Monday, 30 January 2012

Chocolate Tipsy Laird for Burns Night - Ciotolona a strati ubriaca

Some say that one day the world will come to an end. Meteors will strike the earth and tidal waves will wash up their mess. Some even say that the sky will fall, and that the sun will freeze. Some, however, say that the Incas were right in thinking that the Mayas were but attention-seeking calendar makers. But none of them know. The end of the world will come - in fact, it has come, but not from the sky: from a bowl. And it has a name (cf above).
Like every year, Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon celebrate the birthday of their good friend Bob. A large dinner is given somewhere, and the guests are invited to heartily partake in the traditional Bag of Sheep. Mashed non-birds accompany the feast while a minstrel sings of Bob's glories and recites his everlasting poems. This year, of course, was no exception. The songs were sung, the drinks were drunk, the non-birds were mashed and the Bag of Sheep was emptied. Except for one small but determining detail: the bowl. Divine Cherry had prepared it (not the bowl itself, of course; its content), and at the end of the joyful celebration, she brought it forth. And all about her knew that this was the end, for they were satiated to the brim and the meal was over. Yet none could look away. All eyes were fixed upon the gleaming, glistening and alluringly beckoning Tipsy Laird. And so it was that the end of the world did not happen at the end of the year, rather at its beginning. And because the end has gone by already, Divine Cherry has made it possible for this year to only become better and sweeter.

Chocolate Tipsy Laird - serves a regiment of hungry young people

- 500g of sponge cake
- raspberry jam
- 300g of fresh raspberries
- a handful of amaretti
- chocolate custard
- 500g of whipped cream
- 1 glass of whisky and 2 tablespoons of Porto or sherry

Chocolate custard:
- 525g of whole milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 7 yolks
-120g of sugar
- 52g of cornflour
- 300g of dark chocolate broken into small pieces
  •       Prepare the custard:
Follow the instructions reported here. In the latter stages of cooking add the chopped chocolate and stir well to dissolve it. Allow the cream to cool completely in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.
  •      Prepare the trifle:
Cut the cake into rectangular slices, spread half of slices with raspberry jam and form sandwiches with the remaining slices. Place the sandwiches on the bottom of a large transparent bowl. Squeeze them a little with your hands. Pour the mixture of whisky and port evenly over the cake slices. Arrange a layer of fresh raspberries and crumbled amaretti (these are my addition to the traditional recipe), making sure to push some raspberries at the sides so that you can see them from outside. Let it stand for a couple of hours (or overnight) in the fridge. The next morning, cover it with the custard. Leave it to rest in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap until the moment to serve.
A few moments before serving the trifle, decorate the surface with whipped cream and sprinkle with crushed amaretti or slices of almonds.

Note: Traditional Tipsy Laird is with vanilla custard (just omit the chocolate in it) and the amaretti are used just as an alternative decoration on the top of the cream. Sometimes you can also find slices of banana mixed with the fresh raspberries on top of the sponge cake layer.

Trifle ubriaco al cioccolato - dosi per un reggimento di giovani affamati

- 500 g torta tipo pan di spagna o plum cake
- marmellata di lamponi
- 300 g lamponi freschi
- una manciata di amaretti
- crema pasticcera al cioccolato
- 500 g panna montata
- 1 bicchiere di whisky e 2 cucchiai di Porto o Sherry

Crema pasticcera al cioccolato:
- 525 g latte intero
- una bacca di vaniglia
- 7 tuorli
-120 g zucchero
- 52 g maizena
- 300 g cioccolato fondente a pezzetti
  • Preparare la crema pasticcera:
Seguire le istruzioni riportate qui. Nelle ultime fasi di cottura aggiungere il cioccolato tritato, mescolare bene in modo da scioglierlo in maniera uniforme. Lasciar raffreddare la crema completamente in una ciotola coperta con pellicola, per evitare la formazione della pellicina.
  • Preparare il trifle:
Tagliare a fette  rettangolari la torta, spalmare meta' fettine con la marmellata di lamponi e chiudere a panino con le fette rimanenti. Disporrre i panini sul fondo di una ciotola capiente e trasparente. Schiacciarli un po' con le mani. Irrorare lo strato con la bagna alcolica di whisky e porto. Disporre uno strato di lamponi freschi e amaretti sbriciolati (gli amaretti sono una mia aggiunta), avendo l'accortezza di spingere alcuni lamponi ai lati, cosi' che si vedano dall'esterno della ciotola. Lasciar riposare per alcune ore (o meglio tutta la notte) in frigo. L'indomani mattina, coprire con la crema pasticcera. Lasciare riposare in frigo la ciotola coperta fino al momento di servire.
Pochi istanti prima di servire il dolce ricoprirlo con la panna montata e decorarlo con amaretti sbriciolati o lamelle di mandorla.

Note: Il Tipsy Laird viene tradizionalmente servito durante la Burns Night, cioe' la sera del 25 gennaio, giorno in cui si festeggia in tutta la Scozia  il compleanno del poeta Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796).

Tradizionalmente nel Tipsy Laird la crema pasticcera e' alla vaniglia invece che al cioccolato e gli amaretti si trovano solo come decorazione finale sulla panna montata in alternativa alle lamelle di madorla, ma io trovo che un po' di amaretti nel mezzo si sposano bene con la cioccolata e danno un po' di croccantezza in piu'. Inoltre una comune variante vede delle fettine di banana aggiunte ai lamponi sopra lo strato di torta.

And Spread the Mess

Friday, 27 January 2012

Scones for the Daring Bakers

Have you ever wondered what colour Celestial Dragon is? How do you picture him? Blue, red, green? There have been innumerable representations of dragons throughout history, but the fact of the matter is that no one has actually ever seen one (except through the Lens of Opium). Accordingly, however you may picture Celestial Dragon, chances are that you'd be wrong. Furthermore, dragons, just like their descendants the chameleon, can change colour at will - which of course does not simplify our task. There is, however, a clue as to his true colour.
A number of years ago, Celestial Dragon was walking on the clouds above a great northern isle. They were his favourite kind of clouds: permanent, heavy, grey, dreary, miserable, stiff, polite, almost infinitely long and always wet. And because he felt safe behind the black cumulus shelter, he had decided to appear in his true form. And if you had been there, and if indeed you had looked intently at the sky, you might have discerned a shining shadow behind them. However, since there are no (living) witnesses, we can't corroborate this claim. Nevertheless, something peculiar happened that day: Celestial Dragon was in an exceptionally good mood. And so it was that he decided to make the people underneath the clouds a present. He drew himself up to his full height, cracked his knuckles, smacked his lips, and began. He shook his body so violently that the scales fell off and plummeted down towards the earth. At that time, no one knew what meteors were, so the people had no name for the strange, glowing stones that came falling down from the sky. And as they looked up to see where they were coming from, they saw Celestial Dragon looking down at them, smiling. The people realised that what had descended on them like stones were actually his scales. And they were happy and grateful. So much so that this event, although unrecorded, has survived through the ages till our time in a bakery that reminds the world still of that day: the scones. The clue lies in their name: they are a dragons scales that look like golden stones. And so it is that we may deduce that the heavenly sweetness and goodness of the scones is a reflection of Celestial Dragon's colour: Oven-Baked Gold.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Scones Recipe from Audax Artifex (his post is very detailed, so please have a look)
-140g of flour
-10g (1tsp) of baking powder
-a pinch of salt
-30g of butter
-100/120g of milk
-45g of raisins
-15g of sugar

Preheat the oven at its highest temperature (230°C-240°C).
Sift the flour with the baking powder and the salt. Add the cold butter cut in small pieces and form crumbs  working with your fingertips the flour and the butter. Add the raisins and the sugar. Then, add the milk and mix quickly with the help of a spoon just to mix everything. Don't overwork at this stage.
Put plenty of flour on the work surface and pour the mixturewhich will be very sticky, on it. Add a little flour on the surface as well, flatten the dough and quickly knead it 4-5 times, alternatively turning and bending it.
Flatten the dough into a rectangle about 2cm high and cut it into 8 piecesPlace the pieces on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and bake in the oven for no more than 10 minutes (check after 8 minutes and turn the tray). The scones are ready to be enjoyed with a cup of tea, or any other liquid that's just handy!

- Audax advises to sift the flour and baking powder 3 times to improve the leavening. As I don't dispose of a sieve right now, I've mixed the dry ingredients well with a fork in order to incorporate air, and thus favour the leavening process.
- The crumbs of butter and flour should be formed quickly so as to not heat the butter. The smaller the crumbs are, the softer the scone will become. That said, irregular crumbs will also give you a good result; the scone will be flakier.
- After adding the liquid in the mixture, it will be very wet: however, the wetter the dough, the softer the scone shall beHelp yourself with a spatula and knead the flour on the work plan.
- This recipe is extremely fast- 10 minutes to mix the ingredients and another 10 minutes for baking everything. The result is a deliciously soft bun, and it's well worth a try!

Scones  Ricetta di Audax Artifex (il suo post e' estremamente dettagliato, dateci un'occhiata)

- 140 g farina
Enjoying our scone in morning sunlight...
with some cramberry and clementine
- 10 g (1 cucchiaino) di lievito
- una puntina di sale
- 30 g burro
-100/120 ml latte
- 45 g uvetta
-15 g zucchero

Accendete il forno al massimo (230°C - 240°C).
Setacciate la farina con il lievito e il sale. Aggiungere il burro freddo tagliato a pezzetti, e formare delle briciole lavorando velocemente con i polpastrelli la farina e il burro. Aggiungere uvetta e zucchero. Aggiungere il latte e mescolare velocemente con l'aiuto di un cucchiaio soltanto per amalgamare il tutto, ma senza lavorare troppo.
Infarinare abbondantemente il piano di lavoro e versare il composto, che sara' molto appiccicoso. Aggiungere un po' di farina anche sulla superficie, appiattire l'impasto e lavorarlo velocemente girandolo e piegandolo 4-5 volte.
Appiattite l'impasto formando un rettangolo alto 2cm circa e tagliatelo in 8 pezzi. Ponete i pezzi su una teglia coperta con carta forno e infornate a forno caldo per 10 minuti esatti (controllate dopo 8 min e girate la teglia). Gli scones sono pronti per essere gustati con una tazza di te'!

- Audax consiglia di settacciare la farina e il lievito ben 3 volte per migliorare la lievitazione, io non avendo il setaccio ho mescolato bene gli ingredienti secchi con una forchetta per incorporare aria.
- Briciole di burro e farina: vanno formate velocemente per non scaldare il burro. Piu' piccole sono le briciole, piu' morbido sara' lo scone, ma anche delle briciole irregolari daranno un buon risultato rendendo lo scone piu' friabile.
- Dopo l'aggiunta di liquido l'impasto e' molto umido: piu' umido l'impasto, piu' morbido lo scone finale. Aiutatevi con una spatola e farina per lavorarlo sul piano di lavoro.
- Queste ricetta e' estremamente veloce, 10 minuti per mescolare gli ingredienti e altri 10 per la cottura. Inoltre il risultato e' un panino morbidissimo, vale la pena di provarla!

And Spread the Mess

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Tagliatelle Di Un Sabato di Sole – Tagliatelle of a Sunny Saturday

A violent storm was raging outside: leaves and plastic bags were dancing a furious albeit involuntary polka with each other, toupees and wigs were having a great day off, trees were bungee-jumping, and even Small Perfect Cloud has allegedly been sighted drifting confusedly in the  bellowing sky, meowing itself hoarse. It was a storm to remember. It was one of those storms people will later tell their children stories about. It was a storm as they come only once every 2&3/4 years, in dutiful compliance with the Wuthering Heights Accord of 1847 (§24b). It was a magnificent storm.
But Celestial Dragon had one of those days. He was insufferable, and he suffered everything else even less. There was no reasoning with him. No bath, no tea, no game, no candy, no caress could pacify him. He wandered restlessly about the palace, breathing fire and anger at everything that moved. Even Pazuzu, the fearsome Sky Guardian, covered in cowardly fear before his enraged master. Yet it was a magnificent rage.
Unfortunately, Divine Cherry did not think so. In fact, for her, there was nothing magnificent about it at all. It was actually rather irritating: after all, she was tired of running around the palace with a magical bucket of infinite water in order to quench all the fires Celestial Dragon was leaving in his wake. So she decided to take things into her own hands. Enough was enough. She had really liked those curtains, and the thought of seeing another painting go up in smoke was unbearable.
And so it was that Divine Cherry invented the "Tagliatelle of a Sunny Saturday" (named after the day of week they were invented in). The reason the world has come to know them by that name is that when they were ready, not only was Celestial Dragon appeased, but the ferocious storm that had been devastating the land calmed down as well: there was no resisting the loveliness of those home made tagliatelle.
And in case you should ever need to mitigate and fiery dragon, here's the magic recipe that will have him singing like Bobby McFerrin.

Wholemeal Tagliatelle of a Sunny Saturday  (for two quite hungry mouths)

-2 eggs
-150g of white flour
-50g of wholemeal flour

In a large bowl, pour in the flour and place the eggs in the middle of it. With a fork, work the flour and the eggs starting from the center. When all the flour has been absorbed, transfer the dough on a working table and knead it until it becomes elasticWrap it in cling film and let it rest for 20 minutes. Abundantly flour a pastry board and stretch the dough with a rolling pinThe dough is to be rolled and flattened. Keep your hands in the position shown in the photo below, making sure not to put too much pressure on the rolling pin.

Roll out the dough as thinly as possibleFlour the pastry board and the rolling pin repeatedlyTurn the dough on the rolling pin and roll it off to make sure it does not stick to the pastryLet it air dry for about ten minutes.

Roll out the dough so as to form a long sausage. Slice it in 7-8mm wide slicesUnroll the noodles on a clean cloth and let them dry in piles.

Tagliatelle are ready!

For the sauce of a sunny saturday
-1 sweet potato
-1 zucchini
-a handful of hazelnuts
-50g of speck
-half an onion
-a piece of butter
-olive oil (extra virgin, what else?)
-half a glass of milk
-salt & pepper

Sauté the chopped onion in a large frying pan with the butter and a dribble of olive oil. Meanwhile, make a julienne of zucchini and potatoesAdd the hazelnuts to the onions and roast them a little. Add the strips of vegetables, salt and add a little milk from time to time to maintain moistureAdd the bacon and cookCook the noodles in salted water for a couple of minutesThe fresh noodles will cook very quickly, so be careful not to over cook them. They have to be al denteServe immediately with a generous grinding of pepper (and some grated parmesan according to taste).

Tagliatelle un po' integrali tirate a mano: Dosi per due affamati

- 2 uova
- 150g farina bianca
- 50g farina integrale

In una ciotola capiente versare la farina e al centro le uova, con una forchetta incorporare la farina alle uova partendo dal centro. Quando tutta la farina è stata assorbita, trasferire l'impasto sulla spianatoia e lavoralo finchè diventa elastico. Avvolgerlo nella pellicola e lasciarlo riposare per 20 minuti. Infarinare abbondantemente le spianatoia e stirare la pasta con il mattarello. La pasta va tirata e non schiacciata, tenere le mani come nella foto, senza spingere in basso.

Tirare la pasta il più sottile possibile. Infarinando ripetutamente il mattarello e la spianatoia. Girare le pasta arrotolandola sul mattarello, per assicurarsi che non si appiccichi sulla spianatoia. Lasciarla asciugare all'aria per una decina di minuti.

Arrotolare la pasta in modo da formare un lungo salsicciotto. Tagliare a fettine larghe 7-8mm. Srotolare le tagliatelle su un canovaccio pulito e lasciare seccare in mucchietti.

Le tagliatelle sono pronte!

Condimento di un sabato di sole:
- Una patata dolce (o un pezzo di zucca)
- una zucchina
- una manciata di nocciole
- 50 g di speck
- mezza cipolla
- un pezzetto di burro e olio evo
- mezzo bicchiere di latte
- sale e pepe

Far appassire la cipolla tritata in una padella capiente, con una noce di burro e un giro d'olio d'oliva. Nel mentre fare una julienne di patate e zucchine. Aggiungere le nocciole alle cipolle e farle abbrustolire un po'. Aggiungere le striscioline di verdure, salare e far appassire aggiungendo un po' di latte di quando in quando per mantenere l'umidità. Aggiungere lo speck e portare a cottura. Cuocere le tagliatelle in abbondante acqua salata per un paio di minuti. Le tagliatelle fresche cuociono molto rapidamente, attenzione a non superare la cottura! Servire subito con un'abbondante macinata di pepe (e parmigiano a piacimento).

PS: Queste ricetta partecipa all' MT Challenge di Gennaio, e l'idea delle tagliatelle e' stata proposta da Ale!

And Spread the Mess

Friday, 20 January 2012

Fishcakes - Tortini di pesce

Think of your favourite thing in the world. Think of something you want really really bad, like a pony if you're a girl or a car if you're a boy. Now imagine it is just behind that door. Can you feel the excitement? Can you feel your pulse starting to race? Can you feel how your entire being is yearning to go towards that door and open it because you know that behind it lies the object of all your desires? Now visualise yourself opening that door. The endless turning of the handle, the whispered creak of the joints, the darkness that lies behind it. Now you peer into the darkness, trying to pierce it with the light of your wanting. But you decided to hit the switch instead. Much easier indeed. And now, finally now, you behold whatever it is you want, and you discover that it is so much better than what you had expected.
Well, let's say you were Celestial Dragon, and let's say that thing we've been talking about was fish. And let's say that the door to the attainment of that desire is the kitchen door. And that the switch with which you illuminate your life is actually Divine Cherry. And that thing that is better than what you wanted are fishcakes.
And in your magnanimity, in your infinite joy and happiness, you decide to share the recipe for those sublime fishcakes. Well done, you, because lo and behold, the recipe has appeared just underneath this text. Do enjoy.

- 300g of coley or a similar fish
- a handful of shrimps
- 400g of white potatoes
- a handful of capers
- half an onion
- 4-5 spring onions
- a glass of milk

Steam the potatoes in their skinsMeanwhilecook the fish in a pot covered with milk until it peels off in flakesand when it's almost ready, add the shrimp and cook for a few secondsDrain the fish and the shrimps, but save a little milk. Finely chop the onion and the spring onions, and put the capers in a cup of water. Drain and peel the potatoes.
Take a large bowl and mash the potatoes coarsely with a fork while still hot, add the chopped fish, shrimps, chopped onionschopped capers, salt, pepper and mix wellIf it seems to be dry, add a little milk you used for cooking the fish. Form large meatballs and a press them a little in order to give them the shape of an hamburgerIn a separate plate, lightly beat the egg. Dip the 'hamburgers' the in egg, then roll it quickly in breadcrumbsProceed so until all ingredients have been exhaustedIn a large frying pan heat a little of seed oil and fry the patties for about ten minutes. Serve warm.

On the side: stir-fried broccoli with extra virgin olive oil, a clove of garlic, 2 anchovies and lemon zest until tender.

Ricetta in italiano:

Tortini di pesce (per 6 tortini della dimensione di un hamburger)
- 300 g merluzzo o altro pesce azzurro
- una manciata di gamberetti
- 400 g patate a pasta bianca
- una manciata di capperi
- mezza cipolla
- 4-5 cipollotti giovani e piccoli
-un bicchiere di latte

Cuocere a vapore le patate con la buccia. Nel frattempo, in una pentola cuocere il pesce coperto con il latte, fino a che si sfalda in fiocchi, quando e' quasi pronto aggiungere i gamberetti in modo da cuocerli per qualche secondo. Scolare pesce e gamberetti, salvando un po' del latte di cottura. Tritare finemente la cipolla e i cipollotti, dissalare i capperi in una tazzina d'acqua. Sbucciare le patate cotte.
Prendere un ciotola capiente e schiacchiare grossolanamente le patate ancora calde con una forchetta, aggiungere i pezzetti di pesce, i gamberetti, la cipolla tritata, i capperi sminuzzati salare, pepare e impastare. Se dovesse risultare asciutto, aggiungere un po' del latte di cottura. Formare delle grosse polpette e schiacciarle un po' in modo da dare la forma di un hamburger. In un piatto a parte sbattere leggermente un uovo. Immergere velocemente il tortino nell'uovo e rotolarlo poi nel pangrattato. Procedere cosi' fino ad esaurimento ingredienti. In una padella capiente far scaldare un po' di olio di semi e rosolare i tortini per una decina di minuti. Servire caldi.

Io li ho accompagnati con dei broccoli saltati in padella con olio evo, uno spicchio d'aglio, un paio di acciughe e finiti con una grattatina di buccia di limone.

Note: Di solito nelle ricette di fishcakes,  e' sempre indicato di aggiungere un uovo nell'impasto per renderlo piu' fermo. Probabilmente le mie patate erano molto asciutte, comunque non e' servito. Voi regolatevi ad occhio, se non riuscite a formare delle belle polpette che tengano la forma, aggiungetelo! :)

And Spread the Mess

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Bread # 3

One day, actually not that long ago, Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon were enjoying a quiet and comfortable walk in the countryside. The weather was nice and mellow, the bees were packing their things away for the winter, the animals were busy fluffing up their furs, and the trees were having their usual afternoon tea. It was all in all a normal late autumn's day. The air was crisp and cool and it filled their lungs with a cold, tingling sensation. It had been a difficult week (yet another princess had been kidnapped in yet another realm and they both had to yet reincarnate themselves in the heroes and yet again save the day) and both Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry felt that the walk was well-deserved indeed. Suddenly, another smell other that of deliciously rotting leaves filled the air and, consequently, their cold lungs. It was the smell of something long forgotten, yet always remembered. It was the smell of something soft, something warm, something cosy, something.. doughy. It was the smell of bread. And so it was that before long they stopped in front of a curious little house. It was made of gingerbread, children's clothes and dragon's teeth. They knocked on the door, and when an old woman opened them, Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon saw that they had found Baba Yaga's hut. Of course, Celestial Dragon was over the moon (not literally) about this since he hadn't seen his grandmother in ages (literally). To celebrate the lucky advent, the three of them sat down in front of the fire and ate a loaf of bread Baba Yaga had just pulled out of the oven. Divine Cherry, curious as always, politely inquired as to the recipe of the bread, and this is what Baba Yaga told her:

French Country Bread
Servings: 1 large loaf plus extra wheat starter for further baking
Wheat Starter - Day 1:
40 gm stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat or graham flour
45 ml water
Total scant : 85 gm
1. In a Tupperware or plastic container, mix the flour and water into a paste.
2. Set the lid on top gently, cover with a plastic bag, to prevent messes in case it grows more than expected!
3. Set somewhere warm (around 86 F if possible). I sometimes put mine on a windowsill near a radiator, but even if it’s not that warm, you’ll still get a starter going – it might just take longer.

Wheat Starter - Day 2:
40 gm stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat or graham flour
45 ml water
85 gm starter from Day 1
Total scant :170 gm
1. Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 1, cover, and return to its warm place.

Wheat Starter - Day 3:
40 gm stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat or graham flour
20 ml water
scant 170 gm starter from Day 2
Total : 230 gm
1. Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 2, cover, and return to its warm place.

Wheat Starter - Day 4:
120 gm unbleached all-purpose flour
100 ml water
230 gm starter from Day 3
Total scant: 440 gm
1. Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 3, cover, and return to its warm place. At this point it should be bubbling and smell yeasty. If not, repeat this process for a further day or so until it is!

French Country Bread
Stage 1: Refreshing the leaven
160 gm wheat Leaven Starter
50 gm stoneground bread making whole-wheat or graham flour
150 gm unbleached all purpose flour
120 ml water
Production Leaven Total 480 gm
1. Mix everything into a sloppy dough. It may be fairly stiff at this stage. Cover and set aside for 4 hours, until bubbling and expanded slightly.

Stage 2: Making the final dough
100 gm stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat or graham flour, plus more for dusting
300gm unbleached all-purpose flour
7 gm sea salt
300 ml water
300 gm production leaven – this should leave some (1 cup) for your next loaf.
Total 1007 gm
1. Mix the dough with all the ingredients except the production leaven. It will be a soft dough.
2. Knead on an UNFLOURED surface for about 8-10 minutes, getting the tips of your fingers wet if you need to. You can use dough scrapers to stretch and fold the dough at this stage, or air knead if you prefer. Basically, you want to stretch the dough and fold it over itself repeatedly until you have a smoother, more elastic dough.
3. Smooth your dough into a circle, then scoop your production leaven into the centre. You want to fold the edges of the dough up to incorporate the leaven, but this might be a messy process. Knead for a couple minutes until the leaven is fully incorporated in the dough.
4. Spread some water on a clean bit of your work surface and lay the dough on top. Cover with an upturned bowl, lining the rim of the bowl with a bit of water. Leave for an hour, so that the gluten can develop and the yeasts can begin to aerate the dough.
5. Once your dough has rested, you can begin to stretch and fold it. Using wet hands and a dough scraper, stretch the dough away from you as far as you can without breaking it and fold it back in on itself. Repeat this in each direction, to the right, towards you, and to the left. This will help create a more ‘vertical’ dough, ready for proofing.
6. Heavily flour a banneton/proofing basket with whole wheat flour and rest your dough, seam side up, in the basket. Put the basket in a large plastic bag, inflate it, and seal it. Set aside somewhere warm for 3-5 hours, or until it has expanded a fair bit. It is ready to bake when the dough responds to a gently poke by slowly pressing back to shape.
7. Preheat the oven to hot 220°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment, then carefully invert the dough onto the sheet. I like to put the baking sheet on top of the basket, then gently flip it over so as to disturb the dough as little as possible. Make 2-3 cuts on top of the loaf and bake for 40-50 minutes, reducing the temperature to moderately hot 200°C after 10 minutes.
8. Cool on a cooling rack.

With big delay this recipe participates to the Daring Bakers challenge.
Our Daring Bakers Host for December 2011 was Jessica of My Recipe Project and she showed us how fun it is to create Sour Dough bread in our own kitchens! She provided us with Sour Dough recipes from Bread Matters by AndrewWhitley as well as delicious recipes to use our Sour Dough bread in from Tonia George’s Things on Toast and Canteen’s Great British Food!
I paste the recipe as Jessica wrote it.

Ricetta in italiano:
Pane Francese al Lievito Madre

Lievito Madre - 1 ° giorno:
40 gr di farina integrale
45 ml di acqua
Produzione totale: 85 gm
1. In un contenitore di plastica, mescolare la farina e l'acqua.
2. Chiudere con il coperchio delicatamente, coprire con un sacchetto di plastica
3. Far riposare in un luogo tiepido.

Lievito Madre - Giorno 2: 
40 gr di farina integrale
45 ml di acqua
85 gr di lievito del giorno 1
Produzione totale: 170 gm
1. Mescolare la farina e l'acqua all composto del giorno 1, coprire e rimetterla a riposare in un luogo tiepido.

Lievito Madre - Giorno 3:
40 gr di farina integrale
20 ml di acqua
170 gr di lievito del 2 ° giorno
Produzione totale: 230 gm
1. Mescolare la farina e l'acqua al composto del 2° giorno, coprire e rimetterla a riposare in un luogo tiepido.

Lievito madre - Giorno 4:
120 gm  farina bianca
100 ml di acqua
230 gr di lievito del 3° giorno
Produzione totale: 440 gm
1. Mescolare la farina e l'acqua alla miscela del terzo giorno, coprire e rimetterla a riposare in un luogo tiepido. A questo punto dovrebbe essere spumeggiante e odorare di lievito. In caso contrario, ripetere questo processo per un ulteriore giorno o piu' finche' non si formano delle bolle in superficie e acquista il caratteristico odore di lievito.

Pane francese

Fase 1: Rinfresco del lievito
160 gr di lievito madre
50 gr di farina integrale
150 g di farina bianca
120 ml di acqua
Produzione totale 480 gr
1. Mescolare il tutto a formare un impasto veloce. In questa fase l'impasto potrebbe risulatare abbastanza duro. Coprire e mettere da parte per 4 ore, fino a quando alla formazione di alcune bolle e all'aumento di volume.

Fase 2: Impasto finale
100 gr farina integrale
300gm farina bianca
7 gm sale
300 ml di acqua
300 gr di lievito madre - il resto si puo' conservare e usare per la prossima volta che panificherete.
Totale: 1007 gm
1. Mescolate la pasta con tutti gli ingredienti tranne il lievito madre. Sarà un impasto morbido.
2. Impastare su una superficie non infarinata per circa 8-10 minuti, se necessario bagnatevi la punta delle dita, cosi la pasta non si appicicchera'. Allungare e piegare la pasta in questa fase.
La pasta va stesa e ripiegata su se stessa ripetutamente fino a quando non diventa liscia ed elastica.
3. Appiattire un po'la pasta, mettere al centro il lievito madre. Ripiegare i bordi della pasta sul lievito per incorporarlo bene. Impastare per un paio di minuti fino a quando il lievito è completamente incorporato nella pasta.
4. Versare un po' d'acqua sul piano di lavoro e porre l'impasto in centro. Coprire con una ciotola rovesciata. Lasciate riposare per un'ora.
5. Una volta che la pasta ha riposato, iniziate ad impastare: allungando e ripiegando l'impasto su se stesso numerose volte.
6. Far riposare la pasta in una ciotola ben infarinata e coperta con pellicola per 3-5 ore, o fino a quando ha raddoppiato o triplicato di volume.
7. Preriscaldare il forno caldo a 220 ° C. Infarinare una teglia e rovesciarci l'impasto. Infornate per 40-50 minuti, riducendo la temperatura a  200 ° C dopo i primi 10 minuti.
8. Raffreddare e gustare!

And Spread the Mess