Saturday, 10 October 2015

Braided Brioche Bread

Bread making season has arrived! And it won't be over for a long-long time, so I can't wait to dig into my recipes, knead, braid, proof, bake and taste the fresh and hot amazingness.
Autumn is always considered as a start of new things, we make new resolutions, start, or start over things. It was last autumn that I started to teach myself the secret of breadmaking, and during this past year I made so many disasters and so many successes that now I am ready to pick my favourites. If I needed to have a favourite to-go bread, I would definitely go with this sweet brioche bread.

I've always though this was Hungarian, but actually brioche itself has a French origin and this braided style appears in Jewish cuisine the most. We still look at it as a traditional Hungarian recipe, typically made for Easter, sometimes with raisins in it as well.

Good news is that this is probably one of the easiest bread recipes. If you are patient with kneading the dough - which is not difficult at all -, there aren't many things that can go wrong.
This recipe yields two small brioche loafs, or one large. (the one on the picture is a large one, around half a kilo)

340 g all purpose flour
34 g icing sugar
34 g soft butter
2 egg yolks
half a sachet (aroud 3,5 g) of instant dried yeast
165 ml lukewarm milk
pinch of salt

Mix the icing sugar and yeast with the milk and let it stand for a minute. Mix the salt with the flour and rub in the butter. Add the milk and the egg yolks and start mixing it with your hand. Once it all came together, transfer to a wooden cutting board or the clean kitchen counter and start kneading. Knead for 10 minutes. Put it back into the bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel, Let it proof for an hour at a warm place.
When it's doubled the size, you're ready to braid. For the braiding, divide the dough into six parts. You're going to need six parts per loaf, so divide the dough into twelve if you're making two small loafs. You can always braid it in the classic way, using only three 'strains' of dough. The method I'm going to explain is the one I made the loaf on the photos with,
While you're working with one piece of dough, always cover the rest with a kitchen towel.
Roll each piece to a long sausage. Make sure all the sausages are more or less the same length.
Dust the sausages with flour, and join three of them together at the top. Join the other three as well, and finally join the two sets of threes. You are supposed to have two sets of threes. Pull the sets apart a bit.

Cross your hands over the sausages, right above left. With your hands crossed, grab the sausage on the two ends, so the one on the far left and the one on the far right. Cross the sausages. Now your hands shouldn't be crossed anymore.
You're still holding the two sausages crossed over. Put the one down in your right hand to the immediate left - now you should have three sausages on the left side, with the one you just put down the closest to the centre. With your right hand, grab the far left one from this group and pull it under your left hand. Now put the sausage in your left hand down to the immediate right, creating again a group of three on the right side, with the one you just put down the closest to the centre.
With your left hand, grab the far right from the right side group and pull it under your right hand. Put the one in your right hand to the immediate left. Grab the far left sausage with your right hand, and pulling it under your left hand, place it to the immediate left. Continue this  until the sausages are over. Push the ends together and tuck it under the bread.

When you're finished with braiding, cover with a kitchen towel again and let it proof for half an hour at a warm place.
When it's ready, mix a pinch of salt a tiny bit of water with a yolk of egg, and brush the loaf with a pastry brush. Bake it on 185 degrees for 25 minutes.
Wait for around 10 minutes before cutting and enjoying your beautiful homemade bread!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

No Bake Blackberry & Chia Peanut Butter Oat Bars with Chocolate Drizzle

Well, that's a name, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, this recipe is not difficult at all - all you need is a food processor or blender and a little bit of patience for it to chill in the fridge for an hour or so. But I just couldn't decide which ingredient is the best to describe this recipe. Cause the beautiful sour flavour of the blackberries, with a mushy, gelly texture thanks to the chia seeds is just as wonderful as the sweet-saltyness of the peanuts in the crumbly oat base, the whole finished by a quick crack of the cold chocolate drizzle. Oh my!!

I found a recipe of this amazing chia bar on The Rawsome Vegan Life, one of my new fave blogs. I used Emily's recipe as a starting point, and slightly modified it. The berries and the peanut (or almond, if you wish) butter go so incredibly well together... I wanted to finish the whole thing by myself, And the chocolate on top! I used 85% Ecuadorian dark chocolate, which, to be honest is probably is more good for you, than any other treat ever.

And what I love the most, is the no-bake-ness of these bars. You know when its 41 degrees outside (true. story.) and all you wanna do is just forget about the oven? Summer is almost over, but this thing has been my savior - and won't be afraid to make it in the autumn either.


250 g oat flour (that's basically ground rolled oats - grind for yourself in a food processor if needed)
8 tblsp peanut butter
2 tblsp honey or agave syrup or maple syrup
1 tblsp sesame seeds (can be omitted)

250 g blackberries
4 tblsp chia seeds

30 g dark chocolate (min 70%)


Mash the blackberries in a food processor or with a potato masher. Add the chia seeds and mix with a spoon until it's incorporated. Set aside while you make the base.

Grind the oats if needed and add the sesame seeds if using. Add the other ingredients and mix everything with your hands (You can try with a spoon, but it won't happen. Use those hands!). Add more peanut butter if you have some oat flour left on the bottom of the bowl, but you can also add some water if you don't wanna use all your peanut butter.

Use a square plastic container for the assembly - I used a 20 cm x 10 cm one. Put half of the peanut butter mixture into the container and press it down with your hands. It should cover the bottom of the container and be around 1-1,5 cm thick. Spoon the berry mixture on top - it should be already jelly-like thanks to the puffed chia seeds. Now you have to add the top of the sandwich. I normally do this by grabbing chunks of the peanut butter mixture, flatten them with my hands and place them on top of the berry mixture, creating a puzzle-like effect on top. Don't worry if it's not perfect, the chocolate will cover it!

Melt the chocolate in the microwave - melt it so some parts of it are still in full, then mix it with a spoon for some seconds. This way, the mixture won't heat up so much and it won't become grey on top of the sandwich bar.

Put the whole thing in the fridge and wait for 1-2 hours for it to set. Slice up and munch.

Friday, 17 April 2015

A Pie In Wonderland

Fruit pies are my favourite at the moment! Honestly, I realized that I have never really had a 'to-go' recipe. If I want to surprise someone, I bake a cake, you know, with multiple layers and frosting and stuff, but let's be honest, that's not really the "we need something right now" category. Of course I am far from professional, and I'm sure that other hobby-bakers have much more experience with cakes, but I dare to say that most of us (the hobby-bakers) don't have 3 identical springforms. We have one each. Take it out, wash, re-grease, put another third of the batter, that'show it goes.
Six hours later (that's my normal time) we have the prettiest cake and the ugliest kitchen in the world, but of course we get the 'ho and has', so of course it was worth it.

But now I'm talking about the times when we don't have a day in the kitchen, we don't want the oven go for hours and we want something very pretty to finally prove to the grumpy auntie that we are over the mac'n'cheese phase. (I actually don't have any of those. The grumpy aunties I mean.)

What looks a bit tricky but also impressive on the pie is the lattice on the top. Well, I had multiple attempts on making it one down-one up, but no success. The problem was that I was trying to put the stripes of dough directly on the filling, so basically what was put there, stayed forever. Since then, I realised (oookay, I've seen in the Bake Off, are you happy?!) that it's better to do it in advance, on a sheet of baking paper, then carefully slip it on the pie.
Slip it, yeah. Well, those who are not chickens like me, go ahead and slip it (you basically release the lattice from the baking paper starting at one side of the pie), I will flip.

Yeah I know, flipping sounds a million times more risky. I honestly think I'm doing it because it's quick and I normally mess up things with overstressing and doing it too slowly. With a flip, you take a deep breath and do it. So what I basically do is that I press the dough-stripes slightly onto the baking paper, then hold the thing up with one palm, with the other palm on top of the lattice, flip it above the pie and quickly remove my hand. It is actually a lot easier than how it sounds.

I actually sort-of made this pie before, with mulberries. It's the same idea, but different fruit and a more classic pie crust.

On the photos, you can see a mini pie, but here I'm giving the recipe for the big one, as it is more likely you gonna use that. If you want to make half the size as I did, half the measurements.

300 g all purpose flour
200 g butter
100 icing sugar
a splash of ice water

500 g of fresh or frozen berries
35 g custard powder (I used vanilla flavour)
1 tblsp cornflour
70 g caster sugar
1 dl water

Sift the flour and icing sugar together. Rub the butter into the flour with your hands. When it's all crumbly, add a splash of ice water and as quickly as possible, form it into a dough. Put it in the fridge for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven for 175 C.
In a saucepan, slowly bring the fruit and sugar into a boil, and incorporate the custard powder and cornflour with the water. Add this into the fruit mixture after it's been cooking for five minutes. Constantly stirring, simmer until it thickens up (around 5 minutes). Set aside.

Divide the dough into two parts, leaving one slightly bigger than the other. Roll out the bigger part into a circle and place it into your pie case. Even the edges and make some nice patterns on the side with a fork.
Put a sheet of baking paper on the raw dough, and put some baking beans or rice on it. Put into the oven. After eight minutes, remove the beans/rice and put the case back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Until it bakes, prepare the lattice for the top of the pie on a baking sheet. For a nicer outcome, use a pizza cutter.
When the case is baked, put the filling in it, then flip/slip the lattice as well. Bake for 25 minutes or until the filling starts to act like lava! That's what happened with my one, that's why it looks so messy.

For serving, wait until it's cooled down.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Super Healthy Blueberry Banana Muffins

Let's get fit!
One of my new years's resolution was to go to the gym regularly, which has been succesful so far. But as you are there, close to death, every day, you kinda wonder that maybe you should reduce the amount of unhealthy food you eat...

Ok, the term 'unhealthy' is very subjective: personally, I don't think that there is anything bad with that 250 g butter in a tray of brownies.
But they won't make you skinny, that's for sure.
So now, I am trying to eat a bit healthier. Since I still wanted to have cake, cos you know, cake is cake, I made this super-healthy blueberry-banana muffin recipe, and it worked. Yummy and healthy.

As you can see, my muffin tray's holes make super 'skinny' muffins; feel free to make them in the regular ones.

These little things are perfect for library snacks, or lunchboxes. But a bigger post is coming on those soon.


300 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
50 g porridge oats
2 eggs
120 g low fat natural yogurt
140 g almond milk
50 g butter (melted)
100 g honey
2 bananas
200 g blueberries, washed


In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients: the flour, the baking powder and the oats.
In an other bowl, beat the eggs for a couple of minutes, then add honey, yogurt and almond milk, melted butter and beat it together for another 3 minutes.
Mash up bananas with a fork, and add it to the egg mixture.
Mix the egg mixture into the dry mixture. Add the blueberries - try to have them as dry as possible (so wash them a while before baking), as you dont want to incorporate any additional water into your dough.
Butter your muffin tray, or put some muffin cases into the holes: bake on 175 C for 25 minutes.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Sticky No Egg Cinnamon Swirls

Ah, this title sounds like if I was a very very conscious lacto-vegetarian, but I think it's no surprise that I'm actually not. 
I just simply forgot to put eggs in my cinnamon rolls.
Lucky me, it worked! Good news for the egg-avoiders, and to me in case I want to bake something and happen to be out of eggs.

I'd like to start with a very important thing: I have no idea what makes a difference between a cinnamon roll and a cinnamon swirl.
So from now on I'm gonna use the word we use in Hungarian: cinnamon snail. yep.
Please don't say it's gross, it's such a cute name! Just think about it as the sweetest animal out of all.
Ehw, sorry...

So the story this time is not that long: there is this bakery on my corner.
The cutest, nicest, warmest little place ever.
With cinnamon snails that just too pretty to eat.
What I especially love about their version is that they don't put any icing on top. To be honest, I started to make these snails because I had some leftover cream cheese in the fridge for the icing, but after trying one straight out of the oven, I learned that it's absolutely unnecessary. It's pretty sweet on it's own.

So obviously my little cinnamon snails are not as pretty as those in the bakery, but tastewise I got pretty close! Give it a try.


350 g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50 g caster sugar
100 g butter
200 ml milk
(add two egg yolks if you feel like it. I didn't.)

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Melt the butter in the microwave, then beat for a minute with the sugar. Add the milk, and combine the two mixtures.
Knead a smooth dough (it should be like gingerbread) with your own hands, Add more flour if it's too sticky, or more milk if it's too dry.

Filling and topping:
50 g butter 
60 g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
a handful of raisins (leave them out if you hate them)
a splash of milk.

Melt the butter in th microwave, and mix with sugar and cinnamon.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a centimeter thick rectangle. Spread the 3/4 of the filling on the rectangle and sprinkle the raisins on top. Roll up the rectangle, starting from the longer side if you want mini rolls (like mines on the pictures) or start from the shorter side if you want bigger ones. Cut the roll into 1,5-2 cm wide slices. 
Place the snails on a cookie tray, greased, or lined with baking paper. Brush gently with some milk. Bake until golden brown (it was 20 minutes for me). Three minutes before you would take them out from the oven, open the oven door and quickly brush the snails with the reheated remaining of the filling. This way it will just have time to fully dissolve and stick to the rolls, which will make a deliciously crunchy-glazey top.
Start eating when it's not steaming hot anymore.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Perfect Christmas Morning Breakfast - Countdown for Christmas Part 3

Happy Last Sunday of Advent Everyone!

This is Part 3, so the very last part of our little Christmas countdown. Today I'm going to be showing you something which is the perfect breakfast if you want to impress your family on Christmas morning. Or any morning, really.
I know, the pastry is not the easiest pastry to do. But please give it a try!

There are two options:
1, Prepare the pastry the night before, wake up an hour earlier in the morning, roll it out, make the little pain au chocolats, and bake them.
2, Prepare everything the previous night and in the morning just bake the pain au chocolats.
Either works.

35 dkg flour
25 dkg very cold butter
half a sachet of instant dried yeast (use the other half for snow crescents)
2 dl cold milk
2 tblsp caster sugar
1 tblsp honey
1 tsp salt
approxiomately 150 g grated dark chocolate

Grate your very cold butter using a cheese grater. Add 6 dkg flour and mix it together with your hand. Line clingfilm on the counter, and spoon the mixture on it. Create a 2 cm thick, 12 cm long and 6 cm wide (approxiomately) rectangle, Wrap it into cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes. 
Mix the yeast with the flour and add the remaining ingredients. Knead into a smooth dough.
On a floured surface, roll it into a rectangle, and place the butter rectangle on it lenghtwise. There should be a bit longer dough than the size of the butter rectangle on each side. Fold the downer and upper sides onto the butter rectangle. Fold one side of the dough on the butter rectangle (it should outreach it with a couple of centimeters). Push the outreaching part properly into the dough, then fold the other side as well - you should have covered the butter rectangle completely.
Turn the dough with 90 degrees, and roll it carefully. Divide the dough into three parts with your eyes and fold the two outer parts onto the middle one. That's a simple fold.
Then turn the dough again with 90 degrees, and roll it. Now divide it into four parts with your eyes. Fold the outer ones in, then fold the two parts on each other. That's a double fold. 
Turn the dough with 90 degrees, and do another simple fold. Don't roll it out but cover with a kitchen towel and put it in the fridge for 2-3 hours or for overnight. 

Roll the dough into 0,5 cm thickness and cut into 10x10 cm squares. Springle grated dark chocolate in the middle and roll it up. Cover the little pains with a kitchen towel and let it rest at a warm place for 30 minutes or for overnight. 
Preheat the oven for 175 degrees, and bake the pain au chocolats for 15 minutes.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Snow Crescents - Countdown for Christmas Part 2

sn't snow crescents - in Hungarian 'hókifli' - the cutest name for a cookie? Although this is not necessarily a Christmas cookie, at least in my family it's always present at any celebrations, I find it the best dessert for the holidays.
As you may guessed earlier, I am pretty much a big fan of smaller cookies for Christmas - I think baking huge cakes is unnecessary (although I will of course...). Let me explain. What does a Christmas fridge and balcony looks like? Full of food or ingredients, all needs to be chilled/rested, and after the holidays it's the same amount of leftovers. No matter how big your fridge is, it is very likely that there won't be space for a cake stand with the lovely cake on top, covered in icing, therefore it can't touch anything... Bad idea. Instead, a simple metal box full of cookies what you just put on the table with the coffee, and then you serve the leftovers at breakfast on Christmas morning. Because cake for breakfast is a bit 'too much', cookies are absolutely fine. 
And these snow crescents suggest that it wasn't only a 'form random balls from the dough'-method. Because it takes a long time. But it's worth it, believe me.

Don't be afraid, this recipe is not hard. But it takes a long time. It's the best to have a calm weekend afternoon before Christmas to prepare them. And good news! Storing them in a box, they stay fresh for more than a week. 


For the dough
50 dkg flour
25 dkg softened salted butter (if you use unsalted, add 1/2 tsp salt to the flour)
2 eggs
5 dkg sugar
2 dl semi-warm milk
half a sachet of instant dried yeast

For the walnut filling
230 dkg walnuts or pecans (I used half and half)
180 dkg icing sugar
2 tblsp milk
1/2 tblsp vanilla extract

For the jam filling
25 dkg thick jam (I prefer berry jam)

For the icing
5 dkg icing sugar

For the dough, mix the yeast and the sugar with the milk in a cup.
In a large ball, whisk the eggs for two minutes with a hand mixer, then add the butter and mix it together. Incorporate the flour into the mixture, then add the milk, yeast and sugar. Roughly mix with a wooden spoon, then start kneading with your hand. Knead for 3-4 minutes. The dough should be smooth. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it stand for 40 minutes. While it's resting, prepare the filling.
With the amount of ingredients I wrote above, you can use half of the dough for the walnut crescents and the other half for the jam crescents. If you want to prepare only one type, double the measurements. For me, the walnut crescents are the best/real ones!
You don't have to do anything with the jam in advance of filling.
Grate the walnuts in a food processor. I don't have one, so I put them in a plastic bag, and I hit them with a wooden spoon on the kitchen counter for 5 minutes. 
Mix the grated walnuts with the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk in a saucepan, and cook it for 3 minutes on low heat. Cover it with a lid until the resting period of the dough is finished.

Preheat the oven for 175 degrees. Line parchment paper into two trays. 
Get a bit of the dough - a size of a walnut - and form it into a ball. On a floured surface, roll it into a 8-10 cm wide circle. Put half a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold the circle into a half circle, and push together the edges (it should look like a ravioli). Then fold it once again, so one side of the little roll will have a thicker crust (this should be the bottom of the cookie). So basically you just rolled the filling-bump into the flat part. Push the dough well together - use a fork if necessary. Push the ends into little 'tails' and turn them inside, so it will look like a little moon.
When you do it with jam, be very careful not to have any holes on the crescents, otherwise the jam will escape.

Bake them for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Roll them in the icing sugar while they are still hot. Serve with cold milk.