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sourdough bolo levedo with blueberries

These aren’t exactly the 5 minutes of the usual  Breakfast Cereal Challenge recipes, but they’re fast enough for a weekday morning.  We had this batch for breakfast this morning before work. Like everything made of sourdough, the time is not in the doing but in the waiting. It only takes about 20 minutes to make a batch, but the 20 minutes has to be the night before, and you have to start by feeding the starter the morning before.  So you really have to start dreaming of bolo levedo for breakfast a full day in advance. The upside is that you can wake up knowing that you are minutes away from sweet Portuguese muffins for breakfast.

I have (as usual) taken huge liberties with the traditional recipe – real Portuguese cooks should turn away now. The traditional version is made with yeast (though presumably the real traditional ones were sourdough), and if you don’t have a sourdough culture going, you can make them with a yeast dough.  The traditional ones have more sugar too, and no blueberries.

Blueberries are just coming into season and they are hugely healthy – any food with that purple colouring seems to be loaded with antioxidants.  The eggs and cottage cheese add a bit of protein to it too, so it fits the Witches Kitchen definition of healthy well enough to be a regular breakfast rather than a special treat.

The Recipe:

To make 8 English muffin sized bolos.

You need a cup of fed sourdough starter for this recipe, so I start the morning before – take my sourdough culture out of the fridge and feed it a cup of bakers flour mixed with a cup of water. In cool weather, I would pour a cupful into a bowl and leave it covered on my benchtop for the day, and put the rest back in the fridge.  But in these warm summer days I leave it in the fridge for the day and only take the cupful I need out when I get home.

The Evening Before:

fed sourdough starterThe sourdough starter should be nice and frothy as in the picture. Use an eggbeater to beat in

  • 2 eggs
  • a good dessertspoon of raw sugar
  • a good dessertspoon of skim milk powder
  • half a teaspoon of salt

Stir in a cup of bakers flour and tip another cup on the bench top. Knead the dough for a few minutes – enough to incorporate the second cupful, or most of it, and to get a smooth non-sticky dough.

Divide the dough into 8 balls and use a rolling pin to roll each ball out to the size of a saucer.

bolo levedo proved and ready to cookPut a dozen or so blueberries and 2 teaspoons of cottage cheese in the middle of each circle and fold in the edges, squeezing them together to make a ball of dough enclosing the filling.

Place the balls of dough, joins side down, on well oiled plates, cover with a clean tea towel, and leave them to prove overnight. By the morning they should look like this – spread and flattened but  nice and plump and risen to twice the size.

In the Morning

To Fry:

This is the traditional way to cook them.  Heat a heavy lightly oiled frypan.  Slide the bolo off their plates into the pan and cook over a fairly low heat for about 7 to 8  minutes each side until they are golden.

To Bake

You can also bake the bolo, but then they wouldn’t be bolo.  They’re good that way too though. Just put them on an oiled baking tray (instead of the plates). I have an antique gas (not fan forced oven), and in my oven I put them in a cold oven turned up high and bake for 20 minutes till golden. I put a blueberry decoratively in the middle of each of these  and brushed the top lightly with milk before baking.

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Our blueberry bushes are bearing and the farm up the road is selling bags of blueberry seconds so this is the  second in the   Muesli Bar Challenge series featuring blueberries.  Last week’s muffins are a hard act to follow.  This recipe is just as healthy, low in fat and sugar and featuring ricotta, yoghurt, eggs and wholemeal flour along with the blueberries. It takes a little longer to make but still within the Challenge rules of being easy enough for busy parents or kids themselves to make.

The Recipe:

This recipe makes lots – around 20 squares, depending on how small you slice them. I have a shallow baking tray 33 cm by 23 cm which is perfect for it.

Before you start, turn your oven on to heat up and grease the baking tray with butter.

The Crust:

In the food processor, mix together

  • 2 cups wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 good dessertspoons of brown sugar

Add 3 good dessertspoons of butter and continue processing for a minute until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Reserve 2/3 of a cup of crust mix, and press the rest into the base of your baking tray. Press down hard.

Pop it into the oven to bake for 15 minutes, while you make the filling.

Filling:

You don’t need to wash the food processor.

Blend together:

  • 250 gm ricotta
  • 100 gm low fat plain yoghurt
  • 3 dessertspoons of brown sugar
  • Juice and zest of a large lemon
  • 3 large eggs (or 4 small)

Assembling:

Pour the filling over the crust. Sprinkle in 2 cups of blueberries. They should be almost but not quite covered by filling.

Sprinkle the reserved 2/3 cup of crust over the top.

Bake in a medium oven for another 35 to 40 minutes until set. It will firm up a little more as it cools.

Cool in the tray, then slice up and remove with a cake slice.

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Blueberries are right in season up here in northern NSW, and with three major ingredients (blueberries, oats and yoghurt) in my superfoods list, this week’s Muesli Bar Challenge recipe blitzes the healthy criteria.  It is also really easy – literally 5 minutes to make then 25 to bake.

Oat bran is specially healthy, loaded with the kind of soluble fibre that stablises blood sugar,  iron that helps blood carry enough oxygen, protein, and Vitamins A and C.  Blueberries are another of those dark coloured fruit that, like mulberries, contain phytonutrients that are protective against a whole range of chronic conditions caused by free radical damage, including cancer, inflammation, diabetes, and infections. And yoghurt has the calcium benefits of dairy foods along with probiotic bacteria that would be very good for you except that they probably don’t survive the baking!

The Recipe

Turn your oven on to heat up.  Grease an 8 hole muffin tray.

In a bowl, mix together:

  • 1 cup of wholemeal self-raising flour
  • ¾ cup of oat bran
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

In a food processor, blitz together:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 dessertspoons of raw sugar
  • 1 dessertspoon of lemon juice
  • ¾ cup plain low fat yoghurt
  • 2 dessertspoons of macadamia or other light flavoured oil

Fold the wet mix into the dry mix, then fold in ¾ cup of blueberries.

Bake in a medium oven for around 25 minutes until the top is golden, they bounce back to the touch, and a skewer comes out clean.

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