Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

Today is Valentine’s Day and I have baked bread. While there is nothing unusual in that, I have baked bread with a bit of a difference. Since hearts abound on this day, more than most, I toyed with the idea of baking a heart shaped loaf. Practicality got the better of me. It always does! Unsure of how the finished loaf would be sliced I decided instead to create a heart pattern on a cob loaf. I share with you my Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf.

FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

A lighter wholemeal style bread packed full of sunflower seeds, this loaf is as tasty as it is pretty. Since this loaf is baked without the use of steam. Usually a bowl or tray of water is placed in the base of the oven, allowing maximum oven spring before the crust sets. Yet in this case, as the dough is brushed with water prior to being baked, it expanded well, without any cracking. Resulting in a really crusty finish.

FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

While on the theme of hearts, this bread is ‘Heart healthy’ too. Since the addition of one third wholemeal flour provides added fibre. Also sunflower seeds are high in polyunsturated oil and contain Vitamin E known for it’s anti inflammatory properties. Most of all for those who do not like the density of one hundred percent wholemeal loaves, this bread provides a healthy alternative.

Recipe: Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

350ml/12 floz Tap Water at room temperature

7g Dried Yeast – I use the green tin/sachets from Allinson

2 tsp Runny Honey

150g/5oz Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour

350g/12oz Strong White Bread Flour

1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil – cold pressed I use Borderfields

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

50g/2oz Sunflower Seeds plus extra for creating the heart

Method:

The method given uses a stand mixer to mix and knead the dough prior to proving. You may of course make the dough by hand.

  • First of all weigh the water into a bowl (of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment).
  • Add the dried yeast and honey to the water.
  • Next add both wholemeal and white bread flour.
  • Now add the salt and oil.
  • Lower the dough hook and mix on low speed for five minutes.
  • Add the sunflower seeds to the dough while mixing.
  • Increasing the speed for a further 5-10 minutes. To check if the dough is ready perform the windowpane test; stop the mixer, remove a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. When fully kneaded/mixed the dough will not tear and you will be able to see through it.
  • As soon as the dough is fully kneaded stop the mixer and lift up the dough hook. Scrape any dough from the hook into the bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a draught free place to prove until doubled in size.
  • Turn the dough out of the bowl on to a lightly floured worktop, the top of the dough should be at the bottom. So that it is in contact with the wotktop. Working around the outside, pull out the dough and then press into the centre. Continue 5-6 times pulling out and pressing in until you have a neat and tidy lump of dough. This process creates tension across the top (bottom at this point) of the dough.
  • Flip the dough over and use both hands to cup and shape the dough, turning it as you do so. Resulting in a round cob shaped loaf.
FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
Shaping the dough.
  • Place the shaped dough on to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to double in size in a draught free place.
  • Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7.
  • While the dough is undergoing it’s second prove make a heart stencil.
  • Fold a piece of A4 paper in half. Using scissors cut out half of a heart.
FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
The finished shaped cob loaf and heart stencil.
  • As soon as the dough has doubled in size brush the entire loaf with warm water.
  • Place the heart stencil over the dough.
  • Sprinkle sunflower seeds inside of the stencil and then lightly dab them with water using a pastry brush.
  • Remove the stencil.
FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
Creating the sunflower seed heart on the proved cob dough.
  • Place the baking sheet into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when it has a deep, golden crust and sounds hollow when tapped.
  • As soon as the bread is baked remove from the oven and carefully (it will be very hot) place the cob loaf on to a cooling rack.
FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

Delicious, crusty, nutty flavoured bread.

FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

Allow the bread to cool prior to slicing and serving.

Ideally store the cooled bread in a bread bin. Plastic wrap or cling film may cause the bread to sweat and it will lose it’s crunchy crust and become soft.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf you may also like these:

Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread

FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread

Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Seeded Multigrain Baguettes

FF Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes

Bread baking is a passion that I have. Creating a tasty loaf that has flavour in it’s own right and is not simply a carrier of flavours makes the little effort it takes worthwhile. Our home is filled with the smell of freshly baked bread on an almost daily basis. If I could only bake one thing it would be bread. Wholesome, hearty, crusty and nutty this loaf ticked every single box. Bread truly is at the heart of any feast.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

Cheese, loved by so many, is also such a versatile ingredient. Something magical happens to the flavour when it is heated. Becoming more savoury, salty and intense on the palette. Even when eaten with crackers it benefits vastly when left out of the fridge to come up to room temperature. Since winning some Vintage Cheddar in a Twitter competition I wanted to create a new, delicious snack recipe. These Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks tick every, single, box.

FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

Cheesy Breadsticks – Delicious And Versatile

The combination of good quality mature, or vintage cheddar with fresh thyme gives a distinctly savoury flavour to these breadsticks. Also, the addition of Parmesan cheese to the bread dough enhances and reaffirms their cheesy flavour. While pastry cheese straws can be oily at times, that is not the case here. No greasy fingers whilst munching on these!

FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

As well as tasting delicious on their own, these cheesy breadsticks also make a perfect accompaniment to soup, such as Hearty Minestrone Soup. While sounding an unlikely combination, we ate these with a simple beef casserole that had been bubbling away on the hob all day. Not so surprising when Cheddar is often used in the pastry of well made beef pies.

FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks makes 32

320ml Tap Water at room temperature

7g Dried Yeast

500g Strong White Bread Flour

2 tbsp Olive Oil plus extra for oiling the baking trays

7g Sea Salt plus extra for sprinkling – I use Maldon

50g Parmesan Cheese finely grated

3 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves plus an add 2 tsp for sprinkling – halve the amount if using dried

1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper plus extra for sprinkling on to breadsticks

50g plus an additional 75g Mature Cheddar Cheese – I used Vintage Cheddar from Wyke Farms

1 Free Range Egg beaten with 2 tsp cold water to use as an egg wash

Method:

The method given uses a stand mixer with dough hook attachment to make the dough. Of course this may be made by hand.

Making The Breadstick Dough

  • Weigh the water into the bowl of the stand mixer.
  • Add the dried yeast and flour.
  • Next add the olive oil and salt.
  • Lower the dough hook and mix on low speed for 10 minutes, increasing to medium speed for a further 3 minutes.
  • While the dough is mixing lightly oil 4 large baking trays. Also preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6.
  • Stop mixing and check the dough. It should be able to stretch so that light can be seen through it. This is called the windowpane test. If the dough does not pass this test lower the dough hook and continue to mix on medium, stopping and checking every two minutes until it finally passes the test.
  • As soon as the dough is ready stop mixing. Add both the finely grated Parmesan cheese and 50g of the cheddar. Also add 2 teaspoons of fresh Thyme leaves and half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
  • Lower the dough hook and mix on a low speed for two minutes.
  • Stop the mixer, scrape any dough from the dough hook into the bowl, cover with a cloth and leave in a draft free place until doubled in size.

Flavouring And Shaping The Cheedar Cheese Thyme Breadsticks

  • Lightly flour the worktop and tip out the dough, so that the top of the risen dough is on contact with the worktop.
FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
The Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks Dough
  • Dust the dough with flour and roll out to 50cm x 30cm (20in x 12in).
FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Preparing the dough to become breadsticks.
  • Sprinkle over the rolled out dough, 75g finely grated cheddar and 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves.
  • Fold the dough in half.
FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Folding and cutting the dough into breadsticks.
  • Gently roll over the folded dough with a rolling pin, sealing the cheese inside.
  • Cut the dough in half across the middle. Next cut 1cm (1/2in) strips in the dough.
FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Preparing the breadsticks for baking.
  • Removing one dough strip at a time, stretch and twist it before placing on a prepared baking tray. The dough can be pressed on to the tray and will stick, holding the twist in place. Place eight breadsticks on each tray.
  • Brush each breadstick lightly with egg wash and sprinkle over 1/2 teaspoon of thyme (for each eight breadsticks). Also grind black pepper and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the tray.
  • Place two baking sheets in the preheated oven on separate shelves and bake for 15-20 minutes.
FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Freshly baked, golden, Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
  • The breadsticks are baked when they are a light golden brown.
  • As soon as the breadsticks are baked remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
  • Continue with the other half of the dough, cutting, twisting, egg washing and sprinkling and finally baking as before.
FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
The soft inner crumb of these Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks.
  • Wait until slightly cooled before biting into one of these deliciously cheesy breadsticks, with its soft, fluffy inner.
FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

Serving And Storing The Breadsticks

Serve slightly warm to allow for the best possible taste experience. At there best enjoyed on the day these are made.

Since this recipe makes a big batch of Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks, they can be enjoyed at larger gatherings and are ideal for adding to a buffet table.

To make ahead, bake as usual, cool and freeze for up to two weeks. Remove from the freezer when needed, place on a baking tray in a warm oven for 10 minutes to defrost and warm through.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks you may also like these:

Seeded Multigrain Baguettes

FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

Creating recipes using ingredients that compliment and enhance each other is at the heart of Feasting is Fun. Likewise, encouraging people to share. Baking extra to give away, to an elderly neighbour or new family, is easy. Especially when you are in the kitchen already, whipping up a batch of breadsticks, cookies or cupcakes.

Who will you share with?

Whatever you are making, baking or creating in your kitchens, enable fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread

Bread is the recipe most often baked here at home. Aside from the infinitely better quality of a home baked loaf, the flavour is superior in every way to its mass produced, plastic wrapped, shop bought counterpart. At home, a variety of different flours are available to the home baker. Spelt flour produces a lighter wholegrain loaf that is nutty and delicious to eat. I thoroughly recommend my Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread.

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread.

While this loaf is 100% wholegrain, it lacks the heaviness of a wholemeal wheat grain bread. Yet it loses none of the delicious, hearty, wholegrain flavour. Also quicker to make, in the kneading and dough proving stages, than a regular loaf. This is the loaf to make when you haven’t got all day to linger over making bread and yet, nothing about it feels rushed. Resulting in the same feeling of relaxation and accomplishment one feels from baking any bread at home.

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread Sliced.

Spelt is an ancient grain that can prove tricky to grow. Craggs & Co grow spelt here in the U.K. where it is also milled. Initially grown by request from a chef, they now sell both wholegrain and white spelt flour online, or it can be ordered and collected directly from the farm. Due to its claimed health benefits, it is becoming more popular with bakers.

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread.

While I don’t have independent evidence to corroborate the health claims from eating spelt, as opposed to wheat, I can give my opinion. Eating any wholegrain flour is always going to be better for our bodies due to the fibre content. Helping to keep our digestive system healthy. Finally, personaly I found the bread to be lighter on my stomach and more quickly digested than wholemeal bread, it did not lay heavy on my stomach, at all.

Recipe: Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread

325ml Water at room temperature

5g Dried Yeast – I use Allinson Flour

1tsp Clear Honey

500g Wholegrain Spelt Flour – I used Craggs & Co

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

3-4 tbsp Mixed Seeds

Method:

Initial mixing of the dough is carried out using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment. While mixing by hand is possible, the dough is very wet and sticky to start with. Should you wish you start your dough by hand please see here for step by step instructions, remembering to follow this recipe!

  • Into the bowl of a stand mixer weigh 325g of room temperature water. 1g = 1ml water.
  • Next add the yeast and honey.
  • Add the flour on top, so that it entirely covers the water, yeast and honey.
  • On top of the flour add the sea salt and butter.
  • With the dough hook attached, mix on a low speed until the dough forms a smooth ball. At this point you can stop the mixer, remove the dough and continue to knead by hand until it passes the windowpane test*, see below.
  • Continue to mix on a medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, 6-10 minutes. Stop the mixer, lift the dough hook and pull at the dough. As soon as the dough can be stretched thin enough so that light can be seen through it, it passes the windowpane test*.
  • Scrape the dough from the hook into the bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove at room temperature until doubled in size. 45-60 minutes.
  • While the dough is proving lightly grease a large baking tray with butter.
  • When doubled in size, scrape out the dough on to a very lightly floured worktop. Ensuring the top of the dough in the bowl, now becomes the bottom and is in contact with the worktop.
  • Next it is important to create tension in the dough. Pull one side out and press diagonally across to the opposite side. Repeat, turning the dough after each pull and tuck, shaping the dough into a rough log as you do so. The dough should look like the picture below, without any sticky dough present.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
The proved dough ready to be divided into three for plaiting.
  • Weigh the dough and then divide the weight by 3.
  • Cut the dough into 3 equal sized pieces.
  • Roll out each piece until it measures 35cm/14″.
  • These will be numbered 1, 2 and 3 from left to right.
  • Place 3 on top of 1 and press together to secure.
  • Next place 2 on top of 3 and again press to secure. You are now ready to start plaiting the bread. Note, each time a dough strand is moved, ensure that the plait  is tight. If the plait is too loose it will be difficult to transfer to the greased baking tray. Also the plait definition may become lost during the second prove and baking.
  • Each strand will have a new number when moved. The middle will always be 2, left 1 and right 3. The pattern is 3 over 2 then 1 over 2. Otherwise known as right over middle, left over middle.
  • To start plaiting place 3 over 2. Moving 2 to the right as it becomes 3.
  • Next 1 over 2. Moving 2 to the left as it becomes 1.
  • Continue until the plait is complete.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Showing the plaiting process.
  • Gently tuck and press the ends together, in the same pattern, at the bottom of the plait.
  • Place the plaited bread diagonally on to a baking tray. Use both hands to support the plait as it is moved.
FF Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
The completed bread plait.
  • Brush the plait lightly with room temperature water and then sprinkle over the mixed seeds.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread ready for its second prove.
  • Cover with a clean tea towel and leave until doubled in size, 30-40 minutes.
  • While the dough is having its second prove preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan, gas mark 9.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread ready for the oven.
  • Just prior to placing your bread on the oven, add a small pan with 1cm water to the bottom of the oven. This will help the crust expand before it sets and hardens.
  • Once doubled in size remove the tea towel and place the bread into the centre of the oven.
  • Bake at the hottest temperature for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7. Allow to bake for a further 30-35 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when it is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
  • When baked remove the bread from the oven and immediately transfer to a cooling rack.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread

Such a beautiful loaf. Tempted though you may be, leave the bread to cool completely before slicing. Doing so allows the bread to slice properly and cooling bread is also better for digestion.

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Sliced Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread.

Slice and serve the bread as you would any other loaf. Accompanying soup, a hearty Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole, or as toast and sandwiches.

Double wrap in cling film and freeze for one month. Allow to defrost at room temperature, place in a moderately hot oven for 5 minutes and it will taste freshly baked.

To store, place in a bread bin or wrapped in baking parchment. Eat within 4 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread then you may also enjoy these:

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Seeded Cob Loaf

Baking bread at home is a deliciously rewarding experience. Even if you live close to a great bakery, the aroma of home baked bread only comes from making your own. Recipes can be tweaked for those with dietary restrictions. For example, leaving the seeds off of this loaf still results in an amazingly light, healthy, wholegrain bread. Your adaptations make each loaf baked suitable for sharing.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the express written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

For me, nothing quite compares to the beauty, taste and smell of homemade bread. Four ingredients, flour, yeast, water and salt, when mixed together, worked, rested, shaped and baked give such incredibly satisfying results. Bread is surely the heart of any feast and therefore, teaching  others to bake it is of upmost importance to me. Using step by step instructions and photographs, you too can learn how to make and bake this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

Bread Making Is Easy To Learn And Bake At Home

Inspired by a friend on Twitter, who claimed that bread baking was beyond her, I set out to show her she could. While she is a very accomplished baker, far more so than me, bread is her baking stumbling block. Everyone can make bread. Are you wary of baking bread? With this guide and a relaxing cup of tea, read through and then get baking!

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf soft crumb with crunchy crust.

Following the techniques and tips in this recipe will guarentee that you too, can make delicious, homemade bread. Also the more that you practise, the more confident and better you will get a baking bread at home. It is important to remember that occaisionally a loaf of bread will turn out mishapen. Rarely is it inebible though!

Recipe: Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

320mls Water at room temperature

1/2tsp Caster Sugar

7g Dried Yeast make sure that is reasonably fresh (3 months old max) – I use Allinson in the green tub/sachets

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Method: For making by hand or using a stand mixer with dough attachment.

You will need a large, buttered baking tray.

Making The Bread Dough Using A Stand Mixer:

  • Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer in the order that they are listed. This ensures that the yeast does not come into direct contact with the yeast.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Adding ingredients to the bowl in the correct order.
  • With dough hook attached mix on low speed until all the ingredients are combined.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Ingredients have come together to form a dough.
  • At this point if you wish to knead by hand, scrape the dough from the dough hook into the bowl. See making by hand method.
  • Continue mixing the dough on medium speed for a further 10 minutes.
  • After the kneading time has elapsed stop the machine and tear off a small piece of dough. Stretch it between your fingers until it is so thin that light can be seen through it. This is known as the windowpane test. If it tears whilst stretching, add back to the dough and continue to mix for a further 2 minutes as before. Repeat after each mixing period until the dough passes the test.
  • Scrape the dough from the dough hook into the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.
  • Place the covered bowl in a draught free place, away from a direct heat source.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
No shaping, simply leave the dough in a bowl and cover.
  • Leave until the dough has doubled in size.

Making The Dough By Hand

  • Place the flour and butter into a large bowl.
  • Rub the butter into the flower using your fingertips.
  • Add the sugar and yeast to the bowl on one side. Place the salt on the opposite side, so that it doesn’t come into direct contact with the yeast.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour and then add all of the water.
  • Using your hand, shaped like a claw, bring the dry ingredients into the water and mix them together.
  • Continue mixing in the bowl until the dough has formed a sticky ball.
  • Place the dough on to a clean worktop and push with the heal of your hand to tear and stretch the dough. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Tear a small piece of the dough and perform the windowpane test as described above. If the dough tears knead for a further 2 minutes and test again.
  • Repeat the kneading and testing procedure until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place in a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size.

Shaping And Building The Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

For both methods given:

  • When the dough has doubled in size turn out on to a lightly floured surface, ensuring the top of the dough is in contact with the worktop. What was the top is now the bottom.
  • Weigh the dough and cut off one quarter.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Turning out and dividing the dough
  • Starting with the larger piece of dough, stretch and pull one side and press down into the opposite side.
  • Now stretch and pull the opposite side. Press down as before.
  • Turn the dough and repeat 4 more times, where the edge is rough and untouched, until your dough resembles the bottom right photo.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Building tension into the dough.
  • Flip the dough over and create a ball shape. Cup your hands around the dough, tucking and turning to create a tight ball shape.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Creating a ball shaped dough using your hands.
  • Place the dough ball base of the cottage loaf, on to a prepared baking tray.
  • Repeat the streching/pulling process with the smaller piece of dough, then shape into a ball.
  • Place the smaller ball centrally on top of the base.
  • With two floured fingers push down, through the centre of the top ball, tight into the base. Doing so joins the top and bottom together, creating one loaf.
  • Slash the top 6 times and the bottom 12 times. Cut vertically, from top to bottom.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Assembling the Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
  • Cover with a tea towel, leave in a draft free place until doubled in size, 45 – 60 minutes.
  • While the loaf is undergoing its second prove, preheat your oven to it hottest setting. Usually 250C or gas mark 9, 500F.
  • 15 minutes before the loaf is ready, place a pan with 5cm/1″ of water in the base of the oven. The steam created will delay the forming of a hard crust on the loaf, allowing maximum expansion, also called oven spring, to take place.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf ready for the oven.

Baking The Cottage Loaf

  • As soon as the loaf has doubled in size it is ready to bake.
  • Remove the tea towel and place in the middle/lower part of the oven. Make sure there is enough height room, allowing for oven spring, when placing your loaf in the oven.
  • Bake for 5 minutes at the hottest temperature and then reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 450F.
  • Continue to bake for a further 35-45 minutes.
  • The loaf is baked when it is a deep golden colour, feels light (not heavy and dense) in your oven glove protected hands and most importantly sounds hollow when rapped on the top and base with a knuckle.
  • Remove from the oven and place immediately on to a cooling rack.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf golden and delicious.

An incredible homemade, home baked artisan style bread.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf with deeper slashes.

Serve sliced as open sandwiches, or toasted. Alternatively serve as an accompaniment to a meal, such as Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Best eaten within a day of making, this bread will keep for up to 4 days in a bread bin, which allows air to circulate. Do not to keep in an airtight container as it may go mouldy very quickly.

FF Cottage Loaf Breadmaking Tutorial

To freeze, thoroughly cool, then double wrap in cling film. Keep in the freezer for no longer than a month. Defrost at room temperature and refresh by placing in a moderate oven for 10 minutes.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf then you make also like these:

Farmhouse White Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Seeded Cob Loaf

Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

Baking bread is such a rewarding experience. Whether you make the entire loaf by hand, or enlist the help of kitchen machinery, each loaf will be far superior in both flavour and quality than it’s mass produced counterpart. Even if you have a great bakery in your local vicinity, baking your own means you can make unusual, rarely seen loaves such as this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, enjoy preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced without the written consent of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

I am entering my Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf in the #GBBOBloggers2017 linky hosted by http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk

 

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

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Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread

If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you will know how much I enjoy making bread. While I am very happy to let kitchen appliances carry out the hard work, indeed for this loaf they are necessary, shaping the dough is always fun to do by hand. Since I first tried an eight strand plaited loaf last year, I have become hooked on intertwining lengths of dough and observing the final, baked result. This Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread is delicious and easy to make.

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread a delicious breakfast.

Having re-tested the recipe and technique I have full confidence that you too can make this delicious bread. Even if you have never plaited before, the step by step photographs will show you how. Such a small amount of extra effort and you will be rewarded with a stunning loaf. While the smell of cinnamon dough, baking, will have you counting the minutes until your first slice!

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread golden and bronzed with a hidden inner.

How Ingredients Affect The Final Bake

When baking, it always pays to use the very best ingredients available. However, not everyone’s budget can stretch to premium ingredients. If you can make one change here, I strongly recommend using free range, or organic eggs. Their golden yolks are what help give this loaf its amazing colour. Both in the bread itself and the egg wash, brushed on before baking. Resulting in both the golden and bronzed baked crust.

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread beautiful inside and out.

Serving this bread, sliced for breakfast or as an afternoon treat with a hot drink, is sure to brighten anyone’s day. Since it is a large loaf, why not take it to work, pre-sliced and share with your colleagues? Since all food tastes better when it is shared, that is the only way to improve this bread. Simply by sharing it.

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread simply delicious.

Recipe: Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread 

300mls Whole Milk

2 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Caster Sugar

10g Dried Yeast – I use Allinson in the green tub or sachets

600g/1lb 5oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter

10g Salt – I use Maldon

For the cinnamon filling:

75g/3oz Light Muscavado Sugar – I use Billington’s

4tsp Cinnamon

1 free range egg plus 1tbsp milk to brush over the loaf.

Method:

The method given for making this Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread uses a dough hook fitted to a stand mixer. The enriched dough is very, very sticky, prior to its first prove. Using a stand mixer ensures that the dough is kneaded properly. Resulting in a light textured crumb once baked.

Making The Brioche Bread Dough

  • First of all ensure that your kitchen is warm. It will really benefit the yeast, during the dough making process.
  • Measure the milk into a jug and warm in a microwave for 20 seconds. Ideally the milk should be body temperature 37C. However, do not overheat as it may kill the yeast.
  • Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Crack 2 eggs into the jug and add these to the milk in the bowl. I always break eggs into a separate container first. If any shell escapes it can then be removed and also, extremely occasionally, should an egg be bad, it will not spoil the whole recipe.
  • Next add the sugar and yeast. Swish the liquid about with clean fingers to break up the eggs and mix lightly.
  • On top of the liquid mix add the flour.
  • Now add the butter and salt.
  • Lower the dough hook into the bowl and mix on the slowest speed for 5 minutes. Then, gradually increase the speed to medium and mix for a further 5 minutes.
  • After the mixing time has elapsed stop the mixer.
  • Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. The dough is kneaded when it can be stretched so thinly that light can be seen through it. This is called the windowpane test.
  • If the dough tears before it can be fully stretched, lower the dough hook and continue mixing, checking every 3 minutes, until it passes the windowpane test.
  • Once the dough passes the windowpane test it is ready to prove. Scrape the dough from the dough hook and allow to drop into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place somewhere warm and drought free.
  • Allow the dough to prove until doubled in size – approximately 1 hour.
  • While the dough is proving grease a large baking tray with butter. Also, into a small bowl, weigh out the sugar and add the cinnamon. Stir to mix and break up any large sugar lumps using your fingers. Set to one side.

Shaping The Dough And Adding The Cinnamon Mix

  • Once doubled in size turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Use your hand, or a dough scraper to remove all of the dough.
  • Shape the dough into a round and then weigh it. I use digital scales, placing the dough on to a piece of baking parchment. Make a note of the weight of the dough. Now divide that figure in 3.
  • Cut the dough into 3 pieces that are equal in weight.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a length and then flatten, using your hands or a rolling pin. Each flattened length of dough should measure 50cm/20″.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Preparing three dough strands for the cinnamon/sugar filling.
  • Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture down the middle of each piece of dough. Dividing it equally between three strands.
  • Dab a little tap water down the right side of the first strip of dough. Now bring the left side over and pinch to secure the sides together. Similar to making a sausage roll.
  • Continue until all three lengths of dough have their filling securely encased.
  • Roll each length of dough so that the join is underneath and not visible.
  • Join all three lengths of dough at the top. Place on top of each other and pinch together to secure.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Filling, securing and attaching the top of the plait.

Plaiting The Cinnamon Brioche Bread

  • Starting from left to right, number the strands 1, 2 and 3. Number 1 strand will always be to the left, 2 in the middle and 3 on the right.
  • Pass strand 1 over strand 2.
  • Now pass strand 3 over strand 2. Ensure the strands are not pulled tight and there should be no gaps.
  • Repeat the past two steps until the plait is finished. (Strand 1 over 2, then strand 3 over strand 2 and repeat.)
  • Pinch the bottom 3 strands together so that they are secure and look tidy.
  • Lift the plait using both hands at either end and place diagonally on to the greased baking tray.
  • Cover with a clean tea towel and leave, as before, in a draught free place.
  • While the plaited dough is proving preheat the oven to 240C/220C gas mark 9, 475F. Break an egg into a bowl, add the tablespoon of milk and whisk with a fork to mix.
  • Once the plaited dough has doubled in size use a soft pastry brush and carefully brush the egg wash over.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Plaiting and placing the brioche on to a baking tray before the egg wash.

Baking The Cinnamon Plait

  • Place the egg washed Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F. Continue to bake for a further 15-20 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when a deep, golden crust has formed and the base sounds hollow, when rapped with a knuckle.
  • Once baked remove the bread from the oven.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Beautifully baked Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread.
  • Slide a pallet knife under the baked bread, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread cooled and sliced, revealing the hidden centre of each strand.

Allow the loaf to cool to body temperature before slicing. Attempting to slice while the bread is still hot will compact the bread. Also eating freshly baked, hot bread, is not good for our digestion!

Serve sliced with a smile and a complimenting drink.

FF Cinnamon Plaited Braided Brioche Bread

Placed in a bread bin, or wrapped loosely in foil, once fully cooled, this loaf will last up to three days. It can be toasted, although I’d advise not to use a toaster due to the sugar present. Under a grill, or even better, in front of a log fire, this bread makes excellent toast!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread you may also like these:

Large White Bloomer

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Large White Bloomer

Knotted Poppyseed Rolls

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Knotted Poppyseed Rolls

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Homemade bread is the most luxurious food, for me, to bake. Enticing smells as it is baking, make our house feel like a home. Appreciative comments when a fresh loaf is on the table, to be served with dinner, or for breakfast, make me smile. Not for the accolade, or indeed achievement, from others, of having made my own loaf. Simply the fact that I am giving my family, delicious, additive free, tasty bread, is enough to keep me baking.

What do you really enjoy cooking and baking? Who do you like to share it with?

Sammie xx

 

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Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Oh boy do I have a treat for you. As Good Friday is tomorrow I decided to create one more Easter recipe, a twist on the traditional Hot Cross Buns that we all love to eat this time of year. May I present my Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns!

FF Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Having been sent some medjool dates from The Medjool Date Co. I wanted to incorporate them into different recipes. So in a moment of inspiration today I decided to use them in these Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns. How glad am I, that I had that moment of inspiration!

Now there are dates and there are medjool dates from Jordan. Once you have tried these medjool dates it is impossible to use any others – well for me it is! Big, sweet, but not tooth achingly so, good for you and they taste amazing. While I have been cooking and baking with them a few, maybe more than a few have been eaten along the way.

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Creating A New Recipe

Knowing I had ordered some stem ginger in syrup from Waitrose a couple of weeks ago, instead of opting for crystallised ginger, I used their stem ginger. Finely diced it is the only ginger in the Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns. Using warm syrup from the stem ginger jar, to glaze the buns, still hot from the oven is the final touch.

These Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns are so utterly delicious eaten just as they are, sliced and buttered, or toasted and buttered. They make a fantastic alternative to traditional Hot Cross Buns and are great for those who dislike raisins/sultanas, or cinnamon.

RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns perfect buttered with a hot cup of tea.

I love baking our own hot cross buns for Good Friday. We always have them toasted, with butter and large cups of tea or coffee. For our family it is the start of Easter. The day we remember that Jesus Christ gave His life for us all on the cross at Calvery. In fact I’ve always wondered why it is called Good Friday? As truly thinking about what Jesus went through, for me, brings me to a place of deep conviction – please see Important Stuff if you’d like to know more.

Recipe: Makes 12 Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

140ml/scant 5fl oz Whole Milk – slightly warmed (body temperature)

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – slightly warmed (body temperature)

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey

10g/1.5 Sachet Fast Acting Dried Yeast

10g/ approx 1tsp Salt

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

150g/5oz Medjool Dates – pitted and chopped to medium dice

2 Balls of Stem Ginger – removed from the syrup and finely diced

1/2tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

For the crosses:

50g/2oz Plain white flour

50ml/2fl oz Water

Approx 30mls of syrup from the stem ginger jar to glaze the baked buns

Method:

This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer, if you wish to make by hand, I suggest you look to the original recipe in Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake’ ISBN 9781 4088 19494.

Making The Spiced Sweet Bun Dough

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

  • Add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the chopped dates, finely diced stem ginger and nutmeg. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the chopped dates, finely diced stem ginger and nutmeg . Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the stand mixer dough has doubled in size, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

Shaping the Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

see Hot Cross Buns for full step by step photos.

  • First of all grease a large baking tray with butter.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • It will be quite sticky, so ensure you have floured your hands well.
  • Cut the dough in half and then cut each half into 6 even pieces.
  • Shape each piece into a ball and place on the baking tray – the dough was very sticky so some of my balls weren’t perfect!
RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Once shaped place each bun in rows of 3 on the baking tray.
  • When all 12 buns have been shaped, cover the baking tray with a clean tea towel.
  • Leave the buns in a warm, draught free place, until doubled in size.
  • While the buns are proving, make the flour paste for the crosses. Add the water to the flour and mix until you have a smooth paste.
  • Place in a small, disposable piping bag and secure the top with an elastic band.
  • 10 minutes before the buns are ready to bake preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.

 

 

RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns doubled in size and ready to be piped.
  • Snip the end off the piping bag, so there is a small hole.
  • Pipe down the line of buns and then across the line of buns.
RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Perfectly crossed buns, ready for the oven.

Baking And Adding A Glaze To The Buns

  • Place the Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. They are baked when they are golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.
  • As soon as the buns are baked remove from the oven.
  • Take the buns off of the baking tray and place onto a cooling rack.
  • Remove approx 30mls of syrup from the stem ginger jar.
  • Place into a microwaveable bowl and heat for 20 seconds.
  • Brush the warm syrup over the buns whilst they are still hot.
  • Leave to cool until at least warm.

 

RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns glazed with syrup.

Biting into my very first, warm, Ginger Date Hot Cross Bun is an experience I will never forget!

So light and fluffy.

So tomorrow morning on Good Friday, we have a choice of traditional Hot CrossBuns which I also baked today, or these delicious Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns.

Breakfast will truly be a feast, as much as making these has been fun!

If you’ve enjoyed these Easter Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns you may also want to try these other recipes:

Hot Cross Buns

RT Hot Cross Buns
Traditional Hot Cross Buns.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

RT Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
100% Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

RT Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Whatever you make or bake this Easter, I wish you a very happy time. I love seeing your bakes, so please pop a pic onto Twitter or Instagram and tag me in.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

Medjool Date Co. provided the dates for this recipe. All opinions, content and photographs are my own. I did not receive payment for writing this recipe. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

I have entered these Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns to the March Tea Time Treats Linky Party hosted by The Hedge Combers and Lavender and Lovage

Tea Time Treats Linky

 

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Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

Who really enjoys a toasted, buttery, Hot Cross Bun, in the run up to Easter? While my previous post shows you how to make the regular version I wanted to make a wholemeal version. Because some people, for various reasons, can only eat 100% wholemeal bread. Since they shouldn’t have to miss out on all the Easter food fun I developed this recipe for 100% Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns perfect just as they are!

Everyone can enjoy these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns, eaten just as they are or split and toasted with a light spread of butter. And the added beauty of these buns is the spicy, cinnamon aroma, filling the house as they bake and then again when they are toasted. Also these buns are packed full of fibre. So they are tasty and good for you!

FF Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

Also, while toasting a hot cross bun, there was a knock on the front door. Our postman had a parcel to deliver. And as I stood there signing for the parcel, he revealed that the smell of a toasted bun was his favourite smell in the world.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns a healthy breakfast or snack.

Making Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns is as straightforward as for the regular ones. While switching the flour from strong white bread flour, to 100% wholemeal flour, not bread flour, I also upped the yeast content and with a few more tweaks, these gorgeous buns were made.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun
The cross on this Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun is there as a reminder.

Why The Cross On Top Of The Bun?

The cross on the bun, is there to symbolise and remind us of The Cross on which Jesus died, only to surprise a lot of people, when He was fully alive two days later. So it is good, that the small symbol of a cross on a bun, reminds us that Jesus came for a reason. To love the unloved, to heal the sick, to befriend those that society cast out. And remember, out of two of His followers, one was a tax collector and the other a prostitute!

So amidst all the chocolate and bunnies, lovely though they are, take a moment to remember you are loved.

In the bible the book of John chapter 3 verse 16 says:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that who so ever believes in Him shall not be lost (perish), but have everlasting life.”

One small verse packs quite a powerful punch. You and I are the who so ever. Know that you are loved. And whatever your circumstances, you are loved more than you could ever imagine.

If you would like to know more, please read Important Stuff.

Now to show your body some love by making these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Recipe: Makes 12 Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

For the bun dough

500g/1lb 2oz Wholemeal Flour (not bread flour) – I use Duchy Organic from Waitrose

160ml/scant 6fl oz Whole Milk – slightly warmed (body temp)

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – slightly warmed (body temp)

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey – I use runny honey

14g/ 2 Sachets Fast Acting Dried Yeast – I use Allinsons

10g/ approx 1.5tsp Salt

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter at room temp. – plus extra for greasing the baking tray.

3tsp Cinnamon

150g/5oz Sultanas or Raisins

For the crosses:

50g/2oz Wholemeal flour

60ml/2.5fl oz Water

Apricot jam or honey to glaze approx 2tbsp

Method: This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer. Alternatively you can make these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns by hand.

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

Making The Wholemeal Bun Dough

  • First of all, add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

As soon as the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours. As soon as the dough has doubled in size it can be tipped out and shaped.

Shaping The Buns

  • Grease a large baking tray  (40cm x 28cm x 2.5 cm) with butter.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and weigh. Divide the weight by 12 and this will give you the weight of dough needed for each individual bun.
  • Alternatively, cut the dough in half and then cut each half into 6 even portions.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Lightly form the dough into a ball.
  • Cut the dough in half using a large knife or metal dough scraper.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

  • Roll each portion into a ball. Tucking the seam at the bottom.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Place each dough ball on the baking tray, spacing evenly apart.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and place in a draught free place until doubled in size – approx. 1 hour.
  • While the buns are proving make the paste for the crosses. Mix the flour and water together in a small bowl and then spoon into a small piping bag or plastic sandwich bag.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

  • As soon as the buns have doubled in size, snip the end off of the piping bag (corner of a sandwich bag) to leave a small hole.
  • 10 minutes before the buns are ready to bake preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan gas mark 7, 425F.
  • Pipe crosses on to the buns.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
 

Baking The Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

  • Place the buns into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • The Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns are baked when they are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Once baked remove the Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • As soon as the buns are baked remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Place the apricot jam into a heatproof bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt.
  • Brush the warm buns with apricot jam using a pastry brush.
  • Leave to cool completely.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns ready to be shared with loved ones!

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns packaged into a tin, ready to be given away.

Eat toasted with butter or just as they are.

Store in an airtight tin for up to 3 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to one month.

If you have the capacity, why not bake a double batch of these delicious Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns and give some away?

If you enjoyed this recipefor Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns you may also like these: then you may want to take a look at these:

Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns

FF Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns
Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

FF Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Easter is a time when our family comes together and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Saviour. And sitting together, around the table, giving thanks before a meal is important. Giving thanks for the food we share and the provisions we have however is not only for Easter. Rather, it is an important daily practise in our lives. So is sharing the love that Jesus shows us. Whether it be through words, or more practically. And that is why I am so passionate about sharing food outside of our normal circle on this blog.

So whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Hot Cross Buns

It is that time of year when the spicy scent of Hot Cross Buns hits you as you enter the supermarket. Somehow though, I’m always a bit disappointed with the slightly squished, supermarket Hot Cross Buns. Yes they may be convenient, but, I’m here to persuade you to try the homemade version.

FF Hot Cross Buns

The Benefits Of Making Hot Cross Buns At Home

The beauty of making and baking your own Hot Cross Buns is that you can add exactly what you like to them. Oh and leave out all the additives that you don’t need.

Our eldest daughter and myself are both allergic to orange, in any form. It brings on really nasty migraines (see here if you’d like to know more). So although orange is a traditional addition to these buns, by making them at home I can leave it out.

Hot Cross Buns
Delicious split and spread with butter, these Hot Cross Buns are sure to be a hit.

Not Just For Easter?

Speaking of our daughter, for one entire year, when she was a toddler, a Hot Cross Bun would be what she ate for breakfast. In fact she suffered very badly with tonsillitis and had to undergo a tonsillectomy when she was two and a half. We already had another little ‘un and I’d just found out I was pregnant with our son. Times were busy!

Anyway, her operation was during her Hot Cross Bun phase. So I buttered one, wrapped it up and took it to the hospital. I honestly didn’t think she would eat anything after undergoing her procedure, but sure enough, chicken nuggets and chips for tea. Then, the very next morning she devoured her Hot Cross Bun!

She is 16 now and has just shared a bun with me. It got 10 out of 10 which, from a life-long lover of Hot Cross Buns, was all I needed to hear.

Hot Cross Buns
I was going to pop some of these Hot Cross Buns in the freezer, but I don’t think they’ll last that long!

Sharing This Recipe

I really do enjoy making food that my family and friends love. It was one of the reasons that I started feastingisfun, so I could share my own recipes with others.

Now I never actually believed anyone, other than family, would read this blog. But it seems you do and you enjoy it. Not only that but it has helped people, in a number of ways. Last Sunday I know of two people who specifically made recipes from this blog – and they turned out well. That puts a huge smile on my face.

Also others have been able to connect with me, as I understand, due to my own health issues (see Living With Seizures) and have found comfort in knowing they are not alone.

Sharing recipes, fun, love, encouragement and always a hug when ever needed.

The inspiration for this Hot Cross Bun recipe comes from both my daughter and the great baker Mr Paul Hollywood. I did actually start by looking at his recipe. However, me being me, I wanted to add some bits, change others, adapt the recipe for a bread maker/stand mixer. So in fact the recipe and method are mine, but thank you Paul for getting me off the starting blocks.

Recipe: Makes 12 Hot Cross Buns

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

140ml/scant 5fl oz Whole Milk – slightly warmed (body temp)

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – slightly warmed (body temp)

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey

10g/1.5 Sachet Fast Acting Dried Yeast

10g/ approx 1tsp Salt

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

3tsp Cinnamon

150g/5oz Sultanas or Raisins

For the crosses:

50g/2oz Plain flour

50ml/2fl oz Water

Apricot jam or honey to glaze approx 2tbsp

Method: This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer, if you wish to make by hand, I suggest you look to the original recipe in Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake’ ISBN 9781 4088 19494.

Making The Spiced Fruit Dough

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

  • Add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the stand mixer dough has doubled in size, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

Shaping the Buns

Grease a large baking tray with butter.

  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Hot Cross Buns
Shape the dough into a ball and using a dough scraper or large knife, cut the dough in half.
  • Roll each half into an even log shape.
Hot Cross Buns
Cut each half into 6 equal pieces.
  • Using your hands form each portion into a ball with the seam underneath.
  • Place the dough balls onto the greased baking tray, evenly spaced apart.
Hot Cross Buns
Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – approx 1 hour.
  • While the buns are proving, mix 50g of white flour with 50ml of water.
  • Spoon into a small piping bag, or a small plastic sandwich bag.
Hot Cross Buns
When you are ready snip the end/corner off to give a small hole.
  • 10 minutes before the Hot Cross Buns are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.
  • As soon as the buns have doubled in sized snip the end of the piping bag and pipe crosses on them.
Hot Cross Buns
When the buns are double in size pipe the crosses on.

Baking The Hot Cross Buns

  • Place the buns in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes. They are baked when they are golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckle.
Hot Cross Buns
The smell that fills the air whilst these Hot Cross Buns are baking is wonderful.
  • Immediately transfer the Hot Cross Buns onto a cooling rack.
  • Heat the 2 tablespoon of apricot jam, in a microwave proof bowl, on medium stating, in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Brush the hot jam over the buns whilst they are still warm.
  • Leave to cool completely.
Hot Cross Buns
As they cool the jam soaks into the Hot Cross Buns.

These are absolutely THE best Hot Cross Buns I have ever tasted, let alone smelt whilst they were cooking.

Although there are a few steps, most of the hard work is done for you by kitchen machinery. I for one, would not be able to bake the quantity of bread and other items, if it weren’t for a little help in the kitchen.

Hot Cross Buns
Homemade Hot Cross Buns you can’t beat them.

We ate one of these Hot Cross Buns split and buttered, not even toasted and they tasted AH-MAZE-ZING. Please try, just this once, to make your own Hot Cross Buns.

I am available via the comments section of this site or alternatively over on Twitter @sammiefeasting. It is true, I have been known, whilst on holiday in Devon, with a really dodgy signal, to give advice to someone baking these Crusty Baguettes so please don’t worry, ask.

Who will you share your homemade Hot Cross Buns with?

If you have enjoyed this recipe you may also like these:

Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

FF Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake
Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Sammie xx

A great tray for baking all of these Hot Cross Buns would be British Bakeware Extra large baking 40cm x 28cm x 2.5cmx

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Spiced Fruit Loaf

Hi. I have a double treat for you today. This absolutely delicious Spiced Fruit Loaf not only tastes amazing, but, the aroma, gently wafting from the oven, makes the whole house smell incredible. Cinnamon and bread filled with tasty dried fruit, baking together.

Who needs air freshener when you can bake this wonderful Spiced Fruit Loaf,

Spiced Fruit Loaf www.feastingisfun.com
Spiced Fruit Loaf www.feastingisfun.com

If you have never baked bread before, bake this!!

This Spiced Fruit Loaf is stuffed full of dried fruits. Don’t hide raisin haters! Although there are some dried vine fruits in this loaf (which you can absolutely leave out), there’s also dried cranberries and figs. Soft, golden, dried apricots would be a fantastic addition as well.

Spiced Fruit Loaf full of plump, dried fruits. www.feastingisfun.com
Spiced Fruit Loaf full of plump, dried fruits. www.feastingisfun.com

The bread dough is enriched with egg, milk and butter and spiced with cinnamon and ginger. And as if bread baking didn’t smell good enough, this Spiced Fruit Loaf kicks it into another dimension.

My absolute favourite way to enjoy this bread is toasted, for breakfast. As my nose is assaulted with another spice hit as the bread toasts.

Perfect with a cup of good coffee.

Spiced Fruit Loaf toasted for breakfast. www.feastingisfun.com
Spiced Fruit Loaf toasted for breakfast. www.feastingisfun.com

I have been reviewing some baking products from British Bakeware, including their 3lb loaf pan. Having baked a range of breads I wanted to create something that really did the pan justice.

This Spiced Fruit Loaf does!

Spiced Fruit Loaf delicious toasted and buttered. www.feastingisfun.com
Spiced Fruit Loaf delicious toasted and buttered. www.feastingisfun.com

One thick slice of this bread kept me full all morning – and it contains fruit, so it must be good for you. Right???

Everyone in our house was eager to try this tasty breakfast loaf this morning and they were not disappointed. As a mum I’m happier, during these chilly winter months, when they all have a hot breakfast. I honestly do believe it is the most important meal of the day. So why not make it a tasty one??

Recipe: Makes 1 Spiced Fruit Loaf

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

1 Large Egg – I always use free range

Approx 320ml/ just over 1/2 pint Whole Milk at room temp

1tsp Honey

1 Sachet Fast Action Dried Yeast (7g)

1tsp Salt

75g/3oz Unsalted Butter plus extra for greasing the loaf pan

2tsp Cinnamon

1tsp Ginger

225g/8oz Dried Fruit – I used equal quantities of vine fruits, chopped dried figs and dried cranberries

Method: You will need a 3lb loaf pan.

Crack the egg into a jug. Make up to 340mls/12fl oz with milk. Beat together to break up the egg.

Pour this liquid into the bowl of a bread maker or stand mixer.

Add the honey and yeast.

Next add the flour.

Add the salt to the top of the flour and add the cubed butter.

If using a bread maker start the dough cycle, adding the spices and dried fruit when prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before the mixing finishes.

If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook. Mix on medium speed until all the ingredients are combined into a dough. Continue mixing for a further 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the dough from the hook, back down into the bowl. Add the spices and dried fruit and continue to mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes. Stop the mixing and scrape all the dough from the hook. Form into a ball, place back into the mixer bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – approx 1 hour.

Butter the loaf pan and set aside.

When the bread mixer has finished its dough cycle, restart again and allow the machine to mix (knock back) the dough for 2 minutes.

Once the dough in the stand mixer bowl has doubled in size, remove the cloth and mix, with the dough hook attached, on medium speed for 2 minutes. Again this knocks back the dough.

Turn your knocked back dough out onto a floured surface. It will be very sticky.

Form the dough into a rough log shape and place into the prepared loaf pan.

Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – approx 1 hour.

10 minutes before the loaf is ready to be baked preheat the oven to 210C/190C fan.

Spiced Fruit Loaf dough ready for the oven. www.feastingisfun.com
Spiced Fruit Loaf dough ready for the oven. www.feastingisfun.com

Once doubled in size, remove the cloth and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

The loaf is baked when it has a dark, golden crust and sounds hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.

Turn the loaf out of the pan and place on a cooling rack.

Spiced Fruit Loaf inhale as the scent of spices tantalisingly fills the air! www.feastingisfun.com
Spiced Fruit Loaf inhale as the scent of spices tantalisingly fills the air! www.feastingisfun.com

Leave to cool completely.

I know you want to tear into this Spiced Fruit Loaf the moment it comes outta the oven, but you shouldn’t. The butter and fruit in this loaf make it particularly squidgy whilst warm.

Trust me! Once cooled this baby will slice beautifully.

Enjoy as is, smothered in butter, or toasted and buttered.

Do you always eat breakfast?

If you enjoyed baking this Spiced Fruit Loaf then you may also like these recipes:

English Muffins

English Muffins

Chelsea Buns

FF Spiced Fruit Loaf
Homemade Chelsea Buns

Happy baking.

Sammie xx

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English Muffins

Hello, I have one of my greatest accomplishments to share with you today, homemade English Muffins.

English Muffins homemade and completely scrumptious www.feastingisfun.com
English Muffins homemade and completely scrumptious www.feastingisfun.com

I am not really sure why I have hesitated so long before making these, all I can say is that I wish I hadn’t. My homemade English Muffins are a world away from their shop bought counterparts.

Whilst I have eaten plenty of supermarket muffins in the past, I have always found them a bit heavy and dense and although they’ve been eaten and enjoyed I honestly couldn’t go back now, homemade is the way to go!

English Muffins so deliciously light www.feastingisfun.com
English Muffins so deliciously light www.feastingisfun.com

They say that Breakfast is THE most important meal of the day, a couple of these English Muffins will certainly keep you going until lunchtime.

Although we very rarely have tea as a meal anymore, these would be absolutely perfect. A big plate piled high with warm, homemade English Muffins, butter, pots of jam, sliced bananas and a large glass of milk. A scene straight out of an Enid Blyton book!

English Muffins absolutely worth making at home - utterly delicious www.feastingisfun.com
English Muffins absolutely worth making at home – utterly delicious www.feastingisfun.com

I honestly cannot encourage you enough to make these English Muffins. The reward for effort put in is ridiculously good. These don’t require baking either. Just an iron skillet/griddle, if you own one, otherwise a heavy based frying pan will be fine.

A couple of tips:

The dough is quite sticky, but not unmanageable, as long as you dust your working surface well, with flour and polenta (cornmeal) and keep the dough moving whilst rolling out.

No fat needs to be added to the griddle. Just follow the method and your English Muffins will be fantastic!

Recipe : Makes 12-14 English Muffins

350g/12oz Plain White Flour – plus extra for dusting

7g/1 sachet Active Dried Yeast

1/2tsp Honey

7g/ 1/4oz Salt

1 Large Egg – I use free range

200ml/7 fl oz Milk – whole or semi skimmed

7g/ 1/4oz Unsalted Butter

2-3 Tbsp Cornmeal/Polenta for dusting

Method :

Using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or a bread maker,

Lightly whisk the egg into the milk. Pour into the bowl of your chosen machine.

Add the yeast and honey. Mix using clean fingers.

Then add the flour on top of the liquid.

Add the salt and butter.

If using a bread maker set the machine to dough cycle. Press start.

If using a stand mixer, mix on a low speed until all the ingredients have combined, then continue mixing for 5 minutes on a medium speed. Stop the machine, remove any dough from the dough hook and place back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave until the dough has doubled in size – approx. 1 hour.

When the dough cycle has finished, re-start your bread maker on the dough cycle and allow to mix for 2 minutes.

With a stand mixer, remove the cloth, mix with the dough hook for 2 minutes.

Whilst the dough is proving dust 2 baking sheets with a 50/50 mix of flour and cornmeal (polenta is the same thing!).

Prepare the baking sheets by sprinkling with flour and polenta.
Prepare the baking sheets by sprinkling with flour and polenta.

Prepare the work top by dusting with the same flour/cornmeal mixture. Keep some to the side to use whilst working/rolling the dough.

Place the dough onto the prepared worktop
Place the dough onto the prepared worktop.
Roll out the dough, moving it regularly so it doesn't stick, until it is about 1/2 inch thick.
Roll out the dough, moving it regularly so it doesn’t stick, until it is about 1/2 inch thick.

I used a 2.5″ cutter for my English Muffins.

Place the cutout discs onto the prepared baking sheets.
Place the cutout discs onto the prepared baking sheets.

You can bring together the remnants of dough, left from cutting out the discs, knead back together and re-roll.

Cover the baking sheets with a dry tea towel and leave the dough to rise, until doubled in size.

After 30-45 minutes proving the dough will have risen and have rounded edges.
After 30-45 minutes proving the dough will have risen and have rounded edges.

Preheat your griddle/heavy based pan on the hob, over a medium heat.

Place the discs onto a preheated skillet/griddle.
Place the discs onto a preheated skillet/griddle.
English Muffins cook for 5 minutes and then flip over.
English Muffins cook for 5 minutes and then flip over.

You will actually see the English Muffins rise in the pan, before your very eyes. Our children were captivated! I used a palette knife to flip the muffins over.

They are cooked when they are well risen and set (you can pick one up and the sides hold their shape), both top and bottom should be golden brown and they will sound hollow when rapped with you knuckle.

Remove from the griddle.

Place the cooked English Muffins on a cooling rack. www.feastingisfun.com
Place the cooked English Muffins on a cooling rack. www.feastingisfun.com

These first 4 English Muffins were cooled for 5 minutes and then eaten straight away. Unbelieveably good.

Cook the rest of the muffins in the same way.

English Muffins a homemade delight www.feastingisfun.com
English Muffins a homemade delight www.feastingisfun.com

The joys of being a food blogger, these muffins lasted 5 minutes whilst I photographed them and then they were snaffled away to be eaten!!

If you have never baked bread or cooked with yeast before, these English Muffins are the perfect starting point. No worrying if it is too early to open the oven door and take a peek, the cooking happens right before your very eyes. And if you are unsure if they are cooked through, remove one, cut through with a bread knife and check. What could be easier and more tasty?

English Muffins delicious as they are or toasted with jam! www.feastingisfun.com
English Muffins delicious as they are or toasted with jam! www.feastingisfun.com

I can guarantee massive smiles all round when you serve up a big plate of warm, delicious, English Muffins.

These muffins will keep for a couple of days in a bread bin and are delicious, split and toasted. They can also be placed in a freezer bag, once absolutely cold and kept in the freezer for a month.

The gorgeous board that I’ve displayed the English Muffins on is from House of Frazer, that I picked up in the sale!

Have you put off making something, presuming it will be really hard, only to be surprised when you’ve taken the plunge and made it??

If you enjoyed making these English Muffins and want to try another easy bread recipe, how about my

Knotted Poppyseed Rolls

Crusty White Bread

Please let me know if you make these, I love hearing from you?

Sammie x

 

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