Tag Archives: bread

Pizza bread

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Pizza, but with less effort and easier ingredients! Big, bold flavours that aren’t really traditional pizza ingredients but work anyway! No effort to make a tomato sauce! Rectangular so it’s easy to cut! And rosemary! I love rosemary! I’m using a lot of exclamation marks, but that’s because I’m happy and this pizza is delicious! You’re on board, right?

pizza bread

Ingredients:
300g bread flour
7g sachet instant yeast
200ml warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 red onion
300g cherry tomatoes
100g cheddar
40g sun dried tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh rosemary

Serves 4
Calories: 430
60 minutes for the base, 15-20 minutes to bake

Stage one: Base first. If you’re doing this by hand, put the flour, yeast, water, salt and olive oil in a bowl and knead for about 5 minutes, then cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for an hour. If you’re doing this by bread maker, switch the bread maker to the dough setting and leave it to do its thing.

Stage two: An hour after you’ve left the dough to rise, preheat the oven to 220C/fan200C. Time to prep all the other ingredients. Cut the red onion into segments and then separate them out into slices. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Grate the cheddar. Roughly chop the sun dried tomatoes. Wash the rosemary and roughly chop. Get out a rectangular roasting tin to put the pizza in.

Stage three: Lightly flour a surface and your hands, then take out the dough and give it a quick knead. Roll it out into a rectangle the size of your roasting tin, then put it in the tin. Sprinkle the cheese over the base, then add the onion, rosemary and sun dried tomatoes.

pretompizzabread

Stage four: Lay the cherry tomatoes in the gaps between the onions face up and gently push them into the dough. It’s going to look very busy and like the tomatoes won’t stay on. That’s ok. It will come together. Pop it in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the base has gone golden and the cheese has baked to your satisfaction.

pizzabread

Rustic Italian loaf with baked haddock

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This meal fits together perfectly. The crunchy crust on the loaf goes perfectly with the tasty, plump roast vegetables. The fish is, well, fish, but it just fits. Everything is exactly as it should be. Which is actually a total coincidence, because really I just wanted to break in the Italian home baking book my lovely mother-in-law bought me and I winged the rest based on what colours I thought would look nice together on a plate. To be honest, though, the bread on its own is so good that you could put basically anything next to it and still have a wonderful meal. I love a loaf with serious crust but a soft, moist inside, and this delivers in every possible way. I am so excited for the rest of this baking book.

Ingredients for the rustic bread:
225g white bread flour
100g wholemeal bread flour
1 tsp salt
a pinch of black pepper
7g dried yeast
210ml warm water
1 tsp olive oil
30g sun dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Serves 4
Calories: 330
Takes about 3 hours

Stage one: Either combine all the ingredients in a bread maker and switch to the dough setting, or make by hand by kneading for 10 minutes and then covering with a damp tea towel and leaving in a warm room for 90 minutes. I added sun dried tomatoes, which were pulverised in the bread machine such that you can’t really see them in the bread when it’s baked, but give the whole thing a lovely extra flavour. In the original recipe were olives, which you add in just before proving.

Stage two: Punch the dough down, knead for a couple of minutes, and then shape into an oval loaf. Place it on a baking tray and leave it in a warm room for 40 minutes to prove. I do this by placing it on top of the preheated oven.

prebakedrustic

Stage three: If you haven’t already, preheat the oven to 200C/fan180C. Brush the loaf with olive oil and bake for 35 minutes.

rusticbread

Ingredients for the baked haddock:
4 fillets haddock
200g cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
a handful of basil leaves

Serves 4
Calories: 200
Takes 30 minutes to make

Stage one: Preheat the oven to 180C/fan160C. Prep the vegetables and put them on a roasting tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, season and put in the oven for 15 minutes.

Stage two: Give everything a stir, and then push the vegetables aside so there’s space for the 4 fillets in the middle of roasting tray. Lay the fillets in the middle of the tray, season, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and finally tear the basil leaves over the top. Pop back in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately.

bakedhaddock

Challah

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Making challah is one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen. When the whole flat smells of that sweet bread and I take it out of the oven all golden and beautiful it gives me a lovely sense of satisfaction and identity. The only thing better than that is actually eating the stuff. This challah somehow manages to be both springy and chewy and not too heavy. I got the recipe off Sarah Mandel and twiddled it to get the level of sweetness and chewiness that I like best. For some reason I’ve tried using cup measures and gram measures and it always comes out better when I use cups. I’m going to give you both, but if you have cups I would recommend using them.

coolingchallah2

Ingredients:
1lb 4oz (570g) bread flour
1 egg
1 cup (225 ml) warm water
1/3 cup (75g) sugar – use more if you like your challah really sweet
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 packet yeast
poppy or sesame seeds (optional)

Yields 2 medium-sized loaves, but if you’re feeding more than 6 people per loaf you might want a spare because this stuff is addictive.
Takes about 3 hours to make.

Stage one: I use a bread maker for this bit, so if you have one, put all the ingredients in it, switch it to the dough setting and leave. This takes an hour and a half. If you don’t have a bread maker, put all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead well until they form a firm dough. Then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave in a warm room for an hour and a half.

challahdough

Stage two: When the dough is done, preheat the oven to 195C/fan175C. Then put the dough on a lightly floured service and give it a brief knead to get rid of the big air bubbles. I like to braid it next. You don’t need to do this, but it only takes a few minutes and it’s really easy so do give it a go once! All you do it break the dough into 6 roughly equal parts and roll them into fat strings a little longer than a hand. If the dough feels too sticky, dust each string with a little flour and it’ll get much easier to work with. Then plait them 3 at a time into 2 challah rolls, just like you would hair. Put them on a non-stick baking tray and put them on top of the oven to prove.

preproovechallah

Stage three: 45 minutes later the challot will have swelled. Break an egg into a glass and give it a mix with a fork, and then brush it liberally over the tops of the rolls. Sprinkle poppy or sesame seeds over the top if you like – it’s just for looks!

postproovechallah

Stage four: Put the challot in the oven for 15 minutes. If you don’t like challah chewy, leave them in for 3-5 more minutes. Normally when you’re checking if bread is done, the best way is to tap on the bottom and if it sounds hollow that means it’s done. That simply doesn’t work with this challah, so down worry about it like I did the first few times! Anyway, when they’re out, carefully remove them from the baking tray (they can be a bit floppy but they’ll firm later) and put them on cooling racks. They might stick to the tray a bit, in which case slide a spatula under them and they’ll come off really easily.

coolingchallah

Roast tomato soup and cheesy roll-ups

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I love soup. This soup is easy and delicious. I made it with the leftover vegetables in my fridge and some tomatoes. My general idea was to take anything that looked red or orange and was about to pass its best, to roast it, and to blitz it. Roasting vegetables makes them tastier, which in my eyes counters the extra time it takes to use fresh rather than tinned tomatoes.

soupandroll

Ingredients for the soup:
1 large white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1.5kg tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 carrot
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar(optional)
1l vegetable stock
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)

Serves: 4 generous main courses
Calories: 200
Time taken: 10 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking

Oh, this recipe is so easy. I love that in a recipe. Preheat the oven to 190C/fan170C. Roughly chop all of the vegetables, although you don’t need to be precise about it because everything is getting blended at the end anyway and they’ll all get roasted through. Drizzle the olive oil over the top, then stick in the oven for 30 minutes. I like to take the veg out and give it a mix half way through because the onion can get overly crispy.

preroast

When the vegetables are done, tip them into a pan with the stock. Add the paprika and sugar if you like. The paprika I added because the soup was already red and I just went with the theme. The sugar is because the problem I tend to have with tomato soup is that it can get a bit acidic, and the sugar completely fixes it without making the soup sweet. Another substitute is lemon juice, but I prefer sugar. If you like the acidity, feel free to skip the sugar. Then blitz the soup with a hand blender. Finally, season to taste.

These rolls are mostly copied from the BBC good food May magazine. It’s a children’s recipe. I don’t care because these rolls are beautiful and delicious, and that’s what matters. I added garlic because when I think of cheese and bread, I think of garlic. To be honest, if I’m making any savoury recipe I tend to think of garlic.

Ingredients for the roll-ups:
200g self-raising flour
50g butter, left out of the fridge for 20 minutes
1 tsp paprika
100ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
50g light cheddar cheese, grated
2 cloves of garlic

Makes 12 little rolls
Calories: 110 per roll
Takes 20 minutes to prep, 20 minutes to cook

Stage one: Preheat the oven to 220C/fan200C, and put some baking paper on a tray. In a bowl, rub the butter into the flour until the butter is in small crumbs. Don’t over handle it, or your hands will melt the butter and it will turn into a melty mess and it will be hard to roll. If that does happen, just put it in the fridge for 20 minutes, so don’t worry. Then pour in the milk, and mix together until the mixture forms a firm dough. If it feels too dry, which means that it might flake and fall apart instead of coming together, add a splash more milk. Just a tiny bit at a time, it’s much easier to add more milk to a dry dough than to extract excess milk from an overly wet dough, and you’re looking for a firm consistency here. I didn’t take a picture of this because I love my phone and I didn’t want to turn it into a cheesy roll-up.

Stage two: Lightly flour a surface, then roll it out into a rectangle about 0.5cm thick.

Stage three: In the bowl the dough used to be in (which should be dry unless you added too much milk), add the grated cheese and the paprika. Either crush or finely chop the garlic. I used to be in the finely chopping the garlic camp, until I caved and bought a garlic crusher. I love my garlic crusher. It feels a lot like magic. It’s fast, and you’re less likely to end up eating giant chunks of garlic that you (and by you, I mean me) were too lazy to chop finely. Anyway, put the crushed/chopped garlic into the bowl, and mix it all up. Then sprinkle it on top of the dough rectangle.

Stage four: Roll the dough rectangle up along the long side. Then slice it into 12 even rolls, and lay them on the baking tray. Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes. My oven is super keen, so I actually took mine out after 17 minutes, but I don’t generalise. Technology of any sort tends to go a bit crazy around me. Anyway, take the rolls out when they are golden and the cheese is melty. Yum.

rolls