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. 

Leftover Veg Fritti

Leftover Veg Fritti

Leftover green bean fritti

Deep frying used to terrify me. Tracey Barlow setting the house on fire. 1990s fat worries. Public safety films.

My ex-husband taught me the ways of deep frying; he grew up with home-made scotch eggs and battered courgettes. Everything’s good fried, right?

Well, yes. A recent Food Programme talked about how deep frying can be part of a healthy diet. Don’t use the same oil too many times. Eat lots of veg. The terribly boring message of ‘all in moderation’ that is realistic yet not headline grabbing.

This Rachel Roddy recipe is amazing and perfect if you have leftover egg whites. I love her instruction to give the cook a beer or a prosecco, and have people sat to take the fritti piece by piece. The first time I did this, and as I drank the prescribed prosecco, I got more and more excited (yes and a little drunk) –  I can deep fry mushrooms! Tiny sausage balls! Leftover spaghetti! Everything was excellent, as is always the way with Rachel’s recipes…

So enjoy deep frying your green beans, and anything else. Enjoy watching the bubbles pop and the crunch of the batter. Don’t be like Tracey, no chip pan fires here, but a happy cook making sure no small leftover are wasted? Perfection.

Battered lovely veggies

Adapted, barely, from Rachel Roddy, 'Five Quarters', p49.
The recipe says it takes a couple of hours; that is only to let the batter rest for an hour.
Prep Time1 hr 20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • lots of leftover green beans, mushroom, cauliflower, broccoli...
  • 100 grams plain/strong white flour
  • 50 grams wholemeal flour you can just use 150 grams plain flour; amazingly I didn't have any, and this was a lovely combo
  • 200 ml water
  • pinch salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • little piece of white bread
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Tools

  • 2 bowls
  • scales
  • measuring jug
  • electric whisk, or balloon whisk and strong arms
  • metal spoon for folding egg whites into batter
  • deep saucepan
  • funnel and sieve, and jar for storing deep frying oil for another time

Instructions

About and hour and a half before you want to eat

  • Make the batter by beating the flour, olive oil, pinch of salt and water into a thick cream. Use the electric whisk or your strong arms. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

When you're ready to cook (and eat)

  • With a clean bowl and whisk, beat the egg whites into soft peaks. Fold the egg whites through the batter.
  • Pour enough oil into your pan so that you've got about 3-4cm deep. Turn the heat on and after a couple of minutes add the little piece of bread. Once it fizzles and pops, the heat is correct.
  • Dip each green bean in the batter so that it gets a lovely thick coating. Don't fry more than about 7 or 8 at a time.
  • Be like Rachel - hand out little fritte, blowing on them, dipping in a little salt and enjoying a cold beer or prosecco at the same time.

The oil

  • When the oil is cool, get your funnel, jar and little sieve. Place the funnel carefully on the jar and the sieve over (to catch little pieces of batter). Carefully pour the oil into the jar. Label the jar with how many times you have used the oil - after 4 uses it's too heavy in oxygen, will taste stale and saturate more quickly. 

 

Leftover sausage and bacon stuffed potatoes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes or 8 small...
  • 1 rasher leftover bacon
  • 2 leftover sausages (around 400 grams)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 grams butter
  • 200 grams cheese

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Potato masher/fork
  • Whisk/fork
  • Oven-proof dish
  • Dessert spoon
  • Cheese grater
  • Optional: metal skewer

Instructions

Prep

  • Crumble the sausage into small pieces and chop bacon into small pieces

Method

  • Turn the oven to 180c
  • Prick the potatoes all over with a skewer/fork else they will explode!
  • If you have a metal skewers place them through the potatoes, as this conducts the heat through the middle and saves a lot of time and electricity
  • Depending on the size of your potatoes, they will take between 40m & 2 hours... you can start them off in a microwave if you like (WITHOUT the skewer...)

When the potatoes are cooked

  • When the potatoes are squashy to touch, take them out and *carefully* cut into them; try to cut them through their fat side, so it’s easier to fill them/cover with a lot of cheese.
  • PLEASE BE CAREFUL! THERE WILL BE A LOT OF STEAM READY TO GUSH OUT AND STEAM BURNS ARE PAINFUL
  • Scoop all the soft potato into a mixing bowl and break up with a potato masher/fork. Add the crumbled meat, season, and give a good stir
  • Whisk the eggs, and pour into the potato mixture. Stir again.
  • Place the potato skins in the dish. Using a regular eating spoon, put the potato mixture into the potato skins. Grate cheese all over the top.
  • Return to the oven for between 20 & 40m (depending on the size of your potatoes). They are done when they feel firm.

Storage

  • They will keep for a day or two in the fridge. As you have re-heated the meat once already, be careful! Smell and taste, and if you must re-heat ensure that fucker is piping hot all the way through.

Leftover sausage and bacon stuffed potatoes

Leftover sausage and bacon stuffed potatoes

Leftover bacon and sausage chowder

My friend Chloe scooped out the middle of potatoes in her aunt’s Harringey kitchen, scorching her fingers whilst a bemused bunch of her Italian friends watched. Chloe was living in Italy and a group of mates had come over for New Years. Her then boyfriend loved cooking, he encouraged her, and helped, burning his fingers too. I think I just sat at the counter, happy that they were all back over from Italy for now, basking in the happy noise of their company.

She mashed the potato with bacon and butter, squashing it back into the skins before re-baking them. We ate for hours that New Years Eve, a mix of Italian and English, plenty of wine, lots of chat.

A few years ago, faced with hungry kids and a small food budget, I went back to these potatoes. Pork is a strong flavour, so carries through potato well. Mixing in an egg with the potato gives everyone some extra protein which can be helpful if you’re worried about getting goodness into everyone’s bellies when the pennies have to stretch far. Bubbling cheese is optional but so good; it’s also the only way to get my eldest any way near a jacket potato.

Every time I make these potatoes, I think of Chloe. I think of the time I learned that brussells are amazing steamed with a healthy wodge of melted butter and a sprinkling of salt; I think of the endless plates of tuna pasta I’d eat at her mum’s house and the aranchini that her ex made me. Of her mum’s industrial bags of sugar and the fact that I only drink tea because you had to at her house (I’m not joking).

The only reason any of us can navigate around StorrCupboard is down to Chloe. She is a bloody wonder. And if you ever find yourself in Turin, go to the lovely ex-boyfriend’s excellent restaurant Scannabue, where you’ll eat nose to tail, and roll out afterwards, full and happy. Every recipe has a life before and after anyone puts it in a book or a blog; I hope you have fun making this idea your own.

 

Leftover sausage and bacon stuffed potatoes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes or 8 small...
  • 1 rasher leftover bacon
  • 2 leftover sausages (around 400 grams)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 grams butter
  • 200 grams cheese

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Potato masher/fork
  • Whisk/fork
  • Oven-proof dish
  • Dessert spoon
  • Cheese grater
  • Optional: metal skewer

Instructions

Prep

  • Crumble the sausage into small pieces and chop bacon into small pieces

Method

  • Turn the oven to 180c
  • Prick the potatoes all over with a skewer/fork else they will explode!
  • If you have a metal skewers place them through the potatoes, as this conducts the heat through the middle and saves a lot of time and electricity
  • Depending on the size of your potatoes, they will take between 40m & 2 hours... you can start them off in a microwave if you like (WITHOUT the skewer...)

When the potatoes are cooked

  • When the potatoes are squashy to touch, take them out and *carefully* cut into them; try to cut them through their fat side, so it’s easier to fill them/cover with a lot of cheese.
  • PLEASE BE CAREFUL! THERE WILL BE A LOT OF STEAM READY TO GUSH OUT AND STEAM BURNS ARE PAINFUL
  • Scoop all the soft potato into a mixing bowl and break up with a potato masher/fork. Add the crumbled meat, season, and give a good stir
  • Whisk the eggs, and pour into the potato mixture. Stir again.
  • Place the potato skins in the dish. Using a regular eating spoon, put the potato mixture into the potato skins. Grate cheese all over the top.
  • Return to the oven for between 20 & 40m (depending on the size of your potatoes). They are done when they feel firm.

Storage

  • They will keep for a day or two in the fridge. As you have re-heated the meat once already, be careful! Smell and taste, and if you must re-heat ensure that fucker is piping hot all the way through.

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Leftover bacon and sausage chowder

What angel first paired smokey food and milk?  Comfort food of the highest order.  Chowder, an American soup from the east coast, has hundreds of iterations (I once sat with a cookbook devoted to chowder.  Totally ignored the friend who I hadn’t seen for about a year and her new home and hamsters, but I learnt a lot about chowder.  Sorry Becky).
If you can, use whole milk because you want that creaminess.  This is not the place for skimmed milk. The potatoes should be floury ones like maris pipers or king edwards- you want the potato to crumble in, so that you get the starchiness.
If you have time to cut the fat off the bacon and let it melt a little in the pan, then you’ll get more bacon-y flavour in the soup.  Yum.  Seriously – are you still cutting fat off bacon and frying it in olive oil?  STOP!  Snip off that cold fat (what is oil if not fat?) and pop it in the cold pan on a low heat and leeeeave it for about 15 mins.  That fat will, slowly, melt (“render”), and you can cook the onions and other veg for the soup in this fat.  And now you don’t have to buy more oil! So, you haven’t chucked good bacon fat AND you’ve not used unnecesarry olive or sunflower oil, leaving it for another meal – so, that’s basically 2 food waste pitfalls avoided.  Win win!
In this chowder  I used basic veg, but you can add in sweetcorn, peas, diced pepper.  And even my kids eat this for heaven’s sake, so it’s a straight up win for me.  Whatever random bits of cold chicken, chorizo, veg -as long as it tastes good with the soup, it goes in.  Happy days!

 

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Ingredients

  • 25 grams butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium potato (around 300grams)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • around 350 ml milk - ideally whole milk as this is creamy soup
  • leftover sausages and bacon
  • sweetcorn & peas optional
  • salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Large saucepan with lid
  • Potato masher/fork
  • Wooden spoon

Instructions

Prep

  • Optional: cut the fat off the bacon and place into a cool saucepan. Once it sizzles a little add some extra oil
  • Chop your veg. Crumble the sausage into small pieces.

Main

  • Once the fat is warm/butter is melted, add the onion and cook on a moderate (middle) heat for about 10m. You don’t want the onions to brown, you want them to go translucent and soft enough to be squashed by the back of your wooden spoon
  • When the onions are cooked, add your diced potato, carrot and celery. Season. Place the lid on.
  • Turn the heat down a little so that the veggies ‘sweat’ and get a little soft. This takes around 10m.
  • Now that the chopped veggies are ready, pour the milk over and bring to the boil.
  • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PAN! Milk can boil over v quickly!
  • As soon as it’s boiling turn the pan down so it’s simmering (that is, little bubbles are popping up but it’s not boiling hard)
  • Timer on for 15m; keep checking the the veggies are done by pulling a couple out and checking if they are soft. Depending on how large/small you’ve cut them, this could take anything between 15 & 25m**
  • If using peas/sweetcorn, add them now.
  • Add the crumbled meat, boil it through and serve with lots of buttered bread.
  • ** If you’re making the soup in advance, turn the heat off and leave to cool. Do not add the meat and store separately. When you’re ready to eat, heat the soup; as it comes to boil add the meat and let the soup boil for a minute or so, to make sure that the meat is fully hot. Do not reheat.

Storage

  • I wouldn't re-heat this as it'll be the third time around for the meat. 

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!