Thursday, 10 November 2016

Slow Dough: Real Bread by Chris Young and Earl Grey tea loaf recipe

The last GBBO confirmed once again that great bread takes time to produce . The contestants had such limited time that often their breads and pastries were not cooked through and had what they all delighted in calling "soggy bottoms". It was often too hectic and rushed.
Yet time is one of the most important ingredients when it comes to bread making.
Chris Young, the coordinator of the Real Bread Campaign, is encouraging people to bake bread at home.
In the course of his work he has met many talented bakers, and put out an open call for long-rise recipes to form the basis of a book celebrating real bread. Thus Slow Dough: Real Bread by Chris Young and the bakers of the Real Bread Campaign was born.
Slow Dough: Real Bread is a cook book which would appeal to bakers who already have some experience in bread making and mastered the basics.
The book includes chapters on Real Bread Campaign, Terms and Techniques, Troubleshooting, Pre-Ferment, Sourdough, Leftovers etc

bread baking cook book

According to Chris Young, a long-proved dough has more time to develop flavour and tends to produce a less crumbly loaf.
The book shares the recipes from classic to modern and innovative.
You will learn how to make the sourdough starter and other pre-ferments as well as the fundamental processes of kneading, proving and baking.

Do you remember the famous Fougasse challenge from the last GBBO?! I have never baked one in my life, but if you fancy recreating this flatbread from Provence, there is a recipe for your reference.

There are so many inspiring delicious recipes to choose from: I'm definitely going to try a Saffron cake and Christmas bread.

The recipes cover many different countries and cultures - French (Pain de Campagne), Dutch (Fryske Sukerbole), Italian (Ciabatta), Indian (Naan), Turkish (Simit), Finnish (Lihapurakka) etc.
The photos are quite minimalist, taken on plain backgrounds, so that nothing distracts from the beauty of the bread products.
I also loved the chapter on Leftovers with clever ideas for what to do with crusts, crumbs and chunks.

This book will make an excellent Christmas gift for any foodie.

I have bookmarked several recipes to try. The Earl Grey Tea Loaf has been my first choice as it is made with my favourite tea. How could I resist?!

I have slightly adapted the recipe, by adding a bit of sugar, using the dry yeast rather than fresh and also swapping pumpkin pie mix for Christmas spice mix (I couldn't find fresh and pumpkin pie mix anywhere).

baking bread

Earl Grey Tea Loaf
125ml Earl Grey tea, freshly brewed (I used 2 teabags for this amount of hot boiling water)
50g sultanas
50g raisins
for the dough:
350g white bread flour
1tsp and a half of dry yeast
1tsp fine salt
3tsp caster sugar (optional)
1 medium egg
zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
50g softened butter + more for greasing
100ml milk
75ml water
1 heaped tsp of Christmas spice mix (ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, star anise, black pepper, tangerine oil and cloves)

First brew a small cup of strong Earl Grey tea (either leaves or teabags). Pour the hot tea over the dried raisins and sultanas in a bowl, and let it soak overnight.
Next day, make the dough by mixing the dough ingredients together thoroughly. Knead it for 10-15 minutes until smooth and elastic. Don't be tempted to add more water.
Drain the soaked fruit and add to the dough. I found this part a bit tricky, as the wet fruit didn't get incorporated in the dough easily. I had to poke the fruit bits in the dough. Knead until all the fruit is distributed evenly inside the dough.
Cover the dough and leave it to rise for 3 hours at a room temperature.
Give it a single fold after 3 hours, cover again and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Grease a bread tin with butter, place the loaf-shaped dough in the tin and leave it to prove for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 210C. Brush the loaf either with milk or beaten egg. Bake for 15 minutes at 210C, then lower the temperature to 190C and continue baking for another 15+ minutes.
Check if it's ready with a wooden skewer, if it comes clean and dry, the loaf is ready.
Once slightly cooled, mix 3tbsp of lemon juice with icing sugar and brush over the warm loaf.

Eating freshly baked bread smothered in good butter is truly one of life's greatest pleasures.
I loved the Earl Grey tea loaf, and will be baking it again.

Disclosure: I received the book for the purposes of reviewing. all opinions are my own.


  1. This sounds intriguing! Recipe books are always a great gift and give some awesome new ideas :)

  2. Your bread looks delicious and very well baked. I don't know if I'd ever attempt to make my own bread.

  3. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to ever try to make my own bread but your effort looks brilliant, and I love earl grey!

  4. Oh now this sounds absolutely delicious - I could definitely tuck into a slice or two with a cup of tea.

  5. I have never made a loaf before, but this looks delicious xx

  6. This looks lovely, its nice to adapt a recipe to make it your own.

  7. I've got this book too - isn't it fantastic! So many inspiring recipes and the photography is gorgeous!

  8. I love the thought of earl grey in a loaf!

  9. Oh these are going to be so good during christmas eve! Snuggling on the couch watching christmas movies and eating the earl grey loaf! YUM!!

  10. I flipping love bread! I've not made bread myself for such a long time though.

  11. This sounds right up my street so I have to make this!!

  12. This recipe book looks great and your finished loaf looks so tasty. I love fruit loaves...but not a fan of earl grey... however dependent on the subtlety of flavour I would probably still love it. Especially with real butter! x

  13. I've never tried making my own bread but I'm sure it does take time. I'd definitely have needed a book like this if I did x

  14. The Earl Grey tea loaf sounds interesting I will have to try making that!

  15. I love the smell of home made bread. Would love to get this recipe book.

  16. I would love to get this book for my mum, we used to love baking loads and this would be a hit with her

  17. This sounds lovely and would go perfectly with my afternoon cuppa.

  18. I have to admit I've never made bread before but this loaf looks amazing! x

  19. Oh this is just like bara brith!! Its a fave in our house, we make it as often as possible!!!

  20. this sounds like heaven. i need to try this as i love earl grey

  21. This looks like a fab book. Love the loaf as well, it looks amazing