37 Christmas Gift Ideas for Bakers 2014

I received a wonderful range of bread related gifts last year: books, a personalised apron and an inspiring bread baking course with Bread Matters. These presents really helped me to improve my baking skills, so I wanted to share a wishlist of gifts for bakers.

My gift ideas come in lots of shapes and forms, from speciality flours to food photography equipment and gourmet breaks, so hopefully you’ll find a suitable baking gift in this list whatever your budget.

What to get a baker?

*NEW ADDITIONS*

As reviewed here, the Lékué bread maker is a wonderfully efficient and practical gift for bread bakers.

Lékué 600 ml Bread Maker
Lékué 600 ml Bread Maker

My Xmas treat to myself this year :-)
Tartine Book No. 3 (Ancient Modern Classic Whole)
Working with whole grain flours, sprouted and fermented breads… can’t wait to explore!

Tartine Book No. 3: Ancient Modern Classic Whole
Tartine Book No. 3: Ancient Modern Classic Whole

Colourful floursack tea towels (sheets of fabric made of very thin cotton threads) -
very soft, absorbant and durable and super handy for bread bakers’ tasks such as covering dough or lining proving baskets.

Floursack Tea Towels Cactus
Floursack Tea Towels, Cactus

Speciality flours

I was given a speciality flour ‘bouquet’ which introduced me to the beautiful Kamut® wheat flour and made me experiment with chickpea flour. A great present for the experimental baker!

Kamut Flour
Kamut Flour, Doves Farm


Bread baking starter set

A starter set including a mixing bowl, dough scraper, baking cloth and a copy of Richard Bertinet’s book ‘Dough’ to get the newbie baker off to a great start!

You can also assemble your own bread baking gift basket:

Baking stone

A granite baking stone to perfect bread and pizza baking. It’s a very useful piece of baking equipment, I use it all the time!

Stand or hand mixer

A stand or hand mixer is not only a great gift for a baker, it’s a useful present for any cook. Both products below come with dough hooks…

KitchenAid K45SS Classic Stand Mixer
KitchenAid K45SS Classic Stand Mixer
Morphy Richards Stand Mixer
Morphy Richards Stand Mixer
Bodum Bistro Hand Mixer
Bodum Bistro Hand Mixer


Grain mill

Grinding flour at home and using fresh flour for bread baking makes a baker’s homemade goods even more flavoursome. Choose a quality and versatile grain mill for the best results!

  • Komo Fidibus Grain Mill
    A medium-sized, electric grain mill from Germany, highest quality, solid beechwood casing, stunning good looks, grinds all grains.
Grain Mill
Komo Fidibus Grain Mill


Bread knives, boards, bins & baskets

Why not put together a nice set for storing and consuming the baker’s tasty goods? Here are some wonderfully stylish ideas to get you started:

Wesco bread bin
Wesco bread bin
Bread Basket Acacia Wood
Acacia Wood Bread Basket

The best bread books

My all-time favourite selection of bread books which have been with me all the way :-)

Bread Matters: Why and How to Make Your Own
Bread Matters: Why and How to Make Your Own

And maybe this cook book stand to accompany your book gift:

Cook book stand
Acacia Wood Cook Book Stand

Photography

I love taking pictures of everything I bake! Why not help your loved one advance their food photography ambitions:

Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling
Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling

Artisan bread baking courses

What a brilliant gift to give! Here are some bread baking courses I can recommend:

Sourdough starter

Finally, if you want to give something very personal and homemade, prepare a sourdough starter for a budding baker or bake a tasty sourdough loaf.

Have fun choosing! I’m sure there are many more brilliant gift ideas for bakers out there, so let me know if you come across something special, I’d love to add it to the list :-)

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3 awesome apple bread recipes

While the name apple bread is often used for sweet apple loaf cakes, I’ve tested a few proper apple bread recipes recently – not cakes, not strudels but breads. It’s been a great success so come with me on my journey of awesome apple bread discoveries!

Apple & Rolled Oat Bread

The first recipe I tried is from this excellent book by Dan Lepard: The Handmade Loaf.

The apples are finely grated and added to the dough right at the beginning. Although fairly inconspicuous in the final loaf, the grated apples make this a very juicy and fine loaf of bread which is equally suitable for the breakfast table as it is for a rustic afternoon snack.

Apple & rolled oat bread
Apple & rolled oat bread – you can see the grated apple pieces if you look closely!

Normandy Apple Bread

Next up: A beautiful recipe by Jeffrey Hamelman (from his book Bread) for a French loaf of bread with dried apples and apple cider. Using dried apples “intensifies their flavour and at the same time prevents them from releasing excess moisture into the dough.”

Here are some snaps of my dried apple slices and the final product.

Dried apples

Normandy apple bread
Normandy apple bread

The dried apples add a certain level of sweetness to the bread. Very nice with just butter and a cup of tea.

Apple & Pecan Focaccia

Finally, a sweet apple focaccia recipe by Nigel Slater, using fresh apple slices which are added - alongside the pecan nuts - to the dough after the first prove.

This focaccia is BEAUTIFUL – not too sweet, but sweet enough to qualify as dessert bread. I’ll be adding this to my list of regular bakes!

Slice of apple & pecan bread

Apple & pecan bread
Apple & pecan bread

Ingredients

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 350g water, warm
  • 3 large sweet apples
  • 100g shelled pecans
  • 100g maple syrup

How to bake it

  1. Combine all ingredients except apples, pecans and maple syrup in a large bowl.
  2. Lightly knead the dough for 5 mins.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place it back in the bowl.
  4. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and keep it in a warm place for about 1 hour.
  5. In the meantime, peel, core and slice the apples, then knead the apple slices and most of the pecans into the dough (keep a few pecans for the top).
  6. Put the dough into a round cake form lined with baking paper (the one I used was 23 cm diameter).
  7. Set the oven at 220°C/gas mark 7.
  8. Cover the tin with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise for another hour.
  9. Just before baking, trickle a little olive oil over it.
  10. Put the loaf in the hot oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and crisp on top.
  11. Drizzle maple syrup over the top and let it soak in.
  12. Leave the bread to cool on a wire rack.

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve become a fan of apple breads. So next time you think ‘apple bread’, think again and bake the proper stuff ;)

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