Cheesy Potato & Leek Soup with Wholemeal Bread Rolls

Cheesy Potato & Leek Soup with Wholemeal Bread Rolls

When it’s cold outside, snowing or raining, there is nothing better than a warm bowl of delicious and filling soup to comfort you from the inside out. I’m not overly adventurous with my soup choices, I tend to opt for tomato based soups most of the time, or butternut squash is also a regular choice. However, this Cheesy Potato & Leek Soup is definitely my favourite soup! It’s creamy, filling and full of cheese flavour. It is everything I’m looking for in a soup! I like it chunky, with the pieces of potato and leek intact, but you could also blitz this Cheesy Potato & Leek Soup into a puree. It’s a great vegetarian soup choice, and I’ve made it sucessfully with both cow’s milk and almond milk – as well as a half and half mix. I’ve also included a recipe for wholemeal rolls which go perfectly with soup and are great for dipping!

Jump straight to the recipe!

I started by making the bread rolls as they take longer. In a large bowl I stirred both flours, the yeast and salt together.

I added the luke warm water and oil and mixed to form a dough.

Then I put it in my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and let it knead for 8 minutes.

Once it was done I placed it into an oiled bowl, covered it with cling film and put it in a warm place for 1 hour to rise.

After it was risen I knocked the air out of it on a floured mat, then using scales I divided the dough into 12 equal pieces. They weighed about 77g each.

I rolled each piece into a ball and place them onto lined baking trays. I covered them loosely with cling film and a tea towel and again left them for 1 hour to rise. Before baking I sprinkled some oats over the top.

They baked for 20 minutes in a hot oven and came out lovely and golden.

Meanwhile, while waiting for the bread to prove, I had been making the Cheesy Potato & Leek Soup. I sauteed the leeks and onion in a large pan using the oil and butter.

I added the flour and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Then I added the milk slowly, stirring to make sure no lumps of flour remained. Then followed the water, stock cubes and potato.

I let the Cheesy Potato & Leek Soup simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potato pieces were soft. I made sure to stir it often so it didn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. When it was done I turned the heat off and stirred in the cheese. I then added salt to taste. My preference is to add 3 tsp, but you may like less depending on your preference.

Potato & Leek Soup

You can serve the Cheesy Potato & Leek Soup straight away, or once it is cooled down fully, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge and heat up either on the hob or in the microwave. Apart from the cheese, if you use a low fat or plant based milk, this Cheesy Potato & Leek Soup is also pretty healthy without compromising on flavour.

Potato & Leek Soup

We absolutely love this Cheesy Potato & Leek Soup in my house, and it never lasts more than a couple of days. I’ve even eaten it for breakfast in the past! Whenever I have the time to make it it’s a real treat and it really is perfectly paired with the wholemeal bread rolls. They are so easy to make too, and I even snuck some seeds in there too without my partner noticing!

  

I’m linking this recipe up with Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too, Cook Blog Share hosted by Everyday Healthy Recipes, Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching For Spice, and Fiesta Friday hosted by Indfused.

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5 from 5 votes
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Cheesy Leek & Potato Soup

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 3 Leeks sliced
  • 1 Medium onion diced
  • 75 g Plain flour
  • 4 Large jacket size potatoes (about 700g) peeled and diced
  • 1.2 litres Cow's milk or dairy free milk warmed in a pan
  • 1.2 litres Boiling water
  • 2 Vegetable stock cubes
  • 200 g Mature cheddar grated
  • 2-3 tsp Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Add the oil and butter to a large pan (I use a jam making pan) and warm on a medium heat for a few minutes

  2. Add the sliced leeks and diced onion to the pan, and cook them for approx 8 minutes until soft

  3. Add the flour, stir it in and cook for 2 minutes

  4. Add the milk slowly, and stir between each addition to make sure no lumps of flour remain

  5. Add the boiling water, stock cubes and diced potato. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it bubble for 15-20 minutes, until the potato pieces are soft. Make sure to stir it often so it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan

  6. When it is done, turn the heat off and stir in the cheese. It will melt into the soup

  7. Then added salt to taste. I like to add 3 tsp, but you may like less depending on your preference

  8. Serve immediately, or allow to cool fully and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days

5 from 5 votes
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Wholemeal Bread Rolls

Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 250 g Strong white bread flour
  • 250 g Plain wholemeal flour
  • 7 g Sachet of fast action yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 50 ml Olive oil
  • 320 ml Luke warm water
  • 20 g Sunflower seeds optional
  • 15 g Linseeds optional
  • 10 g Oats optional

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir the strong white bread flour, wholemeal flour, yeast and salt together. Make sure not to pour the salt directly over the yeast, add them on separate sides of the bowl

  2. Mix the oil with the luke warm water in a jug and pour into the flour mixture. Stir together until a dough forms

  3. Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes on a floured surface, or put in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment and leave it to knead for 8 minutes on a medium speed

  4. Place the kneaded dough into a large bowl that has been brushed all over on the inside with a light coating of olive oil. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film and put it in a warm place for 1 hour for the dough to rise

  5. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead very briefly, just to knock the air out of it

  6. Using scales, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. They should weigh approx 77g each

  7. Roll each piece into a ball and place them onto lined baking trays. Cover them loosely with cling film and a tea towel and leave them for 1 hour to prove

  8. Pre-heat your oven to 200C Fan/220C/425F/Gas Mark 7

  9. Sprinkle some oats over the top of each roll, then bake for 20 minutes until golden. You know they are done when you tap them on the bottom and they sound hollow

  10. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days

You can find more of my Savoury recipes by clicking here!

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Traditional Czech Kolaces

Traditional Czech Kolaces

I absolutely love traditional recipes that have been passed from one generation to the next. They truely survive the test of time and you can guarantee they will be absolutely delicious! Czech Kolaces are one such recipe. The base is an enriched dough and they can be filled with a variety of sweet things such as fruit or jam. They can also be small or large, which is another thing about traditional recipes, every family has a different version. So why not find your favourite! As kolaces originated as desserts at Czech weddings, their perfect pairing is with a drink of course. Budweiser Budvar lager is brewed in the Czech Republic using 700 year old traditional methods and local ingredients. If you want to steep yourself in Czech tradition, then crack open a Budvar and learn how to make these delicious treats – you won’t regret it!

Jump straight to the recipe!

To learn more about the kolaces watch this beautiful video that Budvar have made! Or you can read the story by clicking here.

To make the dough I started by warming up the milk in a pan until it was luke warm. I added the yeast and caster sugar, then covered it with cling film and left it for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes I uncovered it and added the egg yolks and melted butter and whisked it all together.

In a bowl I stirred the flour together with the salt. I poured the milk mixture into the flour and mixed until a dough formed. I covered it with cling film and left it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.

Whilst it was doing that I made the cheesecake filling by whisking the cream cheese, caster sugar, lemon zest and egg yolk together. I whisked it until it was thick then I folded in the whipped egg white.

Once the dough was proved, I cut the dough in half. With one half I made little kolaces by rolling it out then cutting out rounds with a cookie cutter.

I used the bottom of a glass to make indentations in the dough.

I filled them with the cheesecake mixture, then added a few blueberries too. I also glazed them around the edges with beaten egg.

They baked on 180C Fan for 20 minutes. I kept re-rolling the dough until it was all gone.

I also made some with blackcurrant jam in the middle instead and a sprinkling of the crumble on top.

With the other half of the dough, I rolled it into a rectangle and spread it out on a lined baking tray.

I sprinkled breadcrumbs on top, followed by blueberries and rum soaked cherries, then finally sprinkled the crumble all over. I also glazed the edge with beaten egg.

I baked it for between 20-25 minutes on 180C Fan until it was golden brown.

I made the kolaces whilst I was round at my friend’s house and they went down an absolute treat. It was so relaxing to chat and bake with a few Budvars, then enjoy the kolaces warm from the oven! I shared the beer out with my boyfriend and friends too. They really enjoyed drinking it with the kolaces, and I heard several poorly pronounced shouts of “Na zdraví!” – which is cheers in Czech!

The kolaces filled with jam were my favourite and they’re also the easiest to make. I really liked the big traybake version too as it’s less time consuming than cutting out rounds. However, the little rounds would be perfect for a party! The bread was soft and light, and the fillings sweet and fruity

      

I’m linking this recipe up with Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too, Cook Blog Share hosted by Everyday Healthy Recipes, Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching For Spice, and Fiesta Fridays hosted by Food For The Soul and The Not So Creative Cook.

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5 from 3 votes
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Small Czech Kolaces with Blueberries & Cheesecake or Jam

Servings 20

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500 g Plain flour
  • 75 g Caster sugar
  • 75 g Butter melted
  • 250 ml Whole or semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 7 g Sachet of fast action yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Lemon zest only

For the cheesecake filling

  • 250 g Full fat cream cheese
  • 60 g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1 Egg white whipped
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Lemon zest only

Other toppings

  • 50 g Blueberries
  • Jam

For glazing

  • 1 Egg beaten

Instructions

  1. To make the dough warm up the milk in a pan until it is luke warm

  2. Add the yeast and caster sugar, then cover it with cling film and leave it for 10 minutes

  3. After the 10 minutes uncover it and add the egg yolks and melted butter, and whisk it all together

  4. In a bowl stir the flour together with the salt. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix until a dough forms. Cover it with cling film and leave it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour

  5. While it's proving, make the cheesecake filling,

  6. Pre-heat your oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas Mark 6

  7. Once the dough is proved, flour your work surface and roll it out to 4-5mm thick. Cut out rounds using a cookie cutter

  8. Use the bottom of a glass to make indentations in the dough

  9. Fill the indentations with the cheesecake mixture (or jam if using), then add a few blueberries too. Glaze them around the edges with the beaten egg

  10. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown

  11. Allow to cool, then serve with a cold Budvar!

5 from 3 votes
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Large Czech Kolac with Blueberries & Cherries

Servings 12

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500 g Plain flour
  • 7 g Sachet of fast action yeast
  • 75 g Caster sugar
  • 75 g Butter melted
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250 ml Whole or semi-skimmed milk
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Lemon zest only

For the kolace crumble

  • 40 g Butter
  • 40 g Caster sugar
  • 70 g Plain flour

For the topping

  • 25 g Breadcrumbs
  • 300 g Blueberries
  • 12 Kirsch soaked cherries

For glazing

  • 1 egg beaten

Instructions

  1. To make the dough warm up the milk in a pan until it is luke warm

  2. Add the yeast and caster sugar, then cover it with cling film and leave it for 10 minutes

  3. After the 10 minutes uncover it and add the egg yolks and melted butter, and whisk it all together

  4. In a bowl stir the flour together with the salt. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix until a dough forms. Cover it with cling film and leave it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour

  5. While it's proving, make the kolace crumble. Put the butter, caster sugar and plain flour in a bowl and rub it all together until it resembles breadcrumbs

  6. Pre-heat your oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas Mark 6

  7. Once the dough is proved, flour your work surface and roll it into a rectangle, then spread it out on a lined baking tray

  8. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top, then the blueberries and the kirsch soaked cherries, then finally sprinkled the crumble all over. Brush the edges with the beaten egg

  9. Bake it for between 20-25 minutes until it is golden brown

  10. Allow to cool, then slice and serve with a cold Budvar!

NB. This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

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Onion Chutney & Cheese Swirl Bread

Onion Chutney & Cheese Swirl Bread

I am a cheese addict, I probably eat it every day in one form or another. One of my favourite ways to enjoy cheese is in a sandwich with pickle; the creamy cheese against the sour pickle creates an explosion of flavour that I just can’t resist! A friend of mine gifted me some homemade onion chutney at Christmas and I’ve had the idea to combine it with cheese in a bread for ages, and I finally found the time to make this Onion Chutney & Cheese Swirl Bread. Of course you can use shop bought chutney, but if you would like to make your own the recipe she used is this red onion chutney.

Jump straight to the recipe!

To make the dough I stirred together the flour, yeast and salt. I added the water and oil and brought it together into a dough, then I kneaded it for 5 minutes in my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.

I left it to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

I rolled the dough out onto a floured surface into a rectangle shape.

I spread the whole jar of onion chutney out all over the dough.

Then I sprinkled over the cheese – I used mature cheddar.

I rolled the doll up into a sausage shape, then sliced it into rolls and arranged them in a lined traybake tin.

I left them to rise again in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Then I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled over the remaining cheese.

I baked them for 25 minutes until golden all over. As the chutney has sugar in it, it did darken quite a lot, but it didn’t affect the taste at all.

Onion Chutney & Cheese Swirl Bread

This Onion Chutney & Cheese Swirl Bread was so delicious! The tangyness of the onion chutney comes out strongly and every bite is packed with flavour. The bread baked beautifully and was really soft and springy.

Onion Chutney & Cheese Swirl Bread

We really enjoyed eating this Onion Chutney & Cheese Swirl Bread with soup, and also as a cheeky snack!

      

I’m linking this recipe up with Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too, Cook Blog Share hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie, Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching For Spice, and Fiesta Fridays hosted by Cooking With Aunt Juju and Herbs, Spices & Traditions.

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5 from 3 votes
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Onion Chutney & Cheese Swirl Bread

Ingredients

  • 500 g Strong white flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 7 g Sachet fast action yeast
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil plus more for glazing
  • 300 ml Luke warm water
  • 200 g Jar of onion chutney
  • 100 g Mature cheddar grated

Instructions

  1. To make the dough put the flour, yeast and salt into a mixing bowl - make sure to put the salt and yeast on seperate sides of the bowl

  2. Add the water and oil and bring it together into a dough, then knead it for 5 minutes in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, or for 10 minutes by hand

  3. Put the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave it to rise for 1 hour in a warm place

  4. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface into a rectangle shape approx 40cm long by 30cm wide

  5. Spread the whole jar of onion chutney out all over the dough

  6. Sprinkled over the cheese - leave about a quarter in the bowl for later

  7. Roll the doll up into a sausage shape, then sliced it into rolls and arrange them in a lined 12" x 9" traybake tin

  8. Leave them to rise again in a warm place for 30 minutes, meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 200C Fan/220C/425F/Gas Mark 7

  9. Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle over the remaining cheese

  10. Bake them for 25 minutes until golden all over. As the chutney has sugar in it, it will darken, but don't worry it's not burnt!

  11. Enjoy warm from the oven, or leave to cool. Serve with salad or soup

You can find more of my Bread recipes by clicking here!

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Mincemeat Plait (Vegan)

Mincemeat Plait (Vegan)

I really love mince pies and finding new ways to eat mincemeat is definitely high on my list of priorities in December. My favourite kind of mincemeat is the luxury versions that are laced with brandy and/or port, as they give it that intense richness. I’ve never made my own mincemeat as I really think you can buy such good quality tasting versions in the shops. If you love mincemeat as much as I do, you’ll also love my Mince Pie Cupcakes With Brandy Buttercream and my Mince Pie Bakewell Squares.

I’ve been kindly given a subscription to Vegetarian Living Magazine by PocketMags and I found this recipe for a Vegan Mincemeat Plait inside. I was immediately drawn to it, plus I had some fast action yeast to use up. I really don’t make bread enough as it can be time consuming, but this recipe is quick enough to make in an evening.

I started by putting 200g strong white bread flour, a pinch of salt and a 7g sachet of fast action yeast into a bowl. I made sure to keep the salt and yeast separate, then mixed everything together.

I warmed up 200ml almond milk in a pan with 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I only let it get hot enough so I could still hold my finger in it. I then whisked in 2 tbsp olive oil.

In a food mixer fitted with a dough hook I mixed the flour and milk mixture together for 6 minutes. I put the dough into an oiled bowl, covered it and left it to rise for 30 minutes.

I floured my Joseph Joseph Roll Up Non-Slip Silicone Pastry Mat and rolled the dough out in a rectangular shape.

I melted 2 tbsp melted margarine (dairy free if you want this recipe to be vegan) and brushed most of it all over the dough, then I sprinkled over a mixture of 1 tbsp ground cinnamon and 2 tbsp dark brown sugar all over it.

I used a luxury jar of mincemeat (make sure it’s vegetarian as mincemeat can contain suet) and spread 200g of it over the dough.

I rolled the dough into a sausage shape, cut it in half, attached it at the top then twisted the two halves together. I placed it on a lined baking tray and baked it on 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 15 minutes.

I made a glaze from 50g icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tbsp almond milk. It smelt so good!

As soon as the plait came out of the oven, I covered it in the glaze then left it to cool.

This bake was so yummy, the glaze on top sounds so simple but it’s incredibly delicious! I’m not a vegan, but it’s great to learn an easy vegan friendly recipe for the festive season that tastes amazing and will cater for friends who follow a vegan diet. Also it feels like a much healthier recipe as it doesn’t use any butter or other high fat dairy products.

I’m linking this up with The Food Calendar hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen.

And with Free From Fridays hosted by the Free From Farmhouse.

And with The No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary as I used up some fast action yeast and some bread flour that were nearly out of date in this recipe.

And to Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Rock My Vegan Socks.

NB. I have received the subscription to Vegetarian Living Magazine and the Joseph Joseph product free of charge, all opinions are my own.

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Mincemeat Plait (Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 200 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • A Pinch of Salt
  • 7 g sachet Fast action dried yeast
  • 200 ml + 1/2 tbsp Almond milk
  • 1/2 tbsp Light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Dairy free margarine
  • 2 tbsp Dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Ground cinnamon
  • 50 g Icing sugar
  • 200 g Mincemeat

Instructions

  1. Put the strong white bread flour, salt and fast action yeast into a bowl, making sure to keep the salt and yeast on separate sides of the bowl, then mix it all together

  2. Warm the 200ml of almond milk in a pan with the light brown sugar and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract. Only let it get hot enough so you can still hold your finger in it. Then whisk in the olive oil

  3. In a food mixer fitted with a dough hook mix the flour and milk mixtures together for 6 minutes. Then put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover it and leave it to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes

  4. Flour your work surface and roll the dough out in a rectangular shape. In a bowl mix together the ground cinnamon and dark brown sugar

  5. Melt the margarine and brush most of it (reserve a little) all over the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon mixture all over it

  6. Spread the mincemeat over the doughRoll the dough into a sausage shape, cut it in half, attach it at the top then twist the two halves together. Place it on a lined baking tray and bake it on 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 15 minutes

  7. While it's baking make a glaze from the icing sugar, 1 tsp of the vanilla extract and 1/2 tbsp of the almond milk

  8. As soon as the plait comes out of the oven, cover it in the glaze then leave it to cool. Slice to serve

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Eight Strand Plaited Loaf: GBBO Week #3

Eight Strand Plaited Loaf: GBBO Week #3
 It was bread week on The Great British Bake Off and there were bread puns aplenty as Mel and Sue opened the show on a (bread) roll and wearing loafers – you can’t help but giggle! Paul’s bread prodding finger was primed and ready to go.

The signature challenge was to make a chocolate bread, which could be cocoa powder, chocolate chips or molten chocolate. Mary was excited as it was a new challenge. Paul said the time was very tight but he didn’t want to see any raw dough. Everyone chose to make an enriched dough which was quite brave as they only had 2 and a half hours to make them. I don’t know how they did it to be honest as enriched doughs take me at least a day!

There were some great flavour combinations from the bakers – Rav made a chocolate, cardamom and hazlenut bread. Tom made a chocolate, orange and chilli swirl bread. And Benjamina made a chocolate, tahini and almond bread. Andrew was the only baker to prove his dough once, Paul was judgemental of this at first but when he tasted the bread he loved it and said Andrew had done the right thing by only proving it once.

Benjamina’s chocolate bread was not cooked all the way through and neither was Val’s, Kate’s or Michael’s. Candice’s bread was practically raw and she got quite upset as the judges couldn’t even taste it. Tom and Rav both did very well on both flavour and their breads were full baked.

This week’s technical challenge was rather unusual and very much unheard of (unless you’re German!) It was a steamed dumpling called a Dampfnudel served with custard and a plum sauce. The dumplings are steamed instead of baked and Paul explained that the bakers should be careful not to lift the lid of the pan during the steaming process.

None of the bakers had heard of dampfnudel before, and they had not been given any timings for proving or steaming. So it was all guess work and they had to use their baking experience to figure out what to do. The main problem most of them had was the dough being burnt on the bottom, or being undercooked. Rav came last, followed by Jane and then Kate, Michael, Benjamina, Selasi and Tom. Candice came third, Andrew second and Val first.

A savoury plaited centerpiece, any shape or size, 3 flours within it. Mary said it had to be spectacular. Paul said the strands of the plaits have to be the shape width. He also mentioned that the star baker of bread week always goes onto be in the final, who knew! Michael made a Cypriot inspired bread with olives, coriander and sundried tomatoes.

Andrew made a braided basket flavoured with pesto and a giant handle for it flavoured with orange and cardamom. Tom went all norse on us with his Jormungandr and Mjolnir bread (or a serpent and Thor’s hammer to you and me), and he flavoured it with seaweed. Selasi basically made up a story to go with his centerpiece which was absolutely hilarious! And the judges knew he was fibbing too!

The bakers chose a variety of plait levels with Michael sticking to 3 strands and Tom going for 6. When it was judging time, Jane did very well, as did Tom, Kate and Benjamina. Val’s Noah’s Ark centerpice was undercooked, and the judges didn’t like the texture of some of Selasi’s bread. Paul also didn’t like anything about Candice’s top loaf of plaited bread.

Michael left us this week. Paul and Mary didn’t like the presentation or plaits of his bread centrepiece. He didn’t do as badly as others on the first challenge and he was mid-range in the technical so I was very surprised by the decision. Tom won star baker this week. I think it was quite a tough choice this week for both the star baker and leaver as there were so many ups and downs for all of the bakers. Next week is a new category on Bake Off – batter week!

 

I decided to try a plaited loaf this week. I’ve never made one before so I wanted to start with the basics. I used a Paul Hollywood recipe to give me the best chance possible! I have made bread and different doughs in the past, but I rarely have time to make it so it’s not something I do very often.

I started by putting 500g strong white bread flour in a bowl. I added 10g salt and a 7g sachet of fast action dried yeast. I made sure to keep them on separate sides of the bowl.

I added 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 340ml water and mixed it in.

I used some of the new products from the Joseph Joseph baking range that were sent to me recently to try out.

The Fin Silicone Bowl Scraper helped me mix the liquid into the flour for the dough. And I used the Roll Up Non-Slip Silicone Pastry Mat to knead the dough on and when rolling it out.

I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes, then placed it into an oiled bowl and left it to rise for 1 hour.

The dough didn’t rise as much as I was expecting, but I persevered. I knocked it back then divided it out into eight pieces.

I rolled each piece into a long strand approximately 40cm/16″ long.

I laid all of the strands out and attached them at the top. Then I followed the plaiting sequence:

Step 1: place 8 under 7 and over 1
Step 2: place 8 over 5
Step 3: place 2 under 3 and over 8
Step 4: place 1 over 4
Step 5: place 7 under 6 and over 1
Repeats step 2-5, until all the dough is plaited
 

 

It wasn’t tricky to follow the plaiting sequence, the thing I found the most difficult was making the plait look neat. I chopped off any strands that were too long once the plaiting was done and tucked the end under to neaten it up as much as I could. Once I was finished I put it onto a lined baking tray, covered it loosely with cling film and left it to prove again for 1 hour.
 
 
I used the Joseph Joseph Glaze Refillable Silicone Pastry Brush to glaze the bread with 1 beaten egg.
 

 

I baked it on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes until it was golden and sounded hollow when I tapped the bottom.
 

 

I thought it looked really impressive, I loved the golden crispy crust and soft middle. I am aware my loaf ended up with some technical faults, but I was very pleased with it for a first effort!
 

 

It has a fantastic apperance and it was fun to make a plaited loaf and try the technique out. I enjoyed some with butter and my boyfriend relished it dipping chunks of it in some soup.

 

      

I’m linking up with the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016 hosted by Mummy Mishaps, with Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular, with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation, and to Tea Time Treats hosted by Travels For Taste with a savoury treats theme this month.

NB. I was sent the Joseph Joseph products for free, all opinions are my own.
 
 
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Eight Strand Plaited Loaf

Ingredients

  • 500 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 340 ml Water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 7 g sachet Fast action dried yeast
  • 10 g Salt
  • 1 Egg

Instructions

  1. Put the strong white bread flour in a bowl. Add the salt and yeast on separate sides of the bowl. Mix together
  2. Add 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 340ml water and mix in
  3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, then place it into an oiled bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour
  4. Knock it back then divide it into eight equal pieces
  5. Roll each piece into a long strand approximately 40cm/16" long
  6. Lay all of the strands out and attach them at the top. Then follow the plaiting sequence:

    Step 1: place 8 under 7 and over 1

    Step 2: place 8 over 5

    Step 3: place 2 under 3 and over 8

    Step 4: place 1 over 4

    Step 5: place 7 under 6 and over 1

    Repeats step 2-5, until all the dough is plaited

  7. Chop off any strands that are too long and tuck the end under to neaten it up. Put it onto a lined baking tray, cover it loosely with cling film and leave it to prove again for 1 hour
  8. Glaze the bread with 1 beaten egg
  9. Bake it on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes until it is golden and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom
 
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Cranberry & Apricot Cinnamon Rolls

Cranberry & Apricot Cinnamon Rolls
I realised when clearing out my cupboards for the food bank before Christmas that the packet of fast action yeast I owned was very out of date. It had been a lot longer than I realised since I last made any bread! It’s quite a time consuming thing to make, and unfortunately I don’t often have the time for it. So I decided to make time this weekend and I made myself get up early to get started on the dough. I was happy I did as when these Cranberry & Apricot Cinnamon Rolls were baked I had a big smile on my face and eating one felt all the more satisfying!

Jump straight to the recipe!

I started by warming 125ml water, 125ml milk and 100g butter in a pan until the butter melted. I removed it from the heat and added one packet of fast action yeast and 1 tbsp sugar and covered it with a pan lid. I left it for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl I measured out 550g strong bread flour, 40g sugar and 1 tsp salt and stirred them together.

I poured the butter and milk mixture into the flour, followed by 2 beaten eggs. I mixed it all together to form a dough.

I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface, then put it in an oiled bowl, covered it with cling film and left it to prove for 2 hours.

After 2 hours it had doubled in size.

I knocked the air back out of the dough and rolled it out into a rectangle approximately 40cm long by 30cm wide.

I melted 25g butter and brushed it all over the dough.

I got sent some dried fruit from Whitworths recently and I thought cranberry and apricot would go perfectly together in the rolls. They come in convenient resealable packs too which made storing the leftovers so much easier for me.

In a bowl I mixed together 100g of the dried apricot, 100g of the cranberries, 75g light brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon and the zest of 1 orange.

I spread the fruit and sugar mixture out evenly over the dough, leaving about a 1cm strip empty at one end.

I rolled the dough up like a swiss roll, and then sliced it into 1cm wide pieces. I got 13 pieces from the dough. I arranged them in lined baking trays (not very neatly!) and covered them with cling film. I left them in a warm place for their second prove for 1 hour.

I baked the buns on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. I forgot to take a photo when they came out of the oven, but as soon as they were cool enough I pulled one apart and I was thrilled to see beautifully baked soft dough. This was a really great moment as I had put so much time into making the rolls!

I made icing using 200g icing sugar and about 2/3 juice of the orange I zested earlier for the filling. I wanted to drizzle the icing, but for it not to be too runny, so I added a little bit of the orange juice at a time. I then drizzled it over the buns using a piping bag.

Eating these buns felt so good! When I sat down to eat one and all the waiting was over it felt so satisfying to dig in! The dough was lovely and soft, and the fruity filling gave them real flavour and character. I definitely won’t leave it so long again before I make more bread!

I’m entering this into Tea Time Treats hosted by Lavender & Lovage and Hedgecombers, as this recipe would be a tasty treat to have with a hot drink.

I’m also entering it into the Food Year Link Up hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen. This recipe would be great for breakfast week as these rolls would certainly make a special breakfast!



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Cranberry & Apricot Cinnamon Rolls

Servings 13

Ingredients

  • 125 ml Water
  • 125 ml Milk
  • 100 g Butter
  • 1 sachet Fast action yeast
  • 1 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 550 g Strong bread flour
  • 40 g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 25 g Butter melted
  • 100 g Dried cranberries
  • 100 g Dried apricot, chopped
  • 1 Orange
  • 75 g Light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 200 g Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Warm the water, milk and butter in a pan on a low heat until the butter melts
  2. Remove it from the heat and add the fast action yeast and tbsp of sugar, cover it with a pan lid and leave for 10 minutes
  3. In a large bowl stir the strong bread flour, remaining sugar and salt together. Pour the butter and milk mixture into the flour, followed by the eggs. Mix together to form a dough
  4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface, then put it in an oiled bowl covered with cling film and leave it to prove in a warm place for 2 hours
  5. Knock the air back out of the dough and roll it out into a rectangle approximately 40cm long by 30cm wide
  6. Brush the melted butter all over the dough
  7. In a bowl mix together the dried apricot, the cranberries, light brown sugar, cinnamon and the orange zest. Spread the mixture evenly over the dough, leaving about a 1cm strip empty at one end
  8. Roll the dough up starting at the opposite end from the 1cm gap, then slice into 1cm wide pieces. Arrange them in lined baking trays and cover with cling film. Leave them in a warm place for their second prove for 1 hour
  9. Bake the buns on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack
  10. Once they are completely cool, make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and about 2/3 juice of the orange, add a little bit of the orange juice at a time until you have a thick but spreadable consistency. Drizzle it over the buns using a piping bag or a spoon

You can find more of my Bread recipes by clicking here!

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Prosciutto, Manchego and Balsamic Onion Soda Bread: GBBO Week #3

Prosciutto, Manchego and Balsamic Onion Soda Bread: GBBO Week #3

I have to say, bread week on The Great British Bake Off was absolutely phenomenal! The contestants started by making a quick bread, also called soda bread. This is a bread that is made without yeast, therefore requires no kneading or proving. Instead the rising agents used are baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. Mary and Paul warned against using too much raising agent as this would affect the taste of the bread.

There were a mixture of sweet and savoury flavours from the bakers. Both Mat and Nadiya made a Mexican style bread, Ian picked wild garlic from some nearby woods for his bread, and Sandy used a family recipe containing bacon that she often makes on trips to Ireland. Ugne went for the sweetest flavour with a chocolate quick bread topped with salted caramel sauce, and Paul made a cranberry and orange quick bread – which he got a Paul Hollywood handshake for!

Cheese featured in both Tamal, Alvin and Dorret’s breads. Tamal used goats cheese, Dorret went for Stilton and Alvin chose Manchego. Paul called Alvin’s bread a ‘thing of beauty’. They loved Tamal’s bread too, but weren’t overly positive about Dorret’s. Overall, everyone did fairly well, with only a few disparaging comments.

This week’s technical challenge was to make 4 identical crusty baguettes. Of course Paul left out major parts of the recipe, for example how long to prove the dough, and to put water in the oven to create steam when baking. A few of the bakers figured this out and added water, but the rest did not. They all left the dough to prove for an hour, whenever I watch them waiting for things to prove I always wonder why they are not allowed to take a book with them!

The bakers weren’t sure where to put the dough during proving, or how to score the top of the bread before baking. I love how such a simple thing, like a baguette, can lead to so much over thinking and confusion! Paul was very brutal during judging and Mary really had to push him to say something nice. Paul, Mat and Nadiya were the bottom three, Tamal came third, Flora came second and Ian came first. Although Paul still wasn’t 100% happy even with the better baguettes!

The showstopper challenge was to make a 3D bread sculpture using up to three types of dough, and one of the type had to be a filled bread. A very tricky challenge! Paul Hollywood noted that as dough grows it can loose definition so this was a particularly difficult remit for the bakers. This however, did not affect most of the bakers as they produced some fabulous results! Paul stood out with his brilliant bread sculpture of a lion. I was blown away by how good it was! Paul Hollywood said it was exceptional and the best thing he had seen made in bread ever.

I also loved Ian’s flower pot sculpture, it was so clever. He brought another home made baking tin with him to make it, such a talented guy! Alvin also made an absolute ton of bread, and he made it all beautifully for his cornucopia sculpture. Paul Hollywood said his bread baking skills were perfect.

 

Tamal made a very impressive bicycle sculpture, which was even more amazing because it stood up. Paul Hollywood called it spectacular and loved his range of techniques. And Nadiya made a fabulous snake coming out of a woven basket. The level of creativity and skill was stunning.

Dorret and Sandy didn’t do too well. Dorret’s unmade bed sculpture was not baked through, and Paul Hollywood did not think it looked like 5 hours worth of work. Sandy’s bread sculpture looked messy and was told her pitta bread poppies tasted like cardboard.

Dorret left us this week, to be honest I have thought she was lagging behind everyone else since the first episode, but she had managed to stay under the radar. With this week’s amazing bakes, hers just could not compete. Ian was awarded star baker for a second week running, deservedly so! Paul also got a special mention for his lion sculpture as even Paul Hollywood said he would never have attempted something like that. Next episode: desserts!

I absolutely loved the sound of Alvin’s quick bread and I found the recipe for it on the BBC website, so I decided to give it a go myself. As it includes meat, I made two of them, one without any prosciutto for my vegetarian boyfriend. I’ll detail the ingredients for just one loaf below, so if you want to make two, double the ingredients. Or if you want to make a vegetarian version, just omit the prosciutto.

I started by cooking 1 finely sliced red onion in 1 tbsp olive oil. When it was soft I added 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 1/2 tbsp soft light brown sugar. I let them simmer for around 15 minutes. The recipe suggested more balsamic vinegar, but when I added half it looked more than enough.

I diced up 200g manchego cheese. I’ve never tried manchego before, it’s pretty expensive! But it is very tasty so for a one off recipe I felt it was ok. I also cut up 80g prosciutto.

In a bowl I sieved out 450g plain flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp table salt. I rubbed 30g cold diced butter into the flour until it resembled breadcrumbs.

I mixed the cheese, prosciutto and onion into the flour along with a squeeze of basil puree, I reserved a small amount of the fillings for topping the bread.

In a jug I mixed 300ml buttermilk with 25ml water.

I added the buttermilk to the flour and brought it together to make a dough. I worked it as little as needed. I shaped it on a lined baking tray, dusted with flour and scored it with a cross down the middle.

I topped it with the reserved cheese, onion and prosciutto.

I baked the loaf on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for an hour. It took a bit longer than the recipe suggested. I covered it with foil after the first 40 minutes as it was browning enough. I waited until it sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom to take it out. The kitchen certainly smelled good! I brushed it with melted butter and left it to cool.

Well my bread certainly didn’t look as good as Alvin’s! But for a first attempt I was pleased, it was cooked all the way through and it tasted really delicious. My boyfriend loved his vegetarian version too and we both gobbled up a chunk of the bread with some soup.

I’m linking this bread up to Bready Steady Go, hosted by Jen’s Food and Utterly Scrummy Food for Families.

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Prosciutto, Manchego and Balsamic Onion Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 Red onion finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Light brown sugar
  • 200 g Manchego cheese
  • 80 g Prosciutto
  • 450 g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 30 g Butter cold and diced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 300 ml Buttermilk
  • 25 ml Water
  • Basil puree

Instructions

  1. Cook the red onion in the olive oil. When it is soft add the balsamic vinegar and light brown sugar. Let it simmer for around 15 minutes
  2. Dice up the manchego cheese and cut up the prosciutto
  3. Sieve the plain flour into a bowl and add the bicarbonate of soda and salt. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs
  4. Mix the cheese, prosciutto and onion into the flour along with a squeeze of the basil puree, reserve a small amount of the fillings for topping the bread
  5. In a jug mix the buttermilk with the water
  6. Add the buttermilk to the flour and bring it together to make a dough. Work it as little as needed. Shape it onto a lined baking tray, dust it with flour and score it with a cross down the middle and top it with the reserved cheese, onion and prosciutto
  7. Bake the loaf on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for an hour. Cover it with foil if it gets too dark. When it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom it's done. Brush with melted butter and leave it to cool
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Ciabatta: GBBO Week #3

Ciabatta: GBBO Week #3

Bread week on The Great British Bake Off started with a request from the judges for 12 identical bread rolls made with rye flour. I really do think that getting everything to look exactly the same is basically the opposite of home baking! I’ve never used rye flour before and honestly when I’ve tried rye bread I did not like it all, but the bakers were adding some interesting flavours that made it sound a lot more appetising. Rye is a healtheir alternative to regular wheat flour, however because of this it has a low gluten content and as Paul tells us it is “extremely difficult to work with” as you have to work the dough much more than usual to build up the gluten.

Most of the bakers stuck to fairly traditional flavour combinations such as Kate’s Orange & Cardamom Rolls, Martha’s Date & Walnut Rolls, and Jordan’s Lemon & Poppyseed Rolls. Diana and Chetna went down the savoury route with Cheese & Walnut Rolls and Onion & Pine Nut Rolls. It was Luis who really experimented with flavour with his rolls which contained two types of dough; one flavoured with Fennel & Parsnip and the other with Coffee & Chocolate.

The rye rolls needed steam in the oven to stop them from drying out. Because of the dark colour of the dough, and the egg washes added by the bakers, it was difficult to tell when they were done baking. Nancy’s, Martha’s and Richard’s were under baked. Iain finally did well, I was pleased for him and I think it is clear that bread is his strongest area. The judges loved Luis’ flavour combination and overall bake. Kate also did very well.

Of course for the technical challenge it couldn’t be anything except a Paul Hollywood recipe! And this week it was Ciabatta. Crisp on the outside and filled with air holes on the inside, this Italian bread requires patience to make according to Paul. No proving time was given, and despite an instruction to prove at room temperature, some of the bakers put it in the proving drawer.

They had trouble handling the sloppy dough and turning it into something ‘ciabatta shaped’ without knocking all the air out of it. When Paul and Mary tried the Ciabatta’s it was clear that putting them in a proving drawer and/or handling it too much was not a good idea as it made them flat and more like pitta bread. Kate, who waited the longest to prove her dough, won the challenge. Luis, Martha and Norman also did well. Jordan came last with Iain and Chetna in ninth and eighth place.

This week’s showstopper was a filled bread centrepiece. It had to be spectacular both inside and outside, and taste delicious too. Paul warned against using too much moisture as this can cause large air holes in the bread. Luis, Norman and Richard all went for Meditteranian flavours such as roasted vegetables, pesto and saffron to fill their breads. Jordan was the only baker doing a sweet bread, with his Strawberry & Raspberry Cheesecake Brioche.

I really liked Martha’s Sunflower Bread. The middle was filled with Epoisses cheese, and the ‘petals’ with fig and apricot chutney. It sounded delicious and looked great! Nancy made a Full English Stromboli which sounded amazing but sadly didn’t have a very impressive apperance.

I love how matter of fact and old school Norman is, I absolutely love him! Best quote of the episode from him was “for me, this is very exotic, you know – pesto”. Bless him! Iain made a fantastic Moroccan Plait which Paul called a ‘success’.

Jordan left us this week. He came last in the technical and his showstopper was very underbaked. Mary said that he was a creative and flamboyant baker, and she was sad to see him go. Next week – desserts! And it looks like a rather dramatic episode!

Bread is probably one of my more weaker areas in baking so I do like to try the technical challenges in order to learn more about bread and get more experience. So I decide to try Ciabatta this week. As you will see the shape of my Ciabattas did not come out very neatly! But it tasted good and I enjoyed making them. If you’d like to give it a go, here’s what I did…

I used a Paul Hollywood recipe, which I think it is the same one the baker’s used. So I started with 500g strong white bread flour, 10g fast action yeast and 10g salt in my food mixer bowl. I added 40ml olive oil and 300ml tepid water.

I oiled a 5 litre square tub, then set the mixture to combine with the dough hook attachment on a slow speed for a minute or two as I poured in another 100ml tepid water slowly. I then turned the food mixer up to a medium speed and mixed it for 8 minutes.

When it was done the dough was very stretchy.

I poured it into the oiled tub, covered it with a tea towel, and left it to prove at room temperature for 2 hours.

It rose a lot! The 5 litre tub was almost full.

I covered my work top very genourously with flour and semolina before tipping the dough out onto it. The dough ‘slopped’ onto the work top and it was very difficult to cut it into strips as it was so sticky and light. I had to keep sprinkling flour between the cuts I was making to make sure the pieces stayed apart.

I had to use my cake lifter to get the pieces of dough onto the baking sheet. It was a very tricky operation and left me with messy looking strips of dough. I was tempted to neaten them up, but I was terrified of pushing too much air out of them! I left them to rest for 10 minutes.

I baked the ciabatta on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Obviously the shape of my ciabatta was far from perfect, but there were a decent amount of air holes when I cut into. Who knows what Paul Hollywood would think, but I was satisfied with it for a first attempt! Most importantly, it tasted good! Ciabatta is fab dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or used as a sandwich bread filled with Italian meats and cheese.

I am linking this up to Mummy Mishap’s Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014.

And to Supergolden Bakes Great GBBO Bake Along.

 
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Ciabatta

Ingredients

  • 500 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 10 g Fast Action Yeast
  • 10 g Salt
  • 40 ml Olive Oil
  • 400 ml Tepid Water
  • Flour & Semolina to dust

Instructions

  1. Put the bread flour, yeast and salt into a food mixer bowl
  2. Add the olive oil and 300ml of the tepid water
  3. Oil a 5 litre square tub
  4. Set the mixture to combine with the dough hook attachment on a slow speed for a minute or two
  5. Pour in the remaining tepid water slowly
  6. Turn the food mixer up to a medium speed and mix for 8 minutes
  7. Pour the dough into the oiled tub, cover with a tea towel, and leave to prove at room temperature for 2 hours
  8. Cover your work top very generously with flour and semolina before tipping the dough out onto it
  9. Cut into four strips without handling the dough too much
  10. Put the strips onto lined baking trays
  11. Leave to rest for 10 minutes
  12. Bake on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes, until golden brown
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Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have been enjoying the long weekend. I haven’t done much myself as yet, but have plans to go to a farm tomorrow and I’ve got my fingers crossed to see some lambs and rabbits! Today my boyfriend made a delicious roast dinner for us, whilst I made these Hot Cross Buns. They did take a while to make, which makes them perfect for a lazy Sunday bake. The results are definitely worth the effort – warm, sticky, spiced buns – yum yum. I followed a Paul Hollywood recipe to make the Hot Cross Buns as it was my first attempt at making them, but I did make a few changes along the way…

Jump straight to the recipe!

I started by stirring together strong white bread flour, yeast, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl.

In a small pan I heated up milk. Once it was hot I took it off the heat, added butter and left it to cool until it was luke warm.

I made a well in the flour mixture, and poured in the milk and butter as well as an egg. I formed it into a dough, tipped it out onto a flour surface and kneaded for 5 minutes. It was extremely sticky! Hence why there are no photos as my hands and fingers were completely covered in dough goo. After 5 minutes of kneading I put the dough into an oiled bowl, covered it with oiled cling film, and left it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

One hour later it had risen beautifully! I added mixed dried fruit, cinnamon and all spice. I kneaded all the fruit it until mixed well, the recovered the oiled bowl with oiled cling film and returned it to a warm place for another 1 hour.

After removing the risen dough from the bowl, I cut it up on a flour surfaced until I had 16 pieces. I cut the dough in half, then each piece in half again and again until I had 16. You can weigh the pieces if you like they should be about 75g each. I rolled them into balls and placed them on lined baking trays. Then I covered the trays again with oiled cling film, covered with a blanket (or you can use a tea towel) and left for 1 hour.

Just before the hour was up, I made the flour paste for the cross on the buns. I mixed strong white bread flour with water until a thick paste formed. I put it in a piping bag and snipped off the end.

The shaped dough had risen nicely! This is really the best part of making bread for me (well, except eating it).

I used the piping bag to draw the crosses along the shaped dough buns.

Then I baked the Hot Cross Buns for 15 – 20 minutes until dark golden brown on top. I almost forgot to take a photo of them as I was so eager to glaze them.

Just before they came out of the oven I warmed up some apricot jam on the hob, you can sieve it too if you want, but I didn’t bother. When the Hot Cross Buns came out of the oven, I brushed the jam on top to give them a lovely shiny and sticky sweet glaze.

Hot Cross Buns

The Hot Cross Buns turned out great, they were baked all the way through and tasted delicious! I scoffed one right after they came out of the oven and I’m looking forward to enjoying one for breakfast tomorrow. I really enjoyed making these and was really proud of how they turned out. It’s nice to get the time to make a lengthy bake like this and enjoy the results. You could add different kinds of dried fruits, citrus zest, or even chocolate chips if you wanted, to this recipe for a variety of flavours!


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Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500 g Strong white bread flour
  • 1 sachet Dried yeast
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 75 g Caster sugar
  • 300 ml + 2 tbsp Semi skimmed milk
  • 50 g Butter
  • 250 g Mixed dried fruit
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice
  • 3 tbsp Apricot jam
  • 1 Egg

For the 'cross'

  • 100 g Strong white bread flour
  • 5-6 tbsp Water

Instructions

  1. Stir together the strong white bread flour, the sachet of yeast, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl

  2. In a small pan heat up the milk, once it was hot I took it off the heat, added the butter and left it to cool

  3. Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in the milk and butter as well as the egg. Form into a dough, tip it out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, then put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover it with oiled cling film, and leave it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour

  4. Add the mixed dried fruit, cinnamon and allspice to the dough. Knead the dough until all the fruit is mixed well, then place back in the bowl and recover with oiled cling film, return it to a warm place for another 1 hour

  5. Remove the risen dough from the bowl and on a floured surface cut it up into 16 pieces, approx 75g each. Roll them into balls and place them onto lined baking trays. Cover the tray with oiled cling film, then a blanket or tea towel and leave to prove for 1 hour

  6. Make the flour paste for the cross on the buns. Mix the strong white bread flour with the water until a thick paste forms. Put it in a piping bag and snip off the end

  7. Use the piping bag to draw the crosses along the dough buns

  8. Bake the buns on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 - 20 minutes until dark golden brown on top

  9. Warm the apricot jam on the hob, and brush the jam on top to give them a lovely shiny and sticky sweet glaze

You can find more of my Bread recipes by clicking here!

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Potato, Rosemary & Halloumi Focaccia: GBBO Week #8

It was the quarter finals for The Great British Bake Off last week and only five baking ladies remain. The first challenge was to make a loaf made from unusual flour. For example chestnut, rye, rice or spelt. Any flavours were allowed and the loaf could be baked free form or in a tin. All these unusual flours have different gluten levels, which Paul explained can effect the bake, prove or both. Mary wanted the loaves to hold their shape, cut well, and have good texture, rise and most importantly – good flavour.

Spelt flour, which was being used by Frances, Kimberley, Beca and Ruby, has a weak gluten structure, which makes it more unpredictable then regular wheat flour. I loved the look of Beca’s Potato, Spelt & Rosemary Focaccia, it sounded delicious too and definitely something I would like to eat. The judges liked it too and called it ‘scrummy’. Christine and Frances also did well with good bakes and delicious flavours.

I really liked the look and sound of Kimberley’s Wild Garlic & Parma Ham Spelt Loaf, but I was disappointed to hear the judges thought it was dry and had too much filling. Such a shame as you can see above it looked amazing from all angles! Ruby slipped up with an underbaked and underproved loaf, although her flavours were good.

 

This week’s technical challenge was Mary Berry’s Hazelnut Dacquoise. A French classic, this dessert is made from 3 layers of nut meringue, layered with a coffee cream and finished with swirls of chocolate ganache. Mary warned that if the hazelnuts are over roasted they will be bitter, and if they are chopped too finely they will release oil and make the meringue runny. Paul was concerned that the bakers could trip up on the construction of the layers.

No baking time was provided and the bakers did have trouble in getting all three meringues to bake evenly. There were many steps to this bake, it seemed to be the most complex technical bake yet. All the Dacquoise looked good but overall Ruby was crowned the winner, Kimberley came second, Frances third, Beca fourth and Christine last.

For the showstopper the judges requested a 3D Novelty Cake of any shape, which must be dairy free and a vegetable cake. Paul explained that the vegetable and oil (in replace of butter) will restrict and retard the flour used so could affect the bake. Mary wanted more than just a carrot or courgette cake, as well as a good base and an ‘all out’ decoration. Vegetable cakes also need longer to bake because of their high moisture content.

Eggs were not mentioned, but surely these are dairy too? I saw them in Kimberley’s mixing bowl so they must have been allowed. Almost all of the bakers used fondant to decorate their cakes, with Christine making her own marshmallow fondant. I tend to avoid fondant or sugarpaste where I can as I am not experienced with it, but it can create some beautiful effects.

The judging was quite harsh this week! Frances’ cake was dense and dry, Beca’s was bland with no flavour and Christine’s was also bland and underwhelming. The bakers were left quite upset, with Beca describing the judging as brutal and even Mel and Sue commenting on the harshness. Kimberley and Ruby were the only ones with positive results.

Christine left this week. Which I understood, but was still disappointed by. The biggest confusion for me was Ruby getting star baker. Her loaf was underbaked and underproved, and despite coming first in the technical challenge, her showstopper was wonky and in my opinion the least pretty of all the cakes. I hate to say it, but I do feel like there is some favouritism involved when it comes to Ruby. What do you think?

Next week – savoury canapes, a swiss roll bowl cake, and an opera cake!

 

I fell in lust with Beca’s focaccia this week so I decided to make it. I will make a vegetable cake at some point, but you can check out my Carrot & Orange Cake I made earlier this year. Unfortunately due to the lack of supplies at the local shops I couldn’t get hold of any spelt flour, or, mostly annoyingly of all, fresh rosemary. I also changed the cheese from gorgonzola to halloumi. You can find Beca’s recipe here.

I started by boiling 300g maris piper potatoes. Whilst they boiled, I put 300g strong white bread flour, 1 sachet dried yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp caster sugar and 1 tbsp rosemary (fresh preferably but I used dried) into a bowl and mixed together.

When the potatoes were boiled, I drained the water into a bowl and measured out 130ml/4 fl oz of the potato water.

I put the potatoes back in the hot pan to dry out for a few minutes. Then mashed them with 3 tbsp olive oil and added to the flour mixture. I gradually poured in the potato water until a dough formed.

I used olive oil to help knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth. Then put it an oiled bowl for 1 hour to prove in a warm place.

While I was waiting for the dough to prove, I parboiled a few new potatoes. The recipe said 15-20 potatoes, but I thought this was hugely excessive so I only did three. Then when they were cool, I sliced them evenly using a grater. I also sliced up my halloumi cheese.

My dough rose really well, I was pleased!

I spread it out onto a well greased baking tray and put dimples in it with my fingers.

I spread the potato slices and halloumi on top then sprinkled over some rosemary and salt. I had exactly enough potato so I’m pretty sure 15-20 on the original recipe is incorrect!

I baked on 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 25 minutes, it was lovely and golden brown, then left to cool on a rack.

Once cooled I sliced it into pieces and enjoyed eating it all up! It had great flavour and was really delicious. Perfect as a starter or accompaniment to a main meal. It’s also good dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar – I love doing this with fresh bread! It was a shame I could not use spelt flour, have you ever used it and how did it affect your bake?

I am entering this bake into October’s Cooking With Herbs Challenge hosted by Karen at Lavender & Lovage.

 

Potato, Rosemary & Halloumi Focaccia
Ingredients
  • 300g + 3 Maris piper potatoes
  • 300g Strong white bread flour
  • 1 sachet of Dried yeast
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp Dried rosemary
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 150g Halloumi cheese
Instructions
Boil the 300g potatoes. Whilst they boil, put the strong white bread flour, dried yeast, salt, caster sugar and rosemary into a bowl and mix together
When the potatoes are boiled, drain the water into a bowl and measure out 130ml/4 fl oz of the potato water
Put the potatoes back in the hot pan to dry out for a few minutes. Then mash them with the olive oil and add to the flour mixture. Gradually pour in the potato water until a dough forms
Use olive oil to help knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth. Put it an oiled bowl for 1 hour to prove in a warm place
While you are waiting for the dough to prove, parboil the 3 new potatoes. Then when cool, slice them evenly using a grater. Also slice up the halloumi cheese
Spread out the dough onto a well greased baking tray and put dimples in it with your fingers
Spread the potato slices and halloumi on top then sprinkle over some extra rosemary and salt
Bake on 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 25 minutes, then leave to cool on a rack before slicing
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