Cakes & Bakes: Beetroot loaf

Home-made beetroot loaf | H is for Home

My Pinterest stream is always full of food photos – predominately cake, fudge, biscuits and bread. One in particular caught my eye last week… a beetroot loaf. The colour is amazing and I love beetroot anyway.

Grated beetroot, yeast mixture and mixing bowl of strong bread flour | H is for Home

I had a search through many of my cook books and finally found a beetroot loaf recipe in Bread. The recipe is designed for electric bread-makers (there’s a whole section of bread-maker recipes in the book if that’s your preferred way of making bread!) but it’s fine to use if you’re making it by hand.

Ball of beetrot loaf dough | H is for Home

Just mix the yeast and sugar in the water using a small measuring jug or cup, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl making a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture and bring together roughly. Chuck in the beetroot, spring onions and butter (I omitted the last two ingredients) then knead well for about 10 minutes. Cover the mixing bowl in cling film (or put it inside a big clear [reusable] plastic bag like I do). Allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, punch down and put it into a loaf tin or well-floured banneton. Allow to double in size again before (transferring from the banneton to a greased oven tray) baking in a preheated oven at 220ºC/425ºF/Gas mark 7 for 30-40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when knocked on the base.

Home-made beetroot loaf with wooden handled bread knife | H is for Home

It was beautiful and absolutely delicious! Slightly sweet with a slightly earthy flavour. I had it with goats cheese and horseradish and Justin had the same in addition to a char-grilled sirloin steak.

Click here or the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Home-made beetroot loaf | H is for Home

Beetroot loaf
Yields 1
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  1. 150ml/5fl oz/⅔ cup water
  2. 140g/5oz/1 cup grated raw beetroot
  3. 2 spring onions, chopped
  4. 375g/13oz/3¼ cups unbleached white bread flour
  5. 15g/½oz/1tbsp butter
  6. 1½tsp salt
  7. 1tsp granulated sugar
  8. 1tsp easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast
  1. 170ml/6fl oz/¾ cup water
  2. 225g/8oz/1½ cup grated raw beetroot
  3. 3 spring onions, chopped
  4. 500g/1lb 2oz/4½ cups unbleached white bread flour
  5. 25g/1oz/2tbsp butter
  6. 2tsp salt
  7. 1tsp granulated sugar
  8. 1tsp easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast
  1. 280ml/1ofl oz/1¼ cup water
  2. 280g/10oz/2 cups grated raw beetroot
  3. 4 spring onions, chopped
  4. 675g/1 ½lbs/6 cups unbleached white bread flour
  5. 40g/1½oz/3tbsp butter
  6. 2tsp salt
  7. 1½tsp granulated sugar
  8. 1½tsp easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast
  1. Pour the water into the bread pan. Sprinkle over the grated beetroot. If the instructions for your machine specify that the yeast is to be placed in the pan first, reverse the order in which you add the liquid mixture and dry ingredients
  2. Add the chopped spring onions. However, if your bread machine offers you the option of adding any extra ingredients during the kneading cycle, set the spring onions aside so that you may add them later on
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the beetroot and water, ensuring it covers them both. Add the butter, salt and sugar in separate corners. Make a small indent in the centre of the flour (but not down as far as the liquid) and add the yeast
  4. Set the bread machine to the basic/normal setting, medium crust. Press start. If you like, slash the top of the loaf with diagonal slashes just before the baking cycle starts
  5. Remove at the end of the baking cycle and turn out on to a wire rack
  1. If you prefer an all-over red loaf rather than speckled, purée the raw beetroot in a mini-food processor instead of grating it
Adapted from Bread
Adapted from Bread
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Walnut and sultana loaf

Sliced, home-made walnut and sultana loaf | H is for Home

I’ve decided to make a walnut and sultana loaf this week by tweaking a basic white bread recipe that I regularly use. I didn’t have enough white flour in store so I substituted a quarter with wholemeal. It was a good decision as it added to the nuttiness of the finished loaf.

Home-made walnut and sultana loaf dough in a mixing bowl with cane banneton | H is for Home

Sliced or torn pieces of this bread will go amazingly well with a mild, creamy blue cheese such as Dolcelatte, Saint Agur or Roquefort.

Home-made walnut and sultana loaf dough profing in a cane banneton | H is for Home Home-made walnut and sultana loaf dough profing in a cane banneton | H is for Home

Another good option would be a couple of dipping bowls of good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Once the loaf’s a couple of days old, have it toasted and spread with butter and honey.

Home-made walnut and sultana loaf | H is for Home

Walnut and sultana loaf
Yields 1
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  1. 7g/¼oz fast action yeast
  2. 1tsp sugar
  3. 300ml/10½fl oz warm water
  4. 500g/18oz strong bread flour
  5. 1tsp salt
  6. 50g/1¾oz chopped walnuts
  7. 50g/1¾oz sultanas
  9. Home-made walnut and sultana loaf ingredients
  1. In a measuring jug, stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water. Leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to begin working
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the flour. Make a well in the centre
  3. Add the liquid and knead until a smooth ball of dough is formed (I used my Kenwood mixer with dough hook attachment on a low speed for about 10 minutes, but you can do it by hand on a floured work surface for about 20 minutes)
  4. Cover the mixing bowl with cling film or put it into a large, clear plastic bag and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Add the salt, chopped walnuts and sultanas and knead lightly until the fruit & nuts are evenly distributed through the dough
  6. Place in a greased loaf tin (or in a well-floured banneton like I did) and re-cover and allow to prove again until doubled in size
  7. Preheat the oven to 260ºC/500ºF/Gas mark 10, put an empty roasting dish on the bottom shelf of the oven and fill a cup with cold water and set aside
  8. Once the loaf has risen, if using a banneton, grease a baking sheet and gently decant the loaf on to it, trying not to knock any air out of it
  9. Quickly & carefully pour the cup of water into the roasting dish before putting the loaf into the oven
  10. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 200ºC/ 400ºF/Gas mark 6
  11. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes before taking it out of the oven
  12. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour before use
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Cakes & Bakes: Panipopo

Portion of home-made panipopo torn form the loaf | H is for Home

I’ve been seeing recipes for panipopo sweeping by on my Pinterest feed for quite a while. I’ve never really stopped & clicked because I thought that the sweetened coconut bread would be too wet and sickly.

Panipopo dough | H is for Home Risen panipopo dough | H is for Home

How wrong I was! I’m glad I read some of the comments remarking on how delicious it is and how ex-pat islanders hanker after it when they’re away from home.

Rolled & sliced panipopo dough | H is for Home Panipopo dough in a rectangular baking tin | H is for Home

Panipopo (or pani-popo or pani popo) is a Polynesian bread originating from Samoa or Hawaii – depending on who you believe.

Risen panipopo dough in a rectangular baking tin | H is for Home Pouring sweetened coconut milk on the risen panipopo dough | H is for Home

I thought that all that liquid would make for a soggy bread, but most of it is absorbed by the dough in cooking. The liquid that is left turns into a thick, unctuous, syrupy sauce. We weren’t sure what to eat it with – I chose to have it as it comes, dunking it in more of the  sauce that I’d reserved. Justin went all adventurous and had his with a little bit of Cambozola…  he reckons it’s a winner.

Cooked panipopo on a oven cloth | H is for Home

Here’s the recipe – why don’t you have a go? Let us know what you think!

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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the dough
  1. 7g/¼oz active dry yeast
  2. 240ml/8½ fl oz warm water
  3. 450g/16oz plain or bread flour
  4. 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  5. ½ tsp salt
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the coconut sauce
  1. 200ml/7 fl oz tinned coconut milk (check the tin, mine was already diluted to 50% coconut milk, 50% water)
  2. 200ml/7 fl oz water (omit this if your coconut milk is already diluted)
  3. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  5. Home-made panipopo ingredients
For the dough
  1. In a measuring jug, stir the yeast into the warm water and leave for 10 minutes
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt
  3. In another measuring jug, lightly mix the egg and vegetable oil
  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Combine well, adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky
  5. Empty out the dough on to a floured surface and knead for 10-20 minutes until smooth and elastic
  6. Put the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with cling film or put inside a large plastic bag. Leave in a warm place to prove until doubled in size
  7. Grease a large, deep rectangular or round baking tin. Set aside
  8. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface
  9. Roll the dough into a long rectangle, roll it up and slice it into 2.5cm/1-inch or any even-sized rounds
  10. Put the rounds into the baking tin, cover with cling film or put into a large plastic bag and allow to prove until doubled in size
  11. Wile the bread is proving, preheat the oven to 180ºC/375°F/Gas mark 4
For the coconut sauce
  1. In a large measuring jug, combine the coconut milk, water (if using) and sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved
  2. When the dough has doubled in size, pour the coconut sauce evenly over the dough
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top of the bread is has turned a golden brown
  4. Allow them to cool in the tin for at least an hour before serving
Adapted from
Adapted from
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Daktyla

Home-made daktyla | H is for Home

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a small jar of black onion seeds with the plan of using it in and sprinkled on a home-made loaf of onion bread. Little did I know that onion seeds aren’t actually… onion seeds! I tasted a pinch expecting a blast of onion flavour, it had a slight onion/black pepper/earthy taste, not altogether unpleasant though.

Bubbling bread sponge | H is for Home

When I looked it up, black onion seeds are actually nigella seeds; they’re also commonly known as black cumin or kalonji. Love in a Mist, which grows on our allotment, is a very close relation. I wonder whether it’s seeds are also edible.

Mixture of sponge, flour, olive oil and seeds | H is for Home

Anyhow, since my onion loaf idea was scuppered (at least for the time being) I looked into what I could make using my black onion seeds. That’s when I came across daktyla, a Greek/Cypriot/Turkish rustic bread.

Rising daktyla dough | H is for Home

The seeds are mixed with sesame seeds both in and atop a sort of tear-and-share loaf made up of rows of dough. Δάχτυλα, (daktyla in Greek) means ‘fingers’.

Daktyla dough balls | H is for Home Daktyla dough batons

I just happened to have a large bag of black sesame seeds that I bought in a Chinese supermarket, so I already had all the necessary ingredients in stock.

Sprinkling seeds on daktyla dough | H is for Home

There was quite a lot of proofing time involved – an hour for the sponge, 90 minutes for the first proof, another 90 for the second – but it meant that I could get on and do other things in between time.

Details of cooked daktyla | H is for Home

It was delicious with baba ganoush and salad. I imagine it would go down well with hummus, feta and Anari cheeses, olives and cured meats.

Serves 8
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For the sponge
  1. 130g/4½oz strong white bread flour
  2. 70g/2½oz cornmeal/polenta
  3. 7g/¼oz instant yeast
  4. 300ml/10½ fl oz warm water
For the dough
  1. 240g/8½oz strong white bread flour
  2. 1½ tsp salt
  3. 2tbsp olive oil
  4. 30g/1oz toasted sesame seeds + 1tbsp to sprinkle over the loaf
  5. 1 tablespoon nigella seeds + 1tsp to sprinkle over the loaf
  7. Home-made daktyla ingredients
For the sponge
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the strong white bread flour, cornmeal, yeast and warm water making sure there are no lumps (A Danish dough whisk is perfect for this job). Allow the mixture rest for an hour, or until it's foamy and full of bubbles
For the dough
  1. Combine the remaining ingredients into the sponge and knead -- by hand, mixer, food processor or bread machine -- to form a soft, supple dough, adding a small amount of extra water or flour as needed
  2. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover it with a proof cover or cling film. Allow it to rise for 1½ hours, or until almost doubled in size
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or greased work surface and divide the dough into 8 pieces. Round each piece into a ball, then shape each into a baton about 10cm/4-in in length
  4. Grease or line with parchment, a 46 x 33cm / 18 x 13-in baking sheet
  5. Place the ovals of dough side by side (long sides almost touching each other) on the sheet, leaving about 2½cm/1-in between each; they'll fill the pan end to end
  6. Cover the baking sheet and allow the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it's expanded enough so that the ovals are touching each other
  7. Brush the top of the dough very lightly with water (or spray it gently), and sprinkle with a mixture of toasted sesame seeds and nigella seeds
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 190ºC/375°F/Gas mark for 25-30 minutes, until it's golden brown
  9. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Flatbread

Detail of home-made flatbread | H is for Home

I’ve made a few different types of flatbread in the past, but this one is by far the quickest and easiest to date – probably the best tasting too!

Milk and ghee in a glass measuring jug | H is for Home

Being a flatbread, there’s no added yeast – so no long proofing times; there’s also no heavy kneading.

Flatbread dough divided into quarters | H is for Home Rolling out flatbread dough into rounds | H is for Home

You can make the dough in advance and then fry off when required. You could even roll out each flatbread, layer between parchment paper, wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 6 months.

Home-made flatbread | H is for Home

It’s so flexible when it comes to serving suggestions, we don’t know where to start. You can have it with a selection of dips or fill with salads, roast vegetables, kebabs etc. They’d be great served alongside Indian, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern cuisine – they’re so versatile

Stuffed home-made flatbread | H is for Home

For today’s first outing I tried it with a delicious smoked humous and Justin plumped for a spicy Moroccan chicken affair. We both really fancy it with babaganoush – so it just might be on the menu again tomorrow!

Yields 4
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  1. 300g/10½oz strong bread flour flour (level cups, unsifted, not packed), plus extra for dusting
  2. ½ tsp salt
  3. 50g/1¾oz ghee
  4. 180ml/6 fl oz milk
  5. 2-3 tbsp olive oil or ghee (for frying)
  7. Home-made flatbread ingredients
  1. Put the butter and ghee into a measuring jug and heat in the microwave until the ghee is just melted. Stir to combine
  2. In a large mixing bowl, bring together the flour, salt and ghee/milk mixture into a smooth dough. Add a little more flour if sticky
  3. Lightly sprinkle a work surface with flour, turn out the dough and knead for a minute or two
  4. Wrap in clingfilm and rest at room temperature for about half an hour
  5. Sprinkle the work surface again with a little flour, remove the dough from the clingfilm and divide the dough into 4 equal pieces
  6. Form each piece into a ball and roll out into about ⅛" / ⅓cm thick rounds
  7. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil/ghee in a heavy-bottomed skillet pan over a medium-high heat
  8. Carefully lay one of the flattened dough rounds in the pan and fry for about a minute. Flip over and cook the other side, pressing down with a spatula where it puffs up
  9. Stack the cooked flatbreads on top of each other - the moisture helps soften the surface, making them even more pliable
  10. Serve straight away or they can be reheated by re-frying on low heat, 30 seconds each side
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Cornmeal loaf

Home-made cornmeal loaf | H is for Home

Dan Lepard is probably my favourite bread & pastry baker. I’ve cut out and kept some of his recipes that were published in his long-running (now sadly ended) column in the Guardian Weekend Magazine. Luckily, they’re all still available in the Guardian’s online archive.

Whisked wet cornmeal | H is dfor Home

I’ve had his tasty cornmeal baps recipe bookmarked for a few weeks, planning to give them a go. Instead of baps,I decided to turn them into a cornmeal loaf instead.

Mixing cornmeal, egg, honey, yoghurt and cold water | H is for Home

The recipe makes two, 500g/1lb loaves. I found the dough a little on the wet side and the cooked loaf a bit too sweet so I’ve ever so slightly tweaked the recipe below. Saying that, this is one of the best loaves I’ve ever baked.

Mixing cornmeal loaf dough by hand | H is for Home

It has a great, slightly springy crumb and crisp crust.

Cornmeal loaf dough in a mixing bowl | H is for Home

Lepard recommends pairing it with fried chicken – building your own (probably far superior) McChicken Sandwich or KFC Fillet Burger. Justin also likes the idea of slicing it for a smoked bacon sandwich.

Two cornmeal loaves having a final proofing in loaf tins | H is for Home

Being a vegetarian, I might pair it with my home-made hummus or grilled Halloumi for its tangy saltiness.

Two risen, uncooked cornmeal loaves sprinkled with cornmeal before going in the oven | H is for Home

What would you pair it with?

Two cornmeal loaves cooling in their tins on a wire rack | H is for Home

Cornmeal loaf
Yields 2
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Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
  1. 100g/3½oz coarse cornmeal or polenta
  2. 300ml/10½ fl oz boiling water
  3. 100g/3½oz plain yoghurt
  4. 400ml/14 fl oz cold water
  5. 1 medium egg
  6. 30g/1oz agave nectar or honey
  7. 7g/¼oz fast-action yeast
  8. 1kg/2.2lb strong white flour
  9. 50g/1¾oz cornflour
  10. 3 tsp fine salt
  11. Cornmeal to finish
  13. Home-made cornmeal loaf ingredients
  1. Put the cornmeal in a large mixing bowl, pour on the boiling water, whisk and leave for 10 minutes
  2. Whisk in the yoghurt, water, egg and honey until smooth
  3. Stir in the yeast. Add the flour, cornflour and salt, and mix to a smooth dough. Cover and leave for 10 minutes
  4. Lightly oil a patch of worktop. Gently knead the dough on it for 10-12 seconds then return it to the bowl. Cover and leave an hour
  5. If making 2 medium-sized loaves, divide the dough into 2 pieces of about 500g each. Shape into ovals with a little flour before putting into greased loaf tins. Leave to rise for about 90 minutes
  6. Heat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/400ºF/gas mark 6 and sprinkle with cornmeal. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden
Adapted from Dan Lepard: Step-by-step baking
H is for Home Harbinger