what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

coffee and ricotta marbled cake

Seems to be a week for cake this week, good job I’ve run 27 miles including a race, biked 37 miles and been swimming and walked loads.

Knocked this one up yesterday as the chocolate cake had all gone. Note to Dan’s recipe book publishers – more pictures please!

A Dan Lepard recipe from Short and Sweet.

Contains: coffee beans, butter, caster sugar, plain flour, ricotta, eggs, baking powder and marsala wine (I didn’t have that so used some madeira instead). Topped off with coffee water icing.

Things I’d do differently next time – finer ground coffee and may buy some marsala, and a bit less topping!

Waiting for the next lot of Mellow Baker’s recipes to come online and doing lots of other things. Still making bread for daily use but that’s a bit boring!

chocolate cake – schokogugelhopf

Very quickly as I’ve a 6 mile race to run this evening……

Easy peasy lovely Hairy Biker’s recipe from the Bakeation Austrian episode.

Deviations – not enough soft butter so I used 50g marg + 100g butter, medium eggs, not large ones which made it a little stiff, I suppose I could have added milk, but got away with it more or less. I found a bundt tin in T K Maxx at the weekend so it isn’t in a proper gugelhopf ring, so it is a bit more rounded than the Bikers’ one.

The recipe says it serves 10, but it is enormously rich so I think this should only be served in teeny tiny bits, but good for carb loading before running!

I don’t think I let the icing thicken enough, but that’s just ‘cos I was impatient. I have another recipe with this kind of topping and it takes forever if you let the chocolate get too hot at the start, so I try to err on the side of caution and take it off the heat before all the chocolate is melted.


wholegrain rye bread

This is the third in the Mellow Baker’s selection for May 2012 from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf.

Contents: water, rye leaven, fresh yeast, soaked and cooked rye grains, salt, light rye flour.

Being a natural sceptic I only used half the ingredients that the book suggested, just to see how it went. I diverged from the recipe also by just cooking the grains and soaking them in the cooking liquid, maybe they would take on something from some ale as suggested in the book. It also took forever to rise on Sunday, which was not a warm day, so rather than the 2 and half hours suggested, it was in the kitchen for about 5 or 6 before I gave in and put it in the oven. Also, I couldn’t find a brown paper bag, so it has been in some baking parchment snuggled up in the bread bin.

Actually, it went OK, but it does still look a lot like a mesopotamian mud brick. It smells a bit like pumpernickle, which it obviously shares ingredients with, and would go well with strong tasting things as suggested like stinky french cheese.

Here’s the pictures:

honey and ginger wafers

This is the second of May’s Mellow Bakers bakes from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf. Guess what? No yeast! Not being sure that the family would think much of these I opted to do a half of the stated ingredients, although I did a whole lot for the spices as there wasn’t a lot to do. More anon.

So we have: spices – coriander seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, black peppercorns, ginger, cardamom and fennel seeds. Ground up with a mortar and pestle, on balance I think I’d just use ground coriander next time, (as an aside I have a carrot cake recipe that calls for coriander and doesn’t state what type – when given to a colleague at work to try she used live green coriander, I just use the ground powder stuff). The recipe for the wafers doesn’t say what to do with the cardamom pods so I just took out the black seeds and pounded them in.

Being a multi-tasker I left the honey and butter melting together while I did the pounding and added sorted out the dry goods and then added the cream to the honey and butter. On the subject of honey I must admit to using the cheapest I could find for this trial run, which was from Morrisons and barely tastes of honey or anything very much. I think if you could afford a decent, strong honey that tastes of flowers then this recipe would be absolutely fantastic.

Dry goods: plain white flour, light rye flour (from my stash of Shipton Mill), bicarbonate of soda and soft brown sugar (I used the light type, but I think using a darker type might also bring some extra depth to this.

Then it goes into the fridge for a bit. The recipe calls for 2 hours, I just gave it an hour at the bottom of mine in a plastic bag. Rolled out, cut with a 7.5cm cutter (the nearest to the 8cm required that I have). Placed on baking paper then glazed with beaten egg, again I diverted from the instructions here because it calls for one whole egg plus an egg yolk and as I was only doing a half I opted out of this and just did a single egg and a big pinch of salt. This made a total of 12 full size pieces plus a half sized bit of the final scraps.

Would I do this again? Definitely, even my son said they were delicious, although he was quite suspicious to start with. And my husband said that mine looked better than the ones in the book! He must be after something.

I think that it would be interesting to change the type of honey and the sugar and the flours because the results would be different every time. I also have my eye on a Hairy Bikers gingerbread recipe which I will trial for comparison at some point.

Here’s the pictures:

provencal bread – the Hairy Bikers way

After making the breadsticks with rosemary the other day I came across a Hairy Bikers recipe which I don’t think they demonstrated or filmed someone making in the recent Bakeation tv series, but which sounded nice because it include fresh rosemary, fresh thyme and some fennel seeds (of which I have lots after the cherry and fennel loaf last month). Some bread authorities aren’t that keen on adding herbs and ‘flavours’ to bread, but sometimes I like them.

So then what have we got in it?

A starter dough that includes yeast, white flour, rye flour and water – note that the recipe makes a double quantity – a lesson to me to read the recipe all the way through because I would have only made a half quanitity as this was a first go at it. However, it says the unused starter can be frozen so I have done that.  This is supposed to be left in the fridge for 24 hours, but I couldn’t wait that long and left it for about 6 hours in the kitchen.

For the bread you need to add more yeast, salt, white flour, water and chopped fresh thyme leaves, rosemary leaves and some lightly toasted fennel seeds. Nothing complicated here, kneading for 10 mins, leaving for an hour the knocking down and combining in the herbs and seeds then and leaving for another hour, flouring, slashing and baking.

It went off like a rocket in the oven and the top and sides split, but it makes an attractive enough loaf I think. I will be having this for tea with cheese I think.

And here’s the pictures.

rosemary and fresh cheese sticks

This is my first Mellow Bakers bake for May, and the fourth in the series.

Ingredients – soft white flour (I used Shipton Mill soft flour for cakes and pastry), milk, yeast, salt, butter, ricotta, big sprig of rosemary out of the garden.

First stage is to make a ferment with the milk, half of the flour and the yeast. It then rests for an hour and then you mix in the other ingredients leave for 10 mins and do the Dan Lepard knead, leave for 10 mins, three times in total. As you may be able to see from the pictures below it was very sticky at the first mix and first knead.

Tthen it said ‘Then leave the dough for 1 hour, kneading it once more during that time.’ Which I took to mean leave for 30 mins, knead, leave for 30 mins. Then you roll it out, I patted it out by hand, you slice it up thinly and roll on the worktop, then place on trays and put them straight into the oven.

I think I baked them all about 5 mins longer than the recipe said. The texture is more pastry-like than crunchy breadstick because I used soft flour. But they are very moreish, the rosemary is significant but I’m not over sure that I can taste the cheese and I’ve eaten loads!

Not sure I’d bother again, maybe for a party but a bit fiddly. Also, they remind me of a tray of bones. Back in another life I was an archaeologist and I’ve seen plenty of finds trays full of animal and human ribs or arm bones that look just like these.

And here’s the pictures:



dark banana ginger cake and breads for making pack lunches

Bank Holiday weekend has come and gone and I’ve not been tied to the kitchen baking all weekend, although I have made cake, more flakey butter buns, pizza and have a couple of loaves in the oven while I’m writing this.

So, first up is the cake. Dan Lepard’s dark banana ginger cake  from The Guardian Weekend magazine 28 April 2012 . It’s the second recipe on that page. Things have to sit around my house sometimes before I get around to baking them. However, I do habitually freeze leftover bananas when they’ve gone too far to eat and I happened to have a selection in the freezer so thought it was time to do something useful with them. This recipe couldn’t be easier, apart from getting frost bitten fingers while I was trying to peel partially defrosted bananas to make up the weight required. You need dark muscovado sugar, or caster sugar and black treacle, because that’s all dark muscovado sugar is really, squidgy ripe bananas, sunflower oil, eggs, chopped glace ginger, wholemeal bread flour and baking powder. I only had large eggs so used 3 not the 4 medium suggested in the recipe. As the mix was pretty sloppy at that point I didn’t add the fourth egg. I used my oven on fan setting and got a lovely even rise that baked in the time suggested. Result! I topped it off with some streaks of water icing made with lemon juice.  The cake is very moist and could possibly have taken a few more minutes of baking but I’m happy with that. Because the flour is wholemeal it is also quite crumbly, but that’s OK too. And as most of it’s gone, this is what it looks like now.

dark banana ginger cake

Breadandbikes asked me what breads I like to make for packed lunch sandwiches. As I prefer to have some wholemeal in my loaves at least once a week I make a 50:50 wholemeal and white loaf and I make two of them at a time. I use the wholemeal loaf recipe from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet as a base and use half as wholemeal and half as white bread flour. I only put in one lot of vitamin C as I suppose the white flour can manage on its own. I also don’t use melted butter as the recipe suggests, but put in oil, usually sunflower oil, instead. So we have: fresh yeast, brown sugar and I don’t always put in the amount suggested – it depends on how much time I have and how cold the kitchen is, vitamin C, wholemeal and white bread flour, salt and oil. Different wholemeal flours give different results as do different proportions of white to wholemeal, but I think on balance it is easiest to remember 50:50!

Having spent my annual bonus on Shipton’s mill, today I am using their organic wholewheat flour and some supermarket white.

after rising


Another favourite white loaf is Dan’s sourcream loaf which I’ve already blogged about here:

https://whatbread.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/heritage-flour-and-sour-cream-bread/ and as you can see, makes nice big loaves that rise. Lots of other bakers seem to like this as it gives a very satisfactory outcome!

And finally, and I don’t have any pictures of these as yet, is Dan’s white farmhouse tin loaf, again from Short and Sweet. This uses the sponge method so I start it in the morning and bake it when I get home from school. The recipe uses yeast, white flour, salt and butter, again I usually use oil because it is quicker. The recipe in Short and Sweet is for 350g of flour per loaf. I usually double up and make two, but I am going to try a triple up and split it into two because that doesn’t really give big enough pieces.

And finally a word on baking tins. I use 2lb loaf tins bought from Sainsbury’s which are quite heavy duty. I have tried a silicone one and find that the loaves just push the sides out, so a good stiff tin is essential. Interestingly, I have read that the Carbon Trust is trying to get commercial bakers to use lighter weight loaf tins because they use less energy to heat them up than the heavy duty ones they currently use. I wonder if the result will be the same?

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