Swiss Cheese and Wild Mushroom Pizza

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This Swiss Cheese and Wild Mushroom Pizza is a treat to myself. I am guilty of complete self indulgence here.

Why, you may be asking?

Pizza in our house used to be quite straightforward. I would make it, tailor the toppings to suit everyone’s preferences and it would be consumed. Of late, although my children are not particularly fussy eaters we have had a bit of problem with pizza. One child likes pizza without cheese, all of a sudden (not really a pizza then), one likes pizza without the tomato sauce, another child just eats it and my husband only really considers pizza to be edible if it is topped with copious amounts spiced meats. Which leaves me, eating pizza that I am not passionate about, just going through the motions.

Not today.

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A Dough Ball Medley

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These little, filled dough balls are my ‘go-to’ bake when I want (or need) to come up with a freshly baked, savoury snack. So they don’t look ‘fancy’ but there are hugely versatile and can be adapted to suit whatever toppings you may have in the fridge, or cupboard.

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Cinnamon Rolls

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These Cinnamon Rolls come highly recommended…

A family friend, on learning about my little baking blog, suggested that I just had to try this recipe. It comes from an American friend of theirs and I am delighted to be sharing this family recipe with you.

So what better time to make these now it is half term, the children are off school, and we all need a warm, sweet, cinnamon pick-me-up during the grey, February days? These are perfect for sharing and are at their best when eaten warm from the oven. Trust me, these are divine.

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To be honest, I don’t tend to make too many sweet dough bakes because they are dangerously good and I eat too many! I used to make Chelsea Buns (a variation on these but with sultanas) quite often with my bread machine, so this is my first attempt at sweet dough buns without the aid of a machine. To be honest it is incredibly easy.

Fundamentally, you need to prepare the dough, prove the dough for about an hour, cream together the filling and prepare the frosting. No fancy pans, ingredients or techniques are required and from start to finish, they are not particularly time consuming to make.

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I made a couple of small changes to the recipe, notably in the method whereby I added the yeast to the lukewarm milk, after it had been scalded, in order for it to dissolve and I melted the butter separately and then combined with the milk/yeast to reduce the risk of any curdling. I also used butter instead of the margarine, as it what I had in the fridge. I also creamed together the butter and sugar for the filling just to make spreading the filling more even and easier.

 

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So maybe you are wondering what makes these Cinnamon Rolls so good? Well, here are my thoughts.

The initial scalding of the milk allows for the baked dough to be super light. The filling quantities can be adjusted to taste if you want it to be more, or less ‘cinnamon-y’. The soft light brown sugar in the filling gives a wonderful caramel-like consistency to the cinnamon filling.

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Now, half way through the bake, you pour double cream over the buns. This adds a lovely creamy, decadent taste but also prevents them from drying out – a very, clever and delicious addition indeed.

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And finally, the frosting. Oh, this is very good! The addition of a little double cream lessens the sweetness but adds smoothness to this vanilla frosting. And the best part is you can either slather it on each bun as thick as you like, or warm slightly so it thins and drizzle over the buns. Absolutely sublime!

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Such a beautiful bake. Thank you so much Lindsay Tripp for sharing ‘Mema Tripp’s’ recipe. I learnt a lot from this bake and will be making them again for sure.

Wonderful for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea or a post supper sweet fix, please go and try them people…

Best wishes Lindsay! x

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Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 225ml whole milk
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 630g strong white bread flour
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 15g (or 2 sachets) of instant active yeast
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100ml double cream (for mid bake)
  • For the filling
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon (or quantity to taste)
  • For the frosting
  • 470g icing sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or extract
  • 100ml double cream

Instructions

  1. Scald the milk in a small saucepan (not quite boiling but very hot to the touch). Set aside and allow to cool a little. In a separate pan, melt the butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt and mix.
  3. Once the milk is lukewarm, add the yeast and mix until dissolved. Ensure the milk is not too hot otherwise the yeast will not activate properly. Add the melted butter to the milk/yeast mixture and combine.
  4. Make a 'well' in the dry ingredients and add the milk/yeast/butter mixture and the two beaten eggs. Thoroughly mix until the dough comes together. Don't worry if it appears a little wet. Place the dough into a lightly oiled (vegetable oil) large bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove somewhere warm for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Cream together in a bowl the butter, both sugars and cinnamon. Adjust the quantity of cinnamon to taste, if you choose. You should have a thick, spreadable paste.
  6. Heavily grease with butter, a 9 inch x 13inch baking pan. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
  7. Once proved, tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, approximately 25cm x 45cm. Spread the filling over the entire rectangle of dough ensuring it is fully covered and evenly distributed. Take the long side and carefully roll the dough into a long, even, tight roll. With a bread knife, cut the ragged ends. Continue with the bread knife (slicing like bread) to slice the roll into 12 equal portions. Equally space the rolls, swirls side down, into the greased baking pan.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, turning the tray half way through. Then pour the double cream over the rolls and return to the oven. Bake for a further 15-17 minutes, rotating the pan as necessary for an even bake. Once the buns are golden brown, remove from the oven.
  9. Prepare the frosting by creaming together all the ingredients until smooth. Spread on the warm buns, as desired, or gently warm the icing and drizzle.
  10. Serve the cinnamon rolls warm.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/cinnamon-rolls/

Source: Lindsay Tripp’s  ‘Mema Tripp’s’ Recipe. Method and quantities (in cup/g conversion) very slightly adapted.

Acharuli Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)

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So is anyone else, apart from me, enthralled by the Winter Olympics in Sochi at the moment?

Whether you are a sports fan or not, I believe these Olympic games offer so much for the spectator. Whether you are an ice hockey fan, a keen skier, a daredevil, a speed junky, or are fascinated by the entrancing figure skating, there is something for everyone here. All the competitors show such unreserved, complete dedication and some go that extra mile. Take the Indian (Independent) Skeleton Competitor, who practises on the hillside roads of India, having never practised on the ice track. Or the 43 year old Peruvian cross country skier who only took up skiing in 2005 and completed the race with a broken rib…just amazing! You can see I am hooked…

Another thing has struck me is how young the competitors are – the 15 year old Russian figure skater, or the 17 year old Japanese half pipe snowboarder – gosh, how old do I feel?

So, what is the relevance to this bake I hear you mutter? Well, it is two fold actually.

Last summer, my brother, who until recently was living in Moscow, challenged me to bake these Khachapuri breads on my blog. He enjoyed his time living in Russia and fully sampled and appreciated the regional cuisine. These breads are something he missed on his return and thought it would be fun for me to try. To be honest, I kept putting this bake off until the wintertime, when we tend to crave more rich, starchy foods. With the eyes of the world on Russia and the Olympics, now is the time to make this traditional  cheese filled bread from Georgia (a neighbouring country to Russia).

So a little about this bread. Khachapuri is a traditional dish of bread filled with cheese, milk and eggs. It can be shaped in various ways and I have made the Acharuli Khachapuri, whereby the dough is formed into an open boat shape and the hot cheese mixture is topped with a raw egg and is then lightly baked further.khachapuri

Whether you are used to making bread dough or not, this recipe is straightforward. No fancy pans are required just a regular baking tray. In terms of ingredients, this dough does not contain salt, which is unusual in bread making. I had assumed that the saltiness would come from the cheese, which indeed it did. Typically a Georgian cheese called Sulguni – a pickled cheese with a consistency of a Dutch cheese – is used. I used feta and Gouda cheese as a substitute and it worked beautifully. I adapted the recipe slightly by increasing the fluid content a little (I like wet doughs!) and by adding a 1/2 teaspoon to give the bread a golden hue.

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khachapuri2This bread is actually a meal in itself. Typically, the egg on top should be just cooked and you are meant to mix it through the cheese, add butter and eat fresh from the oven with a knife and fork. We actually sliced it when it was a little cooler and ate it with cold meats. It would be lovely with a fresh coleslaw or red cabbage. The Khachapuri is a very flavoursome and satisfying bake.

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So I urge you to go to give this a try. Grab the remote, tune in to the Olympics, pick your winter sport, and sample a little regional cuisine in your own home!

For other information and culinary ideas from Georgia, see www.georgiaabout.com

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Acharuli Khachapuri

Makes 2 filled loaves

Ingredients

    For the Khachapuri dough
  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 120ml water, tepid
  • 5g fast action yeast
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 25ml vegetable oil
  • For the filling
  • 200g Gouda cheese, grated
  • 200g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 40g butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk, for brushing

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a freestanding mixer, add the flour and sugar and combine.
  2. In a separate small bowl, add the tepid water to the yeast. Stir and leave for about 5 minutes in order for the mixture to become a little frothy. Add the water/yeast mixture, milk, beaten egg and oil to the flour mixture and combine by hand, or with a dough hook, until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a ball and cover with a tea towel. Allow to prove for a couple of hours, or until the dough has at least doubled in size.
  3. Lightly flour a work surface and tip the proved dough onto it. Knead for about 5 minutes and then divide the dough into two. Line two baking trays with baking parchment and sprinkle them with a little flour. Shape the divided dough into two flat 'boat'/oval shapes and place on the prepared baking trays. Leave for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240 degrees C, or Gas Mark 8 and prepare the filling. In a bowl, crumble the feta cheese, grate the Gouda, add the butter and two eggs. Mix together with a fork until well combined.
  5. Divide the filling equally between the two dough portions. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving about a 5cm perimeter, clear of filling. Wrap the two long sides into the middle, leaving the filling open and visible. Wrap the ends tightly to secure. The bread should look 'boat-like'. Repeat with the second dough and filling.
  6. Reduce the oven to 220 degrees C, Gas Mark 7. Bake both loaves for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven. Brush the loaves with the egg yolk. Break an egg onto the top of each of the loaves and return to the oven for 3 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  7. Serve hot or warm with additional butter, if desired.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/acharuli-khachapuri-georgian-cheese-bread/

Source: Adapted quantities from ‘Georgia About’, www.georgiaabout.com

Easy Cheese Soda Bread

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It has been a while, I know. A belated Happy New Year to you!

To get me back in my blogging rhythm I have decided to share something which is very easy, very quick and does not require a specific trip to the supermarket. This recipe consists of everyday baking goods that you would have in your cupboard, or fridge.

Yes. Soda bread has to be the easiest, and the quickest of all bread to make. No fancy bread flour is required, just regular plain; no yeast needed, so no proving times; no fancy mixers required, just a bowl and spoon (sure, go ahead and use your mixer if you choose) and no specific tins, just a regular baking tray. You don’t even need to get your hands dirty here.

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Traditionally, Irish Soda bread consists of just flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk. I have added an egg here, just to add to the flavour and crumbled blue cheese to complete the deliciousness. You can use any cheese you have, it will taste great. Also, don’t worry if you do not have buttermilk to hand. If I don’t have any, I improvise. I made this earlier in the week with a mixture of double cream and milk, in lieu of the buttermilk, but you could use natural yoghurt also. I had a great result with this substitute, so it works! Just ensure you have the correct overall volume.cheesesodabread-1-4

I, for one (in my mind, anyway), like to think that I am ‘watching what I eat’ now it is the New Year, so bread might not be on your ‘to bake’ list. However, what a great accompaniment this bread makes to some healthy, fresh, hot soup. Pretty good toasted with butter too. Something hearty for a cold, damp January weekend…

Enjoy.

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Easy Cheese Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour, extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400ml buttermilk (or a combination of natural yoghurt/double cream and milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 180g blue cheese, crumbled (or cheese of your choice)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, or Gas Mark 6.
  2. Into a large bowl, or freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add the buttermilk (or alternative) and combine well. Add to the flour mixture and mix slowly. When the dough has nearly come together, add the crumbled cheese. Mix further until a large ball of dough has formed.
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment. Tip the dough directly onto the lined tray. With your hands, form a ball and gently flatten the top. Dust with flour and with a sharp knife, score a cross over the top of the dough.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, checking after 25 minutes until the bread is a rich, golden colour.
  6. Serve warm. Best eaten on the day of baking.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/easy-cheese-soda-bread/

Source: Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s ‘How To Bake’

 

 

 

Panettone with Limoncello

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I am not a huge fan of traditional Christmas cake so I decided to give panettone – the traditional Italian Christmas cake, a try.  For me, I find the traditional cake a little too heavy, too fruity and too boozy (you probably think I am mad for not enjoying these things in a cake!). The super sweet marzipan and heavy icing are needed to compliment the richness of the cake and I just find them all a little too excessive.

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Make way for the panettone! On the contrary, this type of light, sweet bread loaf is enjoyed on mainland Europe and South America during Christmas and the New Year. Typically it contains raisins with zest of citrus fruits and candied peel. I wanted to recreate this light, fluffy delight with purely candied peel, homemade candied lemon and limoncello for a truly zingy, lemon treat.

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Having researched many recipes, this recipe is fairly straightforward and does not require any overnight proofing for a great result. If you are new to bread, or enriched dough, this may seem a little time consuming (not in intense ‘kitchen hours’) but in returning to carry out tasks. If you fancy the challenge and get excited by how dough reacts (I’m sure I am not the only one out there) – this one gets incredibly elastic, stringy and lucid, then definitely give this panettone a try.

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This quantity makes two panettone (the cases measured 16cm diameter). I used special panettone waxed paper cases but you could use tins or moulds. Just ensure they have high sides – this doughy delight is meant to be tall. I also used panettone extract which consists of essential oils of bergamot, orange, lemon, tangerine and vanilla. This adds to my citrusy panettone but you could used lemon, or vanilla, extract instead.

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I am no authority on the subject, but here are a few of my observations for making panettone (based on making this twice!):

Tip No.1 Do not overfill your case/tin. Do not underestimate how much this dough will rise. It will rise on the second proving in the panettone case/tin and again during the baking process.

Tip No.2 Cover the panettone with foil after the first 15 minutes of baking otherwise the top will bake too much.

Tip No.3 Invert the panettone as soon it comes out of the oven to cool. I did this by passing two wooden skewers  through the bottom of the cake and hanging it upside between two containers. Allow to cool completely this way as it prevents the crust from sinking and helps retain the intended shape. If you use mini panettone or muffin cases, you do not need to do this. If you use a tin, allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then remove and invert on a cooling rack.

Tip No.4 Wrap in plastic and foil for storage.

Enjoy this with a sweet liqueur, such as amaretto, or a thick Italian Hot Chocolate as I did (it was the middle of the afternoon after all). I think this is a great, sophisticated bake to start your seasonal baking. Wrap in cellophane and it will make a lovely gift…

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Panettone with Limoncello

Makes 2 loaves (approx. 16cm diameter)

Ingredients

  • 75ml warm water
  • 20g instant active yeast (10g, then 10g)
  • 600g plain flour (100g, then 500g)
  • 115ml whole milk, warm
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs plus 3 egg yolks (2 yolks, then 1 for egg wash)
  • 1 teaspoon panettone extract (or lemon extract)
  • 6 tbsp. limoncello
  • 165g unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 300g candied peel
  • 50g homemade candied lemon peel (see separate post)
  • 1 orange, zest finely grated
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
  • 1 tbsp. double cream
  • sprinkling of sugar nibs (optional)

Instructions

  1. If using the homemade candied lemon peel, make this first, ideally a day ahead. If not, substitute for a further 50g of ready-bought candied peel.
  2. Pour the warm water into a bowl and sprinkle 10g (half of the overall quantity) of yeast over the water. Stir with a fork until it dissolves. Set aside for 10 minutes to stand and once it starts to foam, add 100g of flour and mix with the fork. You should have a thick paste. Cover with food wrap and allow to prove for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pour the warm milk into another bowl and again sprinkle the remaining yeast over it. Once again, stir with a fork to dissolve. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  4. In a further bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, 2 yolks, panettone (or lemon) extract and limoncello. Add the milk - yeast mixture and whisk.
  5. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, mix the butter, salt and flour until it becomes a sandy consistency. Add the egg mixture and beat until smooth. Now add the proved water-yeast mixture and beat on high speed for about 10 minutes. The dough will become very elastic and stringy. Add the candied peel and citrus zest and mix until well combined. Tip the dough into a buttered bowl, cover and allow to prove for about two hours.
  6. If you are using tins or moulds, butter them thoroughly at this point. If you are using waxed paper cases as I have done, there is no need.
  7. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and lightly dust the top with flour so that the dough is not too sticky in the division process. Divide the dough equally in two. Place dough portions in each case and allow to prove for another hour at least.
  8. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C, or gas mark 5. Once proved, brush the tops of the panettone with the egg wash - the egg yolk and double cream beaten together. With a pair of scissors, cut a cross on the top of the dough. The dough will deflate at this stage but it will rise again nicely during the baking process. Sprinkle with sugar nibs (optional).
  9. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 170 degrees C, or gas mark 3 for a further 40 minutes. If the panettone are browning too quickly on top, cover with foil. To test to see if they are baked properly, tap the base. If you have a hollow sound, they are ready.
  10. Remove from the oven. You will need to invert the panettone for the cooling process. This prevents the crust from sinking into the light structure of the loaf. If you are using paper cases, take two skewers and pierce them through the bottom of the cake and rest on two containers. If you are using tins, allow to cool in the tins for about 15 minutes, then remove and place upside down on a wire cooling rack.
  11. Store at room temperature and wrap in food wrap and foil to keep them fresh.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/panettone-with-limoncello/

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart’s ‘Baking Handbook’

 

 

 

Tricolore Braid

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I wanted to post something savoury and satisfying and I think this Tricolore Braid fits that criteria on both counts.

To be honest, my head is spinning with sweet treat ideas at the moment. I am hosting a charity coffee morning this week and I am in a whirl of ideas of what I want to bake, when I will physically bake and finish the cakes as well as all the other jobs that need doing when hosting such an event. If only I could squeeze in some extra hours into the next few days!

Therefore, I wanted to share a bake that I have made on a couple of previous occasions, albeit with different fillings, knowing that this works and is something you will be immensely proud of if you give it a go.

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I have (barely) adapted this braid dough recipe from James Morton’s fabulous ‘Brilliant Bread’ but I have changed the filling to suit my taste. This is my interpretation of a tricolore salad but as a filling in the braid. I have used basil pesto (my own nut-free recipe), buffalo mozzarella and slow roasted tomatoes but you could use sundried tomatoes. You can use whatever you have readily available.

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In fact, the joy of a bread like this is that you can fill it with whatever you have in your fridge or store cupboard. Previously, I have used feta cheese with tapenade and tomato paste, mozzarella pearls with fresh basil. Antipasto is very popular in our house so you could use cured meats, roasted peppers, grilled artichokes. Where shall I draw the line…?

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So what is easy about making this bread? Basically, mix the dough, knead a little (if you choose), prove in the fridge overnight, fill, shape, prove again and bake.

And what is a little tricky? The braid technique in itself is very straight forward. I had intended to photograph the technique but once I started the braid,  I got a little carried away and it totally slipped my mind. As the dough is chilled and it is quite a damp dough, it is rather sticky. Ensure that the surfaces are heavily floured and once you cut the tabs for the braid, stretch apart so they don’t stick together.

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Also, once rolled into a rectangle, trim the dough by a few centimetres at the top and bottom. Otherwise you will struggle to get it on a baking tray as it will be too long and difficult to transfer from the work surface to the prepared baking tray. tricolorebraid-1-9

Now you know these nuances of this bake, this loaf is a wonderfully flavoursome and satisfying snack, lunch or appetizer.

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Tricolore Braid

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting surfaces
  • 1 x 7g sachet instant yeast
  • 10g salt (I use Maldon, ground with a pestle and mortar)
  • 25g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 300ml water
  • 1 egg
  • 20ml olive oil
  • egg wash (beaten egg with a pinch of salt)
  • For the filling
  • 50g pesto (I used my nut-free pesto, see earlier post on Blog)
  • 200g buffalo mozzarella, sliced
  • 150g marinated slow roasted tomatoes (I used ready-bought)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, or a large bowl, place the flour, the salt one side of the bowl and the yeast the other. Mix, or rub in the butter and add the water, egg and olive oil until a dough comes together.
  2. Tip the somewhat wet dough onto a heavily floured work surface and knead for about 5-10 minutes. Form into a ball shape and put into a lightly oiled, large bowl. Cover with food wrap and chill in the fridge overnight, or until the dough has at least doubled in size.
  3. When you are ready to shape the dough, heavily flour the work surface. As this dough is quite wet and chilled, it is prone to sticking so it is important to ensure the surface is well floured. Tip the dough onto the surface and flour the top, damp side. With a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle, with the narrow edge towards you until the dough is approximately 1cm thick. Trim approximately 3cm at the top and bottom of the dough. Discard, or use for a 'taster' portion (see note below).
  4. Imagine your dough in thirds, the centre third being where you will fill the dough. Spread the pesto onto the centre third. Add the sliced mozzarella and then the tomatoes, ensuring they are no gaps - you want a good sample of all three ingredients in every slice.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the braids at angles from the middle third to the outer thirds. Each braid should be about 3 cm wide. Starting at one end, fold each tab over the opposite tab, covering the filling and tucking it in, if need be. Continue all the way along until the braid is complete. Transfer carefully to a baking tray lined with parchment. Cover with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place to prove for approximately 40 minutes.
  6. Prepare the egg wash by beating an egg and adding a pinch of salt. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C, or Gas Mark 7. Have a jug of cold water ready.
  7. Once proved for the second time, brush with egg wash and bake. Add the water to a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven to create steam and a fine crust.
  8. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the crust reaches a light brown, golden colour.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  10. Serve.

Notes

This quantity gives a very long braid. I have therefore trimmed a little off the top and bottom of the dough in the rolling process to make it a little more manageable. I was going to pro-rata the quantities but for ease it is easier just to trim instead of weighing out eggs. Use the 'trim' as a taster or experiment with different flavours.

http://thecontentedbaker.com/tricolore-braid/

Source: Barely adapted dough recipe and adapted filling from James Morton’s ‘Brilliant Bread’

 

Roasted Garlic Baguettes

garlicbaguette-1-2These rather ordinary looking baguettes have delicious roasted garlic throughout.

Now that we are officially in Autumn and the weather calls for more warming food, these go perfectly with hot pasta, soup, or are actually great on their own.

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These crusty, mini baguettes (my domestic oven doesn’t allow for super long ones!) are very easy to make, whether you use choose to fill with garlic, or not.

I looked at many recipes and techniques for making these and I am all for making them as time efficiently as possible. I recently purchased James Morton’s – runner up in 2012 GBBO – ‘Brilliant Bread’ book and the clue is in the title – it is indeed BRILLIANT! He suggests numerous helpful ways to improve the taste, quality and production of homemade bread. One of which I have now adopted in my numerous bread making efforts to much success – the proving of bread overnight, in the fridge. Not only does the dough prove beautifully, it adds to the wholesome flavour of the bread. This method has totally changed my bread making schedule. I tend to mix the ingredients together in the evening, prove in the fridge over night, shape once I have dropped the children at school and by mid morning have a beautiful, freshly baked loaf.

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You will notice that I have used a baguette baking tray. I have been hankering to get one of these for sometime and last weekend I went to the Cake and Bake show and managed to find one! My husband jokingly offered to customise one of my existing baking trays by bending and perforating  – he thinks I have far too many baking trays, but surely I need the correct tools?

Seriously though, if you not such a baking addict as myself but want to give these a try, a regular baking tray would work.

They are addictively delicious and you will keep wanting to rip another piece off they taste so good. In my opinion, the ultimate garlic bread…

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Roasted Garlic Baguettes

Makes 4 mini baguettes

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting surface
  • 330ml water
  • 10g salt
  • 7g instant active yeast (1 x sachet)
  • 1 Garlic bulb
  • Olive oil for drizzling garlic

Instructions

  1. Put the flour into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the dough hook attached. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add the water and mix. (If you are not using a mixer, rub the flour and yeast together, add the salt and then the water to form a dough).
  2. When the dough has come together, tip it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for approximately 5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a lightly greased large bowl, cover with a tea towel and place in the fridge to prove overnight, or for 8-12 hours.
  3. Prior to shaping the baguettes, preheat the oven to 170 degrees C, or Gas Mark 3. Cut the top of the garlic bulb, exposing the top of the cloves, place on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the cloves are softened and roasted. Once baked, allow to cool and remove the cloves from the skin.
  4. To shape the baguettes, tip the dough directly on a floured work surface. Sprinkle some flour onto the top damp side of the dough. Fold the top section of dough into the middle and then the bottom section up to the middle also, forming a crease in the centre. The dough should now be sausage shaped. Cut the dough into four equal portions.
  5. Taking one portion as a time, take a piece of dough, crease side up and stretch out a little. Add some of the roasted garlic along the centre of the dough (to ensure there is garlic in each piece of cut baguette). Again fold the top of the dough down to the middle, covering the garlic and fold the bottom part of the dough up. With your hands, roll the dough back and forth to form a thinner baguette. Roll the dough until it is the length of the baking tray. Place on the baguette tray, or baking tray. Repeat with the three further pieces of dough.
  6. Cover the baguettes in a plastic bag and allow to prove for a further 30 minutes in a warm place.
  7. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C, or Gas Mark 7. Once proved, slice the baguette dough with a sharp knife in diagonal lines. Add cold water to a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven (to create steam) and bake the baguettes for approximately 15 minutes. Turn the tin half way through the bake time to achieve an even bake, if need be. The baguettes are ready when they have a dark golden crust.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/roasted-garlic-baguettes/

Source: Recipe adapted from ‘Bakery Bits’ Baguette Tray leaflet and method adapted from James Morton’s ‘Brilliant Bread’

 

Baked Doughnut Selection

bakeddoughnuts-1-6My children have been asking me for sometime to make them doughnuts.

A month or so ago, I attempted to make a rather delicious sounding ‘Old Fashioned’ fried doughnut. Unfortunately, it was a complete disaster. The dough was too wet and did not retain the ‘ring’ shape in the frying process and ended up as random dollops of fried dough – not a pretty sight. They did taste good but my son said, ‘you’re no good at doughnuts Mum’.

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Not to be defeated, I gave these baked doughnuts a try. Having played around with flour, milk, buttermilk, yoghurt and flavour combinations, these are my third attempt with which I am very happy. They have a good rise, are fabulously light, are not overly sweet, have a hint of cinnamon and are baked. That makes them a more guilt-free option over the fried variety.

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Baked doughnuts can be prepared either by using a ‘doughnut’ baking pan, piping the dough into rings (both of these methods have a slightly wetter dough) or by rolling the dough and using a doughnut cutter, as I have done. You can buy the cutters fairly cheaply online, alternatively, most specialist cook shops should have them. I have used a 7cm diameter cutter so these are ‘midsize’ doughnuts – a perfect size for children.

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I have presented a selection of glaze and toppings. In our house everyone has their preferences and if you are  going to the effort to make these tasty morsels, you may as well keep everyone happy by offering a choice of toppings.

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Not only do children and adults alike enjoy these doughnuts, these are a fun bake to do with children. They love to help with the measuring of the ingredients, adding ingredients to the mixer (with supervision), cutting the doughnuts (warning: the dough is pretty soft and delicate) and of course, the glazing and decorating is the real fun for them.

These are best eaten fresh, warm and the day they are baked. They are a real hit and everyone will enjoy them. Perfect for the weekend!

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Baked Doughnut Selection

Approximately 20 mid-size doughnuts

Ingredients

  • 420g plain flour, plus extra for dusting surfaces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 7g (1 x sachet) instant active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 150g natural yogurt,
  • 75ml whole milk
  • 110g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Chocolate Topping
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Glaze and Sprinkle Topping
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp. milk
  • Sprinkles of your choice

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, sieve together the flour and cinnamon and mix together. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a freestanding mixture, with a paddle attachment, beat together the egg and sugar. Add the yeast, salt and honey. Mix further.
  3. Mix together the natural yoghurt and milk in microwave-proof dish, or cup. Warm the milk mixture in the microwave for approximately 20-30 seconds until lightly warmed. Add the warmed mixture to the mixing bowl and beat until fully incorporated. Slowly add approximately one third of the flour.
  4. Change the mixing attachment to the dough hook. Add the butter to the mixture, in small amounts, whilst the dough hook is mixing, ensuring that each amount is well incorporated. Add the remainder of the flour in small amounts until the dough comes together.
  5. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a little until the dough is smooth and less moist. Form into a ball and place into a lightly greased large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for approximately 1 hour.
  6. Prepare two baking trays by lining with baking parchment.
  7. Once proved, again tip the dough on a floured work surface and knock the air out of the dough. Roll the dough until approximately 1/2 inch thick. With a cutter, cut the doughnuts and place on the prepared baking tray. With the off cuts, form into a smooth ball by stretching the dough over the creases and roll again to repeat the cutting.
  8. Cover the two trays with plastic bags and allow to prove for a further 20-30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C or Gas Mark 6.
  10. Bake the doughnuts for approximately 8 minutes (check after 5 minutes) until the doughnuts are a light golden colour.
  11. Place on a cooling rack and glaze, or sugar, whilst still warm. Enjoy warm.
  12. For the Chocolate Topping
  13. Sieve together the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add the water and stir thoroughly until you reach a smooth paste. Invert the warm doughnut and dip into the chocolate topping mixture.
  14. For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  15. Place the caster sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl and mix together thoroughly. Melt the butter and then brush the doughnuts with the butter. Dip into the sugar mixture and cover entirely.
  16. For the Glaze and Sprinkle Topping
  17. Sieve the icing sugar into a shallow bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of milk and mix until you reach a smooth paste. Pour the sprinkles onto a saucer. Invert the doughnut and dip into the glaze and then dip the glaze into the sprinkles.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/baked-doughnut-selection/

Source: Adapted from Lara Ferroni’s ‘Doughnuts’