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: 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: 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! 🙂

 

Cakes & Bakes: Fruit and nut soda bread

 

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Home-made fruit and nut soda bread via @hisforhome

This week has been quite busy, so today’s Cakes & Bakes is going to reflect this – it’s a fruit and nut soda bread loaf. Soda bread is delicious. It’s not an emergency or last resort loaf, but having said that, it’s a real godsend if pushed for time.

flour and cubed butter in a mixing bowl flour, butter and buttermilk in a mixing bowl

It was my birthday on Tuesday, so I had a lovely lie-in while Justin took the dog for a walk. In the afternoon, he took me for a pub lunch locally at the Staff of Life.

Fruit and nut soda bread in a loaf tin before going into the oven

We stayed indoors during the evening but we shared a bottle of bubbly and caught up on some Scandi drama on television.

Freshly-made fruit and nut soda bread cooling on a wire rack

Yesterday, I went into Manchester city centre for yet another after-birthday lunch with a friend. Alas, after the whirlwind couple of days of being wined & dined, I’m getting back into the daily work schedule…