No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Fruit braid

200g (or 1 mug) strong white flour
2 dessertspoons sugar
125ml (or 1/3rd mug) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon yeast (any sort)
2 tablepoons olive oil

For the filling:
1 large or two medium Bramley apples, diced
100g (1/2 mug) sultanas
2 dessertspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix the fruit, sugar and spice together

Glaze: Make a glaze with a teaspoon of sugar and a dessertspoon of hot water.

  1. Measure the water and stir in the fresh yeast. Place the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, then add the olive oil. 
  2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with a knife, cutting through the dough as it forms. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use your hand to squeeze the mixture together. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water to keep it soft! When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead. 
  3. Knead by flattening the dough out, folding it over and flattening it again. If the dough is too sticky, instead of putting extra flour on your worktop, place some in the bowl, put the dough back in and turn it round to coat it all over. That way you keep the flour under control and you won’t be tempted to add too much. Knead until the dough becomes smooth – and then stop before you get fed up!
  4. Shape the dough into a round and roll it out into a 25cm square, roughly. 
  5. Spread the filling down the middle of the square– and cut each side cut into strips. Fold the top and bottom of the bread over the filling, then braid the strips over the top of the fruit. 
  6. Leave to rise until the dough has grown puffy, then bake for 15 minutes at 220C (425F, gas mark 7). Check by lifting the edge of the braid with a palette knife - the bottom should be browning. Brush with the sugar glaze.
  7. Either eat straight away with cream, custard or ice-cream, or wait until it is cold and slice and eat as a cake. 
Make this as a sweet focaccia – roll the dough out into a circle about 20cm across and spread with the topping.

These breads in the picture were made by my special needs students - with a little help from me.

[Note: I hate blogging! In the draft this recipe has no spaces between the title and the text, and  each step is numbered - no idea where the flowers came from!:(]

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