Simple Sunday Morning Oat Loaf

…for an absolutely banging Beans on Toast…
Simple Sunday Morning Oat Loaf - Bread Recipes - The Cardiff Cwtch

Seriously, is there anything better than a steaming plate of beans on toast? Especially this time of year when it’s grim and gloomy, and you get home in the dark and the drizzle and you just can’t be bothered to cook and the Chinese Takeaway is bloody closed (ours takes a three week long break every January on a count of Chinese New Year – EXACTLY when I need them the most – the nerve!)… For breakfast, lunch or brinner (not a typo – that’s “breakfast for dinner” for the uninitiated – you’re welcome btw), it’s always a winner when you’re in a pinch and just can’t be arsed to cook anything else.

(…Or blog about anything else? Hey c’mon, I’m having a slow January, alright?)

There’s always a healthy stash of tins of baked beans in my kitchen cupboard (none of that Branston nonsense; I’m a Heinz until I die kinda girl) – that’s the easy bit – it’s the bread that’s the trickier side to this duo. It’s got to be a doorstop wedge of fluffy, perfectly toasted bread to compliment a soggy slop of beans – which isn’t necessarily as readily available as it sounds. Thankfully, my husband’s taken up the only area of baking that I seriously struggle with and I’ve been finding myself drowning in homemade loaves (…definitely not complaining). Last weekend he played around with a lovely recipe fished out of an old recipe book for Oatmeal Bread – which made a pillowy soft loaf with a crispy, golden crust. As soon as I chewed down on a corner I knew it was THE weekend loaf to have on the recipe roster – perfect for sandwiches, dippy eggs and – oh yes – a banging plate of beans on toast. 🙂

Golden Retriever - The Cardiff CwtchSimple Sunday Morning Oat Loaf - Bread Recipes - The Cardiff Cwtch

Simple Sunday Morning Oat Loaf

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 170g strong, white flour
  • 85g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30g melted butter
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 15g dried active yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 55g porridge oats
  • 200ml semi skimmed milk

To glaze:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp porridge oats
Simple Sunday Morning Oat Loaf - Bread Recipes - The Cardiff Cwtch
Method
  1. Gently boil the milk, then pour into a mixing bowl with the oats. Allow it to cool to about 30°C, then stir in the honey and yeast. Leave for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to do it’s thing (you should start to see tiny, pinprick bubbles – or a slight foam).
  2. Next, add the egg and melted butter (make sure it’s cooled – you don’t want to scramble your egg!). Then, sift in both the strong white flour and wholemeal flour, as well as the salt. Stir together to make a soft dough.
  3. Lightly oil your hands, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then knead by hand for about ten minutes – or until you get a smooth, stretchy dough.
  4. Oil a mixing boil, then chuck in the dough, cover it with clingfilm and leave it somewhere warm to double in size for about an hour and a half.
  5. Lightly grease a 1 lb loaf tin. Knock back the dough, then roughly shape it into a loaf and pop it in the tin. Cover, then leave somewhere warm to rise again for another hour.
  6. Heat your oven to 220°C (fan). Glaze the surface of the loaf with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with oats. Bake for 30 minutes (after 15 minutes cover with paper if you think the crust is going to brown too much), then leave to cool before slicing up and scoffing with great big globs of butter.

Have a lovely week everyone! 🙂

Sunny’s Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread

What do you get when you cross a Toasted Tea Cake with a Cinnamon Bun?

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So, my husband has decided to get into baking – more specifically, baking bread – which I am absolutely over the moon about because I love scoffing bread. Soft and doughy homemade bread? Even better. The trouble is, I’ve never been very good at baking it myself; I’m too experimental and slapdash when it comes to measurements and ingredients, and I just don’t have the patience or the muscle for kneading into being the perfect, pillowy soft dough that makes a good loaf. I feel like there’s an exact science and math to bread making that just doesn’t suit my free and flippant style in the kitchen (Maths, ew!). Sunny, though? He’s exactly the opposite; baking bread suits him perfectly. He’s logical and precise to the ounce, patient enough to follow a recipe to the letter, and he’s got the knuckles and gun-show necessary for flinging dough around.

…Enough gushing about my husband’s arms.

A couple of weekends ago he tore my kitchen apart making his first ever, sweet loaf – this Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread, which would make the perfect addition to any Christmas breakfast table. It’s a soft dough, but slices well – and the flavours kind of remind me of toasted tea cakes and cinnamon buns (both bread items that I absolutely love!). It’s definitely a keeper… along with the hubs. 😉

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Sunny’s Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Ingredients
  • 30g dried active yeast
  • 200ml lukewarm milk
  • 85ml smooth orange juice
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30g soft butter
  • 550g strong white flour
  • pinch of salt
  • zest from one orange
For the filling:
  • 85g demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 30g melted butter
Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread - The Cardiff Cwtch
Method
  1. Set up two mixing bowls. Into the first, activate the yeast with a little of the warm milk – and into the second, pour in the orange juice, butter and beaten egg with the rest of the milk. Stir the yeast gently until it’s dissolved (you should start to see a few bubbles).
  2. Into a third bowl, sift the flour with the sugar, orange zest and salt. Make a little well in the middle, then pour in the contents of the other two bowls. Stir together to make a soft, sticky dough – then turn it out onto a clean surface and knead for at least 10 minutes. (A lot people like to flour their work surface – but I don’t like adding more flour to my dough, so I just oil my hands and prepare to get a little sticky! Perseverance is key; the dough will come together!)
  3. Pop the dough into a greased bowl, cover with clingfilm or a damp (but clean!) tea towel and then leave somewhere warm to double in size for at least an hour.
  4. To make the filling, mix together the demerara sugar, cinnamon, mixed spice and melted butter.
  5. Knock back the dough and – using a little flour this time – roll it out into a rectangle. Spread the filling right to the corners, then roll tight like a swiss roll. Pop it onto a lined baking tray – seam side down, with the ends tucked under. Leave it somewhere warm to rise again for another 20 minutes or so.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes at 190°C. 🙂

Have a great week!

Orange and Nutella Babka

Hands up then, who’s planning on putting their tree up this weekend?  I’ve got Sunday set aside purely for de-tangling fairy lights, rummaging through our decorations (Sunny and I collect decorations from all the places we’ve travelled to) and then hoovering up pine needles.  I can’t wait!  But hey, it’s a knackering job innit?  There’s nothing better than crashing onto the sofa afterwards with a hot cup of tea and something sweet!  Well, I’ve got the perfect Christmas Decorating Fuel for you; this Orange and Nutella Babka.

I spotted a few of these on Social Media before I went off to the States on Holiday and had never heard of them before, and then I saw even more out there in supermarkets and bakeries.  They’re an Eastern European invention and are basically a sweet loaf that’s stuck somewhere between bread and cake.  The dough is filled with whatever sweet filling you fancy, rolled up, snipped down the middle and twisted to form swirls.  It’s best eaten straight out of the oven warm; perfect for baking while you’re buried up to your neck in tinsel. 😉

Orange and Nutella Babka (makes one beast of a loaf, or two smaller loaves)

Ingredients

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 250g plain flour (and a little extra for dusting)
  • 15g fresh yeast (dry active)
  • 200ml soda water (a neat little trick to give your loaf a little extra rise)
  • 100ml boiling water
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 50 ml melted butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
  • 1 egg (whisked)
  • 1 small jar of Nutella
  • Zest of one Orange
  • 50g Chopped Hazelnuts
  • 50g Chopped chunks of chocolate
  • A little milk to wash.
  1. First things first, you’re going to need to activate your yeast.  Pour the soda water and boiling water into a bowl.  Dissolve the sugar into the water and then sprinkle over the yeast.  Whisk and then leave the bowl somewhere warm for 15 minutes (I use my airing cupboard!) until the yeast begins to froth.
  2. Once the yeast is ready, pour in the melted butter and then add the salt, flour, cinnamon and orange zest.  Stir it together to create a sticky dough.  Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
  3. Once the dough’s been kneaded, pop in a lightly oiled bowl and leave it to prove somewhere warm for one hour.
  4. After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size.  Turn it onto a floured surface and roll it out into a rough square shape that’s about 1cm thick.  Spread the Nutella – taking it as close to the edges as possible – then sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts (hold some back to decorate) and chocolate on top.  Roll it up like a swiss roll and seal each end.
  5. Now to shape the Babka.  Take a sharp knife and cut the dough right down the middle leaving a space at the top (it should look like a pair of legs once you’re done).  Take each leg and turn it so the sticky inside layers are facing upwards.  Now twist one leg over the other until you get a tight plait from one end to the other – making sure you keep those inside layers facing up.
  6. Grease and line a loaf tin and then fill it with your twisted dough. There’s a knack to this bit; you want to make sure the ends are folded under, while the middle is on top.  Cover it with a damp tea towel and leave the dough to prove for another hour.
  7. Set your oven to 200°. Give the surface of the babka a little wash with milk and sprinkle with a few extra chopped hazelnuts and orange zest, then bake it for 30 minutes – covering the top with foil after 15 minutes to protect those layers from burning.
  8. Scoff warm with some extra Nutella! 🙂

Happy Weekend (and happy decorating!)! ♡

Halloumi Bread with Fig Jam

I’m going to let you in on a little secret of mine.  I can’t make bread.  Or maybe that should actually be “couldn’t make bread”.  At least not without the help of a machine, anyway.  For a long time bread has been my nemesis; I’m always accidentally killing off the yeast or under-kneading the dough, and my bricks (no that’s not a typo) are never that lovely, light, chewy bread-like consistency.  I’d never EVER survive bread week on Bake Off.

Until now!  *Fist pump*  I tried making this Halloumi Loaf in the bread maker twice and it just did not work.  The first time the machine broke up all the lovely chunks of halloumi until they were were practically invisible, and the second time the loaf was just too dense.  So I tweaked the recipe a little and tried it by hand and whaddya know?  It not only worked, but my oven spat out the softest loaf I’ve ever made.  AND it’s got chunks of cheese inside it.  Banging.  Take that, technology!

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Halloumi Bread (served with Fig Jam)

Ingredients

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 250g plain flour (and a little extra for dusting)
  • 15g fresh yeast
  • 200ml soda water (neat trick to help the loaf rise!)
  • 100ml boiling water
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 250g halloumi, chopped into little cubes
  1. First things first, you’re going to need to activate your yeast.  Pour the soda water and boiling water into a bowl.  Dissolve the sugar into the water and then sprinkle over the yeast.  Whisk and then leave the bowl somewhere warm for 15 minutes (I use my airing cupboard!) until the yeast begins to froth.
  2. Once the yeast is ready, pour in the olive oil and then add the salt and flour.  Stir it together to create a very sticky dough.  Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.  This stage is messy; there’s absolutely no avoiding it!  But keep stretching the dough and it’ll be worth it in the end! 😉
  3. Once the dough’s been kneaded, pop in a lightly oiled bowl and leave it to prove somewhere warm for one hour.
  4. While you’re waiting, make up the fig jam.  All you’ll need is three or four figs and some jam sugar.  It’s a 1:1 recipe, so take the flesh out of your figs and then weigh what you’ve got to see how much sugar you’ll need.  My three figs weighed 100g, so I used 100g of jam sugar and 100ml of water.  Boil it all on the hob and once it’s set pour it into a sterilized jar.
  5. Once the dough’s had it’s first proving, leave it in the bowl and pour in the cubes of halloumi.  Fold them into the dough until nicely combined, then turn it out onto a lined baking tray.  Shape it, then leave it to prove for another hour.
  6. After the second proving, set your oven to 200.  Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and then poke a few holes into it to help it rise while it’s in the oven.  Bake the loaf for 30 minutes.
  7. Serve warm with a little cream cheese, fig jam and a generous drizzle of honey. 🙂

Happy Monday!  Have a loaf-ly week everyone!  (…that didn’t work, did it?)