Cakes & Bakes: Caramelised onion sourdough loaf

Home-made caramelised onion sourdough loaf | H is for Home #recipe #sourdough #baking #realbread

It’s still Sourdough September, and it was also GBBO‘s bread week, so today’s bake celebrates them both; I’ve made a caramelised onion sourdough loaf.

Caramalised onions | H is for Home

The sweet caramelised onion is a wonderful addition – and you can intensify the flavour further with the substitution of onion salt (instead of ‘plain’) to the dough.

Caramelised onion sourdough loaf dough in round banneton | H is for Home

I often find timing sourdough bread proofing stages challenging. So, although I specify rises in this recipe at room temperature, I sometimes have to put my loaf in the coldest room (believe me, it can get really chilly!) in the house for an overnight rise. Then, first thing next morning, I switch the oven on to pre-heat and get baking. This long, slow prove makes the taste of the loaf even more delicious!

Home-made caramelised onion sourdough loaf | H is for Home #recipe #sourdough #baking #realbread

We’ve had this loaf as an accompaniment to a tomato pasta dish – it makes a great mopper-upper! The following day we had what was left with goats cheese and salad.

Click here to save my caramelised onion sourdough recipe to Pinterest.

Caramelised onion sourdough loaf
Yields 1
Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the caramelised onions
  1. 2 medium-sized red or brown onions, finely sliced
  2. knob of butter
  3. pinch of salt
For the sourdough loaf
  1. 450g/1lb sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  2. 175ml/6⅛fl oz water
  3. 450g/1lb strong white flour
  4. 7g/¼ saltHome-made caramelised onion sourdough loaf ingredients
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For the caramelised onions
  1. On a medium heat, cook off the onions in the knob of butter adding a pinch of salt. Allow to brown before setting aside to cool
For the sourdough loaf
  1. Mix together the starter, water and salt
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the starter mixture
  3. Combine until everything is thoroughly mixed together and the dough begins to feel smooth
  4. Cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about an hour
  5. Fold the dough 8 times (8 single folds)
  6. Re-cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about 12 hours at room temperature or until the volume of dough doubles
  7. Turn out the dough out on to a lightly-floured work surface and stretch it out into a rectangle
  8. Spread the cooled caramelised onion mixture evenly on to the rectangle of dough
  9. With the short side facing you, fold the dough on to itself in four, equal lengths ensuring that the mixture runs throughout the dough
  10. Shape the filled dough into your preferred loaf shape (boule, batard, etc.) trying not to have any of the onion mixture poking through the top
  11. Place it into a well-floured (rice flour is preferred) proofing basket/banneton; cover and allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour or until doubled in size
  12. Preheat the oven to 260ºC/500ºF
  13. Once the dough is fully risen and the oven pre-heated, gently transfer the dough from the proofing basket to the baking tray, score the top of the loaf and bake at 260ºC/500ºF/Gas mark 10 for 10 minutes
  14. Turn the oven temperature down to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6 and bake for another 30 minutes
  15. Remove the loaf from the oven and put it on a wire rack to cool for at least an hour before slicing
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Effective and stylish ways to make your home a more private place to live

make your home a more private place to live

Do you want to make your home a more private place in which to live but don’t want it to resemble some kind of prison? Combining home privacy with style isn’t an impossible task. With some thought, you can transform your home into an eye-catching place in which to be, where only you and people you allow onto your property can enjoy. Below are some tips that will let you do this.

Metal wrought iron gates

Install the appropriate gates

When most people think about making their home more secure and private, they instantly think about installing some kind of gate such as sliding gates. This is particularly true if it’s easy to drive into your property or go around the back of your property.

Sliding gates and swing gates are the two main types of outdoor gates available. Sliding gates and swing gates can be opened and closed manually; or, if you have the budget and it’s practical to do so, you could install electronic gates, giving you more privacy when you leave and return home.

You have a wide selection of gates to choose from, which you can browse online at https://www.mistergatesdirect.com/sliding-gates.html. You can install large sliding gates at the entrance to your home, at the side of your home, or any other location where you want to restrict access.

Perimeter fence around a house

Add natural features around the perimeter of your property

Planting trees, shrubs or hedges around the perimeter of your home gives it a much more natural look and feel. However, doing this also allows you to create a secure border between your property and the outside world. Laurel, beech, hawthorn, blackthorn, and English yew are just some of the options available. They are difficult to see through and prevent intruders from walking onto your property.

White picket fences

Wooden fencing

Today’s home owners have a wide range of attractive and stylish fencing options from which to choose that are available in different heights and sizes to suit different homeowner’s needs and requirements. Fencing products are made from various types of sturdy, long-lasting wood, such as cedar and treated pine. Popular fence designs available include shadow box, dog eared, picket, privacy with lattice, privacy arched and picket scalloped designs.

turquoise-painted metal fence

Other fencing options

As demand has grown for fencing in modern homes, fencing manufacturers have looked to alternative materials to make stylish fencing products. Corrugated metal fencing and PVC fencing products have become just as popular as more traditional wooden fencing. These alternatives may be more expensive, but they are guaranteed to make it difficult for people to trespass and they will last a long time.

Whitewashed garden wall

Boundary walls around your home

If you’re not green-fingered or you don’t have the time to prune and tend to a natural boundary of trees or hedging around your home, adding a wall may be a more practical option.

This may seem like a boring and dull option, but the materials and wall designs available now can make the walls around your home another attractive feature that also serve an important function. Bricks, stone, white-washed render and metal are just some of the materials you can use to build these structures around your home.

Green painted wooden shutters on a yellow house

Blinds, shutters and curtains

If your home is close to a road, street or neighbour’s property, or you have limited space outside your home, it’s not as easy to put features in place that will prevent people from looking inside your home. However, there are steps you can take to address this issue.

Firstly, you should consider installing blinds or shutters. These features will not only give you more privacy but will also helps regulate the temperature inside your home during hot and cold weather.

Night-time is when many burglars strike and when it’s often easier to see what’s happening inside a home. Adding a thicker set of curtains on each window in your home will ensure that nobody outside your property knows what’s going on within.

frosted sash window

Frosting and mirror films

A wide range of security technologies is now being used by window and door manufacturers to make homes safer. Frosting or adding mirror films to windows and doors are two ways this is happening. With these features, people inside a house can look out but people outside can’t see in.

Beware of the dog sign on a fence

Add deterrents

If you’ve had enough of people wanting to look inside your property or trying to trespass, there are more direct ways you can solve this problem. Getting a reliable guard dog and placing clearly visible signs outside your home should act as strong deterrents for anyone who’s thinking about entering your property or wants to get a closer look at your home.

Most homeowners want to be left in peace and don’t want any unwelcome intruders. However, to achieve this, homeowners must make changes to make this happen. Each of the points above can help you to achieve this outcome.

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Vintage industrial finds

Huge bulb, one of the vintage industrial finds bought recently | H is for Home

Justin has brought home some lovely vintage industrial finds recently. Yesterday it was the turn of this amazing giant light bulb with white ceramic fitting.

Huge vintage industrial bulb with normal-sized one to show scale | H is for Home

The bulb that it’s photographed next to is quite large in itself, so you can see how huge it is. The filament inside looks undamaged, so we think it might actually work if we get the electricity back flowing to it. It’s probably worth going to the effort of re-wiring. The fitting has the original hook too – it would look really striking hanging down from a high ceiling on a long length of chain or vintage-style cord flex.

Vintage blue & orange ICI storage tin with large orange desk lamp | H is for Home

The day before, it was this vintage ICI tin. The orange logo against the blue background is very striking. And there’s no end of uses for a large tin!

Two vintage industrial letter 'A's with apples to show scale | H is for Home

Justin brought me home a present too – a big, blue metal letter A to add to my collection. ‘A’ might be for apple in most children’s books, but A is for Adelle too!!

Blue-painted vintage industrial stepladder | H is for Home

Blue again! This time some old step ladders with original layers of paint – most recently a lovely duck egg blue. Not only are step ladders useful for doing chores, they also make for wonderful display or storage pieces – plants, bottles, towels (to name but three for which we’ve used them).

Vintage industrial step ladder with spider plant | H is for Home

And last but not least, this gorgeous little metal carry box with really fabulous patina. Probably originally used for tools in a factory or workshop, there was little chance of this ever being sold – it was immediately re-purposed into our packaging box – holding tape, pens & pencils etc. It’s now an indispensable part of the H is for Home team!

Green-painted vintage industrial carry box with packaging tape, measuring tape and pencils | H is for Home

These pieces display the simple, functional design associated with vintage industrial – and the wonderful patina often developed over time. And there’s another reason that we like them. We love the rather varied styles of country antiques and mid century modern. We find that a bit of vintage industrial really helps unite these different looks and eras.

Get their look: California garage conversion

California garage conversioncredit

We’ve got an amazing, quirky space for you in today’s ‘Get their look‘ post. If you’re a massive petrol head, there’s probably no better home for you than something like this California garage conversion. This is a space that enables you to live surrounded by your beloved cars, motorbikes and bicycles.

As you might expect from a converted garage, there’s a strong industrial feel, with its pair of huge motorised roller doors and bare rafters & beams. However, a mid-century modern vibe also shines through. It’s a very successful combination – industrial yet crisp & clean. What a wonderful looking and flexible home.

  1. HEKTAR dark grey pendant lamp
  2. NIUYAO pendant light 20 lights large sputnik chandelier
  3. Porsche 911 904 Rallye Monte Carlo 1965 race poster print
  4. Official gun range target practice poster
  5. Hot Mesh chair by Blu Dot
  6. Dutch industrial single shelving
  7. KALLAX shelving unit

Get their look: California garage conversion | H is for Home

Introducing the brass section

Pair of Georgian antique brass candlesticks | H is for Home

We did a product review for Wayfair the other day in which we created an autumn table setting – all dark and dramatic – with shimmering metallics, fruit, berries, pine cones and so on. It was a pleasure to take the photos as we love this time of year (Justin prefers it to summer, actually). It got us in the mood for autumn pleasures. If the weather is kind, there are glorious autumn walks to be had amongst the turning leaves, inviting country pubs to rest in… and then hunkering down in a cosy house.

Detail of a pair of antique Georgian brass candlesticks | H is for Home

So what makes it feel cosy? How do we achieve our Pennine version of Hygge! Well, there’s the beloved wood burning stove to start with (now in both the lounge and a bedroom). Then all the little extras – woolly jumpers, thick socks, warm blankets, mugs of hot tea, fairy lights… and of course candles. We had them accessorising the aforementioned autumn table setting – and have them dotted around all over the house.

Nothing beats the twinkling light of real candles in the evening – and we’re often amazed at what bargains there are to be had in antique centres, charity shops and auctions when it comes to candle holders – in particular, vintage brass ones. The pair shown are a recent acquisition and demonstrate the point perfectly. A very sweet pair of small Georgian brass candlesticks – £12 in our local antiques centre.

Underside of an antique Georgian brass candlestick | H is for Home

We often see nice examples when we’re out and about. We love the mellow colour of antique brass – it’s got such warmth – and the way candle light shimmers on the reflective metal surface. The combination of brass (and other metallics such as copper and pewter) with the dark paint shades that are very much in vogue in home and restaurant interiors at the moment, looks really fabulous. The antique examples are such good quality too – they have good weight, craftsmanship and nice detailing to them.

Pair of antique Georgian brass candlesticks | H is for Home

And don’t worry about finding pairs. Some were made as single candle holders of course, but even if they were made as a pair and one’s missing its partner, just make a collection of the odd ones. The different shapes and heights look fabulous grouped together.

Three antique Georgian brass candlesticks with mid-century modern brass horse figure | H is for Home

So, here ends the promotional advert for the brass candle-holder association!! No not really – and we haven’t got a job lot of 500 brass candlesticks to sell either. We just thought it was worth highlighting the amazing bargains that are out there – and hopefully get you in the mood for autumn too!

Designer Desire: George Cook

Mosaic of George Cook pottery items for Ambleside Pottery

Earlier this week, we wrote about a piece of Ambleside pottery we bought. Today we’re going to show you a few more examples of work by its maker, George Cook. Cook was the founder and main designer-maker of Ambleside Pottery based in the southern Lake District, Cumbria. He ran the pottery from 1948 until he retired in 1968, when he sold the premises to Brian Jackson. Between 1959 & 1966, he trained Gordon Fox who currently owns & runs Kentmere Pottery.

George Cook pieces regularly come up for sale at auctions across the UK and occasionally appear on eBay. They’re very reasonably priced… for the time being!

The 1954 Rydal Women’s Institute programme reveals how the group held their April meeting at George Cook’s studio. A pottery demonstration formed part of the event. The studio was located in North Road, in an abandoned corn mill (see bottom photo taken in April 1886) by Stock Ghyll, Ambleside.  The pottery remained in existence until the 1980s. At present, it operates as the Giggling Goose Café. Apparently, examples of the pottery can still be found on the roof above the kitchen window.

George Cook, founder of Ambleside Potterycredit

Stock Ghyll Mill, North Road, Amblesidecredit

Additional image credits: Worthpoint