Fancy turning your hand to some home baking this weekend? Kick off your shoes, turn on some music and get creative in the kitchen.
To accompany you we have the very talented Vanessa Kimbell sharing some of her recipes from her new book, ‘The Sourdough School - Sweet Baking’. Sourdough’s health benefits are well known; the slow fermentation process creates a healthier, lighter dough that is easier to digest. Vanessa takes it to another level by carefully guiding you through the process of making your own sweet sourdough bakes that are not only delicious but good for improving your mood, too.
‘It is impossible to read this book without wanting to scuttle off into the kitchen.’ Nigella Lawson
She creates different botanical blends which are designed to add diversity to your dough, where she stresses that these are by no means prescriptive and encourages you to play around with the quantities.
We’ve chosen two of her mouth-watering recipes to share, Ethiopian Honey & Buttermilk Bread and Four-Apple Pie, and have put together some styling serving inspiration for the finished product. Both recipes use Vanessa’s Botanical Blend No.7, which can be found in her new book (see page 57), but you can also make these recipes using stoneground wholegrain flour if you don’t have access to this.
The deep blue glaze of our new Dana collection is the perfect back drop for home baked creations. The warm golden hues of Ethiopian buttermilk bread and four apple pie sit invitingly on these beautifully crafted plates. Serve with our hand forged Sikarli cake slice, and tuck in with our Osko cake forks for the perfect indulgent afternoon tea. For something more decadent, display on one of our Duru Marble Cake Stands.
Yemarina Yewotet Dabo – Ethiopian Honey & Buttermilk Bread
The gut factor: honey may enhance probiotic efficacy against pathogens in the gut, and bananas can reduce bloating and increase Bifidobacterium.
This voluptuous bread is made with barley, buttermilk and rosemary. Rosemary is a stunningly fragrant herb and a potent therapeutic that can relax the muscles of the gut and the windpipe (trachea), while also protecting the liver. It also has antioxidant properties thanks to the polyphenol caffeic acid and its rosemary-specific derivative, rosmarinic acid. Research indicates the rosmarinic acid may have therapeutic applications, including inflammatory disease, liver toxicity, heart disease, peptic ulcers and asthma. Honey also has significant potential gut benefits, and bananas contain resistant starch and fructo-oligosaccharides. Interestingly, one trial studying gastrointestinal symptoms in women eating bananas revealed significantly lower bloating levels in the banana group (compared with the non-banana group), and a slight increase in Bifidobacterium.
Makes 1kg loaf
2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
125g runny honey
200g bubbly, lively starter or discard
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus extra for greasing 40g water, plus an additional 10–20g if needed
500g botanical blend no. 7 or stoneground wholegrain flour, sifted
Semolina flour, for dusting
3 tablespoons mixed seeds (optional)
1 banana, finely sliced
1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)
50g unpasteurised honey
Needles from a 6-inch sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
1g (a pinch) of sea salt and then ground to a paste using a pestle and mortar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
DDT 22°C (72°F)
Day 1: 9pm Refresh starter (first build)
Day 2: 8am Refresh starter (second build) and infuse honey with rosemary
8pm Mix dough and return the starter to the fridge (unless you are proceeding to a third build). Prove overnight
Day 3: 8am Bake
1. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, salt and honey until they form a smooth mixture. Add the starter and stir. Then add the buttermilk, butter and water and mix well. Finally, add the flour and mix.
Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin with greased baking parchment and dust with semolina. Sprinkle the tin with the seeds, if using. Turn the dough into the tin. Cover and leave on the kitchen worksurface overnight.
2. The next day, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. The dough should be well-risen and delicate. Top with the banana slices and sprinkle with the coconut sugar, if using. Bake for 30 minutes, then place a piece of foil on top to protect it from burning and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, or until the loaf is a light golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
3. Mix the rosemary, honey and butter in a small bowl and drizzle this mixture over the loaf while it is still warm and serve with cultured cream or on its own. It will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
The gut factor: apples are full of pectin, which nourishes lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
400g botanical blend no.7 or stoneground wholegrain flour
A delicious autumn dish, Vanessa recommends using a variety of apples and shopping locally to avoid commercially grown apples that may be sprayed with chemicals. Best served with cultured cream, such as crème fraiche or sour cream.
FOR THE PASTRY
50g bubbly, lively starter or discard
5g sea salt
50g coconut sugar
220g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk or watered-down kefir, to glaze
30g unsalted butter
FOR THE FILLING
900g (total) 4 different varieties of apple, including small sweet dessert apples, cored and sliced into 2-mm (1/16-inch) slices, skins left on, plus 1 extra apple, peeled, cored and grated
25g muscovado sugar
1½ teaspoons (total) mixed ground spices (e.g. cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, allspice, cardamom)
50g ground almonds
DDT 23°C (73°F)
Day 1: 9pm Refresh starter (first build).
Day 2: 8am Refresh starter (second build).
8pm Mix dough and return the starter to the fridge (unless you are proceeding to a third build). Divide the dough. Roll out the smaller piece and chill for 30 minutes. If you’re making it yourself, prepare your cultured cream and leave it to ferment overnight.
8:45pm Slice the chilled smaller piece of dough into strips. Leave the larger ball of dough and the dough strips to prove overnight.
Day 3: 8am Sauté the apples and assemble the pie.
1. To make the pastry, put the flour, starter, salt, sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and mix until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolks and 3–4 tablespoons of very cold water and mix to form a dough. You may need to add another tablespoon of water.
2. Divide the dough into two, one piece larger than the other; about 3/5 and 2/5. Roll out the smaller piece to a thickness of about 6mm (¼ inch) and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Cut into 2cm (¾-inch) strips and lay the strips on a piece of greaseproof paper. Lay another piece of greaseproof paper on top and cover with a slightly damp tea towel. Leave on the worksurface overnight. Leave the larger piece of dough in a bowl, covered, on the worksurface overnight to ferment too.
3. In the morning, lightly grease a 24cm (9½-inch), 6cm (2½-inch) deep pie dish. Use your fingers to push the larger piece of pastry into the tin to form an even base. Put the base in the fridge but leave the pastry strips on the worksurface. Melt the butter in a large pan over a low heat and gently sauté the apple slices. Add the grated apple along with the sugar and spices and cook for 5 minutes until the grated apple is mushy but the slices are not quite cooked. Taste and add more sugar if required. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
4. Strain any excess liquid off the apples and set them to aside to cool. Take the base out of the fridge and put a layer of apples in the base, then sprinkle with ground almonds. Once the pie dish is full, arrange the pastry strips over the top in a lattice pattern. Brush with the egg wash and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool, then serve with cultured cream.