Rosemary and Sage Bread

This week I attended a sweetened dough bread-making class with Blackbird Bread in Twickenham. We made croissants, St. Lucia buns and cardamom and cinnamon rolls. It was three hours of mixing, kneading, shaping and baking, which was great fun and I will be writing a post about it soon.

Rosemary and Sage Bread

In the meantime, going to the class reminded me how much I enjoy making bread, so the idea for this bread was born. Last weekend, I was given a big bunch of rosemary clippings by some ladies who were clipping back a large rosemary hedge by the river, and I still have some left. I decided to use both rosemary and sage in the bread, as I thought this would be tasty in a loaf to be served on the side with our evening meal.

Rosemary and Sage Bread

Recipe:

  • 225 g strong bread flour
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp easy-bake yeast
  • 27 g unsalted butter
  • 60 ml boiling water
  • 60 ml milk
  • One egg
  • 1-2 tsp dried sage
  • Two to three large sprigs of fresh rosemary

Method:

  1. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other.
  2. Rub in the butter roughly then add half the egg. Keep the rest for egg wash before baking.
  3. Add the milk and water and mix until the dough forms a ball.
  4. Knead the dough for ten minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Add the sage and most of the rosemary during kneading,
  5. Place the dough in a bowl covered in clingfilm to prove for 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. When the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and press it all over with your fingers to knock it back.
  7. Split the dough into three using a dough scraper and form each piece into a long sausage shape.
  8. Press one end together, plait the three pieces together, then coil the plait into a circle shape. Press the ends in.
  9. Place the coiled plait on an oiled baking tray to rise for another 45 minutes.
    Rosemary and Sage Bread
  10. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and place a deep baking tray at the bottom of the oven. Boil your kettle.
  11. Brush the bread with the egg wash, sprinkle with the rest of the rosemary leaves, a little dried sage and some coarse sea salt.  Rosemary and Sage Bread
  12. Put the tray in the oven and pour freshly boiled water from the kettle into the baking tray at the bottom of the oven to create steam. Shut the door quickly.
  13. Bake for ten minutes, then turn the baking tray around and bake for another ten to fifteen minutes until the bread is golden brown and the base sounds hollow when tapped.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Great served with salads for lunch or on the side of a main meal.

For more bread ideas, take a look at these from some fellow food bloggers:

I’m looking this recipe up with the Bready Steady Go challenge from Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food For Families and Jen from Jen’s Food. The theme this month is bread for bits, and I used sage and rosemary in my bread.

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Slow Cooker Zebra-Striped Vanilla and Chocolate Cake

As it is World Baking Day I baked a cake this evening after a busy day out. My favourite flavours are currently vanilla and chocolate, so I decided to try baking a chocolate and vanilla zebra-striped cake in the slow cooker. You’ve probably seen zebra cakes before, they are everywhere, with videos showing how to make them doing the rounds on Facebook.

Slow Cooker Zebra-Striped Vanilla and Chocolate Cake

Why not see if they work in the slow cooker I thought?! I wasn’t sure it would work because cakes don’t rise as quickly in the slow cooker as in the oven, and I thought this might mean the stripes could lose definition. Happily it worked well!

Slow Cooker Zebra-Striped Cake
I was amazed to see that the stripe effect worked even in a slow cooker. Simply spooning the different colours on top of each other creates this great pattern.

Slow Cooker Zebra-Striped Vanilla and Chocolate Cake   

I’ve adapted this recipe from a recipe from BBC Food for zebra cake. The key, from the videos I’ve seen, seems to be using a runny cake batter containing oil and milk so it can be spooned, piped or poured quickly into the case using the vanilla and chocolate mixture alternately. I used my round, 3.5 litre slow cooker to make this cake. So if you are using a bigger one, you might want to amend the quantities.

Recipe:

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 175 g golden caster sugar
  • 100 ml milk
  • 175 ml oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 350 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 25 g cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Place the eggs, sugar, oil and milk in a large bowl, and mix until smooth using a handheld mixer (I use a K-Mix).
  2. Fold in half the flour and mix until combined.
  3. Pour half the mixture into a second bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste or extract, half of the remaining flour and half the baking powder and stir it in.
  4. To the first bowl, add the cocoa powder, rest of the flour and the rest of the baking powder. Stir until combined.
  5. Line your slow cooker either with baking paper or a large cake case (I use two cakes cases to add an extra layer of protection for the sides of the cake).
  6. Using two dessert spoons, spoon in first a large spoonful of the vanilla cake mixture, followed by a large spoonful of the chocolate cake mixture directly on top of it. Keep repeating until you have used all the cake mixture from each bowl.
  7. Turn your slow cooker onto high, place a clean tea towel under the lid (fold up the sides so it doesn’t hang down) and put the lid on. Bake for approximately 1.5 hrs on high, or until a skewer or cake tester comes out clean from the deepest part of the cake. Watch out for burning, if you think it might be burning, rotate the bowl inside the slow cooker and/or turn to low for the rest of the time.

I’m linking this recipe up with #CookBlogShare which is guest-hosted by Angela from Patisserie Makes Perfect this fortnight on behalf of Lucy from Supergolden Bakes.

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I’m also linking up with We Should Cocoa from Choclette from Tin and Thyme, which is hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage this month. The theme for May is vanilla and chocolate.

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