Fresh from the oven – February challenge – Bagels

Fresh from the oven has been baking bread as a group since June 2009. In that time we have baked a lot of bread and the members have changed a lot too. For our first challenge in this new format I wanted a recipe that even our longest standing members wouldn’t have baked as part of the group but also something that was straight forward enough to inspire new bakers to join in. I also wanted a recipe that allowed bakers to get creative if they wished. So with this in mind I have settled on bagels and hope that you all enjoy it.All the details about how to take part are here. I look forward to seeing all your bagels and a round up will be published on purely food at the end of February. Details of March’s challenge will be included in the round up.

Continue reading


Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven is a bread baking group that has been running for a couple of years now. As of February 2012 the format is changing from a group run from a private blog to a monthly blogging event that anyone can take part in as often (or as little) as they want. The format of the challenges remains the same however. So if you want to improve your bread baking skills then this is the blogging event for you.

This monthly blogging event is being run by myself and Michelle (of Utterly Scrummy food for families). At the beginning of each month we will have guest hosts setting bread baking challenges for you and at the end of the month myself and Michelle will take it in turns to post a round up of all the entries on our blogs.

To participate each month all you need to do is:

  • Visit purely food or utterly scrummy food for families to see who is guest hosting and who is publishing the round up
  • Visit the guest hosts blog to find the monthly challenge recipe
  • Have a go at baking this months bread and blog about it (at any time during the month but on the 28th at the latest)
  • Mention fresh from the oven in your post and include a link to my FFTO main page, if I am publishing the round up (see here if Michelle is rounding up)
  • Include a link to the guest host’s blog post announcing this month’s challenge.
  • Please email a photo (saved as a jpg, no bigger than 500px x 500px ) and a link to your post to and by midinight (GMT) 28th of the month to have your post included in the monthly round up.
  • If you do not have a blog but still want to take part, email us a photo of your bread and you will be included in the round up.
  • If you are on twitter, please use the hash tag #freshfromoven to tweet about the challenge.
  • Check back here at the end of the month to see the round up of all that months entries.

I will be hosting February’s challenge so come back here on Wednesday 1st February to see what challenge I have set for you.

Beetroot bread recipe

This beautiful, faintly pink loaf is made using the naturally cooked beetroot from the selection of beetroot I received as part of the Love beetroot campaign. The recipe is adapted from this one. The bread had a beautiful texture and the beetroot at a subtly flavour to the bread. Perfect for cheese and chutney sandwiches or toast with butter.

Beetroot bread

250ml warm water
5g dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
500g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150g plain cooked (vacuum packed) beetroot, drained and pureed

  • In a food mixer or large bowl weigh the flour, make a well in the centre and add the dried yeast (follow the packet instruction as some yeasts need activating). Add the sugar salt and olive oil to the bowl put avoid them coming in to contact with the yeast.
  • Pour in the water and the pureed beetroot and knead with a dough hook for 5 minutes or by hand for 10 minutes. Set aside in a non-draughty place to rise for around an hour or until it has doubled in size.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and roll into a large rectangle. Roll up into a log shape, tucking the ends under.
  • Transfer to a loaf tin and set aside for 20 minutes to rise for a second time. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7)
  • Once the bread has finished its second rise, cook in a hot oven for around 25 minutes. If it is done the bread should sound slightly hollow when tapped on the base.

This post is submitted to yeastspotting

Fresh from the oven – Fougasse

This month it is exactly two year since I took over the running of Fresh from the oven. I can’t believe it has been so long. This month I took the opportunity to host a challenge and picked a type of bread I have wanted to bake for some time but never got round to. I chose a french flat bread called fougasse. I chose this recipe by Richard Bertinet but I also liked the sound of this recipe by Lorraine Pascale. So I followed Richard Bertinet’s recipe but divided the dough in half and added fresh thyme and chorzio to half the dough. I have to say I enjoyed the chorizo and thyme more than the plain white and I am keen to try different flavourings. I left it up to the members which recipe they used or even suggested they use a different recipe if perhaps they had a favorite one to share with us. Continue reading

Fresh from the oven – courgette cluster bread

This months Fresh from the oven challenge was hosted by Sally from My custard pie. She chose courgette cluster bread but challenged us to either use this recipe or another bread recipe with any vegetables in it. I think this is my first time baking vegetables in to bread so  I started of by baking the recipe provided by Sally with every intention of doing a different bread as well but I didn’t have time to try any other breads.

I have to be honest and say this bread wasn’t to my taste but I loved the way of baking bread in clusters in a cake tin, I will be doing that again. I’m not a massive fan of courgettes unless they are used in a recipe with plenty of other flavours so I guess I was destined not to like the bread from the start.

Courgette Cluster Bread – adapted from a recipe in House and Garden magazine by Roz Denny
Makes 8 rolls or clusters


450g courgettes, grated coarsely
Salt (for degorging and for the dough)
675g strong white bread flour
2 sachets of easy-blend/fast-action yeast or 14g instant dried yeast
3 tablespoons parmesan, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Tepid water – about 200ml
Milk, to glaze
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle


  • Place the courgettes in a colander, sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow the juices to drain for about half-an-hour, then rinse well in cold water and pat dry.
  • If using instant yeast whisk it into 90 ml of the tepid water until frothy and dissolved. Mix the flour, yeast, parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper together in a bowl, then stir in the olive oil and courgettes. Add some more water until the mixture comes together as a firm, soft dough. I did this and the kneading in my KitchenAid with the dough hook.
  • If kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a lightly floured board or work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a bowl and put the dough into rise, covered with cling film or a cloth, for about one hour or until doubled in size.
  • Knock back the dough in the bowl (punch the air out of it) and then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead again briefly until smooth.
  • Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and roll to shape into even balls. Lightly grease and line the base of a 23 cm cake tin with baking parchment. Place one ball of dough in the middle and all the others around it.
  • Brush the tops of rolls with milk and sprinkle over some sesame seeds. Cover again with oiled cling film or a cloth and leave to prove until doubled in size and the balls touch each other – about 30 minutes.
  • Put into a preheated oven at 200 C for about 25 minutes until golden brown and cooked. Cool on a wire rack. Tear each roll off to eat as a bun.

Thank you again Sally for hosting this months challenge. I think you have inspired a lot of us to try baking breads with vegetables in them. This may not have been the right recipe for me but you have inspired me to try different bread recipes that include vegetables.

Fresh from the oven – July – Piadina

Here’s my slightly late entry for this months fresh from the oven challenge. This month’s challenge was hosted by Alex of Dear love blog. She chose an Italian flat bread called piadina. Traditionally piadina are made with lard but because Alex is vegetarian she made them with olive oil. The recipe below gives quantities for olive oil or lard. I’m not vegetarian but still have no desire to cook with lard so I stuck with olive oil.

I filled mine with mozzarella and parma ham and baked them in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese had melted. They were super easy to make (I cheated and put all the ingredients in my kitchenaid and let it do all th work), relatively quick to prepare and very tasty.

Here are a few vegetarian fillings suggested by Alex that all sound delicious:
Wilted spinach with nutmeg, garlic & ricotta
Potato, pecorino & rosemary
Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella & basil
Gorgonzola, pear, rocket & walnuts
Taleggio, porcini & thyme

I had planned to bake these last weekend ahead of the deadline and fill them with griddled aubergine and mozzarella but I forgot I was out of plain flour until our next supermarket trip. I’m glad that I tried the recipe even if I am a few days late.


Makes 8
500g Plain flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp Finely ground sea salt
100ml Olive oil or 100g Lard
200ml Warm water

  • Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt & olive oil/lard in a large bowl.
  • Gradually add the water stirring with loose fingers until the mix comes together to form a soft dough.
  • Turn out on to a lightly floured surface & knead until the dough becomes smooth & shiny, this should take about 5-10 mins.
  • Divide into 8 equal balls, loosely cover with lightly oiled cling film & allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Heat a non stick cast iron skillet over a high heat for 5 mins.
  • On a well floured surface flatten each ball & roll out into a disc 2-3 mm thick, prick all over with a fork.
  • Place a disc of dough flat in the centre of the pan & press down gently. Cook for 2 mins or until the dough is crisps & brown spots begin to appear then flip & repeat on the other side.
  • Cook the piadina one at a time until all the dough is used.
  • Cover with a clean t-towel to prevent them drying out whilst you prepare your desired filling.
  • Place one piadina on the bottom cover evenly with filling & top with another.
  • If you like your fillings cold, cut into wedges & serve. Alternatively heat through in the oven or a sandwich press & serve hot.

Book review: One more slice, Leila Lindholm

This book was my first introduction to Leila Lindholm. She is a Swedish TV chef (I’m not sure that any of her shows have been shown in the UK but I could be wrong), author (this is her fourth book) and has be extensively featured in Delicious, Easy Living and Elle magazine.

This book follows on from her previous book, A piece of cake and includes recipes for breads, pizza’s, fresh pasta, brownies, cheesecakes,  ice creams, pies, pancakes and waffle. I love the photography throughout the book. It’s a wonderful book to pick up and flick through for the photos alone. But if you did you would be missing out as the recipes are really simple, use standard, easy to get hold of ingredients and look and sound delicious. Leila’s enthusiasm for baking is evident throughout.

There is something for everyone in this book. For each section there are basic recipes e.g. for pizza sauces and dough or for brownies and then Leila gives you lots of variations. If you like brownies then you might like after eight brownies or raspberry brownies or how about rocky road brownies or brownie cupcakes (to name just a few of the brownie recipes).

There are many recipes I want to try in this book but I went straight to the bread section “boulangerie” and tried out one on the nine kinds of baguette included in the book. I chose to bake birdie num-num bread, partly because I had all the ingredients in and partly as I just love the name! The recipe was simple to follow and the resulting baguettes delicious. I used my baguette tray to make two of them and had to make the other two on a flat baking sheet. The ones on the flat baking sheet didn’t work so well, they collapsed into a wide flat loaf of bread! The book talks about using a baguette tray or baking sheet I don’t know if anyone has had more sucess than me with using baking sheets but I’ll be halving the recipe next time and using the baguette tray! New Holland Publishers have kindly agreed for me to publish this recipe below. I can’t wait to bake another recipe from this book and I know this will be a well used book in my ever growing cookbook collection.

My birdie num num baguette straight from the oven

One more slice is available to buy now for £19.99. New Holland Publishers, are offering my readers a 25% discount and free post and packaging if you buy it direct from their website and enter the discount code purely. This offer is valid until 30th September 2011 to UK residents only. Discount cannot be used in conjunction with other offers!

Thank you to New Holland Publishers for my review copy of this book and for allowing me to share the recipe for birdie num num with my readers.

Delicious with cheese and tomatoes

basic recipe
makes 4 baguettes
dough one ( starter)
5 g (1/4 oz) fresh yeast
300 ml (10 fl oz) cold water
325 g (11 oz) strong bread flour

1. For the starter: crumble the yeast in a mixing bowl and dissolve it in the water.
2. Add the flour and mix it until the loose dough is smooth.
3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let it rise for at least
4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

dough two
15 g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast
300 ml (10 fl oz) cold water
1 portion dough one (starter)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
450–550 g (1 lb–1 lb 4 oz) strong bread
oil for the trays
sea salt

1. For dough two: crumble the yeast in a mixing bowl, add the water and mix.
2. Add dough one, salt, sugar and then the flour until the dough holds together. Work the dough in a mixer at low speed for around 15 minutes.
3. Let the dough rise under a cloth for around 11/2 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/gas 9).
5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, divide it into four pieces and carefully press each piece into a rectangle with your fingers.
6. Fold in a long side of each rectangle, roll it up and shape the ends into points.
7. Twist the baguettes once and place them on a well-oiled baguette tray (or a regular baking tray).
8. Let them rise under a cloth for about an hour.
9. Brush the baguettes with water and sprinkle with sea salt. Make a few incisions diagonally across each baguette with a sharp knife and immediately put the tray in the middle of the hot oven.

10. When the baguettes have coloured a little, lower the temperature to 200°C (400°F/gas 6).
11. Bake until the breads have been in the oven for a total of around 30 minutes, then let them cool on a rack.

birdie num-num baguette

makes 4 baguet tes
1 portion baguette dough (see basic recipe below)
50 g (2 oz) mixed seeds – poppy, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin
oil for greasing
sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/gas 9).
2. Make the baguettes according to the basic recipe and let them rise on a greased tray.
3. Brush with water, sprinkle with seeds and sea salt.
4. Immediately place the tray in the middle of the oven.
5. When the baguettes have gained a little colour, lower the temperature to 200°C (400°F/gas 6).
6. Bake until the breads have been in the oven for a total of around 30 minutes, then let them cool on a rack.