I had the day off today and was waiting for a parcel be delivered so what better use of my time than to do some baking? I was planning to make all sorts of Christmas treats, but its all a bit more time consuming than I thought, so I only ended up making mince pies and walnut bread.
For the mince pies I made a sweet shortcrust pastry with 250g of plain flour, half the amount of butter, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 5 tablespoons of cold water to bind.
I rolled it out, cut out the bases and half-filled them with mincemeat. Wet the edges before putting the lids on to help them stick and put a hole in the top.
Baked for approx 15 mins, et voila:
On to the bread…I hadn’t made bread before and I don’t know if it’s the recipe I used but it takes quite a long time! I got the recipe from the Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook, which I can’t find a link to, so I’ll type it up below (I used half the quantities)
Mix 750g strong wheatmeal flour with 15g salt in a large bowl, (this is the time to add the walnuts, if you want to) add 15g butter and rub into mixture. Add 575ml warm water and 15g dried yeast.
Mix with a wooden spoon until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Then knead on a work surface for 10mins, bashing it about a bit. Shape into a ball, put back in the bowl, cover with loosely with cling film and put in a warm place until it doubles in size.
Once its risen knock it back, knead it a little more, shape the dough and allow it to rest for 10mins. Grease and warm a baking tin, put the bread in and bake at 230deg for 30-40mins.
That’s the simplified recipe, mine took ages to rise, probably I hadn’t kneaded it enough so I ended up adding more yeast and re-kneading. The oringinal recipe tells you to cover with cling film again and wait for it to rise to the top of the bread tin before putting it into the oven, but I’d lost patience by that time and its fine (pretty good, even if I do say so myself).