Monday, 13 September 2010

Bread, Jam and Autumn Sunshine

I love making bread and tend to make it every couple of days at least, as we seem to eat a lot of it in our house. I tend to vary the flours, the flavours and the shapes I make so we don’t get bored! This weekend, it was a wholemeal loaf with raisins and walnuts. This is such a versatile bread-it’s equally gorgeous with cheese or with jam and my favourite way to eat it is toasted the day after, like a teacake, with lots of butter. You can easily vary it too if you don't like nuts by adding in some chopped dried prunes or figs. The recipe for this one is set out at the end.

We went to the local food market this weekend and bought punnets and punnets of the most deliciously sweet tiny strawberries. Whenever I see summer fruit at the market, I feel like I should buy it in huge quantities and enjoy it, just to try to prolong Summer, which often seems so fleeting here. So, after bowls and bowls of just strawberries and double cream, we still had pounds and pounds left and my mind turned to jam making. I’ve made quite a few different batches this summer already but I  remembered that I still had a stash of blackcurrants and redcurrants from the garden in the freezer so I made a summer pudding-ish mix. I’ve hidden it away at the back of the cupboard for now, so it’s ready to give some summer colour to our autumn breakfasts.

Raisin and Walnut Bread

500g strong Brown flour (sifted)
200g strong White flour (sifted)
200g raisins
100g chopped walnuts
1 level tablespoon salt
2x7g sachets of fast action yeast
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
400 ml warm water
1 egg


1) pour 200ml of the warm water into a jug and add the brown sugar. Stir the sugar to dissolve it then add the yeast and leave it to froth up;
2) add the flours, salt, walnuts and raisins to a large bowl and mix together. Make a well in the centre then add the yeast and water mix and mix together- I like to do this with a metal tablespoon at first. Add the rest of the water in stages (I find that some days you may need all of the water and others you won’t, so don’t worry if this happens), starting to mix the dough with your hands so that you can feel how wet the dough is and whether it needs any more water. The dough should not feel too sticky but it should be soft;
3) transfer the dough to a flat work surface and knead it for 10 minutes so that it is springy and elastic;
4) leave the dough to prove in the original mixing bowl covered with cling film or a tea towel in a warm place;
5) once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out and knead it for about 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a round (or any shape you like) and transfer onto a greased and floured tin. Leave the dough to rise again for about 30 minutes in a warm place;
6) once the dough has proved, whisk the egg and brush it over the top of the loaf (to give a golden crust);
6) preheat oven to 230c, and bake for 35-40 mins or until the bread feels hollow when the base is tapped. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (if you can resist not trying a slice straight away with butter!)

Scarlett x


  1. Your bread looks delicious. I'd planned to have a go at making strawberry jam (for the first time) but have ended up with some jars of plum jam. Better than nothing, I guess!

  2. These slices of bread with butter and jam are just the perfect way to start the day, yum !