Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Morning Musings - Part 141

Well for the first time in a long time, I made bread today, the old fashioned traditional way (sans bread-maker).

I had forgotten how satisfying bread making is, as usually Peter makes bread if there is any needed, that can't be got around by using the bread-maker.

Inspiration for today's loaf came from a super recipe in yesterday's (Saturday's) Independent newspaper magazine. For some years I have read the "Indie", ever since it was launched. What struck me the most was the extent of it's photojournalism, that just had an edge, that I had never come across in a newspaper before.

Now reading it as a weekend regular, there is usually at least once recipe that gets torn out, tried, or (and mostly) stored in an ever increasing pile, ready for the day I finally decide to put a scrapbook of recipes together.

One cookery columnist that I regularly read is Dan Lepard (not in the Indie though... in the Guardian magazine.. bad me), and most of the recipes I try tend to be his, and while there is a good mix of others too, his recipes consistently catch my eye and tend to be tried out, and posted about (of course, it goes without saying there is always always something to try, when I catch up with Ilva's blog, Lucullian Delights)

I love this transition we have between the seasons, as they alter our perception of food and the way we look at it. As the light of summer fades into Autumn, we begin to eat less "al fresco", and close the doors on the coming chill, and begin to hunker down with more robust food, letting crisp leaves and delicious dressings fade, just as the light fades over the day, and the evening creeps closer to the afternoon.

Pulses, and delicate tiny pastas come out of the pantry to fortify stews and soups. Earthy and heart warming root vegetables make star appearances, and become more of a meal themselves.

This wonderful Nordic Muesli bread (and thanks to Bill Granger from the Indie for the recipe) is just such a thing. Filled with dried fruits, oats and seeds, it will make a delicious breakfast, toasted, buttered and served up with a thick jam, or warmed and drizzled with honey. Add thin slices of Manchego cheese to the warmed and honeyed bread for a more filling treat!.

It bakes well, and more so, doesn't take too long to prove, so if you want, by the time you pour another coffee and finish off the weekend papers, it is almost ready to knock back and finish off.

I wouldn't be too worried about the types of fruits, nuts or seeds that you add too. As Bill says in his article, it may be that he hasn't made the bread twice the same way, it all depends what is in your larder.
So, if you want to give it a go, here is the recipe;

Muesli Bread


100g / 3½ oz Porridge oats (rolled oats), plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling
150ml / ¼ pint Natural yoghurt
1 tbsp honey
450g / 14½ oz plain flour
100g / 3½ oz Rye flour
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Fast-action dried yeast
1 tbsp Light-flavoured oil (corn oil or similar)
100g / 3½ oz Toasted hazelnuts, and/or walnut halves
75g / 3½ oz Dried apricots, chopped
150g/ 5oz Dried berries (Blueberries, Sour Cherries, Cranberries, etc etc)
1 tbsp Sesame seeds
2 tbsp Sunflower seeds


tbsp - tablespoon
tsp   - teaspoon
Imperial measures - UK measures
And - I have made this with strong flour (for bread making), but looking again, it does state plain flour in the recipe, so it will be interesting to see what difference this makes to the texture etc.
Feel free to mix up the seeds /nuts/ berries as you like, as long as the measures remain the same, however saying that, I think my loaf looks like it could have more "bits" compared to the recipe photo.
Also, I used naturally dried apricots that are a lot darker than the usual ones, so my loaf doesn't have that jewel like quality that the recipe photos have.


Pre-heat your oven!

Combine the oats, yoghurt and honey in a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the plain flour, rye flour, salt and yeast.
Add the oat/honey/yoghurt mixture, add the oil, and add 300ml/ ½ pint warm water (not too hot otherwise the yeast won't work as well)
Knead everything together, until the mixture comes to a soft sticky dough (add more water if needed)
Now cover with a wet cloth and set aside somewhere warm and draught free for an hour, or until the dough is doubled in size.

Once your dough is ready, turn out onto a lightly dusted (with flour) surface and gently knead in the nuts and fruits.
Shape into an oblong and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet (feel free to use a baking liner if you are more used to one).

Scatter the top with the seeds and some more rolled oats (I added the majority of the seeds into the mix for a crunchier texture).
Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove for another 30 minutes.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220C / 425F / Gas mark 7 for 10 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4, and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the underside of the loaf feels hollow, when you tap it. Cool on a wire rack.... or scoff it warm until your stomach hurts, and you wonder where a pound of butter has gone!

Have a great week folks, tuck up warm as the chill begins to bite, or snuggle up to your loved ones. And Chuck, no more acrobatics with ladders! Glad to hear you are on the mend ;o)



  1. Hi Roo -
    This looks delicious - hearty and healthy too!
    Thank you for posting the recipe, including the conversions.
    I've passed your message on to Chuck. He continues to make wonderful progress. We were even able to spend Thanksgiving in Rhode Island!
    Let's ALL stay safe!
    - Lee

  2. Hey Lee - good to hear your man is on the mend! I must admit the whole thanksgiving dinner/celebration sounds wonderful,and we've never been invited to one, so I need to start networking! ;o)