Buttered Miso + Sesame Milk Bread

 Prep Time : 15+ 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 40 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! Bread is on the agenda today. A salty buttery pull-apart situation. I am in love with miso at the moment. Specifically Urban Hippie miso from Nelson. I had tried a few different ones before and was never that enthused. Partly because I was younger but also because some are just not as good as others. I have been putting it in salad dressing and caramel. Brushing it on grilled chicken. Spreading it on toast with butter. That last is how we ended up here. It’s like a loaf of pre-made buttery miso on toast. With a little sesame for bitter balance. Sesame and miso are best friends. I couldn’t keep them apart. This is a simple milk based bread that is put together in a way that looks fancy. We are basically cutting out squares and stacking them together. Easy peasy. We’re all about minimal effort for maximum effect.

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Grape + Black Pepper Focaccia

 Prep Time : 15 + 10 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! Can’t go too long without a bread recipe for you. Don’t want you to feel strangely empty or anything. A dose of carbs will sort it out. Today we are mixing sweet and savoury. Which you know I’m a fan of. Chewy golden bread studded with sweet roasted grapes. Sticky juice trickling out. Balanced with flaky salt and cracked pepper. Use the best grapes you can. These mini focaccia are delicious with regular supermarket grapes but if you can get your hands on more flavourful varieties it will change the game. In NZ there is a short season for NZ grown grapes that have a tonne of flavour so keep an eye out at your fruit market over the next month. In the meantime let’s get out bread on. This is a genuinely easy recipe. The dough doesn’t even leave the bowl until it’s time to divide it up and shape the breads. In this weather the dough will rise quickly so it won’t even take very long. No excuses.

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Overnight Saision Baguettes

 Prep Time : 5 + 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : Overnight | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! We are just gonna jump in at the deep end. I couldn’t wait to share this with you. It’s so fabulous. And I know you can make a baguette even if it seems out of reach. Have faith. We are using some rye flour to give these baguettes flavour. We are also using special yeast. One of my experiments of the last little while has been using different strains of brewing yeast to see if it makes a difference. Well it does. It makes a delicious difference. For this recipe we are using Saison. A yeast for making fruit-forward french style beers. Totally appropriate. Any shop that sells supplies for home brewing will have small packets of different yeasts, usually in a chiller. It is a bit more expensive than regular baking yeast but we only need a teeny amount. That 1/4 teaspoon packs a big flavour punch though. If you can’t get your hands on it you can use the same amount of regular yeast and your baguettes will still be amazing. They’ll just have less hipster street cred. There’s five minutes work before bed then the active and passive time is spread over about 3 hours in the morning. There are a lot of pictures below but they’re there to help. Let’s jump in – it’s easier than you think!

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Five Seed Wholemeal Sandwich Bread

 Prep Time : 20 + 10 Minutes | Cook Time : 40 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! It’s important to have a plan for your leftovers. Even if that plan is just to make sandwiches. This flavourful bread is packed with seeds and makes the best sandwiches! Make it on Boxing Day morning or make it ahead of time and pop it in the freezer already sliced. Then pile it up with ham and pickles and cheese and leftover salad and all the good things. Heck keep making this bread during the year for school lunches. Nice things aren’t just for Christmas. This dough comes together quickly and easily with a bit of squelchy fun adding some butter. Butter makes everything better. It makes the crumb soft and pillowy. We are using a bit less than half wholemeal flour in this loaf to keep a soft texture while still getting a good amount of wholemeal goodness. The dough will feel a bit stiff and you’ll need to put some muscle into the kneading but it will get easier when you add the butter.

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Nan-E Babari

 Prep Time : 20 + 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! We need options. Snack options. Bread options. This flatbread has an amazing crust that uses a special trick. And it looks striking and fabulous. Perfect for the holidays. It’s delicious and provides the perfect opportunity for a humble-brag… Shut down the snarks with your prowess and knowledge. And make the perfect accompaniment to a meal. All in one go. Efficiency is key at this time of year. If you’re hosting make a couple of these a few days ahead and refresh them in a hot oven for 10 minutes when they’re thawed. Or turn up at Christmas lunch with a warm fabulous contribution that smells like heaven. The key to the fabulous colour and chewy crust is a roux-like paste called roomal that is spread onto the dough before baking. It will change your life. To make this dough easier to handle and bake at home and still get great results I have reduced the amount of water from the original recipe. Feel free to experiment with adding more water if you are a confident bread baker. To make more loaves just scale up. A little bit of math never hurt anyone…

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Christmas Gifts for the Bread Baker

Hello my lovelies! Who knew I’d be handing out advice on gifts. I’m fairly careful to make sure that I clearly signal any food related gifts that I actually want or need. I have been given some terrible cookbooks by well-meaning folks in the past. So this advice is to be used in conjunction with a little snooping or subtle questioning to make sure you’re on the right track and not doubling up on items already owned. These are all things that I use regularly and love and recommend for good bread baking at home. They vary in spendy-ness so there is something for everyone in there. To be fair I don’t yet own the last item. But I’ll take donations… Or obviously put this list out as a hint if you are after some great tools to help with your bread making! The estimated prices are in NZD. These are all things that can be picked up in stores or online (with the exception of the second hand books which need a bit of online digging).

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