Vegan Cinnamon Buns

Vegan Cinnamon BunsI’m 10 days into a Vegan month and so far it’s going pretty well. I’ve yet to find myself melting down into a puddle crying about halloumi. There’s still time, but so far, so good. One of the big ones for me when it comes to a month like this isn’t actually my meals, or even what milk to put in my tea, it’s the baking. I usually bake a couple of times a week, minimum, and most of my go-to recipes are full of butter and eggs. Cookies for instance are one of my favourite things to bake, but I’ve yet to find a vegan cookie recipe that’s matched up (if you’ve got one, please, please leave it in the comments below!). I decided to kick the month off with a batch of Vegan Cinnamon Buns though, to see whether I could make a completely vegan dough.
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Garlic & Thyme Bread Wreath With Camembert

Camembert Bread Wreath

I had my first baked Camembert of the season on Saturday. A number of my friends came over to play board games so I spent the morning in the kitchen rustling up some things for us to snack on over the course of the afternoon and evening. The first of these was something I’ve been contemplating for a while. I wanted to make something perfect for sharing at Christmas that involved one of my favourite elements of this time of year; baked Camembert. Initially I had grand ideas of baking the cheese actually inside the middle of the bread, but on further thinking that was just stupid, and so the idea of the Camembert Christmas wreath was born, with the Camembert nestling at its center.
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Red Onion & Rosemary Focaccia

Red Onion & Rosemary Focaccia

As alluded to previously, on my last trip up to Scotland the weather was pretty awful. This meant we spent a lot of time baking, and as well as the honey & rye cake, mac n cheese and chocolate cardamom bread we also baked a loaf of Focaccia. I’ve tried making focaccia once before, and to be honest, that was a bit of a disaster. It didn’t rise properly, dried out and came out looking a bit like cardboard. Having seen other people have similar issues I put off trying to bake focaccia again for a very long time, years, in fact. A dark and rainy day on the Isle of Mull felt like the perfect time to try again, and this time we cracked it.
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Cardamom & Chocolate Braid

Chocolate & Cardamom LoafI’ve just returned from a week up in Scotland at my parent’s on Mull. I’ll be writing up a travel diary of the week soon, after part 2 of my New York trip, but while I was away I baked a number of things. Rainy days on the Isle of Mull are ideal for baking. You’re not going to get much else done, apart from a quick walk of the dog around the loch all wrapped up in waterproofs, so what better way to spend a day than in the kitchen baking? I made a number of things on this trip, but with the Great British Bake off well underway (and the possibility that it could all go to shit with a move to Channel 4) and bread week featuring a challenge for baking chocolate bread, I thought I’d start with the Cardamom & Chocolate loaf we made on the first day.
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Olive Bread

Olive LoavesLast year I properly had a go at doing pastry and while I am certainly no master in it, I felt it went pretty well. You can take a look at a few of my pies etc here, here and here. This year I’ve decided to do similar with bread. I’ve made bread a bunch of times but never on a consistent enough basis to actually get the hang of it. I’ve even booked in a day course at the E5 Bakehouse (my parents said they’d get me a course for a Christmas present, so thanks Mum & Dad!) because I want to really get the hang of it this year. That’s not until July though, so I’ve got plenty of time to get baking myself before then. Olive Bread felt like a good one to get the year going.
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