I woke up to bright sunshine and time on my hands today, which meant that I felt the need to put my solar panels to good use and harvest the free energy and burn the oven. I used a simple enough recipe. I say recipe but I kind of just eyeballed the ingredients. Sorry, I know that can be frustrating for most who are looking for a definitive measure. I will try and be as accurate as possible but please go with your instincts which will guide you to a smooth,supple and slightly tacky dough at the end (add more flour / water if you feel the need)
Wholemeal flour – 500g
Water (tepid)- 350ml
Sugar – 2 tblsp – I used agave syrup but any sugar will do including honey.
Yeast (dried) – 7g packet
Salt – 1 tsp
Melted Butter – 50g
Cheddar cheese (grated) – 150g or to taste (add after 1st proove)
Combine all ingredients except for the cheese in a mixer or on a worktop and knead until you have a smooth, supple and slightly tacky dough. Work it for at least 10 minutes. Adjust flour and water if necessary as you go (sorry but you will get better at it I promise).
Leave to rise until it has doubled in size then knock it back (punch the air out) and flatten it out into a rough oblong shape. This is so that you can sprinkle most of the cheddar (or other) cheese onto it. Leave about 40g of cheese to sprinkle on top later.
Fold and knead the cheese that you have sprinkled on so that it becomes incorporated in the dough then divide into nine equal portions. Roll out into smooth balls with your palms – I have begun to use the claw/cage technique with my hands with some success.
Then place dough balls onto a greased / buttered baking tray and space them out evenly so that they will rise and touch together for that batch baked effect. Now just place a generous pinch of cheese on top of each roll. Don’t worry if cheese spills onto the tray as this will give the bottoms a nice cheesy crunch.
Cover with oiled cling film and let rolls rise again until they are almost doubled and touching each other (30-40 mins approx.). Careful how you remove the cling film as it may catch on the dough and cause it to tear and collapse.
Finally bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 200 Celsius until golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. The challenge now will be to see if you can resist eating less than one while they are still warm.
Today I received a call from my daughter, who is at University in Glasgow, requesting the recipe for her Great Grandmother Sybil’s rock buns. I have posted the recipe before so you can have a go if you wish. Here is a picture of Melissa’s efforts. Look scrummy.
I think I will take out shares in Paul Hollywood as once again I have used his recipe to create these wonderful Easter treats. My sons are becoming more involved with the kitchen and were responsible for the final shape and form of the buns. You will need:
For the buns
300ml/10fl oz whole milk
500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
75g/2½oz caster sugar
1 tsp salt
7g sachet fast-action yeast
1 free-range egg, beaten
50g/1¾oz mixed peel
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 orange, zest only
1 tsp ground cinnamon
sunflower oil, for greasing the bowl
For the cross
75g/2½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the glaze
3 tbsp apricot jam
Bring the milk to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature.
Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and egg together in a bowl, then slowly add the warmed milk until it forms a soft, sticky dough.
Add the sultanas, mixed peel, chopped apple and orange zest, then tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for approximately one hour, or until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 12 even pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with parchment, leaving enough space so that the buns just touch when they rise and expand. Set aside to prove for another hour.
Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
For the cross, mix the flour with about five tablespoons of water in small bowl, adding the water one tablespoon at a time, so that you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until golden-brown.
Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool. Gently rip the buns apart to serve, revealing temptingly soft edges.
Having been pestered by my son to make these (he asked me once!) I succumbed to his plea and rustled these together. I used the same recipe that I used for my Christmas buns but added 50g more sugar as it was a sweet bread. I also sprinkled 4 tsp of ground cinnamon into the flour before adding the wet stuff.
Another small twist (just because it was there) that I added was the apple sauce – from a jar (100g).
Proofing for about 2 hours – if you use cold water. Roll out to about 1cm thick rectangle Then the improvised apple (helped to keep them moist) Raisins / sultanas and more cinnamon (you could add a sprinkle of caster sugar as well if you wanted extra sweet.Lift, gently tug and roll towards you Ready to be cut into 5cm rounds Put into greased deep dish tins Allow to rise for another hour or so (double in size) Bake at 190 deg C for 15 minutes or until golden and ready.
Then brush with honey, syrup or sugar & water glaze. I think I used maple syrup on these as I had some left over from pancake day. They didn’t last long…
There are times when all you can do is buy a cake off the shelf. Today my daughter secured a place at the prestigious University of Glasgow; the 4th oldest University in an english speaking country. Given that we were not certain of what the outcome might have been I was unable to bake in advance. Enter Costco. Love it or not their cakes tick many boxes…
This came off the shelf – no need to pre order.
When she cut everyone a slice her brother noticed that she had left the shape of the letter ‘M’ in the cake (she is called Melissa). “Spooky or what” he repeated…
I feel that I have neglected this space as it has been a while since I last posted anything. I have been a bit distracted by my garden project which will hopefully culminate in the firing of my hand built, wood burning pizza oven. I have dug out a corner of my compact back garden (typical of a new build UK home) and felled 3 trees, removed a rockery, built a wall, laid a patio, moved a rose and grape vine, made a bench and fashioned a slope for my miniature meadow.
This is how it kinda looked before
The chaos before order…
Now it looks like this…
The pizza oven will sit behind the wall facing the patio area…