cherry plum and almond wreath

cherry plum and almond

A baking challenge?

You bet.

How could I not. It looked delicious. The taste possibilities were endless, and it looked like just the thing to tickle The Monkeys taste buds.

Make it with local seasonal fruit, even better.

peach and blueberry

For how to make one of these wreaths, pop over to Discovering Sourdough.

I’ve written down the changes I’ve made, but it will make more sense if you check out the original recipe first.

Cherry Plum and Almond Wreath

200mls milk

3 tbls sour cream

50g butter

50g sugar

Warm ingredients gently and then cool a little and add

210mls water

Set aside.

450g starter  (100%)

650g strong bakers flour

Mix together with liquid mixture and let autolyse for an hour.

2 tsp salt

Add the salt, mixing well with dough hooks.

200g strong bakers flour

Then out on to a well floured board and incorporate the extra 200g of flour. Slowly and over about 10 plus minutes.

Prove for 3 hours

Cherry Plum and Almond Mixture

6 blood plums cut up

large handful of fresh cherries, pips out

3/4 cup of sugar

Cooked up for a few minutes until soft, draining any excess juice off and stir through a large handful of blitzed almonds, (or almond meal if you already have it.)

Peach and Blueberry

Peach Punch Jam

fresh farmers market blueberries

This post submitted to yeastspotting.

skippy barm bread

I had good intentions of following the recipe. It just doesn’t often work out like that.

Two minutes in, actually lets be realistic. Thirty seconds in and I already had done something completely different to what Dan Lepard’s recipe said.

Don’t you read the recipe? Mr Chocolate helpfully said.

Um no… I guess I don’t.

Right. It was pointless in continuing with Dan’s method. Heating the beer up surely couldn’t be a crucial part in the breads success could it? I softly closed the book and resumed hackbaking 101. One day, one day, I might be able to follow a recipe.

One day?

Popping my thinking cap on, I wrote down my own recipe. I quite often write down what I’m going to do before I do it. I look at my ratios, see if it looks right, and then make any adjustments to the ratios as I go along.

With the beer, flour and starter mixed together, I left it over night. Coming back in the morning like an enthusiastic kid waiting to open a present. Would it look like it should? Would be a deflated watery mess? Would it have escaped the bowl and be slowly making its way down the kitchen cupboards, making a clear getting away towards the door?

I peeped inside and happily saw, it looked kind of like how I would expect it to look. Excellent. Now to the bread bit.

Behaving well, the end of the day and it’s baking time. A shape and a slash. Bake and ….

Happy mama. It looks decent. Mr Chocolate spies it and demands bread rights. I say not a chance, need to take some pictures, and then you can try it and give the crucial Mr Chocolate test.

It passes.


* Note, Dan Lepard asks for bottle conditioned beer with live yeast. I didn’t use that, instead just a regular type of beer. Does this mean it’s now not a barm bread, but instead a regular beer bread? Not sure, perhaps perhaps… Any enlightment from the bread gurus?

Skippy Barm Bread

Hack baked  Adapted from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf


330mls room temperature beer

1/2 cup (75g) flour

3 good spoonfuls of active sourdough starter (100%)

Whisk together and leave overnight.

Barm Bread

550g barm

4 cups (600g) flour

200mls water

Mix ingredients together and leave for half an hour or so. Add 2 1/2 tsp salt and mix again. Quick knead, and then prove for a while. Another quick fold and then shape. Prove again, slash and then bake at 240C with steam.

I’ve also done an olive bread using the same dough. Just weave your favourite kind of olives through the dough on shaping, prove and then bake. Make sure those olives are really tucked in, otherwise they pop out when baking.

This post submitted to yeast spotting.

Apple and Oat Bread

I quite like the process of trying to work out what to put in a new bread every few weeks.

There are the regulars of course, like a well worn pair of slippers that I know how to just slip on. Making it is straight forward, I can easily do it with out that much thought behind it, and I know for the most part how it’s going to taste (sourdough does like to keep me on my toes a little though.) When I’m fiddling with different flavours though, I like the balancing act, the unknown factor…

It’s a bit like ordering from a menu in a foreign language. You think you get the idea of what it will taste like, and what it is that you might be ordering but there is always that element of surprise just waiting to be brought to the table.

Now in the past, I had played with using fresh apples a few times. I had cooked them beforehand, thinly sliced them, made them into chunks, grated them, but I think I’ve decided I like finely diced the most. You still get the apple-y taste, without it getting soggy and overly all apple. Grating the apple, while I like the moistness it gives to the loaf, I do find by doing this it loses the flavour a bit. So diced it was for this one, add some soaked oats, a little spice and we are away…

 Apple and Oat Bread

200g starter

100g finely diced apple

425g bakers flour

100g whole oats

50mls hot water

200mls water

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp coriander

1 tsp salt

Soak oats in the hot water until they plump up. Add all ingredients except salt. Mix well, let if it rest for about 40 minutes, add the salt mix again.

Proof for awhile, quick knead, proof, shape, proof. Bake at 240C with steam.

This post submitted to yeastspotting.