Cider and rye rolls

I’ve been neglecting my website and its recipes and articles for a while – but for a positive reason. I’ve been concentrating on my family over the summer months, as my twin sons have been back from their respective Universities, making the most of every single minute I can with them. We all need to take time out to reconnect and go offline.

While I’ve been enjoying focusing on my family it’s also afforded me more excuses for cooking and baking as it’s not just me and my husband to feed. So, Although I’ve not got round to adding new recipes in here over the past few weeks, I have been generating a stockpile of recipes and images. I hope to be bringing you a number of new recipes – and a few crafts and other articles – as autumn starts with its potential for mists and mellow fruitfulness (rather than just rain and grey cloudiness which is more the norm).

In order to perfect and test the dough for these rolls I’ve repeatedly made them for our lunches that we’ve taken out when hiking. I’ve mentioned this before but I do try to make each of my recipes a number of times before I add them here. They’re not just for adventurous eating though: they’re really tasty general purpose bread rolls and the dough even makes a great loaf (just bake for another 10 – 15 minutes).

As part of our time together this summer, in between all our working days, we’ve been upping the number of our walks in the nearby Dark and White Peak areas of the Peak District. Occasionally we link a hike to a pub visit but usually we take our own food, so that means an excuse for homemade bread. We like getting out as a family into the countryside and both our sons have had to get using to hiking and rambling with us as they’ve grown up. We’re pleased they’re both now as keen on it as we are (though they have got in to the specialist techy kit for wild camping and hiking more than us). We do rather look like a “Getty Images family” from the front of a hiking magazine when we go out…

Walks this summer have included Mam Tor, the Great Ridge and Cave Dale, Cromford to the Heights of Abraham and High Tor, Hathersage to Stannage Edge, Chatsworth and Birchen Edge and routes that we plan soon are Kinder Scout, Downfall and Low then Lumsdale Falls and Padley Gorge. Although many of these we’ve walked before – there are plenty of Peak District routes that give something new every time you walk them – it’s always great to add new walks to our ‘list’.

Halfway up to the Heights of Abraham path from Cromford (probably around 200ft up at this stage). This overlooks Arkwright’s Cromford Mill and the Derwent river (you can just see the Mill’s chimney and part of the Mill through the trees – a better view of the frontage is in the picture below. This is the world’s first water powered mill built in 1769).
Opposite you can see Giddy Edge – a walk that’s not for the faint hearted as it’s a proper alpine-style ‘via ferrata’ – a cliff edge walk that’s had to have iron railings to hold on to installed.

So, back to the actual bread roll recipe rather than rambling on about rambling…

Using any ancient grain will bring different textures, tastes, smells and structure (or lack of) to your bread. Many, including rye, can be quite strong and overpowering for some who are unfamiliar with anything more exotic than a white loaf with malt flakes added! For me, I think rye has a slightly warm nutty flavour with a little spiciness as an undertone. For this recipe I’ve developed, I’ve used around two thirds third of rye to one third soft wheat. This gives you enough of the taste and colour of a rye bread, provides enough soft wheat to have a good rise (though it will be significantly lower than 100% soft wheat) but is accessible. The addition of the cider gives a delicious, sweet note plus its high sugar content helps feed the yeast and encourage the rise.

Notes

  • Will make eight quarter-pounder sized rolls or you can make up to twelve smaller picnic rolls
  • Also makes a nice loaf – just bake for an additional 10-15 minutes (dependant on shape)

Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Dough whisk (or large fork)
  • Large baking tray
  • Scales – ideally electronic with a tare/zeroing function
  • Dough scraper or large straight bladed knife
  • Linen tea towel or cloth
  • You can use a stand mixer, but also this recipe is good by hand

Ingredients

  • 400g rye flour (I’ve used Craggs and Co, but rye flour is fairly easy to get hold of)
  • 175g strong white bread flour
  • 200ml cider – I used Aspall’s for this but any plain cider or even a perry – to provide a pear version – will do (just don’t use one of those trendy fruit flavoured ciders)
  • 200 ml tepid water
  • 1.5 tablespoons of runny honey
  • 1.5 tablespoons of good quality olive or rapeseed oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons of fine salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons of fast acting dried yeast
  • Plus a little extra white bread flour for your hands and work surface
  • Plus a little extra oil for the bowl

Method

  • In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together into a rough mix, using a dough whisk ideally (as it’s very sticky!) but don’t knead it yet
  • Leave to autolyse for 10 minutes to make the dough easier to work
    [the autolyse process allows three main things to happen: fluid molecules start to seep into the starch and proteins, enzymes (amylase and invertase) in the flour get a head start on breaking down gluten and also protein strands start to alter their shape – all desirable in the bread making process and gives you a head start on kneading without any effort]
  • After giving time for the autolyse process, tip the bread out and knead until the dough is smooth and shiny. This will be about 7-8 minutes by hand. You can alternatively do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook if you prefer. Try not to use much additional flour, but add a little if you find it really is too sticky to work
  • Oil the bowl lightly (many recipes tell you to use a clean oiled bowl, but I find as long as you’ve oiled it makes no difference placing the dough back in the original mixing bowl and saves on washing up!)
  • Round off the dough with your hands and/or a dough scraper and place domed-side up in the bowl. Cover with a linen tea towel
  • Leave to develop and proof for about an hour at a moderate room temperature – because of the rye’s lower gluten content it won’t rise as much as a 100% strong white bread mix
  • Tip out onto a lightly floured surface
  • Flour lightly the bottom of a large baking sheet and have this close to hand
  • Weigh your dough and divide this amount by eight (or more if you want smaller rolls)
  • Each piece of dough should be 1/8th of the dough’s weight – this will be around 125-130g each mark for eight
  • Shape each piece of dough into a ball
  • Place the eight dough balls onto the baking sheet. You can either give them a lot of space or place in two rows of four set about 3cm apart so they slightly touch when baked, giving your the ‘batch roll’ look
  • Cover again with the lined cloth and leave to proof for about 30-40 minutes
  • After 30 minutes put your oven on to 220*C fan / 240*C conventional to heat up
  • The rolls will not have grown or risen that much – most of the rise will occur in your oven
  • When the rolls are ready, place in the oven (ideally placing the baking sheet on the pre-heated baking sheet)
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 190*C fan / 210* conventional and back for a further 16-18 minutes
  • The rolls should sound hollow when tapped
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack (so no softened crusts) before eating
rye and cider rolls recipe - loaf version inksugarspice #baking 3bread #rolls #cider #rye
The cider and rye dough baked into a batard shape, and scored with a leaf pattern

Cider and olive oil crackers

crackers.jpgThere are plenty of crackers on the supermarket shelves to choose from. Go further afield to your local deli and there’ll be packs of posh versions with arty designs and hipster names. But have you ever made your own? They’re incredibly easy, and in an additional stroke of luck, the more ‘rustic’ the shape the more artisan they look.

You know me by now that I normally can’t help twiddling with and artifying my food (whether I need to or not).  Sooo not needed with these: the less bothered you are about how you roll them out, the nicer they are. #Result

I know it seems odd putting cider into crackers, but bear with me. You just get that little apple tang which makes a real difference. I originally thought they’d taste a lot more cider-like, so, during my first try of recipe development, I used a 50:50 cider and water mix. I was disappointed with the weak taste, so went straight in with all-cider with the next bakes. I’m not 100% sure this is true but I have suspicions that the fizziness of the cider actually made them slightly crisper as well as tastier as compared to the first batch. (I wonder if this is akin to the trick of using fizzy mineral water in batter?). I may be deluding myself but it’s difficult in a home kitchen to ensure you can get a perfect comparison.

So, you need a ‘decent’ cider. By that I mean something strong, but please not scrumpy-level and steer clear of flat. It’s not a waste of a good drink – by the time you’ve taken out what you need from a bottle there’s still enough for a glass for the chef. Cheers 🍻

I used my favourite cider, which is Aspall’s Premier Cru, but I also tried one version of the recipe with a fruited cider which came out well, but I suggest that if you do go that route, that the crackers really just suit being pared with cheese or as a bread replacement in a ploughman’s lunch. The plain cider versions go great with cheeses and dips of almost any kind. Try my roasted pesto butternut squash dip with them.

Notes

These crackers won’t fit on less than three baking trays, so if you’ve got a large oven, great, but if not you’ll need to bake them in batches. If you use the same baking tray for each batch, the baking tray will still be warm from the first batch so reduce the cooking time by 1 minute for subsequent batches. This is because the crackers will start cooking as soon as they are laid on the hot sheet as they are so thin.

I made this recipe and the roasted pesto butternut squash dip recipe together, so they are a lovely pairing, although either recipe works on its own.

Notes

Makes 16, made to about 25 cm (about 8 inches) long and about 4 cm (3 1/2 inches) at the widest part.

About 20 minutes preparation and 9-10 minutes cooking time per batch (you may get all done at once if you have a big oven: I did mine in two batches)

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Measuring jug
  • Rolling pin
  • Large baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper or baking parchment
  • Pastry brush

Ingredients

  • Plain flour – 225g
  • Cider – 105 ml (please note that your may need a little more if your flour has a high protein content)
  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoons (you don’t actually need Extra Virgin for this, though you can use it. My preference is to use something more moderate in taste and lighter in colour like the Classic or the Organic Olive Oils that Filippo Berio makes
  • Salt, fine – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Mustard powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Smoked paprika – 3/4 teaspoon
  • Onion granules – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black pepper – several turns of a pepper mill

 

  • Additional rock salt or crystal salt for sprinkling – about 1 teaspoon
  • Additional olive oil for drizzling

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 210 ºC / 230 ºC conventional
  2. Weight out the flour, fine salt, mustard powder, smoked paprika, onion ganules and black pepper into a bowl
  3. Gently pour in the cider (if you tip it in it will really fizz) and start to bring the dough together with your fingers or a table knife
  4. Once the dough is starting to form, add the olive oil and bring the dough together with your fingers and the heel of your hand, picking up all the flour from the bowl as you go
  5. Tip out onto a clean surface and knead until the dough has come together in a ball, which should only take a minute or so. Don’t over knead
  6. Prepare your baking trays by lining with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and brush a little olive oil over the paper
  7. Cut the dough into 16 equal sized pieces (the easiest way to do this is by cutting it like pizza slices)
  8. Lightly flour your work surface and roll each piece of dough out lengthways. No need to turn the dough or roll it from side to side, as you want to produce a long, lanky cracker
  9. Each rolled out strip should be as thin as possible – around 2mm thick and be around 25 cm long
  10. Place each strip on the prepared baking sheet as you make it and roll out the rest of the strips
  11. Brush a little more olive oil over each strip of dough and sprinkle over the rock salt
  12. Bake each batch in the oven for 7 minutes, take out and flip crackers over on to their other sides, then bake for 2 minutes more
  13. Leave to cool, and they can be stored in an airtight container for about a week

Olive-oil-crackers-2

 

Spiced apple cake

applecake2-copy
An absolute gem of a cake this one, I often fall back on this recipe if I need to bake a gift or take in something to share to my office.

I have a condition (won’t bore you with the details) that means sometimes I cannot sleep as it gets a bit ouchy. I can frequently be found in my kitchen very early doors, baking, as what on earth else do you do at 5 am without waking everyone else up. This last iteration of this cake was made just this morning for that reason – up and about early and better off being active. If the pain wakes me I do usually bake, or I might do some yoga. Or yoga while waiting for the bake in the oven. Or just yoga while eating cake. Or if I’m really knackered, in pain and fed up with it all, standing in front of the fridge drinking milk from the bottle (sorry family) and mainlining that cake.

applecake1.jpg

Notes

I have also used this as a base recipe and adapted it according to what flavours I want or what fruit I have to hand – pears, peaches, raspberries, oranges etc. But I’ve made this particular spiced apple version many times, so much so it’s actually lodged in my head and I don’t need to refer to my recipe notes. It’s easy, has a great flavour and is generally rather lovely – so I thought I’d jot it down and share in its own right.

Typically for me it’s also on the small side. If you’ve read any my profile page or other blog posts you know that while I love to bake I am conscientious about trying to maintain healthy family eating overall. Often my bakes are in small batches so they are a small treat rather than a regular calorific, sugary indulgence. A little of what you fancy… as the saying goes.

I also made this cake, this time in a panibois (a reusable wooden baking form, which takes disposable/recyclable paper inserts). There are many online baking suppliers that sell these. You can make this in any small cake tin instead though – equivalent to about a 15 cm / 6″ round tin.

Also for this cake I normally ignore my electric hand mixer/stand mixer and do it all by wooden spoon. Honestly. It literally takes about 10 minutes to prepare and be ready for the oven, but you can easily choose to use your gadgets if you prefer. (Also turning the mixer on at 5am would be a bit rude by me).

Equipment

  • Panibois wood form and one paper insert – or a prepped/lined 15cm round cake tin
  • Knife (and apple corer if you have one)
  • Large bowl
  • Wooden spoon and balloon whisk – or alternatively you can use a hand electric whisk or stand mixer
  • small bowl with water and a drizzle of lemon juice (just to keep the apples from discolouring only)

Ingredients

  • Eggs, large – two
  • Plain flour – 180g
  • Baking powder – 1 3/4 tsp
  • Golden caster sugar – 170g
  • Unsalted butter – 170g (or 50:50 butter and margarine, but never just all margarine!)
  • Ground cinnamon – 1 tsp
  • Ground allspice – 1/2 tsp
  • Calvados or cider – 1 tablespoon
  • Squeeze of maple syrup (about 2 tspns)
  • Small tart apples, 2 – 3 – I used Cox, but any equivalent would do. James Grieve variety would be ideal if you could get hold of them
  • For the topping:
  • Demerara sugar  – about 2 tablespoons
  • Flaked almonds – a “handful” (that’s about 50g)

Method

  1. Put the oven on to 180 C fan / 190 conventional
  2. Core the apples (whether you peel them is up to your preference). Slice half of one apple for the top
  3. Cut up the rest of the apples into medium diced cubes
  4. Pop all the apples into the lemon water to stop them going a nasty brown/oxidising until needed
  5. Make sure the butter is at room temperature and easy to beat, but not at all runny (this would alter the cake and cause it to fail as a bake)
  6. Weigh out the butter and the sugar in the same bowl and beat together until incorporated and smooth
  7. Dry the apple
  8. Add in the spices, half the butter and one egg and beat
  9. When that’s mixed nicely, add in the rest of the flour, the last egg and the calvados or cider and the diced apple (reserve the slices for the top)
  10. Tip this mix into the panibois paper or your prepped cake tin and smooth over
  11. Arrange the sliced apple on the top of the cake mix, then sprinkle over the demerara and then the sliced almonds
  12. Bake for 40 mins in the middle of the oven, but I test the cake with a skewer after 35
  13. Can be served warm as a dessert with toffee sauce or ice cream (Mmmm!), as well as leaving to cool and slicing up as a delicious cake