Tag Archives: bread

Walnut Raisin Bread

Wow, this bread is seriously good! When I showed it to my friend LazyEaterSF, she was like, “It looks like real bread.” It does, doesn’t it?

I found the recipe on Bakies blog and I believe the original is from British Larder. It’s a great recipe, though  I encountered some difficulties with the amounts, probably due to conversion to cups. Maybe my Recipe Converter app is off. Anyway, this always seems to happen when trying to convert measurements. The dry to liquid ingredients wasn’t right, so I ended up adding about 1 cup more water than was specified. Also, my dough took a lot more time to proof than was stated in the original. This is probably because I don’t have instant yeast and only have active dry at home. In any case, I let the dough proof overnight and then divided it into two and let it rise another 2 or so hours until doubled in size.

I did make a few ingredient changes: used all white flour instead of half wheat, but only because I didn’t have any wheat on hand. I also replaced half the original amount of walnuts with raisins.

*All changes – converted amounts and added ingredients are reflected in the recipe below.

One thing, no, two things I love about this recipe are 1) the poolish or starter or whatever you call it was fast acting  (not overnight) and 2) I could dump all the ingredients into my Kitchen Aid, including nuts and raisin, and leave everything to mix on its own. Super easy.

Apart from measurement conversion issues, the bread is everything I hoped it would be and more! So gorgeously golden and crisp on the outside and light, soft and airy on the inside. I love the additions of the raisins. They give such a nice sweetness to the bread.

Oh, yes, I am definitely making this again.

Enjoy!

Walnut Raisin Bread (converted and adapted from a recipe found on Bakies)

Makes 2 round loaves

INGREDIENTS

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp table salt

3/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 Tbsp honey

2 1/2 cups warm water, divided

1/2 cup walnut halves

1/2 cup raisins

 

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water

3/4 cup cold water

METHOD

  1. Place yeast, 1/2 cup flour and honey in a small mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup of the warm water, mix well, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes in a warm spot or until the mixture starts to bubble. (Mine took about an hour.)
  2. In the bowl of a mixer add the remaining flour, bubbling yeast mixture, walnuts, raisins, salt and the remaining warm water together. Attach the dough hook and mix the bread dough on slow speed for 10 minutes.
  3. Grease a large mixing bowl. Once the dough is ready turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the bread dough into a smooth ball. Place the smooth bread dough into the greased mixing bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave to proof until the dough has risen to double in size. (I left it overnight.)
  4. Dust two baking sheets or pie pans with flour, set aside.
  5. Gently turn the bread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two even halves.
  6. Roll each half into an evenly shaped smooth ball, place each ball onto your already floured trays or pie pans, cover gently with plastic wrap and leave to proof for the second time until nearly double in size.
  7. In the oven, move one of the racks to the very bottom and place an empty baking sheet on top. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  8. Once the dough has risen, brush the risen bread carefully with the egg wash and use a knife to make small cuts at the top of the risen bread. (I just cut a simple “x”.)
  9. Place the baking sheets or pie pans in the preheated oven and pour 3/4 cup of cold water directly into the pan at the bottom of the oven and shut the door quickly. The water will give a burst of steam that will help the loaves to puff and form a golden crust.
  10. After about 10-12 minutes, place a sheet of foil over the bread.
  11. Continue baking the loaves for 35-40 minutes, give the bread a tap at the bottom and if it sounds hollow it means the bread is done. Place the bread onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

A Request for Bread Pudding

I got a special request for bread pudding the other day. Though I could have mixed in fun things like coconut, apple, rum or pumpkin and made an extra caramel, bourbon or hot custard sauce to serve, I decided to keep things simple. It’s interesting—whenever people ask me to make something, I think about who s/he is as a person in life and then try to translate this into the dish. In the case of this bread pudding, nostalgia was key. So as I listened to reminiscences about the version a beloved grandmother used to make, I knew that classic, warm and with raisins was the way to go.

The recipe is from Allrecipes. There are exactly eight ingredients, all of which you probably already have in your kitchen. You mix it all together, bake and what you get is soft eggy-bread in a sweet, heartwarming custard. It may be simple, but sometimes simple really is best.

Enjoy.

Bread Pudding (slightly adapted from Allrecipes)

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

6 slices day-old bread (I used half a day-old batard)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

3/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, plus extra for sprinkling

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C.
  2. Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread. If desired, sprinkle with raisins.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture. Sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar over the top.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.


Swiss Zuepfe

I’ve already posted about this incredible Swiss non-bread here. (I still think it’s bread, but in Switzerland, it’s just “Zuepfe”. Okay.) I’m just so proud…because it’s so preeeety! And seriously the only bread that works for me every single time. But here’s the recipe again, including U.S. measurements this time.

This was the perfect Thanksgiving bread.

Enjoy!

Swiss Zuepfe (recipe from TipTopf and also posted here)

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

3 cups or 500 g all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 tsp active dry

1 1/3 cups or 300 ml lukewarm milk

1 egg lightly whisked, plus 1/2 an egg yolk

METHOD

  1. Warm the milk for 20 seconds in the microwave. Stir in the yeast and let stand for 15 minutes or until slightly frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix flour, salt and sugar.
  3. Cut in the butter. Use your fingertips to work the butter and flour in together, creating a uniform mixture.
  4. Whisk together egg and egg yolk. Add half to your yeast and milk mixture; stir to combine.
  5. Make a well in the flour mixture. Pour in the liquids. Knead for 10 minutes (by hand or in your stand mixer) until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size.
  7. Once dough has risen, place it onto a clean surface and cut in half. Roll the dough back and forth with your hands until you end up with two  equal-lengthed 18-inch strands. The middle of the strands should be thicker and the ends, thinner.
  8. Braid the dough. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate and let rise for 15 minutes. (This last proof is optional.)
  9. Then with remaining egg, brush two layers of egg onto the dough.
  10. Place braid in cold oven, set oven to 425 F / 220 C and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the bread, knocking on the bottom for doneness. It should sound hollow. Allow to cool, then slice and serve!

Bread: Whole Wheat or Half?

Can you tell the difference? I should’ve taken a closer shot of the first (whole wheat), but that aside, arrggg…night time pics. What a major pain in the blog! I’m still working out how to take good photos without having to set up some sort of makeshift studio. Maybe I’ll eventually be so good that I’ll be discovered by Food Network, and who will pay me just to bake and blog. THEN maybe I’d buy myself a monster DSLR and use artificial lighting.

A girl can dream, right?

And in the meantime, I’ll get back to the point of this post: bread, whole wheat or half-wheat/half-white to be exact. In Switzerland, you can buy “halbweissbrot”, which is I think 20-60% whole wheat flour and the rest, white. And then there’s “vollkornbrot”, which is basically all whole wheat. So I tried the recipe (from 4EveryKitchen), which is for a whole wheat french bread, twice. The first time, I followed the directions EXACTLY, but then ended up with a very dense loaf. The second time, however, I replaced half the whole wheat flour with all purpose and then replaced the bread machine yeast with active dry. And the result? Muuuuuch better. Perhaps my yeast was off the first try. Question: if I use all purpose flour, is extra gluten as called for in the original recipe really necessary? I don’t know—now that I think about it, perhaps not. Oh well, it worked all the same.

Because the halbweissbrot (half-white bread) is the one that turned out, I guess that’s the adapted recipe I’m going to post. Both loaves were tasty and full of hearty whole-wheat goodness, however, the half-white was just lighter and altogether prettier to look at. Again, it was probably a yeast issue, something I’ll have to investigate the next time I make this.

Btw, the directions are for the bread machine, but you can adjust to by hand or stand mixer, of course.

Enjoy!

Halbweissbrot / Half-White Bread (adapted from a recipe found on 4EveryKitchen)

printable recipe

Makes 1 loaf

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups, plus 1 tbsp buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp gluten (optional?)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp SAF instant yeast or 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp bread machine yeast (I actually used active dry)

METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients IN ORDER into the bread machine. Select Dough setting and press start (ca. 1 hr 20 min).
  2. When the bread machine beeps at the end of the dough cycle, press STOP and unplug the machine. Open the lid and use your fingers to deflate the dough. Let the dough rise in the machine for another 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. This dough is very sticky, so when it’s ready to come out of the bread machine, just quickly tip it onto your prepared surface. Knead a few times and pat into a 12”x6” rectangle. Roll up from the long edge into a flat loaf and roll back and forth with your palms to make pointed ends. Fold the log of dough in half lengthwise and pinch seams to seal. Roll the dough back and forth again to make the loaf about 14” long. Cover gently with a damp dish towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, ca. 1 hour.
  4. Twenty minutes before baking, place a baking stone on the center rack of a cold oven and preheat to 450 F/230 C, then reduce to 400/200 C. (4EveryKitchen suggests leaving the oven on for 20 minutes before lowering the heat to 400 F/200 C.) Place an EMPTY cake pan or broiler tray out of the way of your stone.
  5. Holding kitchen shears at 45 degree angle, snip the surface 5 or 6 times down the length of the loaf, cutting no more than 1” deep.
  6. Sprinkle a little flour directly on your pizza/baking stone. Using a dough scraper or steel spatula to help you, slide the loaf onto the prepared stone. Just before shutting the door add 1 cup hot tap water to the hot empty baking pan. This will steam the oven and make a very crispy crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the surface is dark brown and sounds hollow when you tap the top.
  7. Remove and let it cool on a rack.

Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

Oh, man—what a day of distraction! And not because today just happens to be Halloween .I started the day so well, too: drove my sister to work at 7:30 AM (on a Sunday), went for a little jog around the university, showered and was ready to be productive by 9:30. But, somehow, in between writing cover letters and revising resumes, I decided my iTunes playlist needed updating and that my photos needed editing. Fast forward to 2 PM, and I was still futzing around with iTunes. Some people waste countless hours on Facebook; as for me, no longer a part of the FB Community (OMG, drama), all I am left to waste the hours away with are email and iTunes.

At least I baked. That should count for something.

Rolls again. But wait, these are actually pretty good! I did (instead of working) as I usually do when searching for a recipe: I went to Tastespotting and did a quick “bread” search. After a few minutes browsing and ogling all the gorgeous photos, I came across a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread from A Chow Life. I stuck to the recipe, except, because I didn’t want to get my hands dirty, I let my bread machine do all the kneading. The directions described below, however, use the original hand-method. Another thing I changed is that I used almonds instead of walnuts and replaced 1 tbsp of butter with olive oil. (I didn’t want to cut into a second stick of butter.) Finally, as evidenced in the pictures, I made rolls, not a loaf.

I like this. The flavor is warm and spicy from all the butter and cinnamon. The color is also amazing—hello, gorgeous cinnamon speckles. And, the wonderful aroma of sugar and spice and everything nice that takes over the kitchen during baking is seriously in itself almost reason enough to make this.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Raisin Rolls (slightly adapted from A Chow Life)

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg (or 2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/4 tsp, plus 3 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I used almonds)

5 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temp. (I used 4 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil)

1/2 cup water

1 cup raisins

METHOD

  1. Stir the yeast, warm water, and 1/4 tsp sugar together in a small bowl. Let the mixture stand in a warm location until the yeast starts foaming, 5-10 minutes.
  2. Combine the flours, remaining sugar, cinnamon, salt, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir well. Stir the yeast mixture, butter, and 1/3 cup water into the flour mixture. Then stir in the raisins or work them in by hand. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until it is smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl and turn the dough in it to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl loosely with a kitchen town and let the dough rise in a warm location until it is doubled in bulk, 45 -60 minutes.
  5. Oil a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Punch the dough down and shape it into a loaf. Press the loaf into the prepared pan and, again, cover it loosely with a kitchen towel. Let it rise in a warm place until it nearly fills the pan, 45-60 minutes. (Or, if making rolls, I cut and rolled the dough into 13 pieces, placed them on a floured baking sheet, covered and let proof also for about 1 hour.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread until the top is browned and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped with your finger, 35-40 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack. (In my case, before baking, I brushed the roll tops with water. Then, I baked for about 28 minutes.)

Look at those speckles! So pretty!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Rolls

Just a quick post for these rolls I made for the students yesterday 😛 The recipe is from CookingBread.com. I like it: the bread, which I made into individual rolls, is tender, tears nicely and has a pleasantly warm flavoring due to the addition of milk, butter and olive oil to the dough. (They also keep longer this way, I think.) I took the liberty of adding a few diced prunes to the mix to cut through and compliment the richness of the dough. I made 16 average-sized rolls, but you can make more or less by changing the size.

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Rolls (adapted from CookingBread.com)

INGREDIENTS

1 3/4 cup lukewarm milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup runny honey

1 large egg, beaten

4 tsp instant yeast

4 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup prunes, diced (optional)

METHOD

  1. Heat milk to lukewarm. Pour into a bowl add melted butter, olive oil, honey and beaten egg; mix all together until well blended. If using a bread machine, pour in now.
  2. In another bowl, combine flour, salt and yeast; mix together and knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let proof for about 1 1/2 hours or till doubled in bulk. If using bread machine, add in dry ingredients and run dough cycle.
  3. Once proofed, pour out dough onto a flat surface and knead for a minute or two. If adding diced prunes, knead them in now.
  4. Cut dough in half and shape into loaves. Place into two greased 4.5×8.5 loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size. Or, you can do what I did, which is to form the dough into small rolls and place them side by side on a lightly floured baking sheet.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes if baking loaves or 25-28 minutes if baking rolls, or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. (I baked my rolls at 360 F for 26 minutes because my parents’ oven tends to under-heat.)

Trail Mix Bread

I’m housesitting for my parents right now. Part of my official housesitter duties includes taking care of the three exchange students my parents have living with them. It could have been a lot of work, but luckily, these kids (almost adults) are superstar students who need very little care from me. All I do is prepare two meals a day, breakfast and dinner. I actually kind of like doing it. I get up every morning to make breakfast, chat with them about school and their plans, and then during the day, I do my own thing. In the evening, I prepare whatever I feel like making, and so far, they’ve seemed pretty satisfied!

Today, I felt like baking bread. Outside is gray and quiet, which is not very motivating for getting things done. Baking—and baking for others—I’ve found is the best way to spend still days like these. The kids will appreciate it too, i.e. breakfast rolls!

I threw together this whole wheat bread with a delightful little mix of raisins, almonds, white chocolate chips and coconut flakes. Perfect for breakfast, and now that I think of it, ideal for taking along on a hike. It’s trail mix in bread form!  The recipe is one I found a while back on zestycook.com and is already a favorite because of the short ingredients list and simple method. I didn’t feel like futzing around with scales or complicated dough starters, so this recipe is exactly what I needed. The original used 2/3 cup each of raisins and walnuts; I skipped the walnuts and added white chocolate chips, coconut flakes and almonds in their place; I was also a little more generous in the amounts of each. (Why? Because those little “bits” you find in your morning bread are the best part!!)

Once you mix everything together and finish proofing (which I did in the bread machine), you can form the dough into the traditional loaf or you can do as I did and use your muffin tin. I was nervous about the bread sticking (the dough, at least mine, is pretty wet), but because I floured the tin before filling, sticking was very minimal. I thought this was a pretty genius idea on my part—scoop the dough into the tins and allow to finish proofing and bypass the messy, sticky part of shaping and moving the dough. Nice!

Golden, crunchy crust and sweet middle with lots of bits!! I WILL be making this again. Probably this week!

P.S. No pictures for now. I had a little theft incident in Lima (too scary to write about), which left me camera-less and also a little traumatized. This last week I ordered a new camera, which is supposed to arrive this week…

It’s here—my camera—and it’s pink!! Took a few pics of the last of the bread, and actually, it sttill tastes pretty good 🙂

Trail Mix Bread

recipe adapted from zestycook.com

INGREDIENTS

2 cups lukewarm water

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or one 1/4-oz. packet)

2 tbsp runny honey (I used clover)

2 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 to 2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 1/2, which is why my dough was wetter, but which turned out fine.)

2/ tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup almonds, slivered, roughly chopped or whatever

METHOD

  1. In your bread machine, add water, yeast and honey, followed by flours and salt. Run dough cycle. (If you’re doing this by hand, in a large bowl, mix together honey and 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water; then add the yeast, stirring to combine. Let sit until foaming, ca. 5 min. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups water. Then, in another large bowl, combine flours and salt and mix. Pour into bowl with liquid ingredients, stirring until well combined. On a floured surface, knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Add flour if necessary, but be careful not to make the dough too dry. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to proof for 1 1/2 hours.)
  2. Punch dough down, add remaining ingredients and run the dough cycle until you see that all bits are well combined, ca. 5 min. (Hand method: Punch dough down and turn out onto floured surface. Knead in remaining ingredients.)
  3. With a scoop or spatula, distribute dough evenly among muffin tins. (Hand method: Shape into 1 large loaf onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet.) Cover with a damp cloth and in a warm place, allow dough to proof until nearly doubled in size, ca. 30 min.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. Bake bread for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 375 F and rotate bread 180 deg. Brush or spray the crust with water and, if making rolls, bake for another 15-20 minutes, or if making a loaf, bake for 30.
  5. Remove from the oven and place bread/rolls on a rack and allow to cool.

Cornbread

I am obviously still home and—even more obviously—have a lot of free time on my hands.

My routine at my parents’ place is always the same. I get up, I make coffee and I do my daily crossword. This can go on for hours. So yesterday, sitting at the table trying to recall the five-letter name of the person who wrote “Ode to a Grecian Urn” (Keats), I’m pulled out of my zone by the plop of a bag of cornmeal next to me.

Mom: “I have a sooo much of these corns. Can you use?”

Me: “Cornbread?”

Mom: “OK.”

And that was that.

Cornbread is good stuff—with chili or fresh out of the oven or skillet and drizzled with honey, but I don’t know much about it. (My only exposure has been from potlucks.) So I took a few minutes to do a little research on the subject and came across thousands of posts, definitions, recipes and photos of cornbread and all its variations: cakey cornbread, northern style (johnny cake), southern style, cornbread with honey, with sage, with cheese, with creamed corn, with fresh corn, and, and, and…Good cornbread it seems is a matter of preference. I like it sweeter, denser and moist, like cake, which is why I went for a recipe (via Use Real Butter) that had a high liquid to dry ingredient ratio. Yogurt as well as milk are also called for, which seemed to me a guarantee for a softer bread.

I’d say it came out pretty well, especially considering that the entire batch was gone by dinner that same day!! I doubled the original amount of sugar (to 1/2 cup), and I’m glad I did. It was just the right amount of sweetness. For next time, though, I’m cutting out 1/2 the butter and replacing it with oil.

Enjoy!

Cornbread (adapted from Use Real Butter)

INGREDIENTS

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled


1 large egg, room temperature


1 cup milk

1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup cornmeal


1 cup flour

1 tbsp baking

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Position oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Grease an 8×8-inch square pan with butter or cooking spray and dust with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, milk, yogurt (or sour cream), and sugar.
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir together until just blended. Don’t overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Take care not to overbake or else the cornbread will be too dry. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Coconut and Chocolate Pains au Lait

I’m sorry! It’s been ages since my last post! But I promise I have a good excuse—actually, I have a few: I moved in with my brother temporarily, I partied, I said my goodbye to San Francisco, I partied 😛 … and now I am home again. Back to the bird’s nest for 10 days of recharging my batteries and soaking up as much family love as I can before the big move to Perú. (Did I mention already that I’m moving? I can’t remember. Why? For love (when did my life become a cliché?), and I need to find out if it will finally find peace there. When? In 5 days!!)

Life in Oregon is slow—slow driving, slow moving, slow talking, slow everything. It’s taking some getting used to on my part, but it feels kind of good to have time to think and talk. And bake.

I’m so excited about this recipe. It’s one I found a while back on a beautiful blog called Sweet Temptations, and it couldn’t be easier to prepare. The dough is gorgeous—smooth and glossy—and the buns—soft, buttery and briochy. They’re also pretty tasty the next day, especially if you toast them.

The original recipe called for Nutella, which I probably would have used if I’d had it….but I didn’t. My mom had white and dark chocolate chips, flaked almonds and flaked coconut in her cupboard, so I used them instead. A variety of fillings and toppings would work just as well. Another small adjustment I made was to increase the sugar amount from 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup—wanted something a little sweeter for the family.

Enjoy!

Milk Bread with Coconut and Chocolate (recipe adapted from Sweet Temptations)

INGREDIENTS

320 ml (1 1/3 cups) milk

28 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temp.

1/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2/3 tsp salt

540 g (5 cups) all-purpose flour

1 packet (11 g) instant dried yeast (or 4 1/4 tsp active dry)

chocolate chips – dark and white

almond flakes (optional)

brown sugar (optional)

coconut flakes (optional)

METHOD

  1. Beat the eggs, and then whisk in the butter, sugar and milk.
  2. In your stand-mixer, mix together flour, yeast and salt. Make a well in the center. Add 1/3 of the egg mixture and allow to knead (using dough hook attachment) until somewhat combined. Then add the rest of the liquids and knead for another 10 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Put the dough into a large bowl dusted with flour and allow to proof for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Once the dough has proofed, form small balls in your hand and flatten lightly. Add about a tablespoon of chocolate chips and almond flakes in the middle and seal. Continue the process until all the dough has been used. Let the little dough balls rise on a baking sheet for another 45 minutes.
  5. Brush the beaten egg over the pains and then sprinkle some brown sugar and/or coconut flakes over the tops. Put the buns on the middle rack of a pre-heated oven (350 deg. F) and bake for 20 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, you may want to rotate the buns to ensure even baking and browning.

Cranberry Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary, Take 2

This is a nice, little bread recipe from Jamie Oliver. (I heart Jamie.) He’s all about chunks, gobs and heaping handfuls and tablespoons, which trigger all sorts of baking alarms in my head, but actually, everything always works out. Just as it did here with this bread. A cinch to make, I think it took me all of 20 minutes to put together, including kneading…way easier than my first version of this bread.

It’s a moist and flavorful bread. Definitely doesn’t have the developed crumb or taste you get from breads made with starters, but I still really enjoyed it.

Enjoy!

Cran-Rosemary Bread with Sunflower Seeds (recipe adapted from Jamie’s Kitchen via foodnetwork.com)

INGREDIENTS

Basic Bread Dough

1 oz (30 g) fresh yeast or 1x 37 g sachet of dried yeast

1 oz (30 g) honey or sugar

Just over 1 pint (625 ml) tepid water

Just over 2 pounds (1 kg) strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting (I substituted half of this with wheat bread flour)

1 oz (30 g) salt

Additional

Small handful fresh rosemary leaves

Good handful raisins

METHOD

Stage 1: Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in 1/2 the tepid water.

Stage 2: On a clean surface or in a large bowl, make a pile of the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in all the dissolved yeast mixture. With 4 fingers of 1 hand (Is this really necessary? Just use a fork), make circular movements from the center moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the other 1/2 of the tepid water into the center and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. (Certain flours may need a little more water, so don’t be afraid to adjust the quantities.)

Stage 3: Add in the rosemary and cranberries or raisins. Then begin kneading. This is the best bit, just rolling, pushing and folding the dough over and over for 5 minutes. This develops the gluten and the structure of the dough. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little extra flour.

Stage 4: Flour both your hands well, and lightly flour the top of the dough. Make it into a roundish shape and place it on a baking tray. Score it deeply with a knife allowing it to relax and proof with ease until it’s doubled in size. Ideally you want a warm, moist, draft-free place for the quickest proof, for example near a warm cooker or in the airing cupboard, and you could cover it with cling film if you want to speed things up. This proofing process improves the flavor and texture of the dough and should take around 40 minutes, depending on the conditions.

Stage 5: When the dough has doubled in size you need to knock the air out of it by bashing it around for a minute. Now you can shape it into whatever shape is required – round, flat, filled, trayed up, tinned up or whatever – and leave it to proof for a second time until it doubles in size again. The important thing is not to lose your confidence now. Don’t feel a need to rush through this, because the second proofing time will give you the lovely, delicate soft texture that we all love in fresh bread.

Stage 6: Now it’s time to cook your loaf. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) oven for about 25 minutes. You want to keep all the air inside it, so gently place it in the preheated oven and don’t knock it or slam the door. (I brushed mine with water before and mid-way through baking, in order to get a crunchier, more golden crust.) You can tell if your bread is cooked by tapping its bottom (if it’s in a tin you’ll have to take it out). If it sounds hollow it’s cooked, if it doesn’t then pop it back in for a little longer. Put it on a rack to cool before tucking in!