Best Scottish oatcakes recipe

 

Do I like oatcakes? Until recently I was unconvinced. Oatcakes conjured up dull images of half eaten packets of stale oat crackers at the back of our snack cupboard. In my mind, they had always been much less appealing than other crispbreads. I guess I’m more of a rye girl! But… there has been a revelation. Try this homemade Scottish oatcakes recipe for a taste of oats at their best.

Scottish oatcakes
Scottish oatcakes

Prompted by an invite to a Burns Night Supper, I decided to bake a batch of homemade oatcakes to bring to the party. They turned out to be crunchy, tasty and altogether more elemental than the shop-bought oatcakes I’d tasted previously.

“Hear, Land o’ Cakes and brither Scots”.
On the Late Captain Grose’s Peregrinations Thro’ Scotland – by Robert Burns

Scottish oatcakes recipe

I opted to work with pinhead oats (whole oats cut into two or three pieces), fine oatmeal and porridge oats to produce a smooth textured yet substantial tasting oatcake. Replace fine with medium oatmeal if you prefer a more rugged looking oatcake.

Oatcakes for Burns Night Supper
Oatcakes for Burns Night Supper

Oatcake lovers, and oatcake doubters, try this easy recipe for wonderfully rustic oatcakes, using just oats (no other grains) and no raising agent.

Homemade oatcakes
Homemade oatcakes – smooth in texture, substantial in taste 🙂
Scottish oatcakes
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5 from 1 vote

Scottish Oatcakes Recipe

Bake up this easy oat-based treat, delicious with many savoury toppings or to serve with your Burns Night Supper!

Ingredients

Ingredients to make about 15 oatcakes

  • 150 g pinhead oats
  • 125 g fine oatmeal plus extra for dusting
  • 45 g porridge oats
  • 8 salt
  • 10 brown sugar
  • 75 g butter melted
  • 70 g water

Instructions

How to make Scottish oatcakes

  • Heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Add the wet ingredients to form the slightly sticky oatcake mixture.
  • Use fine oatmeal to lightly flour your work surface to prevent the dough from sticking, then flatten the dough with your hand before rolling it to approx. 4 mm thickness with a floured rolling pin.
  • Using a cookie cutter (I used a 7.5 mm cutter), cut out rounds of even thickness and carefully lift each oatcake onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. I use a dough scraper to help with the lifting.
  • If you have to bake the oatcakes in batches, make sure you mix together the leftover dough (use a tiny bit of extra water if it's gone a bit dry), storing it in a covered plastic bowl to prevent it from drying out while the other batch is baking.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then  carefully turn the oatcakes over and bake for 5 or 10 more minutes on the other side until they feel hard and dry on both sides. Prevent the oatcakes' edges from catching by moving them around a bit after 10 minutes.
  • Gently transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • The oatcakes are delicious and tender but sturdy enough for any topping!

Mohnstrudel Recipe (Poppy Seed Strudel)

 

Poppy seeds feature frequently in Austrian baking. Sprinkled on top of bread rolls, mixed into multi-seed wholemeal loaves or swirled up in sweet dessert bakes, they add a wonderful contrast colour, very distinctive earthy flavour and are fun to bake with. Here, I’m showcasing the delightful Mohnstrudel (poppy seed strudel) as one of my favourite poppy seed bakes.

In Austria, poppy seeds are used for both sweet (Mohnschnecken, Mohntorte, Mohnnudeln, Germknödel) and savoury (Mohnflesserl, Mohnstangerl, Mohnsemmel) bakes. They are even grown locally, so if you should ever find yourself in the Waldviertel region of Austria, you can visit Mohndorf, a village build around Waldviertler Graumohn (a variety of breadseed poppy papaver somniferum).

Mohnstrudel
Mohnstrudel: soft, enriched yeast dough swirled with a moist poppy seed filling

Mohnstrudel Recipe

The recipe requires the poppy seeds to be ground as this will make for a much smoother filling and will also allow the seeds to release their oils and flavour. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use a food processor or pestle and mortar to grind the seeds and you will need to employ the help of your coffee grinder instead.

The trick to grinding poppy seeds for desserts is to do so just enough to break them open, releasing their oils, while letting them hang on to traces of their crisp contours.” Kay Rentschler, NY Times

Poppy seeds ground and whole
Ground poppy seeds (left) and whole poppy seeds (right)
Poppy seed strudel
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5 from 1 vote

Mohnstrudel Recipe

Delicious poppy seed roll, one of my favourite Austrian teatime recipes.

Ingredients

Ingredients (makes one Mohnstrudel)

    Dough

    • 50 g unsalted butter softened
    • 85 g milk at room temperature
    • 5 g dried instant yeast
    • 15 g white caster sugar
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 200 g flour
    • 1 tiny pinch of salt
    • Zest of 1/2 lemon

    Egg wash for brushing

      Poppy Seed Filling

      • 30 g water
      • 20 g unsalted butter
      • 50 g honey or brown caster sugar
      • 25 g Powidl similar to thick plum jam
      • 1 pinch of ground cloves or cinnamon
      • 20 g ground porridge oats
      • 100 poppy seeds ground
      • 25 currants I prefer currants to raisins as they are smaller, harder and not as sweet, which works well for this delicate bake
      • 1 tsp dark rum I used Austrian Stroh rum at 80%

      Instructions

      How to make Mohnstrudel

      • Combine butter, milk, the dried yeast, sugar and egg yolk in a medium bowl and mix together with a whisk.
      • Add the flour, salt and lemon zest and use your hands to work the ingredients into a pliable dough. The dough should not be stiff but also not too sticky. It should be nice and soft and easy to shape. Knead for 5 minutes.
      • Place a cover on the bowl with the dough. Keep at room temperature/in a wam place until the volume of the dough has expanded sufficiently.
      • Prepare the filling about 15 mins before your dough is ready to be shaped.
      • To do this, add the water, butter, honey (or sugar), Powidl, ground cloves (or cinnamon) into a pan, heat up until it starts bubbling up.
      • Take the pan off the heat and add the ground porridge oats, poppy seeds, currants and rum and combine well.
      • Now back to the dough which should have almost doubled in volume by now. On a slightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 30 x 20 cm rectangle. Use your dough scraper to chop some of the protruding edges off in order to get to the rectangular shape.
      • Distribute the filling evenly across the dough rectangle, leaving 0.5 cm around the edges free.
      • Roll up the dough lengthwise. Make sure that no air bubbles get trapped as you do this. Try not to add more length to the Strudel as you roll it up, it should still end up being 30 cm long.
      • Place the Strudel seam side down onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Flatten it slightly in order to achieve a more oval than round shape without lengthening it.
      • Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rest for approx. 1 hour (depending on the temperature in your room).
      • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
      • Just before the bake, brush the Strudel with egg wash.
      • Bake for 30 minutes or so on the second lowest shelf of your oven, until golden brown.
      • Cool slightly before serving.

      Mohnstrudel Recipe for #TwelveLoaves

      #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

      Our host this month is Lora from Cake Duchess and our theme is Seeds. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads!

      For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads!

      If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your Seed Bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

      Best chia seed bread recipes

       

      Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium and fibre, chia seeds are all the nutritious rage at the moment. I’ve been crunchifying chia seeds in my home-baked granola for a while – the best breakfast! – and recently also started working on a chia seed bread recipe. Using chia seeds in baking is a great way of integrating these little nutri-bombs into your diet and while the seeds won’t add much in terms of taste, your breakfast slice of high-energy chia bread will certainly keep you going for longer.

      Chia Seed Bread
      Chia Seed Bread, baked in La Cloche baking dome

      My picks of the best chia bread recipes

      Here are the top 5 recipes from across the web for using chia seeds in bread baking.

      1. Buckwheat & chia bread (a gluten free option) by Thehealthychef.com
      2. A life-changing loaf (muesli in a loaf) by My New Roots
      3. A simple chia crispbread by Nyoutritious
      4. A wonderful apple-blueberry-chia sourdough loaf by Bread & Companatico
      5. My own recipe for an easy and very tasty chia seed loaf with rye flour and rye flakes (see below)




      Chia Seed Bread Recipe

      Chia bread ingredients

      • 275g white bread flour
      • 175g wholemeal rye flour
      • 75g rye flakes (you can also use oat flakes), toasted
      • 9g salt
      • 7g dried yeast
      • 50g chia seeds
      • 415g water (300g to make the chia gel and the remaining 115g to be added to the main dough)
      Chia Seed Gel
      Chia Seed Gel

      How to make chia bread

      1. In a medium bowl, combine 300g of the water with the chia seeds and stir. Immediately, the chia seeds will start absorbing the liquid and within 30 minutes you will have a thick gelatinous liquid. This chia gel will help keep the bread moist.
      2. While the chia gel is maturing, combine the flours, rye flakes, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
      3. Add the chia gel and the remaining water (115g).
      4. Knead for 10 minutes.
      5. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a lid. Rest for about an hour at room temperature.
      6. Deflate the dough and shape into a round loaf on a lightly floured work surface.
      7. Prepare a proofing basket and place the loaf into the floured basket for its second rise. Cover with a polythene bag to keep the moisture in. Depending on the temperature in your room, the second proof may take approx. 1 or 2 hours. The fully proofed loaf will have expanded significantly.
      8. Preheat the oven to 220°C for about 20 minutes.
      9. Turn out the loaf onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or onto the preheated La Cloche baking dome (as I did for the loaf in my photo).
      10. Bake for 10 minutes at 220°C before decreasing the temperature to 200°C and bake for another 45 minutes.
      11. Cool on a wire rack.

      And if you really don’t fancy baking chia seed bread yourself despite all these great recipes, I would recommend to buy this organic chia and flax seed rye bread from Biona. It tastes fantastic and ticks a lot of nutritional boxes.

      Saffron bread recipe

       

      This week I’m celebrating sweet breads with #twelveloaves and I have chosen to bake this wonderful saffron bread. Saffron adds a mellow, slightly bitter taste to the bread which works well with the sweetness of the raisins. This saffron loaf is a beautiful breakfast bread, delicious with honey.

      Saffron bread with raisins
      Saffron bread with raisins

      Breads similar to this are traditionally served in Sweden on December 13 to commemorate St. Lucia.

      Saffron bread recipe

      Saffron bread with raisins slice
      Delicious bread with saffron infusion and raisins

      Saffron bread ingredients

      Sponge

      • 100g milk, lukewarm
      • 1g dried instant yeast
      • 100g plain flour

      Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk. Add the flour and mix well. Cover and rest for an hour or more until frothy.

      Saffron infusion

      • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, broken up (I would recommend not using more than this as the bread can otherwise have a very overpowering saffron taste – a little saffron can go a long way)
      • 50g raisins
      • 150g hot milk

      In a small bowl, pour the hot milk over raisins and saffron threads and let stand for 10 mins to release the saffron’s natural colour and aroma.

      Final dough

      • 250 strong white bread flour
      • 1 tbsp runny honey
      • A pinch of salt
      • 30g butter, softened
      • Just before baking: 1 egg for the egg wash

      How to bake saffron bread

      1. Combine the sponge, saffron infusion and final dough ingredients in a large bowl.
      2. Knead for 5-10 mins until have a smooth and elastic dough.
      3. Place back in the bowl and leave to rest for approximately 1 hour or longer, depending on the temperature in your room, until well risen.
      4. Knock down the dough and shape into a boule or loaf. Traditional Swedish loaves are shaped into an S-shape; however, I prefer a simple round loaf.
      5. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover with a tea towel and proof until the loaf has sufficiently increased in size.
      6. Preheat the oven to 200°C half an hour before baking.
      7. Brush the loaf with egg wash just before baking, then bake for 25 mins at 200°C then turn the heat back slightly to 190°C for another 25 minutes. After 25 minutes you may also want to cover the loaf with tin foil to ensure the crust is not darkening too much.
      8. Cool your saffron-infused, raisin-studded bread on a wire rack and enjoy!

       

      #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

      Our theme this month is A LITTLE SOMETHING SWEET. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves Mexican Breads!

      If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your “A Little Something Sweet” Bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

      Feta and Olive Swirls Recipe

       

      I’m excited to be baking these tasty feta and olive swirls as part of the #TwelveLoaves group of bread revolutionaries!

      Olive feta swirls

      These are great when you have people round your house for drinks and lazy Sunday afternoon chit chat.

      Olive feta swirls

      Day 1

      Prepare sponge

      • 75g white bread flour
      • 75g wholemeal flour
      • 1g dry yeast
      • 150g water, lukewarm

      Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and leave a room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.

      Day 2

      Prepare final dough

      • 225g sponge (from day 1)
      • 175g white bread flour
      • 50g wholemeal flour
      • 4g salt
      • 15g olive oil
      • 100g water

      Mix all ingredients together and knead until the dough is stretchy and silky. Cover ad leave for an hour or so, until risen well (this depends on the temperature in your room).

      Prepare olive paste

      • 180g black olives (pitted and drained)
      • 1 tbsp herbes de Provence (oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary)
      • 20g olive oil

      Blitz in a food processor.

      Shape and bake the feta and olive swirls

      • 250g feta cheese, crumbled
      • Olive oil for brushing
      1. Sprinkle your work surface with flour.
      2. Punch down the well risen dough, then turn out.
      3. Spread the dough into a rectangle with your fingers. Don’t spread it out too thinly otherwise your swirls won’t be bready enough – approx. 30 x 20 cm.
      4. Spread the olive paste evenly over the dough.
      5. Sprinkle the feta cheese evenly on top.
      6. Roll the dough up like a roulade, sealing the seam with your fingers.
      7. With a sharp serrated knife, cut the dough into 2cm slices and lace them on their sides on a baking tray lined with baking paper (leave room between them as they will almost grow to double their initial size).
      8. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove. In my Edinburgh winter kitchen, this took 1.5 hours but you could be done in 45 minutes depending on the temperature in your room.
      9. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 220°C and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
      10. Place to cool on a wire rack.
      11. Brush with olive oil while still warm.

      Olive feta swirl

       

      #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

      Our host this month is Robin from A Shaggy Dough Story, and our theme is CHEESE. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves enter last month’s Italian Breads!

      If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your CHEESE bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

      Tapioca Bread – Brazilian Cheese Buns

       

      A lovely bag of tapioca flour had been sitting in my store cupboard for way too long. So today, it was transformed into these wonderfully springy cheese buns known in Brazil as “Pão de Queijo” (cheese bread). Making Brazilian cheese and tapioca bread puffs is easy and you can make these buns in less than an hour.

      Travelling through Bahia, these delectable Brazilian tapioca bread buns were frequently served for breakfast and readily available as snacks for train and bus journeys.

      Brazilian cheese bread buns
      Brazilian cheese & tapioca bread buns

      Brazilian cheese & tapioca bread recipe (Pão de Queijo)

      A great way of working with tapioca flour, these Brazilian cheese bread buns are a delicious afternoon snack.

      Brazilian tapioca buns
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      5 from 1 vote

      Brazilian cheese & tapioca bread recipe (Pão de Queijo)

      Try these unusual tapioca bread buns, a quick and easy way to master baking with tapioca flour.

      Ingredients

      Ingredients for Brazilian cheese & tapioca breads

      • 300 g tapioca flour
      • 260 g milk
      • 110 g butter
      • 6 g salt
      • 100 g grated Parmesan you can also use mature cheddar or similar
      • 2 eggs

      Instructions

      How to make Brazilian cheese & tapioca bread buns

      • Preheat oven to 200°C.
      • Prepare a non-stick muffin baking tray (for 12 pieces).
      • Combine the milk, butter and salt in a medium-sized pot and bring to a rolling boil.
      • Remove the pot from the heat and add in the tapioca flour until thoroughly combined. Use a spoon to help with this process. The mixture will turn into a gelatinous and sticky dough and you might want to start mixing the dough with your hands to manage the process. You might think it's too much tapioca starch for the amount of liquid, but it will all come together well in the end, just keep mixing and folding.
      • Add in the eggs one by one until evenly combined. Again, you might find that this is best done by mixing by hand.
      • Mix in the grated cheese.
      • Fill each muffin cup up to about three quarters full and try to even the top. Lightly oil your hands to do this - it'll help to keep the sticky tapioca dough in check.
      • Bake the tapioca puffs until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

      You see – these tapioca buns are the easiest breads you’ll ever make! The buns are crispy on the outside but have a soft, hollow and very chewy texture. Best eaten while warm, the buns will be good for a few days.

      Brazilian manioc buns
      Brazilian manioc buns – watch them while they bake and puff!
      Brazilian tapioca buns
      Made with tapioca flour, the buns are light, crunchy and chewy
      Manioc cheese buns
      Impress your guests with these unique Brazilian tapioca breads

      What is tapioca?

      • Tapioca is starch/flour extracted from the root of the manioc plant (also known as cassava or yuca) which is native to Brazil.
      • It has very low nutritional value in terms of vitamins, minerals or fibre.
      • Tapioca flour is gluten free.
      • It’s a very smooth flour which makes a good thickening and binding agent.
      • It helps add crispness to crusts and chew to baked goods.

      Spinach & Feta Pastry Recipe (Spanakopita)

       

      Having recently returned from a holiday in Cyprus, I wanted to recreate some of the tasty Greek-Cypriot-style pastries at home.

      This is my take on spanakopita (spinach triangles) – little pastries stuffed with spinach, feta cheese, pine nuts and fresh herbs.

      Spinach, feta, pine nut pastries (spanakopita)
      Spinach, feta & pine nut pastries (spanakopita)

      Ingredients

      Pastry

      • 250g strong white flour
      • 7g salt
      • 7g dried yeast
      • 20g olive oil
      • 130g water

      Filling

      • 1 tbsp olive oil
      • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
      • 1 medium leek, finely chopped
      • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
      • 400g fresh spinach leaves
      • 200g feta cheese, crumbled
      • 4 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
      • 3 tbsp fresh fresh herbs (dill, mint or parsley), finely chopped
      • salt
      • freshly crushed pepper

      How to bake them

      For the dough

      1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
      2. Once you have a rough dough, turn it out onto a lightly oiled work surface
      3. Knead for 7 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and no longer sticky
      4. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with cling film
      5. Set aside at room temperature for at least an hour

      For the filling

      1. Heat the oil in a large pan
      2. Stir fry the garlic, leek and spring onions for a few minutes
      3. Put the mixture on a plate and set aside
      4. Add the spinach leaves to the pan and stir until wilted
      5. Simmer until all excess liquid from the spinach has evaporated (you can speed up this process by straining the excess liquid through a colander before placing the mixture back in the pan to dry it out further), stir frequently
      6. Set aside to cool
      7. Combine all ingredients: the garlic, leek and spring onion mixture, the spinach, crumbled feta cheese, toasted pine nuts and finely chopped herbs in a bowl
      8. Season to taste

      For the pastries

      1. Preheat the oven to 220°C
      2. Divide the dough into eight equal parts with a dough scraper
      3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough piece into a round about 15 cm in diameter, one at a time.
      4. Place 1/8 of the spinach and feta filling onto the dough round.
      5. Pick up 3 “corners” of the dough and bring together to form a dough triangle.
      6. Shape the dough parcel by bringing together the sides of the triangle, sealing them carefully. Use a little water to make this process easier.
      7. Place the dough parcels on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
      8. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
      9. Cool on a wire rack or eat warm.

      Spinach, feta and pine nut pastries filling (spanakopita)

      Here they are – great spinach pastry appetizers!

      Spinach, feta, pine nut and dill pastries (spanakopita)
      Spinach, feta, pine nut and dill pastries (spanakopita)

      Best Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe

       

      One of my recent visits to Ireland brought me to The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore and, oh my, they do good brown bread there. Luckily, I found the recipe in The Cliff House Hotel Cookbook: Granny McGrath’s Brown Irish Soda Bread.

      Some of the ingredients were rather hard to find in the UK (they are more readily available in Ireland) but I did succeed and found what I needed.

      The recipe is fantastic. There is no doubt, this is the real deal.

      Slice of Irish Brown Soda Bread
      Look at that. What a beauty!

      Brown Irish Soda Bread Recipe

      A beautiful recipe for brown Irish wholemeal soda bread.

      Ingredients (for 1 loaf)

      • 350g coarse wholemeal flour
      • 150g fine wholemeal flour
      • 100g wheatgerm
      • 100g porridge oats
      • 100g brown sugar
      • 100g bran
      • 1/4 tbsp salt
      • 3/4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
      • 2 eggs, beaten
      • 735g buttermilk
      Brown Soda Bread Flour Wheatgerm Bran
      Brown Soda Bread Ingredients (from top left clockwise): Fine Wholemeal Flour, Coarse Wholemeal Flour, Wheatgerm, Bran

      How to make brown bread

      1. Preheat the oven to 170°C
      2. Grease a large baking tin
      3. Thoroughly combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
      4. Add the buttermilk and beaten eggs
      5. Mix (best to use your hands) to quickly combine all the ingredients. The dough will need only the minimum amount of handling. Kneading the dough is unnecessary and would in fact toughen the bread.
      6. Bake for 60 minutes
      7. Remove the bread from the tin and put back in upside down
      8. Bake for a further 10 minutes
      9. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack

      Enjoy! I have also got a delicious recipe for a traditional white soda bread if you are looking for a more simplistic soda bread loaf.

      Austrian Easter Bread Wreath Recipe

       

      Easter is a great time for baking – Spring is in the air, early gardening efforts are starting to bear fruit and there are lots of lovely seasonal baking ideas to play with. Hot cross buns are the traditional Easter treat in the UK. However, I’m not a huge fan of their fruit-heavy doughs and usually like to bake Easter breads containing nuts. Here is one of my favourite recipes for Easter, a traditional Austrian Easter bread wreath. The bread is enriched with milk and butter, spiced with vanilla, cardamom and lemon zest and glazed with honey and rum.

      Easter Bread Wreath with Chopped Pistachios, Hard Boiled Eggs
      Easter Bread Wreath with Chopped Pistachios, very decorative with colourful hard boiled Easter eggs

      Austrian Easter Bread Wreath Recipe

      Ingredients (makes 1 small wreath)

      For the dough

      • 250g plain flour
      • 130g milk, lukewarm
      • 4g dried yeast
      • 40g butter, melted
      • 40g caster sugar
      • 1 egg yolk
      • 1 pinch of salt
      • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
      • 2 cardamom pods, seeds taken out and crushed with pestle and mortar
      • Zest of ½ lemon
      • 1 tbsp pistachios, ground or finely chopped
      • 2 tbsp hazelnuts, ground or finely chopped
      • 1 tbsp brown sugar

      For the topping

      • 1 tbsp honey
      • 1 tbsp rum
      • 1 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped
      Easter Bread Wreath Close-Up
      Easter Bread Wreath – You can see the different strands of dough come together here
      Pistachio hazelnut sugar mix
      Chopped pistachios, chopped hazelnuts, sugar for the Easter bread wreath dough

      How to bake it

      1. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, caster sugar, egg yolk, salt, vanilla sugar, crushed cardamom seeds and lemon zest and mix until it reaches an even consistency
      2. Add the flour, yeast and milk to the butter-sugar mixture and form a smooth dough; knead for approximately 10 minutes
      3. Cover the dough with the bowl and leave to rest in a warm place for 1 hour
      4. Combine the ground or finely chopped nuts with the brown sugar
      5. Divide the dough into two equal parts
      6. Knead the nuts-and-sugar mix into one of the dough parts
      7. Lightly flour your work surface if the dough is prone to stick
      8. Use your hands and form each dough part into a long sausage form, 40 cm in length
      9. Form a rope with the two dough rolls by winding the rolls around each other
      10. Then bring the ends together to form a wreath, sealing the ends together to avoid them coming apart during the baking process
      11. Place the wreath on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cover with a clean kitchen towel for 30 minutes to 1 hour to prove
      12. Preheat the oven to 180°C
      13. Bake for 30 minutes
      14. Warm up the honey in a small pot and add the rum
      15. Brush the baked wreath with the mixture and sprinkle the roughly chopped pistachios on top

      Great with a cup of tea or coffee, served for breakfast or afternoon tea!

      Austrian Easter wreath bread
      Austrian Easter bread wreath with a wonderful honey and rum glaze and colourful pistachio kernels sprinkled on top

      Australian Damper Soda Bread Recipe (Rye Flour)

       

      With Australia Day and the Australian Open final at the same weekend, I looked into traditional Australian bread recipes and decided to give the Aussie damper a go.

      A modern Aussie damper
      A modern Aussie damper

      Traditional simplicity

      Traditionally, Aussie damper bread was…

      • A staple bread for Australians who were travelling in remote areas of the Australian outback for long periods of time in colonial times
      • Developed out of necessity, a lot of Aussie dampers were made with whatever was available
      • A very simple unleavened bread made with (easily portable) wheat flour, salt and water
      • Baked in the hot coals/ashes of a campfire – buried in a pot or wrapped around a stick – it’s called damper because the campfire is damped to allow the dough to be cooked over the ash-covered hot coals
      • Eaten with dried or cooked meat, sometimes spread with golden syrup – and Billy Tea (http://www.billytea.com/)

      Modern deliciousness

      I’ve changed the original recipe considerably moving away from the the original damper’s three-ingredient simplicity and replacing wheat with rye flour. This damper is quick and easy to prepare and can be baked in your oven at home or when out camping. It will taste better (more like ‘the real thing’) if baked in a campfire 🙂

      Aussie damper baked in the oven
      Aussie damper baked in the oven

      The recipe uses milk instead of water, adds butter to add richness and self-raising flour for leavening.

      Ingredients

      • 250g light rye flour
      • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 200g buttermilk (you can also use 100ml milk mixed with 100g yoghurt or 190g milk mixed with 2 tbsp of lemon juice)
      • 1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
      • Some extra flour for dusting
      • 1 small onion, grated
      • 1 garlic clove, grated
      • 50g celeriac, grated
      • 50g mature cheddar, cut into 5mm cubes or grated

      For the damper dough

      1. In a large bowl mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt with a balloon whisk.
      2. Add the butter using your fingertips to rub the little cubs into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
      3. Slowly add the milk and mix to form a soft, non-sticky dough.
      4. Add the onion, garlic and celeriac mix and cheddar and carefully knead until evenly distributed.
      5. Knead until smooth (this can be done in the bowl or on a clean, lightly floured work surface) – just one or two minutes should be enough.
      6. Shape into a round loaf.
      7. Brush with milk.
      8. Lightly flour the handle of a wooden spoon and make deep indents into the dough top (press the handle almost to the bottom of the dough) to mark 8 wedges on top.

      To cook in the oven

      • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
        Shape into a round loaf.
      • Brush with milk.
      • Lightly flour the handle of a wooden spoon and make deep indents into the dough top (press the handle almost to the bottom of the dough) to mark 8 wedges on top.
      • Grease and dust a round cake tin.
      • Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until golden.
      • The bottom should sound hollow when tapped.


      To bake in the ashes of a campfire (in a pot or layers of foil)

      • Grease and dust a fire-proof cast-iron pan.
      • Add the loaf and cover.
      • Alternatively, place in at least five layers of tin foil. Make sure you get all the air out between dough and foil.
      • Place in the hot coals of your campfire and cover with hot ashes and coals. The fire should have burnt down to just coals, no big flames.
      • Bake for about 25 minutes.

      To bake in a campfire (on a stick)

      • Divide into six equal pieces and roll into a 20cm long snake shapes.
      • Wrap the dough snakes around dry, clean sticks (bamboo canes and hazel rods work well) in a spiral. Make sure the dough is safely attached to your stick and leave enough room on one end of the stick to hold on to and not burn your hands.
      • Hold over the embers of the campfire, turning frequently, until evenly cooked, golden brown and crisp, for about 10 minutes.

      Tastes great with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salted butter or vegemite.