There’s little like fresh baked bread. I have an issue of buying way too much fresh yeast when I find it and end up with a freezer with more yeast blocks than food.
Or I have a bread bake-a-thon and end up with a freezer full of bread.
Today I share with you three of my fresh yeast bake-a-thon favourites; a floury farmhouse loaf, a crisp Poppy seed loaf and sweet and sticky banana buns.
Sticky Banana Buns:
Ingredients: Makes 20
- 6 bananas,very ripe
- Tepid water
- 1 kg/8 cups strong bread flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 30 g/3 tbsp fresh yeast
- 2 tbsp unrefined sugar
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 8 tbsp agave or pure maple syrup
- Purée the bananas in a blender or food processor, then top up with water until you have 625ml/2.5 cups in total.
- Mix the flour and cinnamon in a large bowl then make a large well in the centre. Pour half the banana mixture into the well, then add the yeast, sugar and salt and stir together with a fork. Add 4 tbsp of the syrup and combine well.
- Using your hands, bring the flour in to the centre until you get a stodgy, porridgey consistency – then add the remaining water. Continue to mix, bringing in all the flour, making the mix less sticky. Knead the dough by hand or machine with a dough hook for 5 minutes until smooth.
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with cling film, and allow it to prove for about half an hour until doubled in size in a warm, moist, draught-free place.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out of it by squeezing the dough. Divide the dough into 10 balls and place them next to each other in a flour-dusted baking tin and leave it to prove for a second time for 30 minutes to an hour until it has doubled in size once more.
- Preheat the oven to 190’C/375’F. Before putting in the oven drizzle generously with the rest of the syrup then bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool slightly then serve warm.
Based on a recipe by Jamie Oliver.
Ingredients: Makes 2 Loaves, each serving 10 slices.
- 2 tsp unrefined sugar
- 425 ml/1.5 cups+3tbsp warm water (38’C/100’F)
- 20g/2tbsp fresh yeast or 2.5 tsp dried yeast
- 750 g/6 cups strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting (white, spelt or wholewheat)
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- In a measuring jug, mix the sugar with 125ml/1/2 cup of the warm water and yeast and let stand in a warm place for five minutes until frothy. Pour the olive oil into the remaining water.
- Add the flour and salt to a large bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and most of the remaining water-oil mix. Mix to a loose dough, adding the remaining water if needed, plus extra if necessary to make a soft but not sticky dough.
- Knead for 10 minutes by hand or 5 in a mixer with a dough hook or until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch.
- Put the dough in a large flour dusted bowl. Cover the top tightly with cling film and place somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size, 1-3 hours.
- When the dough has doubled in size, knock back and knead again for 2–3 minutes. Leave to relax for ten minutes before you begin to shape the bread.
- Preheat the oven to 220’C/425’F.
- Shape the bread into loaves, transfer to a baking tray and cover with a clean tea towel. Allow to rise again in a warm place for 20–30 minutes, until the shaped dough has again doubled in size. When fully risen, it should leave a dent when you gently press the dough with your finger.
- For the Poppy seed bread, mix together the tablespoon of plain flour with a tablespoon of water. Gently brush the loaf with the flour mix and sprinkle with the seeds.
- For a floury farmhouse loaf, add the dough to a large loaf tin and simply dust the loaf lightly with flour.
- Bake for 30–45 minutes. After 15 minutes in the oven, turn the heat down to 200’C/400’F for the remaining time. When cooked, the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing.
Based on a recipe by Rachel Allen.