Archive of ‘Bread’ category

12 Days of Christmas – Stollen

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On the second day of Christmas, Bake Good gave to me…Stollen!  Yeah, not exactly how the song goes but you get the picture.  Don’t worry, I won’t make that joke for all twelve posts, I don’t think anyway.

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My mum had requested I make stollen when I’m back home for Christmas, so I thought I better get a practice run in beforehand to avoid disappointment.  As usual, I brought this in to work to save eating the whole loaf myself, which could have happened because it tastes amazing!  To my surprise, although it went down well, almost nobody had actually heard of stollen before.  I assumed everyone had this in their cupboards at Christmas but perhaps it was just my family!  Basically it is a dense, sweet fruit bread filled with marzipan.  According to my sources (read: Wikipedia) it is originally from Germany.

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There were various recipes, some using plain flour and some with bread flour, different levels of spice, different fruits, with and without nuts.  Complicated.  So I went with one of my kitchen idols Delia….and then went ahead and changed it to suit the ingredients I’d bought!  As per a Nigel Slated recipe, I added cardamom  which was a really nice touch of soft fragrant spice that seemed to pair very well with the sultanas, cranberry and apricot.  This loaf is a little lighter than the shop bought alternative, which is a good thing in my opinion, and is further enhanced by a light toasted before serving.

If you’ve never had stollen before I hope you give it a try and an alternative baked treat this Christmas! (more…)

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Chocolate and Hazelnut Babka

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This bread is sort of like posh Nutella on toast.  Now, regular Nutella on toast is just fine but every now and then it’s fun to be fancy.  An enriched dough makes this bread ultra luxurious, especially with the swirls of chocolate and chopped hazelnuts which run through the centre.  It has been brightening up my mornings at work when I haven’t had time to eat before heading out the door, a slice toasted, with a side of banana to add something healthy, makes for a perfect morning meal.

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As usual, bread baking takes a little time but it’s the perfect autumn weekend task, then you’re sorted for breakfast for the week ahead!  The recipe makes enough for two loaves, so I baked up both and have stored one in the freezer for future breakfast emergencies.  The original recipe calls for dark chocolate, but all I had in the house was Greens and Blacks Milk chocolate (my absolute favourite chocolate) which is 34% cacao and I think gives enough deep chocolate flavour without being too sweet.  Adding in hazelnuts adds a lovely texture combination to the bread, as well as helping to recreate the Nutella flavour.

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Just in case you’ve never heard of Babka before (I hadn’t), it is an Eastern European Jewish yeasted loaf. (more…)

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Pumpkin Banana and Orange Bread

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There are going to be a lot of pumpkin recipes coming up on Bake Good in the next month or so, I can tell.   Lots of recipes have been catching my eye, such as this one from Beantown Baker which looks amazing!

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This loaf comes together in no time at all, the best thing about making cakes with vegetables in them.  It’s moist thanks to the banana and the pumpkin, with warming background flavours from the spices and a kick of orangey citrus flavour, enhanced by the frosting.  On its own, this loaf isn’t overly sweet, which totally means you can have cake for breakfast, it would go great with a morning coffee.  With the cream cheese frosting however, it definitely becomes a desserty cake, now I’m not saying you still can’t eat it for breakfast, but I would suggest leaving it for an afternoon pick me up with a cup of tea. (more…)

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Apple and Sultana Focaccia

Bread again!

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I always really enjoy making bread, or yeast based recipes I should say, even though I don’t make them very often.  It’s always a bit of an experiment because of my lack of confidence and familiarity with bread techniques.  It’s getting there though, practice makes perfect as they say!

One of my main problems is that I don’t stick to the basics enough.  The best advice would be to start with a simple recipe, perfect it, and then start to play around with the flavours.  Sometimes there just not enough time for all that and you just want to dive right in to  combining two recipes with a dash of your own ideas.

Sometimes this is a disaster.  Sometimes this is a success.

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Now, perhaps if this focaccia recipe was presented to Paul Hollywood he would not be handing out any star baker accolades (sorry, I just finished watching the Bake Off) , but I thoroughly enjoy it.  The bread has a slightly crispy exterior with a spicy, fruity, chewy interior and the maple glaze adds a perfect extra sweetness.  It equally makes a great breakfast and bedtime snack served cold or warmed in the oven.
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Brioche

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Bread.

It’s fair to say I’m a beginner when it comes to bead.  Making it that is, I’m an expert at bread consumption.  People who aren’t, can’t be trusted.  I only wish it wasn’t the one thing we’re always told to cut out of our diets when trying to lose weight.  This is why I could never stick to a diet for more than a handful of days (I tried a no carb detox diet once, lasted a day and a half before I felt faint and had major bread cravings, never again!).

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Anyway, I digress, back to bread baking.  Working on technique and understanding the ratios of yeast, flour sugar and salt is a work in progress, so this brioche sticks loyally to the recipe.  Next time I’ll experiment with flavourings and try a different method to deduce what works for me and gives the best results.

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The overall time to make brioche is quite long, but actual working time is less than an hour.  A good weekend project.
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