Bread and Better

Bread and Better

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.