Tag Archives: Bread

Paul Hollywood’s Pain De Campagne

Pain De Champagne
Pain De Campagne
image: alittlethoughtforfood.com

I’ve been watching last year Oregano grow like mad this year and needed to cut it back before it went to seed. I was wondering what to do with leaves rather than just dump them in the compost when I remembered this recipe in Paul Hollywood’s Bread
book, that Kimbob’s bought me for Valentine’s

Makes: 1 loaf

Tip: I use dried yeast when making wholemeal bread as the re-activation in warm water gives the heavier wholemeal flour a helping hand to rise. Feel free to use easy bake dried yeast or fresh if you want. You don’t need to activate the Easy Bake yeast just add it to the flour and stir in.

Ingredients

  • 400 g strong bread flour
  • 100 g rye flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried yeast (or 7g easy bake dried yeast\20g fresh yeast)
  • 50 g butter, diced and softened to room temperature
  • 1 large bunch of oregano, de-stalked and finely chopped
  • 300 ml water

Method

  1. Activate the dried yeast by whisking the sugar into 160 ml of the water until dissolved, then add the yeast and whisk again. Leave in a warm place for 10 – 15 mins or until 2cms of froth covers the surface, whisk again and use (Not required for Easy Bake yeast)
  2. Add the flour, salt and chopped herbs into a bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Add the butter and rub completely into the flour mix
  4. Slowly add the yeast and water and mix in with your hands until all the flour from the side of the bowl, has been incorporated.
  5. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 6 minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl and leave to rise for 2 to 2.5 hours until doubled in size.
  6. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Return the dough to the floured surface and shape into a ball, then slightly flatten with your hands and dust with some rye flour. Using a sharp knife, mark out  the traditional square shape on top of the dough, pop onto a baking tray and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 8. Bake for 30 minutes until until the bread is risen, the crust is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with butter, or as the base for a slice or two of Mature Cheddar Cheese on toast or dunked in a bowl of my Bacon and Lentil or  Minestrone Soup

 

 

 

Basic Wholemeal Bread

Basic Wholemeal Bread
Basic Wholemeal Bread
Image: http://www.alittlethoughtforfood.com
#alittlethoughtforfood

“Once you’ve grasped the recipe for wholemeal bread you’ll never stop making it” was something I heard a long time ago and it’s true. This easy recipe make two small 450g loaves or a single 900g one. As it doesn’t contain any of the flour ‘improvers’ and preservatives that you find in commercially bought loaves, it won’t last as long, so I normally make two small ones and wrap one tightly and pop it in the fridge to keep for a day or two.

 

Tip: I use dried yeast when making wholemeal bread as the re-activation in warm water gives the heavier wholemeal flour a helping hand to rise. Feel free to use easy bake dried yeast or fresh if you want. You don’t need to activate the Easy Bake yeast just add it to the flour and stir in.

Ingredients:

  • 450g strong plain wholemeal flour
  • 225g strong plain white flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp dried yeast (or 7g easy bake dried yeast\20g fresh yeast)
  • 25g butter, cubed
  • About 450 ml warm water (2 parts cold to one part boiling), the true amount depends on the day and the flour

Method

  1. Activate the dried yeast by whisking the sugar into 160ml of the water until dissolved, then add the yeast and whisk again. Leave in a warm place for 10 – 15 mins or until 2cms of froth covers the surface, whisk again and use (Not required for Easy Bake yeast)
  2. Sift the white flour into a large bowl
  3. Add the wholemeal flour and salt and stir.
  4. Rub the butter into the flour mixture and make a well in the middle.
  5. Mix the activated yeast liquid and enough of the remaining water into the flour to make a soft dough.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  7. Shape into a round an place in a clean large and lightly oiled bowl, pop into a large plastic bag or loosely cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
  8. Oil two 900g loaf tins.
  9. Once the dough as risen (You can tell if it’s fully risen as the dough won’t pop back when you press your finger lightly into it), knock it back on a lightly floured surface, divide into two (if you want two loaves), roughly shape into rectangles and pop in the tins.
  10. Cover and leave to rise again, for about ½ hour or until doubled in size.
  11. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F
  12. Dust the loaves with a sprinkling of wholemeal flour and cook for 15 mins then reduce the temperature to 200°C\420°F and cook for another 15 to 20 mins until the bread is risen, the crust is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom
  13. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack

Slice and enjoy with butter, jam or anything you fancy………

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup
Tomato Soup

The cold weather is starting to set in and I’ve started making a hearty and warming soup on a Sunday afternoon, last week I asked the kids which flavour would they like me to make and the unanimous answer was Tomato. It’d been a while since I made it, so I readily agreed. As it’s winter getting good flavoured fresh Tomatoes is nigh-on impossible, so I substituted a good tinned variety.

This soup can be the base for a “Tomato and Basil” or a “Cream of Tomato” , by adding, of course some shredded Basil leaves during cooking or a good swirl of cream after serving.

It’s also ‘souper’ to dunk a big chunk of the Cheese Soda Bread in…

Ingredients

  • 5 X 400g Tins of Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium Carrot,  finely diced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, minced or pressed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.25 ltr Chicken Stock, fresh or pre-packed. If you used pre-packed check the seasoning before adding extra salt
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Add the diced onion and carrot to the oil into a a good sized heavy based pan and sautee for 5 minutes or until soft and slightly coloured
  2. Add the garlic and tomato puree and cook for a further minute or so until the vegetables are coated and coloured red
  3. Add the tomatoes, stock and bay and bring to the boil.
  4. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 45 mins.
  5. Once the soup as cooked, remove the bay leaves and blitz until smooth, I use a hand blender in the pan to do this, but you can use a food processor (although I’d let it cool a little beforehand).
  6. Check the seasoning and serve

Garnish with a swirl of fresh cream or a dollop of Creme Fraiche to give it a touch of extra pizazz..

Cheese Soda Bread

This is a variation of my classic Irish Soda Bread, a little jazzier and possibly it’s slightly posher brother! It’s ideal if you want something different for a dinner party or to impress a member of the opposite sex with your culinary skills during an intimate little soiree…

It’s also good to just make and eat yourself!

  • 260 gm Strong White Flour
  • 80 gm Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 1 tsp  bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 290 ml Buttermilk
  • 125 gms of  fresh Parmesan, finely grated.
  • 1/2 tsp English Mustard powder
  • 5 or 6 sprigs fresh rosemary

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F/Gas Mark 6).
  2. Mix the  flours, bicarbonate of soda, salt and mustard powder together in a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle in the cheese and mix, sometimes I find doing this a bit at a time help to ensure the cheese is evenly distributed.
  4. Make a well in the ingredients, pour in the buttermilk and combine to make a dough.
  5. Pop the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently kneed for a few minutes, then make a round shape.
  6. Carefully lift the dough and put on to a lightly floured oven sheet. Cut the recognisable cross onto the top, decorate with the rosemary sprigs and pop it in the oven.
  7. After 30 mins, when the beard is golden, test to check if it’s cooked by tapping the base. It should sound hollow.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool cut into thick slices, add butter or spread and dunk into a rich and hearty home-made tomato soup.

I’ve used Cheddar instead of Parmesan before, however I needed to use a food processor to break the cheese up and distribute it thru the dry ingredients.

Irish Soda Bread

Soda Bread

Was sitting on the sofa on Saturday, thinking back to some of my old staple recipes and I remembered that I regularly made Soda Bread.

An old Irish rustic standard, and exceptionally easy to make. I wonder why I stopped making it…..

Ingredients

  • 170 gm Strong White Flour
  • 170 gm Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 1 tsp  bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 290 ml Buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F/Gas Mark 6).
  2. Mix the  flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the buttermilk and combine to make a dough.
  4. Pop the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently kneed for a few minutes, then make a round shape.
  5. Carefully lift the dough and put on to a lightly floured oven sheet. Cut the recognisable cross onto the top and put in the oven.
  6. After 30 mins, when the beard is golden, test to check if it’s cooked by tapping the base. It should sound hollow.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool cut into thick slices, add butter or spread and dunk into a good home-made soup or top with your favourite preserve…