Christmas breadstick stars

A play on my traditional grissini, tweaked into a festive shape and covered with any toppings you choose, though here I have used hemp seeds, poppy seeds and parmesan.

Notes

Use a fine milled flour, an 00 grade if possible such as Murino Molina from Bakery Bits (which is what I used here) or plain white flour or bread flour for brioche. At a pinch, any strong white bread flour will work if you can’t get a fine flour, but it won’t give you the ultimate crisp snap of a proper grissino.

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Stand mixer with dough hook attachment – if not kneading by hand
  • Pizza cutter, bread scraper or long sharp knife (non-serrated)
  • Baking trays, lined
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush

Ingredients

  • 300g tipo 00, fine plain or other white flour (see notes above)
  • 4 g fast acting dried yeast
  • 2/3 teaspoon of fine salt
  • 4-5 turns of a pepper mill
  • 15mg olive oil
  • 195g tepid water
  • Added ingredients of your choice, but I used:
    • poppy seeds (1-2 tablespoons)
    • hemp seeds (1-2 tablespoons)
    • grated parmesan (about 10g)
  • An egg, whisked and used as a wash
  • Additional flour, for dusting the surface as required

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together into a scruffy mess and leave for 10 minutes
  2. Tip out and knead for 8 – 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and glossy or mix it in your stand mixer
  3. Leave the dough to rest in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a tea towel or cling film until about doubled in size (if using continental flour it is likely to just rise by about another 50% instead). This could be anything between 30 – 90 minutes depending on the ambient temperature
  4. In the meantime, grate the parmesan and ready your seeds/flavourings
  5. When the dough is ready, lightly flour a surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into as precise a rectangle as possible (any wobbly sides will need to be trimmed off)
  6. Cut strips from the dough, each about 1 cm thick – cut along the short edge
  7. Have the paper-lined baking sheets to hand
  8. Roll each of the strips lightly, so they form tubes rather than ribbons. Try not to stretch them too much (it will be easy to roll them on a less floured surface)
  9. Form a five pointed star with each strip of dough and pinch the two edges together at an end point:

    #breadstick #star #inksugarspice
  10. Complete stars with all the dough
  11. Cover and leave to rise again – for about 20-30 minutes until puffed up (they probably won’t double in size)
  12. Set the oven on to 200C fan / 220C conventional
  13. Paint an egg wash on each of the dough stars and sprinkle (or grate!) your favoured toppings on. I did a third of the stars in poppy seeds, a third in hemp seeds and the final third with grated parmesan
  14. Bake for about 17-18 minutes until a nice golden colour (under the toppings)
  15. Turn off the oven and leave for a further 5 minutes so they are crisp with a nice ‘snap’ when cooled and ready to eat
  16. Wonderful dipped in a little butter, hummus, salsa or to scoop up fondue or baked camembert
breadstick stars Christmas recipe by Inksugarspice

Daisy loaf

A fluffy, olive-oil enriched loaf with a fun design. Actually a great loaf to bake with children as they love the shape and love dunking the dough in the grains. Easy to make and can be used as tear-and-share rolls or a large loaf to be sliced up.

Notes – toppings

Many grains can be used for this bread. In my own example (see all the photos) I used: a seed mix; linseeds; black sesame seeds; seaweed flakes, and; malted oat flakes.

Other suggestions are: onion seeds, nigella seeds, rolled oats, white sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, pinenuts, finely chopped mixed nuts, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, garlic flakes, onion, cheese, herbs etc.

Notes – number of petals

Divide your dough up in to at least SEVEN equal pieces to get a daisy shape (that’s one in the middle and six petals). If you chose to make many petals, such as nine or more do make the middle dough ball larger than the others to keep the ‘look’ of the bread.

Equipment

  • Large 25cm (approx) diameter circular bread tin, or springform cake tin (If you don’t have any of these just use a baking tray and lay it out on that)
  • Large bowl
  • Knife or bread blade
  • Small flat bowls or plates for each grain type
  • Pastry brush
  • Scales and measuring jug
  • Baking parchment

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons of a quality olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of fine salt
  • A few turns of a pepper mill
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of dried yeast
  • 340ml of water
  • Additional flour for dusting
  • 20g each of three or four grain types (see notes above*)

Method

Kneading by hand

  • Mix all the ingredients together – except for the grains – in the large bowl and leave for 10 minutes
  • Knead until the dough feels elastic and the surface is smooth and shiny: about 10 minutes

Kneading with a stand mixer (or mix setting on a bread machine)

  • Place all the ingredients in the mixer bowl – except for the grains
  • Mix at a low-medium speed for 8-9 minutes until the dough is smooth and shiny
  • Place a cover (tea towel, sling film etc) over the bowl and leave to rise for around about an hour
  • Meantime, prep your tin/tray: tins and trays need lining with baking paper
  • Dust some flour over your working surface and tip out the dough gently
  • Knock back and fold in half
  • Weigh your dough now and work out (even if only roughly) what that amount is divided by seven or eight (or however many ‘petals’ you want: see the notes above)
  • Divide the dough and, using your hands in a gently scooping motion, shape each piece of dough into a round
  • Tip out the grains you’ve chosen onto separate plates
  • Brush the top of one dough ball with a little water and then invert it onto one of the grains to cover the top. Place the dough ball plain side down in the centre of your tin//tray (ie ensuring the grains are on the top). Placing the first piece of dough in the centre helps you arrange the rest of the ‘petals’
  • Repeat the process of wetting and pressing into grains for each of the other dough balls in turn, placing them around the centre dough, so making a daisy shape. It does look nicer if there aren’t any two dough balls next to each other with the same grain, but it really doesn’t matter.
  • Cover the bread and leave to proof again for about 45-60 minutes
  • Just before you think the bread is risen enough bring your oven up to temperature: 210C fan / 230C conventional / 450F
  • Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes
  • Do leave to cool on a wire cooling rack so that it doesn’t get a soggy bottom
  • The loaf can be ripped apart into separate dinner rolls, or sliced as a ‘normal’ loaf

Malt grain and multi seed tin sandwich loaf

sixgrainSeedBread2

 

There are two versions of this recipe: one if you can get hold of malted wheat flakes (I use those from Bakery Bits) or a second if you can’t get malt flakes but can find Hovis flour (I’ve purchased this from TESCO and Waitrose).

Hovis is a patented product and registered trademark as they invented the method to prepare this flour. I love the name – it’s a concatenated version of Hominis Vis, Latin for the ‘strength of man’ and the name came about from a national competition. I can’t claim to be very knowledgeable or clever about this – I think I may have heard it on QI or something similar!? So, no brains but can bake a loaf and watch panel shows 😉

I’ve added extra sugars as I did find this amount of seed retarded the loaf a little (though I don’t supposed anyone else other than yourself will notice!) for the yeast to feed on, thus increasing its vigour and improving aeration.

Fits in a typical loaf/sandwich pan

Can also be hand shaped and left to raise

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Scraper
  • Sandwich tin (a large bread version – not for sponge cakes)
  • Linen tea towel, cling film or clean plastic bag
  • baking tray

Ingredients for recipe version one: with separate malt grains

  • Strong white bread flour – 600g
  • Dried, fast acting yeast – 10g
  • Fine sea salt – 7g
  • Granulated sugar – 10g
  • Unsalted butter – 1 tablespoon
  • Water (just tepid) – 350ml
  • Malt flakes – 50g
  • Additional seeds: 20g each of dark linseeds, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds (100g seeds in total)

Ingredients for recipe version two: with Hovis flour

  • Strong white bread flour – 300g
  • Hovis bread flour – 300g
  • Dried, fast acting yeast – 10g
  • Fine sea salt – 7g
  • Granulated sugar – 10g
  • Unsalted butter – 1 tablespoon
  • Water (just tepid) – 350ml
  • Additional seeds: 20g each of dark linseeds, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds (100g seeds in total)

Additional ingredients – both recipes

  • A little extra flour for dusting
  • A little oil for the tin
  • Extra seeds for the top of the loaf (optional)
  • Boil a kettle up with a little water

Method – for either recipe version

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the seeds together in a large bowl – I prefer to use a table knife for this process, though you may like to use fingers, a flexible dough scraper or a dough hook on your machine. It will form a very rough-looking sticky mess. This is fine
  2. Leave for ten minutes
  3. Tip out on to a clean surface and use your dough scraper to get all of the residue out. Have your flour and scraper handy
  4. Knead the dough until the surface becomes silky and smooth – this will be about 10 – 12 minutes
  5. If – and only if – the dough is far to sticky to work with, dust a little flour on to the table. Otherwise you should persevere with kneading the dough without adding any more flour (this actually will change the ratio of flour to liquid and other ingredients so it’s best not to dust if you can). It should eventually start to come together without the flour and you can use your scraper from time to time to ensure all the dough is getting kneaded by scraping along the surface
  6. When the dough starts to come together, add in the seeds and knead until they are distributed.
  7. Dust the bowl with flour to prevent it sticking (if you have not managed to take the dough out without leaving a lot behind, you may want to use a clean bowl)
  8. Roll the dough up into a dome and place in the floured bowl
  9. Cover the bowl either with the tea towel/cloth or cling film (or if you have one a cheap shower cap is ace for this) or a plastic bag
  10. Leave to rise somewhere that isn’t cold until the dough looks like it’s about twice the height it was before. This could be anywhere from 50 minutes to three hours depending on how cold a space you have)
  11. Lightly oil the loaf tin
  12. Flour your baking stone or thick baking tray and put it in the bottom of your oven
  13. Lightly flour the counter you’re working on and the baking tray or peel
  14. Tip out the risen dough gently into the middle of the flour on the counter and press down gently with your finger tips all over to knock back the dough. Don’t be too vigorous – a lot of issues with bread are when the knocking back is too fierce
  15. Fold the dough over on itself from one side then the other and then fold the ends in
  16. Pinch the loose edges together to get them to ‘stick’
  17. Shape into a fat, rounded oblong that will fill up most of the bottom of the tin
  18. Cover again
  19. Leave for the second proof – roughly an hour depending on the temperature. It will be ready when and it springs back into shape if you press it gently with the pad of a finger
  20. Just before your loaf looks ready, start to heat your oven to 220C fan / 230C conventional – and put the baking tray in the bottom of the oven
  21. Boil the kettle
  22. When the bread and the oven are both ready (be lead by your dough! Don’t just put it in because your oven has reached temperature) you can lightly water the top of the loaf and sprinkle on a few seeds if you want or you could make a long slash down the loaf for a split tin effect
  23. Transfer the loaf to the oven
  24. Pour some water out of the kettle into the tray at the bottom of the oven
  25. Shut the door and set the timer for 10 minutes
  26. After 10 minutes, turn the temperature down to 180C fan/190C conventional and bake for another 25 minutes
  27. The bread should be nicely dark (though not burnt)
  28. Tip out as soon as you can
  29. Test the loaf’s ‘doneness’ by tapping the bottom of it – it should sound hollow
  30. If it’s not done yet or it isn’t as brown as you’d like put it back in the oven (without the tin) for another 5 – 10 minutes
  31. Leave to cool on a wire rack or something else that will allow airflow to the bottom of the loaf or the evaporated moisture that comes off a new loaf will gather and cause a soggy bottom (yes, this problem isn’t just confined to pastry!)

Grissini – flavoured with parmesan, olives or four seed mix

grissiniGrissini, or breadsticks, are a lovely accompaniment to a meal instead of a dinner roll and are a great party snack with dips or fondue but equally I just like snacking on them as they are.

These are happily light years away from those terrible, prepacked breadsticks that supermarkets sell (you may think the supermarket ones are alright, but you’ll change your mind after making your own. Warning: once you’ve made your own grissini you can’t go back). Plus the extra good news is they are very easy to make, you can flavour them with anything you have in the fridge or cupboard (or leave them plain) and they benefit from looking a little ‘rustic’ and homemade!

Notes

I used a tablespoon each of two different oils – a normal olive oil and a chilli oil. However, you can just use two tablespoons of the same oil.

French flour used for the grissini was from Wessex Mill but also see something like the Soffiato flour from Bakery Bits). Any other fine milled (look for ’00’ grade flour for ciabatta and brioche) will do just as well. However, if you don’t have extra fine flour and don’t want to buy it you can use any extra strong plain bread flour, such as from Allinson – this will result in grissini that are less crisp (but you won’t be able to tell if you have not tried grissini with continental flour to compare it to!).

Equipment
  • Large bowl
  • Stand mixer with dough hook attachment – if not kneading by hand
  • Pizza cutter or long sharp knife (non-serrated)
  • Baking trays
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush
Ingredients
  • French/continental bread flour or strong plain flour – 225g
  • Fast acting yeast – 5g (or equivalent 17g of fresh yeast)
  • Salt – a teaspoon
  • Olive oil, plain – 1 tablespoon
  • Olive oil, flavoured with chilli and garlic – 1 tablespoon
  • Water, just tepid – 135 ml
  • Added ingredients:
    • Olives, stoned – about 5-6 of your favourite olives (I used black olives)
    • A mix of linseeds, sesame seeds, black onion seeds and poppy seeds – about a teaspoon and a half of each
    • Grated parmesan – about 10g
  • Rock salt – a few pinches
Method
  1. Mix all the ingredients together into a scruffy mess and leave for 10 minutes
  2. Tip out and knead for 8 – 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and glossy or in your stand mixer if using
  3. Leave the dough to rest in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a tea towel or cling film until about doubled in size (if using continental flour it is likely to just rise by about another 50% instead). This could be anything between 30 – 90 minutes depending on the ambient temperature
  4. In the meantime, chop up the olives, grate the parmesan and ready your seeds and flavourings
  5. When the dough is ready, lightly flour a surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into as precise a rectangle as possible (any wobbly sides will need to be trimmed off)
  6. Use the pizza cutter to run along the dough cutting strips out about 1 cm thick
  7. Carefully transfer the dough strips to your (lightly floured) baking trays, leaving a little space between them. Try to line them up straight
  8. Cover and leave to rise again – for about 20-30 minutes until puffed up (they probably won’t double in size)
  9. Set the oven on to 200C fan / 220C conventional
  10. Once risen again, brush each dough strip with water and sprinkle over the different toppings – parmesan on a third, all the seeds and grains on another third and the chopped olives on the remainder. Sprinkle a little sea salt over all of them
  11. Bake for about 17-18 minutes until a nice dark golden colour
  12. They should be crisp with a nice ‘snap’ when cooled and ready to eat
  13. Wonderful dipped in a little butter, hummus, salsa or to scoop up fondue or baked camembert

grissini2