Milk Bread

Milk Bread

Milk Bread from worrisome milk

My bread isn’t going to win any beauty prizes, but milk bread is a perfect way to deal with “oh lord I forgot to cancel the milk” or “we both bought milk and now  – is it sodding off?!?!” problems.

When I first made this Rachel Roddy recipe, my youngest ate three rolls as soon as they were cool enough, and begged me to make them again. If you want to learn about better Italian cooking, then I cannot recommend Rachel’s books or column enough. Simple recipes, no fancy ingredients and very, very helpful suggestions.

Your milk: if you’re a little concerned about if it’s safe, remember what to do: first, sniff it; if you’re not sure, then taste just a tiny drop. If your milk is a tiny bit sour then you should be fine to bake it in this loaf. Believe me, in my skint days, sour milk went into many loaves of milk bread and soda bread. Once you’ve tasted the milk, if it makes you want to vom, then of course do not use it. If it is one or two days passed it’s ‘best’ date, you are likely to be okay. The heat of the oven will kill any potential germs but, unless you’re buying raw milk, the pasteurisation and filtrations systems of milk treatment will keep you safe and well.

Millions of litres of milk are poured down the drain of every UK household. That milk is sold as a lost leader by supermarkets. Not only are we wasting our money, we are not being mindful of the backbreaking work of farmers and cows in getting this milk to us. So don’t fucking waste it just because of a date! Use your senses, use these recipes and make sure there’s never a leftover, leftover.

Ratio note

Bread is, almost always, an easy ratio. This way, if you have 750 ml or 225 ml of milk to use up, get your maths brain/calculator out and get cracking:

100% flour (e.g., 1 kilo)
60% liquid (600ml)
10% yeast (10 grams)
20% salt (20 grams)

 

Milk bread

Adapted, barely, from Rachel Roddy, The Guardian, 5.11.2018

Ingredients

  • 300 ml worrisome milk
  • 1 egg
  • 500 grams plain flour
  • 5 grams fast action yeast if you bake a lot, consider buying a tin as the packaging is recyclable, and you can use a more accurate weight.
  • 10 grams salt this is the same as 2 teaspoons but I find it easier to just weigh straight into the scales
  • 10 grams sugar

Tools

  • Scale
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring jug
  • Whisk
  • Clean tea towel
  • Loaf tin/ovenproof dish
  • If baking rolls: greaseproof paper
  • Wire cooling rack

Instructions

  • I use a digital scale and just weigh all the dry ingredients on top of each other. Stir them together
  • Break the egg into the milk and whisk together with the whisk or fork. Pour into the flour mixture and get your hands right in there. The dough should be soft, not sticky.
  • Now, you can either knead the dough for ten minutes, or you can do the no-knead method: shape the dough into a round and return to the bowl. Every time it reaches double the size, knock it back. You have to go this about 6 times (so 6-10 hours) but it works for me.

Ready for baking

  • Lightly flour a counter and shape the dough into a loaf shape, or into rolls. (I have a shite sense of weight, so I weight out 100g lumps of dough for a roll; there's usually one weird one left over).
  • Grease your loaf tin and gently place the dough into the tin. If making rolls, I line an ovenproof tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Turn the oven to 180C. Cover the dough with the clean tea towel and leave to double in size.
  • Lightly brush the buns with milk and place in the oven; the loaf will take around 40 minutes, the buns around 20.
  • When the oven pings, if it's the loaf, upend it onto a clean tea towel or wire cooling rack. If it sounds hollow when you tap it, you're good to go. If not, pop it back in. With the rolls, you are probably okay.
  • When you're happy that everything's cooked through, place on the wire cooling rack (removing any greaseproof paper if you've used) and leave, if you can, to cool.

Storage

  • Once cool, I use a super sexy giant tupperware to store my bread. 
    It will freeze well, in a bag, for a couple of months.

Relay racing it

  • Of course it's just bread; but the softness of milk bread makes superb eggy bread or bread and butter pudding. 

Classic American/Scotch Pancakes

Classic American/Scotch Pancakes

Scotch pancakes with worrisome milk

Pancakes are a useful recipe to have always in the back of your mind for leftover milk, yoghurt, cream or even porridge. They are cheap, they are healthy. If you are so inclined, you can start experimenting with mixes of wholegrain flours and oats.

I took a picture with golden syrup drizzling down in honour of my eldest, who can think of little finer than a brand new tin of syrup, looking almost red and daring you to dunk a finger. We both, usually, do.

If your milk is on it’s best before, or near it – never pour it down the drain. The stats are staggering: 3 1/2 million litres are wasted in UK homes every year. 7% of all the milk that we produce. So play your part, testing your milk and trusting your senses over an over-cautious jet printed date.

A fried egg, some butter and loads of marmite or ketchup is what I love most of all. Either way, make sure there’s never a leftover, leftover.

 

Scotch pancakes

You can use all plain flour, or a mixture of lots of scraps. I wouldn't go over 50% of wholewheat flours mind, or they'll be heavy AF. Don't miss out the melted butter, there's a softness that seems a pity to waste.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 225 grams plain flour or use a mixture of plain and wholegrain
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder or just weigh 20 grams, that's what I do...
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml worrisome milk
  • 30 grams unsalted butter & more for cooking

Tools

  • scales
  • mixing bowl
  • measuring jug - really big one if possible
  • whisk
  • frying pan
  • pastry brush
  • spatula
  • flipper

Instructions

If you have a digital scale and a 1 litre mixing jug...

  • Place the jug on the scale and pour in the milk and crack in the eggs. Whisk. Set the scale back to zero. Then carefully add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Remove from the scale and whisk until you have a good batter.

If you don't...

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a measuring jug, whisk together the milk and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until you have a thick batter.

Either way

  • Turn the heat on under your pan to medium-hot and add the 30 grams of butter. Once it's melted, pour it into the batter and mix well.
  • When the pan is nice and hot, add just a pinch of butter and let it sizzle. If you can't get it to coat the base of the pan nicely, then use a pastry brush.
  • Pour in the batter, probably making neater circles than I have ever managed. Don't crowd the pan - around 3 or 4 to a large pan at a time.
  • When you see lots of little bubbles rising up, take your spatula and flip the pancakes over. They should only take a minute more to cook through.
  • Keep going until all the batter is used, using your spatula to leave a clean-enough bowl behind. 

Storage

  • Leftover pancakes will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Reheat in a dry frying pan.

Leftover Easter Chocolate Eton Mess

Leftover Easter Chocolate Eton Mess

Make Eton Mess with leftover Easter eggs

My mum makes amazing meringues. I do not. This is my gift to you!

Meringues aren’t the easiest thing to make. I have struggled. The egg whites to perfect stiff peaks, and then a little sugar and a little more and a little more and … fluff. Flump. Glossy failure. I would scrub the bowls I’d wash the whisk but every single goddam time my stiff peaks would turn into soft swirls.

My mum once went to the effort of writing out, step by step, every step. Both my mum and ex mother in law makes perfect pavlovas. I cried, I swore, this was not fair!

After we eliminated EVERY variable, we worked it out: I prefer unrefined cane sugar. It’s a bit heavy for meringues. So, no fancy-ass sugar and your meringue woes may be over.

So, for those of us who make a pert meringue and have annoying little chocolates hanging about after Easter, or Christmas, make this fabulous cream-rich, fruit spiked Eton Mess.

 

 

Easter Egg Eton Mess

Based on Sue Quinn, 'Cocoa', p138

Ingredients

  • 150 grams leftover Easter Chocolate
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 200 grams egg whites

To serve

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 25 grams sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the rhubarb

  • 250 grams rhubarb
  • 40 grams caster sugar

Tools

  • scales
  • small heatproof bowl and small pan
  • large bowl
  • electric whisk/stand mixer
  • baking tray
  • greaseproof paper
  • foil
  • chopping board and sharp knife
  • wire cooling rack

Instructions

For the meringue

  • Preheat the oven to 120C. Line the baking tray with greaseproof paper. Set to one side.
  • Chop the chocolate and place in the small bowl. Place about 5cm of water in the saucepan and bring to simmering. Fit the bowl onto the saucepan and stir until the chocolate has melted. Once melted put to one side.
  • Take your bowl and make sure it is scrupulously clean. With your whisk, beat the eggs until stiff peaks form. Once you have stiff peaks, gradually add the sugar, around a tablespoon at a time, until you have stiff peaks again.
  • Pour the sauce over the meringue. Scoop the meringue onto the baking sheet; bake for around an hour, until the top is crisp. Place on the cooling rack.

For the rhubarb

  • Increase the oven heat to 180C.
  • Cut the rhubarb into pieces are 7cm long. Place in the baking dish and sprinkle with the sugar. Wrap the dish with the foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape. When cooked, remove the foil and place on one side.

Finishing the Eton Mess

  • Pour the cream, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk until it holds its shape.
  • Crumble the meringue, and stir the cream and fruit together. Enjoy!

Storage

  • This really doesn't keep. Scoff!

Leftover Easter Chocolate Buns

Leftover Easter Chocolate Buns

Make soft, cinnamon buns with leftover Easter eggs

Twirly, rich, and more-ish. My long-time readers will know that my family love a cinnamon bun. So, oh darling Sue, what joy was this! Chopping up leftover easter eggs and folding into a buttery dough? Thank *you*!

I started doing Sunday brunch a couple of years ago; kids were getting up later, I’d stopped dragging them and me to church, and gave us all some breathing space on a Sunday morning.  We’d had some long, lazy Sunday mornings with American friends. So, to make these for Easter, when my church going days are behind me feels … odd. There’s a lot about my life that is very different now to 2, 4, 5 years ago: almost taking a decent photo; self-employment and single-parenthood. I have new traditions to create, away from the ones I simply inherited without thinking.

When I make buns, I make a double or triple batch and freeze the spares. V smug but also, really it just makes me happy. And, a lot of times, it saves me money. And means more buns more often.

Lazy brunch with much coffee – a tradition I picked up from a friend, the foods I’ve learned are from ex-partners and family. But this is a little one that I like, and suits me very well indeed.

 

Chocolate Buns

Adapted from 'Cocoa' by Sue Quinn
Pistachios are really expensive; go for hazelnuts or walnuts if that’s better on your budget. As you’re using nuts and whatnot, every weird and wonderful type of chocolate in your Easter stash will be perfect here.
Servings: 7 buns

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 50 grams unsalted butter plus more/the wrapper, for greasing
  • 400 grams strong white bread flour plus more for dusting
  • 4 grams yeast OR one sachet if you bake a lot, buy a tin as the tin is recyclable
  • 8 grams salt you can do 3/4 teaspoon but I find it easier to just use the scales
  • 1 egg (if you don't have large just use a little more milk or a dash of water)
  • vegetable oil for oiling the dough

For the filling

  • 80 grams pistachios
  • 50 grams dark brown sugar
  • 80 grams leftover Easter chocolate
  • 80 grams unsalted butter

Tools

  • scales
  • measuring jug
  • small and large mixing bowls
  • small whisk or fork
  • dough scraper/spatula
  • clean tea towel
  • square oven proof tin
  • greaseproof paper
  • scissors

Instructions

Making the dough

  • Place the butter in the saucepan and melt over a low heat. Once it's melted, remove from the heat. Pour in the milk, stir together and put to one side.
  • Set aside a couple of tablespoons of the egg/milk mixture for glazing
  • In your mixing bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt. 
  • Whisk the egg and pour into the flour, and then the butter/milk mixture. Mix together. 
  • Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out, using your spatula to scrape out every last scrap! 
  • Use your spatula to clean out the bowl and pour in the vegetable oil. Set to one side.
  • Take the dough and knead for 8-10 minutes, pushing it away from you and pulling it back. The dough is a little sticky, but should become more smooth as your knead it. Add a little flour if you need to.
  • Once you're done, smooth the dough into a round and return it to the bowl, coating it in the oil. Cover it with the tea towel and leave to rise for about 2 hours.

Make the filling

  • Aside from the butter, mix all of the filling ingredients together.
  • Take the tray and line it with your greaseproof paper.

When the dough has risen...

  • Flour the work surface and gently press it down to let the air out. Roll out into a rectangle roughly 35 x 25 cm, making sure that the edges and the middle are the same thickness.
  • With the dough parallel to the edge of the work surface, spread the butter evenly over the top. I find this murder, so just dot over lumps if you find it easier. Sprinkle over the filling and press down on it gently. 
  • Working with the long side, carefully roll the dough into a sausage shape, like a Swiss roll.
  • Using a large knife or sharp dough scraper, cut into 10 equal sized pieces. Arrange in the lined tray, equally spaced. Place your clean tea towel on top.
  • If you want to have these for brekkie/brunch, now place these in the fridge and leave to prove overnight. Otherwise leave for 30 minutes.
  • *** If you want to freeze these, now is the time!  ***

Baking

  • When you are ready to want to bake, turn the oven to 180C.
  • Take the leftover milk/egg mixture. Take your pastry brush and glaze the top of the risen buns.
  • Place the buns in the warm oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and gorgeous. 
  • After removing from the oven, leave for 5 minutes before sliding out of the tray. Pull apart when cool enough to handle.

Storage

  • Best to freeze these when uncooked. If you've cooked them all, place in an airtight container and eat asap!

 

Leftover Easter Egg Salted Nut Bark

Leftover Easter Egg Salted Nut Bark

Leftover Easter Egg Salted Nut Bark

Remember when chocolate pretzels came to the UK? I do. I begged my mum to buy them, and eventually she relented. What was this foul salty, salty biscuit combo? Bah, be GONE. I didn’t hear about chocolate and salt again until The Great Salted Caramel Revolution of 2006. Now even Cadbury’s are at it.

One recipe that caught my StorrCupboard leftover radar on my first flick through of Sue’s ‘Cocoa’ book was the chocolate bark. Leftover Easter chocolates and crisps and nuts all used up all at once?! Making a virtue of the hot mess of all those random chocolates? Luckily, I have embraced salt & chocolate. It works because the salt sharpens the other flavours that make up our experience of chocolate. And this works for leftover Easter chocolate (or Christmas, when some weirdos don’t want to eat the strawberry creams or pralines) because you are melting and mixing chocolate and using strong flavours to top the bark.

But, why are we talking about using up all this cheap chocolate? Surely it’s just full of sugar, fat and crap? Well yes – but there’s a lot more to the cost of cocoa that the price of your egg or chocolate bar. Farmers in countries such as Guyana and Equatorial Guinea earn around 78 American Cents a day or less. About 90p a day. Cocoa farming is a difficult skill and farmers are not fairly paid; most are too poor to ever have even tasted chocolate. The situation is too complex for me to write about here but respect the farmer’s work and don’t waste the food. I highly recommend Sue’s book to learn more about the problem. Yf you have a deeper interest, the amazing ‘Bread, Wine, Chocolate’ by Simran Sethi is excellent.

Salty. Crunchy. Easy. A zero-food-waste hoover. Make your chocolate bark to mix up the chocolates you don’t like and respect the work of each farmer along the way.

Leftover Chocolate Bark

Melt up all those annoying chocolates that you don't really like to make this zero waste bark.
Recipe from 'Cocoa' by Sue Quinn, Hardy Grant, p 232

Ingredients

  • at least 100 grams chocolate

Potential toppings; use a total of 10 grams to every 100 grams of chocolate

  • peanuts/any nuts/crisps
  • salt crystals/crushed peppercorns/chilli flakes
  • chopped dried fruit
  • chopped biscuits/biscuit crumbs/dried cake crumbs

Instructions

  • Butter or dampen the baking tray and line with greaseproof paper
  • Chop the chocolate roughly and place into the heatproof bowl
  • Place the saucepan on the hob and bring about 5cm of water to a simmer; place the bowl on the pan and make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water (lift the bowl up and see if it's wet). If it is, just pour a little water down the sink.
  • Gently stir the chocolate as it melts
  • As the chocolate melts, chop up any of the toppings you're going to use
  • Once the chocolate is melted, pour it into the lined tray and spread it around using your wooden spoon. If you have an off-set spatula, if can help.
  • Sprinkle the toppings over and place in the fridge to set (takes a couple of hours). When totally set cut into shards.

Storage

  • Store at room temperature in a lidded container.

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

University is supposed to be when you learn to tackle difficult problems, meet exciting people and have adventures. I started every other weekend on the Virgin West Coast from Manchester to London, reading ‘Heat’ and eating a brie wrap from O’Brien’s in Piccadilly.  I had to visit the boyfriend I’d stumbled across at 17 and sort of ended up with. He reminded me to come. He couldn’t come up, of course. Too busy. He and I would spend the weekend walking around the shops, I’d study at the desk in the Volkswagen garage where he worked and, sometimes, I’d even go to my family.

My ex didn’t like how my parents and I ate. We’d go to a fab local, family Italian for pizza instead. I’d watch the pizza chef shape the dough, somehow never managing to get his fingers stuck or pull holes in the dough. It was there that his faddy eating gave me a gift: I learnt about Bolognese pizza.

I don’t know if this recipe is authentically Italian; I know it’s a perfect home for your leftover Bolognese. If you can be bothered to cook the mushrooms then do, it’s heaven. I’d imagine that, using the right ingredients, this pizza is easily adaptable to a vegan diet.

The restaurant has long since closed, along with the Sicilian café where I learnt to adore arancini, how to empty a slop bucket and the rules of scopa. Thankfully I’ve not seen that ex in 16 years, almost to the day, now I come to think of it. Some things haven’t changed.  I spend every other weekend packing up and driving to my parent’s house, so my children can be with their dad. I’m still packing up and tidying up and buggering off for a weekend. But when I can, a pizza feast with every buggering daft leftover, plenty of wine and beer, daft kids and best friends clears out my fridge and warms my heart.

 

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Got two spoonfuls of leftover bolgonese? Use this topping to make a zero-food waste pizza. Pizza base based on Rose Prince. 
The time this takes is anything from overnight -  20 minutes - if you want to make your own dough, you're looking at around 8 -24 hours. Pre-made base? 20 minutes. The choice is yours.
Servings: 1 pizza
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons leftover bolognese this can be a traditional, vegan, anything
  • 50 grams Parmesan/Italian hard cheese
  • 50 grams mushrooms
  • oil to cook mushrooms
  • 1 sprig each thyme and rosemary (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • white wine a splash (optional)
  • Optional Chilli flakes

Pizza base

  • 1 bought base OR
  • 540 grams plain flour + more for dusting
  • 5 grams yeast if you're using those little sachets and will otherwise bin the 2 grams, just use it all
  • 10 grams salt
  • 250 ml milk (full fat, preferably)
  • 150 ml water
  • polenta or more flour, for dusting baking sheets

Tools

  • Scales
  • Baking tray/pizza stone if you have one (I don't)
  • Cheese grater

If making pizza dough

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Clean tea towel

If cooking mushrooms

  • Frying pan
  • Measuring jug
  • Knife

Instructions

If making pizza dough from scratch, the day/8 hours before ...

  • Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the milk and water. Combine.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured counter. Shape the dough into a round.
  • Clean the mixing bowl with a dough scraper and pour in a little oil. Return the dough to the bowl and turn around in the oil a couple of times so that the dough is covered. Take your clean tea towel and cover.
  • You can either leave the dough to rise in your fridge for up to 24 hours or for about 6 hours; if the dough reaches double size more quickly than you like, just gently deflate it ("knock it back") and return to the bowl.

Cooking the mushrooms (these can be cooked ahead and left to one side)

  • Slice the mushrooms and turn the pan to about medium. Pour in a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms. Stir every couple of minutes to evaporate all water. Season well.
  • When the mushrooms are nearing done, crush/finely slice the garlic
  • Optional: add in the whole springs of rosemary and thyme and stir around. After a couple of minutes, add in the garlic and stir - don't allow the garlic to burn
  • Optional: if you have some white wine open or in the freezer, add it now and allow to cook off

Rolling out fresh pizza dough

  • When you're ready to eat, turn your oven to full blast. If you like, leave baking sheets in the oven to get nice and hot, which helps to make a crispier base. If making these with little ones/you're new to pizza, don't worry so much (as the burns up my wrists tell ...)
  • Grate the cheese, find the mushrooms and oil
  • Lightly dust your counter with flour. Using a large knife or dough scraper, cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces. Shape each quarter into a ball and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. 
  • Roll out one base at a time (this topping is enough for one pizza only). I allow the dough to fall over the side of the counter as gravity help to stretch the gluten structures
  • Dust a baking sheet with polenta or flour (polenta helps to get a crispier base but isn't essential). 
  • Place the dough on the tray, not minding about holes here and there. If you like, stretch the dough into corners of the tray
  • Spread the bolognese around the dough, using your hands if the dough rips (if your bolognese is v dry, it might -don't worry). Add the mushrooms, dust with cheese. Take the olive oil, use your thumb as a light stopper and drizzle oil over the top - if your sauce is quite dry, be generous with the oil
  • Bake for between 7 & 10 minutes, depending on your pizza base and oven Add chilli flakes if you like (I do)