Category Archives: Recipes

Project BreadHead: 13 Scottish Oatcakes

Second bake for this weekend from my Project BreadHead is a batch of Scottish Oatcakes! From Scotland. Obviously.

Ingredients:

Medium/fine oatmeal (I used medium), salt, bicarb of soda, melted butter, hot water.

Mix the oatmeal, salt and butter together in a bowl. Add enough water to turn this into a dough.

Cut the dough in half, roll out to about 5mm thick, cut into four quarters. Fry on a very low heat for 5 minutes, flip over and fry for another minute.

This one was super quick to make and I can see this being done for the odd breakfast here and there.

Project BreadHead: 12 Barley Bannock

Oh my goodness! It’s been almost EIGHT WEEKS since I last made bread! How did that happen?! Well, busy work project, a holiday and the temptation of the breadmaker! So I’ve made up for it this weekend by making two at once!

First up from my Project BreadHead is the Barley Bannock, a flat bread from Scotland.

Ingredients:

Barley flour, wholemeal plain flour, salt, cream of tartar, margarine, buttermilk and bicarb of soda.

If you don’t have any buttermilk (I couldn’t find any for love nor money) then add 1 tsp of lemon juice to some milk and leave it out for about an hour to sour.

Sift the flours, salt and cream of tartar into a bowl. Add the margarine and rub into breadcrumbs.

Mix the milk and bicarb together and when it starts to bubble, mix it into the flour. Make a soft dough, not too firm though.

Lightly flour a surface and pat out the dough to about 2 cm thick. Mark the dough into four wedges.

Add to a lightly oiled griddle/frying pan and bake for 10 minutes on a low heat.

Turn over and bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve warm!

This bread is delicious. Goes well with soup!

Project BreadHead: 11 Cornish Saffron Breads

All caught up with the recipes I’ve done so far. I’ve tested some of the others later on in the book to vary things up a little but didn’t take any pictures. I’ll re-do them in order. Now though, here’s bread number 11 from Project BreadHead. Cornish Saffron Breads!

I had been looking forward to this for a while. The saffron strands needed here cost an arm and a leg so I was really hoping this would be nice. I was rather disappointed to find out it wasn’t! Well, not to me. I thought I’d made it badly but I let a few other people try it and they liked it so I guess it’s just me!

Ingredients:

Salt, yeast, caster sugar, milk, white bread flour, ground almonds, dried fruit, saffron strands, cinnamon, nutmeg and unsalted butter.

Make up your milk and heat half until boiling point. Place the saffron strands in a bowl and pour over the milk. Leave to infuse for 30 mins.

Nothing much happens, just turns the milk yellow. Like crap Coco Pops!

Heat the remaining milk until lukewarm. Mix 50g of the flour and (non activated) yeast in a bowl and stir in the milk. Leave for 15 minutes.

It grows pretty quickly so make you have a big enough bowl.

Mix the remaining flour, almonds, spices, sugar and salt together. Pour in the saffron mix and the yeast mix. Add some softened butter. Mix to make a soft dough. Knead for 5 minutes. Leave to rise for 2 hours.

It should double in size. Knock back and knead in the fruit.

Divide in two and shape to loaf tin size. Then place in two loaf tins. Leave to rise for 90 minutes.

Bake on gas mark 5 for 20 mins. Make a glaze with milk and sugar and as soon as the loaves come out of the oven, glaze them. Leave in the tins for 5 minutes to cool then turn out on to a wire rack.

I knocked my tins accidentally while moving them to the oven. That knocked some air out so they were a bit stodgy. That didn’t bother me really, I just thought the flavour was a bit rank. Oh well. Can’t win them all!

Project BreadHead: 10 Lardy Cake

Well, as you can see from previous posts, life has been a little hectic recently. After spending a couple of months working at 29% capacity, I spent the last two at 110%. And that doesn’t include all the hours I spend on pointless non-billable admin! In November there were 165 work hours on a 9.00-5.30 rota. I worked over 255! Didn’t leave an awful lot of time for anything else, that’s for sure!

Things are quietening down now though so I made bread number 10 from Project BreadHead. Lardy Cake! It sounds gross but it’s not. It’s actually really quite delicious!

Ingredients:

Mixed spice, caster sugar, light brown sugar, salt, mixed fruit, lard, yeast, white bread flour and sunflower oil.

Mix up your yeast and leave for 15 minutes in a warm place so it goes foamy. No point starting with dead yeast!

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast and the remaining water. Knead for 10 minutes and leave to rise, covered with cling film, for an hour.

Knock back the dough and knead gently for 3 minutes. Roll out into a rectangle. Take half the lard and cover two thirds of the dough with small squares.

Sprinkle over half the sugar and half the dried fruit and mixed spice. Fold the bottom up and the top third down and seal with a rolling pin.

Turn the dough 90 degress. With the remaining ingredients, repeat the last two steps. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 45 mins.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Brush the top of the dough with sunflower oil and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake for 30 mins or until golden. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.

Like I say, this was actually really nice. I had to keep reminding myself this was a bread not a cake. Even though it’s called a cake. But it’s not. Anyways, enjoy!

Recipe: Individual Stollen

It’s almost Christmas!! And that means…STOLLEN!!

I mentioned in my last post that I make stollen every year. One year I make a loaf, the next I make individual muffin sized stollen, each with their own little piece of marzipan. This year it’s the latter and I’ve gone all out. Rather than just making muffins, I bought a dariole mould and some galvanised buckets!

The Project Breadhead book has a stollen recipe but I’m not using that one as it’s specifically for a loaf so I’ll do that next year, then modify the year after to individual stollen. The recipe I’m using is from an old Waitrose magazine we have, modified through the years.

Ingredients:

175g mixed dried fruit
50g glacé cherries, chopped
50g ground almonds
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
375g strong white bread flour
1 sachet dried yeast
50g caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
65g unsalted butter, melted
150ml warm milk
200g white marzipan
Icing sugar

In a bowl mix the dried fruit, cherries, almonds, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Cover and leave to stand.

In another bowl, add the flour, yeast and sugar.

Add the egg, 50g of the butter and the milk. Mix to form a dough and knead for ten minutes. Leave to rise for 90 minutes.

Knead in the fruit and leave to rise for 20 minutes. It won’t rise much as it’s just too heavy!

Prepare your dariole mould/muffin tin by greasing or lining with parchment. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5. Cut the marzipan into ten equal pieces. Roll out the dough and split into 10 pieces. Add the marzipan to each one and then roll into a ball.

Squeeze the dough balls into the dariole mould/muffin tin and leave for 20 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes.

Yum!

If you’re taking it an extra step, remove from the muffin tins and place in the galvanised buckets! Brush with melted butter and dust liberally with icing sugar.

Dariole mould and buckets available on ebay by the way!

We’ve had two of these already and they were delicious. The rest, you can wrap in plastic and put in the freezer until Christmas. Defrost overnight and serve up for breakfast on Christmas day while you open your stockings!

Project BreadHead: 09 English Muffins

Back after a slight break. I made too much bread in one go and made myself ill eating it all! Felt very doughy for a few days!

This week it’s number 9 of Project BreadHead. English Muffins! I love muffins and if you read to the end, I’ll show you why!

Ingredients:

White bread flour, salt, lukewarm milk, caster sugar, yeast and olive oil.

Make your milk if necessary.

Take 150ml of the milk and mix with the sugar and yeast. Leave for 15 mins.

In the meantime, sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.

When the yeast is ready it will look nice and foamy! Mix in the rest of the milk and the oil and stir.

Pour into the flour.

Mix well for about 5 minutes. I got my hands in there!! It will be soft but hold it’s form. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for an hour.

It should be at least double in size when done.

Knock it back and roll it out onto a floured surface. Roll it to about 1cm thick. Cut it into circles. The book said proper circles but all I have is crimped cutters. Doesn’t matter much, when it rises again and then cooks, the crimps disappear! I’m such an amateur! Leave these to rise on a baking tray, covered with a towel, for 30 minutes. Don’t worry if they don’t rise much at this point. They will!

Lightly oil a frying pan and cook in batches. I started with 4 but got bored and then did 6 at a time. Book said fry them for 7 mins each side but mine were quite small so I did them for 5 mins each side. Also because I was bored! 😉

Tada!

Now, to serve these, don’t cut through them. Score round the middle first…

…then tear them open!

They are better with a rough centre.

Now for the best part. Eggs Benedict! Take the muffins, toast them very lightly, cover them in ham. here I’m using German Brunswick Ham from Waitrose.

Poach some eggs. To do this, boil some water in a pan and add some drops of vinegar, drop in two eggs, reduce the gas, leave for 2 mins, drain and sit on top of the ham.

Cover with Hollandaise sauce and black pepper. Breakfast this morning was absolutely delicious. Even better when you’ve made it yourself!

Project BreadHead: 08 Crumpets

Bring on the crumpets!

Busy weekend, made two breads. Feeling very doughy! Number 8 of Project BreadHead. Crumpets! I made some crumpets at Valentines with some heart shaped fried egg templates. They were a bit greasy. This recipe is much better!

Ingredients:

Plain flour, white bread flour, salt, milk, water, sunflower oil, caster sugar, yeast, bicarb of soda, more water!

Sift the two flours with the salt into a bowl.

Mix the milk and water and heat to lukewarm. Add the oil and sugar and mix.

Mix the yeast with 150ml of this milk mix. Leave for 15 minutes. This is instead of just mixing yeast with water, not in addition to. You end up with a super frothy yeast mix!

Mix everything into the flour and beat for 5 minutes. It should be quite creamy. Cover with cling film and leave for 90 minutes in a warm place. When it’s done it should have lots of bubbles in it!

Mix the bicarb and water. Mix into the dough. Cover and leave for another 30 minutes. You should have more finer bubbles.

Heat a griddle pan on a medium heat. Add the crumpet rings. Add 1/2tsp of oil. Half fill the rings with dough. Leave for 7 minutes, remove the ring, flip over and cook for 2 mins. Repeat. You should get about 20 crumpets.

Leave them to cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter, jam, honey etc etc!

Again, these can be frozen for later. Enjoy!

Project BreadHead: 07 Shaped Dinner Rolls

Keep rollin’, rollin’ rollin’!

Back on track now with loaf number 7 of Project BreadHead. This week it’s Shaped Dinner Rolls. I made similar in the last bread making class but they didn’t turn out as nice as these did. Not sure why, it’s a similar recipe. I think that class is cursed, everything I bring home is rubbish. Maybe someone switches it when I’m not looking!

Ingredients:

White bread flour, salt, caster sugar, easy bake yeast, butter, milk, egg, poppy seeds, sesame seeds.

Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl. I got new bowls this week, they’re much better!

Add the egg and the milk and mix to form a dough. Turn out and knead for 10 minutes. I opted not to flour my surface for this one, I wanted to keep the dough quite moist.

Leave to rise, covered with cling film, for an hour. New bowls have more space, can’t escape now!!

Turn out, knead for 2 minutes then cut into 12 equal pieces. I did this in class and they were still too big so I cut into 16. Roll them into balls.

At this point, you have many options with what you can do. Here are the ones I went for:

Trefoils. Roll the ball into an oblong.

Cut into three pieces and stick together.

Braids. Roll into an oblong and cut into three pieces.

Roll the pieces out evenly.

Braid them. Pinch the top of the three pieces together. Then you want to focus only on the middle piece i.e. whichever piece becomes the middle after a movement. Take the middle left, then right, then left, then right, then squeeze the ends together to seal. That would look like 123, 213, 231, 321, 312. If you can picture that!

Batons. Roll into oblongs and slash across. They’re bit more fragile at this size. Looks like a slug!

Cottage loaf. Split into two, two thirds and one third. Sit one on top of the other. Press a hole in the middle with a wooden spoon handle.

Finally, I made a knot but I forgot to get a picture of it. Roll it out really long, then make a knot. Simple!

Leave to rise for 30 mins under some cling film. Glaze with an egg yolk and sprinkle with the seeds. Your choice how many of each, how liberally etc. Bake on Gas Mark 7 for for 15-18 minutes. Then cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy! These are some of the nicest rolls I’ve ever tasted but they quickly lose their freshness so freeze the excess.

Project BreadHead: 05 Welsh Clay Pot Loaves

Well, loaf!

Hello again! I’m jumping back to loaf number 5 of Project BreadHead this week after getting a clay pot. Only got one because they’re so big. The smaller ones at the garden centre were plastic. Had a sneaky suspicion that they wouldn’t bake so well!!

Ingredients:

Wholemeal and White Flour, salt, yeast, milk, water, butter, mixed herbs. Again, I used milk powder for the milk. The recipe called for chives, parsley and sage but I just went for mixed herbs. It also wanted an egg for glazing but we were out of eggs! Shocking!

Time to prepare the yeast. Mix in with 150ml water.

Cover with cling film and leave to rise.

After about 10 minutes, you should get a nice foamy layer on top.

Prepare your milk mix if using this.

Slowly pour the milk into the yeast and stir to keep smooth.

Sift the salt and both the flours into a bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Pour in the yeast and milk mix. Take some of the flour from the outer edge and cover the centre well. Leave for 15 minutes, covered with cling film.

Add the water, melted butter and herbs and mix to make a dough. Mine was quite wet so I added more flour to absorb the excess liquid.

Knead for 10 minutes and then place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave for 1.5 hours.

Mahoosive!

Prepare a clay pot! Ideally you would do this a couple of days before starting your bake. Buy an ordinary terracotta pot from a garden centre. Liberally coat in oil inside and out and bake on gas mark 6 for 30 minutes. Leave to cool. Repeat several times. I did mine 4 times. The first time you do it, the pot will go really dry. After another 3 bakes, it will retain the moisture from the oil. This apparently makes it easier to remove the bread when done.

Knock back the dough. Don’t knead, just shape and place in the clay pot.

Leave to rise until it comes to the top.

Glaze and add a topping e.g. fennel seeds or wholemeal flakes.

Preheat the oven on gas mark 6. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the pot and leave to cool. This can be difficult!!

And done! It’s interesting having a completely rounded bread with no crusts. I still question why anyone thought baking in a flower pot was a good idea though. Ah the Welsh! Bless ’em! My pot is going out in the garden now. With a plant in it.

Until next time!

Bread Making 101: Standard Rustic Loaf

You’re very lucky today. Yesterday, I made two loaves! Loaf 6 from Project BreadHead and the one I’m about to detail below.

Prior to buying the book I’m basing project breadhead on, I enrolled on a course at the local college to learn how to make bread, or more specifically, to pick up some techniques I might not otherwise come across from just reading a book. That course started this week and I’ve already learnt a new skill. Win!

The course is massively over subscribed so I’m glad I got my enrollment in super early. I’ve never really had much success with adult courses in the past. I either get kicked off them due to an admin fuck up, I miss them due to work commitments or the tutor fails to turn up. Well, that last one, he got knocked off his bike and broke his shoulder so I’ll let him off!

When I was at proper school, 14 or so, I enrolled on an evening course to do programming. Actual school was boring as fuck and I needed more! I turned up, signed in, sat down amongst all these 40 somethings and joined in. I picked it all up really easy and surprised the hell out of the tutor and the guy sat next to me who was a professional programmer learning a new language. At the end of the lesson, the tutor took me to one side and told me I couldn’t come back because I was under age and I shouldn’t have been allowed to enrol. She was really apologetic and really wanted me to stay but her hands were tied.

Getting back on track, this course looks good but it’s questionable how good the bread will be that we make on the night given the short amount of time we have. The one I made on the night was a big solid lump of dough. I don’t think it had enough time to rise. Didn’t even eat it, just slung it in the green bin. However the recipe looked good so I decided to make it at home.

Recipe:

3tsp dried yeast, 320ml warm water, 1tsp brown sugar, 300g white bread flour, 200g whole wheat flour, 2tsp salt. The whole wheat flour can be any type you like, I used the granary flour from the first loaf of project breadhead. Sieved out the flakes first!

Mix up your yeast. However, with this one, we’re adding sugar and all the water at once. I’ve done this before and it really helps get a good rise if you’re using whole wheat. I don’t think you need sugar in a white loaf. The yeast will get really foamy and smell like a really sweet beer.

Mix your flours together and add the salt. Make a well in the centre.

Add the yeast and mix to form a dough, then knead for 10 minutes until it gets elasticy. I’ve found that when you work with whole wheat flour, the whole loaf is heavier and drier so it won’t get as elastic and you will need some more water on hand.

Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for about an hour. As I was making the other loaf at the same time and the oven was being used for dinner, this ended up being left on its first prove for about three hours. A new tip learned from the course is that it doesn’t matter how long you leave the first prove. You can leave it overnight if you wish. Doesn’t make a difference to the end result.

Once risen, knock it back and knead very gently for a minute or so. My next new tip was the art of shaping. I’ve never really cared too much for this but I can see it coming in useful for certain loaves. Use the heel of your hand and push the dough away, turning it as you go. Use the palm of your other hand to help roll this around until you have a nice, even, smooth surface. The bottom will still be flat but that’s ok. Roll in flour and place on a baking tray and leave to rise for 30 mins. The second prove you can’t leave for long.

Slice a cross into the centre of the dough with a sharp knife and leave for 15-20 mins. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 while this is rising. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes. You can use a tray of water to keep the moisture up in the oven to make the bread softer.

Leave to cool on a wire rack. Slice to serve.

I like these rustic breads toasted, buttered and served with an egg! I bet you’re thinking I made that eggcup as a kid and I’ve kept it and it’s really sweet right? No such luck, I’m just really crap at pottery painting, I made that when I was about 23!!

Next week we’ll be making dinner rolls which is perfect timing because I have to make those for Project BreadHead soon too.

Project BreadHead: 06 Split Tin

Hello. I’m jumping ahead a bit to loaf number 6 of Project BreadHead because I don’t have any clay pots for loaf 5 yet. Hopefully get those this weekend! But in the meantime, here is my attempt at the Split Tin:

Ingredients:

Flour, salt, yeast, milk and water. Again, I used milk powder as soya milk doesn’t work so well.

Mix up your yeast in a jar and leave for 10 minutes. Should get a bit foamy and a lot smelly!!

Mix the salt and flour and sift. Create a well and pour in the yeast mixture.

Now, the recipe says you should get a batter and to keep adding flour until fully mixed and then to leave for 20 minutes. It should turn to a sponge and bubble on top. Then you add the milk and mix to a dough. Mine didn’t do that. It just went straight to dough. Not sure why, I think I need a bigger mixing bowl so I can gradually add the flour. I might try this loaf again at some point, it’s a really handy shape for sandwiches so I can definitely see a future use. Knead for 10 minutes and leave to rise for around an hour. I made a second loaf today and left both of them to rise for longer than an hour while I juggled them.

Knock back the risen dough and knead gently for a couple of minutes and shape into a rectangle and place inside a loaf tin. Leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

Use a sharp knife and score down the middle and leave for 15 minutes. Originally, bakers would put two doughs into one tin to create the split but it’s just easier to slice it.

Bake on gas mark 8 for 15 minutes, turn down to gas mark 6 and bake for 25 minutes more. Tapping the bottom should give a hollow sound. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Looking at the result I should’ve sliced much deeper, almost replicating the two dough method.

Slice.

Serve. Last time it was a Quorn chicken burger. This time it’s roast pork. Much better!!

Project BreadHead: 04 Cottage Loaf

Time for loaf number 4 of Project BreadHead. The Cottage Loaf!

Here are the ingredients:

Flour, salt, yeast and water. More yeast than usual!

Mix your yeast mixture and leave to dissolve for 10 minutes. In the meantime, sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.

When the yeast mix is ready add to the flour and salt and top up with water.

Knead for 10 minutes and place in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for an hour.

When the dough is rising you should notice the bowl fill with gas.

When the time is up, knock it back and knead for a couple of minutes. Split into two balls, two thirds and one third.

Put each ball on a baking sheet and cover with an upturned bowl. Leave for 30 minutes.

Flatten the base with a knife and cut a small cross in the centre.

Brush the base with water and then place the smaller ball on top. Push down into the centre until you reach the base. Leave for 10 minutes.

Cut into the dough around the edges of the base and the upper layer in 5cm intervals. Bake on gas mark 7 for 35 minutes. Tap the base and if it’s hollow, it’s ready.

Slice. Enjoy.

This one is a bit plain and dry but nice enough when toasted or in a sandwich.

Thanks for reading, see you next time!