Bread

Spelt Banana Bread with Walnut Crumble

Banana bread is a staple in many a baking repertoire- it’s simple, tasty and for some reason one of the only cakes deemed acceptable to eat for breakfast (what’s not to like). My version calls for wholemeal spelt flour, making it nutty in flavour and a little courser in texture than a regular banana bread; delicious when paired with the walnut crumble topping!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 75g melted butter
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 200g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 1tsp ground ginger

For the crumble topping:

  • 50g spelt flour
  • 25g soft butter
  • 25g soft light brown sugar
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 75g chopped walnuts

 Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. Place the eggs, sugar and butter in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk until thick, pale and voluminous then fold in the mashed banana.
  3. Add the dry ingredients (flour, spices, salt and baking powder) and fold again until well combined. Tip the mix into the prepared loaf tin and level out.
  4. For the crumble topping, rub together the butter, flour, sugar and mixed spice between your fingers until they resemble course crumbs, then stir in the chopped walnuts. Sprinkle this liberally over the top of the banana bread and bake for 45-55 minutes until well risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
  5. Serve warm or cold, on it’s own or with cinnamon butter, creme fraiche or yoghurt.

Enjoy!

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Nutty Cinnamon Swirls with Toffee Glaze

These sweet bread swirls are stuffed with cinnamon spice butter and assorted nuts, brushed with a sticky toffee glaze and drizzled with white icing; unsurprisingly, this makes them dangerously moreish and a great accompaniment to a Sunday evening Netflix binge (yep, dual binging going on here)…

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Ingredients (makes 7 rolls to fit a 9 inch cake tin):

For the dough:

  • 90g butter
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 550g strong bread flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 3tsp fast action dried yeast
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 200g soft butter
  • 80g light brown soft sugar
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 50g hazelnuts, chopped
  • 50g walnuts, chopped
  • 50g pistachios, chopped

For the topping:

  • 1 egg, whisked (to glaze)
  • 50g butter
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 50g dark brown soft sugar
  • 3tbsp double cream
  • pinch salt
  • 4tbsp icing sugar mixed with a few drops water

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Method:

  1. Place the butter and milk in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter melts. Set aside to cool, then add the eggs and whisk to combine.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, yeast and sugar. Add in the wet ingredients in one go and rapidly mix together with a cutlery knife or your hands. Once you’ve bought it together to form a dough knead either by hand or using a dough hook (10 minutes by hand/ 5 minutes with a dough hook).
  3. Put the kneaded dough (it should be smooth and elastic) in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm. Place in a warm (not hot) place and leave to double in size for 1 hour.
  4. While the dough is rising prepare the filling; to do this simply beat together the butter, sugar and spices to create a soft spreadable consistency. Lightly toast the nuts and roughly chop. Prepare a large cake tin by generously greasing with butter.
  5. Once your dough has doubled in size roll it out to a large rectangle about 1cm thick (the rolling is enough knocking back). Making sure the longest side is facing you, spread the cinnamon butter evenly over the dough then scatter on the nuts.
  6. Roll up the rectangle away from you until you have a large sausage shape. Slice this sausage into around seven 2 inch (roughly) wide pieces- each piece should have a spiral cross section.
  7. Place the pieces (spiral up) in the bottom of the cake tin; I fit 6 around the edge and one in the centre. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to prove for a final hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180c. Whisk the egg and brush all over the top of the proved buns. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bread cooked through.
  9. For the toffee glaze melt together the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan, then stir in the cream and add the salt. Brush this over the cooked swirls then finish with the simple white icing and any leftover chopped nuts.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon, Lemon and Sultana Couronne

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This crown of bread is sweet dough heaven, and the time it takes to create it only makes the end result all the more delicious.

To make this dough, you’ll need:

400g strong white flour, 2tsp fast action dried yeast, 1/2 tsp salt, 2.5 tbsp golden caster sugar, 250ml milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 40g butter and zest 2 lemons

Mix your flour and yeast together in a mixing bowl then add the sugar and salt and stir.

Pop your milk, vanilla essence and lemon zest in a jug and warm in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Once warmed, add to the flour etc with the very soft butter and mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Turn this dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes at least. The consistency will be a little sticky but it should be a nice dough to work with. When it’s ready to prove it will be stretchy with a slight sheen.

Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl covered in a damp cloth and leave for 1 and a half hours. It should double in size during this time.

Whilst the dough is proving, make the cinnamon and sultana filling. For this, you will need:

3tsp cinnamon, 70g butter, 50g light brown soft sugar and 2 handfuls sultanas

Simply beat the cinnamon, butter and sugar together and finely chop up the sultanas.

To assemble the couronne…

Once your dough has proved and your filling is prepared, you’re ready to put the couronne together.

Roll out your dough into a long rectangle (about 45cm x 20cm) and spread the cinnamon butter across its surface, then sprinkle with the sultanas.

After this, roll the rectangle firmly into a long sausage (from long side to long side) and seal the long edge with a little water on the tip of your finger.

Now, listen closely. Make a cut (all the way through and out the other side) lengthways along the centre of the sausage until you almost reach one end. You should now have the base of a sausage with two long separate strands. Adjust the strands so that the open filling side is facing upwards (this way you won’t lose any).

Now, transfer carefully onto a floured baking tray. To make the crown shape, take the two strands and twist one over the other until the whole sausage is woven together and no dough remains. Once woven (with the filling sides always facing up) tuck each end of the (now complete again) sausage together to form a circle. The bread should now be in a ring formation with visible filling in places and woven strands making up the pattern.

Hopefully you have achieved the couronne shape at this stage, so now cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave for an hour to prove again. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan).

Once proved, wash with 1 beaten egg and bake in the oven for half an hour or until a deep golden colour has been achieved.

For the last decoration you will need:

200g icing sugar, 2-3 tbsp water and some flaked almonds.

Once your bread has been baked to perfection, mix the icing sugar and water to create an attractive white icing. Drizzle this over the top of the bread then scatter with almond flakes.

Serve warm with a cup of tea or leave to cool and have a slice as a sinful breakfast treat.

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Loaf

Today, in honour of the recent ‘bread week’ showstoppers seen on The Great British Bake Off ( I have only just caught up due to my three week holiday- bad form for a hardcore fan), I created a stuffed picnic loaf.

For my ‘showstopper’ I decided on a twisted design inspired by talented contestant Richard. In my loaf I layered red pepper pesto, aubergine, yellow peppers and feta cheese topped with basil.

You’ll need patience if you wish to produce a similar loaf as my recipe took three rounds of proving as well as shaping and reshaping to create the perfect appearance.

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I hope you like the Mediterranean theme I’ve adopted and feel like having a go at some of the challenges Mary and Paul present in the coming weeks; I’m going to be attempting a round per week in my own kitchen!

Moroccan Flatbread

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When making Moroccan food, it’s nice to have all the accessories that go with it to enjoy the complete taste experience. With that in mind I decided to make some flatbreads spiked with middle eastern spices to accompany a beef tagine and fruity couscous. These bakes are soft in places, crispy in others and packed with ras-el-hanout as well as honey which adds a welcome sweetness. As a first attempt at flatbreads I am pleased with the result and think they will be great for scooping up sauces or dipping in oils and dips.

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