Tag Archives: bread

Red Onion & Rosemary Bread

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I couldn’t decide what kind of bread to make so just made up a basic bread dough while I mulled it over in my mind palace and came up with this bread bad boy. Boom.

Ingredients

400g strong white bread flour
7g instant yeast
7g salt
250ml lukewarm water
1 large red onion
1 garlic clove
small handful of rosemary sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soft brown sugar

Method

Begin by making the simple bread dough. In a large bowl, weigh out the flour, salt and yeast – remembering to keep the salt and yeast on opposite sides. Mix in half the water with your hands, add the rest in smaller amounts until you get a soft, workable consistency.

Tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until elastic and smooth. Place in a large oiled bowl then place the bowl inside a plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-3 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, slice the red onion into your preferred shape (I went for small, thin slices) and gently fry in 1 tbsp olive oil, with a crushed garlic clove and finely chopped rosemary for about 5 minutes, until softened. Throw in the balsamic vinegar and sugar and fry for a further minute.

When the bread has proved, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and gently knead in the onion mixture. You might need a little more bread flour to offset the extra moisture. When the onion is evenly distributed, roughly shape into a rectangle and place in a deep, rectangular tray. Place the tray in a plastic bag and leave to prove once again in a warm place for around an hour.

Brush with about 1 tbsp olive oil before baking at 180-200°C/360-390°F/gas mark 4-6 for around 20-25 minutes until brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.

Enjoy with cheese, chutney or dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar. Scoffscoffscoff.

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Fougasse

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Ahh, Paul Hollywood, you make everything look so easy. I have to say I’m definitely becoming a better baker because of you. How To Bake is a genuinely brilliant book and I’ve probably peddled it before but I shall do so again – everything in it is begging to be made! Go buy it with your hard-earned pennies and get baking!

I’ve modified this recipe ever so slightly but only in the peripheral aspects not the major components. If you like focaccia, you’ll like this guaranteed.

Ingredients

250g strong white bread flour
190ml cold water
5g salt
5g fast-action yeast
1 tbsp oil*
3 tsp mixed herbs
handful fresh oregano, ripped up
handful fresh basil, ripped up

*I replaced PH’s suggestion of olive oil with the oil in which sundried tomatoes are preserved. I also chopped up the capers that came in my standard supermarket tomatoes and threw them over the bread with the other herbs. I must admit I must have used a fair bit more than 1 tbsp of oil too

Method

Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the salt to one side, yeast to the other, oil anywhere you like and three quarters of the water. PH says to use a mixer but a. I don’t have one and b. the exercise means you can eat twice as much bread! So shape your hand, dough-mixer-stylee and start mixing together in a circular motion.

Once everything is incorporated add the remaining water a little at a time, continuing to mix as vigorously as you can. Feel free to take a break every now and again! In the end I took mine out of the bowl, put plenty of oil on the work surface and kneaded it for 5 minutes before oiling the bowl and returning the dough to it. Cover with clingfilm and leave for at least an hour – my dough probably quadrupled in size.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment, dust a work surface with flour and semolina/polenta and tip the dough out on to it – save the clingfilm to use again later. Gently push out into a round and lift onto the baking tray before squishing out further. Make slits with a pizza cutter in a “leaf pattern” and gently pull the dough apart to emphasize the holes. Dust with flour and semolina/polenta, mixed herbs, basil, oregano and capers if you have any.

Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7. Cover the dough with the clingfilm and leave to prove while the oven warms up. Before you put it in the oven, drizzle with oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Tap the bread in various places to check it’s cooked through – it’ll have a lovely hollow sound. Cool on a wire rack and eat with an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dip.

J

fougasse

 

Coconut, Coriander, Chilli & Ginger Flatbread

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The perfect, light airy flatbread to soak up a curry. Taken from the Real Food cookbook, with added coconut and spring onions. This makes one pretty enormous flatbread

Ingredients

400g strong white bread flour
320ml water
1½ tsp fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp dessicated coconut
2.5cm piece fresh root ginger
1 medium red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
handful fresh coriander, ripped into pieces
2 spring onions, cut into thin rounds
olive oil

Method

Place a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray and lightly flour a surface ready for your dough.

Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other. Add half the chilli and coriander, 2 tbsp coconut and and most of the water. Use your hand to mix it all together, adding the remaining water a little at a time until you have a well-mixed, slightly wet dough. Tip out the dough and knead for 10 minutes.

Roll into a ball then squash down into a round – make sure to put more flour down to stop it sticking. Pick up and place on the baking parchment and squash out further until approximately 1cm thick. Dimple the surface with your fingers, add the remaining chilli, coriander, ginger, coconut and spring onions and give a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Cover with cling film and stick in a warm place to prove until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 190oC/375oC/gas mark 5. Remove the clingfilm and put the bread on the middle shelf for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Tap to check whether it’s cooked, it will sound hollow if it has, if not stick back in for 5 minutes. Either serve with a soggy curry or drizzle with oil and serve on its own.

J&W

not so flat flatbread

Mary Berry’s Hot Cross Buns

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To celebrate Easter (not that I am a huge fan of Easter) I got my Mary Berry on baking these delicious hot cross buns from the latest edition of the Great British Bake Off Masterclass. Despite having watched the programme twice and having the recipe written down in front of me, I somehow still managed to get them wrong. However they turned out fantastic anyway, proving that even the most haphazard baker doesn’t have an excuse for not making a batch of these.

Ingredients

dough
500g strong white bread flour
50g caster sugar
7g salt
10g fast action yeast
40g butter
2 eggs
150ml whole milk
150ml water

filling
250g dried fruit of your choice (sultanas, raisins, mixed peel, Mary Berry suggests 180g dried fruit, 50g mixed peel)
zest of 1 orange (plus about half the juice)
1 apple, diced into small chunks
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg

crosses
75g plain flour
75ml approx. cold water

glaze
2 tsp apricot or ginger jam (whatever you have in the cupboard)
2 tsp warm water

Method

Weigh out all of the dry dough ingredients into a large mixing bowl, remembering to keep the salt and the yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and the milk and mix with your hands to ensure the butter is mixed thoroughly and there are no large chunks. By now you should have a vaguely dough-like substance that needs a bit of water to help it come together. Add the water bit by bit until you reach a slightly sticky dough.

Turn out onto the worktop and knead away for 5-10 minutes, stretching the dough and knocking it back. Throw the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for around an hour.

When the dough has about doubled in size, throw in the fruit and spices. Knead gently to ensure it is evenly distributed throughout the dough. Cut the dough into 12 evenly sized pieces and roughly shape them into balls. Place on a baking tray 3 x 4 with about an inch between each. Leave to prove, covered in cling film, for another hour until the balls are just about touching. Heat your oven to 200 degrees.

Mix the flour with around 50 mls of water to form a thick paste. Add more water slowly to form more of a battery consistency that will be pipe-able. You may not need the whole 75 mls, though you may need a little more. Spoon the batter into a piping bag and pipe over all of the buns on the baking tray – you needn’t do each individually, one long sweep across all 3-4 will give a more professional look.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until dark golden brown. As soon as they come out of the oven, mix up your glaze and brush over the hot buns to give the shiny, sticky finish that make hot cross buns oh so tasty.

Enjoy warm, toasted or cold with lashings of butter or jam.

YUM.

Hot Cross Buns

Ficelles [Thin Baguettes]

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Ficelles are thin baguettes. They are absolutely gorgeous, extremely light and a wonderful accompaniment to soup! This recipe comes from Paul Hollywood’s excellent How To Bake, a book well worth investing in – there are so many recipes Whale & I want to make from it, everything is so tempting.

Mr Hollywood suggests using a mixer for this dough, however I used my hands and found it to be a very enjoyable dough to work with, even for a fairly novice breadmaker as myself! They’re relatively quick and painless to make (and even quicker to eat!)

Ingredients

250g strong white flour
200ml tepid water
5g fast-action yeast
5g salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Suggested toppings

Rosemary & Basil
Chilli Flakes & Cracked Black Pepper
Simple Sea Salt

Method

Line a square/rectangular 2-3 litre plastic tub with oil – a standard Tupperware lunch-sized box will do the trick!

Sieve the flour into a bowl – I find using a heavy bottomed bowl makes working the dough easier – if it sticks it doesn’t tend to pick the bowl up so readily. Add the salt to one side of the flour and the yeast to the other.

Add the water approximately 30-40mls at a time. Use your hand as a dough hook, mixing the dough together. Once each 30/40ml of liquid has been absorbed, knead for a few minutes before adding the next amount of water. This process took me approximately 20-25 minutes, but the dough was quite flexible (if a little sticky at times) and easily workable. Alternatively use a dough hook at medium speed for 8-10 minutes.

Once all the water is incorporated you should have a soft, stretchy dough. Add the olive oil and incorporate as before, using your hand like a dough hook. I found I was able to knead entirely with one hand, whilst using the other to steady the bowl and I’m only little! This gives you the advantage of having at least one clean hand if you ever need to do something urgent, like answering the phone!

After 5 or so minutes working in the oil tip the dough into the oiled container, add the lid (though don’t press it shut) and leave for at least an hour. I left mine for approximately 2 hours, just on a work surface and it quadrupled in size!

Meanwhile line two baking trays with parchment. Once your dough has at least doubled, tip out onto a floured work surface but don’t knock back – you want to treat it as gently as possible to keep its airy texture. Add a little flour to the top of the dough too.

Pull out into a rough rectangle approximately 10cm by 20-25cm. Mr Hollywood suggests cutting along the long edge, however, from experience, I think it would be easier to cut along the short edge as the dough has a tendency to adhere to itself. Cut each strip at approximately 2-3cm width and gently stretch out each strip lengthways a little before placing on the baking trays. Make slight indentations all along with your finger, drizzle over a little olive oil and add your topping of choice.

Once all on the trays, cover with clingfilm and leave for a further half hour. Meanwhile preheat the over to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7. Place the ficelles in the middle and cook for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Like I said, serve with soup and try not to scoff the whole batch in one go!

J

Stilton, Apple & Walnut Flatbreads

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I decided (rather belatedly) that it should be my new year’s resolution to make sure I a) cook and b) blog a recipe once a week. So, I’m kicking off the year by using up the leftovers from our Christmas cheeseboard. We actually had so much cheese this year that we had a designated shelf in the fridge assigned to cheese.

I would probably serve these with salad, chutney and maybe some more Granny smith apples if you have any left.

Makes 6

Ingredients

250g strong white bread flour
5g yeast
5g salt
15g softened butter
25-40g stilton (depending on taste)
1 Granny smith apple (one large or two small)
12 walnut halves, approx
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

Method

Make the dough by mixing the flour, butter, salt and yeast in a bowl with around 160ml cool water. The dough should be slightly stickier than you would usually work with. Work the dough in the bowl for a few minutes to stretch the gluten and when it is less sticky, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and work for 5-10 minutes until soft and elastic.

Leave to prove for 2-3 hours until doubled in size. Meanwhile, crumble the stilton, roughly chop the walnuts and chop the apple into very small cubes for the flatbread filling. Drizzle with a teaspoon of lemon juice to stop the apple from discolouring, add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Knock back the dough and divide into 6 portions. Shape each into a ball and roughly flatten. Place a spoonful of mixture into the centre of each disc and pull the edges over the top to seal in the filling. Roll out to around 15cm diameter.

Fry in a lightly oiled pan on a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Serve with salad and more apple.

Yum.

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Savoury Swirls, Two Ways

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So it was my last day at work on Wednesday and as is customary whenever something moderately eventful takes place (birthday, being late, being early, being alive…) it is expected you bring in something edible. Almost always the food tends towards the sweet and absolutely always, unless I’ve had anything to do with it, is shop-bought. But not today, ohhh no!

The recipe for the dough for these delightful savoury snacks is stolen completely from Brendan of The Great British Bake-Off Fame. The fillings, however are entirely my own creation.

I doubled Brendan’s quantity and made a lot (we’re talking tipping the scales at over 100 here) roughly 2 inch diameter by 1 inch high swirls. So I’m going to halve his recipe which should give you approximately 20-24 swirls.

Ingredients

Dough

400g plain flour
10g dried yeast, reactivated
6g salt
50ml olive oil
250ml warm water

Balsamic Red Onion, Cheese & Ham

2 red onions, diced
90g gruyére
30g gouda
30g cheddar
2 slices ham, diced
splash balsamic vinegar
pinch of sugar
salt/pepper/’erbs/spices to taste

Pesto, Feta & Sundried Tomato

100g feta, crumbled
50g pesto
8 sundried tomato, chopped
handful fresh basil, ripped
2 tomatoes, grilled & skinned
1 red pepper, grilled & skinned

Method

Dough

In a bowl mix the flour and salt and the oil a few glugs at a time, stirring between each glug to incorporate it. Do the same with the reactivated yeast, stirring in a little at a time and then finally with the water.

**Note: if you are reactivating yeast in water, remember to take away that quantity of water from the 250ml you need to add. It’s 250ml total, not 250ml + reactivated yeast water!**

Drizzle a little oil in the bowl, place the dough in, rolling it around in the oil so as it grows it doesn’t stick to the sides. Put in a warm place – airing cupboards are great – and leave to double in size (approx. 40-60 minutes). Meanwhile make your filling/s.

Balsamic Red Onion, Cheese & Ham

Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the diced onions and sweat for a couple of minutes, before adding a good glug balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of sugar/golden syrup, salt, pepper and whichever herbs and spices you fancy (I went for W’s recommendation of rosemary and basil). Continue to sweat for 6-7 more minutes, adding a little water if your pan goes dry. Remember the onions will continue to cook in the oven so leaving them with a little bite left in them is probably a wise move!

Grate all your cheese into a bowl, add the chopped ham, a good few twists of pepper and hey presto your filling is ready

Pesto, Feta & Sundried Tomato

Optional: Removing Pepper & Tomato skins

Cut the pepper and tomatoes into quarters, removing all the pips/liquidy innards. Place under a hot grill, skin side up for a few minutes, until the skin is blackened over the majority of the surface – you may need to manoeuvre them around to achieve this. Once the skin is blackened add them to a sandwich bag, seal and leave to steam for a further few minutes. The skin should start to peel away and you can finish the job with your fingers. It can be a bit tricky and in all honesty I’m not sure whether it’s worth it but I’ve put it up here for you to make your own decisions! Finally chop/rip them up into small chunks.

Crumble the feta into a bowl and add the chopped sundried tomatoes and basil leaves.

Roly-Poly Time

When the dough has doubled in size, remove and place on a floured surface. Flour your rolling pin (it will stick due to the oily nature of the dough) and roll out into a rectangle approx 4mm thick, where the long side is approximately twice that of the short side. Then either:

1. Sprinkle the entire thing with the balsamic red onions, then cheese and ham – aim for a roughly even coverage.

Or

2. Spread a thin layer of pesto over the surface before adding the crumbled feta, sundried tomatoes, basil, and grilled peppers/tomato chunks

Roll up (roll up!) from one long side to the other, slice into rounds 1 inch thick and place on baking paper on an oven tray. Here you can “re-prove” your dough for half an hour back in the warm, or you can just whack them straight in the oven, preheated to 190oC/375oF/gas mark 5 for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. After half an hour take one out, cut it in half and see whether it’s still doughy inside – if so stick back in for a few minutes then check again.

Serve piping hot – they taste pretty good cold but nowhere near as good as straight from the oven. Share amongst friends and work colleagues…or, y’know, scoff the lot y’self.

J(&W a bit)

Balsamic Red Onion, Cheese & Ham

Feta, Pesto, Sundried Tomato & Red Pepper