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Archive for September, 2014

I have very fond memories of toasted tea cakes from family holidays to Ashbourne. I’m not entirely sure why as I really wasn’t wasn’t keen on them at the time… I was never a fan of raisins and thought they ruined pretty much anything they were in. I was obviously a fussy eater as a child.

After thinking about Ashbourne I did a little searching and I’m pretty sure we always used to stop for a hot drink and (tea) cakes at the Tuck Stop on the Tissington Trail. I’ve not idea what it was called back then, but looking at the photos makes me think that was the spot. I got a little wave of nostalgia trying to figure out where it was we used to go!

Anyway, over time I’ve realised that raisins aren’t the work of the Devil, and it turns out I don’t mind a few of the little buggers finding their way into some dishes now and then, and this bread is a perfect home for them.  I followed this recipe, but rather than making one big loaf I made two little ones. I’ll explain why in a bit…

 

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This bread uses what I think is effectively an enriched dough, so it contains milk, butter and eggs. A fair bit of fat basically. It also contains lots of other tasty things, like sugar and spice. Due to the fact it has a higher sugar and far content then most other bread I make it seemed to take on colour a lot quicker. The first time I attempted this bread it ended up being an absolute bloody disaster. Probably the first time I ended up with something completely unusable.

I put all of the dough into one loaf tin and chucked it in the oven. The top of the bread rose quickly and confidently. Then, like an oven based interpretation of the Daedalus and Icarus legend the bread drifted far too close to the sun. The top started burning so I quickly tried to take the bread out of the loaf tin and flip it upside down but unfortunately the bread hadn’t been in the oven long enough. I managed to get it out of the loaf tin and then it collapsed into a sad, gloopy mess. I was very unhappy.

So this time I thought I’d split the dough and make two smaller loaves, and it was a success! I didn’t score the tops of these, I think they were too low down in the loaf tin to reach. They’re not perfect by any means but they tasted nice.

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Due to the fat from the butter, milk and eggs the crumb was fairly tight, but it was also nice and soft. Just like the tea cakes I mentioned before, this loaf is perfect when it’s toasted and has big slab of butter spread over it. You should also definitely have it with a nice cup of tea too.

 

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Naan Bread #1

I know what you’re thinking… “Why the hell are you still blogging about bread you big idiot?” And if you’re not thinking that, then you’re probably thinking “That’s not a naan bread, that looks like a burnt chapati”. I would agree with you whole heartedly. This did not work out as I expected.

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I absolutely love Indian food. I’d say it’s a Young Family Favourite. Whenever we return back to Chesterfield there is a 90% chance of a curry being eaten at some point. If one of us has something to celebrate I’d say it’s 99%. When I was a child I was introduced to the wonders of a curry by my parents and I’ve loved them ever since. I started off preferring a chapati but I steadily moved over to enjoying a good naan bread. Especially a peshwari naan with a fairly spicy curry, it’s the mix of the sweet bread with the hot curry. Brilliant.

I’ve attempted to make naan bread a few times, with decidedly mixed results. I’ve had some terrible ones and some fairly good ones, but I’ve never made amazing ones. I’d like to blame this on a lack of a tandoor oven, but you know the saying – “a bad workman always blames his tools”. So I’m determined to make a perfect naan bread, I’ll just have to keep practising.

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I’ve tried various recipes and often they include milk and yoghurt. This recipe was just flour, yeast, salt and water. The actual dough felt fine and I know that it was the “baking” that went wrong.  I say “baking” because this thing didn’t go near an oven, despite the recipe asking for it… Silly me. In the recipe (from this book, as usual) it suggests slapping the bread against the inside of the glass of a very hot oven or if your oven isn’t clean enough then pre-heat a baking tray and slap the bread straight onto that. I did try that previously and failed, so  thought I’d attempt to cook this on a heavy based frying pan on the hob. As you can probably see, this ended up burning it!

It was definitely edible, but it wasn’t fantastic by any stretch of the imagination. It was obviously charred in places, and was also a bit too dense. I’m going to try it again and attempt the hot baking tray, or even better a baking stone. I just need to buy one first… So at some point another naan bread will grace these pages, and hopefully it will look a lot tastier than this one!

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