Turkey, cranberry and stuffing rolls

After the success of my festive alfajores in round one of the Plymouth Chamber bake off, the pressure was on for week two, when three people would be eliminated from the competition.

The theme was bread – the aspect f baking I’m least experienced in and least confident about. Great!

I had quite a lot of ideas, and couldn’t decide whether to go sweet or savoury. The sweet option, white chocolate, cranberry and marzipan sweet rolls, went down well with all my taste testers, but the savoury option got the majority of the votes, so that’s what I went for.

I used the dough from this recipe as I knew it worked well, and took inspiration for the filling from a Paul Hollywood recipe – cooked turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, and my own additions of edam cheese and black pepper.

My favourite aspect of this bake was definitely the presentation – arranged in a Christmas tree shape with a ribbon tied around the base, so festive and cute!

Although I wasn’t at all confident when I dropped these off for judging, I needn’t have worried – not only did they get me through to round three, but I was actually awarded Star Baker! Amazing!

These are so perfect to make with leftovers from your Christmas dinner, they’d make the ideal boxing day lunch. Try them, and maybe your family will even give you Star Baker status too… 😉

Turkey, cranberry and stuffing rolls (adapted from here and here)

Makes 12 rolls (with some dough leftover)

  • 450g plain flour
  • 14g sachet dried yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 250ml milk
  • 55g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 150g cranberry sauce
  • 150g cooked turkey, shredded
  • 100g cooked sage and onion stuffing, broken up
  • 20g edam cheese, finely chopped or grated
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix together half the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Heat the milk to a lukewarm temperature, then add into the dry ingredients with the eggs and butter. Stir to combine all the ingredients, then add in the rest of the flour a bit at a time, until the dough forms a ball that leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for about five minutes, until springy, then spray the bowl with cooking spray, put the dough back in, cover and leave to rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.

When risen, knock the dough back, give it a quick knead, and then leave for a second rising, for another hour until doubled again.

Turn the proofed dough out onto a floured surface and knead quickly. You only need 2/3 of the dough, so keep the rest wrapped in clingfilm and use for something else (I made cinnamon rolls!)

Roll the dough into a rectangle 12″ long and 9″ high. Spread the cranberry sauce all over, then evenly distribute the turkey, stuffing and cheese, then finish with a little black pepper. Roll up the dough from one of the long sides, keeping it as tight as you can, until you have a long roll of dough with all the filling rolled up inside.

Slice the roll into 12 1″ pieces with a sharp knife – try not to press down too hard so they don’t lose their shape.

Place 11 of the rolls on a large baking tray arranged in a triangle shape, with one extra at the base, leaving a couple of centimetres between them. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise again, this time for about 45 minutes. Once risen, bake at 200 degrees for 25 minutes until risen and golden on top. Brush with melted butter straight away, then eat hot or leave to cool.

Christmas cherry chocolate orange breakfast rolls

Christmas cherry chocolate orange breakfast rolls

Sorry, sorry, I know we’re in January now and the ‘C’ word shouldn’t be mentioned for another 48 weeks, but these rolls were so stupidly good I just have to post them now.

I wanted to make something special and a bit festive for the pony to have for breakfast, and inspired by some stolen flavoured cinnamon rolls (that I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw) and the Great British Bake Off Christmas special I came up with these.

I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe for the dough, then created by own filling of ground almonds, glace cherries and chocolate orange bits. The rolls were finished off with a cranberry glaze, which for some reason went perfectly and meant I kept sneaking back to the cake dome again and again…

I definitely doesn’t need to be Christmas to make these but it’s quite likely they will be back on my festive menu for 2013!

Christmas cherry chocolate orange breakfast rolls (basic recipe from BBC Food)

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 20g butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 7g fast action dried yeast
  • 75ml lukewarm milk
  • 45ml lukewarm water
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 100g chocolate orange segments, chopped
  • 50g (ish) chopped glace cherries
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp cranberry sauce

Add the flour, caster sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl, then make a well in the centre for the butter, egg, yeast and warm water. Stir with a wooden spoon until it all starts to come together into a sticky dough, then tip out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Leave to rise in a covered bowl for an hour, or until doubled in size. Knock the dough back then roll out on a floured surface into a large rectangle (I would guess about 16″ x 10″). Mix the ground almonds and sugar together and sprinkle all over the dough, then scatter the chopped cherries and chocolate on top. Roll the dough up from the long edge nearest to you into a big sausage shape, then slice into 8 rounds, about 2″ thick.

Place the rolls in an 8×8 square tin, a couple of centimetres apart, and leave to rise for another hour until doubled again and the rolls are all touching. Bake at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden and smelling amazing. Meanwhile, mix the icing sugar and cranberry sauce and add just enough water to make a thick icing. Pour over the rolls while still warm and serve straight away!

Koulouri – Cypriot village bread

Cypriot village bread

For this month’s Random Recipes challenge, Dom asked us to select a book we received as a gift last Christmas, and randomly select a recipe.

For me, this was a great theme as it brings my year of Random Recipes full circle – the very first challenge I took part in was in January, when we also had to bake from a Christmas-gifted book.

The only book I was given was 100 Great Breads by Paul Hollywood (thanks pony!) and in all honesty the book could do with redeeming itself – the recipe I picked last time didn’t exactly turn out perfectly!

This time the pony opened the book at a random page and landed on Koulouri, which is apparently a Cypriot village bread. I had to make quite a few alterations to the recipe to use what I had on hand rather than buying a whole set of new ingredients.

Into the dough was supposed to go a pinch of mastika and a pinch of mechlebe – umm what?! As Paul says they’re similar in flavour to aniseed or fennel, I got creative and went for Chinese 5 spice which seemed to go ok, although never having tried the original recipe I can’t say how close it is.

For the outside of the bread, sunflower seeds, cumin seeds and caraway seeds were called for – sunflower I could do, but cumin and caraway I swapped for poppy seeds and a teaspoon of ground cumin – again it seemed to work ok!

After loving spending an afternoon making this bread, I was a little disheartened when the pony declared “It tastes like shoes”, but I actually rather liked it. Freshly baked we ate it with a greek salad inspired omelette and olives to keep with a vaguely Cypriot theme, but since then I’ve had it simply toasted with butter, which really lets the flavours come through.

It keeps incredible well too – a whole week later and I was amazed to find it was still ok for toasting!

randomrecipes2

Thanks Dom for a great year of Random Recipes and for getting me to try recipes I never would have picked out otherwise – some have been great and some have been awful, but that’s why I love it!

Koulouri – Cypriot village bread (adapted from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads)

(this makes half the original quantity of bread, but still a pretty hefty loaf)

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • pinch Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 14g fast action dried yeast
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 150ml warm water
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Add the flour, 5 spice, salt, yeast, oil and water to a large bowl and stir until combined. Turn out onto the work surface and knead for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until the dough is springy and elastic. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.

Tip the sesame seeds, poppy seeds and cumin onto a plate and pour over a tablespoon or so of water to moisten the seeds. Once the dough has risen, shape into a ball then roll in the seeds to completely coat the bread. Place on a baking tray and leave to rise again for another hour, or until doubled again.

To get the shape (which didn’t work perfectly for me but nevermind) score a line all the way around the side of the bread and add two slashes on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 220 degrees until crisp and golden, then leave to cool before slicing.

Cheese and leek breakfast rolls

I may have mentioned this before, but the friendly pony has a real issue with breakfast – he doesn’t like any of the normal things like cereal or toast, so I’m constantly trying to think of new things that are relatively cheap to make, have some sort of nutritional value (more than a slice of cake at least) that he will actually enjoy and stop him starving at work until lunch.

I’ve made cinnamon rolls before, which went down well, so I decided to try and make a savoury version which would be a bit more suitable for breakfast.

I based it on this recipe, using the same dough but filling it with cheddar cheese, leek and a mustard butter, with just melted butter for the glaze.

It turned out better than I’d hoped – the rolls rose brilliantly and looked really quite pretty, the bread was really soft and light and the buttery, cheesy leek filling worked well.

Another plus is that they freeze well – this recipe makes 18 rolls, so you can just keep a few out and freeze the rest, then defrost them a day ahead of eating them. Perfect!

Cheese and leek breakfast rolls (adapted from Dulce Dough’s Cinnamon Rolls):

Makes 18 rolls

  • 450g plain flour
  • 14g sachet dried yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 250ml milk
  • 55g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 100g cheese, grated
  • 1 medium leek, washed and chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Mix together half the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Heat the milk to a lukewarm temperature, then add into the dry ingredients with the eggs and butter. Stir to combine all the ingredients, then add in the rest of the flour a bit at a time, until the dough forms a ball that leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for about five minutes, until springy, then spray the bowl with cooking spray, put the dough back in, cover and leave to rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.

When risen, knock the dough back, give it a quick knead, and then leave for a second rising, for another hour until doubled again. While it’s rising you can make the filling – start by sauteing the leeks to soften the set aside. Mix the mustard into the butter.

Turn the proofed dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a 9 x 18″ rectangle. Spread the mustard butter evenly all over, then sprinkle the cheese and the leeks on top. Roll up the dough from one of the long sides, keeping it as tight as you can, until you have a long roll of dough with all the filling rolled up inside.

Slice the roll into 1″ pieces with a sharp knife – try not to press down too hard so they don’t lose their shape.

Place the rolls on a large baking tray, leaving about an inch between them, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise again, this time for about 45 minutes. Once risen, bake at 200 degrees for 25 minutes – they should be risen and lovely and golden on top. Brush with melted butter straight away, then eat hot or leave to cool.

Peshwari naans

Slightly fed up with the never ending stream of sweet treats that I really shouldn’t eat sitting around in the kitchen to tempt me, this weekend I decided to do some savoury baking (as well as a chocolate truffle pie for the pony which I’ll blog about soon!)

A little while ago, I attempted some curried naans for my first ever Random Recipes challenge. They turned out ok, but I wasn’t too impressed with the frying method, so this time I decided to try a baked recipe.

The basic naan dough is really simple, and you could add in whatever flavours you want – if I go to an Indian restaurant I usually order a peshwari naan which is what inspired the flavours in this.

I would definitely make these again, although possibly with apple sauce added to the filling for a bit of extra moistness and sweetness- I’ve seen it in a couple of recipes and thought it sounded quite interesting, so if anyone has tried it and can let me know if it works that would be great!

Peshwari naans (adapted from Curry Focus)

Makes 3

  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 250g plain white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 75ml warm water
  • 3 tbsp ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp sultanas

Note – you need to start this in the morning to be ready for dinner!

Dissolve the sugar in the 2tbsp warm water, then sprinkle the yeast on top and leave for 20 minutes. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture, yoghurt and water. Bring the mixture together using your hands, then turn out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until soft and pliable. Put the ball of dough back in the bowl, cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave for 6 hours to rise.

After 6 hours, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times to knock the air out. Divide into three pieces, then roll each out into a square-ish sort of shape. Sprinkle one tbsp of almonds, coconut and sultanas in the middle of each.

Fold in the corners of each piece of dough to cover the filling and pinch together the edges. Turn over, and roll out again, into a roughly tear-drop shaped flat bread. Prick with a fork then place on a baking tray.

Bake at your oven’s hottest temperature for about 10 minutes, turning half-way through, then finish off under a hot grill to brown each side. Serve with an Indian dish of your choice – we had them with a vegetable biryani and it was delicious!

Cheese and herb knotted rolls

For some reason, whenever I know the next thing I’m posting is savoury, I find it takes a lot longer to get around to writing it.

I don’t know if it’s just because I find sweet baking more interesting, or if it’s because the pictures I take of bread aren’t very good, but I just don’t seem to find it as exciting… does anyone else have this problem?!

Don’t let that put you off making these bread rolls though, they were actually really good!

I adapted Paul Hollywood’s basic dough recipe for bread rolls, then added in cheddar cheese, basil and parsley – purely because they’re what I have growing in my window at the minute, I’m sure any fresh herbs would be good.

I twisted them into knots to try and make them look a bit more exciting, which I think worked – a bit?!

Cheese and herb knotted rolls (recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads)

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 30g butter
  • 15g yeast
  • 150ml water
  • 50g cheddar, grated
  • handful fresh herbs

Mix all the ingredients, apart from the cheese and herbs, in a bowl until all the flour has been combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and leave to rise for an hour.

After an hour, knock the dough back and knead in the cheese and herbs. Divide into 6 equal sized pieces, then stretch each out into a long sausage shape. Tie each piece into a rough knot shape.

Place the knots on a baking tray, lined with foil and dusted with flour. Leave to rise again for another hour, then bake for 20 minutes at 220 degrees, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Curried naan breads – a random recipe

This is my first time entering Dom from Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes challenge – and I have to admit, I nearly cheated…

The challenge for January was to pick a recipe at random from your newest cookbook, which for me was 100 Great Breads by Paul Hollywood (thanks friendly pony!)

I excitedly flipped open the book, ready to make whatever bread I landed on to go with the evenings dinner of asparagus risotto – and ended up with a choice of naans or curried naans. Not really the ideal accompaniment…

But instead of choosing another recipe and breaking the rules on my first go, I waited until I was making a more suitable meal then gave the curried naans a go.

They turned out ok, although I wasn’t really a fan of Paul’s frying method for cooking them – oven baked versions I’ve made previously have turned out better and probably been a bit less unhealthy!

But still, I tried – fingers crossed Random Recipes will treat me more kindly in February!

Curried naan breads (adapted from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads)

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10g curry powder
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 150ml water
  • 50g sultanas
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mango chutney
  • 10g desiccated coconut

Mix the flour, salt, oil, curry powder, yeast and water in a large bowl, stirring for a couple of minutes, then tip out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Leave to rise for 30 minutes, then mix in the sultanas, chutney and coconut, then divide into 3 equal pieces and leave on a baking tray to rise for another hour.

Once the dough has risen, roll out each piece to a vaguely round thin disc, then heat a little oil in a frying pan. Fry the naans for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden, then leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Chocolate and cranberry Christmas wreath

This month I attempted my second ever Fresh From The Oven baking challenge – a Christmas Wreath.

I changed up the flavours a bit to suit what I had and what the friendly pony would like to eat – chocolate and cranberry with an orange glaze rather than fruit and nuts – but I think it was quite a festive combination.

I was really happy with how this turned out – I’m still no bread expert and I found the dough quite wet and tricky to work with, but the taste and texture were great, and I thought the twisting pattern looked pretty when the slices were cut!

Chocolate and cranberry Christmas wreath (recipe adapted from Utterly Scrummy Food for Families):

Serves 8-10

For the dough:

  • 3 tsp dried yeast
  • 315ml lukewarm milk
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g softened butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 420g plain flour

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. The recipe says to knead on a floured surface, but I found the dough really wet and sticky so I just kneaded it in the bowl, for about 10 minutes.

Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

For the filling:

  • 50g softened butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Tip the dough out onto a well-floured surface, knead for a couple of minutes then roll or stretch out into a large rectangle, mine was about 30cm x 20cm. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough, then roll the dough up from one of the long sides.

Cut the roll in half, lengthways, then twist the two halves together and bring the ends around so it creates a ring. Pinch the ends together, then leave on a baking sheet to rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled again.

Brush with milk then bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees, or until golden and cooked through.

You can use any icing you like to glaze, but I made a simple orange one with 1/2 cup of icing sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp orange juice, and drizzled on top. Cut into slices and serve while warm.

Garlic and cheddar tear-and-share bread

I don’t venture into the world of breads too often, but last weekend something pretty amazing happened – I gave the pony the option of choosing absolutely anything for me to bake, and he chose bread.

This is the same pony who can devour an entire chocolate cake in one day, and could pretty much live off chocolate given the chance, so for him to choose a savoury bake was a bit of a surprise!

To be fair, The Pastry Affair’s Garlic and Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread does look pretty tempting, and is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while, so I was quite happy to oblige.

I made a few changes to the original – I didn’t think the two of us could manage an entire bundt tin of bread, so I halved the recipe and baked it in a loaf tin, and I substituted the parmesan as we don’t eat non-veggie cheese.

The results were pretty delicious – I’d even go as far as saying this is the best bread I’ve made yet! And definitely better than any of the tear-and-share breads you can buy in the supermarkets.

On another note, my photos have not been going well recently – there’s just never any daylight when I’m at home! If anyone has any ideas on how to make the best of artificial light, please let me know!

Garlic and cheddar tear-and-share bread (recipe adapted from The Pastry Affair):

  • 210g bread flour
  • 1tsp dried yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50g grated cheddar

Mix together the yeast and water, and set aside for 5-10 minutes, until it’s starting to froth. Sift together the flour and salt, make a well in the centre and add the olive oil and yeasty water. Mix together with a wooden spoon, then tip out onto a floured surface and need for about 10 minutes. Put back in the bowl, cover over with oiled clingfilm and leave to double in size (about 2 hours for me, but my house is freezing).

While the dough is proving, melt the butter in the microwave and add the chopped garlic and parsley. When the dough is ready, knowck it back down then tear off walnut-sized balls, dip each into the buttery mixture, then place in the tin. Once you’ve done one layer, sprinkle half the cheese on top, add the rest of the butter-dipped dough balls, and then add the rest of the cheese.

Leave to rise again, for about half an hour or until it’s doubled in size again, then bake at 175 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the top is golden and it easily releases from the tin. Serve with anything, it’s delicious!

Croissants

Making your own croissants is a hassle. A really, massive, time-consuming hassle.

But so worth it.

As I had some holiday to take from work but nowhere to actually go on holiday to, I decided it would be the perfect time to try my hand at croissants.

Although no stage of the making process is actually that hard, there are a lot of resting, chilling and rising stages, which means you need pretty much a full day to do it (and a spare 10 minutes the night before to get it started).

I followed the recipe from the Great British Bake Off – How To Bake book, as it had very clear step-by-step instructions that looked pretty easy to follow.

The recipe covers 3 pages so I’m not going to type it all out here, so I’m afraid you’ll have to go boy the book (or find someone else who has blogged it!) if you want to give it a try – but I would definitely recommend you do!

The croissants came out brilliantly – they looked flaky and golden, had exactly the right texture and tasted buttery and delicious.

Even the ones made from the off-cuts of the pastry looked pretty good – you can see from the photo below the layers aren’t quite as defined but they still tasted great!