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Slate and Soya

23 May


First triathlon of the year for the boys, first spectator event for me. It was the Snowdonia Slateman in and around Llanberis last weekend. A quick dip in the icy Llyn Padarn, an undulating cycle round and about, followed by a sunny sprint up and down the local slate quarry. It did look fun, but I had to settle for ringing my chain reaction cycles cow-bell for all I was worth to cheer on the athletes. Well done one and all!


Seeing as I was in a support role I provided baked goods for the weekend, a pear & chocolate upside down pudding to fortify the troops the evening before, and the delectable Dan Lepard’s soya and linseed loaf for breakfast. Mr Bakes and I have been big fan of Vogel’s soya and linseed bread for many a moon, until we discovered we could make our own, with Dan’s recipe. Seriously, if you like Vogel, you’ll love this. Try it!

Bun fight

22 Nov


It’s another Dan Lepard post! This time, his Soft honey seed bread, cunningly fashioned into rolls.

It’s simple, after the first rise divide the dough into 100g balls. Pat down lightly onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Cover with a tea towel and leave for the second proving.

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan, and bake the rolls for 20-25 mins until nicely browned. If you place the rolls fairly close together before baking you’ll get a lovely set of batch rolls.

Rude awakening

9 Jul

Rude Health Morning Glory Bread

Porridge is my favourite breakfast, I could eat it every day – even in the height of summer (especially this november-esque summer we’re having right now.) At the weekend I feel obliged to have something else – a bacon sandwich perhaps, or a couple of poached eggs on toast. Tasty breakfast fodder, but just not porridge.

rude health morning glory

rude health morning glory

On most Sundays during the summer Mr Cakes and I have some kind of sporting pursuit planned – a training cycle ride, a triathlon, or the Hampton Court Swim we have planned for Sunday this week. The best thing about these weekend physical jerks? We get to eat porridge for breakfast!

Rude loaf before baking

The king of porridge is Rude Health’s Morning Glory Porridge, a blend of 5 grains and 5 seeds. It’s good for you, and deeelicious. I love it, so much so that I decided to bake it into a bread, so that even on the bacon sarnie/poached egg days I could still get my oats.

Rude loaf after baking

Rude Awakening Loaf

75g Rude Health morning glory porridge, plus extra for sprinkling on top
450g strong white flour
100g strong wholemeal flour
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp brown sugar
1½ tsp instant dry yeast
50g unsalted butter, melted
Oil, for kneading
Milk, for brushing

Mix the oats with 375ml boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes, until the mixture has cooled slightly (but still warm) and looks like porridge. Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in another bowl, then add the porridge mix and the melted butter and mix well. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Then use Dan Lepard’s tried and tested 10 second kneading technique – oil your hands and work surface, knead the dough on it for 10 seconds, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this twice at 10 minute intervals. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea-towel and leave for 30 minutes. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, roll up and tuck the ends underneath the loaf shaping into a bloomer. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Cover and leave for 90 minutes until risen by half.

Preheat the oven t0 220C. Brush the top of your loaf with milk and then sprinkle on some more Rude Health morning glory porridge. Cut some slashes on top of your loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200C and bake for a further 20 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow when you tap the bottom when it’s done

Eat with bacon, eggs, or maybe some home-made gooseberry jam (recipe to follow soon). Oatally brilliant!

Rude health loaf

Rude health loaf with gooseberry jam

Golden Brown

28 Jun

Dan Lepard Wholemeal bread

First of all, if this post has you humming The Stranglers, get your lug-holes round this Stylophone Council version of Golden Brown

dry ingredients wholemeal bread

secret ingredient

wholemeal bread ingredients

Now, down to business. Adventures in bread baking continue in the Bakes household. At the moment I’m trying to perfect the overnight fridge proving. First time round I made a lovely seeded bloomer, but made the mistake of putting the dough in the fridge overnight for the 2nd proving. It didn’t work as planned and the resulting loaf, although very tasty, was very dense. Must try harder!

Before proving

after prooving

freshly baked

Cooling the bread

More succesful was this Dan Lepard recipe for Wholemeal Bread. The dough went into the fridge for the 1st proving and left overnight. The following morning out came the dough to be shaped and left to prove for a 2nd time. Have you spotted Dan’s secret ingredient? It surely wouldn’t be a Dan Lepard recipe without a secret ingredient – 1/2 a 500mg Vitamin C tablet this time. It’s scientific, so I won’t can’t explain, but apparently it stops the bread being too heavy. I’m not sure how, but it did work! A proposal for keeping your freshly baked loaf in tip-top condition – wrap and store in a *clean* tea towel (preferably linen), or you could make yourself a bread bag like this one.

sandwich bread

There you have it – a light, fluffy, crunchy crust wholemeal loaf. Perfect for a cheese and pickle sandwich if you ask me.

bacon eggs and wholemeal bread

Or toasted to have with your eggs and bacon on Sunday morning. Tick!

Loafing around

12 Jun


Loafing around? As if! The forecast downpour didn’t arrive which meant only one thing for me & Mr Cakes on Sunday morning. CYCLE RIDE! Up & out the door by 6.30 meant we had cycled out of Shoreditch to deepest darkest sunniest Essex by the time most people are only starting to *think* about getting out of bed. Smug much?

white loaf

After Greater Anglia trains’ best efforts to prevent us getting home, we did get back – and just in time for lunch bread baking. After the BBQ bun success of recent weeks, it seemed appropriate to go back to basics with Dan Lepard’s failsafe white bread recipe found, again, in the Guardian complete with tips & tricks to help your loaf succeed!

Dan Lepard White Bread Ploughmans

I reckon it worked, what do you think? And yes, that is big sis’s Damson Chutney you can see there – an excellent accompaniment.

Dan Lepard White Bread sandwich

Not bad toasted with butter & jam either. Although – a word of caution. We scoffed the lot pretty quick! Thanks again Mr Lepard.

Dan Lepard bread butter and jam

Hoxton Cross Buns, again

6 Apr

hot cross buns

It’s Easter weekend, which means time for some hot cross buns, of course. Now, I’m not talking about the sweaty, flabby, grey offerings you get in packages of four at the supermarket. I’m talking fresh from the oven, crispy fruit on the top, spicy glazed Shoreditch Bake style hot cross buns.

Hot cross buns are actually quite simple, and although they contain yeast and are really a bread rather than a cake, they only require 10 seconds (yes, 10 seconds folks) of kneading. Last year I had a bad recipe, and produced a batch of rock cakes (literally). But with the right recipe you’re guaranteed a dozen light & airy goodies! This year’s recipe is courtesy of Dan Lepard and can be found in last week’s guardian.

yeast and cider

fruit and strongbow

cream and spices

warm fruit and cream

So all you have to do is mix some yeast, cider & flour together and leave to bubble. Gently warm eggs, cream, honey & spices. GENTLY now. Do not make scrambled eggs at this point. It’s very easy to make scrambled eggs, but don’t. It’s annoying and you’ll have to start again…

Mix the warm stuff with the yeast stuff and some dried fruit, and then some flour and you’ve got hot cross bun dough.

bun dough before proving

bun dough after proving

raw buns

cold cross buns

Prove the dough for an hour, it gets bigger! Shape into balls and leave to rise again. Pipe on crosses (flour, oil and water) and bake til golden. These buns are pretty good, but the icing on the cake is, well, the icing. A bit of spicy syrup brushed on the top just makes these heavenly.

Dan Lepards Hot Cross Buns

Traditionally, hot cross buns should be eaten on Good Friday, which is when these beauties were made – and devoured, but I’m sure no one will mind if you’re a day or two late. Yummy yummy yummy buns

What happened to Herman?

2 Feb


Last week I promised to keep you up to date with Herman the Friendship cake. Well, our chum Herman lived with us for ten days. Spluttering and growing and demanding to be fed every now and then. After he’d been playing all day he looked a bit like this


At which point he demanded some attention, and a quick stir later he looked more like this


After ten days it was time to share Herman with the chosen few, and bake the rest into a rather tasty, yeasty, fruity cake. And yes, Mr Cakes and I did eat him with some custard for pudding. We like doing that, see. It helps us swim faster the next morning!

Here is the recipe for the Herman cake, if he should ever come knocking on your door.

Add the following to your Herman mix…
1 cup sugar
half tsp salt
2 cups plain flour
2/3 cup of cooking oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cooking apples cut into chunks
1 cup raisins
2 heaped tsp cinnamon
2 heaped tsp baking powder.

Mix everything together and put into a large greased cake tin.

Sprinkle with a quarter of a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Eat with custard, ice cream, cream, with a cup of tea etc etc. Thanks Herman, nice to see you. Come back soon!

Och pie the noo

17 Jan


Mmm. Looks good right? It’s a take on shepherds pie. The mash is a 50:50 split of potato and swede. It’s Burns night soon, how about this for an idea. Haggis pie topped with potato & swede (that’s turnip to you lot north of the border) mash? Sounds tasty! Now back to this little lady in the picture. This pie had minced lamb in it, and the secret ingredient? Soy sauce, not salt. Very savoury indeed.

Are you wondering how Herman is? He’s getting bigger, I fed him last night and he’s grown. Every now and then he makes a small spluttering noise. I think that’s his way of saying he’s happy. He will be ready to divide and share on Saturday, would anyone like some? You get a 1/4 of Herman to look after for 10 days, on the 10th day you divide into 4, give 3 portions away and make the 4th into a very tasty cake. The cake that keeps on giving!

Meet Herman

13 Jan


Has anyone met a cake called Herman? I met him a while ago, probably this time last year. Well, he remembered me and has come calling again.

Confused? Check out this article from the Guardian, all about Herman the Friendship Cake

I’ll keep you posted on how Herman & I get on over the next 10 days.