The flour market for Irish home cooks is changing, with exciting new products from artisanal producers. Keep your eyes peeled in your local shops and online as there are new flour mills opening up and not only is it great to support local enterprise, but these are such wonderful products too.

For me, working with different flours always creates a buzz in my kitchen, especially when I'm trying out new recipes. I love the anticipation of the outcome and discovering a wealth of brilliantly milled flours to make our squidgy brownies and showstopper cakes even better. It brings joy to the kitchen.

I had the pleasure of baking with a very interesting flour from BiaSol, which I’d like to introduce you to this week.

Happy baking!
Catherine
www.ballyknocken.com

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What does 'folding in' mean?
I get asked this many times and have seen some very awkward ways of folding liquids into flour, or chocolate for that matter, including the use of a teaspoon to fold a cake batter once!

So here are my top tips for effective folding:

  • Use a large spatula and draw a deep figure of 8 twice through the batter and then roll it over once.
  • Then go back to the figure of 8 and roll once more.
  • Do this until all the ingredients are incorporated and then stop.
  • You don’t want to overdo the folding, otherwise your bake will be flat and dense.

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#lovelocal
BiaSol
A great family-run company which produces BiaSol milled grains using the spent grains from local brewers, milled into a flour which is full of fibre and protein. It’s a zero-waste food product, and I am delighted to see that they are focusing on minimising food waste while adding great health benefits. biasol.ie

Pear & rosemary buttermilk loaves
I love recipes with blended flour. These loaves are great for cheeseboards or to serve for a picnic lunch with pickles, cheeses, hummus, charcuterie and roasted veg. There is added malt flavour as well as nuttiness and it blends well with the pears

Makes 3 x small loaves or 6 x mini loaves

  • 120g plain flour
  • 50g BiaSol light malt milled grains
  • 3 tbsp BiaSol dark malt wholegrains
  • 1 tsp bread soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 70ml olive oil
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pears, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp BiaSol dark malt wholegrains, for the top
  • Rosemary sprigs, to garnish

Method

  1. Line 3 x 15cm loaf tins with parchment. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
  2. Place the flour, malt milled grains, malt wholegrain and sift in the bread soda with the salt.
  3. Add the sugar and rosemary and stir well. Pour the olive oil, buttermilk and eggs into a jug and whisk well.
  4. Pour the buttermilk egg mixture into the flours and fold in the pears at the same time.
  5. Spoon into the prepared loaf tins. Sprinkle a few dark malt wholegrains on the top of each loaf.
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. Insert a skewer and it must come out clean.
  7. Place on a cooling rack. Arrange sprigs of rosemary on top of each loaf.


Carrot patch cupcakes
These incorporate all my favourite flavours in one – I’m half expecting a bunny to hop by!

Makes 16

For the cupcakes

  • 75g softened butter
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 80g grated carrot
  • 4 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 50g finely diced apple
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 60g wholewheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 60 to 70ml milk
  • 8 Oreo biscuits (centre filling scraped out)

For the icing

  • 100g softened butter
  • 200g sifted icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Orange food colour, for the carrots
  • Rosemary sprigs, as "stalks" for the carrots

Method

  1. To prepare the cupcakes, line 2 cupcake baking trays with 16 small cupcake cases (if you are using the large cases then you will only need 1 baking tray). Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
  2. Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk until fluffy. Add all the eggs and whisk. Add grated carrots, walnuts and apples. Add the self-raising flour, wholewheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in and fold in just enough milk to form a soft batter.
  3. Spoon batter into cupcake cases and transfer to the oven. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes until cooked. (The larger ones will take longer) Insert a skewer to check that the cupcakes are done. The skewer should come out clean.
  4. Leave on a cooling rack until cold and ready to decorate.
  5. Place the Oreo biscuits pieces (scrape the filling off) into a blender and blend until crumbs.
  6. To make the icing, place the butter and icing sugar into bowl and whisk until fluffy and light. Fold in the mascarpone. Spoon a one third of the icing into another bowl and add orange colour for the carrots.
  7. Add the cocoa powder into the remaining two thirds of the icing and whisk well.
  8. To decorate, scoop out a small hole into the centre of each cupcake. Spread the chocolate icing onto each cupcake. Spread the Oreo biscuit crumbs onto a plate and dip each cupcake into the crumbs to cover the entire cupcake. Spoon the orange icing into a piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe into each hole, leaving a small amount showing like carrots growing in the ground. Smooth off the top. Insert sprigs of rosemary for the stalks in each cupcake.