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

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

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: Ginger loaf

Slice of home-made ginger loaf and cup of tea | H is for Home

This week’s Cakes & Bakes recipe is a low effort to high reward ginger loaf cake. There are quite a few ingredients, but its a simple case of combining the dry, the wet, then mixing them together – and popping it in the oven.

Tins of Lyle's Golden Syrup and Black Treacle | H is for Home

The aromas emanating from the kitchen as it baked were amazing.

Pouring ginger loaf batter into lined cake tin | H is for Home

And after less than an hour a moist, very flavoursome loaf cake emerged.

Sliced home-made ginger loaf | H is for Home

It’s a perfect afternoon cake. A cup of tea and slice of this will satisfy the most extreme 4 o’clock peckishness. And it keeps very well too, so there’ll be plenty of days to enjoy it – unless you actually let someone else have some too!

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!

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! 🙂