Sunday, 4 March 2012

Fruit Bread :)

the recipe is actually for raisin bread but i turned it into fruit bread with a bag of mixed dried fruit because it was all we had, but i think it tastes extra nice with all the variety - my brother even said it tastes like english pannetone, high praise indeed! the recipe comes from Hugh's River Cottage Family Cookbook, which i was given when i was a wee girl and have loved ever since!

when looking at this delightful photo of ingredients, use your imagination and pretend there's a jar of fast action yeast on the right hand side, silly me forgot to get it out for the photo (must be old age :P )
i like to this this bread is much richer and dessert-ier with the inclusion of the milk and the egg, it sort of enriches it.

i used some of my dad's homemade marmalade :) he makes about 10 or so jars every year, from scratch, gives a couple away and eats the rest throughout the year - he's the only one in the family who will eat it on toast, so he eats A LOT of marmalade! when i make this again i think i'll make the effort and try to cut up the orange rind segments because i think it would be nicer to have them scattered throughout the loaf rather than whacking great chunks of rind here and there.

kneading dough is very soothing, it allows you to keep your hands busy whilst leaving your mind to mull over lots of different things - plus it makes you feel less guilty when you eat the finished product, think of all that exercise you've just done! make a loaf of some sort every week and you'll have guns of steel :D

leaving dough to rise is one of my least favourite activities when baking - i always mean to get some homework done, or to start drafting the blogpost, but my mind is always drifting back to the dough in the other room, whether its doubled in size yet, or if i put enough yeast in, so i'm never as productive as i'd like to be :)
the finished loaf will be slightly browner than you might be expecting on the top, but to be honest, you start off at such a high temperature, its not unusual, plus, after you coat it in that gloriously sticky, shiny glaze which is just a simple sugar syrup, you won't even notice it! don't worry if it cracks either, it tastes exactly the same either way.

500g Strong White Bread Flour
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Fast Action Yeast
150g Raisins or Mixed Dried Fruit
125ml Milk
125ml Warm Water
1 Egg
2 tbsp Orange Marmalade
1 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Water

Put the flour, yeast, salt and fruit in a large bowl.
Mix the water, milk and egg in a jug, pour into the flour mixture and add the marmalade.
Stir with a spoon until its too difficult to stir, and tip out onto a floured surface.
Knead for 10-15 minutes, adding more flour if its really sticky, until its smooth and elastic, and bounces back when you poke a finger into it.
Leave the dough to double in size covered for 2 hours in a warm, dry place.
Punch the air out of the dough and knead lightly for a couple of seconds.
Shape into a tight sausage shape, and place in a greased loaf tin.
Leave to rise again for 20-25 minutes.
Place in a preheated oven at 220 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn down to 190 degrees for 15-25 minutes.
Take out when smelling lovely and giving a hollow sound when you tap it on the bottom.
Dissolve the sugar in the water over a gentle heat, and then bubble away for a minute or two.
Brush over the warm loaf.

Enjoy slightly warm and sticky with salted butter and a hot cup of your favourite tea! yumsss

Sarahhh xxx

Thursday, 23 February 2012

New Year, New Me?

i've given up on explaining my absences, you've heard it all before :) so ive decided this time i'm not gonna make any promises of updating my blog regularly or anything like that, because i cant keep to that, i'll be disappointed in myself and you'll go without again! so im just going to update when i can, if i can, and if every now and then i have to update with a chatty post, i hope you guys dont mind :)

so i thought i'd kick this off with really introducing myself. i love getting to know bloggers and vloggers, having glimpses into their lifestyles and what they do aside from baking.

my name is sarah, im 18 years old and i live in england! i currently study a levels at college in the subjects chemistry, biology and psychology (yeah, you guessed it, im a science nerd!) whilst desperately trying to keep up with a social life and carry on with my baking, sewing and knitting. i am hoping for a career in medicine, and so whenever it comes to a choice between hobbies and studies, studies always have to take priority. im majorly interested in genetics and the big bang theory, and love the colours royal purple, teal and mustard yellow :)

any other questions, or perhaps you want to introduce yourself, please comment below!

so again, i'm not promising anything, but i really hope i can update semi-regularly for the rest of the year :)