Posts Tagged With: Kneading

Handmade orecchiette

Orecchiette resemble little ears, which is where they get their name, and is the traditional pasta of Puglia. A perfect orecchietta is just under 2cm across and has a slightly domed shaped which enables it to hold pasta sauce well.

Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Lara Scala Quinn on
Serves: 4 starter serves or enough tastes for 20


  • Large stockpot with lid
  • Measures: cup, ½ cup, ¼ cup, tablespoon
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Baking sheet
  • Tea towel
  • Large bowl
  • Serving bowls

  • 1 cup semolina flour, plus more for baking sheet
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup water, plus more if needed

What to do:

  • Fill the large pot with water and set to boil with the lid on.
  • Measure semolina, plain flour and salt into a large bowl.
  • Using your fingers, swirl ingredients together until combined then create a well in centre. Pour 1/4 cup water into well and gradually incorporate flour mixture into water using your fingers.
  • Once all the water is absorbed, continue adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture begins to form a dough.
  • Turn out onto a large, clean work surface and start to gather and knead dough, working it until no dry flour remains on work surface.
  • Continue to knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  • Divide dough into 8 equal portions, and cover them with a clean, damp kitchen towel.
  • Roll 1 portion of dough into a 45-cm-long rope.
  • Use a knife to cut and drag a 1cm piece of dough from end of rope facing you — a grainy wooden cutting board helps grip the dough.
  • Holding knife at a 45-degree angle to work surface, press and roll dough toward you.
  • Unfurl each piece of dough over your thumb in the opposite direction to form a concave shape, and transfer to a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with semolina flour. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • When the pot of water is boiling add the orecchiette and a tablespoon of salt, stir and replace the lid. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the pasta bob to the top.
  • Using a slotted spoon, scoop out into a big bowl with a little of the cooking water and then toss in a tablespoon of olive oil before adding your sauce.
  • Orecchiette can be stored at room temperature in a single layer overnight: cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Any extra orecchiette can be frozen up to six weeks: First, freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer them to a resealable plastic bag and return them to the freezer. Boil directly from the freezer.

Notes: What does orecchiette mean? Name some other pasta shapes. What do they mean?

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Kitchen news – 21st November 2013

Flatbread production line

The theme this fortnight has been ‘Our Families’, recommended to me by Miss Murden for her Stage 1 unit theme. This has been particularly appropriate at my house as we’ve had our English family to stay (who of course brought the rain with them!) but also has led to discussion in the classes about our Bondi Kitchen Garden Family, where we cook, eat and work together – and also how I very much feel like an auntie to all the children (or as a cheeky little Year 3 kid said, a Great Grandma. Hmph!) The UK folks left yesterday, so the weather should be a lot better from now on…

So to our menu: Hugh’s fish-free salad Niçoise (gorgeously golden yolks from our fresh eggs); slurpy Cream of celery soup; River Cottage garlicky flatbreads to mop up Alice’s broad bean puree (that’s the end of them!); and the most popular dish ever, judging by the requests for the recipe and general comments from parents AND children: the creamy and vibrant Risotto primavera.

A fabulous bunch of dishes and the children working so well together – so helpful, mature and an absolute delight to cook with! And not a grain of rice left…

To finish, I made a call-out for some haberdashery help… I mentioned that I had over a dozen aprons that need some sewing-machine attention or other and said would love to hand them over for a fix, and that it could be a project for the holidays? But it looks like I have a Machinist Miracle Maker who is even picking up the aprons on Tuesday! Thanks Fiona 🙂

For loads of great photos from the week and recipes updated fortnightly, click back here!


Team zest!

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Rosemary and olive focaccia

We love preparing dough at Bondi, and this soft focaccia studded with olives and rosemary is fantastic as part of an antipasto plate or with a hearty soup. We used Our Bondi Olives that were picked in February then brined over the course of two months, marinated (olive oil, orange peel, garlic, fennel seed, bay, thyme) and bottled in May, then cupboard-aged for another 2 months… we also used a combination of fresh rosemary, picked from the stalk, with rosemary spines dried over the last 6 months. A variation:  adding halved cherry tomatoes or preserved artichokes or whatever you feel like!

From the garden: olives, rosemary
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe on
Serves: 8 at home or 24 tastes


  • Bowls – small, med
  • Measures – jug, teaspoon, tablespoon
  • Scales
  • Stand mixer & dough hook
  • Pastry brush
  • 20 x 30cm Swiss roll pan
  • Clean tea towel
  • Chopping board
  • Serving plates

  • 310ml warm water
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 3½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 450g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt flakes
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • A jar of our marinated Bondi PS olives

What to do:

To make the dough:

  • Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for about 5 minutes until frothy & bubbling. Then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Place flour and half of the flaked salt in the bowl of the mixer. Make a well in the centre and pour in yeast mixture. On the lowest setting, mix for 10 minutes.
  • Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another minute or so until smooth and elastic. Brush a medium bowl with a little olive oil to grease. Place dough in bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for about an hour until doubled in size.

 Start of lesson:

  • Preheat oven to 200°C.
  • Brush the pan with 2 teaspoons of remaining oil. Punch down the centre of the dough with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes or until dough is elastic and has returned to original size. Press into the prepared pan. Cover with the clean tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 20 minutes or until doubled in height.
  • Meanwhile wash & carefully dry the rosemary and pick the leaves from the stalks. Pit the olives.
  • Use your finger to press dimples into the dough. Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle over the rosemary and remaining salt. Press the olives into the dough.
  • Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden and the focaccia sounds hollow when tapped on base. Serve warm or at room temperature, carved into thin slices.
  • While the focaccia is cooking you can make the dough for the next class before cleaning up!

Notes: Why do we wait for the yeast mixture first? What is process of doubling the dough in size called?

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Hugh’s Magic Dough (for 1 pizza)

The Year 1 kids came to visit and made the pizza dough for the next group, while using the dough that the class before made…

Squishing and squashing the dough

Recipe source: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Veg Every Day
Makes: 1 large pizza


  • Scales
  • Bowls – large, medium
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measures – tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Cling film

  • 125g plain white flour plus extra to flour
  • 125g strong white flour
  • 1 level teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little extra for oiling
  • 160ml warm water

What to do:

  • Weigh the two flours into a big bowl and then add the salt and yeast. Mix well using the wooden spoon.
  • Measure out the warm water and then add the water and the oil to the flours and mix to a rough dough. Knead for a few minutes and then turn out onto a lightly floured table and knead again for about 10 minutes, until smooth. This is quite a loose and sticky dough, which is just as it should be – you get better-textured bread this way – so try not to add too much flour if you can help it, it will become less sticky as you knead.
  • Trickle a little oil into a medium bowl, add the kneaded dough and turn it in the oil so it is covered with a light film. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size – at least an hour, probably closer to two – or if using the next day, wrap bowl in cling film and put straight into the fridge to prove slowly.
  • When the dough is well risen and puffy, tip it out and ‘knock it back’ by poking it with your outstretched fingers until it collapses to its former size. It’s now ready to be shaped to your will.

Notes: Why do we leave the dough to rise? What is this process called? What does to knock it back mean? What will you make with your dough?

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Potato, rosemary & rocket pizza

I think it’s a law that every child should love pizza… and mine certainly do! This one’s a very different style to the usual however, as there’s no tomato nor mozzarella – or even pineapple! But delish nevertheless, and is also a leeeetle bit healthy…

Potato, rosemary & rocket pizza

Fresh from the garden: potatoes, rosemary, rocket
Recipe source: adapted from Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids
Serves:  8 or 24 tastes


For the pizza dough:

  • Bowls – 1 small, 2 large
  • Fork
  • Scales
  • Measures: cup, ½ cup, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Stand mixer with dough hook
  • Pastry brush
  • 2 large oven trays
  • Wide egg lifter
  • Large boards for cutting pizza
  • Pizza cutter

For the pizza topping:

  • Salad spinner
  • Scales
  • 2 clean, dry tea towels
  • Kitchen paper
  • Chopping board
  • Grater & peelers
  • Mandoline & mezzaluna

For the pizza dough:

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 400g plain flour, plus extra for flouring
  • 2 teaspoons cooking salt

For the pizza topping:

  • 3 handfuls rocket leaves
  • 100g parmesan cheese
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 medium-to-large potatoes
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


What to do:

To make the dough:

  • Place the water, yeast and sugar in the small bowl. Mix with the fork and leave for 5–10 minutes until the mixture looks frothy.
  • Add the 2 teaspoons of oil to the yeast mixture and mix well.
  • Place the flour and salt and yeast mixture in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat for at least 8 minutes, until the dough looks smooth.
  • Brush the inside of a large bowl with a little of the extra virgin olive oil, using the pastry brush.
  • Turn the pizza dough into the oiled bowl. Cover with a clean, dry tea towel and put in a draught-free place until the dough has doubled in size. This process, which is called ‘proving’, will take at least 1 hour.

What to do:

Start of lesson:

  • Tip the risen dough onto the workbench and knead briefly, then shape it into a round ball and return it to the bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave again, this time for at least 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C. You can prepare the topping now while you wait for the oven to heat up.

For the topping:

  • Rinse the rocket leaves and dry them in the salad spinner. Shred the rocket into fine strips. Lay a piece of kitchen paper on a dry tea towel and spread the dry leaves over the paper and then roll the whole lot up like a log. Keep the rolled parcel of leaves in the refrigerator until needed.
  • Shave off pieces of parmesan using either a grater (if it has a wide slicing option) or a normal potato peeler.
  • Pull the rosemary needles from the stalks and chop them using the mezzaluna.
  • Peel the potatoes, washing them as you go, and slice them very thinly and very carefully using the mandoline & guard.
  • Tip the sliced potatoes into the large bowl and drizzle with most of the oil.
  • Add the rosemary and salt and pepper, then mix together so that all the slices are lightly oiled.

Assembling the pizza:

  • Scatter some flour on the workbench, divide the dough in two and roll to form two thin rectangles to fit the baking trays.
  • Assemble the pizzas directly onto the trays, flouring the trays first.
  • Arrange the slices of potato on the pizzas, overlapping them.
  • Sprinkle most of the Parmesan over the potato, keeping some aside.
  • Drizzle the pizzas with the last of the oil, then place the pizzas in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges are very crusty and the cheese is bubbling. 

Finishing off:

  • While the pizzas are baking you can make the dough for the next class (see above).
  • You may want to slip the pizza off the tray onto the rack for the last few minutes, so that you get a really crusty base.
  • Once the pizzas are done, transfer them to the wooden chopping boards using the wide egg lifter.
  • Cut the pizzas in half, and then into small slices or squares and then slide half a pizza onto each plate.
  • Top each with a handful of the shredded rocket leaves and remaining parmesan.

Notes: Where does pizza come from? What type of potatoes will you use here? What other sort of vegetables could you use in a pizza? What sort of other pizza could we make?

Yes please, I’ll have another

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Pita bread

If you’ve never made bread from scratch, pita is the perfect place to start. If you have made bread before, you’ll know how delicious these can be! They are great served with hummus for dipping, or our falafel with herby yoghurt… this recipe makes about 20 small pita breads.


  • Measuring jug
  • Bowl – 2 small
  • Bowl – large mixing
  • Teaspoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Glad wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Fork
  • 6  tea towels
  • Medium frying pan
  • Large knife
  • 4 serving plates

  • 7g dried yeast
  • 20g sugar
  • 375ml warm water
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 500g plain unbleached flour, plus extra
  • 100g fine semolina
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra

What to do:

  • Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 125ml warm water, cover and set aside for 15 minutes until frothy. Dissolve salt in remaining 250ml warm water.
  • Place flour and semolina in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Add yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt water. Knead with hands for 10 minutes in the bowl. Shape into a ball in the bowl, cover with glad wrap and place in a warm area to rise. Wait about one hour until dough has doubled in volume.
  • Punch down dough and knead on a floured surface for one minute. Divide dough into pieces slightly larger than an egg and roll quickly into little balls. Leave to rest under a damp tea towel for 5 minutes, then roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of about 6mm. Prick bread with a fork in several places.
  • Preheat a frying pan, add a dash of olive oil and cook bread over high heat for a couple of minutes each side until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining breads, carefully wiping out the frying pan if smoking and adding oil for every second one if necessary.
  • Stack breads on a clean tea towel, placing clean tea towels between each second one to absorb the moisture, and allow to cool.
  • Slice into quarters or strips and divide onto the plates.

Notes: Where does pita bread originate? Where are other flat breads used? What other sort of dishes do they go with? What does dissolve mean? What does absorb mean?

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