Sunday, 26 May 2013

Wolds & Hedgehog Bread

Aloha lovely people!

As I'm sure you know, it is currently a UK bank holiday which means nothing better than some quality time with friends and family. My Mum and Dad suggested a walk in the Lincolnshire Wolds, which was absolutely lovely. For me, you can't beat being in the midst of the countryside to feel calm and let your worries float away- and we had a really lovely time! I've made a mini compilation of the pictures we took below:

For the Wolds it was pretty hilly, and we also came into contact with some pretty fetching looking sheep- with them having curly hair they felt like my kind of sheep. Hence allowing me to get up close and take lots of pictures!

Anywho, once we got back from our 4 mile treck across pastures green, I decided to get some bank holiday baking in and make some Hedgehog Bread. I've been making these lovely little bready beings since I was a little being myself- my Mum loved turning things into animals to get me to eat them, including cucumber crocodiles, bagle snakes, the list goes on. I still love these bread buns and somehow when something is made cuter it immediately tastes better! I plan to keep making these forever and one day introduce my own children to the culinary art of animal food, haha! So, here is a vague recipe for Hedgehog Bread- we usually do it from memory :)

So cute I could eat them up.. oh wait
650g of various strong bread flours- in this recipe I used 300g white, 200g wholemeal and 150g of seedy fancy wholemeal flour from a mill nearby (ooh get me!)
1 tbsp/ 15g of fats (with a little extra for greasing the tray) - I used olive oil but you could also use butter in a very soft consistency
A packet of dried yeast (which I believe is about 7g)
1 tsp of sugar
2 tsp of salt
400ml of warm water (whack the kettle on for a few minutes)

It's all very easy. First preheat the oven to its' lowest setting. Get together all your dry gubbins (that's flour, salt, sugar and yeast) in a bowl and mix it up a bit. Add in the oil, and mix that in too. Get your warm water, and add gradually. I start off mixing with a spoon then get my hands in there and start kneading. Once you have it in a ball-like shape in the bowl, take it out and start kneading on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. Pop it back in the bowl, cover (cling film, any other cover that won't go mad in the over on a veeery low heat) and then put it in the oven, with the door slightly closed, for 30 minutes. This is proving, not cooking- so don't turn the heat up! After 30 minutes, take your now rather large dough out- let's make some hedgehogs! Grease (again I use olive oil) your tray. The mix makes about 8 hedgehogs, each about fist sized. Roll into hedgehog-esque shapes (round at the back, pointed towards the front). Now place them on the tray and put them back in the still only mildly warm oven, for another 20 minutes. After this, they should be all cute and chubby looking. Bring out your fully proved hedgey hogs. To make the spikes, use some scissors to make cuts upwards along the little cuties. You can also add raisins for eyes, or chopped black olives would also do the job. Your bread balls of love are now ready to go in the oven! Whack it up to full temperature, and when it reaches this, put them in. They take around 15 minutes to bake but do keep an eye on as it varies every time. When they're ready, they will be hard on the outside (with a tap) and the spikes will be, well, spikey!

Ta da! You now have hedgehog bread. Aren't they marvellous? Don't they bring joy to an otherwise boring lunch? Just me?

I hope you enjoy my rambles of reckless abandon. Until next time!

Ciao xxx

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