Category Archives: Bread

Cheddar and fig soda bread

Cheddar and Fig White Soda Bread

I have been busy starting work recently and loving it so far! I have however also managed to fit in lots of baking as well – macarons, cakes for BBQs, desserts for dinner parties..lots to come! Sometimes though I really just fancy baking something savoury and today is time for one of those savoury blog posts. If I want to bake something that is quick I often turn to scones, but when I fancy making a loaf of bread that is speedy then I always turn to soda bread. Ilove it, so easy to make, so delicious and you can jazz it up by adding what you like to it! In this case I opted to make a white soda bread with cheddar cheese and dried figs (something I had in my cupboard after making this fruit cake with figs!) and it really, really works – scrumptious! Try it sliced, served warm and spread with butter ….. mmmmm! Give it a try!

Cheddar and fig soda bread

To make this Cheddar and Fig White Soda Bread you will need:

300g white flour
50g porridge oats
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt
25g butter
250ml buttermilk (or natural yogurt)
80g grated cheddar cheese
90g (approx) chopped dried figs

Ingredients

 

Mix the 250g of the flour with the oats, bicarb and salt. Rub the butter into this mixture. Add the cheese and chopped dried figs and mix in. Finally add the buttermilk and incorporate into the dry ingredients, bringing the mixture together to form a dough. If the dough is too wet then use the remaining 50g of flour until you have a dough that you can work with. Lightly dust a surface with flour and gently knead the dough to bring it together. Place on a greased baking tray and cut a deep cross on the surface of  the dough using a serrated knife. This not only looks effective once it is cooked but by cutting deeply it also helps the centre of the loaf to cook. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for approx 45 minutes.

Dough

 

The next step is to enjoy a slice!

Loaf

 

Tonight is a big night in the world of baking with the return of the Great British Bake Off. Exciting! Last year I hosted a GBBO blog challenge, you can see lots of the entries here and here. Maybe I will bring it back this year!

Lottie xx

Edit:

I have entered this into November’s Tea Time Treats Challenge – dried fruits!

This is hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

tea time treats

Sourdough

Cranberry and Pistachio Sourdough

This last week (16th-22nd April) has been National Bread Week and so this was the perfect opportunity for me to get baking, use my recently resurrected sourdough starter and make some lovely bread! I have had a busy week but finally managed to create a loaf of bread just in time for the end of National Bread Week. Making bread is something that is very satisfactory when you have finished and if you haven’t tried baking a loaf of bread from scratch yet then I recommend you do so (and if you are a bread machine fan then have a go at making it yourself, you will be even more pleased with what you make)! It is amazing how you can create something from practically nothing. I started to make sourdough bread quite recently and  ‘making’ the yeast from scratch for this bread just adds to the proud “look what I have made” moment! It also makes a pretty tasty bread too.

Cranberry and Pistachio Sourdough

 

I created my sourdough starter last year using the the River Cottage instructions. This uses just flour and water and the starter is fed regularly for the 7-10 days until it has a yeasty smell, then it can be used to make a loaf. I have seen recipes for starters that use pineapple juice in them and in Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How To Bake‘ his instructions involve a grated apple. My flour and water starter works just fine and is nice and bubbly but I might make one using pineapple or apple soon and compare the two starters to see which is best. Once your starter is ready then it needs very little care. If I am using mine then it stays at room temperature and gets fed but if I am not using it then it just lives in the fridge. I kept it in the fridge for a couple of months while I was away, when I got back I took it out and after a few feeds it was yeasty, bubbly and ready to use. It is so simple, I still find it fascinating that I can make an actual loaf of bread from this jar of fermenting sloppy flour and water.

starter

Previously when I have made sourdough I used the widely used method, also described on River Cottage of using some of the starter to create a ‘sponge’ and then using this as the basis for the dough. Paul Hollywood on the other hand seems to skip the sponge step and uses a larger amount of starter to make his sourdough. I thought I would give this method a go. His recipe in ‘How to Bake‘ uses 500g sourdough starter to make 2 loaves. I didn’t have this much starter and needed to keep some so made 1 loaf with 250g starter, I may need to create a bigger starter if I want to keep using this method! I also added some cranberries and pistachios to my loaf.

sourdough

To make this Cranberry and Pistachio Sourdough you will need:

375g strong white bread flour
250g sourdough starter
7g salt
180ml tepid water
olive oil for kneading
small handful of dried cranberries
small handful of unsalted pistachios

Put the flour, starter and salt into a mixing bowl with the water. Mix together using your hands and add more water if you need it. Once you have formed a dough tip it out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes to form a soft, smooth dough. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowel, cover with cling film or a tead towel and leave to rise for 5 hours (Mr Hollywood suggests a temperature of 22-24C if you can be that accurate!). Avoid the temptation to sit and watch your dough, it won’t rise that quickly, sourdough is slow!

After 5 hours tip the dough out a floured work surface and knead in the cranberries and pistachios until evenly dispersed. Shape the dough into whatever shape you want it, leave it to rise on a floured cloth/greaseproof paper/prooving basket and cover with a tea towel. This time you need to leave it for 10-13 hours, I left mine overnight so it was ready to bake in the morning.

Unbaked loaf

 

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cut a pattern or lines in the top of the dough if you wish. To create a crusty outside put a tray of boiling water in the bottom of the oven to create steam when you put the bread in. Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes until golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then enjoy!

Sourdough

While I am pleased with the taste and appearance of my sourdough using both methods, I still haven’t achieved the rise I want. I know this might come with practice and I wonder if a proving basket might help (on my list of things to get) but if anyone has any words of wisdom on sourdough then please do share them with me!

Happy National Bread Week!

Lottie xx

 

 

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Paul Hollywood’s Plaited Loaf

Paul Hollywood’s Plaited Loaf

There is something extremely satisfying about making bread and it always feels like such an acheivement afterwards. I have to say, making sourdough bread from scratch and making my own starter was a very proud moment for me but at the same time even a simple white loaf gives me a sense of satisfaction. And the smell of baking bread….well it is delicious. I think part of the reason it is so satisfying is that you really have to set aside some time to make bread, it can’t be done in a rush, unless you have a breadmaker that is. You have to really put some work into making bread, some tender loving care shall we say. After all my recent birthday cake baking, I have to say I really did miss baking bread, so when I had a few spare moments to bake some this week, I grabbed the chance. Also it was Homemade Bread Day on 17th November, a perfect time to get bread baking again!

I still have a huuuge long list of things from the last Bake Off that I want to make…chiffon cake, strudel, doughnuts, the list goes on. On my list was also the amazing 8 strand plaited loaves they made on the show, I’m always up for a challenge and when I saw them make these I wanted a go. So here it is…Paul Hollywood’s Plaited Loaf from the book ‘The Great British Bake Off – How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers‘.

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There seemed to be a lot of trouble with the plaiting on the show but I found that if you follow the instructions exactly how they are written then you shouldn’t have a problem with it….next time I might try 8 strand plaiting my hair!

You will need:

500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
14g fast action dried yeast
20ml olive oil
340ml water at room temperature
1 beaten egg with a pinch of salt (to glaze)

To make the dough put the flour in a mixing bowl, then add the salt on one side of the bowel and add the yeast to the other. These are instructions given by Paul Hollywood and are a way of making sure the two don’t touch each other as the salt can kill the yeast.

Next add the oil and mix in. Add three quarters of the water and use your hands to combine the ingredients. Add the rest of the water and work it into the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for about 10 minutes until it is stretchy. This is the fun, messy bit, but also pretty hard work!

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave it to rise for about 1 hour at room temperature, it should double in size.

Knock back the dough and turn onto a floured surface. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and roll each peace into a long 40cm strand. Lay the strands out on the work surface, gathering the ends together. Now you are ready to GET PLAITING!

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Follow the instructions, it will work, even though it seems a little odd at first. Number the strands, the strand furthest left is number 1, the strand furthest right is number 8, when you move the strands the numbers change and you start from 1 to 8, left to right again.

1. Strand 8 under strand 7, then over strand 1.

2. Strand 8 over strand 5.

3. Strand 2 under strand 3, then over strand 8.

4. Strand 1 over strand 4.

5. Strand 7 under strand 6, then over strand 1.

You only do step 1 once, right at the beginning. Keep repeating steps 2 to 5 until the plait is finished. Finish the ends off neatly.

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Leave the plait to rise on a floured baking sheet. Leave it for 1 hour at room temperature. After an hour you can brush the loaf with the beaten egg, then bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 20-25 minutes. It should be golden brown and should sound hollow when tapped underneath.

Serve with butter and jam and enjoy the smell of freshly baked bread. Delicious!

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Lottie xx

I am entering this loaf into the Fresh From the Oven challenge, the theme this month is a plaited loaf and it is hosted by Fuss Free Flavours. This challenge is ran by Claire and Michelle fromPurely Food and Utterly Scrummy Food for Families.

I am also entering this into Calendar Cakes, because of Homemade Bread Day this month the theme is Bread, Rolls and Buns! This is hosted by LauraLovesCakes and Dollybakes.

calender-cakes

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Sun-dried Tomato and Parmesan Bagels

I am writing this post having just been up the Orbit at the Olympic Park this evening, a great experience and an awesome view. This Sunday is the Paralympic Closing Ceremony so I am very excited, I will be walking out into the stadium again. To make it even more exciting my boyfriend and my family all have tickets and to make it yet even more exciting, Coldplay will be there!! I absolutely cannot wait. However, at the same time Sunday is really going to be quite sad, it will be the end of London 2012, I will really miss it! I will have to find something else to keep myself busy….baking?

This bake is another bake that is inspired by the Great British Bake Off. I had never made bagels before but I thought I would give it a go because the idea of boiling the dough was so fascinating! It worked though and I was rather pleased with the result, I think it is something I will try again. The basic recipe I used is from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet, a really lovely book that seems to have a recipe for absolutely everything! Dan uses a different kneading technique in the book for these bagels which involves minimal kneading. You knead the dough for 10 seconds, leave it for 10 minutes and keep repeating. I was slightly nervous about this but I did some research on the Internet and people seemed pleased with the results, so I gave it a go and it worked! Try it! I opted for savoury flavoured bagels rather than sweet and used sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese to flavour them.

To make these bagels you will need:

300g strong white flour
1tsp fast action yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1tbsp caster sugar
275ml warm water
1tbsp white wine vinegar
oil
50g brown sugar
100g sundried tomatoes (chopped)
parmesan cheese (finely grated)

Start buy mixing together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the warm water and vinegar and stir to form a dough. Cover the bowl and leave it for 10 minutes. Knead the 10 for 10 seconds (do this on a lightly oiled surface and lightly oil your hands), put back in the bowl, cover and leave for 10 minutes. Repeat this 10 seconds of kneading and leaving for 10 minutes twice more. After this cover the dough and leave for an hour. Now you can add the tomatoes to the dough by gently kneading them in until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each one into a ball, cover and leave to rise for 20 minutes. To shape the bagel stick a finger through the centre and stretch the dough into a ring. Make the hole slightly bigger than you want it as it will close up a bit. Put the brown sugar into a pan of boiling water and drop the bagels into the water one or two at a time. Boil for about 30-60 seconds on each side. Put the boiled bagels on a lightly oiled tray, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven at 200C.


I am entering these into the Bake Off Challenge that I am running. You can find out how to enter your Bake Off inspired bakes here. Anything related to the Great British Bake Off is eligible!

Lottie xx

Almond Breeze Challenge

Dairy Free Cherry and Almond Banana Breakfast Bread with Cherry Jam – Almond Breeze

Cherry and Almond Breakfast Bread made with Almond Breeze’s Almond Milk

Almond Breeze at Blue Diamond Almonds has given 30 food bloggers  through Foodies100 the challenge of creating a breakfast recipe using their almond milk and I was recently sent a carton of unsweetened Almond Breeze to see what I could come up with. I have never tried almond milk before and wasn’t sure what to expect, I am however a huge fan of almonds, so this sounded like something that I would like!  The unsweetened almond milk is very low calorie and has no added sugars, it is a great alternative to soya or dairy milk and is a good source of calcium. I also found that it is really easy to use in baking as a replacement for cow’s milk. It worked really well. With the chance to win a Gourmet Hotel Stay this competition was something I didn’t want to miss!

I remember going out for breakfast once and ordering coconut banana bread with lime marmalade. It was delicious and made me realise just how good banana bread is for breakfast, because of this I decided to come up with a banana bread recipe using Almond Breeze. As I would use Almond Breeze as a milk substitute I decided to make the banana bread completely dairy free and used a dairy free spread as a replacement for butter too. I also used wholemeal flour in the loaf to make it more of a breakfast bread rather than a cake.

My favourite flavour to pair with almonds is cherry. I think cherry and almond just go beautifully together, I used the combination for my Jubilee cake that I made recently. Cherry and almond is definitely up there with chocolate and orange! So when I hear the word almond, I automatically think of cherries and that is how this banana bread came to be a cherry and almond banana loaf, I used ground almonds to enhance the almond flavour. To finish it off I made a quick cherry jam for those who like a bit of sweetness at breakfast time!

You all know how much I love my 1M Nozzle for creating lovely swirls on my cupcakes. Well now I can honestly say I love it even more having come across an ingenious way of using the 1M nozzle to pit cherries! Let me tell you that it is fantastic! And you do need to stone quite a few cherries to make this. I didn’t realise how much I could love a nozzle.

So, to make this Dairy Free Cherry and Almond Banana Bread using Almond Breeze:

You will need:

160g plain flour
80g wholemeal flour
40g ground almonds
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
100g dairy free spread (I used a dairy free olive spread)
120g caster sugar
2 eggs
3 bananas
150ml Almond Breeze unsweetened Almond Milk
120g stoned cherries (quartered)
flaked almonds to finish

Start by creaming together the spread and the sugar and then add the eggs one at a time. Mash the bananas and add to the mix along with the Almond Breeze almond milk. Mix will. Add the flours, ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cherries to the mixture and combine everything together. To prevent the cherries from sinking coat them in flour before adding them to the mix.

Pour the mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about an hour. Half way through cooking sprinkle some flaked almonds on the top of the loaf. The cake is done when a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly (although this loaf is very nice served warm!)

To make the quick cherry jam:

200g stoned whole cherries
juice of half a lemon
50ml water
100g caster sugar

Put the cherries in a pan with the lemon and water and let it bubble away for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar, stir and continue to let the cherries simmer until the mixture starts to reduce. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

 

Serve the warm loaf sliced with cherry jam. Enjoy your rather yummy breakfast!

 

Thanks to Almond Breeze for sending me the almond milk for this recipe, I am very pleased I have now discovered almond milk!

Lottie xx

Please leave a comment below, I appreciate every comment left. If you use twitter then follow me @lotts_louise!

 

cheddar_and_apple_soda_bread

Cheddar and Apple Soda bread

I’ve been pretty busy recently travelling to and from Watford Hospital and learning how to deliver babies, although it has been rather exciting too and I have been having an amazing time. It has been nice to relax this weekend and it has been a lovely weekend with  some good food. It was a friend of mine’s birthday celebration yesterday and she created a lovely Ottolenghi style meal complete with 3 absolutely gorgeous cakes! Then today was a very nice day with my parents and Russell’s Dad  over for lunch. I managed to make a successful chicken cacciatore and lemon pudding. Pretty full now and sitting down to write a Sunday evening blog post. I’m quite into bread at the moment, creating a fresh loaf of bread is very satisfying. My recently created sourdough starter is bubbling away in the fridge right now (it will have its own blog post very soon!), so I think a bread blog post is due! Tonight it is Cheddar and Apple Soda Bread. I love making soda bread, it is cheap, quick and easy so with very little work you get a lovely loaf of dense bread. This recipe has cheese and apple in the dough, which keeps the bread nice and moist.

You will need:

170g wholemeal flour
170g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
290ml buttermilk (or natural yogurt if you can’t get hold of buttermilk)
100g grated cheddar cheese
2 apples peeled and roughly diced

Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the flours, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl and mix together. Add the diced apple and 3/4 of the grated cheese and mix in. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk. Mix everything together ot make a soft dough. Knead the dough briefly on a floured surface but this is difficult with the apple chunks. Form the dough into a round, slightly flat shape and place on a floured baking sheet. Cut a cross across the top of the dough and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake at 200C for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. This bread is best eaten on the day it is made.

 

I absolutely love reading and get through mountains of books. This number has increased even more since I got my Kindle, perfect for reading on my train commute everyday. My Dad has recently branched out into writing books, his first book is called Out of Sync and he has self published it on Amazon. I have read it several times and can honestly say that is a fantastic book and definitely worth a read! It is one of those books that you can’t put down once you start reading it! It follows the life of Charlie Breeze, a boy born out of synchronisation with the rest of the world and the chaos that ensues because of this. You can buy and ebook on Amazon here for only £1.28. Give it a read, you will love it!

Happy baking!

Lottie xx

Thank you for reading, please leave a comment, I appreciate every comment left!

Follow me on twitter @lotts_louise for updates on my blog!

 

Osterzopf

Easter Bread Baking: Osterzopf and Hot Cross Buns

Just one more post for my Easter related baking! I went back to my parent’s house over Easter and completely took over the kitchen with my bread and Easter egg making! I’m sure my Mum is glad to have her kitchen back now and I am back to my minature one. My Dad is a bit of a fan of the bread maker but I decided to do it properly. I made a giant Osterzopf loaf and plenty of Hot Cross Buns. Osterzopf is a German Easter bread, a bit like brioche with a subtle hint of lemon, lovely toasted and buttered! The recipe is below. For the Hot Cross Buns I used Mary Berry’s recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

For the Osterzopf you will need:

500g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
50g sugar
250 ml milk
7g dried yeast
75g butter
1 egg (beaten)
1 lemon, zest only
1 tbsp milk
1 egg
sugar to finish
Flaked almonds.
Honey to drizzle.
You can also add raisins if you fancy.

Start by mixing the flour, dried yeast, salt and sugar together. Heat the milk gently in a saucepan until warm, not hot. Add the butter to the milk and stir until melted. Pour this into the flour mixture and mix well. Add the beaten egg and lemon zest and mix to form a dough. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place (I use the airing cupboard) for 30 minutes to an hour.

Turn out onto a floured surface again and knead. Divide the dough into 3 equal size pieces and roll each out into a sausage shape. Plait the sausages of dough together and use a bit of water to stick the ends together. Put the plait onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover again and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Beat the egg with the 1tbsp of milk and brush over the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with sugar and flaked almonds.

Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour until golden. When you take the loaf out of the oven drizzle with honey and serve. Enjoy!

 

 

And my Hot Cross Buns:

 

After my flurry of bread baking over Easter I am pretty keen to make some Sourdough, I saw them making it on River Cottage the other day, so watch this space and see how I get on. In other news, I spent this morning making a rose swirl birthday cake with some piping using my trusty Wilton 1M nozzle, blog post to follow soon!

I have been prompting for a musical version of Titanic this week that my boyfriend is in. It is an excellent show and I am very excited about watching it from the front instead of the side tonight! There are really only very few seats left but if you are near Epsom and are wondering what to do tonight then I recommend going to see ELOC perform Titanic at Epsom Playhouse! You will not be disappointed.

If you have enjoyed reading my blog then please leave a comment, I appreciate every comment left. And if you are on Twitter and haven’t done so already then add me on twitter @lotts_louise to keep up to date with my blog!

Love, Lottie xx

I have entered this bread into Alpha Bakes hosted by The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes. This month’s letter is B.

soup&scones

Cheese scones with courgette soup and a ‘Soup Walk’

Surely nobody knows how to make a good scone better than Mary Berry. So where else to turn to for a scone recipe than Mary Berry’s Baking Bible? I have been in a bit of a savoury mood lately so fancied making some cheese scones – a lovely savoury treat! And I knew they would go down well with my boyfriend who is always asking for more savoury baking. He pretends he doesn’t share my sweet tooth, but when presented with a cake he can never resist! Mary Berry suggest serving the scones with soup so I decided to make a Roasted Courgette soup to go with the scones for a lovely weekend dinner.

So here is the recipe I used for Cheese Scones, from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

The recipe is to make a cheese scone round, of 6 wedges. I used the dough to make round scones instead.
You will need:

225g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp baking powder
25g butter
150g mature cheddar, grated
1 large egg
milk


Preheat the oven to 220C and grease a baking tray.

Mix the flour, salt, mustard powder, cayenne pepper and baking powder. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the flour until you get very fine breadcrumbs. Stir in 100g of the cheese.
Break the egg into a jug and make it up to 150ml with milk. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients until you get a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly. Roll out the dough to a 1cm thickness and use a cutter to cut the dough into circles of whatever size you want. I misplaced my cookie cutter so used a wine glass, which was a nice size! Or if you are making a round, roll out the dough to a 15cm circle and mark into 6 wedges.
Brush the scones with a little milk and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake the scones for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and eat fresh!

Cheese scones

To make the courgette soup I used 2 courgettes, 1 onion, vegetable stock, 2 small potatoes, flat leaf parsley, lemon zest, black pepper. Slice the courgettes and the onion and roast in the oven with some olive oil and black pepper until starting to go brown and nice and soft. Meanwhile boil 2 small potatoes until soft and make up some vegetable stock. In a blender add the cooked courgette, onion, potato and vegetable stock. How much you add really depends on how thick or thin you like your soup! Blitz it until quite smooth. Add some chopped parsly and lemon zest and season to taste. Blitz again. Pour into a saucepan and heat up. Serve with some cheese and warm cheese scones.

Courgettes

Courgette soup

The Soup Walk

My sister decided that we should go on a soup walk. This being a walk in the countryside, talking a stove and some tins of soup (and cheese scones!) and making some soup half way!n So we did and here she is enjoying her soup walk!

Rose

Soup time

Look who we found on our walk!

Llama

Lottie xx

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