Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Hot Cross Buns!

This recipe is another from Paul Hollywood's 'How To Bake' book. He used it on the recent Great British Bake Off Easter Special. I made these for my parents as their Easter present. I altered it slightly, instead of using chopped mixed peel, I used dried apricots and I didn't include the apple that he does. I also didn't have any oranges, so used the zest of two lemons instead...

500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
75g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
40g unsalted butter, softened
2 medium eggs
120ml milk
120ml water
150g sultanas
80g chopped dried apricots
zest of two lemons
2 tsp cinnamon
For the crosses
75g plain flour
75ml water
For the glaze
3 tsp apricot jam
splash of water

1. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl. Add the yeast to the other. Add the butter, eggs, milk and half the water. Using your hand, mix the ingredients together. Continue adding water a little at a time as you may not need it all. Keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough. 
2. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. Work it until it becomes soft and smooth. 
3. Put in an oiled bowl and cover. Leave to rise in a warm place for anything up to 3 hours, until it's doubled in size. 
4. Tip the dough onto a floured surface. Scatter over the sultanas, apricots, zest and cinnamon. Knead in until evenly incorporated. Cover again and leave to rise for another hour.
5. Knock back and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll into balls and place on a baking tray, lined with grease proof paper. Put the tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to rest for another hour. 
6. Preheat the oven to 200. Mix the flour and water to a paste. Using a piping bag with a fine nozzle, pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Warm the apricot jam and water and brush over the top of the warm buns to glaze. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Ta da! They smell glorious, can't wait until later when I get to have one! I think even these can cure a horrible cold, like the one I'm suffering from at the moment! Hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend. X Bo

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


For some unknown reason, I was awake early this morning (on my day off, of all days!) Decided to experiment with another traditional Jewish bread recipe. I found the recipe for this Cholla loaf in Paul Hollywood's 'How to Bake' book. 
500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
25g caster sugar
10g yeast
30g butter, softened
2 medium eggs
50ml milk
180ml water

1. Put the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar to one side and the yeast to the other. Add the butter, eggs, milk and half the water. Using your fingers, turn the mixture around in the bowl. Continue to add water until you have a soft, but not sloppy, dough. 
2. Lightly flour the work surface and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. Knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Oil a large bowl and leave to rise, until it's doubled in size, for up to 3 hours.
3. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knock back. Divide into 3 pieces and roll into long sausage shaped strands. Join the 3 pieces together at one end, ready to plait. Start with the piece on the right and lift over the middle piece, then lift the left over the middle, then the right over the middle, then the left over the middle and so on until you reach the end. Squeeze the end of the plait to create a neat finish. 
4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Transfer the plait to the tray and leave to prove again for about an hour. 
5. Preheat the oven to 180. Brush the plait with beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The loaf colours quickly because of the sugar and egg, so keep an eye on it. (I wrapped some foil around the edge of mine for the last 5 minutes, so the middle could colour, but not burn the outside.) Leave to cool on a wire rack. 

At first I couldn't get the hang of the very simple plaiting instructions, I'm used to plaiting with 8 strands!! In the end, I was very happy with the result! X Bo
P.S with Easter fast approaching I hope to make some hot cross buns soon! 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

What else is there to do on a rainy Sunday, other than bake? These are my favourite muffins, I've been making them for years. They're from a book called 'Muffins Galore.'

250g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
110g caster sugar
1 egg
225g milk
85g melted butter
2 tsp cinnamon
75g soft brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 170. Line a muffin tray with paper cases. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and set aside. 
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, milk and butter and combine. 
3. Put a tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each paper case. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and spoon over more mixture, then more sugar etc. Finish with a layer of batter and then use a fine skewer to swirl the mixture to create a marbled effect.
4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool and then turn out onto a wire rack. 

Ta da!

I used the paper cases my colleague got me for my birthday. They look very coffee-shop-esque and are absolutely delicious! X Bo

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Chocolate nutters

My lovely manager Debbie bought me a present today. She came back from her lunch break with a baking recipe book for me! After having a quick flick through, I'd already found several recipes I wanted to try. I decided to just make a quick batch of the chocolate nutty biscuits.
110g butter, softened
110g light brown sugar
50g peanut butter
1 egg
275g plain flour
200g milk chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 170. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. 
2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the peanut butter and egg and mix together. Fold in the flour. Finely chop 50g of the chocolate and knead into the dough.
3. Take small amounts of the dough and roll into a ball. Flatten into a biscuit shape on the trays. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Leave to cool.
4. Melt the remaining chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of boiling water. Once the biscuits are cool, decorate the biscuits with the chocolate using a spoon or piping bag.

Ta da!

And there we are! They were very easy to make and taste delicious. I hope the other recipes in this book are just as simple & tasty! Thanks again, Debbie! X Bo

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Bagels #2

Attempted making bagels again today. They were just as delicious but a more recognisable bagel shape this time. The things I did differently:

  • Allowed my yeast longer to react with the water and fully start working
  • Mix the salt in with the flour before adding the yeast and other ingredients.
  • Longer proving times
  • Shaped the bagels into rings rather than bagel shapes before the 2nd prove and boil!
Ta da!

And there we are! Second time lucky! 
And yes Debbie, I will bring you one tomorrow! X Bo