bowl and therefore I dust the bowl with flour to knead inside the bowl. This restricts the mess in the kitchen, which is always an added benefit.

The dough is ready when it loosens from the side of the bowl and your fingers. This will require about 10 minutes of kneading.

Cover with plastic and leave in a warm dry place to rise.

A couple of hours late the dough has risen. Knock it back by kneading it again.

Prepare your pans (you will need two) with non-stick spray and a light coating of flour.

Divide the knocked-back dough in two.

Flatten the dough and folds the long ends in.

Lay the dough in the pan with the folded ends at the bottom.

Cover with plastic and allow it to double in size.

Once the dough is risen, stick the pans in a preheated oven at 180°C and bake for about 45 minutes.

In the meantime, you can mix some milk and sugar to coat the top of the bread with when it comes out of the oven. This will give the tops a nice shine and a slightly sweet taste.

Remove from the oven when the sides pull away and the bread sounds hollow when you tap on it.

Turn out on a wire rack to cool and immediately brush with the milk and sugar mixture.

To avoid a hard and crisp crust from forming, dampen a clean tea towel and cover the hot bread with it.

Once it is cool enough to handle with the hand, you can slice into it, lather it with butter, and enjoy!

For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to this blog and receive regular updates by email by simply registering your email address at the top of the current blog.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Giving an Old Shelf a New Life with Chalk Paint

I inherited this old corner shelf from my grandmother when she gave up her house. It has been traveling with me and has taken quite a beating. It was badly in need of sanding down and a fresh coat of varnish. And then it occurred to me that it could look quite fabulous if I treated it to a few layers of chalk paint. That is exactly what I did and I share the steps with you in today's blog.

This is the before shot of the shelf. I am purposefully holding it upside down so that you can more readily see the scratches and damage to the varnish.

After some contemplation, I decide to make the first coat of chalk paint a very dark one. I will apply the paint with a soft bristled flat brush.

The first coat is called Dark Pewter by VanDaniQue.

I then decide to paint a very light white over the black. I want to retain some black streaks and therefore use a hard-bristled flat brush to apply the paint.

This coat is called White Wash.

Now I am finally ready to paint the colour that I wish to dominate. I return to the same soft-bristled brush of before.

This coat is called English Rose.

When I am done, you can see signs of all three coats, but the most dominant is the last one that was applied. I then treat the shelf to a coat of varnish.

Once the varnish is dry, I apply some Dark Wax to the shelf, concentrating on the corners and sides.

Finally I am done and have a freshly painted shelf that was naturally distressed and has now been mock-distressed. Go figure!

For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to this blog and receive regular updates by email by simply registering your email address at the top of the current blog.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Baking Mosbolletjies with a Sourdough Starter

I still had lots of sourdough starter left after the extreme heatwave we experienced drove me out of the kitchen. As a result, I baked up a storm as soon as the weather broke and high on my list of priorities was baking Mosbolletjies using my sourdough starter. I adapt an old recipe to use my starter, but share the use of alternative raising agents in the blog as well.

For this project I fall back on the tried and trusted Kook en Geniet that generations of women (and men) have used.

I use the recipe for the original Mosbolletjies. I will half the recipe and accordingly, my amounts will differ from those in the book.

At the start I already adapt the recipe. I measure only 150 g of raisins, instead of the 250 g required.

This is chopped up and added to a pot with 750 ml boiling water.

I then pick some fresh catawba grapes from the vine in the garden. Again I use approximately 150 g.

This is also chopped up. Retain the pips!

I opt to add 2 tablespoons (25 ml) sugar as the grapes are not quite as sweet as the raisins.

I measure 2 1/2 cup sourdough starter into a bowl.

Once the raisins have cooled down, I add this to the sourdough starter. If you add it while it is too hot, it will kill the cultures that makes the dough rise.
Option 1: Active dry yeast - Add this to the raisins once it has cooled down. Let it sit for 10 minutes to develop.
Option 2: Instant dry yeast - A packet (10 g) is mixed in with the dry ingredients.

Cover the yeast and raisin mixture with a plastic and leave it in a warm dry place to start bubbling and rising. This may take a few hours.

Once it is bubbling ans rising, add 2 cups (500 ml) of cake flour.

Mix everything together.

Cover with plastic and once again leave it in a warm dry place to double in size. Again, it can take a couple of hours.

This is what it should look like when ready.

Melt 250 g butter/margarine.

Add some boiling water to the butter and leave it to cool down.

Mix the remaining flour of 2,5 kg of flour (minus the 2 cups used earlier), 2 cups (500 ml) white sugar and 7 g salt (1/2 tablespoon) in a large mixing bowl.
(Remember to mix the instant dry yeast in with the dry ingredient, if you are using this option).

Adding Aniseed is optional, but if you are using it, it should be mixed in with the dry ingredients.

Get your wet ingredients ready to add to the dry ones; the sourdough starter, the butter/water mixture and about a litre of lukewarm water.

Mix everything together. Keep adding water until you can bring all of the ingredients together.

Knead for about 10-15 minutes until the dough forms and elastic ball that pulls away from the bowl and your hands.

Cover with plastic.

Wrap the bowl in a blanket.

Leave the dough to rise to double it's size in a warm dry place. This may take a couple of hours.

Once the dough has risen, knock it down and knead for a few minutes.

Rub some butter/margarine on your hands to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Roll the dough into small balls and place them in a tin that has been prepared with non-stick spray.

Pack the balls tightly, but not overly so.

Cover the pans with plastic.

Wrap the pans in the blanket again and leave to rise.

I left mine overnight (along with the sweet white rusks) and it completely overflowed the pans when I returned the next day.  By rights I should have knocked it down and rolled the balls again, leaving to rise all over again, but I was pushed for time and it was for personal use (not for selling). As a result, I decided to bake it anyway. I would not get the distinctive ball shapes that could be separated by tearing. Instead I would have to cut it apart, similar to slicing bread. No problem.

Extra: I scraped all of that dough together that spilled over and stuck to the plastic.

These were shallow fried in a pan with hot oil and made for some very good vetkoek!

Bake the dough in a preheated oven at 200°C for about an hour. Once baked, brush some sugar milk onto the warm rusks.

Dissolve 25 ml (2 tablespoons) sugar in 1/2 cup milk for brushing on.

The milk and sugar mixture gives the mosbolletjies a nice shine and sweet top.

If yours has the distinctive balls, you simply separate them along the lines by tearing gently.

Mosbolletjies are eaten 'wet', but can also be dried to turn them into mosbeskuit/rusks.

Arrange the rusks on the oven rack, separating them so the air can travel freely through them. Dry the rusks in the oven at 100°C for a couple of hours. Once dried, the mosbolletjies has turned into mosbeskuit and will last for months at room temperature at in a sealed container.

For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to this blog and receive regular updates by email by simply registering your email address at the top of the current blog.