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.

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!

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

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Cakes & Bakes: Hot cross loaf

Home-made hot cross loaf | H is for Home

Easter has come around again. I can’t believe I’ve never made hot cross buns, one of the most the traditional foods of this time of year. I almost never eat them, they traditionally contain orange and lemon peel and zest which my digestive system doesn’t seem to enjoy.

Spiced syrup for glazing hot cross loaf

batter for making cross on hot cross loaf

Baking my own means that I can omit those ingredients and making a hot cross loaf means it’s much easier to toast – the best way to eat it! I bought three, what look to be original Victorian, loaf tins this week. I’ve been looking forward to trying them out on something.

Trio of Victorian loaf tin

Adding starter to flour

I adjusted a hot cross buns recipe from Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s How to Make Bread. It’s probably the favourite of all my bread-making books because of all the great photos… and the fact that he has a bread-making method where there’s minimal kneading involved.

mixing dried fruit with dried spices

Mixing dried fruit into hot cross loaf dough

There are three main stages – the first two can be done a day or more in advance, allowing you to pace your bread-making and get other things done in between if you’re busy.

hot cross loaf dough in vintage tins

piping on to the top of hot cross loaf

The recipe made two medium-sized loaves, the best hot cross bread I’ve ever eaten. A gorgeous flavour and texture, toasted and slathered in butter… yum!

Hot cross loaf
Yields 2
For the glaze
  1. 225ml water
  2. 75g sugar
  3. 1 cinnamon stick
  4. 3 cloves
  5. 2 star anise
For the crosses
  1. 45ml water
  2. 20ml vegetable oil
  3. 40g plain flour
  4. ¼tsp salt
For the dough
  1. 10g fresh yeast or 5g active dry yeast
  2. 40g sugar
  3. 200ml warm water
  4. 200g plain flour
  5. 150g sultanas
  6. 150g currants
  7. 1tsp ground ginger
  8. 1tsp ground cinnamon
  9. ¼tsp ground cloves
  10. 200g strong bread flour
  11. ¼tsp salt
  12. 90g butter, softened
  13. 1 egg, beatenHome-made hot cross loaf ingredients
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For the glaze
  1. Put the water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and star anise in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat and bring up to a boil
  3. Take off the heat and set aside in a cool place to allow the the spices to infuse. This glaze can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge to use repeatedly for this recipe
For the crosses
  1. In a measuring jug, combine the water and oil
  2. In a small bowl, mix the flour and salt
  3. Add the oil mixture to the flour & salt mixture and combine well until you get a soft, smooth paste
  4. Cove and set aside in a cool place until needed
For the dough
  1. Grease two 450g/1lb loaf tins
  2. In a (larger) mixing bowl, weigh out the yeast. Add the sugar and water and stir until dissolved
  3. Add the plain flour and combine until well mixed. This is the pre-ferment
  4. Cover the bowl and let ferment in a warm place until doubled in size - about half an hour
  5. While the pre-ferment rises, weigh out the dried fruit and spices, mix together and set aside
  6. In another (smaller) mixing bowl, mix together the strong bread flor and salt. This is the dry mixture
  7. Pull small pieces off the butter and lightly rub into the dry mixture using your fingertips until there are no more big lumps of butter
  8. Add the egg and risen pre-ferment to the flour mixture and combine with your hands until it comes together
  9. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes
  10. After the 10 minutes, with the dough remaining in the bowl, pull a portion of the dough up from the side ans press it in the middle. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat this process with another portion of the dough
  11. Cover the bowl again and let stand for 10 minutes
  12. Repeat steps 9 & 10 three times
  13. Add the reserved dried fruit mixture to the dough and knead gently until thoroughly mixed in
  14. Cover and let rise for half an hour
  15. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour
  16. Transfer the dough to the floured work surface and divide into 2 equal pieces
  17. Form each piece into rounded oblongs and place into the two greased loaf tins
  18. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size
  19. About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas mark 7. Place a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to preheat. Fill a cup with water and set aside
  20. Fill a piping bag with the reserved mixture for the crosses. Pipe a cross across the top of each loaf
  21. Put the loaf tins into the oven, pour the reserved cupful of water onto the hot roasting tin and lower the temperature to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  22. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown
  23. Remove from the oven, brush lightly with the reserved glaze
  24. Allow to cool before slicing (toasting) and serving
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Adapted from How to Make Bread
Adapted from How to Make Bread
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Tear & share smoked garlic bread

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Home made tear & share smoked garlic bread | H is for Home

We’ve got a delicious tear and share smoked garlic bread for this week’s Cakes & Bakes post.

oven pans wiped with smoked garlic butter and sprinkled with breadcrumbs

The majority of the recipe comes courtesy of Jamie Oliver with a few additions, omissions and twists. I can almost hear him say that, so it’s very apt.

Dough balls being made into tear & share smoked garlic bread

Jamie’s recipe uses plain, fresh cloves of garlic. I used the smoked garlic bulb that we had in our veg rack. I omitted the chopped parsley when making the garlic butter – I can’t stand it – despite the fact that the breath freshening properties would come in handy! Finally, he adds a teaspoonful of cayenne pepper which I swapped for smoked paprika – double smoky loveliness!

smoked garlic butter made in a mini-food frocessor

It has lots of air, yet it’s substantial too. The breadcrumbs are a revelation, adding a great crispy crunch. The garlic butter is punchy & intense. We used the word delicious at the start, but we’ll also throw in flavoursome, comforting and generally stupendous!

Tear & share smoked garlic bread in a pan | H is for Home

It’s the perfect bread to have on the side of a saucy pasta dish or bowl of salad.

Sweet potato muffins
Yields 12
Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  2. 200g/7oz flaked almonds
  3. 200g/7oz caster sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 120ml/4 fl oz vegetable oil
  6. 80ml/3 fl oz water
  7. 200g/7oz plain flour
  8. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  9. ½tsp baking powder
  10. 1tsp ground cinnamon
  11. ½tsp saltSweet potato muffins ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray or two 6-hole muffin tins or line with paper muffin cases
  3. Bake the sweet potatoes, skin on, for about 20 minutes until soft and cooked. Allow to cool before scraping the flesh out of the skins and mashing until all the lumps are removed
  4. Toast the flaked almonds, shaking a couple of times to get a uniform colour. This takes 5-8 minutes
  5. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil and water until the sugar has dissolved
  6. Add the cooled, puréed sweet potato
  7. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the centre
  8. Pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry and combine well
  9. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, sprinkle a little demerara sugar on top of each and put in the oven
  10. Bake for 20 minutes before allowing to cool on a wire rack
  11. They can be eaten warm or cold and can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Victorian cottage loaf

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Sliced home made Victorian cottage loaf

Did you watch the first of three episodes of Victorian Bakers on the BBC this week? It inspired me to try to make a Victorian cottage loaf – something that would have been a rural family’s staple back then. Apparently this bread was eaten for breakfast, lunch and evening meal.

On the programme, the loaves were made using brewers’ yeast – not something readily available in the supermarket. I used fresh yeast instead, which you can buy very cheaply in Morrisons.

Scoring an uncooked Victorian cottage loaf | H is for Home

I took a recipe from Country Bread by Linda Collister & Anthony Blake as inspiration. It’s called ‘Clive Mellum’s Favourite loaf’. Clive is a master baker at Shipton Mill Organic Bakery in Tetbury. The very same Shipton Mill whose bread flour I currently use.

I slightly adapted the recipe using wholemeal instead of white bread flour. We like the flavour & goodness of wholemeal, and it’s perhaps the more authentic country loaf as white or refined flour was something that only the upper classes would have been able to afford.

bread sponge

You need to start this loaf the day before, making the ‘sponge‘… a mix similar to a starter, and leaving it to prove overnight. So a bit of forward planning is required!

Victorian cottage loaf | H is for Home

The resulting loaf was delicious – no wonder the Victorians ate it 3 times a day! 🙂

 

Triple chocolate cheesecake
Serves 10
For the biscuit base
  1. 2 x 154g packets Oreo cookies
  2. 60g/2oz unsalted butter
For the cheesecake filling
  1. 3 x 280g tubs cream cheese (at room temperature)
  2. 165g/6oz icing sugar
  3. 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 300g/10oz dark chocolate
For the ganache topping
  1. 180ml/6 fl oz double cream
  2. 175g/6oz white chocolate
  3. Extra dark chocolate for garnishingTriple chocolate cheesecake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  2. Put the Oreo cookies into a food processor and pulse until they have turned to fine crumbs
  3. Put the butter into a microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften
  4. Combine the butter with the Oreo cookie crumbs and spoon the mixture into the base of a 28cm/11inch spring-form cake tin pressing it firmly & evenly with the back of the spoon
  5. Bake for 10 minutes then set aside to cool
  6. Break the dark chocolate into pieces, putting them into a glass or pottery bowl
  7. Put the bowl into a saucepan of water (just enough so that the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water) and heat on a low flame until the chocolate has melted
  8. While waiting for the chocolate to melt, put the cream cheese, icing sugar and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl and combine well
  9. Break the eggs into a measuring jug, whisk lightly until just combined before adding little by little into the cheese/sugar/cocoa mixture, stirring after each addition
  10. Add the melted dark chocolate to the mixture and combine well
  11. Pour the mixture on to the biscuit base and bake in the oven for 60 minutes
  12. Switch off the oven, leave the oven door slightly ajar and allow the cake to cool for half an hour
  13. Put the cake on a wire rack until it has cooled completely
  14. Break the white chocolate into pieces, putting them into a glass or pottery bowl with the double cream
  15. Put the bowl into a saucepan of water (just enough so that the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water) and heat on a low flame
  16. When the chocolate has begun to melt, stir the mixture well and allow to cool until it has thickened but still pourable
  17. Pour evenly over the top of the cake allowing some to drip down the edge
  18. Serve at room temperature or refrigerated
  19. Keep refrigerated and consume within 3 days
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Adapted from Oh My God Chocolate Desserts
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/