How to: Outrageously Oaty Honey Bread

This bread is bloomin’ lovely, packed with lovely oats and with a gorgeous honey flavour. So far, it’s stayed really nice for three days, with a moist and smooth texture. I’ve been having it just with butter for lunch and it’s making me very happy indeed.

This recipe makes 2 9×5″ loaves.

Sliced loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1.5 cups oats (think I’ll increase to 2 cups next time I make this)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1(7g) sachet of dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4-6 cups strong flour (I used white but will experiment with wholemeal next time)
  • 1 cup mixed seeds (optional)

Method

  1. Mix the water, oats, honey, butter and salt and leave to soak for an hour.
  2. Put the yeast in the warm water and let stand for 10 minutesOat mix and yeast
  3. Pour the yeast mixture into the oat mixture. Add 2 cups of flour and mix well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.                                                         Mixture
  4. Once the dough comes together and isn’t too sticky, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 20 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If the dough is still too sticky after about 6-7 cups of flour, just knead for the full amount of time while the dough is still in the bowl and it’ll still come out fine. Use a dough hook or bread machine if you’re lucky enough to have one.
  5. Near the end of the kneading process, add the seeds if desired.
  6. Put into a lightly oiled bowl. Turn so the dough is coated with oil and cover with a damp cloth. Leave in a warm place to prove for about 1.5 hours…                                                                               Before first prove
  7. …until doubled in size.                                                   After first prove
  8. If you haven’t already, add your seeds (I forgot) and work the dough lightly so they are fairly evenly distributed. Shape into loaves (or whatever shape you like), ensuring that your tins are buttered. I froze half of my dough at this stage, putting it in an oiled freezer bag inside a plastic container. I’ll update you soon on whether this works!Before second prove
  9. Cover and leave to prove again, until doubled in size. Around an hour. Preheat oven to 180C (fan 160)After second prove
  10. Bake for 25-35mins, until the top has browned and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If desired, brush the top with a little warm honey and add a sprinkling of oats. I didn’t bother.Baked loaf

UPDATE: The dough freezes very well. Leave it in the fridge overnight to defrost, then shape into a loaf and leave for the second prove. Leave it for about double the time you normally would, i.e. about two hours and then bake as above. I remembered the seeds this time and they add to the texture really nicely. I’ve been eating this for lunch with just butter. It stays lovely for about three days, then is better toasted after that.Loaf with seeds

 

How to: Salted caramel and chocolate tartlets

Salted caramel and chocolate tart is basically my favourite dessert. Like, ever. And I bloody love desserts. I’m totes a connoisseur. Anyway, this is my first attempt at this delicious treat. I decided to go for tartlets as I’m trying to avoid death by butter. These are pretty amazing, but I’m still searching for my perfect recipe. This will make one 20cm tart or ten 8cm tartlets.Image

Ingredients

For the sweet hazelnut pastry

  • 50g blanched hazelnuts
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 140g cold butter, diced
  • 1tbsp icing sugar

For the salted caramel

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 25g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • large pinch sea salt flakes
  • 50g toasted blanched hazelnuts

For the chocolate filling

  • 100g 70% cocoa chocolate
  • 75g butter
  • 2 large eggs, plus one yolk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder

Method

  1. For the pastry, whizz the hazels up in a food processor (or with hand blender) until finely ground.
  2. Add the flour, icing sugar and butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a processor, rub in by hand.Pastry breadcrumbs
  3. Add your egg yolk and 1-2tbsps cold water and mix until the dough comes together. Pastry ball
  4. Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour.
  5. Butter your tin or tins.
  6. Heat oven to 180C (fan 160C/gas 4). Flour your work surface and roll the chilled pastry out. Roll it thin, this helps it to be lovely and crispy. Pastry rolled
  7. Line your tin or tins, pressing any cracks in the pastry together. Trim the edges and prick the bases to help prevent the pastry from rising. You can also pop them in the freezer for a few minutes to help further.Pastry case before baking
  8. Line with (crumpled) baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 15-20mins, until the edges of the pastry are pale golden. Remove the baking beans and parchment and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the bottom of the pastry is dry and beginning to colour.Three baked cases
  9. While the cases are baking (or afterwards if you don’t want to take a risk with multitasking), make your caramel. Put the sugar in a small pan over a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of water. Use this amount even if you halve the recipe. Don’t stir very much.Sugar water in pan
  10. Once the sugar has dissolved, crank up the heat until the sugar becomes an amber coloured caramel. Don’t worry if the sugar re-hardens into white lumps before this happens- leave it on the heat and the caramel will form. Again, avoid stirring and DO NOT be tempted to touch the mixture, it will be unholily hot.                  Caramel sugar only
  11. Reduce the heat and add the butter, cream and golden syrup, and stir until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and add the salt. You can drop a little caramel onto a cold spoon so that you can taste for your desired level of saltiness. I added 2 large pinches.Caramel finished
  12. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then spread onto the pastry. Scatter with chopped hazelnuts.Three with nuts
  13. Now for the chocolate filling. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave, checking after 30 seconds. Stir until smooth, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  14. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolk and sugar for about 6 minutes until thick and pale.Pale and fluffy eggs
  15. Fold in the chocolate and cocoa powder, then pour into your pastry case.Three with chocolate
  16. I popped a couple of these babies into the freezer at this stage as I’d made too many. I’ll let you know if they turn out to be a disaster.
  17. Bake for 15-25 minutes until the chocolate mixture has risen and set, forming a crust.Three baked
  18. Allow to cool before serving. With some double cream. Yum.