baking

All posts tagged baking

Almost Everything Free Brownies

Published July 3, 2016 by Storm

I was baking brownies to share this weekend and, because we all have different dietary requirements, they needed to be everything free. Well, not everything free, but dairy, gluten, and soya free, and ideally palm oil free as well.
The gluten free need was easily met; if I don’t have time to risk an experiment not being good enough to share or if I just want a quick and easy substitute flour for a recipe that would usually use wheat I fall back on a gluten free flour blend I know I can rely on. Avoiding dairy, soya, and palm with fat that would behave a lot like butter was a more interesting challenge. I decided to try coconut oil. You don’t have to buy expensive virgin coconut oil for these though, there’s no way you’d be making my brownies as part of a health food kick, I used the cheapest I could find and it worked just fine.

I may experiment more with different flours and maybe adding walnuts or chocolate chips but given that these were squidgy yet slightly crumbly, with a thin, crisp top I’m happy with how they turned out, and given how rapidly the pile on the plate went down I think others were happy too.

The recipe

Makes 12-16 brownies

  • 5 oz Dark Chocolate (a bar and a half of the 71% one I like, leaving me some to eat while brownies bake)
  • 3.5 fl oz coconut oil
  • 7 oz granulated sugar
  • 4 oz gluten free plain white flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 medium eggs

Pre-heat oven to 170ºC fan oven (I think that’s about 190ºC without fan or Gas Mark 5).

Grease and line an 8″ square baking dish or tin.

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a double boiler.

Mix the sugar, flour, and baking powder together in a large bowl.

Beat the eggs and whisk thoroughly into the dry ingredients.

Stir in the chocolate and coconut oil.

(Add any extras you fancy like chopped walnuts or dried cherries at this stage).

Transfer the mix to your baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes (it should be crisp on top but still slightly soft.

Allow to cool in the baking dish for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

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Mixed Seed Loaf with Honey

Published November 4, 2015 by Storm

Darker days see me wanting more comforting food. Nothing beats good bread for comfort food; whether it’s still warm from baking alongside a bowl of soup or a thickly buttered doorstep topped with home-made jam, it’s food for the soul as well as the stomach. This loaf isn’t quite as rich as my Honey and Walnut Loaf but it’s still good autumn fare.

As usual the instructions are for a bread machine, my hands and kneading bread don’t mix well. 

For a medium loaf

  • ¾ teaspoon dried yeast
  • 4 oz barley flour
  • 10 oz strong wholewheat flour
  • ½ oz butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon heather honey (it really is worth using heather honey if you can get it)
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 300ml water
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Put all the ingredients except the sunflower and pumpkin seeds in your bread pan, in the order recommended by the manufacturer.

Select the Whole Wheat Raisin setting.

Add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds at the raisin beep.

Bread machine honey and walnut loaf

Published October 25, 2015 by Storm

I haven’t baked quite as much this year as last but I have tried to stick to my goal of a different loaf each time I bake. This loaf was an experiment which turned out so nicely I may find myself having to repeat it before the year is out. With a warm, rich flavour from the heather honey I used, this is a comforting loaf for cold, damp days.

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To make a medium loaf

  • ¾ teaspoon dried yeast
  • 10oz strong wholemeal flour
  • 4oz strong white flour
  • ½oz butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 280ml water
  • 3oz walnut pieces

Add all the ingredients except the walnuts to the bread pan of your bread machine, in the order specified by the manufacturer.

Select the Whole Wheat Raisin setting.

Add the walnuts at the raisin beep.

Enjoy the aroma that fills your kitchen as the bread bakes, try not to eat it all in one go!

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!

Tidying up 2014’s goals, starting 2015’s

Published February 4, 2015 by Storm

Ending my recipe challenge with a flurry of treats

I may not have found time to write about doing so but I did find time to keep trying new recipes throughout December. My final three efforts of 2014 were Turkish Delight, French Chocolate Cake, and Beer and Mustard Bread.

I’ve been wanting to try making the Turkish Delight since being given Gifts From The Kitchen a few years ago, it just took me a while to brave my first attempt. This was a mixed success, it tasted good but I definitely didn’t have the texture right; boiling for longer at the final stage is obviously required but it had reached the point that I was struggling to stir it and was getting blisters. The recipe was reasonably easy to follow and although it is time consuming and wasn’t a great first attempt I probably will try again some time as I do love Turkish Delight. 

The French Chocolate Cake, from the simply titled Chocolate, was a greater success; just as well as I was baking this as a gift. It was more complicated than my usual ‘throw all the ingredients in the food processor then chuck the mix in a sponge tin’ approach to cakes, but the recipe was well written and easy to follow and the results were (so I’m told) good.

IMG_1119

Beer and Mustard Bread, from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Bread Machine Baking, was very easy to make; using the bread machine still feels a bit like cheating but it’s a nice sort of cheating. I baked this as part of a Boxing Day buffet and I think it’s fair to say it was good as I’ve never seen a loaf disappear so rapidly. Possibly the perfect bread to eat with cheese.

Which leads into

2015 Goals

  1. Try a new recipe from one of my cookery books each month.
  2. Try a different bread recipe every time I bake.
  3. Learn something new with each knitting project I do (the two projects I’m carrying over from last year are exempt from this).

January saw me start all three of these goals!

The recipe I tried was Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin from Vegetarian Classics. I cheated and used a bag of broccoli and cauliflower florets rather than chopping my own, this was a mistake as they weren’t well enough matched in size so I had to choose between extra firm cauliflower or soggy broccoli. I wasn’t particularly keen on the yoghurt and cheese mix used a a sauce either, I think I would have preferred simple grated cheese or a more classic cheese sauce, the yoghurt flavour dominated. Not one I’m going to be making again.

The bread was far more successful than the supper dish. Chickpea and Peppercorn Bread from the same lovely book as the Beer and Mustard Bread. This doesn’t use gram flour (which you might expect) but combines white flour with tinned chickpeas. The chickpeas blend into the dough and create a rich bread with a moist, slightly heavier crumb. It’s delicious and filling; it also seems slow to go stale, I baked it on Saturday and it hasn’t started to dry out yet (maybe that’s partly thanks to the bread bin I was given for Christmas). I will bake this again but will probably omit the peppercorns to give myself more choice what I eat with it.

The knitting was the first of a string of selfish projects, a hat for myself.

IMG_1257

The pattern is Sandra Dee’s Nymandus Draculea and the yarn is King Cole Galaxy. King Cole seems quite a fine DK so I used 4mm needles, not the 6mm called for in the pattern, and put in an extra pattern repeat. The new, to me, technique was cabling; little, baby cables where just one stitch crosses another, but there were quite a lot of them. The cables don’t show as well as they might in a slightly heavier and plainer yarn, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! I know that I was a bit clumsy with my cables at first, though they got neater as I became more used to doing them, so having a yarn that distracts from the slight unevenness of my cabling isn’t such a bad thing. It took me about ten evenings to knit, I might have finished a little faster but I decided not to work on it when I was tired as I didn’t want to risk too many mistakes (feline assistance led three or four dropped stitches I needed to rescue without adding sleepiness into the equation). I’m happy with my hat, I might even knit it again in slightly chunkier yarn, and, having bought more yarn than I needed, I have the next project queued to start using galaxy; the Railway Modeller will just have to get used to me in stripes!

This bread is a cake

Published July 28, 2014 by Storm

A new favourite gadget

A few weeks ago I was given a bread maker, a very generous and gratefully received early birthday present. Since then we’ve been happily testing the different bread recipes from the leaflet accompanying the bread maker. The Railway Modeller likes the white sandwich loaf because it’s soft, though I find that hard to slice evenly, the tastiest loaf I think I’ve baked was 2/3 wholemeal spelt to 1/3 wholemeal wheat flour, but our joint favourite (so far) is the white French style loaf. There are plenty more recipes still to try and I’ve a few ideas of my own to experiment with, so it’s safe to say my bread maker is going to stay a busy machine. I was interested to see that I can also bake cakes in the bread maker so last week I gave that a try.

American Coffee Bread

I’ve been given The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Bread Machine Baking, to encourage me to make the most of my wonderful new gadget, so many tasty breads and cakes to try. I wanted to bake a birthday cake for someone who likes their coffee almost as much as I do so this looked a perfect recipe. As I didn’t have pecans in the cupboard and was using almond milk as the milk, I substituted chopped almonds for the chopped pecans called for in the recipe which worked perfectly well. I think I need to practice lining the bread pan with greaseproof paper, I ended up with a few creases which the cake tried to stick to, or track down some bread pan liners; but that’s a minor niggle and didn’t impair the flavour of the cake in anyway. The cake went down well and I’m looking forward to baking the next one.

5 out of 5 for a well written recipe and ease of making

4 out of 5 for flavour (I’d up the coffee content a little if I bake it again)

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