The Bread Experiment

The smell of freshly baked bread is instant happiness for me, and back in the day when I was young and naive I imagined that one day my home would be filled with that same satisfying scent every morning. Of course that never happened - until today.

I finally found the time and energy to give the most basic of loaves a try using the following recipe from BBC Good Food. I chose it mainly because it has 'easy' in the title and because it lists olive oil and honey amongst its ingredients - a combination I find attractive when it comes to bread.

It's so easy I even had time to dance with my three-month-old in the kitchen to the sounds of the Flashback Cafe, and then pick up my 6 year old from school (while it was rising).

The inside of my oven.

The result was aroma-filled, tasty and texturous.

Bread in Four Easy Steps

500g wholewheat or white flour
2 1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey

1. Put flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and mix together with your hands. Stir 300ml hand-hot water with the oil and honey, then mix into the dry ingredients to make a soft dough.

2. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 mins, until it no longer feels sticky - sprinkle with a little more flour if needed.

3. Grease a loaf tin with oil and put the dough in, pressing it down to even it out. Put in a large plastic food bag and leave to rise for 1 hr, until the dough has risen to fill the tin and it no longer springs back when you press it with your finger.

4. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Make a few slashes across the top of the loaf with a sharp knife, and bake for 30-35 mins until the loaf is risen and golden. Tip it out onto a cooling rack and tap the base of the bread to check it is cooked. It should sound hollow. Leave to cool.

Easy Like a Friday Morning

From a very nice lady's Kitchen in the Rockies to my humble abode in Cairo - I give you Cinnamon Bun Bread on a Friday morning, for breakfast - Oh Yes!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (blast in microwave for 20 seconds)
3 tbs oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
Salt ( I used 1/4 tsp)

3 tbs butter at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground cardamom (I didn't have any)

For the icing, mix:
1 cup icing sugar
1-2 tbs milk

  • Lightly grease a square 8x8 pan (I overdid this and got a bit of an oily base - plus I only had a round pan)
  • Combine flour, sugar, salt in a bowl
  • Dissolve yeast in the warm milk in a jug
  • Stir milk mixture, oil, vanilla and egg into flour mixture
  • Mix until very smooth
  • Pour into pan and let it rest for 15 minutes
  • Mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until all the butter is incorporated into the sugar and is crumbly (Did this with my hands)
  • Sprinkle evenly over the dough and press the mixture down 
  • Place into a cold oven - then set to 350 F (I used 180 C)
  • Bake 30 minutes - is done when centre springy to touch and edges are browned
  • Cool for at least 30 mins before drizzling the icing onto the bread
  • Serve warm with a big smile :)

Orange Almond Yogurt Cake

It's been a while. Since my last post many things have happened here in Cairo - not least A REVOLUTION!

Oh yeah and I had a baby :) But that doesn't mean that I haven't been baking - in fact I discovered that I bake more when things are getting stressy... such as that very scary night mid-revolution when the police withdrew from the city - but those are details for another post that involves rice pudding.

Speaking of baby-having, here's a pic of what I mad the day before I went into hospital which doesn't count as a recipe since I used a cake mix, whipped up some cream and added a luscious strawberry on top.

Then came Valentines Day, and I was skint! So I decided, the way to a man's heart must be through his stomach - especially my husband’s - so I lovingly baked a batch of chocolate cupcakes, or Love Cakes as they came to be known. Again using a recipe from my favourite baking site Joy of Baking (JoB) - they came out quite cute looking, especially considering that I was too lazy to make a frosting and decided to decorate them using a stencil and icing sugar instead - although as far as chocolate cupcakes go I have a sneaking suspicion that a better tasting recipe can be found - the search is on. (Sorry JoB.)

In another exciting cookery update (that sounds quite scary) I got a new cookbook freshly delivered by Amazon in the post, mid-revolution, which makes me feel quite proud of the Egyptian Postal Service! The book is by the domestic goddess herself - Nigella Lawson and is called Nigella Kitchen, needless to say I have been studying it heavily at every opportunity i.e. between feedings and nappy changings and doings of 6-yr old homework, only raising my head from its pages momentarily to complain about hubby's excessive laptop use.

From this I made two types of muffin - Chocolate Banana and Apple Cinnamon, both of which were extremely tasty and eaten immediately, hence why there are no pictures. A batch of Everyday Brownies also went down a treat - smothered in vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce no less.

Most recently however, and in another one of my compulsive 'must bake at 10 o'clock at night' fits - I tried a recipe I found on the Smitten Kitchen blog for Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake, which I adapted till the cows came home, and until it evolved into Orange Almond Yogurt Cake, I had a lot of oranges calling out to me from the fruit bowl. I also ran out of flour midway - so I threw some cornmeal in and am really glad I did.

This I highly recommend:

1 cup flour
0.5 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp Maldon sea salt (or ¼ tsp of normal salt)
1 cup vanilla yogurt (I used a single package of yogurt)
0.75 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp grated orange zest
0.5 tsp almond extract
0.5 cup oil

To make icing: Mix icing sugar with freshly squeezed orange juice to preferred consistency.

Follow cooking instructions for Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake OR as follows: 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (about 180 C). Grease loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, zest, almond extract and oil.
  • Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 (+) minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile, mix icing sugar with orange juice until you get a paste of the consistency you prefer which you can pour or spread over the cake once its done.
  • Allow it to cool first in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping onto a cooling rack.

Total Pageviews