Long time readers will know that this blog is a bit of a neglected spot because I run a cookery school teaching people how to make bread.
So, if you have ever felt frustrated with your lack of success with making bread then let me help you. I can also reassure you that I was once exactly the same. When I first tried to make bread I was hopeless at it. In fact, that is recorded in one of my first blog posts that I shared on here. You can read all about my first attempts at making a reasonable loaf here. I wrote then that I thought practice helped and I can confirm that it definitely does. If you had told me back then that I would have started to teach other people to make bread in 2015 setting up my own cookery school I would have looked at you as if you were a fool. It’s funny how life turns out.
If you would like to banish your own fears about bread making then taking my online masterclass will do exactly that. It takes you through the bread making process step by step and because it is pre-recorded videos, text based lessons and a workbook you do at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. You can refresh your memory by going back and revisiting it as often as you like.
Here are a few of my videos from YouTube to get you started.
I hope these help you to start to conquer your bread fears.
I have already published this on my blog at Veg Patch Kitchen, but I wanted to make sure I shared it here too as it is too good not to. This recipe was inspired by James Morton from his book Brilliant Bread, now of my favourite books on the subject (you can read about my other favourites here) and is a bread that people can choose to make on my full-day Bread Basics course. Obviously, the very idea of Marmite bread makes some people shudder with horror. If this includes you I urge you to try it at least once, you can reduce the Marmite to 30g for a more subtle flavour that just lends a delicious savoury edge to your loaf which is wonderful with soups and stews and then for an extra bonus it makes wonderful toast, that you can spread with extra Marmite.
Note of caution though – Marmite is salty so reduce the salt that you would normally add otherwise the loaf will be too salty. Also, don’t do what I did once and overdo it on the marmite front. I got cocky in a class one day and added two spoonfuls instead of my usual one spoonful and whilst everyone else’s loaves rose beautifully mine remained as flat as a pancake. The saltiness of the Marmite will kill the yeast if you go overboard. Lesson, well and truly learned.
500g strong white flour or you could replace 100g with 100g wholemeal or 50g rye & 50g wholemeal 5g easy bake/ instant yeast or 15g fresh yeast (remember that you can reduce the yeast and allow the bread to rise longer) 5g fine salt 40g Marmite 340-380g water (depending on flour choice)
Place the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and mix together. Weigh the Marmite out in a jug and pour over 100g hot water and stir to dissolve. Allow to cool a little and then add to the flour. Add another 200g of warm or cool water (if you use cool water your dough will take longer to prove which improves the texture and flavour). Start to mix, adding splashes of water in until you get a dough that is soft and slightly sticky. Make sure that there are no dry bits in your dough. Leave to rest for at least ten minutes or up to an hour depending on how your day is going.
Cover well and leave to prove until airy, remember it will take longer for it to prove if you used less yeast or cooler water. You can also pop it in the fridge at this point for several hours or overnight if that fits better into your day.
Shape your dough. I show you how to shape for a loaf tin or as a batard/ bloomer in this video.
Cover with clingfilm or similar, remember to oil it well so it doesn’t stick to the loaf and deflate it. Allow to prove, again this can happen overnight in the fridge if it suits you.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade, gas mark 7 or use the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga. Steam the oven well as you put your loaf in, I like to use a plant mister to do this, spraying several times (avoiding the glass door and light). Bake for 30 minutes, check that it is baked by tapping on the bottom, it should sound hollow or insert a temperature probe and check that it reaches 90 degrees centigrade. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack and I promise you will love it even if you hate Marmite.
Regular readers will know that the other hat I wear that’s not The Ordinary Cook one is my Veg Patch Kitchen Cookery School hat. I teach people how to make bread in my lovely little kitchen we built in an outbuilding in our garden. Of course, my classes came to a grinding halt on 20th March this year and, because the kitchen is small, social distancing will not be easy. The school will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, but this has meant that I have had to think of different ways to help people with their bread making in the meantime. I created a YouTube channel three years ago with the intention of filming bread making videos but a combination of lack of time and huge fear of committing myself to camera meant that I successfully put it off, until now. I have finally forced myself to learn the technical skills of filming and editing and, more importantly, gritted my teeth to commit my face and voice to camera. I uploaded the first two videos this week. It took many hours of listening to my own voice before I was happy with the editing!
The first video shows you how to mix and develop a basic white dough using the stretch and fold method. This is the method we use in all of my classes because it makes bread making so wonderfully easy and you can make it fit into your routine really easily. The second video shows you how to shape, slash and bake your loaf and how to check that it is baked properly. If you have a spare 20 minutes (each video is about 10 minutes), make yourself a cup of tea and have a watch. I hope they inspire you to give bread making a go or if you already make your own bread I hope it will provide you with a few new tips. More videos will be coming soon.
On Sunday we had a little trip out to Acton Scott Historic Farm. It’s a wonderful place, not least because the Bailiff’s Cottage has the traditional bread oven still in place and still in use. They were having their harvest festival on Sunday and using the oven to bake their harvest loaves. I was very excited to talk to the Bailiff about his use of faggots to get the oven up to temperature and to find out that you can cook up to 18 loaves in the capacious oven. Whilst I was in heaven talking to the Bailiff about his oven, our 11 year old was doing what 11 year old’s do best; muttering under her breath wondering how her mother could possibly find any of this interesting. One day, she will understand. The nearly 9 year old though still has a year or so before the proper disdain for her mother’s interests sets in, so she was quite interested. On Monday she asked me to make a dough the following day so that she could make a harvest loaf when she got home. I was more than happy to oblige. I have always been a bit put off from making one as they look like you might need an artistic eye and patience, neither of which describe me. But in we ploughed.
It took us about an hour and a half to put together. I was ridiculously pleased with the result of our work and kept taking pictures and telling the youngest how brilliant it was.
For the instructions on how to a make the harvest loaf take a look at Daniel’s brilliant blog Bread, Cakes and Ale. He has made one too and has given detailed instructions as to its construction. Even if you don’t want to make the loaf pop over to his blog anyway for a good read.
And here is a picture of the loaf I was so proud of.
Update January 2020 – I have kindly been given the recipe from an old local bakery and so have made a video demonstrating the recipe for these buns. You can watch the video below or on my YouTube channel. You can also find the alternative filling in this post.
These are the buns that I dream of. I do actually dream about them. When I was young you could buy these from an Italian family bakery that had shops in Shrewsbury and other local towns. They were my all time favourite cake and one that I would choose every time I saw them on their stainless steel platter. The memory of the taste has stayed with me and when the café doors were closed for the final time, it remained just that, a memory. Many times in recent years I have thought about how I might go about making them, but I couldn’t get my head around how you might layer the bun and enclose all that buttery goodness.
A few weeks ago a lady contacted me asking if I had the recipe for the Shrewsbury Butter Bun. Before she contacted me it never occurred to me that the butter bun was a local phenomenon. Of course, now I realise it is. A few weeks prior to this I found out that a friend’s husband had family connections with the café and I was considering whether she might think I was mad if I asked her if he knew the secret to the butter bun. The two things happening so close together felt like fate and I knew that it was time I got my act together and found out how I could go about making the butter bun.
I haven’t asked my friend’s husband. I thought it best not to ask him to reveal family secrets. But I did find an entry for butter buns on the internet which revealed the folding technique. At last, the answer to all my dreams. I can’t find the link again, which is frustrating, but if I do I will post it here. I have used the recipe that I teach for all my enriched dough recipes on the bread making course. It’s a recipe that can be adapted for a fruit bun, chelsea bun, iced finger etc.
I have trialled these twice now, with success each time. I was frustrated with the first batch that all the sugary butteriness oozed out during the baking. With the second batch I tried sealing the bun with a little milk to prevent the leakage. I now realise that you just can’t seal them, and this is the point. All that sugary, butteriness gathers in the tray and encrusts the bottom of the butter bun. May it ooze for all its worth, enough of the filling manages to stay in to create the delicious buttery layers.
These little beauties are now going to be one of the choices for students to make during the enriched dough part of the bread making course so that I can share the butter bun love with as many people as possible. I urge you to get out your flour and make some as soon as you possibly can.
Makes 10 buns
Lightly grease two baking trays. Oven temperature, 220°c, gas mark 7 or the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga.
For the buns 300g strong white flour (bread flour) 250g plain white flour 10g fine salt 7g easy bake yeast (instant yeast) or 10g fresh yeast (the fresh yeast can be dissolved in a little of the warm water that you will be using for the recipe) 50g caster sugar 150ml warm milk 150ml warm water ( I add boiling water to cold milk and that way both get warm, just make sure that the liquid is only hand hot or you will kill the yeast) 50g butter 1 egg
For the filling 150g softened butter 150g caster sugar ½ tsp vanilla paste or extract
For the glaze 50 ml milk or water 50g caster sugar
In a large bowl mix together the flours, salt, yeast and sugar. Pour in the water, milk, egg and add the cubed butter. Mix together well ( I use my hands like a claw) and then tip out onto a work surface (no extra flour needed) and knead for about 10 minutes until feeling smooth and elastic or you can use the stretch and fold method or use your stand mixer. The dough will be sticky during the kneading process, which is fine. Better sticky than dry.
Form the dough into a ball, and place into a bowl and leave to rise until double the original size, covered with a large bag or lightly oiled clingfilm. With all of the sugar, milk, egg and butter this dough will take longer to rise than a bread dough. In a cool kitchen expect this to be about two hours, less in a warm kitchen.
In a bowl mix together the softened butter, caster sugar and vanilla paste for the filling.
Place the sugar and milk or water for the glaze in a small pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Set aside.
Once the dough has doubled in volume, take it carefully out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a sausage shape and cut into ten equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Take one ball and roll out thinly into a circle. Place a teaspoon of the filling mixture in the middle of the circle. Fold over the circle to create a semi-circle. Flatten the dough over the butter and press the seam down well. Place a second teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the semi-circle. Fold the dough over to create a triangle. Flatten again and press the seam well (See pics below). Place onto a lightly greased tray and repeat with the other balls of dough. Leave to rise for 20 -30 minutes. Place on the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga, or onto the middle shelf of an oven preheated to 200°c, gas mark 6 for 15 minutes until golden. Glaze the buns whilst hot with the sugar and milk using a pastry brush. Leave to settle on the tray for ten minutes, in this time they will have sucked back up some of the sugary butteriness that has oozed out, and then lift onto a wire rack to cool completely.
I made some of these last night to go with a roast chicken and spiced potatoes. I made the recipe up so it might actually bear no relation to an authentic Peshwari Naan.
350g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fast action yeast
1 tsp honey
25g softened butter
25g ground almonds
25g flaked almonds
Place the flour, yeast, honey, salt and ground almonds in a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add this. Heat the milk and water until hand hot and pour over the flour mixture. Mix well until it forms a soft dough. Place onto a lightly floured board and knead for about ten minutes until smooth and elastic.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a plastic bin liner and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. Knock the air out of the dough and divide into four pieces. Roll each piece into an oblong and then scatter with one quarter of the sultanas. Roll up from the longest edge. Seal the joins well using your fingertips and then roll into an oblong again. Scatter with one quarter of the almonds and gently roll these in using the rolling pin.
Cover with a cloth and leave to rise for fifteen minutes.
Preheat the oven to 230°c, gas mark 8 or use the Roasting Oven of the Aga. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.
Put the naan onto the hot baking tray sprinkle with a little water and bake for 10 minutes until golden. Serve straight from the oven.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.
The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.
Set by Google to distinguish users.
Installed by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.
YouTube sets this cookie via embedded youtube-videos and registers anonymous statistical data.