Sunday, December 28, 2008

Organic yeast

I have always thought that all yeast is organic yeast, pure natural product. So when I saw "organic yeast" in the store I was surprised. I checked the web page of the company that produces organic yeast and got more information. I am not a chemist but that stuff in conventional yeast sounds scary.

So one day I picked up the organic yeast and baked one of my favourite yeast-dough cakes, Swedish ring cake. I have made this cake many, many times so I knew that it would be easy to see a difference between organic yeast and conventional yeast, if any, when baking.

And yes there was a small difference. The cake did not rise as much as it does with the conventional yeast and the bubbles made by yeast were bigger, not fine like in conventional yeast. Usually the cake is quite round on the top and cuts can be seen nicely.
I am not sure if it all depends on the yeast or the flour, but in any case the difference was so small that I really can live with it. The cake tasted delicious as always.

I used kamut flour instead of wheat flour in the dough, and muscovado sugar instead of white sugar in the filling.

Ring cake

1 cake, 22 cm
50 gr butter
1 dl milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg
20 gr fresh yeast
0,5 dl sugar
pinch of salt

50 gr butter
100 gr almond paste
3 tbsp muscovado sugar

egg and sliced almond for decoration

Melt the butter. In another pan heat the milk with cardamom until warm (not hot, yeast doesn't like hot). Pour the milk over the yeast and blend until the yeast is dissolved. Add melted butter, lightly beaten egg, sugar, salt. Add flour and knead until smooth. Let rise until double size, about 1 hour.

Blend the butter with almond paste and sugar. Role out the dough, 40x15 cm, and spread the almond paste filling. Role and form ring. Put in a round baking pan and every centimetre make a cut, 1 cm deep. Arrange the cuts one to the left and one to the right, just a bit. Cover with a tea-towel and let rise 1 hour.

Paint with beaten egg, sprinkle with almond slices and bake in preheated oven, 200 C, for 20 minutes.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Zwiebelkuchen means 'onion cake' in German. It is made of a yeast-dough with onion-sour cream topping.
The topping is seasoned with caraway seeds, which are widely used in this part of Europe. Typical Bavarian food like saurkraut, fresh cabbage salad and farmer's bread are all seasoned with caraway seeds.

4 dl flour
20 gr fresh yeast
1,5 dl milk
75 gr butter
1 egg
1 tsp salt

1 kg onion
4 dl sour cream
2 eggs
3 tbsp flour
100 gr smoked ham (prosciutto)
1,5 tsp salt
1 tsp caraway seeds

Put the flour in a bowl. Warm the milk, take 3 tbsp and dissolve the fresh yeast in it. Melt the butter and add to the rest of the milk, liquid should be warm. Pour milk mixture and yeast in the flour bowl. Beat lightly the egg and add to the bowl, add salt and knead everything until smooth. Let the dough rise 45 minutes.

Slice the onion thinly and cook in some oil until soft, but not brown. I used large pan and it took about 30 minutes on low temperature. In another pan fry the ham until fragrant. In a bowl mix sour cream with eggs, add flour, ham, salt and caraway seeds. Add everything to the warm onion mixture. The topping should be spreadable, not runny.

Role out the dough, 30x30 cm, put on a baking sheet, spread the onion mixture over the dough and bake in preheated oven, 200 C, until golden brown spots on the top, about 30 minutes.