The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Doughtagnan

I adapted this from a Dan Lepard recipe by reducing the sugar and adding some walnuts for some all important nutty crunch. This recipe makes lots of muffins, about 18-20 of the things, but it can also double as a simple moist cake mix, so you might like to line a tin with non-stick paper and make a tray-bake to freeze. Dan suggests eating straight away drizzled with lemon water icing. I usually halve the recipe to make 9 muffins and they freeze very well.  Once defrosted I give them a quick zap in the microwave and serve with some greek yoghurt.

Ingredients:

125g bran

3 ripe bananas (about 300g), peeled

200g muscovado or dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

125g unsalted butter, melted

200g Greek yogurt

2 tsp vanilla extract

325g plain flour

1½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp baking soda

1½ tsp baking powder

150g raisins 

150g walnuts roughly chopped

 

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan-assisted)/400F/gas mark 6. Line the cups of a 12-pocket muffin tray with muffin papers. Boil the kettle and pour 250ml boiling water over the bran and leave to soak for 15 minutes. Put the bananas, muscovado and caster sugar and one egg in a bowl, and beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining egg, then the melted butter, yogurt and vanilla. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder two or three times, so the raising agents and spice are evenly distributed, recently I have placed all those ingredients in a sealed tupperware-type container and shake vigorously. Beat the bran through the banana mixture, then fold through the dry ingredients and the raisins & walnuts. Spoon into the paper muffin cases and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, then remove from the oven, lift out the muffins and leave to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

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Doughtagnan

As I had a long weekend off I decided to make my 1st ever Croissants using my  Bourke St Bakery cookbook. The results were pretty impressive and I subbed Doves farm dried yeast for the fresh with no problems. I made half of their recipe and here are the results!


 



 



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Doughtagnan

After watching the UK TV programme In Search of the Perfect Loaf, following the progress of baker Tom Herbert who goes on an epic quest for the perfect loaf, and so the Shepherds Loaf was born. Tom’s journey helps him to come up with an enormous, two kilo, white, spelt, sourdough loaf made using his family’s 55 year old sourdough, organic spelt flour from Somerset, Cornish sea salt and Cotswold water from a local spring.


Well, I thought it would be fun (as you do) to create a smaller offering at home with my 18 month old rye starter, filtered tap water and hardly any salt. I did source the same reassuringly expensive white spelt, Sharpham Park (£3.50 a kilo!) so my 1st attempt is a 4-500 gram boule just to see if it works okay as I am not in the habit of using such expensive flour! test bake will be later today and I will post a pic of the crumb etc tomorrow and the basic recipe........ see also the links to Tom's bakery and the Sharpham Park websites.


http://www.hobbshousebakery.co.uk/


http://www.sharphampark.com/


Well..... the loaf turned out fine, 


 



 



 


As this was a test bake I only used 275grams of the Refined Sharpham Park White Spelt,  about 52% water to flour weight and a couple of tablespoons of rye starter. I mixed 125 grams of the flour with all the water and starter, left overnight and added the rest plus a little salt the next day, I did not leave to mature in the fridge overnight as I have been doing lately but it still came out fine and i'm tempted to try mixing the refined flour with some wholegrain spelt next time. 

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Doughtagnan

As it is Easter I made my 1st ever bun attempt (ditto using a piping bag for the crosses!) the recipe is from Dan Lepard's baking column in the UK Guardian newspaper. As iv'e never used a piping bag before I should have opted for the atheist no cross buns!, but I managed okay despite a piping bag malfunction (it split) which caused a little spillage. The result was very tasty and would have been richer if I had used Mackeson Stout (I subbed a Dark Mild Ale). For the recipe please follow this link


http://www.danlepard.com/front-carousel/2010/03/2131/spiced-stout-buns/


And the pic's before and after baking with compulsory crumbshot before a good helping of french butter, cheers Steve



 



 

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Doughtagnan

This Sunday I baked one "test" baguette as I had been a bit busy playing with a new toy (an allotment!) so the dough had been a bit neglected and not worked much etc. The recipe was (loosely) based around the proth5 65% hydration baguette but my flour was a mix of some leftover french Pain de Campagne flour with some Spelt and 00 to make up around 300grams (the starter was rye). As it did not seem to be very lively or rising much so I did the test bake and put the rest in the fridge overnight as I thought the dough did not look very promising. However, the test bake was far more successful than expected, further proof that dough is pretty resilient!



 


After being left in the fridge overnight I hamfistedly shaped into two further baguettes and proofed the dough for an hour or so and baked with steam on max fan 250 for about 12 mins, results were even better, with much more oven spring. Also after watching the Lyon based "Bob the baker" on BBC TV slashing his baguettes my technique is coming on - I just used a hand held razor blade and one turned out better than the other, oh well. Cheers Steve


 




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Doughtagnan

As the girlfriend  is a big fan of Granary bread (c) I tried a "normal" dried yeasted loaf, which though tasted proper granaryesque, it did not have much oven spring and was therefore a pretty unimpressive specimin and certainly not worthy of posting on these august pages (especially if the brilliant Shao-Ping has just posted some absolute blinders!) So, as my sourdough always comes out consistantly i've given the old Granary the full SD  treatment with my Rye starter. It's just out of the oven but I think it'll be worth getting some bacon lined up for brekky tomorrow - no crumbshot till then.  I just used my regular SD recipe from The River Cottage Baking book - briefly  250g Hovis Granary (c) flour 350ml water, 50ish grams starter mixed and left overnight, then a further 300g Hovis Granary (c) flour splash of olive oil and twist of salt, kneaded and deflated 3 times shaped/proofed for 2 plus hrs then baked from cold in cast iron at max (250c fan) for 40mins covered 10 uncovered (lowered to 200c fan) makes a boule/mini-miche of around 800 grams.


Cheers Steve



 



 And this morning, as promised the compulsory crumbshot after some slices were cut for a bacon sarnie!


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Doughtagnan

As I have been nurturing a white flour offspring of my usual rye starter I thought i'd give it a test bake with a 100% Strong White loaf before using it with some expensive french flour result was fine and as I add very little salt it tasted like a salt free Tuscan bread i've had in the past. Not much sourdough flavour though. The other loaf is my 2nd bash at Dan Lepards excellent walnut loaf but this time I ommitted the dried yeast and did a 100% sourdough version. It worked fine and I had seen other TFL members had tried this. I halved the recipe so only made the one "Pave" shaped loaf which will be ideal with some cheese over the weekend.  Partial loaves and compulsory crumbshots below!, cheers,  Steve




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Doughtagnan

After seeing quite alot of  blog entries from my fellow bakers regarding French Flour I thought i'd share a pic of  this loaf made earlier today.  I spent last weekend in France so picked up some Pain de Campagne flour (Francine) from the massive Carrefour Hypermarket outside Caen. I have used it and Francines white flours before with good results though they are more expensive than the flour I buy in the UK.  Total flour weight was 550grams + rye starter and around 350ml of water. Yesterday, I made up a sponge with 250g of the flour & all of the water  then added the rest of the flour plus some olive oil and a little salt once it was good and bubbly.  After a leisurely kneading it was retarded overnight in the fridge, warmed up, shaped and proofed for couple of hours before baking in a cast iron casserole (from a cold oven) for 45mins on max (250c) then lid off for an extra 5mins at 200c. It was even nice enough for a pic outside!, crumb pic to follow cheers, Steve


 

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Doughtagnan


After looking for a pizza peel for home use I decided to try and make one after getting a cheap (£2) non-stick baking (cookie) sheet from the UK store Wilkinsons, only trouble is that now i'm in the dog-house for shortening a broom handle for my baking toy!.  Cheers, Steve


 




 

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Doughtagnan

We had a recipe for Pumpkin and Feta pie on a shortcrust pastry base and thought it would work well on a pizza base (though purists will deem it an abomination!) The topping was a mix of oven roasted butternut squash & whole garlic cloves (squeezed out after roasting) mixed with fried red onions & balsamic vinegar plus feta cheese & chopped rosemary.... all on a hand stretched pizza base.... i'm thinking it would work very well as a starter sized pizzette with some rocket on the side........  it made a very nice change.  Steve


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