Bread and Better

Bread and Better

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Fruit and Mixed Seed Rye Loaf

This dark, dense loaf is packed full of tasty nuts and seeds and would make a great addition to any Christmas cheese board. It also tastes amazing toasted, simply slather with butter for a deliciously warming winter snack.



Makes 1 medium loaf.

For the loaf:
200g strong white flour
400g rye flour
14g dried yeast
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, plus a little more for greasing
10g salt
100g sultanas
200g mixed nuts/seeds
400ml water

Place the flours into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the oil, salt, sultanas, nuts and seeds and mix until everything is well combined.
Add the water and bring together until the mixture forms a dough, you may need to add a little more water if it feels dry.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels a little smoother.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a tea towel.
Leave the dough to rise for a couple of hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Line a 1lb loaf tin with baking paper or a loaf tin liner.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly oiled surface and shape into a rectangle, just slightly smaller than the loaf tin and then place it inside the lined tin.
Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave to rise for an hour, or until it has noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaf has risen, bake it for 40 minutes, or until the top has turned a deep golden brown and the base sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove the loaf from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
This loaf will keep for up to a week, wrapped well in baking paper and stored in a cool, dark place.


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Chocolate and Coconut Rolls

These sweet, coconut-y rolls are essentially a Bounty chocolate bar served up in bread form. Enjoy as part of a treat filled weekend breakfast or simply as a naughty afternoon pick me up.




Makes 15 large rolls.

For the rolls:
450g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
60g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pint of semi-skimmed milk

For the filling:
1 397g tin of condensed milk
50g icing sugar
300g desiccated coconut
5 tablespoons chocolate spread

For the topping:
1 tablespoon chocolate spread

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Rub the yeast into the bread crumb mixture.
Add the salt and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels soft but not sticky.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.
Make the filling by mixing together the condensed milk, icing sugar and desiccated coconut.
When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle (around 20cm x 30cm) and then spread over the chocolate spread and then the coconut mixture.
Roll the dough up into a large sausage and then cut it into 15 equal pieces.
Line a rectangle baking tray with some grease proof paper, and then place the dough pieces on it, leaving 2 cm (ish) gap between each one.
Cover the buns with a tea-towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the buns have risen, bake them for around 20 minutes, or until they have turned a deep golden brown.
Leave the buns to cool completely in the tin before drizzling with the remaining chocolate spread and serving.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Grandad's Rye Bread


I have always been a little disappointed with my rye breads. My past attempts have always tasted  pretty good, but the texture was often very stodgy, making the loaf rather unpleasant to eat. As I have probably mentioned before, my Grandad was a baker, so I thought I would ask if he had any advice on working with this ancient grain. He suggested that I use more yeast, as rye doesn't have all the gluten that other flours do, to make it rise better. He also said that rye doesn't absorb water well, so use much less than you normally would when making bread. I took on board his advice and I am really happy with the results that they produced. I have gone for a rye and white flour mix here, so that I got a slightly lighter crumb structure, but if you fancy a denser loaf please feel free to adjust the ratio.





Makes one medium loaf.

For the loaf:
300g rye flour
300g strong white flour
14g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
475ml water
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, plus a little more for greasing

Place the flours into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, oil and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels a little smoother.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, shape it into a ball and place it onto a lined baking tray.
Cover the loaf with a tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, or until it has pretty much doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaf has risen, sprinkle it with a little rye flour and make a few slashes in the top with a sharp knife.
Bake the bread for around 25 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the bottom makes a hollow sound when tapped.
Leave the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack before digging in.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

I am not going to claim that I invented the peanut butter/chocolate/pretzel mash-up, this recipe just happens to be my take on the trend. Salty and sweet, these bites are deliciously naughty and moorish. Serve as a late afternoon snack for a mouthwatering pick-me-up.




Makes around 20 small squares.


For the bites:
100g digestive biscuits
50g salted pretzels, plus a few more for decoration
150g melted butter
4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 397g tin of condensed milk
150g dark chocolate
50g white chocolate


Line a 20 x 30cm rectangle baking tin with cling-film.
Place the biscuits, pretzels (bar the ones saved for decoration) and melted butter into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles coarse, wet sand.
Press the sandy mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing in down until it evenly fills the entire tray.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set slightly.
When the base is set, mix together the condensed milk and peanut butter, in a bowl, until they are well combined.
Pour the peanut butter mixture over the base, smoothing it down as you go, so that it evenly covers the biscuit mixture.
Place the tin in the fridge for around 30 minutes, or until the peanut butter mixture has set slightly.
When the sweet, nutty layer is a little firmer, melt the dark chocolate and pour it on top.
Melt the white chocolate and blob it on top of the dark chocolate at random intervals.
Take a cocktail stick and swirl the two chocolates together, so that you get sort of a ripple effect.
Place the extra pretzels on top of the chocolate.
Place the tin in the fridge to set, for around 2 hours, before slicing and serving.
These squares will keep for up to a week in the fridge, just make sure you store them in an air-tight container (chocolate tends to take on the flavour of things around it if it's not wrapped up well).

Monday, 7 November 2016

Spiced Toffee Apple Cake


This treat came about because I wanted to create a spiced winter dessert that combined my love of gooey, rich, sticky toffee pudding and gloriously sharp cooking apples. For best results serve this bake warm from the oven, with a generous dollop of ice cream on the side. This cake will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, wrapped up well in tinfoil.




Makes 1 cake, serves 8.


For the cake:
200g stoned dates
boiling water
300g cooking apples, peeled and cored
220g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
220g caster sugar
220g unsalted butter, softened
4 medium free range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons mixed spice

Place the dates into a bowl and pour enough boiling water over to just cover them.
Leave the dates to soak for around 20 minutes, or until they have noticeably plumped up.
When the dates have soaked, place them, and their water, into a food processor and blitz until the mixture is smooth.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c (160 for a fan oven).
Line a rectangle high sided baking tin (around 20cm x 30cm) with baking paper.
Slice the apples into small-ish chunks.
Place the flour, baking powder, spice, vanilla, eggs, butter and sugar into the bowl of a standalone mixer and beat, using the paddle attachment, until the mixture is smooth and well combined (you could use a hand-held electric whisk too).
Fold the chopped apples and the date mixture into the batter and then pour into the prepared tin.
Bake the cake for around 30 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
Leave the cake to cool a little in the tin before slicing and serving.



Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Pizza Rolls

After the success of my 'Pizza Focaccia', I wanted to carry the moreish flavour into another savoury bake. These rolls make a delicious accompaniment to a soup or a saucy stew, just make sure you serve them warm, whilst the cheese is still stringy and oozing.





Makes 12 rolls.

For the rolls:
300g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
200ml water
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing

For the filling:
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato puree
12 small mozzarella balls, or pearls (around 100g, you could use a larger piece and slice it up)
2 tablespoons dried basil

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.
Add the salt, oil and water and mix until it forms a dough (adding more water, if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly oiled surface and roll into a rectangle (around 20cm x 30cm).
Spread the sun-dried tomato puree evenly over the dough and then sprinkle over the dried basil.
Roll the dough up into a large sausage shape and then cut the sausage into 12 equal pieces.
Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with olive oil and then place the dough pieces into each of the holes.
Push a mozzarella ball into the centre of each of the rolls and then cover the entire tray with a tea towel.
Leave the rolls to rise for around half an hour, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees c.
When the rolls have risen, bake them for around 15 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown and the cheese is molten.
Leave the rolls to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, before carefully removing and serving.

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