The Fresh Loaf

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Cocoa Bread - great!

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helend's picture
helend

Cocoa Bread - great!

What to do on a wet weekend.

With the remainder of the household in the garage or asleep time to use a coolish oven to full potential so ... tried-and-tested recipes yield a batch of digestive biscuits; a boiled fruitcake; a 14" pepperoni pizza and a pudding cake with freshly picked tayberries and time to try something new.

Got this recipe from the news link on the site and sort of halved it (except for the yeast). And found it good! Result: a beautifully light and fluffy crumb with a thin crisp crust. It slices beautifully. The chocolatey colour is quite startling but the flavour quite sophisticated - mild and moreish.

 

NB It wasn't great still warm out of the oven, definitely worth waiting for it to get cold when it was fantastic freshly sliced; plain, with butter and chocoholic joy - with chocolate spread. (Not very sophisticated but hey - so what!) For breakfast today it was delicious lightly toasted with butter and marmalade. This recipe may be old but a definite keeper.

Now - I think I might try this with cinnamon, chocolate chunks or a swirl of both? Also need some cherry jam .... maybe some cream cheese?

Comments

browndog's picture
browndog

Helen, I know that tastes every bit as delicious and decadent as it looks. I wonder how much sugar and fat? Marshmallow Fluff and now Nutella, my goodness, we've certainly put on our play clothes, haven't we. As you seem to be in a position to know, what on earth are digestive biscuits, why would something so named be appealing, please? And boiled fruitcake, really? or is it steamed rather? One more cross-cultural clarification, I'm not familiar with tayberries, either. Lovely bread, thanks for sharing.

helend's picture
helend

Hi Browndog - wow what a lot of questions!

here goes

  • cocoa bread -  a large 2lb loaf has 1 egg, 1 oz butter, 2 oz sugar
  • digestive biscuits -  AKA "McVities" (an English brand) VERY NICE! wholemealflour, oats, little muscavado sugar, little butter - slightly sweet, slightly savoury, crumbly, can be eaten with cheese, good for dunking.
  • boiled fruit cake - you "boil" (simmer really) dried fruit in sugar, butter and water for 20 minutes before adding egg and flour/spices .  Also known as saucepan cake.  Very moist, tender fruit cake.  Relatively low fat/sugar.
  • tayberries - a hybrid of blackberries and raspberries that grow annually on long canes bent over wires.  lovely raspberry flavour with a bit of "depth" from the blackberries - start now carry on till end August.  Best cooked in pies or puddings, great frozen

Hope this helps

helend :) 

PS - digestive biscuits were so named by a Scotsman (I think) looking to make a more nutritious (digestible?) biscuit and therefore added oats (a staple grown easily in Scotland's damp climate)  I THINK!!! I am sure someone will help out if I am off the mark with this explanation

edh's picture
edh

Yum!

Helend, that all sounds so wonderful, and the bread is lovely. I think I might just have to stray from the lean bread obsession and give that a try.

I love digestive biscuits; the closest I can find here are Carr's whole wheat biscuits which are ok, but I never thought of making my own. (Some things just have always come in boxes...)

So, would you mind posting the recipe? I've just recently made a convert to them of my son, and would far rather feed him homemade than store bought (no, I'm not that great a Mom, just cheap).

Thanks!

edh

helend's picture
helend

Thanks edh

I've posted the digestive biscuit recipe in my blog section

helend 

browndog's picture
browndog

which I LOVE, then? I've made them (oatcakes) and bought them but mostly I ignore them because if they're in the house they whisper to me constantly...It just all sounds so interesting, Helen. I'm going to pester you a little bit more, because now I want to know what happens with that boiled fruitcake--do you finish it up on the stovetop or does it bake off in the oven?

(I'm so bad at utilizing links--like homework in school, I just don't see them sometimes...but I went to the site, and have to say, Helen, your bread is much more come-hitherish than the one pictured there. Looks like a fun place, though. I have a chocolate bread recipe that I'm smitten with, but this one is different and pretty enough that I will have to give it a try.)

helend's picture
helend

I realised later that I probably didn't explain the fruit cake thing too well so here is the recipe which I think may do a better job. Also, since I made another one today I will try to add a picture in the photo section later.

So:

  • In a large saucepan, melt 4 oz sugar; 4 oz butter (or marg); 5 fl oz water with 12 oz dried fruit eg sultanas, raisins, currants. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 mins. leave to cool.
  • Line a 2lb loaf tin and preheat oven to 130c (I use a fan oven so maybe 140c in an ordinary electric).
  • When fruit mix is really cool, add 1 large egg, mixing well.
  • Measure 8 oz self raising flour (or plain flour with 2 tsp baking powder); a pinch salt and 1 tsp mixed spice. Sift into fruit/egg mix and stir well.
  • Turn into tin, level top and bake about 1 hour until firm and a skewer comes out clean. Cool.

A discussion with colleagues at work suggest that this or something very similar is quite an old-fashioned recipe. It is great because a)only one bowl b) very simple c)stays moist d)not too rich

Will post about digestive biscuits separately

Helen :)

PS I make this for a coeliac friend and it works OK with gluten-free flour (with xanthan gum), gluten-free baking powder and a little extra liquid eg milk

browndog's picture
browndog

Sounds really good, I appreciate hearing the details. Would indeed love to see pictures. A well-made fruitcake with proper dried fruit is a fine thing. And, yes, let's have more about these intriguing digestive bscuits!

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 qahtan 

helend's picture
helend

Here's a pic of the boiled fruit cake


 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I love McVities digestive biscuits!  They were disparaged in a couple of British novels I read, and with the strange name, I imagined something yucky.  So when Kroger's started carrying them I had to try one.  They sort of remind me of high fiber graham crackers, and the ones topped with dark (regular) chocolate are great little treats.

That cocoa bread looks great!  I'm going to get the recipe.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 This brings back memory's, my mum made boiled fruit cake, when we first moved into this house we didn't have an oven, but we do have an open fireplace.

 my mum made boiled fruit cake with the aide of the fireplace, it was good.   This was a fruit cake made traditional way and cooked like a steamed pudding on the trivet in  fire place. qahtan

helend's picture
helend

Your cake looks great.  I like round cakes but the butchers in the house do less damage to loaf-shaped cakes!

Both my Mum and Dad's families had cookers of sorts, one Nan used to bake in a very old-fashioned gas oven, the other in a Rayburn (Aga).  It's amazing how their cakes tasted different, even from very simialr recipes. 

I wonder what they would think of my efforst :)

browndog's picture
browndog

Thanks, Helen and Qahtan. Beautiful looking cakes, I'm hankering for a big slice of either one. I used to make fruitcake every year right after Thanksgiving, the kind that bakes a few hours in a slow oven, they were always full of nuts, dates, figs, pineapple, apricots, eggs, sugar and butter; then a good dose of brandy every week til Christmas. They took forever and a day and you had to save up a month just to afford ingredients, but they were fun. Haven't made one in ages---these look more efficient and grand, even though it's hardly Christmas but a very sweaty day in June.

helend's picture
helend

Oh for a sweaty day in June!

You clearly are NOT living in Britain!! 

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

One year I finally said, I'm going to make a fruit cake! I bought all the expensive ingredients, measured them out and put them in individual bowls to get ready to go and....we started nibbling on the ingredients and before you know it we ate them all. Well, not the butter or eggs. I never tried again.

I hear there is really only one fruit cake in all the world...it just keeps getting passed around :=). weavershouse

helend's picture
helend

I know what you mean about the ingredients Weavershouse - but there must be at least two fruitcakes because the eagle-eyed will have spotted the differences between mine and Qathan's. 

At least my fruitcake recipe is quick - if you tip the fruit into the saucepan fast enough you won't have time to nibble!

Helen

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

That's funny Helen and it might work. I make fun but I really love a good fruitcake. I'd be safer though, if someone made it for me. Both the cakes shown here look beautiful and delicious.                                                      weavershouse

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

and so we are..ha ha..I love a good fruitcake and get tired of all the snickering..FRUITCAKES CAN BE YUMMY!! I have a really good Alton Brown recipe for a different kind of fruitcake..currants, raisins, cranberries, blueberries, apricots, cherries, ginger, rum and brandy for basting. Ok..had my say..I know this is supposed to be about yeast, flour and water : )

helend's picture
helend

But Paddyscake - there are some truly scrumptious fruit cakes out there using the above three hallowed ingredients! One of my favourites is adapted from a Terence Stamp wheat, dairy and sugar free recipe and can be made using a single dried fruit eg apricots, plums or sultanas.

My wheat version (note dairy option) here as follows:

  • 2 tsp easy-blend yeast
  • 6 oz white or wholemeal flour (spelt in my case)
  • 3 tsp mixed spice
  • pinch salt
  • 3 oz ground almonds
  • 3 tbs rapeseed oil or melted butter
  • 1 grated eating apple
  • 1 grated carrot (or small courgette)
  • 8 oz dried fruit
  • approx 6 fl oz water or milk

Preheat oven to 170c (fan oven). Line a 7" round cake tin.

Sift flour, spices and salt into a large bowl. Stir in yeast and almonds, then grated apple, carrot and dried fruit.

Drizzle ove oil, then use enough water or milk to make a soft dropping consistency mixture.

Turn into tin, level and bake for approx 1 hour until skewer comes out clean. Take out, wrap tightly in tea towl and leave until completely cool.

 

To take in to work on my birthday I made this using dried plums cut small and shaken with 2 oz sugar, a tsp almond essence and whole almonds on the top - oh and a good splash of Amaretto liqueur. It seemed to go down well!

Enjoy

 

Helend

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

sounds good to me. Is easy blend yeast like instant yeast? How much difference do you think it would make without a fan oven?

helend's picture
helend

Paddyscake - sorry more translation difficulties

I mean the sort of yeast that is dried, in packets or jars and can be stirred in with the dry ingredients.  I think you use the same amount as the dried active yeat which needs to be soaked in warm liquid and sugar to get frothy

 

I think my fan oven cooks hot and fast so usually use temperatures 10-15c lower and check earlier.