Tag Archives: bread

RED ONION AND GRUYERE FOUGASSE

Red onion & Gruyère fougasse

I’m still, even after nearly three years, a little bemused by what a big thing Halloween is over here. It’s just not something we really get into in the UK. Brits certainly don’t tend to go trick or treating (I should imagine that it’s because it’s usually too cold and drizzly for those sort of antics).
I once spent dia de los muertos in Nicaragua – that certainly had a festive atmosphere (or maybe that was just the effect of the Flor de Cana). But other than stationing Mr Colonial Cravings by the front door with a bowl full of fun-sized sweets we’ve never really celebrated Halloween.
This will be my only real concession to it this year and that’s only because I really wanted to try making fougasse again, and I’ve always quite liked Edvard Munchs ‘Scream’. Obviously you can make it into the traditional fougasse shape too, check out this post for how to do it that way, https://colonialcravings.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/fougasse-with-garlic-lemon-and-rosemary/.

Red onion & Gruyère fougasse

Ingredients
makes 1 but you can easily double it

250g bread flour
2g yeast (about 1/2 tsp)
2g salt
1/2 tsp sugar
180g luke warm water
1/2 small red onion
50g Gruyère cheese
olive oil for frying

Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add 3/4 of the water and start to mix it together to form a ball of dough. Add the remaining water (you might not need quite all of it) and mix it in until you have a soft, slack dough.
Tip the dough onto a clean work surface and knead it until becomes soft and smooth and isn’t sticky any more. The more you work it the less sticky it will become so try to resist the urge to add any extra flour. When you have worked the gluten in the flour enough the dough should spring back if you poke it with your finger.
Wash and dry your mixing bowl, so that it is nice and warm and then lightly oil it. Pop the dough in the bowl and cover it loosely with some oiled cling film or a plastic bag. Leave the dough in a draught-free place until it has doubled in size. Mine took just over and hour.

Red onion & Gruyère fougasse
Whilst the dough is doing its thing you can prep the onion and cheese.
Slice the onion, not too finely, and fry it in a little olive oil. I do this slowly over a low heat so that it has plenty of time to become nicely caramelised. Once it has cooked you can leave it to cool. Cut the cheese into small cubes.
When the dough in ready you can carefully take it out of the bowl and put it back on your work surface. Flatten it out a bit and then scatter over the onion and cheese, keeping a little cheese back for the top. Roll up the dough into a ball and then gently knead it so that the onion and cheese become nicely distributed.
Sprinkle a bit of flour onto a chopping board. Stretch the dough out, with your hands, into a teardrop shape (or a skull shape if your making this for Halloween) and then place it on the chopping board. Either cut slits where the eyes, nose and mouth should be and stretch them out into circles or cut slits for a more traditional fougasse shape. Press any remaining cheese into top of the dough, re-cover it and let it prove for about 20 minutes somewhere warm. Normally I wouldn’t bother with a second rise for a fougasse but it’s worth doing it for this because working in the cheese and onion knocks out a bit of the air.
Pre-heat your oven to 250°c and put a large baking tray upside-down in there. Once the fougasse has risen for a second time take the tray out of the hot oven and carefully slide the fougasse onto it. Bake it for 15 minutes, by which time it should have formed a nice crust and the cheese on the top should have become temptingly golden brown. Enjoy whilst it’s still warm.

Red onion & Gruyère fougasse

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CHERRY-CHEESE BRIOCHE

cherry cheese brioche

Summer weekends are all about long lazy breakfasts. I spent so long never having a proper weekend that I don’t think the novelty of spending days off with Mr Colonial Cravings will ever wear off.

This, and a cup of strong black coffee, preferably eaten al fresco, is how I’m currently starting my weekends. Well, I suppose if I’m honest I’m starting my weekends by baking the brioche on a Friday afternoon, but I love making brioche so there’s no real hardship there.
The finished dough for this, once it’s enriched with all that lovely butter is so nice to work with that baking the bread is certainly more of a pleasure than a chore. I set my hands to some rhythmic kneading and then let my mind wander to wherever it pleases and before I know it I’ve got myself a soft, smooth, bouncy ball of dough that’s ready to rise.

cherry cheese brioche

Ingredients
makes 1 large loaf

dough
350g white bread flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 sachet yeast (7g)
3 eggs
100ml (ish) warm milk
75g room temperature butter, cut into small cubes

filling
150g pitted cherries
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1/2 a lime

150g cream cheese
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Get the dough started by mixing together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Lightly beat the eggs and set aside 1 tbsp for glazing the loaf later. Mix the remaining eggs into the flour. The dough will look very dry and crumbly at this stage. Use just enough of the milk to bring the mixture together to form quite a stiff dough.
Put the dough on a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead the butter into it, a couple of pieces at a time. This is quite messy, time-consuming work but once all the butter has been incorporated you will have a lovely smooth soft dough. If it gets a little sticky as your hands warm it up then you can work a tiny bit more flour into it, but try to keep this to as little as possible.
Wash the mixing bowl and lightly grease it with a little butter, pop the ball of dough in it, cover it loosely with cling-film and leave it somewhere warm to rise until it has doubled in size.

cherry cheese brioche

Whilst the dough is rising you can make the cherry filling. Cut the cherries in half and mix them with the sugar, cinnamon, cornflour and lime juice in a small pan along with a couple of teaspoons of water. Gently heat this, stirring it occasionally until it becomes quite jammy. It should only take a few minutes then leave it to cool.
For the cream cheese you simply need to mix together the cheese, sugar and vanilla until it’s smooth. It helps if the cheese is at room temperature when you do this.

When the dough has risen you can take it out of the bowl and give it a very brief knead, just to make sure the air is evenly distributed throughout it. Roll it out into a large rectangle, this can take a bit of persuading but ideally you want it to be a little wider than your loaf tin.
Spread the cream cheese over the surface, leave about a 1″ gap around the edges and then cover this with the cherries. Roll up the dough and press down the edges to seal it. Put the long edge on the bottom and then tuck under the ends. Place this in a buttered loaf tin and re-cover it loosely with cling film. Leave it to rise again. Pre-heat your oven to 220°c.
Just before baking give the top of the loaf a generous egg wash with the beaten egg which you kept back earlier, sprinkle it with almonds and cut a few slashes in the top.
Pop it in the oven and after it’s had five minutes turn the temperature down to 160°c and leave it for another 40 minutes.
Leave the loaf to cool completely (out of the tin) before thickly slicing. This will be the hardest part because it will smell amazing.

cherry cheese brioche

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ROASTED TOMATO AND THYME CORNBREAD

Roasted tomato & thyme cornbread

Cornbread has become increasing popular in the Colonial Cravings household of late. But we’re not content to settle for standard, plain old, run-of-the-mill, common or garden varieties here. No, we like to (and actively encourage you to) play with our food here.
So this one got a makeover with the help of some jammy, sweet, roasted mini tomatoes and savoury fresh thyme. And it was scrummy! It’s like a savoury upside-down cake (secretly we all want cake for dinner) with fluffy, moist cornbread and lots of concentrated sweet tomato flavour.

Roasted tomato & thyme cornbread

Ingredients
makes 10 slices

185g ish of small tomatoes
handful of thyme sprigs
85g plain flour
75g cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
150ml buttermilk
2 eggs
3 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for roasting the tomatoes)

Pre-heat your oven to 220°c.
Cut the tomatoes in half and toss them with the thyme in a little olive oil, salt and pepper in whichever tin you want to bake your cornbread in. Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes (depending on how big they are) until they start to become soft and nicely roasted.
In a decent sized mixing bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients, so that they are really well combined and there are no lumps.
In another bowl or jug whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and olive oil. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in about half of the wet mixture. Stir it together so that it is loosely combined and then incorporate the rest of the liquid.
Use a spoon to gently arrange the tomatoes in the tin so that they will look pretty when you flip the corn bread over and then pour the batter evenly over them. Pop the tin back in the oven and bake it for about 20 minutes.
Allow the cornbread to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of it and place a serving plate over the top. Invert the plate and you should (hopefully) be able to lift off the tin to reveal the tomatoes. Serve whilst it’s still warm.

Roasted tomato & thyme cornbread

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PIZZA CHELSEA BUNS

Pizza Chelsea buns

Do you ever make something and then think “Why haven’t I been making this all my life…?”
Well that’s how I feel about these.

The bread is so deliciously soft and fluffy and the fillings are rich and flavourful and so easy to tailor to your own tastes. Absolutely yummy both hot and cold, these are just great for picnics or parties, they’re so perfectly portable and shareable (although once you’ve tasted them you might not want to share them).
They’re basically the same as my savoury Chelsea buns but with a lot more going on inside. The only other slight change that I made was to switch the butter in the dough to olive oil, just for flavour really.
You can fill these with pretty much anything you like. I avoid anything that will make the buns soggy though like fresh mozzarella or large tomatoes. You do need to cut the fillings into fairly small pieces so that you can roll the buns up easily. Pesto (any variety) makes a really nice base if you want something a bit different.

Pizza Chelsea buns

Ingredients
makes about 16

Dough
230g strong white bread flour
7g yeast (1 sachet)
1 tsp sugar
big pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive oil
125ml warm milk
1 egg

Filling
3-4 tbsp tomato paste/pesto
75-100g cheese
handful of sliced cherry tomatoes
handful chopped olives
1 tbsp fresh chopped herbs
sundried tomatoes
ham/pepperoni/salami
sliced mushrooms
chopped peppers
diced chili
black pepper

Pizza Chelsea buns

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Using a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the warmed milk, oil and egg. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in about half of the liquid. Stir together using a butter knife. Gradually incorporate the remaining liquid (you may not need all of it) until you have a soft dough. Pop the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about five minutes. It should lose any stickiness that it might have had and become soft, smooth and springy.
Wash and dry your mixing bowl to make it nice and warm and lightly oil it. Put the dough in the bowl and cover it with a piece of oiled cling film. Put the dough in a nice warm spot and leave it to rise until it has doubled in size, this should take about an hour.

Pizza Chelsea buns
Once the dough is ready carefully lift it out of the bowl and knead it for a minute or two. Oil your work surface, or a large chopping board and roll out the dough into a rectangle. Try to persuade it to be as big as possible so that you can maximise your surface area. You need to have the long edge of the rectangle facing you.
Spread the entire surface (right up to the edges) with the tomato puree or pesto and then evenly scatter on your other chosen fillings, finishing with the cheese.
Roll the dough up, starting with the edge nearest you and rolling it away. Cut the roll of dough into even-sized pieces, I usually make mine about an inch wide, and arrange them in a greased cake tin. Cover this again with cling film and put it back in its warm place to rise for a second time. Whilst this happens you can pre-heat your oven to 190°c.

Pizza Chelsea buns

Once this second rise is complete, uncover the tin and bake the buns for 30 minutes. They should be wonderfully golden brown once they are baked and they’ll smell delicious. Leave them to cool in the tin on a wire rack for five minutes before turning them out.

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CHOCOLATE ORANGE BUTTERMILK BRIOCHE

chocolate orange brioche

The holidays we used to take in France when I was a child were usually self-catered. I say  ‘self-catered’ but what I mean is ‘mum-catered’. As a result hours of fun were to be had exploring French supermarkets (my brother and I were usually to be found in the chocolate aisle.) One thing I remember that usually used to end up in the trolley were little pre-packaged fingers of soft brioche stuffed with chocolate. What a treat! These are a slightly more sophisticated version of those brioche buns. Soft, stretchy, chewy, sweet dough studded with little pips of dark chocolate. Add a cup of freshly brewed coffee and you’ll be in breakfast heaven. If you don’t like chocolate orange (and I know one of you in particular really doesn’t – you know who you are) then leave it out but add 1 tsp of vanilla paste (or the seeds from a pod) to the egg mixture.

chocolate orange brioche

Ingredients
makes about 10 little brioche or 1 loaf
250g strong white bread flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp dried yeast (about 1 sachet)
70g dark chocolate chips
zest of one very large orange
75ml buttermilk
2 eggs
50g butter (melted)

Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, yeast and orange zest. Stir through the chocolate chips. In a separate bowl or jug beat together the eggs and buttermilk. Set aside two tablespoons of this for glazing the brioche later. Add the melted butter to the remaining egg mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and mix it together. I find a butter knife is the easiest thing to use here, it doesn’t get all gummed-up the way a spoon would. Once everything has come together to form a nice soft dough you can turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it for a few minutes, until it starts to feel springy. Wash the bowl so that it is clean and warm then lightly oil it. Oil a piece of cling film too and put the dough in the bowl before covering it. Pop it somewhere warm and leave it for one hour, or until it has doubled in size. Lightly brush some brioche moulds/a cupcake tin/loaf pan with a little oil. chocolate orange brioche

Once the dough has risen (it should be quite soft and spongy) give it another quick knead. Either shape it into a loaf or, if you’re making little brioche, roll it into a sausage shape. Divide this into 10 equal pieces (you can weigh them if you’re a bit of a perfectionist) and then roll each piece into a ball. If you aren’t using brioche tins then these actually look quite pretty if you roll them out into smaller sausages and then tie them in a knot. Pop them into the prepared moulds and re-cover them with the cling film. Leave them to rise for another hour. Pre-heat the oven to 220°c. Once the dough has risen again you simply need to brush each brioche with a little of the reserved egg wash and then bake them for about 15 minutes, until they are golden brown. Leave to cool a little on a wire rack before removing them from the moulds. These are best eaten whilst they’re fresh but you can freeze them and then re-warm them a little before serving them. chocolate orange brioche

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WELSH RAREBIT

Welsh rarebit

It’s nearly St David’s day and yet again there isn’t even the merest hint of a daffodil in my corner of Maryland. I can’t blame them really, it’s been so cold that I’m pretty reluctant to surface too some days. Or maybe they are out and in full glorious bloom but they’re hidden under the snow mini-mountains that are still hanging around! I’ll just have to rely on a round of this to mark the day.

I’m certain that everyone in the UK is familiar with Welsh rarebit/rabbit but I’m not so sure about right here in the USA. So let’s be clear, this not your standard American grilled cheese. It’s deliciously rich and considerably more indulgent than plain old cheese on toast. Once I was even served it as an amuse bouche in a Michelin starred restaurant! No Kraft singles here thank you.

Welsh rarebit

I like this made with wholemeal or granary bread, some thing with a bit of texture to it. This particular one was made with some of my beer bread from the other week (https://colonialcravings.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/beer-bread/ )and I’ve used Welsh cheddar, for obvious reasons, but you can actually use any full flavoured hard cheese that you like.

Ingredients
serves 2

2-3 slices of toast (depending on how big the slices are)
1/2 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp beer
dash of Worcestershire sauce
100g cheese
1 tbsp cream
1 egg yolk

Welsh rarebit

Mix together the beer and the mustard powder in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer to reduce it a little and concentrate the flavours. Add the Worcestershire sauce and reduce the heat. Stir in the cheese and cream and let it all melt together. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the egg yolk. Immediately spread the mixture onto the slices of toast and grill until bubbling and golden. Serve right away before the cheese starts to solidify too much.

Welsh rarebit

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BEER BREAD

Beer bread

Man cannot live on bread alone. With a loaf as tasty as this though I’d be prepared to give it a go. This is a sort of souped-up granary bread. It has lots of malty flavours, a hint of bitterness from the beer and a really good chewy crust.
You can use whatever beer/ale/stout you like in this. If you like drinking it then you’ll probably like bread made with it. That said though you will probably get better flavour from something more like an ale or stout than you will from a lager. Personally I avoid anything that’s too hoppy. I love this with really strong cheddar, the flavours are the best of friends.

Beer bread

Ingredients
Makes one large loaf

400g strong white bread flour
150g whole wheat flour
75g mixed seeds (I used sesame, poppy and sunflower)
5g salt
380ml beer
5g dried yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp malt extract
1 tbsp whole grain mustard (beer mustard is the obvious choice! https://colonialcravings.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/beer-mustard/)

Warm the beer a little (no jokes about British pints please) and stir the yeast into it to give it a bit of a head start.
Mix together the flours, salt and seeds in a large bowl. Stir the mustard, oil and malt extract into the beer. Make sure that it is well blended.
Pour the wet mixture in to the dry mixture and bring it together well to form a cohesive dough. Oil your hands and knead the dough for 15 minutes or so. The dough should become less sticky as you work it and end up springy and smooth (apart from the seeds, obviously). Wash and dry the mixing bowl, oil the dough and a piece of cling film and pop the dough in bowl and cover it with the cling film. Leave this somewhere warm to rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Beer bread
Once it’s risen take it out of the bowl and knead it again for a few minutes. Shape the dough (in a tin or on a baking sheet, however you want it to look) re-cover it and let it rise again for another hour. Whilst it’s doing this you can get your oven really nice and hot, 240°c is ideal. If you own a pizza stone then it’s worth putting that in the oven too.
When your dough has finished its second rise put it in the oven, leave if for 10 minutes then turn the temperature down to 220°c and continue to bake it for a further 15-20 minutes. It should be golden and crusty once it’s done. Warm bread is always hard to resist but try to let this cool for 10 minutes or so before slicing.

Beer bread

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