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 it. 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.

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.

This 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.

We really enjoyed eating this 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, and Fiesta Fridays hosted by Cooking With Aunt Juju and Herbs, Spices & Traditions.

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5 from 2 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 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

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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!

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
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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 buns as it was my first attempt at making them, but I did make a few changes along the way…

I started with 500g strong white bread flour, 1 sachet yeast, 1 tsp salt and 75g caster sugar in a large bowl. I stirred them together.

In a small pan I heated up 300ml plus 2 tbsp milk, I used semi-skimmed. Once it was hot I took it off the heat, added 50g butter and left it to cool until it was warm enough to dip my fingers in without saying ouch!

I made a well in the flour mixture, and poured in the milk and butter as well as 1 beaten 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 250g mixed dried fruit, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp all spice. I would have added more spices if I was at my flat, some nutmeg and ginger too for sure. 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.

I removed the risen dough from the bowl and on a flour surfaced I cut it up 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. Paul’s recipe recommends they are 75g each. I rolled them into balls and placed them on lined baking trays. 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 100g strong white bread flour with 5-6 tbsp 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.

I baked the buns on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 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 buns came out of the oven, I brushed the jam on top to give them a lovely shiny and sticky sweet glaze.

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

  • 600 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
  • 5-6 tbsp Water
  • 3 tbsp Apricot jam
  • 1 Egg

Instructions

  1. Stir together 500g of 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 100g of 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

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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.

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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 togetherWhen the potatoes are boiled, drain the water into a bowl and measure out 130ml/4 fl oz of the potato waterPut 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 formsUse 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 placeWhile 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 cheeseSpread out the dough onto a well greased baking tray and put dimples in it with your fingersSpread the potato slices and halloumi on top then sprinkle over some extra rosemary and saltBake on 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 25 minutes, then leave to cool on a rack before slicing
 
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Chai Spiced Rolls: GBBO Week #6

Bit of a late round up for last week’s GBBO as I’ve been busy baking for Macmillan, but hopefully it will refresh your memories in time for tomorrow’s new episode! Sweet dough was last week’s theme and the first challenge was to make a tea loaf, which is a sweet yeasted bread, traditionally served at tea time and flavoured with fruits and spices. Adding eggs, butter or sugar to dough can be problematic as it can ‘retard’ the yeast. This means that the activity of the yeast, and therefore rising of the dough, is slowed down.

The only baker that got full marks on this challenge was Ruby, with her Citrus Tea Loaf. Paul and Mary loved the deep citrus flavour and thought it looked great. Glenn, Christine and Kimberley’s tea loaves were all underbaked, although Christine faired worse as the judges didn’t even eat any of her mostly raw loaf! Beca made a traditional Welsh Bara Brith. Frances made a Chai Tea Loaf that finally had much more substance than style! And poor Howard got bad results with his Date & Hemp Yorkshire Loaf.

The signature challenge this week was an Apricot Couronne, using a Paul Hollywood recipe. This is an enriched dough, filled with apricot, marzipan, walnuts and raisins. It is then twisted into a crown shape.

I just had to feature Mary’s face when Paul revealed his Couronne from under the silver dome, she loved it!

The baker’s were not told how long to prove or bake the Couronne for. However despite this, they all did very well on the challenge! All the Couronne’s were baked well and tasted good accordingly to Paul. The mistakes made were minor, and unfortunately for Howard he came last, with Glenn and Beca not far behind. Ruby won the challenge, with Frances second and Kimberley third. The Couronne is finished with a drizzle of icing and flaked almonds sprinkled on top. If you fancy making one, you can get the recipe here.

The showstopper challenge started the night before so that some of the baker’s doughs could prove overnight. The judges requested two different varieties of European sweet buns. Several of the bakers made brioche, which is enriched with butter and therefore requires a long chilling time so the dough is easier to shape.

The bakers introduced us (well me for sure!) to a variety of European breads such as German Schnecken, Norwegian Skolebrod, Swedish Kanelbullar and Czech Kolaches. Frances turned her sweet buns into a game of noughts and crosses with her Hot Cross Brioche and Rhubarb & Custard Kolaches.

Christine, Ruby, Frances and Beca all got excellent results and were praised for good flavours, lovely textures, and well baked buns that Paul and Mary liked a lot. I was sad to Kimberley not do so well this week, her sweet buns were underbaked and underproved, the same as her tea loaf. Glenn’s sweet buns “looked awful” accordingly to Paul and were dry and didn’t taste good. Howard’s buns were also branded bland and the judges could not taste the peach in his Peachy Brioche. Although even the judges were impressed with how much they looked like real peaches!

Sadly it was Howard who left this week. He started off very well, but has had some hiccups along the way. I love the way he experiments with unusual ingredients and he is certainly a brave baker that will be missed! Tomorrow on GBBO they’ll be making suet puddings, holy choux buns and puff pastry.

I was inspired by Kimberley and Frances’ use of chai flavours this week, and I also decided to make these rolls as I followed the same recipe last year and made Cinnamon Fruit Rolls. But my dough did not rise and despite tasting good and being edible, the rolls were not soft and fluffy like bread should be. I think that I killed the yeast early on. I really wanted to get these rolls right this year!

I started by gently melting 100g butter in a pan along with 125ml semi skimmed milk. (Plus 125ml of water which I missed as I didn’t read the recipe properly – see my realisation of this further down). Once it was melted I left it to cool, when it felt luke warm, I added a sachet of dried yeast and 1 tbsp caster sugar and mixed in. I covered the pan with a plate and left it for 10 minutes.

 

I sifted 550g plain flour into a large bowl, and added 50g caster sugar (minus the tbsp used above) and 1 tsp salt. I made a well and poured in the yeast mixture as well as 1 egg and 2 egg yolks.

I mixed until combined into a dough. I kneaded the dough for about 10
minutes on a floured surface, then placed it in a covered oiled bowl to
rise for 2 hours. My dough was quite dry and I didn’t even use all of the flour, I was confused by this but admittedly I was in a bit of a rush at the time.

I made a chai spice blend using 100g light brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp crushed cardamom seeds, 1/2 tsp mixed spice, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp ginger.

I have never baked with cardamom before. I bought the pods as I couldn’t find it ready ground. I’ve since found out you can buy it from online retailers pre-ground. But here’s a simple guide on how to use the pods.

I tapped the pods gently with a rolling pin until they split open and I tipped out the seeds. Discard the husks.

I put the seeds in a bowl and crushed them with the end of a rolling pin – use a pestle and mortar if you have one, or even better a spice grinder.

I lined a greased a loose bottomed cake tin.

My dough had risen, but not as much as I would’ve liked. Still, it was an improvement on last time I made these!

I melted 25g butter in a pan, and rolled out the dough to a size of about 40 x 30cm (16 x 12″). I brushed the butter over the dough, leaving a 1cm strip free at one end.

I sprinkled over the chai spice blend, then brushed the 1cm strip with some beaten egg. Keep hold of the leftover egg for later.

I rolled the dough into a sausage shape and use a serrated knife to cut
it into equal pieces. I marked out the pieces before I cut. I got
12 rolls out of my dough.

I placed them into a
lined and greased loose bottomed cake tin. There were four extra pieces
that I put into a loaf tin. I covered them and left to prove for about 1 1/2 hours.

Whilst they were proving I realised…damn…I’d messed up again! I was reading through the recipe again to write up this post and realised to my horror that I’d forgotten to add 125ml water at the very beginning. No wonder my dough was so dry!

 

I was so relieved when then puffed up nicely on the second prove! I brushed some of the remaining beaten egg from earlier over them.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes until golden brown. The rolls puffed up in the middle like little cones and one roll even came undone and spiralled out. Despite this, I was just happy they baked well and looked lovely and golden! Plus smelt amazing!

I split them open and was pleased to see soft bread texture! I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar (2 tsp caster sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon) over the hot rolls and left them to cool.

Once they were fully cool I made some lemon icing from 65g icing sugar and 1 tbsp lemon juice, add a few more drops of lemon juice depending on how runny you want it. I think the lemon is a great zingy hit of flavour alongside the aromatic cardamom and cinnamon of the rolls.

I finally feel like sweet dough worked for me. Although I have to say it is not my favourite thing to bake. It’s very time consuming, even more than regular bread. And I think you can get nice brioches and sweet rolls from good bakeries. I think I would make sweet dough again at home, but it’s not something I would do often. I loved getting to use cardamom as it’s so popular at the moment and it was great to taste it in a bake as I never have before. I now understand what the hype is all about! What do you think about sweet breads?

I am also entering my Chai Spiced Rolls into October’s AlphaBakes challenge, hosted by Caroline Makes… and The More Than Occasional Baker. This month’s letter is ‘C’.

 

Chai Spiced Rolls
 
 
Ingredients
  • 125g Butter
  • 125ml Semi skimmed milk
  • 125ml Water
  • 1 sachet of Dried yeast
  • 38g + 1 tbsp + 2 tsp Caster sugar
  • 550g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 100g Light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 65g Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
 
Instructions
Gently melt 100g of the butter in a pan along with the semi skimmed milk and water. Once it is melted leave it to cool, when it feels luke warm, add the dried yeast and 1 tbsp of caster sugar and mix in. Cover the pan with a lid and leave for 10 minutes
Sift the plain flour into a large bowl, and add the 38g caster sugar and salt. Pour in the yeast mixture as well as the egg and egg yolks
Mix until combined into a dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface, then place it in a covered oiled bowl to rise for 2 hours
Make the chai spice blend by mixing the light brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon, cardamom, mixed spice, nutmeg and ginger
Melt 25g of the butter in a pan, roll out the dough to a size of about 40 x 30cm (16 x 12″). Brush the butter over the dough, leaving a 1cm strip free at one end
Sprinkle over the chai spice blend, then brushed the 1cm strip with some of the beaten egg
Roll the dough into a sausage shape and use a serrated knife to cut it into 12 equal pieces
Place them into a lined and greased tin. Cover them and leave to prove for 1 1/2 hours
Once proved, brush some of the beaten egg over them.Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes until golden brown
Mix the 2 tsp of caster sugar and 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon and sprinkle over the hot rolls and leave them to cool
Make a lemon icing by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice, drizzle over the cooled rolls
 
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English Muffins: GBBO Week #2

Bread week on Tuesday’s Great British Bake Off started with breadsticks. The judges wanted 36 of them, 25cm in length, and made with yeast. A tall order! Breadsticks are known as grissini in Italy where they were invented, and traditionally the breadsticks have to be the same length as the baker’s arm!

Kimberley, Ali and Ruby did really well in this challenge (Ruby’s Mexican Twists pictured above). Their breadsticks had great flavour, a good snap and looked attractive – all the thing the judges were after. Making breadsticks looks pretty tricky, especially making 36 identical ones all of the same length! Uniformity is not an easy thing for a home baker. Rob advised to bake slowly on a low heat to draw all of the moisture out, ensuring a good snap as the breadsticks should not be chewy. Kimberley also mentioned that she had made 200 breadsticks to practise this bake, and it certainly paid off!

Frances again stood out with her creativity and presentation, by making these ‘matchstick’ breadsticks pictured above. Flavoured with ginger, and dipped in chilli chocolate. the judges loved the presentation, although were unsure if the flavours should be used for a breadstick.

The technical challenge was English Muffins – my bake along this week! We learnt that there really was a muffin man back in the 18th century when these were first popular. Following a Paul Hollywood recipe, the bakers were asked for eight English muffins which should be evenly baked, have a chewy texture and light air holes. Poor Howard’s muffin’s suffered an accidental elbowing from Sue!

Bread week isn’t my favourite as bread is not my forte, but I always learn something! Here’s what I learned about English Muffins… The dough for the muffins is very wet and sticky, but you just have to keep working it until smooth. As muffins are made with an enriched dough, this slows down the gluten and so it can be difficult to tell when the dough is proved. It should have air holes and spring back when touched. The proved dough should be handled with care to maintain the air holes. Kimberley advised me not to twist the cutter, and to resist adding more flour to the dough. I’d take her advice as she won this challenge!

 

For the showstopper a beautifully decorative shaped loaf was requested. The bakers got extremely creative with a Physic Octopus Tribute Loaf (Rob), a White Chocolate & Orange Peacock (Ruby), and a Yin & Yang loaf flavoured with chicken tikka and paneer on one side and white chocolate and apricot on the other side (Ali)! I was really impressed with the level of creativity here and the look of the loaves. Ruby got star baker this week, admittedly I wanted Kimberley to get it as I think she was best overall, but I think it’s a great boost to Ruby’s confidence and definitely deserved for what she produced this episode.

 

Sadly Lucy’s loaf looked rather unimpressive compared to everyone else’s and after coming last in the technical challenge and her breadsticks being branded as ‘very plain’, she left us this week. I was disappointed to see her go as I enjoyed what she did in week one. It was strange how she really experimented with flavour in the cakes, but her bread flavours were extremely simple. I think sometimes it is hard to please the judges as well as pleasing yourself.

As I mentioned, I’m not the best with bread. I’ve made several things in the past – bagels, pretzels, flatbreads – and they were always yummy, but I find bread quite hard work and it doesn’t come as naturally to me as cakes and other sweet goodies. I decided to follow the technical challenge again this week as I do find my creativity is not as strong when it comes to bread.

I followed a recipe from Victoria at A Kick At The Pantry Door. She is much more of a natural with bread than me so I trust her opinion! I doubled her recipe to get a few more English Muffins, and I started by dissolving a sachet of dried fast action yeast in 125ml tepid water.

I then added another 125ml of tepid water and 150g natural yoghurt and mixed in until smooth.

In another bowl I weighed out 450g strong white bread flour and 1 tsp salt.

I poured the yeast and yoghurt mixture into the flour and mixed it to form a dough. I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes. It was so sticky! I hoped it would start to smooth out, but nothing was happening and I didn’t want to over knead it, so I put it back in the bowl, covered it, and put it in a warm place (my boiler cupboard!) to prove for an hour.

After an hour it had definitely risen, but was still extremely sticky. I was concerned I had done something wrong, but decided to carry on and see what happened. I gently rolled out the dough to 2cm thick, and cut rounds out of it until all the dough was used up. I did have to flour it a bit at this point, but I tried not to go to crazy.

I placed the rounds of dough onto a floured and lined baking tray. It was hard to get neat rounds. I only had a small plastic cutter, I think a larger metal one would have been better. I sprinkled semolina over the rounds, covered with cling film and a tea towel and left for 40 minutes.

It puffed up nicely. I heated a little drizzle of oil, about the size of a 1p piece in a frying pan. I have an electric hob that goes up to number 9, I kept the heat on 4 and this was perfect I thought.

I placed the rounds in the pan in batches, I cooked for 7 minutes (no more than 8) on one side, then flipped.

When they were cooking they puffed up a lot, this is a good sign as it shows there’s air still in the dough.

When I flipped the muffins they had browned nicely.

I cooled them on a cooling rack.

I cut into one to see if it was fully cooked, check out the air holes! Perfection! Light and airy. I was so chuffed when I saw this. All my concerns and doubts about the wet dough went away.

I made 10 muffins from this batch, which I will be enjoying over the weekend. I’m planning on having eggs on them!

I had a little bit with butter on, and was really happy with the texture and taste. I felt good after making these, and it has boosted my confidence with bread. It is a lot of work, and waiting, and for me – worrying! But I felt proud of what I had made at the end so it was definitely worth the journey.

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English Muffins
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 sachet Dried fast action yeast
  • 250ml Tepid Water
  • 150g Natural yoghurt
  • 450g Strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
 
Instructions
Dissolve the yeast in 125ml of the tepid waterAdd the rest of the tepid water and the natural yoghurt and mix until smoothIn a bowl weighed out the strong white bread flour and saltPour the yeast and yoghurt mixture into the flour and mix to form a dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, put it back in the bowl, cover it, and put it in a warm place to prove for an hourGently roll out the dough to 2cm thick, and cut rounds out of it until all the dough is used upPlace rounds of dough onto a floured and lined baking tray. Sprinkle semolina over the rounds, covere with cling film and a tea towel and leave for 40 minutesHeat a little drizzle of oil on a medium heat in a frying panPlace the rounds in the pan in batches, cook for 7 minutes (no more than 8) on one side, then flipCool on a cooling rack, then slice and serve
 
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