Andreia Peres is from Portugal and has been in Beijing for over a year. During a lifelong spiritual journey, she has made her way from extensive gym workouts to yoga, and now she has started her own workshop, called “Flowing into Femininity.” This flow blends Tantra practices, Kundalini Tantra Yoga, shamanic rituals, Taoist practices, womb healing, and guided visualizations and meditations. It is a powerful blend that really awakens your sexual energy, which is a pure life force that exists in all living things and connects us all.
I can hear you thinking, what does this have to do with food? Flow in the kitchen can work as a meditation and relaxes the mind and body. Peres started home cooking when she moved across the world to New Zealand, and exploring new flavors and being creative was her companion together with her yoga. Making bread is like a meditation for Peres. Hopefully, our readers can find some inner flow by learning these bread and pizza recipes.
– ½ cup flour + ½ cup of water
– 1 tablespoon sourdough starter
– 1 cup of whole wheat flour
– 1 cup of strong bread flour
– ¾ cup of water
– ¼ cup water + 1 teaspoon of salt
– Note: use a 250ml cup
The most important thing to have good sourdough bread is to create a yeast culture that will serve as a starter for all your subsequent sourdough bread. In order to do this, you need to have an airtight container and reserve a little bit of dough from your usual bread. Place the dough inside the container and mix in some flour and water. Whisk it and put it in the fridge. If you don’t usually do bread you can just mix some flour and water and pour it into the container to start with, then place it in the fridge as well.
During a full week, you will feed your starter with a little bit of flour and water once a day every day.
After the first week, it is ready to use. From that point onwards, you only need to feed your starter once a week.
When you want to do your bread, remove the container from the fridge one day before to activate the flour.
Step 1: Leaven
Mix one tablespoon of starter (not too full) with a half cup of flour and a half cup of water. Cover it with plastic film and let it rest overnight.
Step 2: The Autolyze
Mix the leaven with the remaining flour and ¾ cup of water. Let it rise for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours. During this time, the flour absorbs the water and becomes fully hydrated, which helps gluten formation during the next step. Cover the bowl with plastic film.
Step 3: Prepare the salty water
Salt is important for a flavorful bread but it can inhibit the activity during the autolyze step. Mix together 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ cup of water. After the second step is complete, remove the plastic film and pour the salt mixture into the bowl. It will be quite watery and soggy and this point.
Step 4: Folding
After pouring the salty water in, begin folding the dough by grabbing some of the dough from the side, stretching it up, and then folding it over on top of the dough. Do this a few times around the bowl, then let the dough rest about 30 minutes before doing it again.
Do this method at least six times and you will notice that the texture of the dough will change from watery and shaggy to stretchy and pliable.
Step 5: The final rise
Prepare a bowl with baking paper inside and sprinkle in some flour. Place the dough in this new bowl, cover it up with oiled plastic film and let it rise again until it has at least doubled in size.
At this point you can proceed in two different ways:
• Wait around two hours and cook the bread on the same day of preparation, it will make a delicious and crispy bread, however, the sour flavor won’t develop too much.
• Place the dough inside the fridge overnight to develop a more intense flavor.
If you decide to follow the second option, when it is time to cook it, bring the dough from the fridge straight to the oven.
Step 6: Baking
When it’s time to bake, preheat a Dutch oven for 20 min at 250°C. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can use any heavy pot with a lid, like a soup pot or even a large saucepan.
Remove the plastic film from the dough and sprinkle some flour on top, only for aesthetic purposes. Then take the pot out of the oven and transfer the dough to the pot holding it from the baking paper. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 20 minutes. After this time, remove the lid, decrease the oven temperature to 200 °C and let it cook for another 15 min. When it is cooked, remove from the pot and let it cool down.
– 1 tablespoon of dry yeast
– ¾ cup of water at room temperature
– 1 cup of wholewheat flour
– 1 cup of strong bread flour
– 2 tablespoons of oil
– 1 large onion
– Bell peppers (red and green)
– 2 slices of bacon
– 2 ripe tomatoes
– 1 cup of mushrooms
– Cheddar cheese
– Basil (optional)
– Olive oil, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, salt and herbs for seasoning
1. Fill up a cup with water, add 1 shallow tablespoon of dry yeast and wait 10 min to activate the yeast. When it becomes bubbly, it is ready to use.
2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, the activated yeast and 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil or olive oil. Start mixing with a spoon and when is roughly well combined, start kneading with your hands.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic film and wait for a few hours until it has doubled or tripled in size. This amount of dough will allow approximately 4 medium pizzas. If you don’t want to use all the dough you can freeze it for future use.
4. To shape the dough, add some flour on top of a cleaned surface and start stretching it with your fingers until it has the desired thickness and size. I personally like to do it very thin because it will be crispy after baking, but it is up to your own preference.
5. After shaping, transfer it to a baking tray covered with baking paper, poke it with a fork in a few spots and pre-bake it for 10 min at 180°C.
6. Remove the dough from the oven and brush it with some olive oil, especially on the edges. After that spread the already cooked filling mixture on top of the dough, followed by cheddar cheese, or any other cheese of your preference.
7. Bake for another 20 min at 200°C or until the cheese has melted down. Remove it from the oven, cut into pieces and enjoy while still hot.
Chop all the ingredients and place them in a large sized pan. Add olive oil, salt, black pepper, balsamic vinegar and some herbs of your choice. Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until the mixture starts sticking to the pan, then it is ready. Stir the mixture a few times during the cooking procedure.
Place aside and wait for the dough to be ready.
This article appeared on p28-30 of beijingkids June 2018 issue.
Photos: Uni You