Posts Tagged ‘Dan Lepard’

Sometimes I come across a recipe which is just so simple and so perfect that I have to run straight into the kitchen to try it out.

Last week, this happened twice!

First was Emily’s delicious Wholegrain Double Apple Breakfast Cake.  This one demanded immediate action –  I was literally pulling the cake out of the oven within an hour and a half of reading the recipe.  The batter was baked in a lined roasting pan and Em’s instructions were dead simple (mix the wet stuff together, then add the dry).  Best of all, it gave me an opportunity to use up some of the apple butter that we’d made a couple of years ago.

The combination of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and yoghurt caused the batter to honeycomb, giving the finished cake a spongy texture somewhere between a thick pancake and an apple Danish.

Oh, how my boys loved this one!  Big Boy took a giant slab to uni for lunch, and I caught Pete nibbling on it all the next day.  The recipe and instructions are here, and I substituted apple butter for the applesauce, and plain (AP) flour for the sorghum and wholemeal. Emily suggested that any leftovers would make a great bread and butter pudding!

. . . . .

The second thing that had me charging into the kitchen was this gorgeous shortbread recipe by Dan Lepard.  I’ve been calling them Alice in Wonderland cookies, and they were great fun to make, albeit a little fiddly.

I made the two doughs in the food processor, but ended up making the stripes thinner than Dan recommended, which made them a little harder to work.  Most of them turned out quite well…

…but I did end up with a couple of “Picasso” cookies…

My darling friend Joanna has done a much neater job with them here.

Thanks to Dan and Emily for such great recipes.  I’ll definitely be making both of them again soon!

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After making the hazelnut and grain loaves recently, I was left with a large quantity of cooked grains in the fridge…

I was loathe to waste these, so I made up two more recipes from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf.

The first was a variation of his Ale Bread with Wheat Grains – an attractive loaf, although the soaked grains in both cases made the dough very wet. I was concerned it would stick like glue to the banneton, hence the crazy amount of rye flour on the loaf above.

The finished loaf had a soft crumb and pleasant taste, although I think my decision to replace the ale in the recipe with apple cider might have been a bit rash…

. . . . .

The second recipe was an adaptation of Dan’s Alsace Loaf with Rye.

Despite the finished loaves looking like kindling (according to Pete), the bread had a deliciously sweet  flavour, a tender but elastic crumb, and a lovely crunchy crust. It was so good in fact that we struggled to put anything on it – and settled for simply eating it plain.

Here’s my take on Dan’s recipe:

  • 300g soaked mixed grains, well drained (see instructions here)
  • 550g bakers/bread flour
  • 320g water
  • ¾ teaspoon dried yeast
  • 25g honey
  • 150g sourdough starter at 80% hydration (ie. fed at a ratio of 100g flour to 80g water)
  • 1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 25g grapeseed oil

Cooking and soaking grains before adding them to a dough is an old-fashioned breadbaking technique, and one that’s rarely employed by modern day bakeries.

If you’re baking at home though, do give this a go – the grains soften up, and the resultant loaves are delicious, keep well, and don’t destroy your fillings when you bite into them!

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For the longest time, Dan Lepard’s Cobnut Loaf with Honey and Grains has been calling to me from my well-worn copy of The Handmade Loaf.

The problem is, cobnuts aren’t readily available here in Australia.  Hazelnuts are a reasonable substitute, but as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always been too lazy to roast and skin them.

So one of the first things I did with my newly discovered blanched roasted hazelnuts was to give this daisy-shaped loaf a go.  It’s a wet, sticky dough, but the final shaping is quite easy, and can take a reasonably heavy flouring.  I simplified Dan’s methodology a little, but found it still worked well.

As I didn’t have straight rye grains, I used a grain mix that I found in the fridge.   On cooking and soaking, the grains swelled up to several times their starting weight, which meant I had enough for these loaves plus a couple of others (more on those soon).

Here are some photos of the process…

My friend Joanna has baked this recipe several times, in a variety of different shapes – please have a look at her post here.  I can now understand why she finds this bread so appealing!

The hazelnuts and tender, sweet grains are a delicious combination, and the loaf kept surprisingly well – it was still soft after three days on the kitchen bench. I took one loaf to a barbeque, and sliced the other for breakfast – it was a great foil to our poached eggs. Definitely a bread I’ll be baking again!

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This is one of those recipes.

When I was kneading the dough, the texture was so silky and bouncy that I just knew it was going to be most fine.  I was so confident about this that I made another batch while the first was rising!

The recipe comes from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf –  I amended it slightly to use yoghurt and water instead of the specified whey, and the resultant loaves were tangy and delicious as a result.

The dough is made with an interesting mix of flours – Italian 00, maize flour and bakers (bread) flour. The crumb is quite tight and chewy – a young friend pointed out that this would be the perfect bread to have with a cheese fondue, and I think she might be right!

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Waste not, want not…

I had quite a bit of  pickling liquid left over from our last batch of cucumber pickles, and  I was loathe to just throw it out (after all, it was good white wine vinegar and brown sugar).

Thankfully, Dan Lepard dislikes wasting things as much as I do.  In The Handmade Loaf, he offers a selection of recipes for reusing leftovers in various loaves.  Dan has breads which use the whey from cheese making, excess cooked rice, the glass of wine left in the bottle, and best of all on this occasion, leftover pickling liquid.

Dan’s original recipe isn’t really for a sweet pickling solution like the one we used, but I decided to try the loaf anyway.  Here’s the formula I used:

  • 200g dark organic rye flour
  • 300g white bakers/bread flour
  • 350g pickling liquid (strained)
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10g dried yeast

The resultant bread is a sweet, tangy, very dense rye loaf, reminiscent in flavour of the pumpernickel rounds my mum used to serve hors d’œuvres on when I was a child.   It was delicious with butter and, not surprisingly, our cucumber pickles.  Pete also thought it would be excellent with cream cheese.

I had it toasted for breakfast with Linda’s recipe for button squash egg-in-the-nest. The pickle bread made very tasty but unusual dipping soldiers!

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