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

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!

 

Crumpets!

 

Our staff meeting at work was set for 10am last Friday and what better way to start a morning meeting but with fresh buttery crumpets! So I decided to make my first ever batch of crumpets – using none other than Mr Paul Hollywood’s recipe taken from his BREAD cook book. They were surprisingly easy to make BUT when I do them again I will make sure I have a lazy day to cook them as I have discovered they like a constant medium heat rather than a quick hot flash in the pan! (Coming back from watching something at the theatre at 10.30pm then making them was probably not the best idea)

Ingredients:

  • 175g strong white bread flour
  • 175g plain white flour
  • 14g fast action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 350ml warm milk
  • 150-200ml tepid water
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Sunflower oil for cooking

Method:

  1. Put both flours in a bowl and mix in the yeast. In a jug dissolve the sugar in the warm milk, then pour onto the flour mixture. Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth batter. This will take 3-4 minutes and is hard work!
  2. Cover the bowl with cling film and stand for about an hour. The mixture will rise and fall – this shows the gluten has developed enough for the crumpets to hold their shape (Sorry Gluten free people! I promise to find some gluten free recipes soon)
  3. In a jug mix 150ml of the tepid water with the bicarb of soda and salt. Stir this liquid into the batter until evenly combined. Then gradually stir in as much of the remaining water as you need to get a thick dropping consistency. Cover the bowl and leave the batter to rest for about 20 minutes. Little holes will appear on the surface.
  4. Heat a pan or griddle on a medium-low heat. Lightly grease the inside of your crumpet rings (This is where my gingerbread cutters came in handy) and the pan.
  5. Ladle in some batter to the cutter (I ladled about 3 tablespoons) and leave it to cook for 6-8 minutes. When the bubbles on the top look nearly set use a spatula and palette knife to turn it over and cook for a few minutes on the other side.
  6. Cook the crumpets in batches and enjoy warm with some butter or jam or both! 🙂

Thanks for reading, please try out this recipe and let me know how it goes xx

English Muffins

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So for my mum’s 60th birthday we decided to treat her to a family outing of afternoon tea. To start the day off I hosted breakfast and served poached eggs on home made English muffins. The recipe is that of the lovely John Whaite whom I trust with all bread bakes!

I tweeted the lovely John and he tweeted back saying my English Muffins look spectacular! – I was a very happy bunny 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 500g Strong white bread flour
  • 50g butter
  • 10g fast action yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 50ml lager
  • 50ml milk
  • 170ml water
  • 30ml cider vinegar (I used white wine though and it tasted fine)

Method:

  1. Put the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in the yeast and then the salt.
  2. Pour the lager, milk and water into a sauce pan and heat until luke warm but not hot. Add the vinegar then pour this into the dry ingredients. Bring together into a rough dough using a wooden spoon then turn out onto the worktop and knead until elastic (for around 10 minutes)
  3. Once kneaded place in an oiled bowl cover with a damp tea towel or cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour
  4. Once risen, tip out and roll to around 1.5cm thick. Using a cookie cutter cut out 10-12 muffins. Put these on a floured worktop and leave under a damp tea towel for another hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6. Place a non stick frying pan on a medium heat. When the pan is hot place 3-4 muffins in without crowding. Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining muffins.
  6. When you take the muffins out of the oven wrap them in a barely damp tea towel to soften them. Then enjoy with some butter and a cup of tea!

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary Fougasse

This is another one of the lovely John Whaite’s recipes. They’re really easy to make and taste great. The recipe calls for white bread flour in the dough and wholemeal flour for dusting. But I did 400g of white bread flour and 100g of wholemeal to give them a bit more texture (that and I ran out of white bread flour! haha!) I tweeted my photo of this bake to John Whaite himself and he tweeted me back saying they look great! 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 500g white bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 7g (1 packet) dried yeast
  • 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 350g tepid water
  • Wholemeal bread flour for dusting
  • Bottle filled with water for spraying

Method:

  1. Peel & finely slice the onion, fry the onion in the butter at a medium temperature and put a lid on for 15 mins. Then add the vinegar and sugar and cook for a further 5 mins uncovered.
  2. For the dough put the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl with the rosemary. Add the water in thirds and bring the dough together into a sticky mass.
  3. Tip out onto a surface and knead for 10 mins, then add the onions (once cooled) and knead for a few more mins. Place dough into a clean floured bowl, cover the top with cling film and leave until doubled in size (about 1 hour)
  4. Once proved, tip the dough out onto a surface and cut (with a dough scraper) into 4 quarters (it will look like fat pizza slices) and with each portion cut 6 slices in the middle of the dough.
  5. Prove for a further 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven at 230C and once proved place the dough on baking sheets under greaseproof paper and cook for 12 – 15 minutes. Just before closing the oven door spray a few sprays of water into the oven as it will crisp up the outside of the bread.
  7. Enjoy! x