I tried out two bagel recipes in one weekend.

The first recipe didn't work for me - bagels were totally flat, although still tasty. The second, a lot simpler, recipe, slightly adpated by me, worked out really well. My changes to the recipe are addition of diastatic malt powder (the first recipe used this and it did add a good flavour), as well as extra proving time compared to what the recipe states. Additionally, I made up my own topping with white sesame seeds, yellow and black mustard seeds, Maldon sea salt and crushed pink pepper corns.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Rising/Proving time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 10 bagels
Author Ausma adapted from BBC good food



  • 7 g dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 425 g strong bread flour
  • 25 g diastatic malt powder


  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp popy seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp pink pepper corns, crushed
  • 1 tbsp Maldon sea salt or other large salt flakes

Poaching Solution

  • 4 l water
  • 10 g bicarbonate of soda
  • 25 g honey


  1. Combine the yeast, 1 tbsp sugar and 100ml warm water in a bowl. Mix and leave for 10 mins until the mixture froths up.

  2. Add 200ml warm water to the frothy yeast mixture and stir in the salt and half the flour and the diastatic malt powder. Keep adding the remaining flour (you may not have to use it all) and mix with your hands until you have a soft, but not sticky dough.

  3. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and knead for 10 mins until the dough feels smooth and elastic.

  4. Once the dough is nice and elastic, shape it into a 'round', as shown in this youtube video

  5. Place the dough 'round' into a lightly oiled glass bowl, covering with cling film and a towel, and leave to rise in a warm location for approx 1 h, until it reaches the top of the bowl (e.g. on a floor with underfloor heating, a drying cupboard or place the bowl of dough on top of a saucepan filled with some warm water).

  6. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 10 pieces, each about 85g.

  7. Shape each piece of dough into a small 'round' as per the above youtube video.

  8. Then, press a finger through the middle of each dough round. Twirl the bagel around your two index fingers to widen the hole to around 3 cm.

  9. Dust the bagels with a little flour, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 30 min.

  10. While the bagels prove, mix the topping ingredients and set aside.

  11. Then, heat the water, bicarbonate of soda and honey in a large saucepan until boiling.

  12. Just before poaching the bagels, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C (fan oven).

  13. Once the bagels have rested for 30 min, drop three at a time into the saucepan of boiling water. Poach 1 min and then turn them over in the water and poach for another 1 min. Then, using a slotted spoon, remove the bagels from the water, place them on a baking grid and sprinkle immediately with some of the topping. Repeat this process until all bagels have been poached, drained and sprinkled with the topping.

  14. Now, place the bagels gently onto a non stick mat on a baking tray and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.

  15. Once baked, take the bagels out of the oven and wrap in a clean towel to rest before tucking in 🙂

Naan breads

This recipe has been adapted from quite a lot of attempts at different recipes. This is our version, adapted from

The result: fluffy, charred naans. Perfect to have with curry (see curry recipes in the mains section of this website).

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rising time 2 hours
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 3
Author adapted from


  • 1.5 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 150 ml warm water
  • 300 g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp melted butter


  1. Combine yeast, 2 tbsp warm water and 1 tsp sugar and leave to bubble up (approximately 10 min).

  2. Mix flour and salt. Then add the yeast mixture, yoghurt and butter.

  3. Mix and add water gradually. the dough should be very wet - don't be tempted to add more flour. This soft dough makes the naans super light and fluffy.
  4. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it just about holds together. You can use a little olive oil on your hand to stop the dough sticking so much while you knead. Or you can knead the dough in a mixer with a dough hook.
  5. Put dough into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film and a towel.
  6. Let the dough rise at 30 °C for 2 hr until at least doubled in size.
  7. Once risen, knock down the dough and shape into 6 balls.
  8. Heat a pan to maximum temperature - be patient and wait for the pan to heat up properly before cooking the naans.
  9. Stretch the dough balls into circles/ovals so they are quite thin but slightly thicker at the edge.
  10. Cook one naan at a time in the pan until charred on both sides and the dough is just about cooked.

  11. Spread the fresh naan with butter and sprinkle with dry coriander and wrap in foil and a towel to keep warm - you can even place the towel wrapped naan in the oven at low temperature to keep warm.
  12. Cook the rest of the naans as above, spreading with butter and sprinkling with dry coriander.

Nutmeg and cardamom 8-strand plaited bread

I adapted this recipe from my mum's recipe for 'Kliņģeris', a Latvian birthday cake. I decided to use a the same dough but shape it into a plait bread shape rather than the traditional Kliņģeris shape. 

The best bit about this recipe is that you can make the dough in the evening, shape the bread and then leave it to rise slowly in the fridge over night. Then, in the morning you can take it out to warm up and then bake it...hey presto, you will have a soft, tasty plaited bread for breakfast!

Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 10 people
Author adapted from Dēkla Termanis


  • 1.5 tbsp dried yeast
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 200-300 ml milk to get a soft but not sticky dough consistency
  • 100 g caster sugar if you don't have caster sugar, other sugar will do.
  • 1 zest of 1 large lemon plus extra for sprinkling on top of baked bread
  • 1 zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom for more intense flavour, grind your own cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg for more intense flavour, grind your own nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50 g butter softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 500 g strong white bread flour
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar for dusting the baked bread


  1. Combine the milk, 1tsp of the sugar and the yeast in a jug and leave to bubble up (around 10minutes).

  2. In the mean time, measure out all the other ingredients.

  3. Once the yeast mixture has bubbled up, pour it into the bowl of a dough mixer (or into any large bowl if you are going to hand kneed the dough).

  4. To the yeast mixture, add the egg, milk, rest of the sugar, lemon zest, orange zest, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, butter, salt and the flour.

  5. Mix the dough in the dough mixer until well combined and continue mixing for 15 minutes until smooth and soft consistency (or hand knead the dough). If the consistency is not right, add a little more milk or flour. Remember you want a soft but not too sticky dough you can work with later to shape the bread.

  6. Once kneaded, cover the bowl with cling film and leave the dough to rise for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.

  7. Then, tip out the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.

  8. Roll each dough piece into a 40cm long strand.

  9. Then, follow the very easy (although you still have to concentrate quite hard not to get muddled half way through plaiting the bread...) plaiting instructions I found on a youtube video here:

  10. Once you have finished plaiting, fold the bottom end of the plaited bread under a little to finish off a neat bread.

  11. Place the shaped bread on non stick baking paper, on a baking tray. Dust lightly with flour and place the whole tray with the bread inside a large plastic bag. Leaving the bag open a little, place the whole thing in the fridge over night.

  12. In the morning, take out the bread and leave for 20 minutes to warm up to room temperature.

  13. In the mean time, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

  14. Once the bread has warmed up to room temperature, bake it in the oven for 30-35 minutes. 

  15. Make sure to keep an eye on the bread. Once it has baked for 15 minutes it is safe to open the oven door and cover the bread with aluminium foil to stop it from getting too dark. You can also turn the bread around in the oven to help it brown evenly all over.

  16. Once 30 minutes baking time are over, you can put a skewer in the thickest bit of the bread to check it comes out clean. It should be nicely browned all over too.

  17. Once out of the oven, leave the bread to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and the extra lemon zest.

  18. Now, sit back and enjoy over a cup of well deserved coffee 🙂


Parsnip soda bread

I have adapted this recipe from Waitrose recipes: Scrumptious served while still warm, with ricotta and roasted tomatoes.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 250 g plain white flour plus extra for dusting
  • 250 g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175 g parsnips peeled and grated
  • 100 g strong hard cheese grated
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds or any other seeds you have
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400 ml buttermilk (or normal milk mixed with 1.5 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Place the flours, bicarbonate of soda, grated parsnips, cheese, seeds and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the buttermilk (or milk/lemon juice mix) and mix together with a fork until you start to form a dough. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead together to form a dough. It will be a little sticky. Shape into a round loaf and score a cross on top using a sharp knife.

  4. Place the shaped bread on a non-stick baking tray and cook in the middle of the oven for 45-50 minutes until golden and crusty. The loaf will sound hollow when tapped underneath when it is ready.
  5. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes. Slice and serve while still warm. Later you can also very easily reheat slices of this bread.

Pretzel Buns

I adapted this recipe from I made half the dough and shaped it into 4 buns. Additionally I increased the rising and proving time of the dough, to obtain more light and fluffy rolls.

Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Servings 4 rolls


  • 250 g plain flour
  • 135 g water
  • 2.5 g dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 15 g butter diced and room temperature
  • 5 g salt

For the baking soda bath:

  • 500 ml water
  • 4 tsp bicarbonate of soa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • poppy seeds


  1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water and 75 g of flour. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

  3. Add the remaining flour, butter, salt and mix until the dough is smooth.
  4. Make a ball, put it in a bowl covered with cling film and let it rise for 1-2 hours until risen upto 3 times the size.
  5. Line a baking sheet with not stick paper.

  6. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape each piece into a ball (we shape them into dough ‘rounds’, which creates tension and a better proving. To do this, flatten the dough pieces into circles. Bring the edges of the dough circles into the middle going all the way round. Then, turn the dough round the other way up and using your hands tension the dough ball, pushing the outside down and under the dough ball.

  7. Let them rest for 30 minutes.
  8. While the dough rests, bring the water, salt and baking soda to a boil in a large pan.
  9. Cook the dough balls one by one in the boiling water for 30 seconds.

  10. Remove the balls from the boiling water and place them on the baking sheet.

  11. Sprinkle each bun with poppy seeds.

  12. 12. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  13. 13. Using a very sharp knife, make 2 slits on top of each unbaked roll.
  14. 14. Bake for 15 minutes and then for another 10 minites at 170 degrees C, or until the rolls are deep golden brown.
  15. 15. Serve the pretzel buns warm.

Olive and sun dried tomato brioches

I adapted this recipe from Tom Kitchin. They are fantastic to eat with soup or on their own. Tom Kitchin's original recipe uses a mushroom and onion filling. I have adapted it with a filling of black olives and sun dried tomatoes.
Prep Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 24 pieces
Author adapted from Tom Kitchin


For the dough

  • 180 ml lukewarm milk
  • 1.5 sachets dried yeast
  • 4 eggs
  • 560 g plain flour
  • 15 g salt
  • 50 g sugar
  • 340 g unsalted butter cubbed

For the filling

  • 100 g black olives chopped finely
  • 100 g sun dried tomatoes chopped finely
  • large handful of fresh basil parsley, chives and mint (chopped finely)


  1. Combine the milk and yeast in a jug.
  2. Once the yeast has bubbled up, add the eggs and beat lightly.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar and mix with an electric mixer with a dough hook.
  4. Slowly add the yeast/milk/egg mixture, while continuously mixing with the electric mixer (around 5 minutes).
  5. Once dough is smooth and elastic, add the butter cubes, gradually, until incorporated into the dough.
  6. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and a towel and place the bowl in a 30 degree water bath. Leave the dough to rise for around 1-2h, until doubled in size.
  7. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining the olives, sun dried tomatoes and herbs.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  9. Once the dough has doubled in size, cut into two equal halves.
  10. Roll each dough halt into a 1cm thick, 20 x 40cm rectangle (use plenty of flour for this, as the dough is very light and a bit sticky).
  11. Once the dough is rolled out, spread the filling over both halves equally and roll the rectangles, starting with the long side, into swiss roll shapes.
  12. Cut each 'swiss roll' into 12 equal pieces ( starting from one of the open ends) and place each piece into a hole of a muffin tray (12 hole muffin tray).
  13. Bake the brioches for 15 minutes and when ready, turn out onto a metal grid to cool slightly before eating.


Mini game pies

Combination of parts from two different recipes to make yummy game pies. Hot water crust pastry from: Game filling from: These pies are delicious eaten with a nice thick game gravy, prepared from wild boar and venison bones (if you can get hold of them from the butchers).
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12 pieces


For the hot water crust pastry

  • 265 g plain flour
  • 55 g strong white bread flour
  • 120 g unsalted butter cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 135 ml boiling water
  • 1 egg lightly beaten (for glazing)

For the filling

  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 380 g diced game meat ideally venison and wild boar. Wild boar will provide some moisture, as it is slightly more fatty meat
  • 100 g smoked bacon
  • 1 tbsp Madeira wine
  • half tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme
  • salt and white pepper for seasoning


For the filling

  1. First make the filling, by combining all ingredients and mixing well. Keep the filling in the fridge until needed.

For the hot water crust pastry

  1. Put the flours into a bowl and add 55g of butter, rubbing it into the flour with your fingertips.
  2. Heat the rest of the the butter in a pan until melted.
  3. Dissolve the salt in the boiling water, then add to the melted butter.
  4. Pour the butter/flour mixture into the flour and mix with a spoon.
  5. As soon as it is cool enough, tip the dough onto a floured surface and work together into a ball, until it is very smooth. Don't kneed it too long.
  6. Divide the dough in two, making one piece slightly bigger than the other.
  7. Working quickly (as the dough cools, it becomes more stiff and brittle to work with), roll out the larger piece of dough to about 3mm thickness (it should be still warm enough to touch). Using an 11-12cm cutter, cut out 12 rounds to line holes in a standard muffin tray. Shape the dough within the muffin holes to fit the sides (The pastry should come slightly above the rim of each hole).
  8. Roll out the other piece of dough and use a 6-7cm cutter to cut out 12 lids.
  9. Put a tablespoonful of the filling into each pastry case. Brush the pastry case rims with beaten egg and place the lids on top. Crimp the edges together well to seal. Pierce a hole in each pie lid and brush the pastry lids with beaten eggs.
  10. Bake the pies for 50 minutes until golden brown.


Sourdough bread

Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 bread
Author adapted from Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall


For the starter culture

  • 100 g strong white bread flour
  • ~100 ml lukewarm water

For the sponge

  • 100 ml active starter culture
  • 250 g strong white or other type bread flour
  • 275 ml lukewarm water

For the bread

  • 300 g strong white or other type bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 g salt


Starter culture

  1. Mix flour and water in a bowl - it should be the consistency of thick paint (add more water if necessary)
  2. Cover with cling film and wait until it is bubbling (could take from a couple of hours to a few days)
  3. Once bubbling, feed the sour dough by adding 100g of flour and ~100ml lukewarm water (should remain same consistency)
  4. Once bubbling, discard half of the sourdough and re-feed with 100g of flour and ~100ml water
  5. Repeat this discarding and re-feeding process every 24h for 7-10 days until the culture smells good: sweet and fruity (don’t use it for baking before it has been growing at least a week).

For the sponge

  1. The night before you want to bake a bread, mix 100ml sourdough culture with the flour and water and leave to grow over night. In the morning it should be bubbling

For the bread

  1. Add the flour, olive oil and salt (it should be quite a sticky dough, but still manageable when kneading it)
  2. Knead the dough until silky and smooth (we often use the dough hook on our mixer, which works well)
  3. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise until it has ~ doubled in size (it can take most of the day. We normally put it on in the morning. Sometimes it doesn’t look like it has risen enough, but don’t worry, it still produces a lovely bread).
  4. Knock it down after it has risen and shape it into any shape you like.
  5. Dust a towel with flour and place the loaf ontop. We don't have a proving basket so just support the loaf on all sides with books and cover it all with clingfilm)
  6. Leave to rise for 1-3h
  7. When you are ready to bake the bread, pre-heat the oven to 250 C. Put the baking tray in the oven to pre-heat. Also put an oven-proof dish (metal) in the oven to pre-heat. Boil some water, which will be used to create steam in the oven during baking and help the bread rise.
  8. Once the oven is pre-heated, put the bread on the baking tray and slash the top in several places with a sharp knife (this will help the bread expand and rise during baking)
  9. Put the bread in the oven and pour boiling water in the oven-proof dish.
  10. Bake the bread for 15mins at 250 degrees C. Then reduce the heat to 180-200 degrees C, depending on how well the bread is colouring.
  11. Bake for a further 25-30 mins. You can check whether the bread is done by tapping on the underside of the bread. If it sounds hollow, it is ready.

Latvian pīrādziņi

Delicious latvian filled yeast dough parcels
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 40 pieces approximately


For the dough

  • 1 pint milk
  • 1 ½ sachets yeast
  • 6 oz margarine
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Enough flour to form a soft dough

For the filling

  • 3 large onions
  • 500 g bacon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


For the dough

  1. Warm the milk in a jug in the microwave, until lukewarm.
  2. Add the yeast to the milk and leave for 5 minutes or until frothy.
  3. Put the milk/yeast mixture and the margarine into a food mixer and start mixing.
  4. Then start adding the flour until a smooth, soft dough.
  5. Knead the dough for 15 minutes on the work surface (add more flour if too sticky to work with).
  6. Put the dough in a big bowl and dust with flour. Cover bowl with towels and put the bowl ontop of a saucepan filled with hot water (or a warm airing cupboard).
  7. Leave dough to rise until about doubled in size (1 hour)
  8. Meanwhile set the oven to 180 degrees C

For the filling

  1. Chop the onion and bacon finely.
  2. Fry the onion and bacon until nicely browned.
  3. Put onion and bacon in a bowl and season with salt and pepper
  4. Once dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface.
  5. Roll dough into a long sausage shape (approximately 5cm in diameter).
  6. Cut 5cm lengths from the 'dough sausage'.
  7. Flatten a piece of dough with your palm to make a circle approximately 8cm in diameter.
  8. Put a heaped teaspoon full of the onion/bacon mixture into the center of the dough circle.
  9. Lift the edges of the dough circle around the filling and pinch closed.
  10. 10. Shape the parcels into moon shapes (see image).
  11. 11. Place the Pīrādziņi on a greased baking tray.
  12. 12. Baste them with beaten egg.
  13. 13. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown and risen.
  14. 14. Place the Pīrādziņi on a cooling rack.


Foccacia bread

This is the best foccacia recipe ever!
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 1 bread
Author Great British Bake Off


  • 250 g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 sachet dried easy blend yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 ml cold water
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary or any other fresh herb you fancy


  1. First, measure out the flour, olive oil, salt and yeast into a large bowl. (Put the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl as the salt will kill the yeast).
  2. Add 150ml of the water, leaving roughly 50ml to be added.
  3. Stir the mix into a dough with a wooden spoon, gradually adding the remaining water (the dough should be very sticky, don't worry!)
  4. Coat your hands with olive oil and start kneading the dough in the bowl for around 5 minutes. It will be sticky, but the focaccia will taste amazing. You can use olive oil on your hand to prevent it from sticking quite as much.
  5. Knead on the worksurface for another 5 minutes.
  6. Put the dough into an oiled bowl to prove (Around 1 hour).
  7. Transfer the dough into a rectangular tin lined with parchment paper. Push the dough to the corners of the tin, and push your fingers into the dough to give it the dimpled focaccia appearance.
  8. Leave to prove in its tin for another hour, covered in a tea towel.
  9. While it is proving, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  10. Sprinkle the focaccia with sea salt, chopped rosemary and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes or until it has browned all over.

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