We both love pasta and very often the simplest dishes are the best. Spaghetti with tomato sauce, which we cooked today, is one such example. Fresh basil leaves, cracked black pepper and a few shavings of Parmesan are all that’s required to finish to perfection!
We love some form of crusty bread served on the side of our pasta dishes.
Justin spotted a delicious looking tear and share garlic bread on one of his recent Pinterest browsing tea breaks.
The method was quick and easy – and the results delicious.
It’s a very flexible recipe in terms of potential ingredients. Ours was flavoured predominantly with garlic & oregano, but many other herbs such as parsley, rosemary or chives could also be used. Olives, sun-dried tomatoes or small cubes of cheese would also be perfect additions.
The perfect bread to wipe that plate clean! Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest.
- 120ml/4¼ fl oz warm water
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- 1tsp active dry yeast
- 15g/4½oz butter, softened
- 120ml/4¼ fl oz milk
- 1tsp salt
- 400g/14oz bread flour
- 60g/2oz butter, melted
- 1tbsp fresh oregano or ½tsp dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1tsp coarse salt
- In a small measuring jug, stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water until dissolved. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, quickly mix the salt and flour using your fingers
- Make a well in the centre and add the butter, milk and yeast mixture
- Using the dough hook, knead for 7-10 minutes. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but clears sides. It will be soft and slightly sticky. Kneading can also be done by hand but will take around 10-12 minutes
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, oregano and minced garlic. Set aside
- Cut the dough into equal pieces and roll into balls **I made twelve 57g balls**
- Dip the balls, one by one, into the garlic butter mixture (make sure you leave a little aside)
- Lay the buttery dough balls into a greased 20cm x 10cm (8" x 4") loaf tin **I used 2 smaller tins**
- Cover the loaf and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size - about an hour
- After around 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
- Brush the tops lightly with more of the garlic butter (still making sure a little is left)
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown
- Brush with the last of the garlic butter to glaze, sprinkle with the coarse salt and serve immediately
- Instead of oregano, you could use basil, parsley or rosemary
- You could also add a few halved olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes or small cubes of cheese to the dough
Someone over on our Instagram feed asked when I was going to share the recipe for the 24-hour sourdough loaf that I’d photographed. I forgot that I’d never actually blogged about it, so here it is!
It’s my new favourite sourdough bread recipe because it helps me plan my baking time to a tee. No more hanging around at bedtime for my bread to be ready to take out of the oven. You start at “zero hour” with a refresh of the starter and end with taking it out of the oven.
The 24 hour duration is a fairly loose timing. You can stretch or shorten the time line to suit by warming or cooling the environment of the starter and the rising dough. I like to time it so that my final prove takes place overnight. The recipe suggests refrigerating the dough for this 8-12 hour stage however, our downstairs cloakroom gets really cold at night – and the banneton takes up a lot of space – so I do the rise in there.
It means I can get up in the morning, pre-heat the oven and La Cloche and enjoy lovely, fresh sourdough for breakfast!
Save the recipe to Pinterest for later!
- 585ml/20½fl oz water at 27ºC
- 180g/6⅓oz 1:1 (100% hydrated) fresh sourdough starter that's been refreshed the night before and again in the morning (Hour 0)
- 900g/31¾oz strong white bread flour
- 9g/⅓oz fine sea salt
- a little rice flour for dusting your banneton (I can't recommend this enough!!)
- In a bowl, whisk the warm water and starter and mix well
- Add the flour and salt (combined well) and mix until all the ingredients come together into a large ball
- Cover with cling film and let the dough rest in a cool environment for 1½ hours
- Lift and fold your dough over, do a quarter turn of your bowl and repeat three more times. Repeat hourly 3 more times
- Shape your dough lightly and place into a dusted banneton
- Cover with a shower cap or damp tea-towel and leave to prove on the side until the dough has risen by about 50%. This normally takes about 2 hours in a kitchen that is about 18-20 degrees, then transfer to the fridge for 8-12 hours
- In the morning, preheat the oven to 220ºC for 30 minutes to 1 hour before you are ready to bake with your La Cloche in the oven. The dish or La Cloche must be very hot
- Take the dish out of the oven and sprinkle a little flour over the bottom
- Put your dough into the La Cloche and slash the top of your bread using a grignette (or lame) then place the lid back on top and return to the oven as quickly as possible. Bake for 45 minutes
- Turn the heat down to 190ºC, remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes
I’m continuing with Sourdough September this week and making a sourdough beer loaf using a dark, delicious porter from Acorn Brewery in Barnsley.
I’ve been baking with sourdough – on and off – for a few years now and it can be hit & miss with the temperature of our house. This recipe that I’ve used talks about room temperature being 22ºC; we have a thermometer in our kitchen that never gets past 15ºC at the peak of summer! I’ve picked up a couple of tricks to improve the ambient environment for bread baking. In the winter, I simply put the proofing bowl/banneton near the wood-burner. In the summer I boil a mug of water in the microwave, remove it, put the bowl/banneton in and close the door. It usually works quite well.
The web page where I found this recipe has lots of photos of the finished loaf uploaded by all the people that tried it. Lots of lovely, round boules and shapely batards. As you can tell from my photos, mine was a bit of a ‘nailed it’ attempt! It wasn’t the temperature but the consistency of my dough that was to blame.
Starter hydration is described as a percentage – e.g. 100% hydration or 75% hydration. I wasn’t at school on the day percentages were taught and I’ve still not mastered them… maths was always my worst subject too! My starter is kept at the former percentage i.e. equal weight (not volume) of flour & water at each feeding. I don’t know where it went wrong to be honest. I should have gone with my instinct and added more flour – I could tell that I would have to pour my dough out of the banneton, almost as if it was a batter. Even so, it still managed something of a rise and tastes great! I will revisit this sourdough beer loaf recipe very soon and post the results below.
- 400g/14oz strong white flour
- 100g/3½oz wholemeal flour
- 345g/12oz bottle of beer (I used most of a 500ml bottle of Old Moor porter brewed by Acorn Brewery of Barnsley here in Yorkshire)
- 75g/2⅔oz water
- 80g/2¾oz sourdough starter
- 12g/½oz salt
- Pour 345g/12oz of room temperature beer into a bowl and mix thoroughly to release the carbonation
- Add the 500g/17⅔oz flour mixture to the beer and mix until thoroughly incorporated into a shaggy mass
- Cover and set aside (autolyse) at room temperature (22ºC/72ºF) for 2-3 hours
- Combine the salt, water and starter and mix thoroughly before adding to the dough
- Fold repeatedly until everything is thoroughly mixed together and the dough begins to feel smooth
- Cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about an hour
- Fold the dough 8 times (8 single folds)
- Re-cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about 12 hours at room temperature (22ºC/72ºF) or until the volume of dough doubles (optionally stretch and fold periodically)
- Turn out the fermented dough on a lightly-floured work surface and shape into your preferred loaf (boule, batard, etc.) and then place dough into a well-floured (rice flour is preferred) proofing basket/banneton; cover and allow to sit at room temperature (22ºC/72ºF) for about an hour
- After 30 minutes or so, place your preferred baking vessel, stone or tray (I used my pizza steel) in the oven and preheat to 260ºC/500ºF (or your vessel's maximum safe temperature).
- With the dough fully risen and oven pre-heated, gently transfer the dough from the proofing basket to the baking vessel, score the top of the loaf, and then bake at 260ºC/500ºF with top on (if using) for 20 minutes
- Turn the oven temperature down to 230ºC/450ºF and bake for another 10 minutes
- Remove the top of the baking vessel (if using) and bake for 20 minutes or until the colour of the crust is as desired and the internal loaf temperature is at least 90ºC/200ºF
- Remove the loaf from the oven and place it on a wire rack and allow it to cool for at least an hour before slicing
This pretzel loaf has been on my ‘to bake’ list for weeks. I’ve been putting it off because we’ve been having a very busy June. Instead, I’ve made a couple of recipes that were quick & easy to pull together, bake and photograph.
I needn’t have delayed, making a pretzel loaf isn’t as long, drawn out or difficult as I’d imagined. I think it was the boiling process that put me off attempting it for so long.
Yes, it did seem a bit strange par-boiling a ball of dough; but the technique produced a beautifully browned and deliciously chewy crust. It was a bit fiddly, make sure you use a large enough saucepan with enough boiling water. I had a pair of stainless steel skimmers which were perfect for the job of flipping the loaf over in the pan.
My decision to experiment with smoked salt flakes instead of traditional pretzel salt was a success – it gave it a very subtle flavour which didn’t overpower in the least.
Click here to pin the recipe for future reference!
- 500g/17 oz strong bread flour
- 1tbsp sugar
- 2tsp instant yeast
- 1¼tsp salt
- 250ml/ 9fl oz full-fat milk
- 125ml/ 4½fl oz warm water (blood temperature)
- 2L water
- 3tbsp brown sugar
- 2tbsp bicarbonate of soda
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast
- Mix for a couple of seconds on low to combine the dry ingredients
- With the mixer on low, carefully pour in the milk and water. Continue mixing on low until you have a smooth, soft, slightly tacky dough
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with cling film or put it inside a large, clear plastic bag and set aside somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size (about an hour)
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/Gas mark
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface
- Lift the dough, gently pull the edge of the dough down and tuck under. Turn the dough a ¼ turn and repeat. Do this until you've formed a cohesive round. Place the round on the clean surface and use your hands to gently turn and tighten the dough down over the surface
- Place on the prepared baking sheet, cover with a clean tea towel or length of oiled cling film and allow to rise while the oven preheats
- Bring 2 litres of water to a boil in a large stainless steel or other non-reactive pan (enamelled cast-iron, tempered glass etc.)
- When the water comes to a boil, add the brown sugar and bicarbonate of soda
- Gently lift the loaf and carefully ease the dough - top side down first - into the boiling water
- Simmer for about 3 minutes, flip the dough over using two spatulas or slotted spoons and simmer on that side for another 2 minutes
- Use the two spatulas or slotted spoons to carefully lift the dough out of the water and transfer back over to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Spritz the loaf with water and sprinkle with the coarse salt
- Using a lamé or a sharp knife, slice along the contours of the bread about ½cm/¼-inch thick.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until deep brown
- Transfer the loaf to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing
We’re making an unusual real bread recipe this time, for our weekly Cakes & Bakes feature; Halloumi herb bread.
Classic Halloumi is made with mint, and the original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint leaves and 4 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley leaves. I bought a pack of Halloumi from Lidl which was made with basil, so I tweaked the recipe accordingly.
Bakery Bits baked their Halloumi herb bread in a Pullman loaf pan, a bit of kit which I don’t own, so I just used a common or garden loaf tin.
A delicious, hearty, intense flavoured loaf was the result. A suitable accompaniment for an endless number of dishes… meat, fish or vegetable based – rice, pasta, couscous or salad.
I had it again the following day, toasted on both sides under the grill – very satisfactory leftovers.
- 5g/0.2oz dry yeast
- 175ml/6 fl oz warm water
- ¼tsp caster sugar
- 250g/9oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 25g/1oz strong wholemeal bread flour
- 4g/0.15oz salt
- 250g/9oz Halloumi cheese, cut into 1cm chunks
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbs finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 3 spring onions, peeled and sliced fairly finely
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, mix the yeast with 15ml/½ fl oz of the water at 30°C/86ºF and the caster sugar
- Allow to stand for about 15 minutes, until it has developed a slight froth on the surface
- Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine
- Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the water and use your hand or a dough whisk to mix everything together until there's no dry flour left and you have a shaggy dough
- Tip the dough out onto the work surface and knead for 10 minutes. By this stage the dough should be smooth and elastic
- Form the dough into a ball and place it back in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave at room temperature for 1-1½ hours
- While the dough is rising, put the Halloumi into a medium bowl with the olive oil, basil leaves and spring onions
- Season with salt and black pepper. Stir, then cover and leave for at least 30 minutes
- Prepare a 500g/1lb loaf tin by lightly greasing the sides and base with butter and dusting lightly with flour
- When the dough has almost doubled in size, gently tip it onto the work surface and press it out to form a rectangle three times the length and slightly wider than your loaf tin
- Spread the Halloumi and herb mixture evenly over the top of the dough
- Working from one of the long sides, roll the dough up like a Swiss roll. Press gently on the seam with your fingers to seal
- Place the roll of dough in the prepared loaf tin, cover and leave to prove for about 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 190°C /375°F /Gas mark 5
- Bake for 1 hour or until the top of the loaf develops a golden brown crust and the base makes a hollow sound when tapped
- Remove the loaf from the tin and place on a cooling rack
- Serve with tomato salad
A couple of weeks ago, we were watching an episode of Countryfile where they visited the Isle of Man.
One of the features they did from there was the annual Bonnag World Championships – which, last year, was won by 11-year-old Tom Keig.
Bonnag is a traditional Manx bread which, it is believed, has been around for hundreds of years. It can be ‘plain’ as I’ve made here or can be sweet with the addition of dried fruit such as currants, raisins, candied peel and mixed spice.
I went in search of a recipe but could only find ones with sketchy quantities and instructions. I guessed at the consistency and wetness of the dough. I thought it would be really similar to Irish soda bread in its ingredients and method. Anyway, it turned out really well. It was delicious straight from the oven with a smearing of butter!
- 450g/16oz plain flour
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp cream of tartar
- 60g/2oz cold butter, cubed
- 250g buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Grease a baking tray and set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients
- Rub in the cubed butter and make a well in the centre
- Pour in the buttermilk and mix until the dough just comes together
- Tip the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and form it into a ball. Do not over-knead
- Place the ball of dough on to the greased baking tray and bake for ¾ of an hour or until the top becomes golden brown
- Allow to cool on a wire rack