Ale Crusty Bread

I have been experimenting with breads for a few months now and am really enjoying it, especially when it works!

This recipe is based on a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s Book “How to bake” but I have changed everything apart from the basic ingredients. I also use a bread maker for the kneading to make it easier, but if you haven’t got one just do it manually.WP_000166

Ingredients for 1 loaf:

  • 400g strong white flour
  • 100g strong wholemeal flour
  • 10g yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 30g butter
  • 300ml ale
  • a splash of olive oil
  • Optionally- seeds and oats

Cooking Method:

  1. If you have a bread-maker put all the wet ingredients in the bottom of the bread pan, followed by the dry ingredients  apart from the seeds and oats if you are using any, and set on the dough setting.
  2. Once the cycle is done and the dough has risen at least twice the size take it out the pan onto a floured surface and knock it back. At this point I added some seeds and incorporated them into the dough. Shape the dough into a loaf, put it in a baking tin and optionally sprinkle with oats on top for an extra crunch.
  3. Cover the bread with a cloth/ carrier bag/ bowl ( anything that has room to expand, and set aside to rise for the second time. It needs to at least double in size again, this will take 1-2 hours depending on the air temperature.
  4. Preheat the oven to 230C.
  5. Once the bread has risen again slash it across with a sharp knife, Brush it with cold water and it’s ready to bake.
  6. Now, to set the steamy oven for the crust- sprinkle/spray the oven walls and bottom  with water and quickly shut the door, do this again until you create steam.
  7. Put the bread in the preheated steamy oven and bake for 40 minutes or until ready. Try not to open the oven whilst baking, but keep an eye through the glass and if you think the bread is burning reduce the heat.
  8. Take the bread out and leave it to completely cool before serving.

Quick Soda Bread

soda bread

This is a really quick and easy bread recipe, that doesn’t require proofing or much kneading. This is not the classic recipe- I used baking powder instead of baking soda and yoghurt instead of buttermilk and the result was great. The bread is heavy, with a tasty thick crust- a great side for a warm soup or stew. Continue reading

Italian Bread and Cabbage Soup

Jamie Oliver Italian Bread and Cabbage Soup

I absolutely adore this soup. It’s a winner every time at home and a great winter warmer. The recipe is from the Jamie at Home series and can be found online on Jamie Oliver’s official website here.

I cooked this again last night and it was great. Below you will find my slightly adapted version. I just used what we’ve got at home.


Continue reading

Brown “Ciabatta” Bread

I read a few recipes for ciabatta bread and based mine on Paul Holiwood’s recipe I found. I tweaked and changed a few things, but the essence is still there. I wanted to make a ciabatta bread, but instead of using white flour I used brown flour as I wanted to make it healthier. It is slightly denser in texture, but tasted really nice. You can substitute the recipe for white flour to get a more authentic result. I think the key to making a ciabatta is to use good flour and leave it to develop overnight. This is what gives the bread the light bubbly texture. Oh, and by the way I researched the ’00’ type italian flour that is used in most italian cooking. It just means that it’s a fine white flour and substituting it with good strong bread flour gives you the same results.  I hope you enjoy my recipe! 😉 Continue reading

Wholemeal Seeded Bread

I hope you enjoy this recipe for a wholesome wholemeal seeded bread. It’s a healthier option than white bread and it’s absolutely delicious with soups, in a cheese sandwich or just with butter. This bread uses a lot of seeds and the texture is quite dense, so you don’t need a lot. I have really got into baking lately. It is so therapeutic and rewarding, oh and the smell of baking bread is awesome too. Continue reading