Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bank Holiday Baking

I love the May bank holidays, even when the Queen moves one of them into June. It is my favourite time of year to be in the garden. Every thing looks fresh and vibrant, especially now we have also just had a good shower of rain.

The wild flowers are as beautiful as the cultivated ones and here is my garden selection from earlier in May when the wild garlic was in flower at the same time as the chives:

Now I have chives, and foxgloves with a few garden pinks that have such a great cottage garden look to them:

But this time of year also brings us such long days so after work is done in the garden it is still light long into the evening and plenty cool enough to feel like baking. I have been filling the freezer with treats to eat over the bank holiday weekends and here is a selection of the goodies:

The first recipe was for a fruit and nut loaf, first picture shows the sliced loaf and second the loaves straight out of the oven.

This is a recipe I modified from the book Warm Bread and honey cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. It appears on page 92 and is a rye fruit loaf. I had to substituted hazelnuts for the walnuts and raisins for the currants. It makes a great breakfast bread as it is not too sweet and is also good with cheese for lunch.

There is a detailed review of the book here thegastronomersbookshelf blog. I love the eclectic range of recipes and interesting comments about the origins and history that surround them.

Continuing on the fruited bread theme I made these 'sticky buns' which came out beautifully light and with a very thin but crisp crust. Buns like these were often served at tea time on a weekend when I was a child and I seem to remember them coming is bags of 4 from the supermarket.

I am trying to work out the best balance for a fruit bun between completely plain and quite rich. Too rich and the dough tends towards the cakey texture, too plain and the buns can stale very quickly. I started at the plain end of the scale so these were made with:

500 strong plain flour
1 level tsp sea salt
10g fresh yeast
50g sugar
50g butter
1 tsp mixed spice
100g dried fruit
enough water (~300g) to make a soft dough.

In subsequent bakes I am going to try substituting milk for water and then in the next batch adding in 1 egg and staying with milk. Some of each batch is being frozen and then at the end I am going to take out a couple of each and double check which I prefer.

I also made this focaccia  recipe from Paul Hollywood (picture below taken from the bbc website) but modified mine by also adding some sliced new potatoes to the top. I missed taking a photo before it was all gone so imagine this with crispy slices of new potato:

Have a great bank holiday weekend whatever you are doing.

1 comment:

  1. Bank Holiday is better time for celebrity with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee events. If including the celebrity with delicious food item then the Queen's celebrity would become more gorgeous. Thanks!