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?) 

Iced Buns

I’ve said it before, but I don’t subscribe to the whole New Year, New You thing.  The closest I got to a “new me” was getting my hair trimmed last week and that was only because it was long overdue (even my split ends had split ends… yeah…).  But as for changing what’s on my plate just because it’s January?  Nope.  My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun.

These iced buns are hilariously easy to make.  They don’t have to be perfect; in fact the weirder the shape and the more icing dribbling down the side the better in my opinion 😉

Iced Buns

Ingredients

  • 125ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • 1/2 a packet of instant yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 20g sugar
  • 225g strong white flour
  • icing (icing sugar and water)
  1. Heat the milk until warm, then remove from the heat and add the butter.  Allow it melt into the milk and then cool to lukewarm.
  2. Once the milk and butter have combined and cooled slightly, pour them into the bread machine/mixing bowl.  Add the dry ingredients on top.  If you’re using a bread machine, set it to the dough programme (number 6 on mine).
  3. Once the dough is done separate into four finger-shaped buns, cover with cling film and allow to rest until they’ve doubled in size.
  4. Cook in a preheated oven (180°C) for around twenty minutes or until golden brown.  Be sure to turn them once or twice to get an even colour!
  5. Ice the buns – the messier and sticker the better 🙂

Bara Brith (Mottled Bread)

I think every Welsh kid makes Bara Brith at some point.  Either with your mamgu yn y gegin, peering over the counter-top on tip toes (…maybe).  Or like me, you got to make a lumpy burnt mess in the school kitchen, but never bothered eating it because ew, dried fruit, and I’d much rather have that packet of nerds thank you very much.

Bara Brith is Wales itself in bread form; traditional, homely and full of tea.  🙂

 

Bara Brith

(This recipe works best with a small loaf tin, for a larger loaf tin simply double-up the ingredients.)

  • 150g mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas)
  • 250ml hot water
  • one teabag (I used Glengettie – good Welsh tea, but any old brew will do)
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 85g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp marmalade
  • 1 tbsp honey (plus a little more for glazing)
  • 1 egg
  • 250g self-raising flour.
  1. Combine the hot water, teabag and mixed fruit in a bowl and leave to soak overnight.
  2. When you’re ready to bake, set the oven to 160° (fan) and grease the loaf tin.
  3. Add the sugar, honey and marmalade into the bowl with the tea and mixed fruit (don’t forget to take out the teabag!).
  4. Add the egg and then sift in the flour and mixed spice.  Stir until all the ingredients are combined.
  5. Bake for an hour; the cake should have risen, cracked and turned golden brown.
  6. Once cooked, remove from the oven and glaze with honey.
  7. Serve warm with butter. 🙂