Tag Archives: Bread

Kitchen Must Have Gadgets

There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh bread in the morning but not everyone has time these days for kneading and proving, myself included. I love kitchen gadgets and if you asked me 10 years ago what my number one kitchen gadget was I would have answered “a bread maker“.

I last saw my bread maker 5 years ago when we moved from Newcastle to Warwickshire, I had always planned to replace it as soon as we moved but just never got round to it.  I now don’t have a choice but to get my hands dirty when I want the kitchen to fill with the smell of baked bread which isn’t as often as I would like.

I’ve baked a number of loafs of bread by hand over the past few years, my Olive and Walnut bread was probably my favourite, crispy on the outside and soft, fluffy and flavoursome on the inside – but it took a long time from start to finish so I’ve never made it again.


The Herby Garlic bread I made back in 2015 was a huge hit with my family, I can still remember how delicious it tasted when still warm from the oven and slathered in slated butter.  I’ve never made it since though as it was just too time consuming and my time is limited.

Herby garlic bread

There is a pattern here when it comes to making bread.  Both myself and my family love fresh bread but as I’m the one doing the cooking and I’m the one with the most limited time, it just doesn’t happen very often.

I must admit that recently I’ve been thinking about purchasing a bread maker and the one that I have my eye on is a fully automated Panasonic Bread Maker that not only bakes a standard loaf but also has settings for artisan and rustic breads and scones.  One function that’s really important to me is being able to create Pizza dough.  As a family we love homemade pizza so having a machine that can prepare the dough for me is a huge selling point.  The jam function isn’t a major “need” for me but it’s something that I would find incredibly useful especially in the months when the brambles are over producing and friends provide us with their excess rhubarb from their allotment.

Bread maker

The model I’m currently looking at is the Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker SD-2511K which retails at £149.99 and appears to offer all of the functions that I require from a bread maker.  I’d love to hear from you if you own this model.

Whilst researching bread makers I did discover that some models offer gluten free bread, pasta and cake modes which is something I’ve never seen before and it shows just how far kitchen gadgets have come on over the years, I know these machines will appeal to a lot of my friends who struggle with gluten.

Do you own a bread maker? What’s your favourite machine recipe?

*collaborative post

Plaited Milk Loaf

A milk loaf is one of those breads that is loved by every member of the Gourmand family, I love a fresh loaf of bread but I don’t always have the time to make it as Baby Gourmand is guaranteed to do something he shouldn’t while my back is turned in the kitchen.  I’ve recently taken to making this loaf rather than a typical loaf of bread as I can get Baby Gourmand to help me knead and plait it and he’s more than happy to wait while I do all of the boring bits like pour the ingredients into the bowl and stir the mixture if he knows he can participate.

Milk Loaf

To make this loaf you will need:

500g strong white bread flour
30g unsalted butter
25g caster sugar
320ml whole milk (warm)
7g sachet of instant yeast
1 tsp salt
Vegetable or coconut oil
1 egg and some extra milk for a egg wash before baking (If you have an allergy to egg just use milk)

I’m lazy and make my bread in a food mixer but you can quite easily make this by hand it just takes a little longer.

Place the butter and flour into the mixing bowl and mix until no large lumps remain. Add the salt to the left of the bowl, the sugar in the middle and the yeast to the right of the bowl. Add two thirds of the milk a little at a time, and mix on a low speed until a soft dough is formed.

Oil your work surface and knead the dough until it is soft, smooth, silky, and elastic. I tend to do it for a few minutes, let Baby Gourmand have a turn and then finish it myself. Place the dough into an oiled mixing bowl and cover loosely with cling film, leave it to rise for a couple of hours.

For some reason this dough is a champion riser, it’s almost magical going back into the kitchen to see how much the dough has grown and Baby Gourmand is always mesmerised by it. You are looking for the dough to have tripled in size.

Put the cling film covering the bowl to one side and knock back the dough as gently as possible and turn out on to an oiled work surface.  Divide the dough into three even portions, I usually let Baby Gourmand do this and as you can see by the photograph they are not even at all but he’s learning and I’m confident that one day his 3 sections will be perfect.

Squeeze your 3 pieces of dough together at one end and start folding the sides towards the centre to form your plait, again I let Baby Gourmand do this as his reward for being so

Place the plaited loaf on a lined baking tray, cover loosely again with the same oiled cling film as before, and set it aside to rise. Once the plait has at least doubled in size but not so large that it spills from the baking sheet brush gently all over with a little egg wash, and pop into an oven at 180 and bake it for 25 minutes until the crust is a dark brown colour and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.


Pin this recipe for later.

plaited milk loaf recipe



Olive And Walnut Bread

We love bread in all of its forms but artisan bread that is cooked without a tin is one of our favourites.  This olive and walnut bread was made to go with a mixed tomato and mozzarella salad and boy was it good.  I’m not great at writing down my recipes as my best dishes usually come from throwing in a little bit of this and a little bit of that so you may need to slightly adjust the measurements to get something that works for you.

Olive and Walnut Bread

To make the olive and walnut bread you will need:

400g Very strong wholemeal bread flour
250g Strong white bread flour
2tbsp light muscovado sugar
100g Walnuts chopped and toasted
100 mixed olives chopped
1½tsp Salt
1 yeast sachet
3tbsp Olive oil
450ml Warm water


I used a kitchen aid mixer with dough attachment to make this bread but you could also do it by hand if you don’t have a mixer. Combine the flour, salt, rosemary and yeast in the mixing bowl.  Add the water and oil, mix on low speed until a rough dough forms. Cover with cling film and let it rest for 10 minutes.

After the dough has rested, add the chopped olives and continue to mix until it is smooth.

Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and place on a floured surface, flatten it out with your hands, and sprinkle it with the walnuts. Knead by hand until all of the walnuts are incorporated.

Rub a clean mixing bowl with olive oil, place your bread dough in, and cover with cling film until it has doubled in size.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into two equal portions. Knead each portion and form into loaves.  Place your dough balls onto an oiled baking sheet.

Allow the loaves to rise for about 1 hour; preheat the oven to 180°c.

Slash the loaves 3-4 times with a knife before putting them in the oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until well-browned and hollow sounding when you knock on the bottom. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.

Let me know if you decide to try this recipe.


Lamb Hotpot with Seeded Bread

Some people might say that a hotpot with crisp potatoes on top is actually called a Lancashire hotpot but rather than get into a debate about names and what a true Lancashire hotpot should consist of I’ve decided to play it safe and call this adaptation a plain old Lamb Hotpot.  There isn’t actually anything ‘plain’ about this hotpot, it’s warming, delicious and one of those dishes that you have to have just one more spoonful of.  The quantities should serve 4 but in my house you are lucky if there is a mouthful left over from two people eating it.  I teamed this particular hotpot with a seeded loaf.


To make this seeded loaf you will need:

500g mixed grain flour (I like the Wessex Mill flour)

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1 sachet fast-action yeast

1 tsp salt

300ml hand-hot water

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp runny honey

Heat oven to 180C

Put the flour, seeds, yeast and salt into a large bowl. Mix the water, oil and honey together  in a jug, then pour into the flour mix stirring all the time to make a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough no longer feels sticky, sprinkling with a little more flour as you need it.

flour a loaf tin and put the dough in the tin, pressing it in evenly. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 1 hr, until it springs back when you press it with your finger.

Bake for 30-35 mins until the loaf is risen and brown. Pop it onto a cooling rack and leave to cool before smothering with butter.



To make the Lamb Hotpot you will need:

100g butter

900g lamb, cut into large chunks

2 medium onions, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

handful of frozen peas

25g plain flour

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

500ml lamb stock

2 bay leaves

900g potatoes, peeled and sliced

Heat oven to 160C

Heat some butter in a large shallow casserole dish, brown the lamb in batches.  In the same pan fry the onions and carrots until golden.

Sprinkle over the flour and allow to cook for a couple of mins, shake over the Worcestershire sauce and pour in the stock, then bring to the boil.

Turn off the heat and add the meat and bay leaves to the pan. Arrange the sliced potatoes on top of the meat, then dot with a little more butter. Cover with a tight fitting lid, then place in the oven for about 1½ hrs until the potatoes are cooked.

Remove the lid for the last 20 mins to brown the potatoes.


Herby Garlic Bread


Don’t you just hate those moments when you’ve ran out of bread to use for lunch the next day and you also want some garlic bread but don’t have enough flour to make both a loaf and a garlic bread? I had this dilemma and figured that I would just have to do without the garlic bread. that was until I had one of those lightbulb moments and decided to make a storecupboard/fridge herby garlic bread.


To make this loaf you will need:

500g strong white bread flour

7g sachet easy-bake dried yeast

1 clove of garlic crushed

squeeze of tomato puree

sprinkle of dried herbs

handful of grated cheese

1½ tsp salt

1 tbsp soft butter

Start by mixing the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Put in the butter and rub it into the flour. Make a dip in the centre of the flour and pour in almost 300ml hand warm water and mix with a pallet knife or your hands if you prefer.  Mix in enough of the remaining water and a bit more if needed, to gather up any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl, until the mixture comes together as a soft, not too sticky, dough. Add your extras and mix well, gather it into a ball with your hands.

Knead the dough on a  lightly floured surface for 8-10 mins until it feels smooth and elastic. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with an upturned, clean, large glass bowl and leave until doubled in size, light and springy.

Knock back the dough by gently kneading. place into a loaf tin, cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave until about doubled in size.

Place in a preheated oven 180C fan and bake for 30-35 mins or until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack. If you tap the underneath of the loaf if should be firm and sound hollow.



Enjoy smothered with salted butter.

Flower Bread

Sometimes making basic white rolls is a little boring, especially if you are having people round for dinner.

I decided to jazz my basic bread rolls up by turning them into a flower pattern and sprinkling with poppy and sesame seeds.

The eagle-eyed among you will probably be able to spot my decoration mistake!  I’ll be honest, the idea to sprinkle came after I had made the pattern!  I’m also aware that my ‘buns’ are different sizes but as it was my first attempt at a pattern I think I should be let off!

To make this bread you will need:

500g strong white organic bread flour

1 tsp salt (I like maldon)

2 tsp dried yeast

30g softened butter

75ml warmed milk

225ml warm water

It’s probably best to use your fingers for this recipe but I like to use my Kenwood chef with the dough attachment for the actual mixing (it’s cheating I know) so my method is based on what happens after the dough has been made.

Kneed the dough on a clean, floured work surface using floured hands for around 20  minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth. If the dough is feeling tight you can add a little more warm water to loosen.

Place the dough into a lightly floured bowl and cover with a clean damp tea towel . Set aside for 1-1½ hours in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

When the dough has risen, return it to a floured work surface and knock it back.

Separate and roll the mixture into 10 small balls leaving one larger ball (I only made 9 small balls but next time I will do 10 as it looks better). Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand. Place the larger ball in the middle of a baking tray and position the smaller balls around, placing them close together.  Cover the tray with a damp tea towel and set aside for another hour, or until the rolls have doubled in size again.

When the rolls have expanded, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds if required or dust with flour if you would prefer plain rolls and transfer them to a preheated oven (220C).  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through.

1 Comment
POSTED IN: , , ,

My first home-made Challah

If you have never tried Challah before the best way to describe it is like brioche.  It’s a slightly sweet bread with a good amount of eggs and oil.  Challah makes the best french toast and is delicious with scrambled eggs.

Usually I buy my Challah from the bakers but I’ve been told by so many people that you get more enjoyment when eating your challah when it’s been made by your own hands so I decided to give it a go.

The Challah in the photograph was my first attempt, I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out so I didn’t bother with the egg wash or decorations (poppy seeds are my favourite).  I have to say even though my Challah had no wash or decor it tasted delicious and didn’t last five minutes when removed from the oven, this was probably due to the sweet aroma that had filled the house during baking!

Now that I’ve been making Challah on a regular basis I like to use two coats of egg wash to give it the lacquer look that the bakers have.  I also do three rises a tip from Joan Nathan in her Challah recipe.


Makes 2 loaves

1 1/2 packets dry yeast
100g Sugar plus 1 tablespoon
118 ml vegetable oil
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
1000g Strong white bread flour
Poppy  seeds for sprinkling.

1. Dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 450ml lukewarm water.

2. Whisk the oil into the yeast mixture, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt.

3. Gradually add the flour. When the dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. I find it easier to use my Kenwood chef on a low setting to do the mixing and kneading.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.

5. Clean out  and grease the bowl and  return the dough to bowl. Cover with cling film and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size.

6. Punch down the dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.

7. To make a 3 braid loaf challah half the dough and cut each half into 3 balls, roll each ball into strands, pinch the tops together and plait like you would your hair, tuck the ends underneath.  To make a 6-braid straight challah  take half the dough and form it into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided,  tuck the ends underneath. Place braided loaves on a greased baking tray.

8. Beat the remaining egg and brush it on to loaves.

9. preheat the oven to 190 degrees and brush the loaves with the egg wash again. Sprinkle the bread with seeds, if using.

10. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool loaves on a rack.