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Great British Bread

March 25, 2012

This week, possibly in honour of the jubilee, possibly in honour of the approaching Olympics, or possibly just because Wayne wanted to, we celebrated traditional British breads. 

We started on Wednesday by making white oven bottom breads. These were shaped into cottage loaves, bloomers, plaits and batched bloomers in an attempt to make them slightly more exciting. We also topped them with seeds and tiger paste. After the first few plain ones we started to get a bit creative with some of the topping patterns.We also made wholemeal loaves and malt and seed loaf.


Two tone loaf


Plaited loaf


Batched bloomers


We also had to prepare for Thursday as all the breads we were making required sponges and/or soakers. We made stottie cakes which are something we have made before but this time as well as shaping the dough into the traditional flat disc shapes, we also shaped them into rounded tins and bloomers. The stottie dough was not too different from the dough we used for the white oven bottom breads, the main differences being the addition of ale to the oven bottom breads and slightly more fat in the stottie dough (it turns out that British bakers traditionally like to put fat in pretty much all their loaves).

Stottie loaves and honey sunflower seed bread


After getting the white bread out of the way we moved onto beer barm loaf, which was an incredibly slow mover and took around 5hours to bulk ferment before being retarded overnight and brought out to prove for a few more hours at ambiant temperatures the next day.

A selection of loaves in various shapes and sizes

Next came a sunflower honey loaf and finally a malty fruit loaf. The malty fruit loaf was really dark and rich, containing three different types of malt and black treacle. For me the smell of the dough was quite off putting as I am not particularly keen on treacle but I have to say that the finished product was actually really nice and the treacle was no way near as strong as the smell of the dough had suggested.

Fruity Malt Loaf

Friday was another Freestyle Friday and we were allowed to bake whatever we wanted as long as it was based on a traditional British product. I chose to make crumpets as they are something I have wanted to try to make for quite a while. To give it a bit of a twist I decided to make them with a sourdough, and made one batch plain and one with cheese. The plain crumpets didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked but I was just getting the hang of it and the cheese crumpets turned out much better and they all tasted really quite delicious. They are definitely something I would like to make again to perfect.

Cheesy crumpets

Since the crumpet batter took a while to prove I decided to make some scones whilst I was waiting. I used the mineral water and thick cream method as I think it gives the moistest scones and is also incredibly easy. This time I flavoured the water with elderflower. The taste was very subtle but the colour was quite impressive, they were almost a greeny gold.

Elderflower scones

Special mentions on Freestyle Friday have to got to Martha’s Simnel doughnuts which had a fruity dough and were filled with marzipan custard and Catherine’s white chocolate and freeze-dried raspberry English Muffins, both of which were unbelievably good.


Simnel doughnuts



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