The rise of the micro-bakery

Happy Monday folks,

The other day I was sent this on Twitter about a Radio 4 programme discussing the apparent increase in popularity of micro-bakeries in the UK.

This was something that I was considering myself a while ago and it seems that my gut instinct was right!

You can listen to the programme here and it makes for an interesting listen.

I have always said that you can’t beat home baked bread free from all the additives and junk that is packed into store bought bread and it makes me feel great that there is this resurgence in artisan bread making and, more importantly, that people are willing to pay the extra for it even in these austere times…

Spicy Pittas

Hi folks,

Do you like pitta breads? I baked some up last week but pimped them by adding 1tsp of cumin and smoked paprika, and 1/2tsp turmeric and they were absolutely delicious 🙂

pitta

 

This is why I love to bake my own as you can have stuff that you will never find in the shops.

How have you pimped your breads, I would love to know?

 

Birthdays – the day after the weekend before!!

Well I am finally glad that the weekend is over – how often do you hear somebody say that?!!!!!!!

It was very hectic baking for 2 parties whilst nursing a bad cold/headache but it all went well.

My final batch of baked goodies consisted of focaccia and subs:

Focaccia, subs and olive oil dip!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are looking forward to the week ahead. And are you getting excited yet – Christmas is nearly here!!

Birthdays!

Well it’s been a while since my last post as life has been tough lately :(. Still this is a busy time of year for my family. I have 4 girls, gulp and 2 have birthdays within 10 days.

I will be baking cakes and breads of various descriptions this weekend. I am being quite ambitious with one so I hope it turns out ok – and if it does look out for a photo.

Tha’s all for now, hope my transatlantic readers have a great Thanksgiving.

 

Will be back soon with a birthday cake update…

Easter baking

Hi folks,

Are you all set for the Easter weekend? This is a great time to do some baking and especially to get the kids involved.

I baked a batch of doughnuts the other day and I will be doing them again this weekend and coating them with sugar mixed with mixed spice to give them an Easter twist.

Delicious doughnuts

Here is the recipe for my doughnuts. This recipe is from the new book I am writing – Use your Loaf: Recipes beyond the basic loaf.

Try filling them with raspberry jam, lemon curd or ready-made custard. Or make ring doughnuts – the choice is yours. Simply delicious!

Ingredients (makes about 20 doughnuts):

250g each plain flour and strong white flour

5g quick yeast (dried)

10g salt

100g caster sugar

2 eggs

200ml warm milk

100g soft unsalted butter

Sunflower or vegetable oil for frying

Sugar for coating – caster, vanilla, cinnamon

Jam, lemon curd, custard for filling – optional

Directions

As this is an enriched dough it can get quite sticky so less experienced bakers may wish to use a food processor with a dough hook. Either way mix all the ingredients in a bowl, turn out and then knead for 7-14 minutes. Shape into a round and coat with a little oil. Wipe out the bowl and place the dough into it. Cover with cling film and leave to rise until it has doubled in size.

Deflate the dough gently and divide into equal pieces – I tend to weigh them out so if you want 20 each will weigh just over 50g. Shape them into little balls, cover with cling film and leave to rise again till doubled in size.

Heat some oil in a large deep saucepan or deep fat fryer until it reaches 1750C (if you don’t have an oil thermometer test the temperature by dropping in a piece of bread or potato which should turn golden brown in about a minute). Also do not fill the saucepan too high as it will bubble up when you place the doughnuts in the oil.

Deep fry the doughnuts in small batches. They should take around 5 minutes to cook through and turn them every minute to ensure they get a nice golden colour all over.

Remove the doughnuts and drain on some kitchen paper, then toss in your sugar of choice. Wait for them to cool slightly before filling them (if you are filling them).  Use a food syringe or a piping bag with a small nozzle to force your filling into the doughnut, then put on the kettle, make some coffee and tuck in!

I will write another Easter post tomorrow with a delicious recipe for hot cross buns so until then…

Coffee cake & pizza

Hi folks,

I have had a busy weekend, baking a lot for my kids. Weekends are great because you can take your time in the kitchen and get even better results.

I baked some pitta breads and cheese topped baguettes on Sunday. But the kids were more excited and impressed by Saturday’s efforts.

First of all I baked a lovely coffee cake.

Coffee & pecan cake

I didn’t have any walnuts so I used pecan nuts and they were delicious. And I was going to put marshmallows in the centre but had none of those either so used the sugar balls instead.

Coffee & pecan cake

Then I started on the main course. This was homemade pizza and garlic bread. I usually make 4 pizzas with the following toppings: cheese and tomato, chorizo/pepperoni, tuna and sweetcorn and chicken tikka. I also include some roasted vegetables too – normally on half the pizza so any veg averse people can avoid them!! I served these with freshly baked garlic bread and a nice dressed salad. Yummy!

My pizza selection

My garlic bread

What did you bake this weekend? I’d love you to share your efforts. Until next time…