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Recipe of the Month: Fruit Scones – July 2023

Being the month of Wimbledon, we had to choose scones as our Recipe of the Month for July! Enjoyed with strawberry jam, cream, or even just butter, they’ve been a traditional British recipe for hundreds of years, originating in Scotland in the 1500s.

Our recipe below uses sultanas, but you can swap these for cherries or just leave them plain.

You will need…

  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 100g softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • Approx. 200ml milk
  • Sultanas or cherries (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas Mark 7.

Line or grease your baking tray.

Add the flour, caster sugar and baking powder to a bowl and mix.

Add the butter to the bowl and rub with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add your sultanas and mix in.

Crack the eggs into a measuring jug then add milk to the jug until the line reaches 300ml.

Stir the egg and milk mixture into the bowl until you get a soft dough – you may not need to use all of it, and be sure to keep a little behind to dust the scones at the end.

Lightly flour your work surface and then knead the dough. Roll it out with a rolling pin and use a fluted cutter to cut out your scones. We used a 7cm cutter and made 12 scones.

Brush the scones with the egg and milk mixture.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the scones are well risen and golden brown in colour.

Eat as fresh as possible, with your choice of jam, cream and/or butter.

(Our little helper :))

Recipe of the Month: Victoria Sponge – June 2023

Enjoyed by Queen Victoria herself, the Victoria sponge is a classic British summer cake. Our version is light and fluffy, and topped with summer fruits for an added fresh taste.

You will need…

  • 225g/8oz self-raising flour
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 225g/8oz soft butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of baking power
  • Strawberry jam
  • Buttercream
  • Summer fruit

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4.

Grease two baking tins (or line them with baking paper). We use two 20cm round tins.

Add the flour, caster sugar, butter, eggs and baking powder into a bowl, mix together, but be careful not to over mix.

Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth the tops.

Bake the two cakes for approximately 25 minutes, checking them after 20 minutes to make sure they’re ok. When they are finished, an inserted knife should come out clean and they should be springy to the touch. Once cooked, allow them to cool.

Flip one of the cakes upside down so you have the perfectly flat side on the top and covered it with jam. Place your other cake (flat side down) on the top, creating a sandwich.

Decorate your cake by adding buttercream and berries of your choice to the top, and dust with icing sugar or caster sugar.

 

Recipe of the Month: Blueberry Muffins – May 2023

Makes 12 muffins

You will need…

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g softened butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 175g blueberries
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 250ml milk

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6.

Place 12 muffin cases into a 12-hole muffin tin.

Mix the flour, baking powder and button in a large bowl, rubbing with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar, blueberries and lemon rind.

Mix together the eggs and milk, and then pour them into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix all the ingredients together until you have a lumpy consistency.

Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until well-risen, golden and firm to the touch.

Leave to cool for a few minutes before touching.

Recipe of the Month: Hot Cross Buns – April 2023

Spring is well and truly upon us. The days are becoming longer, the sun is shining and we are seeing new life all around us, whether that be new lambs frolicking in the fields or ponds brimming with flora and fauna. For our recipe of the month for April we chose hot cross buns, a staple in our family kitchen at this time of year. The following recipe will make 12 buns.

This was my first time making hot cross buns and I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by the ingredient list when I first saw the size of it, however upon further inspection I realised that most of the list was things I already had in my cupboard and the only items I had to buy were the eggs, sultanas and mixed peel. The recipe wasn’t hard to make, even for me as a novice baker! One thing to make note of however is that there are two periods during the recipe where the dough must be allowed to rise for an hour (so two hours in total), so please make sure you give yourself enough time if you attempt the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 300ml milk (and a splash extra)
  • 50g melted butter
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 sachet (7g) instant yeast
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g sultanas
  • 80g mixed peel
  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • marzipan (feel free to make your own if you prefer!)
  • 2 tablespoons of apricot jam or marmalade

Method

  • Line a tray with baking paper.
  • Using a saucepan, heat the milk and butter until it is melted, and then allow to cool.
  • Meanwhile, mix the flour, yeast, brown sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.

  • Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and then crack in one of the eggs and pour in the cooled milk and butter mixture. Combine all the ingredients until you’ve formed a sticky dough.
  • Add the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest and lemon zest and once again combine all the ingredients.

  • Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and knead it for about five minutes. Put the dough back into your bowl, cover, and leave it for an hour. The dough should double in size during this time.
  • After the hour has passed, knead the dough into twelve balls and put them on the baking tray. Once again, cover them and allow them to rise for another hour.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas Mark 5.
  • When the buns have risen, beat your second egg with a splash of milk to create an egg wash. Brush it over the buns, then, after cutting your marzipan into long strips, position the marzipan in a cross over each bun (make sure they are attached well).

  • Bake for twenty minutes, being careful that the marzipan doesn’t burn.
  • Brush over the melted apricot jam or marmalade while the buns are still hot, and taste straight away!

Recipe: Bake Your Own Overnight White Bread

Thank you to Mark from Yorkshire for the below recipe…

This is a great-tasting, crusty white bread with nice big holes. It is the kind of bread that you would be served in a really good Italian restaurant and one that, if you were to take along to a dinner party, will almost guarantee that you get invited back next time.

This dough rises overnight, and the extended bulk fermentation gives it more time to develop complexity in its flavours than the One Day White Bread. The baked loaves should have a nice open interior and a crisp crust – assuming you bake the loaves well beyond the blond stage. This bread has many uses and won’t last long.

THIS RECIPE MAKES 2 LOAVES

BULK FERMENTATION: 10 to 14 hours

PROOF TIME: About 1¼ hours

SAMPLE SCHEDULE: Mix at 8 p.m., shape into loaves at 8 a.m. the next morning, and bake at 9:15 a.m. The bread will come out of the oven a little after 10 a.m.

 

INGREDIENT                                   QUANTITY                        BAKER’S PERCENTAGE

Strong white bread flour             1,000 g                                             100%

Water                                              700 g                                                70%       32°C to 35°C (90°F to 95°F)

Fine sea salt                                   20 g                                                  2.0%

Instant dried yeast                        0.8 g / ¼ tsp                                    0.08%

 

There is no need to use extra strong or high-protein bread flour (sometimes called high-gluten flour). Standard strong bread flour, with a protein content of 11.7%, is ideal for this recipe. There is also no need to buy expensive flours to get really good results. Supermarket own brand flour is fine.

This recipe can also be made using normal plain white flour. The amount of water used should be reduced to 670 g / 67% in this case. Flour should always be at room temperature.

If this is your first-time making bread, I recommend watching this video by Richard Bertinet, in which he details his techniques for mixing, working with and shaping dough. The video is called ‘BASIC WHITE DOUGH’ and is on both YouTube and Odysee.

Initial mix

In a large bowl or similar container combine the 1,000 grams of flour with the salt and mix to disperse. Do the same with the yeast. Add 700 grams of 32°C to 35°C (90°F to 95°F) water. Using a dough scraper, mix well until everything is well incorporated. You should have a rough porridge type mixture, without any dry lumps of flour.

Working and developing the dough

Turn the mixture out onto your work surface. The mixture will be quite loose and wet, so resist the temptation to add any additional flour. Once you start to work the dough it will come together quite quickly.

Here’s how you do it:

Grab the dough with your both hands, fingers under the dough and thumbs above it.

Lift the dough in the air and flip it over.

Then stretch the dough towards yourself.

Fold the stretched piece of dough on itself.

Repeat steps 1-4

At the beginning, you will start with a shaggy mass that gradually becomes smoother, stronger, and less and less sticky. After roughly 7-8 minutes of folding, the dough will feel much smoother and more elastic. Once you reach the stage where the dough no longer sticks to the work surface and comes away from your fingertips, you know you are done.

Give the dough a few folds in on itself and form it into a medium tight ball and place into the bowl to prove.

Fold

Folding the dough during the early stages of the initial fermentation helps to develop the gluten network, which is what gives the dough strength.

If you have kneaded the dough thoroughly, you can get away without incorporating any additional folds. However, if you want to include one or two extra folds this is fine. It’s easiest to apply the folds during the first 1½ hours after mixing the dough. Apply the first fold about 30 minutes after mixing and the second fold during the next hour (when you see the dough spread out in the tub, it’s ready for the second fold).

After doing the last fold, cover the dough and let it continue to rise overnight at room temperature. When the dough is 2½ to 3 times its original volume, 12 to 14 hours after mixing, it’s ready to be divided.

Divide

Moderately flour a work surface about 2 feet wide. Flour your hands and sprinkle a bit of flour around the edges of the tub. Tip the tub slightly and, using a dough scraper, gently loosen the dough from the sides of the mixing bowl. Gently ease the dough out onto the work surface without pulling or tearing it.

With floured hands, pick up the dough and ease it back down onto the work surface in a somewhat even shape. Dust the area in the middle, where you’ll cut the dough, with a bit of flour. Cut the dough into 2 equal-size pieces with a dough knife or plastic dough scraper.

Shape

Dust 2 proofing baskets with flour. Shape each piece of dough into a medium-tight ball by folding the dough in on itself.

  1. Start with the 12 o’clock point and fold in on itself, around 2/3 of the way. Repeat with the 6 o’clock point. Do the same with the 3 o’clock and the 9 o’clock points.
  2. Now take one pair of opposite corners and fold into the middle, repeat with the remaining two corners.
  3. Repeat stage 2. again, so you have folded the dough in on itself three times.
  4. Turn the dough over, so it is seam side down on the counter. Using your dough scraper or your hands, gently pull the dough towards you so that it tightens the top of the dough and creates tension. Turn 90 degrees and repeat to even it out. Do this a few more times until you have a nice tight dough ball.
  5. Place each loaf seam side down in its proofing basket.

If you don’t have proofing baskets but want to get the same effect, you can line a bowl with a well-floured tea towel. Alternatively, you can proof the loaves on pieces of baking parchment. This will make it easier to get the loaves into the Dutch oven.

Proof

Lightly flour the tops of the loaves. Set them side by side and cover with a kitchen towel or place each basket in a non-perforated plastic bag. Plan on baking the loaves about 1¼ hours after they are shaped, assuming a room temperature of about 21°C (70°F). If your kitchen is warmer, they will be optimally proofed in about 1 hour. Use the finger-dent test to determine when they are perfectly proofed and ready to bake, being sure to check the loaves after 1 hour. With this bread, 15 minutes can make the difference between being perfectly proofed and collapsing a bit.

Preheat

At least 30 minutes prior to baking, put a rack in the middle of the oven and put a Dutch oven on the rack with the lid on. Preheat the oven to 245°C (475°F). If you made two loaves, put the second loaf into the refrigerator about 20 minutes before baking the first loaf and bake the loaves sequentially, giving the Dutch oven a 5-minute reheat after removing the first loaf. Alternatively, you can keep the second loaf in the refrigerator overnight, in its proofing basket inside a non-perforated plastic bag, and bake it early the next morning; if you do this, put the second loaf in the refrigerator immediately after shaping.

Bake

For the next step, please be careful not to let your hands, fingers, or forearms touch the extremely hot Dutch oven.

Invert the proofed loaf onto a lightly floured countertop, keeping in mind that the top of the loaf will be the side that was facing down while it was rising—the seam side. Use oven mitts to remove the preheated Dutch oven from the oven. Remove the lid. Carefully place the loaf in the hot Dutch oven seam side up. Use mitts to replace the lid, then put the Dutch oven in the oven. Maintain the temperature at 475°F (245°C).

Bake for 30 minutes, then carefully remove the lid and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until at least medium dark brown all around the loaf. Check after 15 minutes of baking uncovered in case your oven runs hot. Remove the Dutch oven and carefully tilt it to turn the loaf out. Let cool on a rack or set the loaf on its side so air can circulate around it. Let the loaf rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

BAKING WITHOUT A DUTCH OVEN

If you do not have a Dutch oven, place a baking tray beneath the top of the oven underneath the heating element.  This will shield the bread from the heat of the element during the early stages of baking which will allow the bread to rise properly and prevent a crust forming too early. Half way through baking, remove the tray to allow the crust to get nice and dark.

When loading your bread into the oven, give the oven a spray with a garden sprayer to create some steam or put a small container into the bottom of the oven and put some water in.

ADDING WHOLEMEAL FLOUR TO MAKE A COUNTRY STYLE BREAD

Once you have made this bread a couple of times, you can change it a little by adding in some wholemeal flour to make a Country style bread. A normal  Country bread has roughly 10% – 20% wholemeal flour but you can substitute anywhere up to 40% wholemeal flour for the same quantity of white flour and the resulting dough will still be easy to handle, although not as smooth as a dough made with purely white flour.

Be aware that wholemeal flour needs a little bit more water, so if you include 10% wholemeal you probably won’t need to add more water. However, if you go up to 40% wholemeal you will probably need to increase the hydration to 72% – 73%.

VARIATION: WEEK NIGHT WHITE BREAD

It’s possible to adjust the timing of the Overnight White Bread recipe so it will work for somebody with a day job

during the work week. Follow the recipe for Overnight White Bread through step 3. Then, in the morning before going to work, take 5 to 10 minutes to divide and shape loaves from the dough you mixed the evening before. Put the proofing baskets in plastic bags and let the loaves proof slowly in the refrigerator while you are at work.

When you get home from work, remove the loaves from the refrigerator and let them sit out on the counter to finish proofing while you preheat the Dutch ovens. If you get home at 6 p.m., you will have fresh baked bread by 7:30p.m. Note that in this variation, the bulk fermentation time is 12 to 14 hours, and the proof time is about 10 hours (depending on when you get home from work).

Recipe: Gingerbread Squirrels (with Faithful Hound Golden Syrup)

Sam and I recently put on a buffet for 60 people at our daughter’s Christening which took place at the end of May. Rather than outsource the buffet to a catering company, I decided to give it a go myself, so on the Saturday morning I arose early for a full day of baking. I made three types of scones, brownies, blondies, butterfly buns (butterscotch ones and salted caramel ones), blueberry muffins and gingerbread. Out of everything I prepared for the Christening, it was my gingerbread that got the best feedback, so I thought I’d share the recipe on here.

I used Faithful Hound Golden Syrup for the gingerbread, which is now available in our shop for £6 per pound of honey. It comes in a reusable metal tin which has been hand stamped by the owner of Faithful Hound; a friend of ours and a Yorkshire farmer’s lad. Of course, you can use any golden syrup for the recipe though.

I multiplied the below ingredients by two and this made more than enough gingerbread for 60 people. There was even some left over at the end of the day. In total, I made around 40 gingerbread biscuits, so the below ingredients should make about 20 depending on your cutter size.

I made red squirrels, teapots and Alice in Wonderland inspired “eat me” gingerbread biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz of plain flour (approx. 350g)
  • 1 level tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 level tsps of ground ginger
  • 4 oz of butter (approx. 100g)
  • 6 oz of light muscovado sugar (approx. 175g)
  • 4 tbsps of Faithful Hound Golden Syrup
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C.

Grease your baking tray/s or line them with baking paper.

Put the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it all together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Next, add the sugar and stir it all together.

Add the golden syrup and the egg and mix everything together until you form a smooth dough. Knead the mixture with your hands until your form a dough that you can pick up and place on your work surface.

Roll out the mixture on your work surface to a thickness of about half a cm (quarter of an inch). Use your cutter to cut out your desired shapes and then place the shapes on your baking tray.

Bake your biscuits in the oven for approximately 10-12 minutes. Your biscuits will have a slightly darker shade once they are ready.

Allow to cool before decorating.

To decorate mine, I used the same cutters to cut out icing which I then stuck onto the gingerbread biscuits by brushing a little water on the back of the icing. I added eyes on the squirrels and stamped some letters into the teapots and circles.

If you are interested in making squirrels too, I got my squirrel cutter from Lakeland for £1.99.

 

We hope you enjoyed this recipe. Don’t forget to send us some pictures if you make your own gingerbread. Happy baking!

 

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