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
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.