Tag Archives: Bread

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Bread

This bread was very popular when I served it at a cheese and wine party last month – I had to promise that we would make it at the next Bread Club meeting!

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 10g fast acting yeast
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 100g sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • supermarket pack fresh basil

Put the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl and mix.  Add the oil and water and knead for 5 minutes or so until you have a smooth dough.  Return to the bowl and leave to prove for an hour. Line a baking tray with non stick baking paper.

Roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes.  Remove the leaves from the basil and chop.  When the dough has proved, lay it out on a smooth surface and incorporate the tomatoes and basil leaves as best you can.  It will probably be quite oily and messy! Squash the dough into a long sausage and then tie it into a knot.  Place on the prepared tray and leave to prove for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 230C/Gas 8.  Bake the loaf for 30 minutes (don’t worry if there are some burned bits of tomato on the outside, they will taste really good) and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Walnut Bread

Here is the recipe for Walnut Bread that we are going to use at our Bread Club meeting tomorrow.  I’ve made this a few times and I have to say I love this bread!  The addition of walnut oil and butter makes it so soft and lovely.  Based on a Paul Hollywood recipe.

  • 350g wholemeal bread flour
  • 150g strong white flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 7g fast acting yeast
  • 40g softened butter
  • 60ml walnut oil
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 150g walnut pieces

Put all the ingredients except the walnut pieces into a large bowl and stir to combine.  Tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave prove for an hour.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.  Turn your dough out and incorporate the walnut pieces into it by lightly kneading till they are well distributed.  Now shape the dough into a ball and place on the baking tray.  Use a sharp knife to cut a cross in the top and then dust with flour.  Leave to prove for another hour.

Preheat oven to 220C/Gas 7.   Bake the bread for 30-40 minutes until golden and the bottom makes a hollow sound when tapped.  Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Panzanella Salad

Here’s the recipe for panzanella that I use the most. It’s adapted from Nigella’s ‘Kitchen’, a great cookbook. These quantities make a massive bowl but as it keeps well and we’re a family of five that works for me – halve the quantities if you like.

500g stale rustic style bread, cut into little cubes
2 small red onions, cut into thin half moons
100ml red wine vinegar
1kg good ripe tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
4 teaspoons sea salt flakes (halve the quantity if using pouring salt)
1/4 tsp caster sugar
250ml extra virgin olive oil
2 supermarket bunches basil, leaves removed and chopped
Put the onion into a large bowl, pour the vinegar over and leave for at least 10 mins.

Meanwhile, cut crosses in the bottom of the tomatoes, put them into another bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Leave for 5 mins.

Crush the garlic over the onion.

Drain the tomatoes, peel them and remove the seeds. You will get messy doing this! Then chop the flesh and put in in with the onion.

Add the salt and sugar, then the bread cubes. Pour the oil over the bread, top with the chopped basil leaves, then use your hands to gently combine all the ingredients.

Ideally you should leave this for a few hours, even overnight, for the flavour to improve. Cover it with clingfilm and put it in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before eating (though it’s still yummy cold – I can’t resist!)

Enjoy xx

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Fragrant Seeded Rolls

I’ve developed this recipe over the last few years.  I like these rolls with soup, my kids like them with cheddar cheese in them  (though that’s not to everyone’s taste – it brings to mind the cumin studded cheese you get in Amsterdam) and they are also very, very good filled with goat’s cheese and mango chutney.  Or just have them plain, they’re still great!

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 15g salt
  • 25g fresh yeast or 10g dried fast acting yeast
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 15g honey
  • 50g soft butter
  • 300ml tepid water

Combine the flour, salt, yeast, seeds and butter in a large bowl.  Weigh the honey out into a jug or bowl and then add the tepid water and dissolve the honey.  Now add this mixture to your other ingredients and bring together into a dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic, 5-10 minutes.  This dough is a bit sticky to start with because of the butter but keep going it will come together, you can add a little bit more flour if you like.  Having a dough scraper (I use the spatula from my Magimix) to hand is a good idea here!

Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to double in size, about 1.5 hours.  When ready lightly grease a large baking tray.  This quantity makes 12 rolls, I like to weigh the dough and measure them exactly but it’s not essential by any means.  Divide your dough into 12 and shape each piece into ball, then lightly coat with flour and place on the baking tray.  The dough is quite sticky so you should do this with a small pile of flour nearby that you can coat your hands in between each roll.  Leave the rolls to prove again, this time for 1 hour.

While the rolls are proving heat the oven to 200C/Fan 180/Gas 6.  Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes till golden brown, remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

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Halloumi & Mint Bread

Here’s the recipe for the Halloumi & Mint Bread we made at our Bread Club meeting on 29th April.  This bread was a big hit with the group!  Luckily I made one extra on the day and we all shared it warm for a delicious lunch.  This is my version of a Paul Hollywood recipe…

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 25g fresh yeast (of if you’ve only got dried fast acting I would use 10g)
  • 1 heaped tsp dried mint
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 1 block halloumi cheese

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, yeast, mint and olive oil.  Add the water, bring together into a dough and knead on a floured surface till smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.  Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for 1 hour.

Drain the halloumi and crumble the cheese into pieces.  When your dough is ready take it from the bowl and incorporate the cheese into it.  Shape into a long sausage (oiled hands will help you here!) and place on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.  Leave to prove again for another hour.

Preheat your oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 8.  Just before you put the bread in to bake, slash it diagonally across the top several times and dust with flour.  Bake for 30 minutes till golden and the bottom is browning and sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool on a wire rack.

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Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia

This is a fantastic recipe.   I would go as far as to say that this is my ‘signature’ bread.  Any time is a good time for Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia…

  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 14g fast acting yeast
  • 300ml lukewarm water
  • 10 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt flakes (I like Maldon salt)

Finely chop two sprigs of the rosemary and all of the garlic cloves.  In a large bowl, mix together the flour, fine salt and yeast, then add the chopped rosemary and garlic.  Now stir in the water and 2 tbsp of the oil and bring together to form a rough dough.

Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.  Return to the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Liberally oil a large baking tray.  Divide your dough into two and shape into rough ovals on the tray.  Now brush some more oil onto a large piece of cling film and use it to cover the tray.  Leave for another 40 minutes or so.  Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

When your loaves are looking nice and puffy, remove the cling film and gently press little indents all over them the tip of your finger.  Now drizzle 3 tbsp of olive oil over each one and sprinkle with salt flakes and the remaining rosemary.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden.

Remove the loaves from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool.  Drizzle with a final tablespoon of oil each and you are done.  Enjoy!

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Potato Wedges

I have been asked for my recipe for potato wedges so here it is!  Floury potatoes are best for wedges, if you’re not sure just go for ‘baking potatoes’ they will usually have the right texture.FullSizeRender-3

  • 1.5 kg floury potatoes
  • 1 tsp oil
  • heaped teaspoon sea salt flakes

Heat your oven to it’s highest setting.

Cut the potatoes into wedges, I usually find eighths are about right but if they are very large potatoes you might need to go to sixteenths.  Put the wedges into a large bowl.

Now you need to get the excess moisture off your potatoes.  I do this by getting some good quality paper kitchen towel, plunging it into the bowl of potato pieces and moving it around until it is wet, then doing it again.  I’m sure you could use a clean tea towel for this if you don’t want to use paper kitchen towel.

Now drizzle your teaspoon of oil all around the bowl of potatoes, sprinkle the salt flakes too, and toss the potatoes well to combine.  They will have the tiniest coating of oil!  Spread the potatoes out onto two large baking trays and put into the hot oven.

The wedges should take about 30-40 minutes to cook.  You will need to take them out of the oven every 10 minutes and toss them to stop them sticking – the oven is very hot and they WILL stick a bit and some of them will break when you toss them but don’t worry, just scrape them up and put them back in, the bits that have stuck and broken will go lovely and crispy when they are all done.

Pile all of the wedges onto one tray and tuck in!  This recipe makes loads of wedges which is just right for my family of five, but obviously you can make much smaller portions by reducing the quantities.

Focaccia with Blue Cheese and Pear

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the River Cottage Fruit book.  I keep coming back to St Agur as the cheese of choice but you can experiment with your favourites.

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  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 1 tsp fast acting yeast
  • extra virgin olive oil (lots!)
  • 150g blue cheese
  • 1-2 pears
  • Sea salt flakes

Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.  Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 350ml lukewarm water and mix to combine.  You might find this dough easiest to knead in a freestanding mixer with a dough hook, but it can be done by hand too – turn out onto an oiled surface and knead for 10 minutes.  This is a very wet dough!  You will need some sort of scraping device to get it off your hands from time to time – you might find oiling your hands helps.  It will still be sloppy when it is done.  Oil your bowl and put the dough back in, put it in a warm place and leave until it has doubled in size, which will take 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.  Liberally oil a large, shallow baking tin (a tray won’t do – you need sides).  Tip the dough straight into the tin and spread it out with your hands to roughly fill the tin.  Leave again for at least another 30 minutes, up to an hour, until it looks puffy.

In the meantime cut your cheese into chunks, you should get about 10 even sized pieces, and peel and chop your pears.  I like slightly more chunks of pear than cheese here but you do what you like.  Add more cheese if you want!

When the dough is ready press the cheese and pear chunks into it at evenly spaced intervals.  I usually do the cheese first and then fit the pear in around it.  Drizzle all over with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5 and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden.  Remove the focaccia from the tin and put it to cool on a wire rack.  Eat while still warm for maximum enjoyment.

 

 

Feta Cheese Bread

This is a recipe I found in an old cookbook of mine I hadn’t looked at for a while – Simon Rimmer’s The Accidental Vegetarian.  As soon as I saw the recipe I wanted to bake it and I wasn’t disappointed, this is one I will keep coming back to again and again!

Feta Cheese Bread

  • 15g instant yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 600ml warm water
  • 1kg strong white bread flour
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 350g feta cheese, crumbled
  • handful freshly chopped mint leaves
  • black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glaze

Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the water and leave for about 5 mins till frothy.

Mix the flour and salt, add the yeast mixture.  Tip out onto a clean work surface and knead for 7-8 minutes.  You want to dough to be shiny and smooth.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place till doubled in size (Simon says at least two hours, I left mine for nearly three while I did other stuff, didn’t do it any harm!)

Knock the dough back and add the oil, cheese, mint and pepper.  You then knead these into the dough.  This is a bit tricky as the oil makes it all a bit slippery and it feels like it won’t incorporate but persevere with it.  I left the dough in the bowl while I kneaded it this time – would have been very messy on the work surface.

Divide the dough into four and shape each piece into a round loaf.  Place the loaves on a greased and floured baking tray (the biggest one you have!) cover with a damp cloth and leave for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.  Glaze the loaves with the egg wash and bake for 40 minutes.

You will love this bread!  It’s good with oil for dipping – we had some people round for drinks and managed to demolish all four loaves before the evening was through…

Leek and Potato Soup

This soup has proven to be popular with children and adults alike.  Its so easy and quick to make and a great way to use up all those leeks.

  • 4 large leeks
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped small
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 50g butter
  • 850ml hot veg stock (I use Marigold Swiss veg bouillon powder)
  • 275ml milk
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • to serve, chives or parsley (optional)
  • to serve, 2 tbs cream or creme fraiche (optional)

Begin by trimming the leeks, discarding the tough outer layer.  Split them in half lengthways and slice them quite finely.  Wash thoroughly and drain well.

In a large, thick based saucepan, gently melt the butter, then add the leeks, onion and potatoes, stirring them all around with a wooden spoon so that they are coated in the butter.  Season with salt and pepper, then cover and leave the vegatables to sweat over a very low heat for about 15 minutes.

Add the stock and milk, bring to simmering point, cover and let the soup simmer very gently for a further 20 minutes or until the vegtables are soft.  Then simply blitz the whole lot in a blender until smooth.  Return the soup to the saucepan and re-heat gently, checking seasoning to taste.  Stir in any optional extra’s before serving. I like mine with just lots of pepper.