WEEK 3 – IT’S BREAD WEEK
In a “yoinks, ohhhhhh no it’s bread weeeek” kind of a way, yup bread is my nemesis, the thorn in my finger, the thing i dread making, the bake I go back to time and time again to just try and get it right, sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. I reckon I did okay this time though! Have a read of the 2 recipes and let me know what you think!
Bake number 1 0f 2 – Plaited chocolate loaf
Okay for this bake I used 2 different sweet breads, one old favourite (hot cross bun) and one brand new recipe (cherry and white chocolate), both of which were based on Paul Hollywood recipes – by accident rather than intention. My one worry before I began, which incidentally did occur, was that one would prove quicker than the other; but in the end it worked out well. The bread was amazing on the day it was made but did not keep too well, and it was not really the kind of thing you can toast either (on account of the chocolate melting) so if I was to make this again, I would leave out the dark chocolate chips! The recipe made 2 loaves so it could easily be halved for just one.
500g plain bread flour 500g plain bread flour
10g/2tspn fast-action yeast 75g castor sugar
1 tspn salt 2 tspn yeast
1 tbspn oil 1 tspn salt
100g dried cherries 300 ml milk
150g white choc chips 50g butter
320ml water 1 egg (lightly beaten)
honey and marmalade glaze 125g fruit
75g dark choc chips
1 apple (chopped small)
pinch of cinnamon
- Make the hot cross bun dough first. Put the flour into a large bowl, stir in the sugar, then put the salt on one side, yeast on the other and make a well in the middle. Warm the milk (pan or microwave) so that the butter will just melt in it. Cool slightly
- Put the egg in the well, then add the buttery milk and mix in well, using one hand and bring together into a dough.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly greased surface and need for 7-10 minutes until smooth, pliable and shiny.
- Put into a bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm and draught free to prove. Make the 2nd dough.
- Put the flour in a bowl, yeast one side, salt the other, oil in the middle, add the water and mix to a firm dough.
- Knead the dough on a greased or floured surface for 7-10 minutes, pop back into the bowl and cover, leaving it in a warm place to prove for approximately one hour (until both doughs have doubled in size).
- Dry your apple pieces. Take out the hot cross dough smooth it out to a flatish square and pour on the fruit, apple, choc chips and pinch of cinnamon. Fold the edges over and gently knead and work the fruit into the dough until they amalgamate.
- Take the 2nd dough and again flatten out to a rough square and tip the cherries and white chocolate onto the dough and gently combine them together.
- For the next step I put aside approx ⅓ of each dough to one side then divided the remainder in half.
- Take each dough and roll it into sausage shapes approx. 1½ feet long. Place them in a row, alternating each flavour, and pinch down the far end. Make a four strand plait. I do this by passing 1 over 2 then 3 over 1. Next 4 over 3 and 2 over 4. Simply repeat this pattern until the end pinch both ends and tuck them under the main loaf to neaten edges. place this onto a greased or floured baking tray, cover and leave to stand for approximately one hour until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to max, turn it down to 200ºC and spritz some water onto the bottom and/or door (this creates a steam to encourage first rise) as you place the bread in to bake.
- Bake for approx. 40 minutes, checking at around 30 minutes, if it is darkening too much turn heat down a little. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a cooling tray until fully cold. Glaze with a couple of tablespoons of honey mixed with a couple of marmalade warmed gently in the microwave then brushed all over.Enjoy plain, with some proper butter, or a little of a certain creamy white cream cheese!
Phew, that’s one long recipe, but only as it’s 2 doughs, you could simply stick with one, personally I preferred the cherry one best. With the hot cross one, use any dry fruit that takes your fancy, I used blueberries, cranberries and mango (anyone who knows me knows that I think the only thing you should do with a grape is squash it so it makes a little whine (erm, wine hahaha). I made a small tin loaf with the left over thirds of the dough. In the piece in the bottom left of the following pic you can see a diagonal line which shows the 2 different flavours
TIPS – A large plastic bag is good for proofing the bread in, I get some large recycling bags just from the local supermarket which are perfect, large enough to fit in a large baking tray and allow for the rise too. On your second rise, it’s a good idea to put the oven on ready when it has had around 30 minutes, so that the oven is ready when you need it, I have had bread over prove (go like a balloon and then pop) on me before now whilst waiting for the oven to come to max temp. Max temp and water in the oven at the point of putting the bread in are great to force up the rise.
Bake number 2 of 2 – Savoury Dampfnudeln
Not strictly what I would call a ‘bake’ but it is a yeast bread, so I guess it qualifies. I had to bake a cake the same day as the chocolate loaf, so I thought, why not see if I could find a savoury version of the dampfnudeln, and low and behold it is a ‘thing’. And the bonus is that it’s my favourite form of measurement – cups. I believe this version stems from Bavaria and is generally served with meat, gravy and sauerkraut, and I even found a stuffed version with tomatoey chicken. I must say they were gorgeous, and my other half, Mr Timothy, has requested that I make these – often! But he is a bread monster! So here is my adaptation of the recipe I found on kitchenproject.com.
2 cups plain bread flour
⅔ cup warm milk
2 tspn fast dry yeast
2 tspn sugar
2 tspn salt
1 large egg (beaten)
Approx 1 pint water with a good tablespoon of sea salt
large glug of oil or knob of butter
- Put the flour in a large bowl make a well in the centre and add the sugar. Warm up the milk and pour that into the well and gently mix in the yeast. Cover and leave for around 20 minutes and the milk has gone frothy.
- Put the salt in on one side of the bowl add the egg to the milk and bring it all together to make a slightly wet sticky dough. I then kneaded this just for around 3 minutes to get the gluten going. Cover the bowl and leave for roughly an hour to prove.
- Knock back the dough. Divide it into 10 or 12 balls and place on a greased tray, with plenty of space around them to allow for rising. Pop in a large bag and sit for another hour to double in size again.
- When the balls have swollen, take a large, heavy bottom sauté pan (preferably nonstick) with a good fitting lid. Place the salt, water and oil in the pan, pop on the lid and bring it to a hard boil.
- Gently pick up the individual dampfnudel and carefully place them into the hot liquor, clamp on the lid. Put on a high heat and boil away for 15 minutes, then ‘listen’ to the pan, if you hear bubbly noises leave it be, if it has frying sound emitting from it, turn down the heat to medium and allow to gently fry for around 5 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID!!! If you do, they heat will be lost and you will either end up with stodgy, possibly raw buns or they will collapse in on themselves.
- These bread buns will be soft, fluffy and light with a slight crunch to the bottom.
Serve them with you favourite meat and vegetables, with gravy. Here is one serving idea (keeping it Bavarian) I made rouladen, battered out thin steak simply rolled up like cigars and then cooked in beef stock and onions – I like to add a couple of slices of back pudding mashed up for a really rich gravy. Pop in a large bay leaf and a good mill of black pepper and slow, slow roast them. Next was a hot ‘coleslaw’ of shredded kale, grated carrots and finely chopped leeks and a big dollop of horseradish on the side. Yum! Next time I make them I am intending to stuff them with some hard cheese and have them with good sausages and baked beans.
TIPS – When heating milk for yeast, if you can comfortably put your finger in and simply feel warmth, it’s good, if it is hot then it will impede or even kill off the yeast. On a cold day I like to put the oven on on it’s lowest temp whilst making the dough, then open up the door for a minute or 2, put a tea towel on the shelf, then close the door up with the dough safely tucked inside. This should only be necessary for the first prove. Clean disposable shower caps make great bowl covers.
So that was this weeks’ Great British Bake Off inspired recipes, you will find all the entries for the ‘Blog Off’ on our host site Mummy Mishaps. And don’t forget if you blog it is not too late to join us.