Daring Bakers March Challenge – Dutch Crunch Bread

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

This was a joint effort, I left the bread making to breadhead (always better, and I’ve not no patience for all the waiting and kneading), and I made the crunch topping.  We used Dan Lepards Simple Milk Loaf to make rolls, and the dutch crunch made them lovely and crusty.  The oven even decided to kick in and make them nice and crisp (perhaps a little too crisp towards the back!).

Our sandwich was whatever was in the cupboard, so went with a classic combo of tuna, mayo, avocado and tomato.  Tasty dinner!

Nice Buns!


Cheese, chorizo and roasted pepper sandwich



Tuna, Mayo tomato and avocado sandwich



Dutch Crunch Topping (Daring Bakers)

Servings: This recipe should make sufficient topping for two 9×5 loaves (23cmx13cm) or 12 rolls.


2 tablespoons (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (240 gm/8½ oz) rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour) (increase by 1 cup or more for home-made rice flour)


1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, as shown below, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.

2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. We tried coating it with a brush but it worked better just to use fingers or a spoon and kind of spread it around. You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.
3. Let stand, uncovered, for any additional time your recipe recommends. With the Soft White Roll, you can place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping. With the Brown Rice Bread, the loaves should stand for 20 minutes with the topping before baking.
4. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The Dutch Crunch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.


Mandarin Yoghurt Cake

My third installment of February’s Daring Bakers challenge was a mandarin yoghurt cake.  Mostly because I had a lot of mandarins to use up!  To make the cake taste more strongly of mandarin, I boiled the mandarins in their skins until very soft, and then blitzed the whole lot up with the stick blender and put the lot in the cake, skins and all!

The recipe is adapted from My Fabulous Recipes

Mandarin Yoghurt Cake

2/3 cup softened butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup thick natural/Greek yoghurt
4 mandarins

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

  1. Boil mandarins in a saucepan until soft (about 15 minutes)
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Blitz boiled mandarins in food processor or with stick blender
  5. Add yogurt and mandarin to eggs and sugar
  6. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  7. Add the wet mixture and beat until smooth
  8. Pour into two medium sized  greased bread pans
  9. Bake at 180 degrees C for 45-50 minute until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean if poked in the middle of the bread.
  10. Cool for 10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.

Serve with lemon yoghurt icing(recipe below)

Lemon Yoghurt Icing

3/4 cup natural yoghurt

2 cups icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp butter softened

1.  Beat yogurt, butter and icing sugar until smooth.

2.  Add lemon juice and refrigerate to firm up a bit.


Banana Caramel Peanut Butter Loaf

This was another Daring Bakers’ Challenge quick bread recipe.  The loaf turned out more of a peanut loaf than anything else, the peanut butter and whole peanuts seemed to dominate the flavor, so you couldn’t really taste the bananas much in the end.  It may be better with a reduced amount of peanuts, or using another more subtle nut, such as the more traditional walnut-banana combo!

Banana Caramel Peanut Butter Loaf (adapted from Dan Lepard’s Butterscotch Banana Cake.)

250g caster sugar

250g banana flesh, chopped into 2cm pieces

1 tbsp butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

175ml sunflower oil

2 large eggs

150g plain flour

75g  wholemeal flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 level tsp baking powder

½ level tsp bicarbonate of soda

50ml plain yoghurt

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/4 cup whole salted peanuts

1 cup chopped dates

1.  Grease a 20cm square tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

2. Put 150g of the caster sugar into a frying pan with 25ml water, bring to the boil, then cook over a high heat until the sugar caramelizes.

3.  Add the banana pieces, butter and vanilla, and simmer until the bananas break up in the caramel and the mixture is thick.

4.  Leave to cool on a plate.

5.  Beat the remaining 100g sugar with the oil and eggs until thick

6.  Then beat in the bananas, peanut butter and the yoghurt.

7.  Sift the flours, spice, baking powder and soda together two or three times (throwing the bran back in), then fold this through the banana mixture.  .

8.  Fold in whole peanuts and chopped dates.

9.Spoon the mixture into the tin, heat the oven to 180C (160C fan-assisted) and bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Serve with salted caramel whipped cream (recipe below)

Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

1 cup whipped cream

1 Tbsp Dulce de Leche

1/2 tsp salt

Combine ingredients and serve. 

Caramalized Onion and Chorizo Quick Bread

As promised in my previous post, here is the recipe for one of the quick breads I made for the February Daring Bakers challenge.  The bread was a bit of a throw in whats in the fridge recipe, luckily there was chorizo in the fridge, which i think is almost impossible to go wrong with.  The bread turned out a little dry due to an unreliable oven that refuses to rise above 150 degrees, therefore I had to cook it for much longer than I should have!


The quick bread was loosely based on a recipe for Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Olive oil quick bread from Cookin’ Canuck, but ended up quite different, as I had to substitute a lot of ingredients!


Caramelized Onion and Chorizo Quick Bread

3 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp  salt
1 jar roasted red peppers, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp herbs de provence.

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

1.  Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.

2.  Add the onion to the pan, with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the onions are golden brown, about 10 additional minutes.

3.Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the onions, then stir in garlic and peppers.  Cook about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

4.  Whisk together flour, herbs baking powder, and salt.

5.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, lightly beaten, milk, and extra-virgin olive oil. Whisk well until combined.

6.  Pour the flour mixture into the eggs mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix or the bread will become tough. Add onion, pepper mix and stir until just combined.

7.  Grease a loaf pan and line with grease proof paper.  Add batter to tin.

8.  Bake until the top is for about 25 minutes then remove from oven and quickly grate Parmesan over the loaf, return to oven for another 10-15 minutes.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan, and cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve with butter or cheddar cheese.

Makes 1 loaf of bread.

Daring Bakers’ February Challenge- Quick Breads

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

I couldn’t decide on just one quick bread for this challenge, so I made a few!  The first was a banana peanut caramel loaf, which was nice, but very heavy, probably due to too many peanuts, which tended to dominate the flavor.  It was really more like peanut loaf.

Banana peanut caramel quick bread

a caramalized onion and chorizo bread

and a mandarin yoghurt cake

Recipes to follow….

Simple Milk Loaf

Well I have shown you the kneading method I use and now here is one of my favourite bread recipes that incorporates the technique. The recipe is from Dan Lepard’s great book “The Handmade Loaf” which has some fantastic recipes for international breads, but is not ideal for anyone short on free time.  It’s a book for the commited breadmaker, dabblers should look elsewhere.

This is a pretty simple recipe and really great for toast and sarnies. It makes me want to pay the highly inflated (in Spain), price for a jar of Marmite or branston pickle or both!!

Simple Milk Loaf

1 ½ tsp of fresh yeast crumbled (or 1 tsp dried yeast)

350g whole milk at room temperature

20g golden, maple syrup or honey

250g plain white flour

250g strong white flour

1 ½ tsp salt

25g warm melted butter

  1. In a large bowl whisk the milk with the yeast and syrup. Add the flours and salt and combine all togeather so you have soft sticky dough. Pour over melted butter and squidge it in. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 mins.
  2. Rub 1 tsp of sunflower or veg oil on your hands and workbench and knead for 10 seconds (see video) clean the bowl and grease with a little more oil. Return the dough and cover 10 mins.
  3. Oil hands and workbench, Knead  the dough 10 seconds put back in bowl and cover for 10mins.
  4. Oil hands and workbench, Knead  the dough 10 seconds put back in bowl and cover for 10mins.
  5. Oil hands and workbench, Knead  the dough 10 seconds put back in bowl and cover .
  6. Leave for 30 minutes covered.
  7. Grease and flour a deep loaf tin 12x19cm. divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Drop them side by side into the prepared tin. Cover with cloth and leave to rise for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 210c. brush the top of the loaf with milk and bake for 15mins, then lower the heat to 180c and bake for another 25-30 mins. Or until top of loaf is shiny and brown and the loaf has come away from the sides of the tin.
  9. Remove from tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. (important to leave it to cool before eating or cutting as the loaf is still cooking and although the temptation is to try a slice there and then resist. )

Here is a summary I find useful when making these types of loaves as I often lose myself a little in recipe

  1. Mix.
  2. leave for 10mins,then knead 10 secs, cover x 4
  3. Knead,Leave 30mins, covered.
  4. Shape, put in tin (2balls)
  5. Leave 1 ½ hrs.
  6. Put in oven 210c 15mins then 180c for 25-30 mins.
  7. Cool, scoff!

When you have made the bread post a picture. happy baking!!!

Foolproof Bread Kneading Technique

Here Breadhead demonstrates the foolproof bread kneading technique that guarantees your bread rises well and has a perfect texture (well provided you do everything else right too, bread’s a contrary food with many opportunities to mess it up!) .  However, if you follow this technique at least your kneading won’t be the problem! (pajamas optional, but obviously there’s nothing like a good Sunday morning PJ knead to get rid of the cobwebs!).

Bumper Burger Buns

Breadhead here! Now you may ask what’s the point in making your own burger buns? Well, the simple answer is because I like to.   I really enjoy making my own bread, pasta etc. Although they are basic things are available in all supermarkets, I like the feeling of making something from real, crude, ingredients, like flour and butter, and watching it transform into a totally different product. My approach is, if I can make it myself, I will give it a go.  There is something deeply satisfying and even therapeutic about mixing, kneading and rising your own bread, and the smell from the kitchen is unbeatable! These burger buns are really good, light, ever so slightly sweet, with a soft crumb. Give them a try, with a nice juicy homemade burger (recipe to follow!) and your choice of condiments.

Makes 8 buns
3 tablespoons warm milk
235ml warm water
1 sachet active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
400g strong White bread flour
40g  plain White flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 extra egg to glaze (beaten lightly)
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional)

  1. In a bowl combine the water, milk yeast and sugar and allow to stand for 5 mins.
  2. In another bowl Combine flours, salt and butter cubed and rub mixture between your fingers till it becomes breadcrumby
  3. Add liquids and a beaten egg to the flour mix and combine to rough sticky dough (leave 10mins.)
  4. On worksurface put teaspoon of oil and smear around and on your hands.
  5. Take dough and lift up a side and drop it on top  in a folding motion for 10 seconds.
  6. Wash bowl with water and oil it lightly.
  7. Return dough to bowl and cover with a tea towel for10min.
  8. Knead for 10 seconds again. Return to bowl leave for a further 10mins.
  9. Repeat 10 second knead one more time then leave for 1 hour to rise.
  10. Knead  for10 seconds and then divide into eight roughly equal pieces.
  11. Lightly flour work surface and dough and shape into buns. Place on floured baking tray and cover with clean cloth.
  12. Leave for 1 hour or until roughly doubled in size.
  13. Preheat oven to 210 degrees celcius.
  14. Glaze with egg and sprinkle with seeds if desired.
  15. Place a baking tray with boiling water in the base of the oven and bake for 15 to 20minutes or until light brown and hollow sounding when tapped on base.