The Great British Bake Off has inspired yet again. With a mere 10 minutes to spare before the shop closed, armed with a recipe book and indecisiveness…I settled on bread, with no recipe to follow! As long as I had yeast, what could possible go wrong, right? I chucked an assortment of flours, fillings and toppings into my basket, dashed to the counter, forgot the butter, dashed back and left with three bags worth of ingredients and no clue what I was doing with it.
I spent an hour or so researching sweet bread recipes, until I gave up and decided to follow a variety of five different recipes with a dash of improvisation.
I made the dough with wheat flour, melted butter, several cups of caster sugar, warm milk, a spoonful of honey and a packet of yeast. Kneading for around ten minutes until the dough was firm and elasticky, I covered the bowl in cling film and left it for an hour or so to rise double its size.
I kneaded the dough for several more minutes, then separated into three equal balls. Dusting a baking tray, I then rolled each ball into long, equal sized sausages (long enough to stretch across a baking tray) and placed next to each other ready to plait. Before plaiting, I filled (poked) chopped glazed cherries into the first, milk chocolate drops into the second, and raisins into the third. The three sausages are then plaited together and each end carefully folded.
I baked the bread on a high heat for ten minutes. I then covered the bread with tin foil, to ensure the top did not burn and baked on a lower heat for thirty minutes or so. A poke and a mushy bottom test will assist in ensuring that it is cooked. I would suggest removing before the bread gets crunchy or hard, as the bread will continue to bake when removed from the oven.
Allow to cool on a wiring rack.
With the left over ingredients, I baked cupcakes with a raisin, chocolate chip and glazed cherry filling. 250 self raising flour, 250 caster sugar, four eggs, several Tsp of milk, a dash of salt.
I baked for 20 minutes at gas mark 5. I should have covered these with tin foil though to avoid the browning on the top.