what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Archive for the tag “honey”

sometimes less is more

Sometimes I think I think too much about baking. However, I do think that bakers should think a bit about what goes into their bakes and what it contributes to the diet (in the old-fashioned regime sense of the word rather than the current emphasis on weight loss) of the person or people eating it. Sweet stuff is of course a treat and should not be a staple part of any regime, although sometimes I argue that cake is one of the major food groups along with protein, fruit and veg, carbs and fats but it really should only be the thin slice on that food plate the health people would have us use.

Readers of previous ramblings will know that I often cook with older cookbooks that have a bit of a wholefood spin to them. And on balance, that’s pretty much where I like my cakes and breads and stuff to be, full of interesting tastes and textures and hopefully not doing too much damage to anyone. Now I know I’m swimming against the tide here most days because yet again popular new books are all about the ‘look’ and not about the contents and what that contributes to the diet. I will admit to making too many rather worthy chewy efforts in the past, and I try to look for the more inspiring ones these days. However, you probably won’t find cup cakes here unless they have something special about them not just a fancy topping.

So this week I have baked the caramel layer cake from Great British Bake Off’s latest book. I halved the quantities because it is a mighty thing.  You can find the whole recipe on the web here (but please come back if you go there!) and we did manage to eat half of it before I caught it for a photo.

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So, that’s all well and good but it is a lot of butter and sugar all in one place and while it does taste lovely it is a lot of ’empty calories’ that I’d rather not eat myself. I thought about having something a bit more nutritious about the house too. A recent census of the kitchen cupboards revealed a pack of dried figs I’d forgotten about so I cast about for a recipe to use them up and found a Dan Lepard cake, cinnamon honey fruit cake which luckily for everyone is available online for free as well as in his book “Short and Sweet“. What a difference in the ingredients – raisins, apricots from Daily Bread, figs, not much butter, honey, brown sugar and treacle! Dan suggests a tray bake so I did that baked it for about 45 mins and it made 16 lovely solid slices of goodness.  That’s a lot for me to eat if the others here don’t like it but I’ve also put some in the freezer for another day.

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What ever your favourite is, remember cake is a treat not a staple food group.

Writing this while ‘enjoying’ Terry Leahy on Desert Island Discs, sadly his taste in music so so apt for Tesco, middle of the road and cheap! Must remember to put a link up when it’s available! Listen again.

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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:

multigrain and honey loaf

For a first time effort, that didn’t go too badly, however, inside at the bottom was slightly undercooked. I used a silicone loaf ‘tin’ and I don’t think that they transmit the heat as well as metal ones, so next time I’ll try it in a metal tin and see if there’s a difference. Another option might be to take it out of the tin for the last 5 or 10 minutes.

But it makes fab toast!

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