Posted 16th Apr 2013
To celebrate National Bread Week we're giving LandLove readers a breadmaking masterclass with the King of bread himself, Paul Hollywood! We've got three delicious recipes from Paul's brand new book, Bread, for you to enjoy making at home
Crisp and golden brown on the outside, yet light and fluffy within, these are magical. Once you've tried making them, you'll never pick up a packet in the supermarket again. Crumpets do take a bit of practice to get right but you'll soon get the knack. Strong flour gives the crumpets their stretch and rise, while plain flour lends softness. Both yeast and bicarbonate of soda are used for leavening. You will need at least four 7-8cm metal rings to contain the batter, which can be cooked in batches.
MAKES 10-12 CRUMPETS
175g strong white bread flour
175g plain white flour
14g fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
350ml warm milk
150-200ml tepid water
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
Sunflower oil for cooking
Put both flours into a large bowl and mix in the yeast. In a jug, dissolve
the sugar in the warm milk, then pour onto the flour mixture. Using
a wooden spoon, beat the mixture until you have a smooth batter. This
will take 3-4 minutes and is hard work because the mixture is stiff,
but it is essential to develop the protein strength in the batter and will
ensure the crumpets develop their characteristic holes as they cook.
Cover the bowl with cling film or a tea towel and leave to stand for
about an hour. The mixture will rise and then begin to fall - you will
see marks on the side of the bowl where the batter reached before it
dropped. This indicates that the yeast has created its carbon dioxide and
is now exhausted. The gluten will now have developed sufficiently to
give the crumpets structure and enable them to rise and hold their shape.
In a jug, mix 150ml of the tepid water with the bicarbonate of soda
and salt. Stir this liquid into the batter until evenly combined, then
gradually stir in as much of the remaining water as you need to get a
thick dropping consistency. Cover the bowl and leave the batter to rest
for about 20 minutes. Little holes will appear on the surface and the
batter will become a bit sticky.
Heat a flat griddle or heavy-based frying pan on a medium-low heat.
Lightly but thoroughly grease the inside of at least four 7-8cm metal
crumpet rings (ideally non-stick). Lightly grease the griddle or pan,
using a crumpled piece of kitchen paper dipped in oil.
It's a good idea to start with a trial crumpet. The first one is never the
best, like the first pancake. Put a greased crumpet ring on the griddle.
Ladle enough batter into the ring to come just below the rim; it should
be about 3cm deep. The temperature of the pan is important: it is better
to cook the crumpet lower and slower than hot and fast.
After 6-8 minutes, the bottom of the crumpet should be browned and
the rest almost cooked through. You'll know when it is nearly ready
once the top looks almost set and most of the bubbles that have formed
on the surface have burst. You can slightly speed up the cooking by
popping these bubbles as they appear, using the sharp tip of a knife.
When the crumpet is ready, the bubbles will stay open rather than fill
up with liquid batter.
Turn the crumpet over carefully, using two kitchen tools, such as a
spatula and a palette knife. Leave the crumpet to cook for another
minute or two, then lift it off the griddle onto a wire rack. Remove
the ring (if it sticks, run a small, sharp knife around the outside of
the crumpet to loosen it).
Now that you have fine-tuned the time and temperature needed for
your batter, you are ready to cook the rest of the crumpets in batches.
Serve the crumpets straight away, split or whole, with plenty of butter.
Alternatively, leave them to cool on the wire rack and toast them before
enjoying with butter.
Grilled vegetable picnic loaf
Here is a sandwich with a difference: a whole bloomer scooped out and filled with grilled vegetables and mozzarella for slicing and sharing. Grilling the vegetables softens the flesh and intensifies their flavour. You can, of course, vary the vegetables as you like - just make sure you grill them until they have an intense roasted flavour. Perfect for a picnic or summer lunch, you make this tasty sandwich loaf the evening before.
3 red peppers
3 yellow peppers
6 tbsp olive oil
1 day-old bloomer or other crusty white loaf
3 tsp sherry vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
2-3 balls of buffalo
3-4 tbsp ready-made pesto
25g basil sprigs, leaves
stripped and roughly torn
Salt and black pepper
Heat the grill to high. Quarter, core and deseed the peppers. Cut the
courgettes and aubergines lengthways into 5-7mm thick slices. Place all
the vegetables in a large bowl, toss with half the oil and season with salt
and pepper. You will need to grill them in batches. Lay in a single layer
on a large baking tray (peppers skin side up) and grill until softened and
slightly charred, turning the courgettes and aubergines as they brown.
Cut the loaf horizontally in two, just below the score marks. Scoop out
the soft bread from the centre, leaving a 2-3cm shell. Blitz half the bread
to crumbs in a food processor or blender. (Use the rest for breadcrumbs
Put the grilled peppers, courgettes and aubergines into separate bowls
and divide the breadcrumbs between them. For the dressing, in a bowl,
whisk the remaining oil with the vinegar, garlic and any juices from the
baking tray. Divide the dressing between the vegetables, season again
and toss each bowlful to mix everything together. Leave to stand for an
hour to allow the vegetables and breadcrumbs to soak up the dressing.
Slice the mozzarella into rounds and pat dry with kitchen paper. Spread
the pesto over the cut surfaces of the loaf. Layer up the filling ingredients
on the base: start with mozzarella, add a layer of each grilled vegetable,
scattering a little torn basil in between, and finish with mozzarella. Top
with the bloomer lid, wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Unwrap the picnic loaf and cut into thick slices to serve.
This tasty brown soda bread is baked in a tin to encourage the bread to rise up. Using some white flour with the wholemeal lightens the texture of the bread, while the stout gives colour and a full flavour. The buttermilk reacts with the soda to make the bread rise and adds a refreshing note. Starting the loaf off in a very hot oven helps the liquid in the dough turn to steam and pushes up the rise. An excellent loaf for sandwiches.
MAKES 1 LOAF
Sunflower oil for oiling
550g plain wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
200g plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
Oil a 1kg loaf tin.
Put both flours into a large bowl. Add the bicarbonate of soda, sugar
and salt and mix together. Pour in the stout and buttermilk and mix well
with one hand or a wooden spoon to form a sticky dough.
Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and roll and fold the
mixture gently but thoroughly (rather than knead it) to bring the dough
together and form it into a cohesive sausage, roughly the length of the
Put the dough into the loaf tin. Set the loaf aside for 30 minutes, to
allow the bicarbonate of soda to start to work. Meanwhile, heat your
oven to 230°C. (If you are in a rush, you can bake the loaf as soon as
the oven is hot.)
Bake the loaf in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes, then lower the
oven setting to 180°C. Bake for another 25 minutes, or until the loaf
is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a
wire rack and let it cool completely before slicing.
Paul Hollywood's Bread is published by Bloomsbury, £20. The book can be purchased from www.bloomsbury.com/uk or from all good book retailers.
Photos by Peter Cassidy