Tag Archive for: slow dough

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!

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.


PREPARATION TIME: 45-55 minutes

COOKING TIME: 30-40 minutes



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


  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!


This article is adapted from Slow Dough by Chris Young.

To meet their need for speed, Big Bakers often lace their dough with so-called ‘processing aids’ and other artificial additives, which help the dough conform to the stresses of the process; to become stretchy enough to rise high and quickly, and then to have strength enough to stay risen during baking.

Other chemicals might be used to deter the growth of mould and to help the finished loaf to stay softer for longer, features marketed as ‘freshness’, though I question whether this could be thought of as the equivalent of ‘loaf Botox’…

Big Bakers may say that their loaves are fundamentally the same as Real Bread, just with tiny amounts of these performance-enhancing substances ‘to help the process along’, Isn’t but that a bit like claiming doped-up sportspeople are ‘fundamentally the same’ as honest athletes, though?

Artificial additives have only been subjected to a relatively short period of testing before being declared safe (or ‘generally recognised as safe’ as the more pragmatic US Food and Drink Administration puts it) for food manufacturers using them in their products.

No-one knows for sure, however, if there might be any adverse effects from long-term consumption of the artificial additives found in the modern industrial loaf and across many people’s diets in other heavily processed foods. Can we trust that these things, either individually or in the endless combinations they’ll turn up in a supermarket shopping basket, are truly safe? History is littered with a veritable chemistry set of substances once used by industrial millers and bakers, only to be withdrawn or banned in the UK or elsewhere. They include azodicarbonamide (banned in countries including the UK and Australia but legal in others, including the USA), benzoyl peroxide, Agene (nitrogen trichloride, banned in the 1940s) and potassium bromate.

By contrast, a few thousand years of people eating Real Bread has proved beyond any doubt that it is safe – no, actually good – for the vast majority of us.

So, high time to turn to your local, independent Real Bread bakery…or start baking your own.

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




stilton stout and walnut main

This article is adapted from Slow Dough by Chris Young.

Until relatively recently, the future of bread in Britain looked bleak. Following World War II, the number of independent high street bakeries headed into what seemed a permanent decline, with a handful of industrial giants and multiple retailers rising to dominance and helping to speed their demise.

A particularly dark day for Real Bread historians came in July 1961, when the British Baking Industries Research Association unleashed what later became known as The Chorleywood ‘Bread’ Process (CBP), which takes a shortcut through dough’s natural fermentation and ‘ripening’ time, slashing it from hours or even days to tens of minutes.

Convinced by expensive marketing campaigns to believe that one brand of CBP loaf was in any meaningful way different from another, we began to look to our supermarkets for sandwich loaves, using the same squeeze test we might use for toilet rolls. And the manufacturers and retailers conspired in a race to the bottom, so driven by low prices that by the end of the 1990s, you could buy a sliced CBP loaf for about 7p. Nope, that’s not a typo: in 1999 at least one supermarket dropped the price of its ‘value’ range own-brand loaves far below even the cost of production, to just seven pence.

From Roman and medieval statutes; through nineteenth century wholemeal advocates including Sylvester Graham and Thomas Allinson; national newspaper campaigns in the early twentieth; and the Campaign for Real Bread that ran in Britain as the 1970s turned into the 1980s; the fight for better bread is perhaps as old as bread itself.

In 2008, the food and farming charity Sustain joined forces with baker Andrew Whitley to discuss setting up a new organisation to fight for better bread. Quickly, this attracted the interest of hundreds of people, and after a series of open meetings, the Real Bread Campaign was launched on 26 November of that year. Since then it has thousands of supporters in more than twenty countries. Behind a rallying cry of ‘not all loaves are created equal!’ together we’ve been finding and sharing ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet.

The Real Bread Campaign doesn’t wish to deny any industrial baker their job, but believes that a small, independent Real Bread bakery is of greater benefit to both its bakers and to its local community. These benefits might include:

  • Skilled, meaningful jobs for local people producing food for their neighbours.
  • More jobs-per-loaf than an industrial loaf factory.
  • Opportunities for social interaction between employees and customers.
  • Support for the local high street and economy: money spent with a local business is more likely to be re-invested locally.
  • Potential to support local producers, growers or other smaller or more ethical suppliers, by providing an outlet for their goods.
  • The chance to shop on foot, by bike or public transport, rather than having to drive to an out-of-town megamarket.

While the wrapped, sliced industrial loaf still accounts for the largest percentage of the ‘bread’ market in Britain, it is in decline. In May 2016, Kantar Worldpanel reported that industrial loaf sales had fallen by more than £130 million in just 12 months, while IRI found that supermarkets had sold 50 million loaves.

While nobody seems to count the sales of small, independent bakeries (or even how many there are), in August this year, British Baker magazine reported that sales by one of the larger independents had risen by 41.5%, who had taken on more than 360 staff to meet the demand for their Real Bread.

As for the Campaign, it now has paying supporters in more than 20 countries, around 680 bakeries have added Real Bread to its map, and has more than 25,600 followers on Twitter. Its work has helped more than 10,000 children at over 150 schools learn to bake; encourage and champion the creation of more Real Bread businesses and secured the ASA’s rulings against misleading advertising by supermarket chains.

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