Friday, 24 June 2011

More Wheaten Bread

Yes, I know, I spend my life trying new ways with this loaf. It probably gets a little boring but when I shuffle the ingredients once again and there is a good final product, I feel compelled to share it. This was good...........very good. Nice moist dark crumb (that's what bread geeks call the inside of the loaf) lovely golden oatie crust. If you are into healthy eating well it's full of oats and you could of course replace the  maple syrup with honey or leave out the sugary stuff altogether but there's no fun in that. On the subject of fun don't forget when it comes out of the oven cut a big piece and cover it thickly in butter. Use your other hand to catch the drips while you cram it in your mouth. Just tell your arteries to be quiet.

Oatie Wheaten Bread

Pre heat your oven to 200.C/180.C Fan/400.F/Gas 6

Grease and flour a large loaf tin or a round sandwich tin or just a baking sheet and form the loaf by hand.

350gms/12oz wholemeal/whole wheat flour
100gms/4oz oats/oatmeal + a handful for topping
200mls buttermilk or ordinary milk soured with lemon juice + 50mls milk just in case you need it
50g/2oz butter
1egg beaten
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 heaped teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

Place the oats, butter, salt and maple syrup in a bowl.
Heat the milk in the microwave or a saucepan until quite warm.
Pour onto the oat mixture and leave for half an hour stirring occasionally. Do not be tempted to skip this and throw the dry oats into the me you will just get a very dense loaf.
Now stir in half of the beaten egg, the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. You should have a spongy slightly sticky mix.
Don't worry about rushing this bit. I have found that the dough sitting around for a few minutes is quite beneficial

Spoon the dough into your prepared loaf tin/sandwich tin
If forming by hand, flour your hands well and form the dough into a round on your baking sheet. If your dough seems a little soft for that just add a little flour to the mix.....simple.

Brush some of the beaten egg over the top then sprinkle generouly with oats. Now splodge the rest of the egg over that.

Using a sharp knife draw a deepish crevice the full length if the tin. If you are doing a circular loaf cut a deep cross. It's to let the fairies out...........yes it is.

Now bake for 30-40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. If it is getting a little too brown place a tin foil hat over the loaf after it has formed a skin.
Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool.

Don't forget to cut that thick warm slice and butter it.

PS If anyone knows anything about white balance in cameras give me a call.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Sausage Plait

Isn't it awful how the prices in the supermarkets have
escalated? More than ever I am seeking out recipes which don't cost a lot to make but are tasty and interesting. This I think fits the bill. I used a product called Vegetable Roll which is peculiar to Northern Ireland but any sausage meat will do. I also made my own pastry which is so quick and easy to do. I am never organised enough to defrost frozen pastry. Five minutes in a food processor and you have it. Simple.

Sausage Plait

Serves 2

  1. Pork/beef sausages 4, skinned (approximately 250g/9oz)
  2. Onion 1 small, peeled and finely chopped
  3. Cooking apple 1 peeled, cored and chopped
  4. Chopped sage 1tbsp or 1 tsp dried
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. Puff pastry ½ x 500g pack
  7. Vegetable oil for greasing
  8. Egg 1, beaten for glaze

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas 6.
Mix together the sausage meat with the onion, apple and sage for seasoning.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 30cm (12in) square. Cut around the edges to neaten them.
Then make 5-6cm (2-2 ½ in) long cits on the opposite sides of the pastry, at a slightly downward angle and about 2.5cm (1in) apart -but not opposite each other, alternate them instead.
Brush water around the edges.
Place the sausage meat mixture in the centre of the pastry
Fold down the pastry top, then bring up the cut sides, alternatively overlapping them to give a plaited effect, folding up the bottom edge of the pastry before bringing over the final side strip.
Press the pastry together well at the ends to seal it.
Slide the plait onto a lightly greased baking sheet, then brush the pastry with the egg glaze.
Bake the plait in the centre of the oven for 30-40minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden. Remove from the oven and serve either hot or cold.

I did the whole thing on the baking sheet. Saved faffing around

Pastry (If you so wish)

  • 250g strong white flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 250g cold unsalted butter, cut into 5mm slices
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • 5-6 tablespoons iced water

Pulse the flour and salt together in the processor, then add the butter and pulse 3-4 times, the butter should be cut up but still be in visible chunks.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the iced water, and pulse till the pastry begins to form a ball, then tip out onto the bench and form a ball. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Dust the benchtop with flour, then roll the pastry into a long rectangle into a long rectangle three times longer than it is wide, then fold it in three like a business letter. Roll out again to the same length and repeat the fold and roll another 2 times (not rolling out after the last fold).

Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for another 30 minutes before using it to allow the gluten to relax.

When baking, brush with a lightly beaten egg white and bake in an oven preheated to 200 degrees C till puffed and golden brown.

I did the rolling and folding straight from the processor then stuck it in the fridge while I made up the filling. Works beautifully. Half the quantity will do for this recipe.