Tag Archive for Bread

Lussekatter

Lussekatter are Swedish saffron buns made with a brioche-type enriched dough. They are traditionally made for advent, and especially eaten on December 13th (Saint Lucy’s Day). But don’t let that stop you, they are delicious any day.

Making the snake shapes is quite a bit of work, so if you’re not up to that, make them round instead. Or play around with some other shapes.

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Lussekatter (makes 20)
Slightly adapted from Joe Pastry

0,5 g saffron threads (not needed, but the buns will be paler without saffron)
225 g milk
500 g flour
60 g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 sachet dry yeast
115 g quark, room temperature (or use mascarpone, crème fraîche or sour cream as substitution)
50 g soft butter
egg wash (use a yolk for the best colour and shine)

Crush the saffron threads. Warm the milk to just simmerring and add the saffron. Stir it, then leave to cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add the milk and quark. Stir with a spoon until roughly mixed, then dump out onto your workbench and knead for about 7 minutes, until a smooth and supple dough forms. Then add the butter about a tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. Alternatively, use a standing mixer with a dough hook.
Place the dough in a large bowl, cover and let it rise for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Dump out onto your workbench and cut into 20 pieces. Roll out into snakes (about 35 cm), flatten slightly with your hands or a rolling pin, then roll one end inwards to about halfway, turn the whole thing over and roll the other end inwards – you’re making an S shape. Or, if you don’t have much time, just shape them into little balls. Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, to proof for 30 minutes. Halfway, brush with the egg-wash and preheat the oven to 240C. Brush the buns again before baking. Bake 8-12 minutes.
They are best freshly baked, but the day after they are still delicious. After that, they get a bit stale.

Chocolate Bread

Chocolate bread. All the chocolate flavour, without the sometimes cloying richness and heaviness of cake. It came out a bit crumbly, plain it was slightly too dry, but with a dab of butter it was delicious. I think a smear of cream cheese would be nice as well, or some jam (cherry would be especially nice). Or you could use some of it for french toast, or bread pudding. I left out the chocolate chips and nuts, but will make this recipe again with them in.

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Chocolate Bread
slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

180 ml milk, tepid
1 packet dry yeast (7 g)
75 g sugar
55 g butter
85 g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder (boosts the chocolate flavour)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
280 g flour (preferably bread flour)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
90 g chocolate chips or coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (optional)
70 g toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Add one tablespoon sugar, then set aside in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbles form on the surface.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
Once the yeast mixture is frothy, mix in the remaining sugar, the instant coffee (if using), the egg, vanilla, and sea salt.
Stir in half the flour and cocoa powder, then the melted butter and chocolate, then the remaining flour mixture, stirring until well-incorporated. Mix vigorously with a flexible spatula for 5 minutes, or use a mixer for this. The dough will seem quite moist and sticky.
Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. Butter a 23 cm loaf pan.
Stir in the chopped chocolate and nuts, if using. Then use a spatula to fold the dough over on itself in the bowl for about thirty seconds, then transfer it to the buttered pan, pressing a bit to spread it to the corners. Let rise in a warm place for one hour.
Ten minutes before you’re ready to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 175C.
Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, until it feels done and sounds hollow when you tap it. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Pintxos

Pintxos are slices of bread topped with some nice ingredients, skewered together by a pincho (hence the name). They are a speciality of the Basque region of Spain. Often they are eaten as an appetizer, together with a glass of wine or beer. But it is also completely normal to go from bar to bar, eating and drinking, with a group of friends. This makes the pinxtos the complete meal, eaten over the course of many small bites.

I first came across pintxos in Barcelona. Of course they were called pinchos in Barcelona, because pintxos is the Basque spelling, and Barcelona is in the Catalonian part of Spain. But I immediately fell in love with the concept, and I still am. It is the perfect way to sample all kinds of lovely ingredients in a simple and tasty way. A display of pintxos looks incredibly inviting. And I like the social way of nibbling and chatting away with your friends. So when we thought about what to serve on New Year’s Eve, I decided to make a selection of pintxos.

You need good bread for pintxos. If your bread isn’t right, it will muddle the flavours of the ingredients you top it with. I wouldn’t use toasted bread, this would make it quite hard to eat. That is also the reason why you have to slice the bread quite thinly. I used a good baguette, but maybe something like ciabatta would work too. Often the toppings are quite simple, but you can make them as elaborate and complicated as you like. Use good ingredients, they can’t hide behind something, the flavour has to be good.

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On the photo (top to bottom, left to right):
– grilled sliced of goat’s cheese with a drizzle of honey
– slow cooked red paprika with boiled egg and anchovies
– aioli, slow cooked green paprika, spicy sausage
– jamon iberico, slow cooked green paprika, anchovies, boiled egg, mayonnaise
– tuna salad (canned tuna packed on oil, drained, with a drizzle of lemon juice, some mayonnaise and a bit of salt)
– aioli and sauteed mushrooms

Other possibilities:
– manchego, membrillo, walnut
– grilled goat’s cheese, jamon iberico
– manchego, jamon iberico, slow cooked paprika, boiled quail’s egg
– jamon iberico, fried quail’s egg
– aioli, shrimps
– tomato and sardines
– pimiento filled with tuna salad
– smoked salmon and egg mimosa
– egg salad
– mascarpone with berry sauce and chopped nuts
– …

Whole Grain Milk Bread

Quite a close-textured bread, but not heavy or dry at all. A slightly sweet flavour, that works well with a smear of cream cheese, but also nice with some jam and butter. I expect it would make very nice pain perdu, but haven’t tried it yet.

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Whole Grain Milk Bread (1 loaf)
Adapted from “Recepten van Moeder Aarde”

2 1/2 cup whole grain flour
1 packet dry yeast (7 gram)
1/2 cup milk powder (=60 g)
1 cup water
40 g butter
40 g honey
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the flour, yeast and milk powder in a large bowl. Melt the butter and honey in the microwave in a separate jug or bowl. Add the water and salt, and mix well. You should have a lukewarm liquid mixture. Add this to the flour mixture, stir around with a fork or spatula until it is crudely mixed, then leave to rest for a few minutes. Scoop the dough from the bowl onto your workspace, and knead for 10-15 minutes. Form into a ball, place back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 1,5 hours.
Take the dough from the bowl, knead through lightly, then form back into a ball. Place onto a greased or lined baking tray and leave to rise for another 45 minutes, covered with the bowl.
Preheat the oven to 225C. Place the baking tray with the risen bread into the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes. Place on a rack and leave to cool completely before slicing.

Walnut, raisin and cinnamon whole grain bread

Made with a basic unsweetened whole grain dough, these buns get their sweetness from the raisins. They make a nice breakfast smeared with some butter, but are also lovely as an accompaniment for cheese. The walnuts give them a nice bite.

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Walnut, raisin and cinnamon whole grain bread (12 buns)
Adapted from “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”

225 g flour
225 g whole grain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
40 g butter, melted
250 ml warm water
7g sachet dry yeast
100 g chopped walnuts
100 g raisins

Measure the flours, salt, sugar, cinnamon, butter, water and yeast into a bowl and mix together by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, until combined to fairly sticky dough.
Knead for about 4-5 minutes on a lightly floured work surface or in the mixer, adding a little extra flour if needed.
Transfer to a large bowl, cover tightly with cling film (make sure no air can escape) and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Tip the dough on a lightly floured work surface and flatten the ball slightly. Add the chopped walnuts and raisins and knead into the dough, then shape into 12 equal sized balls. Space these equally in an oiled roasting tin. Cover with some oiled cling film (otherwise it will stick) and leave to rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C and bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped and are nicely browned.

Alternatively, shape the dough into a loaf and bake in a loaf tin.

Whole Grain Oat Bread

A simple whole wheat bread with a twist: it has some rolled oats added. They aren’t really noticeable in the end product, but seem to keep the bread fresh for longer. It freezes really well, I slice it when cooled after baking, store in a ziplock bag in the freezer and pop a slice in the toaster when I want some. The dough is supposed to be really forgiving too, you can proof it at room temperature and bake immediately, or place in the fridge and leave for up to five days for a more complex flavour. As a variation you could use other kinds of rolled grains.

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Whole Grain Oat Bread (1 bread)
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

320 g whole-wheat flour
80 g rolled oats
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
25 g oil (I used rapeseed)
145 ml lukewarm water
145 ml lukewarm milk (or use more water instead)
7 g dry yeast (1 sachet)

Combine water, milk and sugar in a bowl, then mix in the yeast. Add egg and oil and mix. Add the flour, oats and salt, and stir for 1 minute. The dough will be wet, that’s fine. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
Mix for another 2 minutes. The dough should be smooth, supple and slightly sticky. If it is still very wet, add a little more flour. If it is very stiff, add a little more water. I found I had to add quite some flour to create a nice dough.
Mix for another 4 minutes.
Dump onto your workbench, knead a few times, then form into a ball. Place back in the bowl, cover with cling film and either let it proof for about an hour at room temperature (until doubled) or place in the fridge and leave there for up to five days. Make sure you take the dough from the fridge early enough when you want to bake the bread (about 3 hours before baking).
Take the dough from the bowl and place on a floured workbench. Flatten gently into a rough rectangle. Fold in the sides so that it is roughly the with of a bread loaf pan. Roll the dough, and place this log into the loaf pan, seam side down. Leave to proof at room temperature for about an hour, or until it has risen a few cm above the rim of the baking pan. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175C.
Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove the bread from the tin and let cool on a rack.

The quest for homemade croissants – part 2

I’ve tried making croissants before, but didn’t really succeed. It is still something I really want to learn, so I tried again, with yet another recipe. Which wasn’t complete success either… They were nice, but had some trouble with proofing properly and baking well (which are probably correlated). I’ve got another recipe I want to try, that might be the solution. If not, I’ll have to tweak the rising and baking process of the recipe I like best. And meanwhile enjoy the not perfect but still very tasty croissants.

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Bread and butter pudding

When we returned from France, we had 2 baguettes leftover. As you may know, French bread is best on the day it is baked; it turns stale very quickly. And these baguettes were already 2 days old. I hate to throw away food, so I decided to make them into bread and butter pudding. A classic oven-baked British dessert, in which the bread is smeared with butter, scattered with raisins and soaked with custard. Officially it is dessert, but I rather have it as a (luxurious) weekend breakfast, since it is quite heavy. The recipe below is a mix of ones I found in several of my cookbooks, tweaked to my liking.

Pretty classic bread and butter pudding (serves 6-8)
2 stale baguettes, sliced, ends used for something else
25 g butter, melted
75 g sugar
100 g raisins

250 ml cream
350 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

2 tbsp sugar, to sprinkle on top.

Grease a large, deep ovenproof dish (18×23 cm) with a little of the butter.
Cover the base of the dish with about 1/3 of the slices of bread. Brush with 1/3 of the butter. Sprinkle with 1/2 the sugar and 1/2 the raisins. Layer the 2nd 1/3 of bread on top, brush again with butter and sprinkle the other half of the sugar and raisins over. Cover with the remaining portion of bread.
Mix cream, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, eggs and yolks. Pour over the pudding and leave to stand for 1 hour (can be kept overnight covered in the fridge).
Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the top of the pudding with the remaining butter, then sprinkle over the sugar.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, crisp and slightly puffy. Serve immediately, don’t let it get cold.

Variation: you can used (white/brown) sliced bread with the crusts removed, or use brioche/croissants to make it extra luxurious.

Sun-dried tomato, feta and tuna picnic loaf

Delicious ingredients stuffed into a bread, what’s not to love? Also see the Mediterranean and tuna versions I made before.

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Sun-dried tomato, feta and tuna picnic loaf (serves 2-4)
1 boule
1 clove of garlic
100 g sun-dried tomatoes
a few sprigs of oregano
1 jar roasted paprika
1 can tuna
100 g feta

Slice the top from the boule. Hollow out. Keep the breadcrumbs for another dish. Rub the inside of the loaf with the garlic (cut in half).
Coarsely chop the tomatoes together with the oregano.
Line the loaf with the paprika, spread 1/2 of the tomatoes on top, and then the tuna. Cover with a paprika, then a layer of the tomatoes again, then crumble the feta on top. End with another paprika to cover everything.
Ideally, wrap tightly in cling film and let infuse for an hour or so, but you can eat the loaf immediately if you want.

Kohlrabi Sandwich

Did you know you can use thinly sliced raw kohlrabi instead of cucumber on your sandwich? It gives a lovely fresh flavour, is juicy, but not as wet/leaky as cucumber usually is.

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Kohlrabi Sandwich (makes 4)
Adapted from Allerhande

4 multigrain rolls
4 slices of cooked ham
100 g cream cheese with herbs
1 kohlrabi, peeled, in thin slices

Spread some cream cheese, place a slice of ham and put a few slices of kohlrabi on each roll.