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 ūüôā

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 ‚ÄėJames and the Giant Peach‚Äô 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¬†¬†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!


Trench Cake

Being a youth theatre director my work often baffles a lot of people – I often open the boot of my car to reveal lots of weird and wonderful things which I then comment to my friends ‘Don’t ask – it’s work’. I’ve¬†worked on¬†projects involving vintage bikes, humongous fake cabbages and more recently the history of allotments! As part of the research for the project we looked at recipes cooked by local people from Wolverhampton during WW1 and WW2. The most interesting recipe that we came across was ‘Trench Cake’. It was baked by women back at home and sent across to France to meet the lips of their loved ones fighting in the trenches. Obviously everyone was having to cook using their rations so cake recipes had to be adapted, which meant¬†using vinegar and baking¬†soda as an egg substitute.¬†The cake also had to last the journey to France so in the original recipe it was baked for 2 hours to make it good and solid! So I had a go at cooking this mysterious Trench Cake to see how it tasted and the results were very surprising! I expected to eat a dry crumbly cake, but it tasted like a spiced fruit cake – perfect for an afternoon cuppa in front of the telly ūüôā So here is the recipe that was issued by the Government back in 1914/1916 for Trench Cake as publicised by the Telegraph. Enjoy! (I had to convert the measurements using my good old trusted Dairy Cook book otherwise I wouldn’t have had a clue!)


  • 1/2 lb flour (I used self-raising)
  • 4oz margarine
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 pint milk
  • 3oz brown sugar
  • 3oz currants (I used raisins)
  • 2 tsp cocoa powderc
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (I used baking powder- if there is any difference)
  • Nutmeg (I used 1 tsp)
  • Ginger (I used 1 tsp)
  • Grated lemon rind


  1. Rub together the marg and flour until they resemble bread crumbs
  2. Mix in all of the dry ingredients
  3. Mix the baking soda, milk and vinegar together until dissolved.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry and beat well
  5. Pour into a greased cake tin and bake in a moderate oven for 2 hours (I baked it for 1 hour at around 180C)

Go on – give this recipe a try – it will surprise you! x

For more information about the Heritage Project I’m working on click here Central Youth Theatre