Pain au chocolat orange

These may look like baked potatoes but are actually buns that were invented this morning to add something sweet to a bank holiday brunch. I wanted something indulgent but unusual and this is something that I haven’t come across before. The bread dough itself is flavoured with cocoa and orange zest and surrounds a square of dark chocolate. I ate two of these warm out of the oven and the chocolate was oozing all over the place. J Unfortunately the chocolate did manage to escape during the baking period which made the enterprise messier than I wanted and the chocolate that had stayed in was very much at the bottom of the buns. I think this could be down to the laziness of not allowing for a double rise but while the buns were warm and the chocolate runny, it didn’t really matter at all.

Ingredients

250g strong white bread flour

20 g butter

1 tbsp cocoa

1 tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

5 g fast action dried yeast

Grated zest of 1 orange

2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk

150 ml lukewarm water

Some chocolate of your choice either drops or squares

Method

Combine the flour and cocoa in a bowl and then rub in the butter. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the milk and the water and bring the mixture together as a dough. Knead the dough by hand for 10 mins (less time if using a machine fitted with a dough hook) until you have a very soft (but not sticky) dough. Divide this into six equal portions and shape each of these portions as follows. Make into a ball and flatten slightly with your palm. Take a square of chocolate or a teaspoon of chocolate drops and press into the flattened dough ball pulling the dought around the sides until the chocolate is completely encased. Round off the dough into a small bun shape and place on a baking tray. Cover the buns loosely with a clean damp tea towel and leave them to rise in a warm place until double in size (about 30 mins). Bake the buns for 30 mins in a preheated oven at 200 oC and then leave to cool slightly before devouring.

 

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Olive and Feta Bread

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I made this bread at the weekend. Its completley moreish and much simpler than it looks. The recipe is of my own invention based on what I had in the fridge but it was a great way to use up feta cheese and olives that I had left over from a salad earlier in the week that looked as though they wouldn’t make it through to Monday.

For the dough

1 x 7g sachet of fast action yeast

340 g strong white bread flour

170 ml lukewarm water

2 tsp sugar

3/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

To make the dough I first whisked the yeast into the water and added half the flour. I left this to rest for 20 minutes and then added the other ingredients and combined into a dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes adding flour and water to as needed to give a soft but not sticky dough. I actually didn’t need to add anything to this mixture but my measuring jug isn’t very accurate so the amount of water I initially used was approximate. Don’t skimp on the oil for this dough. I know it is tempting with the daily bombardment of the healthy eating message but the addition of olive oil makes bread SO much softer. Once kneaded, leave the dough in an oiled bowl to proof.

When doubled in size (this only took 20 minutes at the weekend), roll it out to a rectangle of 30 cm by 20 cm. This is where you add your fillings. I used about 20 black olives and 50 g of feta cheese finely chopped but you could use anything you wanted. I want to try this with pesto next time but my pesto had grown a whole new civilisation when I opened the lid this weekend so I opted for something else. Spread/sprinkle your chose filling so that it covers the dough evenly – I also added a generous sprinkling of mixed herbs and black pepper to mine- and the roll from long edge to long edge so that you get a 30 cm long swiss roll type thing and pinch the dough to seal it. Slice this in half along its length so that you have two 30 cm long pieces – half cyclinders lying side by side – and you can see layers of filling and dough. Loosely twist these around each other and form into a circle. This may all sound complicated but is remarkably easy when successfully communicated…….might make this again and take some pictures as I go for a step by step.

Leave the finished loaf to double in size and then bake at 200 oC for 30 minutes

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This bread really is delicious and very impressive for such and easy loaf to prepare. We ate the whole thing with houmus while watching eurovision. 🙂

Neglected Blog

Well this didn’t last long as a commited enterprise. Unfortunately not long after starting this blog I went and got a job and started a diet. Therefore, finding time to write about anything was difficult and spending my free time contemplating food and cookingwas disastrous for the waistline. However, I am now back and keen to get back to writing even more regularly than before. So directly following this post will be some discussion of food……..I promise