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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

Ingredients
Dough:
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
Filling:
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

Method
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

Ingredients
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

Method
1
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!

We’re celebrating the return of the Great British Bake Off with this delicious recipe for Masala Chai-spiced Bread and Butter Pudding from Slow Dough: Real Bread by Chris Young! Read on for the full, spicy and satisfying recipe!

 

Masala Chai-spiced Bread and Butter Pudding taken from Slow Dough: Real Bread.

SERVES: 4-6

PREPARATION TIME: 45-55 minutes

COOKING TIME: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients

FOR THE CUSTARD:

600g/11b 5oz/XXX cups milk (or a mixture of milk and cream)

1 green cardamom pod

1 or 2 cloves

1 slice (about 3mm/1/8 inch thick) fresh ginger

2cm/3/4 inch piece of cinnamon quill or cassia bark

1 vanilla pod/bean

a twist or two of black pepper

50g/194ozl/4 cups caster/superfine sugar

2 eggs

300g/10 and a 1/2 oz stale Real Bread, sliced about 1cm/1/2 inch thick

50g/1 and 3/4 0z/3 and 1/2 tbsp butter

zest of half a lemon

50g/1 and 3/4 oz/1/2cup seedless raisins or sultanas/golden raisins

Method

  1. Measure the milk into a saucepan, add the spices, vanilla and pepper, and heat but do not boil. Cover and set aside to cool and infuse.
  2. Grease an ovenproof dish. Butter the bread on one side and arrange half of the slices in a layer in the dish. Scatter the lemon zest and raisins over the bread and layer the rest of the bread on top. If you are using a smaller, deeper dish, you might get three layers of bread and two of fruit.
  3. Strain the spices out of the milk. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds back into the milk (dry the vanilla pod to use again, or to flavour a jar of sugar.
  4. Whisk together the sugar and eggs, then add the milk and whisk again. Pour the custard over the bread, butter and fruit in the dish – it should reach about half way up the top layer of bread. Press the bread down into the mixture (you don’t want any dry bits) and leave to soak for about 30 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas 4. Put the pudding in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until brown on top and just set in the middle – wobbly, not watery. Serve warm or cold with cream or custard.

Happy Baking! Why not upload a #SourdoughSelfie tag @RealBreadCampaign and @NourishBooks on Instagram!

Welcome to #SourdoughSeptember! We’re so excited to join the 2020 #LockdownLoafers in baking and creating artisanal sourdough this month. Of all the things the pandemic brought forth, bread is a strong favourite here at Nourish HQ.

To get the celebrations started, we’re sharing this Fig and Fennel Sourdough recipe from Slow Dough: Real Bread by Chris Young – to join in and make some Real Bread, you can get your copy of the book here!

 

Fig and Fennel Sourdough, taken from Slow Dough: Real Bread

 

Makes: 1 large loaf
From mixing to oven: overnight plus 5 hours
Baking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the pre-ferment:
100g / 3 and a 1⁄2oz / scant 1⁄2 cup white sourdough starter
75g / 2 and a 1⁄2oz / 1⁄2 cup plus 1⁄2 tbsp white bread flour
75g / 2 and a 1⁄2oz / scant 1⁄3 cup water
For the dough:
350g / 12oz / 2 and a 1⁄2 cups white bread flour
150g / 5 and a 1⁄2oz / 1 cup wholemeal / wholewheat bread flour
300g / 10 and a 1⁄2oz / 1 and a 1⁄4 cups water
10g / 1 heaping tbsp green fennel seeds
10g / 2 tsp fine / table salt
175g / 6 and a 1⁄4oz / scant 1 and a 1⁄4 cups quartered dried figs

Method

1. Mix the pre-ferment ingredients together thoroughly, cover and leave at room temperature for 12–14 hours (typically overnight).
2. To make the dough, add both flours with the water and fennel seeds to the pre-ferment, and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 20–30 minutes.
3. Mix in the salt and knead for a few minutes. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for another 30 minutes.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, using a rolling pin to roll it out into a rectangle. Distribute the figs evenly over half the dough, then fold the other half over them, pressing the edges together to seal. Roll the dough out again, fold in half and roll out once more. If the figs are not evenly distributed, repeat the process but be careful not to mush them up completely.
5. Shape the dough into a ball, cover and leave to prove at room temperature for 1 hour.
6. Give the dough a single fold, cover and leave to prove for another 2 hours, or until almost doubled in size.
7. Dust a proving basket well with flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape to fit the basket. Place the dough seam-side up in the basket, cover and leave to prove at room temperature for 1 hour.
8. Heat the oven to 230°C/210°C fan/450°F/gas 8, with a baking stone or baking sheet in place. Turn the dough out onto a peel and slide it onto the baking stone. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas 6 and bake for a further 20 minutes, checking halfway through that it is not browning too quickly.

Happy Baking! Why not upload a #SourdoughSelfie tag @RealBreadCampaign and @NourishBooks on Instagram!

So you’ve got a little bit of time, and you’d like to make some bread. You love sourdough, but everyone talks about these mysterious ‘sourdough starters’ and you don’t have one of those.

Well, fear not! It is actually very simple to make a sourdough starter, and Chris Young, author of Slow Dough: Real Bread is here to talk you through it. All you’ll need is a bit of patience.

A plastic container with a lid is convenient for storage because if your starter gets frisky, the lid
will simply pop off, whereas a glass jar with a screwtop or metal clip seal could crack or shatter. The amount of flour you use isn’t important so we’ve started small, as instructions that tell you to throw portions of your starter away just seem wasteful. Please keep to the 1:1 ratio, though.

Daily: days one to five (ish)

30g/1oz/3½ tbsp rye flour

30g/1oz/2 tbsp water (at about 20°C/68ºF)

On each of the first five days, put equal amounts of flour and water into your container, mix, close and leave at room temperature (about 20°C/68°F) for 24 hours between each addition.

For the first few days, the mixture might seem lifeless and could smell vinegary or even a bit “off”. Don’t worry about this, as it should soon start bubbling and the smell will develop into something yeasty and maybe even floral. 

Day six (ish)

Once your starter is bubbling up nicely, you can use some to bake a loaf of Real Bread. Typically, this might be anything from four to seven days after you started, but could take a little longer. If it’s not bubbling by day six, keep repeating the daily flour and water addition until it is. Don’t worry if you end up with a layer of brownish liquid. This is just gravity working its magic and is normal. Either stir it back into your starter or pour it off. If your starter hasn’t been used for a while, the second option is probably better as the liquid (sometimes known as “hooch”) will have started to become alcoholic, which can slow the starter down and may also lead to less desirable flavours in your bread.

Caring for Your Starter

• Each time you use some of the starter, simply replace with an equivalent quantity of flour and water – this is usually known as feeding or refreshing. You also need to refresh on the day before a baking session.

• When refreshing, feel free to experiment with different ratios and total amounts of flour to water: a looser starter will ferment more quickly than a stiff one; refreshing more often or adding a large refreshment will dilute the taste and acidity.

• It’s a living thing (well, technically billions of living things) so get to know it. The acidity, flavour, aromas and speed at which starters work vary, so learn what’s normal for yours.

• Give it a name. You can’t call yourself a proper sourdough nut if you don’t – though I know some people strongly disagree with me on this one!

• Forget it. Unlike other members of your household, your starter will be forgiving of neglect. Though it will be happy to help you bake bread once a week or even daily, your starter can be left untouched at the back for the refrigerator for weeks or even months. The yeast and bacteria populations will decline over time but enough will live on in a dormant state. The longer you leave it, the longer it’ll take to “wake up” though and it might need a few days of refreshments before it’s up to full vigour.

• Unless you are using your starter every single day, keep it in the fridge, which will slow it down and reduce the frequency at which you need to refresh it. You just need to remember to take it out and refresh it the day before you intend to make a loaf.

 

To Convert Your Starter to Wheat

Although you can use the rye starter for wheat breads, you might prefer to convert it by replacing the rye flour in refreshments with wheat flour (white or wholemeal/wholewheat) until it is all wheat. Alternatively, you can use wheat flour from the word go: again, wholemeal/wholewheat will give you a better chance of success. Whether you keep separate rye, white wheat, wholemeal/wholegrain wheat, and even other starters on the go, or just one, is up to you.

Slow Dough: Real Bread is available now as an ebook or in hardback

baguette-main

This article is adapted from Slow Dough by Chris Young.

Like the word bread itself, the terms ‘artisan’ and ‘craft’ have no legal definition. This means anyone can call themselves an artisan or craft baker and market their loaves as artisan or craft bread. The production methods used may not be obvious and, in the case of loaves that aren’t pre-packed – such as those from a supermarket in-store ‘bakery’ – you’ll have your work cut out to find whether or not artificial additives have been employed.

Though some of the differences between Real Bread and industrial loaves may be obvious, labelling and marketing regulations and the way they are policed in various countries can leave loopholes that deny shoppers the right to know exactly what they’re getting.

Knowing that many of us find a litany of chemical names or E numbers off-putting, some manufacturers are now turning to so-called processing aids. By a quirk of EU law, if an artificial additive is deemed to be a ‘processing aid’, it does not have to appear on the label, as long as any ‘residues do not present any health risk and do not have any technological effect on the finished product.’ As a consequence, suppliers often market these as ‘clean label’ or ‘label friendly’. Companies may defend the use of processing aids with comments along the lines of ‘we always comply with the law’, or ‘they get used up during manufacture’ even though despite the fact that their use may, quite legally, ‘result in the unintentional but technically unavoidable presence of residues of the substance or its derivatives in the final product’.

An allegedly ‘fresh baked’ unwrapped loaf sold by a supermarket, convenience store, petrol station or other retailer may have been manufactured a long time ago in a factory far away, then chilled or frozen. Having then been re-baked in a retailer’s ‘loaf tanning salon’ oven increases the energy consumed in production, and results in a loaf that may well stale faster than a genuinely fresh one. Not that you’d know any of that, so you could be forgiven for making a like-for-like comparison with a loaf of Real Bread from a local independent bakery, which helps to sustain more skilled jobs per loaf for local people making genuinely freshly baked bread without the use of artificial additives. Which part of this is fair on you the shopper or a genuine artisan baker?

Perhaps it’s time to BIY – bake it yourself.

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.

Slow-Dough-300x386

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