Cakes & Bakes: Muesli loaf

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Home-made muesli loaf with dolcelatte blue cheese | H is for Home

It’s a lovely, rustic bloomer for this week’s Cakes & Bakes. It’s made with oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit – hence the name muesli loaf.

Muesli loaf ingredients

Use whatever you have in the cupboard or pantry – it’s actually a great way for using up half packets of things you might have left over from other recipes.

Bubbling yeast

We included flaked almonds, sesame seeds and golden linseeds in ours.

Muesli loaf ingredients Muesli loaf ingredients

We do think that some dried fruit is a vital ingredient though. A hearty loaf punctuated by the subtle sweetness of the fruit works really well – as well as the sultanas that we added, you could try using figs, dates, raisins, dried apricots or cranberries… or a mixture!

Uncooked muesli loaf

It’s delicious on its own with butter… but also has lots of potential partners such as cured meats, cheese, honey and jams.

Freshly baked muesli loaf

In the same way that blue cheese and digestive biscuits are a match made in heaven, so was our muesli bread & dolcelatte combination – a real winner!

Pin in from here for later!

Muesli loaf
Yields 1
Prep Time
2 hr 20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr 50 min
Prep Time
2 hr 20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr 50 min
  1. 10g/ ⅓oz instant dried yeast
  2. 1tsp sugar (optional)
  3. 600ml warm water
  4. 500g/17½oz plain flour
  5. 400g/14oz wholemeal flour
  6. 100g/3½oz porridge or rolled oats
  7. 75g/2⅔oz mixed nuts & seeds
  8. 100g/3½oz dried fruit
  9. 5g/116oz saltHome-made muesli loaf ingredients
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  1. In a large measuring jug, add the yeast to the warm water. If your yeast needs a bit of help, stir in a teaspoon of sugar to the mixture
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients and combine. Make a well in the centre
  3. Once the yeast mixture has begun to bubble, pour into the well of the dry ingredients
  4. Bring the mixture together with your hands or dough scraper until a large ball is formed
  5. Empty out the dough ball on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for a good 10 minutes
  6. Put the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour)
  7. Empty out the dough back onto the lightly floured work surface, knock back and form into a bloomer shape before placing on a large, well-greased baking tray
  8. Allow to prove again, covered in clingfilm, in a warm place for another hour
  9. Preheat the oven to 250ºC/475ºF/Gas mark 9
  10. Score the top of the loaf diagonally a few times before putting into the hot oven
  11. After 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  12. Cook for a further 20 minutes until the top becomes golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when knocked
  13. Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and enjoying!
H is for Home Harbinger

Real Bread

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loaf of home-baked real bread on a cooling rack | H is for Home

Regular readers will know that we’re a little bit obsessed with real bread – making it, baking it and eating it. I made a few attempts at getting a starter going – sadly, none managed to survive for long. Our friends over at Snygg sent us a portion of their rye starter in the post and, (touch wood) nearly two months on, it’s still going great guns! After using & feeding it a few times I divided it and developed one half into a white starter so we have a bit of variety. We’ve been enjoying a regular supply of home-made bread – baguettes, rye loaves, ciabatta, seeded boules…

stack of bread-making books with bannetons, bag of flour and jug of daffodils

We have an ever-growing collection of artisan bread-baking books to give us inspiration & ideas. Some of the recipes are used again & again – these are some favourites:

A couple of these books are by American bakers so measurements are in cups. To get over this you can either use an online conversion tool, get a lovely conversion poster for your kitchen wall or, do what I did, invest in some measuring cups that measure… cups!

Chuffed with my ciabatta!

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Sliced, home-made ciabatta with Todmorden-made Pextenement cheese and watercress | H is for Home

I’m chuffed with my ciabatta! It was my first ever attempt and I think the loaves turned out really well!

two uncooked, home-made ciabatta loaves proving before getting put in the oven

I used a recipe from one of my favourite baking books, Bread by Christine Ingram & Jennie Shapter. If you’d like to try making this one yourself, I’ve listed the recipe at the end of this post.

sliced, home-made ciabatta detail from a sliced, home-made ciabatta

There’s always a little ‘hold your breath’ moment as you cut the first slice and have a look at the crumb. Proper, big ciabatta holes!

sliced, home-made ciabatta with fried eggs and Todmorden-made sausages

I had a few slices, fresh from the oven, with a handful of watercress and East Lee soft cheese made locally by the Pextenement Cheese Company… Justin had his with the slightly less healthy option for his Sunday brunch – fried eggs with pork & chive sausages – but it was all local produce too – and delicious he said.

For the biga starter

7g/¼ oz fresh yeast

175-200ml/6-7fl oz/¾-scant cup lukewarm water

350g/12 oz/3 cups unbleached plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting

For the dough

15g/½ oz fresh yeast

400ml/14fl oz/1⅔ cups lukewarm water

60ml/4 tbsp lukewarm milk

500g/1¼ lb/5 cups unbleached white bread flour

10ml/3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Makes 3 loaves

  1. Cream the yeast for the biga starter with a little of the water. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Gradually mix in the yeast mixture and sufficient of the remaining water to form a firm dough.
  2. Turn out the biga starter dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 12-15 hours or until the dough has risen and is starting to collapse.
  3. Sprinkle 3 baking sheets with flour. Mix the yeast for the dough with a little of the water until creamy, then mix in the remainder. Add the yeast mixture to the biga and gradually mix in.
  4. Mix the milk, beating thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Using your hand, gradually beat in the flour, lifting the dough as you mix. Mixing the dough will take 15 minutes or more and form a very wet mix, impossible to knead on a work surface.
  5. Beat in the salt and olive oil. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½-2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
  6. With a spoon, carefully tip one third of the dough at a time on to the baking sheets without knocking back the dough in the process.
  7. 7 Using floured hands, shape into rough, oblong loaf shapes, about 2.5cm/1” thick. Flatten slightly with splayed fingers. Sprinkle with flour and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas mark 7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday Wish: BakeryBits equipment

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La Cloche baking dome available at BakeryBits

cane baguette banneton available at BakeryBits yellow lame or grignette for slashing dough available at BakeryBits

La Cloche baking dome – £47.99 | 500g/1.1lb cane baguette banneton – £16.99 | grignette or lame for slashing dough – £4.00
All available from BakeryBits

I was introduced to this great shop by Dan Lepard who mentioned them on Twitter. They stock all manner of baking tools, ingredients and even wood fire ovens! Their blog includes some very scrumptious bread, cake and pastry recipes too.

It’s my birthday in less than a fortnight – more than enough time for Justin to order me some new bread making apparatus!

Bookmarks: How to Make Bread

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How to Make Bread book with apples and homemade, buttered bread

This edition of Bookmarks is a little different…

cover of the "How to Make Bread" book

title page of the "How to Make Bread" book

…it’s a hybrid – both book review and cookery post.

cornbread recipe from the "How to Make Bread" book

hot cross bun recipe from the "How to Make Bread" book

Longtime followers of this blog will know that Adelle is partial to a bit of bread baking and she squealed with delight when this book, How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, came through the letterbox!

sourdough chapter page of the "How to Make Bread" book
image of an unbaked loaf being slashed with scissors to decorate in the "How to Make Bread" book

The recipes are divided up into basic & other yeasted breads; wheat-free or gluten-free breads; sourdoughs and pastries & sweet treats.

olive " herb bread recipe from the "How to Make Bread" book
pizza recipe from the "How to Make Bread" book

There are also really useful chapters on the basics of breadmaking and a list of suppliers & stockists of all the wonderful flours, grains and breadmaking paraphernalia.

page showing a stack of bannetons, breadboards and other baking implements in the "How to Make Bread" book

image of bread & cheese from the "How to Make Bread" cookery book

Beautifully staged photographs by Steve Painter and to die for props – Justin’s been emulating them with his breadboards, wooden spoons, herbs and dustings of flour!

instructive images on how to knead dough from the "How to Make Bread" cookery book

pitta bread recipe page from the "How to Make Bread" cookery book

The book is fantastic for a real bread beginner. It has clear, step by step images. It has inspired the resurrection of the starter that was killed in the pantry by the central heating when it was turned on last winter (that sounds like a game of Cluedo!)

tomato bread recipe page from the "How to Make Bread" book

rye bread recipe page from the "How to Make Bread" book

After an age pouring over all the different bread and pastry recipes, she chose the beer bread as her first attempt.

beer bread recipe page from the "How to Make Bread" book

ingredients gathered together to make the beer bread from the "How to Make Bread" cookery book

Here’s the recipe…

Makes 4 rolls (Adelle made 1 large loaf from the same quantity dough)

Added notes: long proofing/dough rising basket (900g/2lbs capacity), greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper,
(warning, you’ll also need a collection of different sized mixing bowls!).

  • 400 g/3¼ cups malthouse flour (or 2 cups unbleached bread flour, ¾ cup multigrain blend and ½ malted wheat flakes)
  • 10 g/1 teaspoon salt
  • 200 g/1 ⅔ cups malthouse or unbleached strong/bread flour
  • 2g fresh yeast or 1g/¾ teaspoon dried/active dry yeast
  • 200g/200ml/6oz organic ale or other beer (Adelle used Marston’s Oyster Stout)
  • 4g fresh yeast or 2g/¼ teaspoon dried/active dry yeast
  • 200g/200ml/6oz organic ale or other beer
  • rolled oats, for coating

…and here’s the method…

  1. Into one (medium) mixing bowl, sift the 400 g/3¼ cups malthouse flour (or equivalent) and empty the sifted larger grains into a shallow dish. Set aside.
  2. Mix the salt with the sifted flour and set aside. This is the dry mixture
  3. Into another (smaller) mixing bowl, sift the 200 g/1 ⅔ cups malthouse flour (or equivalent) and empty the sifted larger grains into the dish with the rest of the reserved grains.
  4. Into another (larger) mixing bowl, weigh out the 2g fresh yeast (or equivalent). Add the 200g/200ml/6oz ale and stir until the yeast has dissolved. This is the wet mixture. (Leave the second batch of ale in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator.)
  5. Mix the 200 g/1 ⅔ cups sifted flour into the wet mixture until it comes together.
  6. Cover and let ferment overnight in a cool place.
  7. The next day, in a (smaller) mixing bowl, weigh out the 4g fresh yeast (or equivalent). Add the remaining 200g/200ml/6oz ale and stir until the yeast has dissolved. (Don’t worry if the ale has gone flat.) Pour into the fermented ale mixture and mix.
  8. Now add the reserved dry mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together.
  9. Cover with the bowl that had the dry mixture in it and let stand for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes knead as follows: [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. Repeat another 8 times. The whole process should only take about 10 seconds and the dough should start to resist.] Cover the bowl again and let stand for 10 minutes.
  11. Repeat this step three times, but the last rising should be for 1 hour.
  12. When the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Transfer the ball of dough to the floured work surface.
  13. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions using a metal dough scraper or sharp serrated knife.
  14. Take each portion of dough and roll between your hands until you get a perfectly round, smooth ball.
  15. Add as many oats as you like to the reserved dish of malted grains and mix.
  16. Roll the top of each ball of dough in the grain mixture. Place, grain side down, into a prepared proofing basket/banneton.
  17. Let the dough rise until slightly less than double the size – 30-45 minutes.
  18. About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas Mark 9 and put a baking stone in to heat up. Place a roasting pan at the bottom of the oven to preheat. Fill a cup with water.
  19. Tip the basket upside down onto the bread peel and lift it away from the risen dough. Slide the bread onto the hot baking stone, pour the reserved cupful of water onto the hot roasting pan and lower the temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  20. Bake for 30 minutes.
  21. To check if it is baked through, tip it upside down and tap the bottom – it should sound hollow.
  22. If it’s not ready, return to the oven for a few minutes. Set it on a wire rack to cool.

…and here’s Adelle’s finished loaf…

beer bread from the "How to Make Bread" cookery book

sliced & buttered beer bread from the "How to Make Bread" cookery book

close up view of beer bread from the "How to Make Bread" cookery book

You can get your copy of How to Make Bread from the Cico website. And as usual, it’s also available from Hive, Amazon and Abe Books.

[Many thanks to Sarah at Ryland Peters & Small and Cico Books]

Our Daily Bread

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home-made Irish soda bread loaf cooling on a vintage wire rack | H is for Home

It’s been a long, long time since I featured a recipe in one of our blog posts, but I just had to share this one. It was the first time that I’d made an Irish soda bread loaf and couldn’t believe how quick & easy it was!

home-made Irish soda bread with slice removed

Irish Soda Bread

Yield: 1 loaf

Irish Soda Bread


  • 225g/8oz/2 cups unbleached plain (all purpose flour)
  • 225g/8oz/2 cups wholemeal (wholewheat) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2tsp cream of tartar
  • 40g/1½oz/3tbsp butter or lard (shortening)
  • 1tsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 350-375ml/12-13fl oz/1½-1¾ cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 5. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Sift the flour & salt into a large bowl
  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda & cream of tartar, then rub in the butter or lard. Stir in the sugar
  3. Pour in sufficient buttermilk to mix to a soft dough. Do not over-mix or the bread will be heavy & tough. Shape into a round on a lightly floured surface
  4. Place on the prepared baking sheet and mark a cross using a sharp knife, cutting deep into the dough
  5. Dust lightly with wholemeal flour and bake for 35-45 minutes or until well risen and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Serve warm

'Bread' cookery book by Christine Ingram & Jennie Shapter

I had a slice straight out of the oven, slathered with butter, topped with a fried egg, sprinkled with salt & cracked black pepper – delicious! It’s sure to become a regular H is for Home kitchen favourite!

The recipe above was taken from Bread by Christine Ingram & Jennie Shapter