After the success of making Ciabatta I decided to try out another type of more adventurous bread, Pitta Breads. I feel Pitta Bread is such a useful bread, cutting them in half to create little pockets ready to cram full of yummy filling such as salad or meat. I used my Dad’s pizza stone to make bake these, however the recipe states that using a baking tray also works well. As lazy as it sounds, I really enjoy baking bread now I have a Kitchen Aid and don’t have to knead the dough for an extended period of time so if you have any bread suggestions, let me know and I’ll be sure to give it a go!
Ingredients for 6 pittas
250g strong white bread flour
7g instant yeast
160ml cool water
2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for kneading
fine semolina or extra flour for dusting
- Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl (attached to a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook if you have one) adding the salt to one side and the yeast to the other.
- Then add ¾ of the water and olive oil to the bowl, using your hands to bring the mixture together. Continue adding the water a little at a time until you have picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all of the water or may need a little extra, the dough should be soft and sticky but not soggy.
- If you are kneading your dough by hand, coat the work surface in a little oil and knead for 5-10 minutes (alternatively use a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, and mix the dough for about 7 minutes on a medium speed) until the dough is soft and forms a smooth skin.
- When the dough reaches this stage, put it into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 1-3 hours until it has at least doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C/ 430°F and put a baking stone or baking tray in the centre to heat up.
- Dust your work surface with flour or semolina, tip out your risen dough and fold it inwards until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth.
- Then divide your dough into 6-8 equal sized pieces shaping each into a ball, make sure you keep the remaining pieces of dough covered in a tea towel while you work.
- With a rolling pin, roll out the balls into rough oval shapes about 3 mm thick, stopping when you have as many as will fit on your tray or stone with a little space between each piece.
- Take the hot stone from the oven, scatter with a little flour and place the pitta breads on it. Bake for 5-10 minutes, removing the pittas from the oven as soon as you start to see any colour. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have made as many as you can make. Leave the pittas to cool with a towel over them to ensure they stay soft. Eat within 24 hours or freeze.
I have always thought of ciabatta as a difficult bread to make, despite having never even looked at a recipe on how to make it. However, we forgot to buy ciabatta to go with our caesar salad last weekend so I decided to attempt to bake it. It was so simple to make, although you do need a standing mixer with a dough hook. The crust was really crunchy and the bread was aerated and fluffy inside, I will definitely be making this to go with meals in the future.
Ingredients for 1 large loaf
250g strong white bread flour
5g instant yeast
20ml olive oil
200ml tepid water
- Lightly oil a 2-3 litre rectangle plastic container until fully coated.
- Put the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of a standing mixer (with a dough hook fitted). Then add the oil and three-quarters of the water and turn the mixer on at a low speed.
- As the dough starts to come together, slowly add the remaining water and mix for 8 minutes on a medium speed until the dough becomes smooth and stretchy.
- Tip the dough into the oiled container and leave for roughly 2 or more hours covered in a tea towel until the dough has at least doubled in size.
- Heat your oven to 220°C and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
- Dust your work surface heavily with flour and carefully tip out the dough. Then using your hands, stretch and form the dough into a long rectangle typical of ciabatta bread. Be careful not to knock all of the air out of the dough.
- Coat the dough in more flour, place on the prepared baking tray and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I have really wanted to try and experiment with more bread. I associate bread with taking ages to prep, prove and finally bake, however I’ve realised it doesn’t take that long at all and it tastes so much better than shop bought loaves! This was a recipe from Ruby Tandoh’s book and I thought I’d give it a go as it contains milk instead of water used in a conventional loaf. The aesthetics of the loaf were fairly pleasing, although I think the score needed to be deeper. Overall, I thought it was a brilliant loaf with a light and fluffy texture, perfect for all bakers.
Ingredients for 1 900g loaf
450g strong white flour
7g instant yeast
1 tsp salt
330ml milk, plus extra for glazing
butter for greasing
- Combine the flour and yeast in a large bowl, then stir in the salt.
- Over a low heat, warm the milk in a pan until just lukewarm, then add to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands.
- Once combined, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough back into the large bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for 60-90 mins until it has doubled in size.
- Lightly grease a 900g loaf tin. Shape the dough into a rugby ball shape and place in the tin to prove for another 45-60 mins, until it’s nearly doubled in size again.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/ Fan 160°C/ gas mark 4.
- Once the loaf has risen, brush it with milk and score down the centre using a sharp knife. Bake for 50 mins, brushing with milk again halfway through. Leave to cool before slicing.
This year, I want to become more adventurous with my baking, trying new recipe and experimenting to add my own take on bakes. I also decided I need to try and bake more bread, something I don’t bake that often. After receiving Ruby Tandoh’s book ‘Crumb’ for christmas, I wanted to try out Tiger Bread, however I had a few issues. I didn’t have the right flour or oil for the tiger bread paste so it didn’t turn out as planned. The groves on the bread were not deep enough as well, which made it dome on the top too much and as I had forgotten to grease the tray, the bread stuck to the bottom. I know a lot went wrong with this bake but I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to bread so I thought I might as well post the recipe for the bread without the paste because it actually tasted really good!
Ingredients for 1 loaf
500g strong white bread flour
7g instant yeast
1½ teaspoons salt
310ml lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
- Combine the flour with the yeast and salt in a large bowl. Then stir in the water and oil a bit at a time, you might not need all of it. It should form a sticky dough.
- Then knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it feels smooth and stretchy. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to rise for 1-1½ hours covered in cling film, the dough should double in size.
- Bring the dough together to form a ball shape called a ‘cob’, do this by folding the dough in on itself with the smooth side on the outside.
- Leave the dough to rise again for just under an hour, until it has doubled in size again. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/ fan 200°C/gas mark 7.
- Dust the top of the dough with flour and, using a sharp knife, make a deep row of slits or a cross on the top of the loaf. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 mins before reducing the temperature to 190°C/ fan 170°C/ gas mark 5 and leave for another 25 mins.
- Leave the loaf to cool before serving.
Something I love in winter is a warm, freshly baked loaf with slices of brie and cranberry sauce, perfect for a dinner after a lunchtime roast. I thought I would combine these brilliant flavours to create one filled loaf and I was so pleased with the result since this is first recipe for bread I created myself. The bread is best eaten warm on the day when the cheese is still melted and mixed among the cranberry.
Ingredients for the bread
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10g instant yeast
300ml cool water
olive oil for kneading
Ingredients for filling
125g good quality brie, sliced
55g brown sugar
almost ½ a squeezed lemon
1 ½ tbsp water
200g fresh cranberries
- Measure the flour into a large bowl and add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other. Then add about ¾ of the water in the mixture and stir using your fingers. Continue adding the water and mixing the ingredients in this way until you have picked up all of the flour and a sticky dough forms. You may not need all of the water, or you may need to add a little more, the dough should be sticky but not too wet.
- Bring the dough together to form a rough ball and turn out onto a lightly oiled surface. Knead for about 10 minutes to form a smooth soft dough. Don’t add any flour in this stage as it should be sticky until you have fully worked it.
- When the dough feels smooth and silky place it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for at least an hour but preferably 2-3.
- Line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
- Whilst the dough is proving you can prepare the filling. Measure out the butter and sugar and place in a frying pan and melt on a medium heat before adding the water, lemon juice and cranberries.
- Continue to heat the cranberries on a medium heat until they burst and begin to soak up the sugar mixture. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Drain the cranberries using a colander, removing most of the liquid.
- After the dough has finished proving, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin and your hands, gently form the dough into a rectangle twice as long as it is wide and roughly 2cm thick.
- Cover half of the dough in the cranberry mixture and then top with the sliced brie, leaving a clear margin around the outside. Fold the rest of the dough over to form a parcel and seal the edges.
- Put the dough on the prepared baking tray, cover with cling film and leave to prove for another hour until the dough springs back when touched. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220º
- Lightly dust the loaf with flour and make deep imprints using your fingertips going right down into the base of the tray.
- Bake for about 30 mins until golden brown and leave to cool on a wire rack, best served warm.
As Christmas is coming, I will start to bake my favourite christmas bakes, if you have any suggestions of things I should bake in the lead up to Christmas, let me know and I will have a go!
Since I forgot to post a bake last week, I am posting two this weekend, check out my chocolate cake https://emmajanebakes.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/chocolate-birthday-cake/ . This recipe is something I love making with Dad for a brilliant weekend meal. It’s relatively easy to make as you can freeze the dough and use it another day. You can decorate the pizzas however you like, I have included what I usually put on my pizzas but feel free to add whatever you wish.
Ingredients for 4 large thin pizzas
400g strong white bread flour
100g fine ground semolina flour or strong white bread flour
½ level tbsp fine sea salt
7g of dried yeast
½ level tbsp golden caster sugar
about 325ml of lukewarm water
Ingredients for topping
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
roughly ½ tbsp mixed herbs
pinch of salt and pepper
300g mozzarella (grated or balls either will work)
2 peppers cut into slices
1 large red onion
roughly 15 peppadew peppers, chopped (optional)
6 slices of parma ham
small bag of rocket
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
parmesan cheese to grate (optional)
Method for pizza dough
- Put the flours and salt into a large bowl and combine.
- Add the yeast and sugar to the water and mix with a fork to fully dissolve. Then gradually combine to the flour using a fork.
- When the dough comes together to form a ball, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. (This video is really helpful if you are unsure about the technique http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs2Ndb6okfY) The dough may be sticky but avoid adding extra flour as this will ruin the mixture, it will come together with work.
- After 10 minutes, when the dough becomes soft and springy place back in the bowl (lightly coated with olive oil), cover in cling film and leave to prove for about an hour.
- After 45 minutes, prepare the toppings to go on the pizza. I gently fried the pepper (not the peppadews) and onions on a low heat to remove the moisture.
- Turn out the dough and make a sausage shape, then using a sharp knife, cut into 4 equal pieces. Flatten each piece to form a thick, round disc; this will make it easier to roll out.
- Preheat the oven to 250ºC and place the baking tray in the oven. I use a pizza stone but don’t worry, a baking tray will be fine.
- Roll out each disc on a lightly floured surface to create a thin pizza base that will fit on your baking tray/ pizza stone. Don’t worry too much about trying to make the pizzas round, I think it adds to the homemade feel if they are slightly irregular in shape.
- Cover the pizza in the tomato base, grated cheese and all of the remaining toppings you prepared earlier. I prefer the parma ham uncooked, also add any lettuce afterwards.
- Cook the pizza in the preheated oven for about 7 to 10 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Then you can prepare the remaining pizzas.
- Rip the parma ham into small pieces and place on the cooked pizza. Prepare the rocket dressing by mixing together the olive oil and white wine vinegar and pouring over the lettuce, before adding to the pizza. Add a small sprinkling of parmesan cheese to finish.
I never really bake bread, I find cakes, biscuits and other sweet bakes far more interesting to make. However, seeing as I mostly do sweet bakes, I thought I would try Paul Hollywood’s simple soda bread recipe and give it my own twist by adding cheese and onion. This is so easy to make as there’s no kneading involved but still creates an impressive and tasty result!
Ingredients for 1 loaf
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
50g grated cheese
50g chopped onion (half a large onion will do)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200º and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
- Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, grated cheese and chopped onion into a large bowl and combine well.
- Stir in the buttermilk to create a sticky dough (add more buttermilk if the dough is too dry). Then turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and bring it together to form a ball and flatten it with your hand.
- Place the ball on the prepared baking tray and mark the dough in quarters with a knife cutting almost to the base of the dough. Lightly dust with flour.
- Bake for about 30 mins; when the bread is ready it should be golden brown in colour and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Soda bread tastes best fresh on the day it’s baked but it also freezes well. I think this bread tastes great toasted or as it is with butter.