Bread and Better

Bread and Better

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Rye Baguettes

It’s all about the steam when baking baguettes, that’s why I have advised you add a tray full of water to your oven as it pre-heats, to make sure you get that professional crusty finish. If you have a bit of time I would suggest leaving this dough to chill in the fridge for a couple of days, as this will give you a much more intense flavour (just make sure it comes back to room temperature before you shape it).  

























Makes 8 demi baguettes

250g strong white flour
200g rye flour
7g dried yeast/14g fresh yeast
1 teaspoon salt
250ml water, plus a little more for creating steam
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil, plus a little more for greasing


Place the flours into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add in 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 the dough feels a little smoother.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with some cling film (this is the time to put it into the fridge if you are going to do so) and leave to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, tip it out onto a lightly oiled surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a long sausage shape.
Place the dough sausages onto a couple of lined baking trays, leaving a good gap between each one.
Cover the baking trays with a tea towel and leave the baguettes to rise for around 30 minutes, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Fill a high-sided baking tray with some water and place it onto the floor of the oven (this will create steam, which will make the baguettes nice and crusty).
When the baguettes have risen, make a slash in the surface of each one using a sharp knife.
Bake the baguettes in the oven, for about 20 minutes, or until they have turned a very deep golden brown colour.
Leave the baguettes to cool slightly on a wire rack before tucking in. 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Cheddar and Chive Focaccia




















Makes 1 medium focaccia. 

For the focaccia:
400g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Handful of chives, chopped finely 
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing
300ml water

For the topping:
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Handful of chives, chopped finely
50g cheddar cheese, sliced into small chunks.

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, chives, oil and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and more elastic.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a tea towel, and leave to rise for at least an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Grease a medium rectangle baking tray (around 20cm x30 cm) with a little olive oil.
When the dough has risen, decant it into the baking tray, pushing it down with your hands as you go, so that it fills the whole tin.
Cover the dough again with a tea towel, and leave to rise for around 30 minutes, or until it has noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the dough has risen, press down into the surface with your knuckles, to make little indents.
Sprinkle over the cheese, remaining chives and sea salt.
Drizzle over the olive oil and then bake the focaccia for about 20 minutes, or until it's crust has turned a deep golden brown.
Leave the loaf to cool in the tin slightly, before removing and serving.
This loaf is best eaten on the day that it has been made.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Marmalade Madeleines




















Makes 18

For the Madeleines:
60ml milk
3 tablespoons marmalade
2 large eggs
100g plain flour
80g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of one orange
100g butter, plus a little more for greasing
Icing sugar, for dusting

For the Filling:
2 tablespoons marmalade























Melt the butter, then leave it to one side to cool slightly.
Place the eggs and the sugar into the bowl of a large free-standing mixer (or you could use a hand-held electric whisk) and whisk for around 5 minutes, or until they are pale and fluffy.
Mix together the milk and marmalade with the slightly cooled butter.
Pour the buttery marmalade into the eggs and sugar, and whisk again until everything is well combined.
Take the bowl off the mixer, and carefully fold in the flour, baking powder and orange zest.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place into the fridge to chill, for about an hour.
Place the remaining marmalade into a disposable piping bag, and cut a medium sized hole into the end.
Grease a couple of Madeleine tins with a little butter.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the batter has chilled, take it out of the fridge and place a heaped tablespoon into each shell in your Madeleine tins (you don’t want to fill them all the way to the top).
Place the cut end of the piping bag into the middle of each batter shell and pipe for a couple of seconds, or until a pool of marmalade appears on the surface.
Place the Madeleines into the oven and bake for 5 minutes, before turning the temperature down to 160 and baking for a further 5 minutes, or until the madeleines have turned a light golden brown, and have a slight peak on top.
Leave the Madeleines to cool slightly in the tins, before dusting with icing sugar and serving.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Honey, Lemon and Thyme Focaccia



























For the dough:
400g strong white flour
7g dried yeast/14g fresh yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of one lemon
2 Teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing
300ml water

For the topping:
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, oil, lemon zest, honey, dried thyme and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, until the dough feels soft, but not sticky.
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.
Grease a rectangle baking tray (around 20cm x30cm) with a little oil.
When the dough has risen, place it into the baking tray, pushing it out so that it fills the entire tin.
Cover the baking tray with a tea towel, and leave the dough to rise again, for about half an hour, or until it has noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the dough has risen, make a few indents in the surface with your knuckles and sprinkle over the thyme and sea salt.
Drizzle over the honey and the oil and then bake the focaccia for 20 minutes, or until the crust has turned a rich golden brown. 
Leave the loaf to cool slightly in the tin, before cutting into chunks and serving. 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Peanut Butter Caramel Brownies



Makes 15 medium brownies.

For the brownies:
30g self raising flour
40g cocoa powder
220g sugar
3 large eggs
100g dark chocolate
150g unsalted butter

For the peanut butter caramel:
1 397g tin condensed milk
300g crunchy peanut butter

















Make the peanut butter caramel by mixing together the condensed milk and peanut butter until they are well combined. Place to one side for later.
Line a medium rectangle baking tin (around 20cm x 30cm) with some grease proof paper.
Pre-heat the oven to 165 degrees c.
Melt the butter and chocolate together, in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. Leave to one side to cool slightly.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, cocoa and sugar.
Beat the eggs into the cocoa mixture and then fold through the slightly cooled chocolate and butter.
Decant the brownie batter into the prepared tin, spreading it out as you go so that it fills the entire space.
Blob large spoonfuls of the peanut butter caramel on top of the brownie mixture, making sure to leave a slight gap between each one, so that you can still see some of the glossy chocolate batter underneath.
Swirl the caramel and brownie together slightly, using the tip of a knife.
Bake the brownie for about 20 minutes, or until the outside has firmed up but the middle is still a little wobbly.
Leave the brownie to cool in the tin completely before slicing and serving.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Cheese and Chive Rolls

























Makes 10 small rolls.

For the rolls:

350g strong white flour
7g dried yeast/14g fresh yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing
75g cheddar cheese, grated
Large handful of chives, finely chopped
275ml water

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the chives and cheese into the flour (keeping back a little of each, for sprinkling on the top later) and give everything a good stir.
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 out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for a couple of minutes, or until it feels smoother and more 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, divide it into 10 equal pieces and then roll each piece into a ball.
Place the balls onto a lined baking tray (making sure to leave a small gap between each one), cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until the balls have really puffed up and are pretty much touching.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the rolls have risen, sprinkle over the remaining cheese and chives.
Bake the rolls in the oven, for about 15 minutes, or until the crust has turned a light golden brown and the cheese is melted and burnished.
Leave the rolls to cool on the baking tray for a couple of minutes before tucking in.


Little tip: Different flours will absorb different amounts of liquid, so I would add ¾ of the suggested liquid to the mixture at first and then if the dough feels a little dry, you can always add some more.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Spelt, Garlic and Oregano Rolls
























Makes 8 rolls.

For the rolls:
350g white spelt flour, plus a little more for dusting
7g dried yeast/14g fresh yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dried oregano
250ml water
Olive/rapeseed oil, for greasing

For the garlic butter:
100g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped


Make the garlic butter by mixing together the butter, garlic cloves and chilli flakes.
Take 1/3 of the garlic butter mixture, wrap it up well in some clingfilm and place it into the freezer, to firm up.
Melt the rest of the garlic butter, either in the microwave or in a pan over a low heat, and then leave to one side to cool slightly.
Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, oregano, melted butter and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, until it feels soft but not sticky.
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.
Grease a 20cm round cake tin with a little oil.
When the dough has risen, divide it into 8 equal (ish) pieces and then roll each piece into a ball.
Place the dough balls into the greased cake tin.
Cover the tin with a tea towel and leave the balls to rise, for around 40 minutes, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Take the remaining garlic butter out of the freezer, slice into small chunks and then leave to one side.
When the rolls have risen, place them in the oven for 10 minutes.
When the 10 minutes are up, take the rolls out of the oven and scatter over the remaining garlic butter.
Place the rolls back in the oven, for a further 10 minutes, or until they have turned a nice golden brown colour and the garlic butter has completely melted.
Leave the rolls to cool for a couple of minutes in the tin, before serving.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Hot Cross Bun Loaf

What's better than a hot cross bun? A hot cross bun loaf of course! Serve this soft, spicy bread toasted, with lots and lots of butter.





















Makes 1 large loaf.

For the loaf:
700g strong white flour, plus a little more for dusting
14g dried yeast
200g sultanas
100g raisins
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
100g butter, plus a little more for greasing
2 tablespoons mixed spice
500ml milk

For the glaze:
2 tablespoons marmalade
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the cross:
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons water

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. 
Rub the yeast into the flour and butter mixture.
Add the dried fruits to the flour along with the lemon zest, mixed spice, salt and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes, until it feels soft but not sticky. 

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise for around an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.
Grease a 2lb loaf with a little softened butter.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into an oblong, just a little smaller than your loaf tin.
Place the oblong into the prepared tin, cover it with a tea towel and leave to rise again for around an hour, or until it has puffed up and is now peaking out over the rim of the tin.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Make the paste for the cross by mixing together the plain flour and water. You want it to have a soft consistency (as you need to pipe it), but not be too runny, as it won’t hold its shape.
Place the paste into a disposable piping bag and cut a small hole in the end.
When the loaf has risen, pipe a cross shape over the surface using the paste.
Bake the loaf for around 40 minutes, or until the crust has turned a very deep golden brown.
Make the glaze by mixing together the marmalade and boiling water, until all the marmalade has dissolved.
When the loaf has come out of the oven, brush over the glaze and then leave to cool completely in the tin, before slicing and serving.
This loaf will keep for a few days, wrapped up well and stored in a cool, dark place (not the fridge).

Friday, 24 March 2017

Honey, Goats' Cheese and Rosemary Focaccia




















Makes 1 medium loaf.

For the loaf:
600g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing
450ml water

For the topping:
75g goats' cheese, cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons runny honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh rosemary

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, oil, honey and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels smooth and more 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.
Grease a rectangle baking tin (around 20cm x 30cm) with a little olive oil.
When the dough has risen, place it into the greased baking tin, stretching it out so that it fills the rectangle.
Cover the baking tin with a tea towel and leave the dough to rise again, for around an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the dough has risen, press your knuckles into the surface to create that classic focaccia texture.
Lightly press the sprigs of rosemary and chunks of goats' cheese into the loaf.
Drizzle over the honey and then the olive oil.
Sprinkle over the sea salt and then bake the loaf for around 20 minutes, or until the crust has turned a deep golden brown.
Leave the focaccia to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Basil, Chilli and Lemon Loaf

Makes 1 medium loaf.

For the loaf:
500g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
400ml milk
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing

For the decoration (optional):
Fresh basil leaves
Olive Oil





















Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, oil, dried basil, chilli, lemon zest and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (you may need to add more milk if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels soft but not sticky.
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 loaf has risen, shape it into a ball and place it onto a lined baking tray.
Cover the baking tray with a tea towel and leave to rise again, for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaf has risen, take a few fresh basil leaves and press them into the dough, for a little decoration. 
Brush some oil over the basil, to help it stick, and then bake the loaf for around 25 minutes, or until the crust has turned a nice golden brown and the bottom makes a hollow sound when tapped.
Leave the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack, before tucking in.


Little tip: Different flours will absorb different amounts of liquid, so I would add ¾ of the suggested liquid to the mixture at first and then if the dough feels a little dry, you can always add some more.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Orange and Marmalade Hot Cross Buns

These citrusy treats are an improved version of my hot cross buns with a sticky marmalade glaze from last year. The glaze in this recipe has quite a sharp flavour, so if you like your buns a touch sweeter, only put a little on.





















Makes 8 large hot cross buns.

For the Buns:
450g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
80g unsalted butter
200ml milk
1 teaspoon salt
200g mixed dried fruit (I used raisins and sultanas)
Orange juice (about 200ml)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one orange
Boiling water

For the cross:
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 tablespoons water

For the glaze:
2 tablespoons marmalade

Left over orange juice from soaking the fruit.

Place the fruit into a large bowl and pour enough orange juice over to just cover the fruit.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and then leave the fruits to soak for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.

When the fruit has been soaking for enough time, place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. 
Rub the yeast into the flour and butter mixture.
Drain the fruit, but make sure you keep any left over orange juice, for the glaze.
Add the fruit to the flour along with the lemon zest, orange zest, mixed spice, salt and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes, until it feels soft but not sticky. 
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise for around an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a large sausage shape.
Cut the doughy sausage into 8 equal pieces.
Roll each of the pieces into a ball and then place onto a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper (making sure to leave a good gap between each one).
Cover the baking tray with a tea towel and leave the buns to rise for about an hour, or until they have noticeably puffed up.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Start making the glaze by placing the left over orange juice and marmalade into a pan over a high heat.
Stir the mixture regularly, until it the marmalade has dissolved and it starts to bubble.
When the orange mixture starts to bubble, turn it down to a very low heat and leave it to reduce down until you are ready to use it.
Make the paste for the cross by mixing together the plain flour and water. You want it to have a soft consistency (as you need to pipe it), but not be too runny, as it won’t hold its shape.
Place the paste into a disposable piping bag and cut a small hole in the end.
When the buns have risen, pipe a cross onto each one using the paste.
Bake the hot cross buns for around 20 minutes, or until their crusts have turned a very dark golden brown.
When the buns have come out of the oven, brush over the orange glaze and then leave to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.


These hot cross buns will last for a couple of days, wrapped up well and stored in a cool dark place (not the fridge).

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Rosemary and Milk Loaf

The pungent rosemary and creamy milk in this recipe combine together to make a lovely soft, perfumed loaf. Enjoy toasted with jam, or use as the base for a cheese and chutney sandwich.

























Makes one medium loaf.

For the loaf:
450g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, plus a little more for greasing
350ml milk
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

Optional decoration:
Fresh rosemary

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, oil, chopped rosemary and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (you may need to add more milk if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels soft but not sticky.
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 loaf has risen, shape it into a ball and place it onto a lined baking tray.
Cover the baking tray with a tea towel and leave to rise again, for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaf has risen, take a few sprigs of rosemary and press them into the dough, for a little decoration.
Brush some oil over the rosemary, to help it stick, and then bake the loaf for around 25 minutes, or until the crust has turned a nice golden brown and the bottom makes a hollow sound when tapped.
Leave the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack, before tucking in.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Lady Grey Hot Cross Buns

I love the zesty freshness of Lady Grey tea and I think it's a flavour combination that works especially well in hot cross buns. I was going to infuse my milk with the tea, which is the usual way of getting lots of flavour into bakes like this, but my Mum suggested soaking the fruits, as you would for a Christmas cake, and after trying it I think it worked really well. The fruits not only carry the flavour, but really plump up, injecting a lovely moisture and softness into the buns.
Because the fruit is quite wet, I would suggest adding half of the milk first, then give everything a mix, and if it feels a little dry still you can always add some more.




















Makes 8 large hot cross buns.

For the Buns:
450g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
70g unsalted butter
200ml milk
1 teaspoon salt
200g mixed dried fruit (I used raisins and sultanas)
20 Lady Grey tea bags
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
Zest of one lemon
Boiling water

For the cross:
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 tablespoons water

For the glaze:
2 tablespoons marmalade
Left over tea from soaking the fruit.




















Place the tea bags into a large heat proof bowl.
Place the dried fruit on top on the tea bags and the pour over enough boiling water to cover everything.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and then leave the fruits to soak for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.

When the fruit has been soaking for enough time, place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Rub the yeast into the flour and butter mixture.
Drain the fruit, discarding the tea bags but keeping any tea that's left behind.
Add the fruit to the flour along with the lemon zest, mixed spice, salt and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes, until it feels soft but not sticky.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise for around an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a large sausage shape.
Cut the doughy sausage into 8 equal pieces.
Roll each of the pieces into a ball and then place onto a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper (making sure to leave a good gap between each one).
Cover the baking tray with a tea towel and leave the buns to rise for about an hour, or until they have noticeably puffed up.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Start making the glaze by placing the left over tea and marmalade into a pan over a high heat.
Stir the mixture regularly, until it the marmalade has dissolved and it starts to bubble.
When the tea starts to bubble, turn it down to a very low heat and leave it to reduce down until you are ready to use it.
Make the paste for the cross by mixing together the plain flour and water. You want it to have a soft consistency (as you need to pipe it), but not be too runny, as it won’t hold its shape.
Place the paste into a disposable piping bag and cut a small hole in the end.
When the buns have risen, pipe a cross onto each one using the paste.
Bake the hot cross buns for around 20 minutes, or until their crusts have turned a very dark golden brown.
When the buns have come out of the oven, brush over the tea glaze and then leave to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
These hot cross buns will last for a couple of days, wrapped up well and stored in a cool dark place (not the fridge).

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Tasty Toppings For Soreen 'Toast Me's'

Soreen have launched a new range of 'Toast Me's', a version of their famous malt loaf that's made for toasting. I love the squidgy-fudgyness of malt loaf, and I LOVE toast, so these are an absolute dream for me. I usually enjoy my malt loaf with a generous spreading of peanut butter (what else?), but here I have come up with three tasty and slightly more adventurous toppings. For more information about the 'Toast Me's' head to www.soreen.com.

Spiced Lemon Butter


Serves one.
For the butter:
3 teaspoons softened unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
Zest of half a lemon

Place the softened butter into a small bowl.
Add the mixed spice and lemon zest and stir until everything is well combined.
Take one 'Toast Me', slice in half, and toast under the grill, or in the toaster.
Spread the butter onto each half and tuck in!



Banana, Peanut Butter and Natural Yoghurt



















Serves one
For the topping:
2 teaspoons peanut butter
1 banana, cut into slices
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon runny honey
Chocolate to grate on top- optional

Mix together the honey and the yoghurt.
Take one 'Toast Me', slice in half, and toast under the grill, or in the toaster.
Spread a teaspoon of peanut butter onto each half on the 'Toast Me's'.
Add the banana slices.
Spoon over the yoghurt and honey.
Grate over the chocolate (if using) and enjoy!



Spiced Cream Cheese and Honey


Serves one.
For the topping:
4 tablespoons cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon hot chilli powder
1 tablespoon runny honey

Mix together the cream cheese and chilli powder, making sure that the chilli is evenly distributed.
Take one 'Toast Me', slice in half, and toast under the grill, or in the toaster.
Spoon the cream cheese over the 'Toast Me' halves.
Drizzle over the honey and serve.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Rye and Treacle Loaf





Makes one medium loaf.

For the loaf:
250g strong white flour
250g wholemeal rye flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons treacle
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, plus a little more for greasing
350ml water



Place the flours into a large bowl and mix until they are well combined.
Rub the yeast into the flours with your fingertips.
Add the salt, treacle, 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 floured surface and knead it for a couple of minutes, until it feels slightly smoother and softer.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise for about an hour and half, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, shape it into a large ball and place it onto a lined baking tray.
Cover the ball with a tea towel and leave to rise again, for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaf has risen, make a couple of slashes in the crust with a sharp knife (you can do whatever pattern you like).
Bake the bread for around 40 minutes, or until the crust has turned a really dark brown and the base makes a hollow sound when tapped.
Leave the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack before tucking in.
This loaf will keep for up to a week, wrapped up well and stored in a cool dark place (not the fridge).


Little tip: Different flours will absorb different amounts of liquid, so I would add ¾ of the suggested liquid to the mixture at first and then if the dough feels a little dry, you can always add some more.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Meals To Have With Bread: Chilli, Veggie and Meat Versions


I always love having a loaf with my dinner. Whether it be mopping up some runny pasta sauce with a slice of warm garlic bread, or dunking a cheese sandwich into a bowl of tomato soup, bread always plays a big part in my dining experience. In an increasingly carb/gluten phobic world, I think that its important to remember that bread was a big part of our ancestors' diet, being the main component of a meal for many people, and it is only in recent years that it seems to have got such a bad name for itself.  Delicious bread should be celebrated by taking centre stage on our dining room tables. In this series I thought I would share some of my go-to week night recipes, and a suggestion of loaves that I would pair with them.
This chilli can be made meat free by replacing the beef mince with Quorn (I don't eat meat and this is the version that I would have). Now I know that a lot of veggies would prefer that a little more imagination went into preparing their meal, rather that just using a meat replacement, but the thought of adding lentils/other pulses to this bean heavy dish just seemed a bit too much. This recipe is about quick and convenient food, and Quorn works as a great sponge, soaking up all the delicious flavours around it.



Serves 2-3.

1 400g tin kidney beans
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
1 teaspoon mustard
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
200g beef mince/150g Quorn mince


Place the oil into a large saucepan on a medium heat.
Wait a minute or so, for it to heat up, and then add in the chopped onion.
Cook the onion for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften.
Add the chilli powder, mustard and smoked paprika and continue to cook the mixture for a couple of minutes, stirring every so often.
When the onions have softened and turned slightly opaque, turn the heat up to high and then add in the beef/Quorn mince.
Cook the mince (stirring regularly) until it has evenly browned.
When the mince has browned, turn the heat down and add in the tin of chopped tomatoes. Once the tin is empty, fill it up with cold water, and then pour this into the pan too. Add the salt and give everything a good stir.
Drain the beans into a colander, give them a good rinse with some cold water, and then add them to the pan, giving everything a good stir.
Cook the mixture for a couple of minutes, or until it starts to bubble.
When the mixture starts to bubble, turn it down to a low heat, and then cover the pan with a lid.
Leave the mixture simmering for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to make sure nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pan.


Breads that would go really well with this dish:

Really easy garlic flatbreads, click here for the recipe.


Sweet Potato Focaccia, click here for the recipe.


Spelt, onion and herb focaccia, click here for the recipe. 


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Chocolate Brownie Pots



Makes 6 pots.


For the pots:
30g plain flour
40g coco powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
200g sugar
150g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate


Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees c.
Melt the butter and dark chocolate together, either in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. When melted, leave to one side to cool slightly.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, coco powder, sugar and eggs until the mixture turns into a thick and glossy batter.
Stir the slightly cooled chocolate and butter into the batter, mixing well until everything is combined.
Once combined, spoon the brownie batter into 6 ramekins (filling them about 3/4 of the way up).
Place the ramekins onto a baking tray and then bake them in the oven, for about 15 minutes, or until the edges have started to firm up, but the middle is still a little wobbly.
Leave the brownie pots to cool for a couple of minutes before serving (preferably with a big dollop of ice cream).
These delicious puddings will keep well for a few days, wrapped up in tin foil and stored in the fridge (simply reheat in the oven for 5 minutes before serving).

Friday, 10 February 2017

Oat, Granola and Date Cookies

Perfect for a bit of weekend baking, these cookies are soft, crunchy and deliciously melt in the mouth. Feel free to add 50g of chocolate chips to the dough, if you need something a little naughtier.




Makes 12 cookies.


For the cookies:
140g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g oats
50g chopped dates
50g granola

Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a freestanding mixer and beat using the paddle attachment,  for a couple of minutes, or until the mixture has turned light and fluffy (you could use a hand-held electric whisk instead).
Add the egg and vanilla and beat again, until everything is well combined.
Add the flour, baking powder, oats, granola and dates and beat until the mixture comes together (you might need to add a little milk if the cookie dough feels a bit stiff).
Tip the cookie dough out onto a large sheet of clingfilm, and then wrap it up so that it looks like a large fat sausage.
Place the cookie dough sausage in to the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until it has firmed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees c.
When the dough has firmed up, cut it into 12 discs and place the discs onto a couple of lined baking trays (making sure you leave a decent gap between each one, as they will spread a little).
Bake the cookies for around 20 minutes, or until they have firmed up around the edges, but are still soft in the middle.
Leave the cookies to cool completely on the baking trays, before digging in.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Really Easy Garlic Flatbreads

These flat breads are absolutely perfect for novice bread bakers because they require no kneading, rising and very little shaping. I suggest that you make double the quality of garlic butter, so that you have a stash in the freezer for when you get the urge to bake again.





Makes 4 small flatbreads.

For the flatbreads:
300g self raising flour
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing
1 teaspoon salt
170ml water

For the garlic butter:
75g unsalted butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme


Make the garlic butter by mixing together the softened butter, garlic, thyme, basil and chilli until everything is well combined.
Spoon the butter onto a large sheet of clingfilm and roll it up into a fat sausage shape.
Place the sausage into the freezer for around 20 minutes, or until it has firmed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Place the flour, oil, salt and water into a large bowl and combine until the mixture forms a dough (you may need to add a little more water if your mixture feels a bit dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 30 seconds, or until it feels a little softer.
Split the dough into 4 pieces and, using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a circle (around 15cm in diameter).
Place the circles onto a couple of lined baking trays.
Cut up the hardened butter into thin slices, and place a few slices onto each flatbread.
Bake the breads for around 15 minutes, or until the butter has melted and the dough has turned a light golden colour.
Serve the garlic flatbreads straight away, whilst they are still warm from the oven.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Rye Bagels

These bagels taste great toasted and slathered in peanut butter for a delicious breakfast, or used as an alternative to sliced white bread in your lunchtime sandwich. I have added rye flour because I feel it gives this bake lovely a nutty flavour and slightly dense texture that works perfectly with the chewy, savouriness of this traditional bread.



Makes 6 bagels.

For the bagels:
200g strong white flour
100g rye flour
7g dried yeast
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, plus a little more for greasing
1 teaspoon salt
200ml water

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).
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead it for around 5 minutes, or until it feels smooth and a little more 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, divide it into 6 equal pieces and then roll each piece into a ball.
Make a hole in the centre of each ball with your finger, and then stretch out the hole, until the ball resembles a bagel shape (repeat until all bagels are done).
Place the bagels on a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around 30 minutes, or until the bagels have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Fill a large pan with water, and place it over medium heat, until the water starts to bubble.
When the water has begun to bubble, turn it down to a very low heat.
When the bagels have risen, place them into the water (you may have to do this in batches) for 1 minute, and then flip them over for a further minute, so they have poached on each side.
Remove the bagels from the water and place back onto the baking tray.
Bake the bagels for around 20 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown.
Place the bagels onto a wire rack, to cool completely, before serving.
These bagels will keep well for a couple of days, wrapped up and stored in a cool dark place (not the fridge).

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Cheesy Garlic Bread


I had some friends over for tea at the weekend and I made this loaf to go with the spicy tomato pasta I was cooking (we are not afraid of a carb fest). To say it went down well would be an understatement, everyone had second and third helpings, and one guest even took a slice home for her sister! Making your own garlic bread is a great way of turning something shop bought into something special, or using up an old, stale loaf that would normally go to waste. You could double up the quantities of garlic butter from this recipe, and keep half in the freezer until you need it again.






Makes 1 medium loaf.

For the garlic bread:
1 400-500g unsliced white bloomer
150g unsalted butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
pinch of salt
100g cheddar cheese, grated

Make the garlic butter by mixing together the softened butter, garlic, dried herbs, chilli and salt.
Place the butter onto a large piece of clingfilm and roll it up, so that you get a short, fat sausage.
Place the butter into the freezer, for around 20 minutes, or until it has firmed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Make around 10 slits in the loaf, with a sharp knife, making sure you only cut about 3/4 of the way through the bread.
Remove the chilled butter from its clingfilm shell and slice it into 10 chunky pieces.
Place a piece of the butter between each of the slits.
Scatter over the grated cheese and then bake the loaf for around 10 minutes, or until the butter has melted and the cheese is molten and burnished.
Leave the finished loaf on the baking tray to cool, for a couple of minutes, before tucking in.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Soft White Baps


After the success of my 'Chip Butty/Perfect Toast Bread', I wanted to experiment a little more with soft white dough. I've called these 'baps', but they might be more familiar to you as 'barms', or just simply 'soft white rolls'. Whatever you call them, they make a great base for a cheese and pickle sandwich, or served slathered in jam alongside a hot cup of builder's tea.




Makes 6 medium baps.

For the baps:
250g strong white flour, plus a little more for dusting
7g dried yeast (or 14g fresh yeast)
60g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus a little more for brushing on the finished baps
1 teaspoon salt
200ml semi-skimmed milk


Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Rub the yeast into the bread crumb mixture and then add in 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.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise for about an hour and a half,  until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, divide it into 6 equal (ish) pieces and the roll each piece into a ball.
Place the balls onto a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around 30 minutes, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the baps have risen, bake them for around 10 minutes, or until they have turned a light golden brown.
As soon as the baps have come out of the oven, place them onto a wire rack and brush them all over with a little softened butter, this will help to keep them soft.
Cover the buttered rolls with a tea towel and leave them to cool completely before tucking in.
These baps taste best eaten on the day they are made.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Onion Bread

A couple of weeks ago I had a really tasty onion loaf from a little bakery in Liverpool, called Artisane. The bread had a deep, satisfyingly savoury flavour and after devouring a large (obviously) slice, I knew I had to attempt to make my own version as soon as I got home.  Judging by the hole-y crumb and delicious, intense flavour, the loaf I bought was probably naturally leavened, and made over a couple of days. I love those types of loaves, but they are often too hard and time consuming to re-create at home This recipe, however, is so quick and easy, and it still manages to deliver a rich, aromatic flavour and light texture.





Makes 1 medium loaf.

For the loaf:
500g strong white flour
7g dried yeast (or 14g fresh yeast)
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing
1 teaspoon salt
400ml water
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes



Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan, on a high heat, until it starts to sizzle and then add the onions, dried basil and chilli flakes.
Turn the heat down to low and cook the mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn soft and opaque.
When the onions are cooked, place them into a bowl and leave to one side to cool down.
Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, remaining oil, cooled onions and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels a little smoother and more elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, or until the mixture has doubled in size.
When the mixture has risen, place it onto a lightly oiled surface and shape it into a sort of oval shape.
Place the loaf onto a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around 40 minutes, or until the dough has really puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaf has risen, make a slash in the top with a sharp knife (for decoration) and then bake for around 25 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the base makes a hollow sound when tapped.
Leave the bread to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
This loaf will keep well for 3 days, wrapped up and stored in a cool, dark place (like a bread bin or cupboard, not the fridge!).