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All posts for the month May, 2015

Walnut, garlic and basil bread

Published May 24, 2015 by Storm

The baking experimentation continues; May has seen three loaves baked (so far), with at least one more likely before I summarise them all at the end of the month. This loaf though was so good it deserves it’s own post, and as it was one I dreamt up for myself I can share the recipe.

This was one of those ideas born of what I had in the kitchen and felt I should try throwing together, baking without needing to shop first. I had some walnut pieces I felt needed using up, and walnuts are always good in bread, so that was my starting point. There was a pot of basil on the windowsill, sadly needing replacing now after being eaten by a ginger cat, and I felt that would go well with walnuts. From deciding to use basil it was a short step to pulling the jar of garlic purée out of the fridge, as the two go so well together. Initially I was going to make this a wholemeal loaf but realised I was lacked wholemeal flour so had to use white instead; I think this was a happy accident as I don’t think the finished loaf could be improved on. 

Almost a meal in itself this was a good bread for any non-sweet purpose. Mushroom pate or cheese and salad sandwiches were deliciously satisfying and I’ve never made such tasty eggy-bread before. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe…

For a medium loaf

  • ¾ teaspoon easy bake yeast
  • 14oz strong white flour
  • ½oz butter (use 1 tablespoon sunflower oil for a vegan loaf)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic or garlic purée
  • Approx 12 fresh basil leaves, roughly shredded
  • 280ml water
  • 1½oz walnut pieces

Using the Basic Raisin setting on your bread machine, put all the ingredients except the walnuts into the machine in the order specified by the manufacturer (mine is dry ingredients first, water last but I know some makes reverse this). Add the walnuts at the raisin bleep.

The tricky bit is allowing the bread to cool before tucking into it as it smells so delicious!

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April baking

Published May 3, 2015 by Storm

Having failed to try a new recipe or bake any bread in March I was delighted that April turned into reasonable month of baking.

I started the month with Parsnip and Nutmeg bread, a recipe from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Bread Machine Baking. The smell of this baking had The Railway Modeller thinking I was making some comforting pudding, I think he was disappointed to learn the truth. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to eat this bread with, it was tasty but didn’t lend itself easily to sandwiches or toast; eventually I found it’s perfect partner, a hearty root vegetable soup. Slicing was also a challenge, it was just too soft and springy. I’m glad I tried it but to be honest it’s not a loaf I’m likely to bake again.

My next loaf was more experimental. I read through a few different recipes for loaves using the Italian bread setting on my machine but nothing jumped out at me saying “bake me next”. So I took the ratios of basic ingredients, added some extras of my own choosing and baked a sun-dried tomato and garden herb loaf. As well as chopped sun-dried tomatoes I included two generous teaspoons of sun-dried tomato cream giving me a richly orange loaf which was as beautiful as it was tasty.

Loaf three of the month was just a quick white loaf, as I’d forgotten to buy sandwich bread for The Railway Modeller. This didn’t quite scupper my plan of making a different loaf every time I bake this year, as I hadn’t baked this since late last year, but it came close.

We’ve hit the time of year when the yoghurt I like for my breakfast becomes temporarily unavailable, so loaf four was baked with toast in mind. Half strong white flour and half wholemeal spelt, this was a three seed loaf with sesame, pumpkin and sunflower. I borrowed the seed quantities from a recipe in the bread machine’s handbook for a seeded wholemeal loaf, I should have used more. This was a loaf which started to stale quite quickly, but being destined for toast that didn’t matter too much.

IMG_1460

The wickedly indulgent creation in the photograph was my last bit of April baking. Perhaps not the most neatly presented Black Forest Gateaux, I discovered my spatula had a split in it so did my best to spread cream with the back of a spoon and a butter knife (I also discovered that grating chocolate makes more mess than I could have ever imagined), but lovingly made as a birthday cake for someone who once told me that their two favourite puddings are Lemon Meringue Pie and Black Forest Gateaux. This was my ‘new’ recipe for the month but I did deviate a little from the recipe as written. I only made two of the three cake layers and used half the recommended cream as I felt that it would be a lot of cake for two of us to eat quickly enough if I made it full sized, even my small version was generous for two people to eat in four days. I also used frozen cherries instead of tinned, simply because they taste fresher.

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