Stilton & Walnut Quick Bread

I can honestly say that I haven’t stopped thinking about baking this bread since Christmas. One of my favourite things about Christmas is the copious amounts of cheese, which by the start of January usually ends up going in the bin, in a bid to eat more salad leaves and go to the gym. Well, I say NO! Cheese should be enjoyed all the year through, especially in January when spirits are low and the days are short. So, here is my latest recipe, that celebrates British cheese in all of its glory! I’m also very happy to say that recipe is my own 🙂 Enjoy! And let me know what you think!

Holly x

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of strong bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Stilton cheese (use as much as you like – I used a size about as big as a door wedge – specific as ever!)
  • 2 handfuls of walnuts – chopped

 

Method:

  1. Chop your walnuts and cheese in preparation for mixing into the dough
  2. Mix together the dried ingredients
  3. Mix together the wet ingredients
  4. Add wet to dry including the stilton and walnuts
  5. Bake for 40 minutes in a 200C oven

And enjoy! x

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Mini French Baguettes

Bread week challenge number 2! Mini French baguettes – Paul Hollywood style!

Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 5g salt
  • 5g instant yeast
  • 180ml cool water
  • Olive oil for kneading

Method:

  1. Add the flour to a bowl and put the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Pour water in slowly and mix together using your hands.
  3. Knead dough until its elastic and can stretch to around 30cm long – this takes about 20 minutes
  4. Leave in an oiled bowl covered in cling film for around 2 hours.
  5. Tip the dough onto an floured and semolia’d surface and knock the air out of it using your knuckles.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Shape each piece into an oblong by flattening the dough out slightly and folding the sides into the middle. Then roll each up into a sausage – the top should be smooth with ha join running along the length of the base. Now, beginning in the middle, roll each sausage with your hands.
  7. Place the baguettes on the baking tray. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for about 1 hour, until the dough is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C and put a roasting tray in the bottom to heat up.
  8. When your baguettes are risen and light, dust them lightly with flour. Then slash each one 3 times along its length on the diagonal, using a razor blade or a very sharp knife. Fill the roasting tray with hot water to create steam and put the bread into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the baguettes are golden brown and have a slight sheen. Cool on a wire rack.

These were surprisingly easy to make and super yummy straight from the oven! Enjoy! I’m slightly behind on my GBBO challenges so watch this space for crème brulees and even more! x

Caramelised Onion, Rosemary & Cheddar Quick Bread

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Here’s to my third Great British Bake Off inspired challenge – Quick Bread! I have made quick breads in the past and just never really knew they were called quick breads. I understood them more as a ‘lazy bread’ because when I first started baking I saw ingredients such as yeast as ‘effort’ – something I would need to go out and buy and have a stock of in my so called ‘larder’.  A few years later I have plentiful amounts of yeast in my cupboard and see myself as a fundamentally lazy baker back then. Turns out I was lazy, rather than the bread. So! This is my take on the third challenge from GBBO – I got the basic bread recipe online and added my favourtire flavours as taken from John Whaite’s caramelised onion and rosemary fougasse recipe – (click here to see my bake of this) It was utterly scrummy taken straight from the oven and slathered with butter. It’s safe to say that the entire loaf had disappeared by lunchtime the next day!

I hope you enjoy and please tag me if you make any of my bakes 🙂

Happy Baking! x

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of strong bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine or olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary (or even better – fresh if you have it! Mine died in the garden a few weeks ago)
  • Cheddar (use as much as you like – I used a size about as big as a door wedge – specific as ever!)
  • 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Method:

  1. Chop your onion into small pieces and fry off on a medium heat with some olive oil
  2. Add the brown sugar and vinegar and cook until translucent – around 10 minutes
  3. Mix together the dried ingredients
  4. Mix together the wet ingredients
  5. Add wet to dry including the herbs, onion mix and cheese
  6. Bake for 40 minutes in a 200C oven

Enjoy hot from the oven slathered in butter and in front of the telly – I would recommend something like University Challenge 🙂 x

 

Seeded Couronne Loaf

 

I’ve been wanting to make this bread for weeks and simply haven’t found the time to bake – time without baking is time poorly spent!

Over the next four weeks I am going to be taking you on a baking adventure -sharing recipes that tell a story – my story. As you know from my other blog posts, I work in theatre – to be more specific, I’m currently Assistant Director of Central Youth Theatre, Wolverhampton’s longest established youth theatre. I have gone from an 11 year old member to Assistant Director of this company and therefore it is an organisation that I hold dear in my heart.

Over the next 4 weeks we are running a huge crowd funding campaign called CYT Heart that I hope I might be able to gather your help with as well as sharing a few lovely bakes along the way 🙂

So, here is the start of my CYT story…

From the age of two I have wanted to be involved in theatre. I met my friend Jessica at play group and we would make up stories and plays using our dressing up boxes, wearing all manner of weird and wonderful outfits. We would create invitations and tickets for our enormous audience of four, made up of our worn out parents. This continued for many years until Jessica told me that she had been going along to a youth theatre group at the Newhampton Arts Centre and she thought I would really enjoy it. At the age of 10 I plucked up the courage and went along to their ‘James and the Giant Peach’ themed summer school programme. I absolutely loved it and was given the lead part of James (no comments here about looking like a boy please)

11 Year old me as 'James'

11 Year old me as ‘James’

At the age of two I had a little seed of theatre enthusiasm, something which grew, proved (a little baking connection here for you!) and developed into something which CYT nurtured. I knew that I had to carry on getting my drama fix with this weird and wonderful company and so my CYT journey began…

So in honour of that little seed of enthusiasm here is my first recipe for #CYTHeart – A seeded loaf. I have used the lovely John Whaite’s recipe that he uses for a plaited loaf in his book John Whaite Bakes but in this recipe I’ve halved all the quantities and added poppy and sunflower seeds on the top of the bread.

Please get baking and let me know how your loaf comes out!

and finally please head over to CYT’s indigogo page to find out more about the campaign http://igg.me/at/cytheart please donate and share the word.

Thank you!

Holly xx

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 7g fast action yeast (1 packet worth)
  • 10 g salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with a pinch of salt for glazing
  1. Put the ingredients (except for the egg yolk) into a bowl and bring together into a rough dough. Knead by hand for ten mins or in a mixer with bread hooks for about 6 mins until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Place into an oiled bowl and allow to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  2. Turn the dough out and divide into 6 balls and roll these out into long sausage shapes of the same length. Press all the pieces of dough together at one end and begin the plait starting on whichever side takes your fancy. Take the outermost strand and place it under the next two, over the next one and then under the final two. Take the next outermost strand (always from the same side!) and repeat. Then tuck the ends under to neaten them off. Leave the loaf to prove for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 230C or gas mark 8.
  3. When the loaf has doubled in size glaze with the egg yolk and bake for about 30 mins or until bronzed. Once cooked it should have a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.
  4. Slice, slather with butter and enjoy with a cuppa!

 

Crumpies

Crumpies - a cross between crumpets and Yorkshire puddings :)

Crumpies – a cross between crumpets and Yorkshire puddings 🙂

Crumpies! What a wonderful creation – a cross between a Yorkshire pudding and a crumpet, perfect hot out of the oven with lots of butter and a cup of tea!

They are a Jamie Oliver recipe and are a lot easier to make than crumpets – so if you’re in a rush these are perfect.

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil for greasing
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tea spoon caster sugar
  • 7g sachet of yeast
  • A good pinch of bicarb
  • 2 tea spoon salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven 170C/Gas 3 and grease a muffin tray with veg oil
  2. Place all ingredients in a bowl and pour 600ml of tepid water into the mix, whisk until combined and leave for 10 minutes
  3. When batters thickened pour into muffin holes until the mixture reaches the top
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden
  5. Enjoy with lots of butter 🙂

Enjoy and please share if you like the recipe or leave me a comment – I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Holly x

 

 

Hot Cross Buns

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Easter was wonderful – a 5 day weekend which meant lots of time for baking! I wanted to make some hot cross buns from scratch to see how easy they were to make and although I would say they are probably cheaper to buy a pack of six from the shops, once you’ve tried a home made batch you’ll taste the difference! So I had a look at a few recipes and after some deliberation I went for a Jamie Oliver recipe as they seemed the simplest for a first timer. I made two batches – one for my neighbours and one for our Easter Sunday dinner. I made a bread and butter hot cross pudding for pudding which was so yummy 🙂

So here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 200 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 55 g unsalted butter
  • 2 x 7 g sachet dried yeast
  • 455 g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ whole nutmeg
  • 55 g caster sugar
  • 2 pieces stem ginger
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 55 g sultanas or raisins
  • 30 g dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons mixed peel
  • runny honey, to glaze

Method:
1. Add the milk and 50ml water to a small pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until slightly warm – you should be able to dip your finger in without scalding it.

2. Meanwhile, add the butter to a separate pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until melted, then set aside.

3. Transfer the warmed milk mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the yeast. Set aside.

4. Sift the flour into a large bowl, then add the salt, spices, a few good scrapings of nutmeg and the sugar. Finely chop the stem ginger and stir it into the mix.

5. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add it to the bowl.

6. Using a fork, mix well until you have a rough dough, then transfer to a clean flour dusted work surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until soft and springy.

7. Return the dough to a flour dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.

8. Transfer the dough to a clean flour dusted work surface. Knock the air out by bashing it with your fist, then sprinkle over the dried fruit and mixed peel and knead into the dough for 1 to 2 minutes.

9. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease and line a large baking tray.

10. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into balls. Evenly space them out on a lined baking tray as you go.

11. Cover with the tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

12. Meanwhile, place the plain flour and 2 tablespoons water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste.

13. Gently pat down the risen buns then use the batter to carefully trace a cross over the top with a piping bag or spoon.

14. Place the buns into the preheated oven for 15 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

15. Transfer to a wire cooling rack, brush over a little honey and leave to cool.

16. Slice open the sticky hot cross buns, spread with a little butter and serve – delicious

They really are so yummy straight from the oven or lightly toasted – give them a go, you won’t regret it 🙂

Holly x

Scones

 

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So, it’s been a while since my last post and I was inspired by another food blogger Janes Patisserie who recently posted her scone recipe and I thought I’d have a go at making some seeing as it had been a while since I last made them! I made a batch of 8 plain scones and 8 apple and cinnamon scones but sadly the apple scones came out a little over done – so I haven’t featured them on here!

The recipe is taken from The Dairy Book of Home Cooking 2012 edition which my Granny gave to me as a present and it’s been a life saver ever since – simply recipes used everyday. I also used my personalised Holly Rachel Bakes wooden spoon which was a lovely gift from my sister in law for my birthday a few weeks ago 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 225g Self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g Butter
  • 150ml Milk (plus extra for brushing)

Method:

  1.  Sift flour and salt into a bowl
  2. Rub butter into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs
  3. Add milk all at once and mix to a soft but not sticky dough using a knife
  4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
  5. Roll out until about 1cm thick
  6. Cut into 7-8 rounds with a 2.5inch biscuit cutter
  7. Transfer to a baking tray and brush with milk
  8. Bake at 230C for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown
  9. Cool on a wire rack and then enjoy warm with some butter – or my more recent favourite – lemon marmalade!

Enjoy! And if you like or bake this recipe – share this post and let me know! xx