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 I won 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
Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

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.

  • Weigh the water into the bowl of the stand mixer.
  • Add the dried yeast and flour.
  • Now 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 stretch without tearing. Indeed you should be able to stretch it 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.
  • 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 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. If baked for longer they become hard and lose the soft, fluffy inner.
  • 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 stealing a bite into one of these deliciously cheesy breadsticks, with its soft, fluffy inner.
FF Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks
Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft 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 so that a gift may be given 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. The enjoyment seen on someone’s face, simply because they have been thought of, is priceless.

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.

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.

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 the test after each further mixing period until the dough passes the windowpane 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 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

  • 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.

Baking the Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

  • While the loaf is undergoing its second prove, preheat your oven to it hottest setting. Usually 250C or gas mark 9.
  • 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.
  • Once 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.
  • 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. It is better not to keep this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf in an airtight container as it may go mouldy very quickly.

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.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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 dough:
  • 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 likewise 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. Break an egg into a bowl, add the tablespoon of milk and whisk with a fork to mix. This is the eggwash.
  • 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 the dough strands, proving and egg washing before baking.
  • 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. 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.

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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Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

Bread, an everyday staple for most people. Yet finding a loaf that is light, tasty, with added fibre can be hard. Look no further my friends, as I present my Lighter Wholemeal Loaf.

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf easily sliced and perfect for sandwiches.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf easily sliced and perfect for sandwiches.

I must admit I am a bit of a ‘bread head’ – does that make me sound cool?!!

By that, I mean that I adore most breads, providing they are well made, do not contain additives and have a flavour of their own that contributes to the final dish.

I do not live near an Artisan Bakery, where freshly baked bread, in all its array of shapes and flavours can be purchased. So instead I make our bread at home.

Lighter Wholemeal Bread full of flavour.
Lighter Wholemeal Bread full of flavour.

This Lighter Wholemeal Loaf is one of our family’s favourite breads. The loaf slices beautifully and so is perfect for packed lunches, or toasted for breakfast and then slathered in homemade jam.

I have 100% wholemeal bread recipes such as my Wholemeal Cob Loaf and Wholemeal Loaf, yet if I’m honest, as delicious as they are, having the same bread every single day can get a bit boring. So I like to switch things up a bit, keeping our taste buds interested and in reality, ensuring our teenagers eat a decent portion of their lunch.

They say variety is the spice of life 😉

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf just add butter for a delicious feast.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf just add butter for a delicious feast.

When I eat bread I want it to contribute to the flavour of the whole dish. What I mean is, it shouldn’t, mustn’t just be a limp carrier for other flavours. The mature cheddar cheese and butter, as seen in the photo above, became my lunch yesterday – the perks of being a food blogger!

Yet this sandwich, with the addition of some Red Onion Marmalade, truly is one of my favourite lunches. Each component adding flavour and different textures, so that as a whole, the resulting sandwich was incredibly appetising and filling.

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf a heart, flavour packed lunch.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf a hearty, flavour packed lunch.

I used a mixture of stone ground, organic strong flour from Shipton Mill to make this Lighter Wholemeal Loaf. The wheat, traditionally milled, using the flow of river water for energy needed to drive the grinding stones, is consistently excellent, whilst it’s production is sympathetic to and works in harmony with the environment.

So that I can guarentee you consistent, excellent results when making this Lighter Wholemeal Loaf, this recipe has been thoroughly tested, with the resulting loaf being approximately one third wholemeal flour. This 2:1 combination of Strong White to Strong Wholemeal flour gives a great, nutty, wholesome flavour, whilst keeping the bread light enough for everday use. It’s also a great way of adding extra fibre into your own and your familiy’s diet, especially if their preference is for white bread.

Recipe: Makes one Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

150g/5oz Strong Wholemeal Flour – preferably organic plus a little extra for dusting the work top.

350g/12oz Strong Unbleached White Flour – preferably organic

360ml Tepid Tap Water

7g/1 Sachet Dried Yeast

1tsp Honey

7g/1tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon Sea Salt Flakes

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter

Method:

The ‘bowl’ is either a large bowl, with which to mix the bread by hand, or the stand mixer/bread maker bowl.

For all methods:

Pour the water into the bowl. Add the honey and yeast. Swish about with clean fingers to activate the yeast.

Now add the flour on top of the liquid.

Add the salt and the butter.

If using a bread maker, set to dough cycle and start the program. Once the cycle is completed re-start for 1 minute. This ‘knocks back’ the dough. See below for how to shape the loaf prior to it’s second prove.

If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and mix on medium speed until all the ingredients are combined. Continue to mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Stop mixing. Scrape the dough from the dough hook and combine with the dough in the bowl. Form into a ball, place back into the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size (approx. 1hour). Once doubled remove the cloth, mix for 1 minute on medium speed using the dough hook. This ‘knocks back’ the dough.

If hand mixing, bring all the ingredients together with your hand until they form a doughy mess! Place this dough onto a very lightly floured worktop. Knead for a good 10 minutes. If the dough gets sticky, keep kneading and working it – if you add extra flour the finished bread will be dry. After a good 10 minutes kneading, the dough should have a smooth elasticity. Place the kneaded dough into a buttered bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.

To shape the dough: Tip the knocked back the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently flatten the dough into an oval/rectangle shape.

Flatten out the dough into a rough oval.
Flatten out the dough into a rough oval.

Fold the top third of the flattened dough over.

Fold the top third of the dough over.
Fold the top third of the dough over.

Fold the bottom third of the dough up and slightly over the previous fold.

Bring the bottom third of the dough up.
Bring the bottom third of the dough up.

Rotate the dough by a quarter, gently flatten out and repeat the folding process.

Repeat the turning and folding twice more, ensuring the last turn and fold is quite tight. This folding technique does not take long and unlike pastry, this bread dough can withstand being moved and worked. The purpose of turning and folding is to build a good structure within the dough.

Once the folding and turning is complete turn the dough over so that it is seam side down.

Place into a greased 3lb loaf tin. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size.

I also sprinkled some wholemeal flour over the top of the dough, this gives a nice, rustic finish to the baked bread.

Neat, tightly folded dough ready for its second prove.
Neat, tightly folded dough ready for its second prove.

The dough can take between 45 minutes and a couple of hours to double in size, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity.

Whilst the dough has it’s final prove, preheat your oven to it’s hottest setting.

5 minutes before your loaf is due to be baked, fill a tray with ice cubes and place on the lowest shelf in the oven. The hot, steamy environment will help the dough to rise even further before the crust sets and helps bake a crusty loaf.

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf beautifully risen and ready for the oven.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf beautifully risen and ready for the oven.

Place the loaf into the centre of a preheated oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7. Bake the Lighter Wholemeal Loaf for 30 minutes.

The bread is cooked when it is a golden brown colour and sounds hollow when rapped on the base of the loaf with your knuckle.

Once baked remove the bread from the oven and immediately tip out onto a cooling rack. Note: If the loaf is cooked but you’d like a darker crust, place the loaf, without the tin, directly on to the oven shelf and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the crust is the colour you desire.

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf such a delicious and versatile bread.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf such a delicious and versatile bread.

The smell of freshly baked bread is so unbelievably good. Our postman really likes delivering to us in the morning, as that tends to be when the bread is either baking or cooling!

Do not be surprised if your neighbours pop in, just for a chat, as they catch a whiff of freshly baked bread escaping from your house 😉

This Lighter Wholemeal Loaf will keep in a bread bin for up to 3 days. To freeze, ensure the bread is completely cold and wrap tightly in cling film. Fresh bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. To defrost, remove all the cling film and allow the loaf to stand on a large trivet or a cooling rack at room temperature, until fully defrosted.

I like to refresh frozen bread – this simply involves preheating the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7. Once the bread has fully defrosted, spritz with tap water and place directly onto the middle oven shelf for 10-15 minutes. After removing from the oven allow the loaf to cool and it will taste like it has been freshly baked that day! I won’t tell 😉

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Lighter Wholemeal Loaf, then I have some others you may like too:

Farmhouse White Loaf

FF Lighter Wholemeal Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf

Oat Bran White Bread

FF Lighter Wholemeal Loaf
Oat Bran White Bread makes the best toast!

Knotted Poppyseed Rolls

FF Lighter Wholemeal Loaf
Knotted Poppyseed Rolls perfect for picnics.

Using a bread maker or stand mixer to carry out the kneading part of making bread dough isn’t cheating. I hand kneaded some incredibly sticky Brioche dough for 20 minutes at the weekend and honestly, it has really taken it’s toll on my body this week. So if using kitchen appliances enables us to eat better quality, homemade bread, that is also much cheaper than it’s shop bought counterpart, why not?

I hope that the detailed, yet easy steps in this recipe have encouraged you to bake your own bread – you may find that once you start it is impossible to go back to mass produced, plastic wrapped loaves!!

I am always willing to answer any questions you may have with this, or any of my other recipes. Simply leave a comment, or for a quicker reply Tweet me a message.

Have fun making and baking in your kitchens, maybe invite a friend or neighbour round and bake together. It may take longer but I can guarentee there will be lots of laughing.

Sammie xx

This is not a sponsored post. I have been buying Shipton Mill flour for almost as long as I have been baking my own bread.

British Bakeware  sell a range of baking products, their 3lb farmhouse loaf tin was used to bake this Lighter Wholemeal Loaf.

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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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Oat Bran White Bread

For those of you who regularly read this blog, you may have noticed a few things about the way I cook and bake. Primarily I make food that is tasty to eat using ‘natural’ ingredients. For example, I unashamedly use butter when baking and cooking and tend to avoid overly processed foods. While I have a passion for baking bread, with nuttier and seeded loaves being my preferred loaves, yet I live in the real world. In a family of five people, three prefer white bread. So here is my compromise. Oat Bran White Bread is a soft loaf without the heaviness or chewing required by its wholemeal cousin.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread

Since this bread is so soft it is perfect for sandwiches and also makes the most incredible toast. In fact, this loaf makes the best toast, in my opinion, of all the bread recipes here on Feasting is Fun. Packed full of fibre from the whole oats and oat bran, it is good for you as well as being a tasty, filling bread. Yet also having the lightness of a white loaf.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread

While I am not into faddy food, having food allergies myself means I am attempting to increase the variety recipes on this site. For example gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian. I try to use fresh local and seasonal food as much as possible in my everyday cooking and that is reflected in the recipes posted here. I am not perfect and we have standby dinners in the freezer for days when I can’t cook.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread

All that said, I do try to make as much of our own bread as possible. If I didn’t have a bread machine or stand mixer I simply would be unable to make bread from scratch. Kitchen machinery that earns its place will always be welcomed by me. Far better to make good quality, homemade bread with the help of a mixer, than buy its mass produced counterpart. Bread is a staple and a great tasting, fresh loaf will always be at the heart of any kitchen that I use.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread

A quick note about this Oat Bran White Bread: I have recently updated the recipe, replacing the butter for Rapeseed oil. First of all it gives the baked loaf a softer texture and also makes the recipe both dairy free and vegan. I am NOT jumping on the ‘vegan’ bandwagon, however, creating a loaf that more people can make and enjoy will always be a priority for me, providing there is no compromise on flavour.

Recipe:  Oat Bran White Bread

420ml Water at room temperature

450g/1lb Strong White Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill

100g/4oz Fine Oat Bran available from health food shops and Amazon

50g/2oz Rolled Oats

7g /1sachet Active Dried Yeast – I use the green tub/sachets from Allinson

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2 tbsp Rapeseed Oil (Canola Oil)

 

Method :

Using a bread maker or stand mixer, pour the water into the  bowl and then add the yeast.

Next add the flour, oat bran and oats.

On top of the dry ingredients add the salt and oil.

Set the bread machine to dough cycle and start.

If using a stand mixer, attatch the dough hook and mix until all the ingredients come together. Continue to mix for 10 minutes. Stop mixing and remove the dough hook. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth until the dough has doubled in size, approx 1 hour.

Once doubled in size, remove the cloth and tip the dough out on to a lightly floured worktop so that the top of the risen dough is in on the bottom, in contact with the work surface.

Once the bread mixer has finished the dough cycle, start it again, allowing it to mix (knock back) the dough for one minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Working around the dough, take hold of the dough with your hand, pull out and then press into the centre. Continue, as in the photographs below, until you have a tight, neat lump of dough.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Creating structure within the dough.

Gently, using your fingers, press the dough out to form a square shape.

Fold the bottom third of the dough up and then the top third of the dough is folded down, slighlty overlapping the seam.

Turn the dough over and place into a well greased loaf pan.

Spray or brush with water and sprinkle over rolled oats and oat bran.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Shaping the dough ready for the tin.

Cover with a clean tea towel, place in a straight free place and leave to rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7.

As soon as the dough has risen slash across the dough with a very sharp knife or grignette 4-5 times.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Proved and slashed Oat Bran White Bread ready for the oven.

Place the bread in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. The bread is baked when golden brown and carefully rapped with a knuckle and it sounds hollow.

As soon as the loaf is baked remove from the oven and turn out immediately on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread

Allow the bread to cool fully before slicing.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Oat Bran White Bread you may also like these:

Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

FF Oat Bran White Loaf
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Seeded Cob Loaf

This Oat Bran White Bread loaf has a wonderful texture and flavour. While it does contain oats it certainly doesn’t taste like porridge. The oat bran lends a slight nuttiness, without the full on slog you get from a wholemeal loaf. It slices beautifully and makes equally good toast and sandwiches, although I confess to enjoying a slice with just butter on it. A really good loaf should have its own flavour and not just be a package for some cheese and ham.

If you love white bread, but want to incorporate more healthy fibre in your diet – this loaf is a great place to start!

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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Easy Crusty Baguettes

Hi, so I’ve now had feastingisfun.com for a year! Thank you to everyone who has taken time to read and comment on my blog. I appreciate you more than you could ever know. If I could bake each and everyone of you a cake I would. Instead I have a bread recipe for you!!! I know, I’m all heart – but this is a recipe you will, hopefully, thank me for. Easy Crusty Baguettes.

Easy Baguettes
Easy Crusty Baguettes

 

You may be thinking – “why bake my own baguettes when I can pick them up from the grocery store?”

Well, not everyone can get to a shop, they can be out of stock – but mostly I’m the kinda girl who is inquisitive. If I can buy something, I want to know if I can make it! Personally I get a real kick out of making something that’s so easy to buy – knowing exactly what’s gone into my creation! Easy Crusty Baguettes are so easy to make (if you have a stand mixer with dough hook or a bread maker they are easier still!) and taste so good.

The only ‘special’ piece of equipment I use is a French Baguette Tray.

French Baguette Trays
French Baguette Trays

 

I purchased my baguette from Amazon UK

Swift Faringdon Collection Bakers Pride Non-Stick French Bread Pan Carbon Steel 39 cm x 16 cm x 2.5 cm

by Faringdon Collection

 

I have made baguettes on a baking sheet, they were ok but tended to spread a little. I decided to buy one French Baguette Tray, used it, was thrilled with the results and quickly purchased a second tray. The advantages of using the baguette tray are that they really do hold the shape of the baguette, whilst it’s proving and baking and they are longer than most baking trays so you can put them in your oven at an angle – giving you longer baguettes. These Easy Crusty Baguettes are made using these trays.

Gorgeous imprint on the underside of the baguette from the tray.
Gorgeous imprint on the underside of the baguette from the tray.

 

Recipe : makes 3 x 16″ (40cm) Easy Crusty Baguettes

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

1 x 7g Sachet Fast Action Dried Yeast

1tsp Sugar or honey

300ml/10floz Lukewarm Water

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter

1tsp Salt

Method :

I use a bread maker to mix, prove and knock back the dough, instructions will also be given for a stand mixer using a dough hook.

Place the water into the bowl. Add the yeast and sugar. Swirl with clean fingers to mix.

Add the flour so that it covers the water/yeast mixture. On top of the flour add the salt and butter.

If using a bread maker set the program to mix and prove.

If using a stand mixer slowly start to mix the ingredients. Once combined increase the speed to medium and mix for 10 minutes. Once mixing is complete form the dough into a ball, place back into the stand mixer bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a draft free place until doubled in size.

When the bread mixer has finished proving, or the dough in the stand mixer is doubled in size it is time to knock back the dough.

Using the bread maker mix and prover cycle, start again and allow to knead for the mix part of the cycle then stop the machine and remove the dough.

Using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment as before, remove the towel and start the mixer on low increasing to medium to knock back and knead the proved dough. If the dough doesn’t all pull together, stop the mixer. Using clean hands pull the dough into a ball shape. Knead the dough on a medium speed for a further 10 minutes. Stop the mixer and remove the dough from the bowl/dough hook.

Place the dough on a floured surface.
Place the dough on a floured surface.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces - unlike mine!!!
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces – unlike mine!!!
Roll each piece of dough out to just under the length of your baguette tray.
Roll each piece of dough out to just under the length of your baguette tray.
Place the baguette roll in the tray and using a very sharp knife slash lightly through the dough as in the photo.
Place the baguette roll in the tray and using a very sharp knife slash lightly through the dough as in the photo.

 

I could have recombined my dough to create three equal sized baguettes. What I did instead was to place the smaller baguette in a separate tray, knowing it would cook a little quicker than the other two! Very lazy I know!!

Place the trays in a draught free place and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to prove until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to it’s hottest setting and place a tray of hot water in the bottom of the oven. The steam produced will help give your Easy Crusty Baguettes the super crusty, crunchy exterior that is required in a baguette!

Removing the towel place the baguette trays into the oven diagonally. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the baguettes are golden, with a hard crust. They should sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.

Easy Baguettes - golden, crunchy, crust.
Easy Crusty Baguettes – golden, crunchy, crust.

 

Remove from the oven and place the baguettes on a cooling rack.

We ate one baguette the day they were made. The other two were stored in our bread tin. 2 days later I sprinkled them with a little water and placed in a preheated, hot oven for 5-8 minutes. Below is the baguette I refreshed in the oven. It tasted as good as the day it was made. Absolutely delicious with a really crunchy crust.

Easy Baguettes - perfect with cheese and chutney.
Easy Crusty Baguettes – perfect with cheese and chutney.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Easy Crusty Baguettes then you may also like these:

Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

FF Easy Crusty Baguettes
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Oat Bran White Bread

FF Easy Crusty Baguettes
Oat Bran White Bread

Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks 

FF Easy Crusty Baguettes
Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

Of course there are times when we all buy baguettes – because, LIFE! If I lived near an artisan bakery I may never have made these. Really I am so glad I tried. For minimal effort, delicious bread is on hand. Easy Crusty Baguettes so worth the few minutes prep time.

Have you ever made baguettes?

I love reading your comments and appreciate you taking the time to write them.

You may also like Crusty White Bread                                                                 Wholemeal Cob Loaf

Sammie x

This is not a sponsored post, item links provided for information purposes only.

 

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