Bread, Sweet

Accidental cinnamon roll loaf

My daughter always asks me why I don’t make pizza on Friday like her grandad does and unfortunately my answer is because I don’t have time when I’m back from work.

I love making bread and bread based things, there’s something so satisfying about doing it all by hand and the smell when they’re baking is just wonderful.

But with a full time job and 2 children I don’t get much chance to do it, so I decided – let’s make bread!

I was initially going to make bagles but I’ve decided to leave these till a weekend or Friday morning so we can have fresh ones when my daughter is home… Now we have cinnamon rolls instead.

Well, to be honest they expanded much more than I thought they would so instead of eating them as an individual roll, you cut a slice as they formed a nice loaf.

I kneaded these by hand, which was a really bad idea as I don’t seem to have enough energy to do that and the cramp wasn’t fun. Next time I’ll just get out the Kenwood mixer with the dough hook. They did get about 15 minutes kneading but I don’t know if this was enough so I’ll have to let you know when I’ve eaten all of it some.

I only made a small batch as everyone is on their post Christmas diets so this recipe just made 6 roles instead of 12.


Yummy squidgy cinnamon rolls (loaf)

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Makes 6 rolls or one loaf

  • 7g dried active baking yeast
  • 7 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 220ml warm water (should just feel warm on your skin)
  • 400g strong plain white flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar mixed with ground cinnamon (or use sweet cinnamon, like I did which is already combined with sugar)

Method

Mix up the water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and leave it for a few minutes till it starts to look frothy.

In another bowl add the salt, flour, egg and oil. You can make a little well in the middle but if you’re doing the initial mixing in a bowl you don’t need to worry about it running off the kitchen counter.

Mix the water and yeast mix into the other bowl with the flour. You’ll need to stir till you have no lumps left and it’s starting to look like dough.

Now comes the hard work. On a floured surface knead your dough. It will be sticky and hard to work with but keep going (till your arms hurt and then some more) and it will start to stick to itself and not everything around it.

When it’s been kneaded for at least 10-15 minutes then put it in a bowl that’s been lightly oiled and cover with clingfilm or a tea towel.

Now you can rest and have a cuppa tea as you’ll need to just wait about an hour for it to rise.

After its risen and looks much bigger then take it out, give it a quick knead and divide into 6 pieces.

Roll each piece into a rectangle and spread over the cinnamon sugar mix to each bit then roll it from one end to the other.

Put all 6 little rolls into a non stick or oiled tray, close together but not touching and cover them again to let them rise. This will be 40 mins – hour depending on how warm your kitchen is.

For me I put them too close and they merged and made a very interesting swirl bread.

Pre heat the oven to 180c and bake for approx. 30 mins.

Cool on a rack

You can add whatever topping you like but I went with the classic cream cheese

Cream cheese mixed with icing sugar and a splash of milk. Otherwise you could have this with custard or just icing sugar and water.

I gave it a dusting of cinnamon, as you can never have too much and ta-dah all done.

It won’t last too long as it’s home made bread and also rediculously tasty but keep it in a sealed container.

Bread, Savoury

Baking rosemary bread rolls in Italy

I love Italy, I love the food, people and atmosphere, I feel very at home there which is good as this year will probably be my 28th time I’ve been there to the same place in Italy for holiday. A few years ago my dad inherited a family house, a very old house which is stuck in the 1950s with no boiler or hot water. We cook on a gas stove but I think it’s great.

This year I decided that I wanted to make the bread for our lunch times (as the crusty dry loaves we eat every day hurt my teeth). I bought the yeast with me from the UK but everything else I got when I was there.

I made 3 different types of bread with varying degrees of success, though I was pleased with any success since I had no scales to measure my ingredients with!*

The recipe and pictures today are from my bread rolls. They are so very simple but I managed to get them to work and we ate them all up very fast.

*How I measured the flour without scales was to buy 1kg bags of flour and guess that it’s half of it. Simples.


Rosemary bread rolls

  • 500g bread flour
  • 2 tsp dry fast acting yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Chopped up rosemary (or you could substitute for any dry herb, I used fresh rosemary)

In a bowl add all of your dry ingredients, except the rosemary,making sure that the salt is on the otherside to your yeast.

Make a well in the middle and pour most of the water and the oil into the centre.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture till it starts to come together then add in the last bit of water and mix.

Tip onto a clean work surface and start to knead the bread. At first it will be very sticky and you’ll want to add extra flour…don’t! Trust me, it will start to come together into a dough.

Keep kneading till it looks like dough and doesn’t stick to everything like glue. This will take at least 10 mins by hand.

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave till the dough has risen well (in Italy this was about an hour as it was so hot, in UK temperatures it’s probably closer to 2 hours)

Once risen put back onto the work surface and ‘knock back’ which is to knead the dough a bit more. Now add your herbs at this point.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces and roll into ball shapes. Put them close but not touching on your baking tray. I’d line a baking tray with non-stick paper and flour generously. Cover very loosely.

Heat the oven to 220c and let the dough rise for another hour.

Bake for 15 minutes until lovely, golden and happy to see you.

Cake, Sweet

Earl Grey Tea Bread

Surprisingly for someone who loves tea as much as I do, it took me until my 32nd birthday to try tea bread.
I don’t know why I never had this before its lovely! And as you’d expect from the name it goes perfect with my copious amounts of tea.

My boyfriend bought me my first ever one as a birthday present and it came from an expensive artisan shop so when I tried it it was beautiful. The next one I tried was from Aldi – I never noticed it in there before but now I suddenly saw it.

Now, had I tried the Aldi one first I’d have loved it but as I had the Buxton tea bread it just didn’t taste anywhere near as good.

As usual this prompted me to try and make my own version. I used this recipe but changed the tea.

Good to know – Tea Loaf

This is the recipe I have used for my base but instead of Roobios I have used a lovely loose Earl Grey tea to infuse my fruit. I left it for about 5 hours to soak and I also added some extra mixed spice and some cinnamon. To top the cake off, for the last 20 minutes I have sprinkled the cake with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Unfortunately I can’t tell you how this has come out yet because although the cake looks and smells amazing, it says to wait at least two days!

I’m stuck looking at a lovely hot cake which I can’t eat. I really hope it’s worth it because I don’t have much restraint for resisting cake but if it makes it special then it’ll be worth it.

Bread, Savoury

Hobbs House Sourdough Family

Last week me and my family went to see the Fabulour Baker Brothers at Stratford Food Festival and they were as good as I hoped they would be!

Tom and Henry did a brilliant talk and kept everyone entertained despite the horrible weather outside, the hard chairs and the rain leaking through the roof. I would love to see them do a talk again and it hopefully shouldnt be too long till their new series starts.

The other thing we managed to get was a small jar of 57 year old Hobbs Bakery Sourdough starter. It was a bit of a squash to get one but both me and my dad are now proud owners of our own little jars and last night we started our own one.

We received these instructions to feed and grow it:
Find a suitable container to house your sourdough. A Kilner jar is good. Clean it well and weigh it while it’s empty, noting the weight on an address tag or label.
(This saves you having to empty it out to know how much you have left –
it’ll be worth it later.)

Weigh 75g organic wholemeal or dark rye or wholemeal spelt flour into the jar
(any of these will work well), then weigh in 75g/ml warm water. Using a spoon, add your Hobbs House 57 year old sourdough to your flour and water and stir. Leave your jar in a prominent and warm place (its second home) in your kitchen, with the lid sealed.

Each day for up to a week (though a couple of day should do it), repeat the feeding process (75g flour and 75g water, as before), stirring vigorously with a clean finger or a fork to remove all floury lumps until you notice bubbles in the dough. Like the first windy smile of a baby, you know that soon enough it’ll be laughing and telling jokes, and you’re on your way to the most rewarding kind of baking.

Once you can see bubbles in the jar you can start to keep the sourdough culture in the fridge (its first home), only removing it on the morning of baking day, to feed it back into full bubbly liveliness (75g flour and 75g water, as before).

It’s quite laughable just how simple it can be to keep your sourdough in peak condition for really tasty loaves, if you feed it occasionally and mostly keep it
in the fridge.

If the sourdough is not performing well enough, try taking it out of the fridge a day before you want to use it, and giving it an extra feed. Remember that, as
a living culture, it needs to be fed if it’s not hibernating in the fridge (where it can survive for several months). It likes to be warm and aerated
(stirred/whisked) occasionally.

If it dies (“de-natures” – you’ll know because it will smell disgusting), bin it and start again. With a bit of good husbandry and some forward planning, your sourdough could live forever.

 

I have made mine with wholemeal flour and all going well, I will be able to have my first sourdough loaf on Saturday. Fingers crossed it will work, wish me luck.

Bread, Food Ramblings

Makowiec aka Poppy Seed cake

I’m lucky to have a little bit of a mix of culture and food in my family, my granddad was Polish, my Nan was Italian and the rest of my family is English.

I often eat Italian food on a regular basis but not so much Polish, however, I have recently found a recipe that I can’t wait to make to eat again… makowiec, or also known affectionately as poppy seed cake.

When I little we always used to get one of these from the market in Cannock, it used to be our Saturday afternoon treat.
Unfortunately, as time goes on and shops shut down I don’t know where I can buy this from locally now. I still have a tendency to go into a Polish shop and look for this whenever I see one but they recently they have become few and far between.

So I have decided that I am going to try and make my own. Armed with this recipe Makowiec  from The Fresh Loaf I am hoping that it is going to turn out wonderful.
I guess I shouldn’t get my hopes up too high as I am still a beginner in learning the fine art of bread making, but if it does come out well then I will making this at every available opportunity. Firstly, I need to find where I can buy a lot of poppy seeds as they are quite expensive in the supermarket.

With the baby nearing halfway through its proving time I want to make sure I have a good staple of recipes that bring back memories so that when it is old enough it can appreciate the baked goods that I loved as a child… and this is definitely one I want to continue.

Has anyone else tried making this? If so then I would love to hear your recipes or any other sweet Polish treats.