Do­mes­tic dilem­mas solved

Is your mar­malade less than mar­vel­lous, or do you want to try your hand at bak­ing your own bread? Fri­day’s Do­mes­tic Diva, chef Sil­vena Rowe, can solve all your culi­nary puzzles. Plus, she shares one of her favourite recipes

Friday - - Leisure -

I know it is crazy to even think of mak­ing your own bread con­sid­er­ing that the mar­ket is filled with de­li­cious va­ri­eties, but I’m feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous and was won­der­ing if you could give me an easy recipe that I can start with?

Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, bread is usu­ally quite sim­ple to do and there is noth­ing like im­press­ing your fam­ily and friends with a fresh loaf. Some peo­ple use a bread-mak­ing ma­chine, but an oven is fine. Here is an easy recipe to get you started: 1 cup multi-grain mix (a mix of whole­wheat flour, oat flour, bar­ley flour and rye flour. All the flours should be in equal quan­tity) 1 cup whole­wheat flour 3 1/2 cups white flour, plus more as needed 2 tbsp dry yeast 2 tbsp brown sugar or honey 1 tbsp salt 2 cups warm tap wa­ter (but not so hot it will kill the yeast) corn­flour, for dust­ing Mix to­gether all the in­gre­di­ents, ex­cept for one cup of white flour. Once well com­bined, add the re­served flour. Knead for 3-5 min­utes. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and keep it at room tem­per­a­ture to let it rise un­til it dou­bles in vol­ume, about one hour.

Pre­heat the oven to 200°C. Turn the dough out on to a floured sur­face. Cut in two pieces and shape into rounds or oval loaves if you pre­fer. Place the loaves on a but­tered bak­ing sheet that’s been lightly sprin­kled with corn­flour. Dust the loaves with flour. Slash an X on top of each us­ing a knife.

Pour boil­ing wa­ter into a bak­ing tray and put it on the bot­tom rack of the oven. Place the bread on the rack above it. Bake for 30 min­utes, ro­tate the bak­ing sheet and bake for 10 more min­utes, or un­til the loaves are crusty.

Take the loaves out and let them rest on a wire rack for un­til cool enough to han­dle.

I re­cently came across a recipe for ap­ple pie that had a tea­spoon of ap­ple pie spice. I’ve checked the gro­cery store and it doesn’t have this and the peo­ple there have not heard of it. Could you please tell me how to make this at home?

As the name sug­gests, this is a mix of spices that add a slightly sharp flavour to a sweet prepa­ra­tion. If you are not able to find a ready­made blend then mix to­gether 1/2 tsp cin­na­mon pow­der, 1/4 tsp nut­meg pow­der, 1/8 tsp all­spice and a dash of ground cloves or ginger pow­der. This will make a tea­spoon. But you can make a larger quan­tity and store it in an air­tight con­tainer in the re­frig­er­a­tor.

I made a batch of or­ange mar­malade a cou­ple of weeks ago to give away as gifts to friends and fam­ily. It tasted per­fect and looked pretty im­pres­sive ini­tially and then few days later I no­ticed a layer of mould on the sur­face. I was crying as I threw it all away. What did I do wrong?

First of all, you need to en­sure that the quan­tity of sugar in the mar­malade is absolutely right as this acts as a preser­va­tive and pre­vents it from spoil­ing. Sec­ond, ster­ilise the jars in which you plan on stor­ing the mar­malade re­ally well be­fore you spoon in the mar­malade, and third en­sure that the jar has an air­tight lid. So don’t lose heart, I am sure your next batch will be absolutely fine.

I re­cently made a pie from scratch. I don’t know what I did wrong as it turned out a bit soggy and was not flaky and crispy as it was sup­posed to be. Please help.

There are var­i­ous rea­sons for a pie to go wrong. One of them could be that your pie is un­der­cooked, or the fill­ing has too much liq­uid in it. It is also pos­si­ble that you have not al­lowed it to rest af­ter tak­ing it out from the oven. Rest­ing means keep­ing the baked prod­uct on an el­e­vated wire rack for 10-15 min­utes to al­low air to cir­cu­late around it.

If you don’t fol­low this step, mois­ture will con­dense at the bot­tom of the pan and your pie will be damp and sticky or, as you men­tion, soggy.

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