Tag Archive for: bread

Today we’re sharing a much coveted Real Bread: Slow Dough recipe – Cinnamon and Hazelnut Knots! These sweet knots are beloved all over Scandinavia, whip up a batch of 8 using Chris Young’s recipe.

From Chris:
‘Back in early 2010, I spent two nights at Fifteen, the enterprise set up by Jamie Oliver to help train young people who have the passion to work in a high-end restaurant but who have struggled to hold down, or even find, a job. I was there to see what other bakeries could learn about taking on apprentices, and these buns are inspired by a loaf their baker Kenny Rankin showed me how to make, as well as by the spiced, enriched buns found across Scandinavia.’

Taken from Slow Dough: Real Bread


Makes: 8 buns
From Mixing to Oven: 4½–6½ hours
Baking Time: 15–20 minutes

250g/9oz/1¾ cups white bread flour
100g/3½oz/¾ cup plain/all-purpose flour
140g/5oz/generous 1⁄2 cup buttermilk
40g/1½oz/¼ cup caster/superfine sugar
30g/1oz/2 tbsp butter
10g/2 tsp fresh yeast
1 egg
5g/1 tsp fine/table salt
100g/3½oz/1¾ cups fresh white breadcrumbs, very fine
100g/3½oz/heaping ½ cup caster/superfine sugar
100g/3½oz/⅔ cup ground hazelnuts
4g/1½ tsp ground cinnamon
75g/2½oz/scant ½ cup water
icing/confectioners’ sugar, for glazing

1 Mix all of the dough ingredients together thoroughly, then knead until you have a smooth, silky, stretchy dough. Cover and leave at room temperature for 3–5 hours until well risen.
2 Meanwhile, mix the filling ingredients together, adding the water a little at a time until you have a spreadable paste (you may not need it all). Cover and leave in the refrigerator until needed. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.
3 Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface into a 40x20cm/16x8in rectangle, with the long edges to the sides and a short edge facing you. Spread the filling over the half of the dough nearest to you, then fold the remaining dough towards you to cover this.
4 Cut the dough lengthways into 8 strips, stretching them out to 25–30cm/10–12in long. Take a strip and, holding one end in each hand, twist it to create a rope effect (see below, fig. 1). Holding one end firmly between thumb and forefinger, wrap the rest of the strip around twice (fig. 2), finishing by tucking the end of the strip into the middle of the spiral you have just created (fig. 3). Place on the lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining strips of dough. Cover and leave to rise for 1 hour.
5 Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas 6. Bake the knots for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/ gas 4 and continue to bake for a further 5–10 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, glazing the knots while still warm by brushing with water and dusting with icing/confectioners’ sugar through a small sieve/strainer

We’re sharing some bread you’ll just loaf for #RealBreadWeek!

This recipe is included in Slow Dough: Real Bread by Chris Young, it was contributed by Ursi Widemann. Here’s what she said: “I love pretzels! I could eat them every single day . . . maybe it’s because I’m Bavarian”.

Pretzels are usually dipped in a solution of sodium hydroxide (lye) prior to baking, which gives them their characteristic taste and shiny brown skin. As food-grade sodium hydroxide can be hard to obtain and is hazardous to handle, this recipe uses bicarbonate of soda/baking soda instead, which gets you safely toward a similar result.


Taken from Slow Dough: Real Bread


Makes: 12
From mixing to oven: 12–16 hours
Baking time: 15–20 minutes

For the pre-ferment:
125g/4½oz/¾ cup plus 2 tbsp wholemeal/wholewheat bread flour
20g/1½ tbsp rye sourdough starter
100g/3½oz/½ cup minus 1 tbsp water
For the dough:
375g/13oz/223 cups white bread flour
25g/1oz/2 tbsp butter
8g/1½ tsp fine/table salt
160g/5¾oz/23 cup water
For dipping:
1kg/2lb 4oz/4¼ cups water
20g/heaping 1½ tbsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
For the topping:
coarse sea salt flakes or crystals, or you could use sesame seeds, poppy seeds or caraway seeds

Mix the pre-ferment ingredients together, cover and leave at room temperature for 8–12 hours until bubbly.
2 Mix the dough ingredients with the pre-ferment, and knead until you have a firm but supple dough: tighter than usual, but if it really is too stiff to work, add a little more water. Put the dough into a bowl, cover and leave to rise at room temperature for a further 3 hours, giving the dough a single fold halfway through this time.
3 Divide the dough into 12 equal-size pieces (65g/2¼oz), roll into balls, cover and leave for 20 minutes, then roll each piece into a strand about 25cm/10in long that tapers at the ends with a little belly in the middle. Bend each strand into a “U” shape, cross one side over the other about halfway up, give it a twist where they cross, then fold the ends up to meet the bend of the U and press down gently to fix in place. Cover the dough and leave to prove for 45–60 minutes.
4 Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment and heat the oven to 230°C/210°C fan/450°F/gas 8. Meanwhile, bring the water to the boil in a large pan and add the bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Drop the pretzels into the boiling liquid 2 or 3 at a time for 20 seconds, lift out with a slotted spoon and place onto the baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the topping of your choice while the dough is still tacky. Slash the dough at its fattest part and bake for 15–20 minutes until deep brown.

Happy baking! Don’t forget to tag us in your posts – #NourishBooks AND #RealBreadWeek!

goats cheese and honey maslin main(1)

This article is adapted from Slow Dough by Chris Young.

In the words of my father in law and dad, respectively: slow down and get real.

Industrial bakeries have a tendency to throw all sorts of artificial additives into their doughs, some in an attempt to reduce that very important natural ingredient: time.

Even some domestic baking recipe writers and teachers seem to be in a race to the finish line, instructing their readers to use fast action yeast, added sugar and warm proving, declaring with glee how little time the loaf will take.

They suggest that dough must be kept somewhere warm to rise, or that yeast left anywhere cooler than their fevered brows will DIE! What they overlook is the fact that fresh yeast is generally stored in the fridge (at a far-from-balmy 1–3°C) and that a standard piece of professional bakery kit is a retarder, which is basically a big dough fridge.

Another trick up the speed freak’s sleeve is the addition of sugar, be that refined or in another form, such as honey or agave syrup. This puts yeast cells on a ‘high’, and into a CO2-producing overdrive. There is, however, more than enough energy contained in the flour, which the yeast is eminently capable of obtaining for itself. In fact, beyond a certain level of added sugar, the yeast struggles to cope.

So, what’s wrong with speeding things up? Why would you want to delay the opportunity to tear into a freshly baked loaf, slather it with butter and tuck in?

Thankfully, more and more people seem to be heeding Real Bread bakers’ reminder that long and slow tends to be far more satisfying than a quick finish. A long-proved dough has more time to develop flavour, tends to produce a less crumbly loaf and, in the case of genuine sourdough, might be easier to digest.

For many people, what allowing their dough time to ‘do what a dough’s gotta do’ is simply a matter of good taste. Yes, you can bang out a loaf using warm water and a sachet of instant yeast in an hour or so, but you might be short changing yourself. Real Bread is a natural product and, just as with a whole range of food and drink, from ripening fruit to maturing beef, whisky, wine or cheese, time is essential in getting the very best product.

During this time, all sorts of biochemical alchemy goes on that, ultimately, will result in a texture, depth and complexity of flavour and aroma that can’t be rushed or synthesised, whatever the pedlars of ‘bread flavour’ (I kid you not) to big industry or ‘artisan sourdough’ packet mixes to unsuspecting home bakers might say.  You might also find that a long fermented loaf is less crumbly and stales more slowly.

Time is on your side
Happily, this extra time need not eat into your time: it can in fact buy you time while the dough gets on with it. Perhaps counter-intuitively, using a recipe with less yeast and letting dough rise slowly somewhere cooler, in some cases all day or even overnight, allows you to go off and do something else.

You may think that great flavour and a relaxed baking schedule are reason enough to slow things down, but when it comes to sourdough, there might be more benefits…

Chris Young is Campaign Co-ordinator for The Real Bread Campaign, a charity project with a mission to promote additive-free bread. In addition to compiling this book, Chris edits the quarterly magazine True Loaf, and wrote Knead to Know, the campaign’s first book. His work has appeared in publications including Spear’s Magazine, The Real Food Cookbook and the London ethical food magazine, The Jellied Eel, which he also edits.


Chris Young
Slow Dough: Real Bread
£20.00, available from Nourish Books





Unlike some of the rather bland alternative grains on the health-food store shelf, spelt tastes like a nuttier version of fluffy wheat. And yes, it’s good for you, too! Unlike much wheat, where the nutritional benefits of bran and germ are largely removed during milling, the good stuff in spelt is found in the inner kernel of the grain, and so survives the milling process unscathed.

Spelt really is a cook’s best friend. It’s great for making bread and cakes, and it can also make pastry and biscuits with a wonderful, crisp texture. The nutty flavour of spelt makes everything taste good, and the flour behaves in much the same way as wheat, if not better, so you don’t really have to learn any new techniques.

I think it’s always best to think of recipes as a guide, rather than strict instructions to be rigidly adhered to, so it’s important to practice using spelt in a variety of ways. It won’t take long for you to get used to using it – and once you do, you’ll never look back.

As there is generally a higher protein content and a more delicate gluten structure in spelt flour, you don’t need to knead it for as long as when making wheat bread. Remember, though, that it is more hygroscopic than refined flour, which means the dough will require a little more liquid, as you work the ingredients together, to prevent it from drying out. If your bread dough is feeling a little dry when you’re kneading, make sure you don’t just push on; instead, add more liquid. As bakers will tell you, the wetter the dough, the better the bread will be.

Never shy away from adding more water, milk or other appropriate liquid to keep the dough soft and supple. A dough that is dry and tough after 10 minutes of kneading isn’t going to improve after proving and baking.

Some great advice when it comes to making bread with spelt:

•  Bake it in a tin or basket. The gluten structure in spelt is different to that in wheat flour and it’s the network of fine gluten strands that gives the dough its structure, so a spelt loaf will benefit from being supported as it cooks.

•  Spelt dough can be quite dense. To make it softer, add a tablespoon of clear honey to give a pliable texture and to bring out the flavour.

•  To loosen the bread, add some fat – a little unsalted butter will do the job, and  it’s better than oil.

To know more, you can read Spelt by Roger Saul.


Roger Saul



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recipe for gluten-free white bread


Perfect for coeliacs, this is simply the best gluten-free white bread recipe you’ll find, and it’s also dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and vegetarian. And in the unlikely event that there’s any leftover, the loaf makes a delicious base for gluten-free Prawn, Broad Bean and Avocado Bruschetta.


Gluten-Free White Bread Recipe


Makes: 1 loaf
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes rising
Cooking time: 1 hour 50 minutes

120g/4¼oz/⅔ cup potato flour
50g/1¾oz/scant ½ cup gram flour
50g/1¾oz/⅓ cup maize flour
150g/5½oz/heaped ¾ cup rice flour
1 tsp sea salt, crushed
1 tsp fruit sugar or caster sugar
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp dried active yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
dairy-free margarine, for greasing

1. Sift the flours, salt, sugar, gluten-free baking powder, xanthan gum and yeast into the bowl of a food processor with the dough blade attached and blend to mix together. Add the olive oil and blend again, then add 400ml/14fl oz/scant 1⅔ cups warm water and process for 10 minutes to aerate the dough. It will be sticky.

2. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and lightly grease a 450g/1lb loaf tin with dairy-free margarine. Spoon the dough into the tin and smooth the surface with the back of a metal spoon.

4. Bake for 45–50 minutes until the bread is golden brown. Turn out of the tin and tap the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it is done. If not, return the bread to the tin and bake for another 5 minutes, then test again to see whether it is done. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


What to try something a bit more extravagant? How about Grace’s gluten-free chocolate birthday cake.


Whether you’re suffering from allergy-related IBS, eczema, asthma, migraines or chronic fatigue, or you’re coeliac, Simply Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free will show you how to use substitute ingredients and simple cooking techniques to make mouth-watering meals. Find more inspiration on author Grace Cheetham’s award-winning blog glutendairyfree.co.uk.

gluten free recipes from Grace Cheetham“Grace Cheetham’s book gives us a fresh approach… many people newly diagnosed with coeliac disease are also lactose intolerant until their guts start to heal. The broad world flavours in these recipes are robust and flavoursome.” Coeliac UK

Simply Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free by Grace Cheetham.