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THE BOROUGH MARKET GUIDE TO

Baking

Visit boroughmarket.org.uk for more recipes

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JOHN HOLDSHIP

From sourdough and focaccia to cakes and biscuits: a celebration of the art, science and alchemy of baking


THE BOROUGH MARKET GUIDE TO

Baking

“A happy baker will make good bread. An unhappy baker will struggle.” So says Olivier Favrel, the eponymous founder of Borough Market’s Olivier’s Bakery. Bakery is, he believes, different to other forms of cooking, and it’s hard to disagree. Part art, part science, part alchemy, it demands precision – there is a lot that can go wrong and very little you can do if it does – and yet the ingredients you use will vary in their nature from batch to batch and from day to day, and in the case of yeasts and bacteria are alive and everchanging. Your kitchen, your oven, your kit, the weather, and even (Olivier would argue) your mood: all can end up playing their part. That’s why so many people have found baking to be a perfect lockdown activity, demanding as it does time, care and accumulated experience. Is my bread dough sufficiently smooth and elastic? Are the soft peaks of my cake batter soft enough and peaky enough? Where in my oven should the loaf or cake sit? Only with experimentation and occasional devastating failure can you ever really know. All the effort and intermittent heartache will ultimately reap dividends. It may take a happy baker to make good bread or cake, but good bread and cake will pay that happiness forward in spades. Sourcing ingredients To get the best ingredients possible while supporting Borough’s independent traders, please consider coming to the Market to do your shopping if you live or work nearby. If you’re further afield, visit Borough Market Online, or check the traders’ own websites.

Rise and shine: The beauty of bread Angela Clutton Bread Ahead sourdough Matt Jones Porridge bread Jenny Chandler Rye & spelt loaf Beca Lyne-Pirkis Olive oil focaccia Jenny Chandler Cauliflower cheese scones Kathy Slack Labour of love: Inside Olivier’s Bakery Clare Finney Fig, polenta & almond cake Ed Smith Lemon & elderflower bundt cake Juliet Sear Chocolate & chestnut torte Ursula Ferrigno Rhubarb crumble loaf cake Juliet Sear Flour power: A baker’s buying guide Ellie Costigan Rogalyky (curd cheese biscuits) Olia Hercules Salted lavender sables Angela Clutton


KIM LIGHTBODY

Lemon & elderflower bundt cake


REGULA YSEWIJN


RISE AND SHINE: THE BEAUTY OF BREAD Angela Clutton

“Serve with chunks of bread.” These are the words that most of my very favourite recipes end with. It is an instruction that assures a meal of relaxed conviviality. All the more so if the bread is there to mop up the juices of the dish, where many flavours lie and the waste of which would be pretty much unforgivable. Claudia Roden says that her father could not “truly savour sauces or juices, or anything in fact, without a piece of bread”, and I am with him. A baguette is my bread of choice for that task. Roughly torn and piled up on the side for everyone to help themselves to. Whether partnering a fish broth or an oxtail stew, this is really not a time for elegant bread. That would feel all wrong somehow. Often, our choices of bread are all about feelings. Flavour too, yes, of course. But the emotional resonance of bread is like little else. Take the incomparable comfort of a slice of toast served up as a simple act of kindness or sustenance – spread with jam, or Marmite if you must, or the salty butter that is my preference, ideally while the toast is still so hot that the butter soaks deep, deep into the crumb. If tired or ill or just plain hungry there is nothing to beat it. The simplest loaves often make for the very best toast. Yeasted or sourdough, baked in a tin or freeform, all that matters is that they slice well and taste good. These are also the kinds of loaves well within the capabilities of a home baker – even if Julia Child and Elizabeth David each slightly dauntingly take over a dozen pages to tell us how to bake the plainest of French loaves in their cookbooks.

They are your – our – chance to fill the home with the smell of freshly baked bread that is so warming of spirit; to feel the immense satisfaction of kneading a loaf. What could be lovelier than that? Not much. But my own breads don’t always turn out so well. Sometimes I worry that the bread can somehow sense my mood – whenever I’m feeling out of sorts, that somehow translates itself to the loaf, which, like me, becomes a sad reflection of itself. This makes me wonder whether all professional bakers are at heart happy, contented souls. Certainly, I am more than willing to leave the bread-making to craftsmen bakers whose hard-won skills enable them to embrace all kinds of different loaves, each of them evoking different feelings in us as we choose which to buy and eat when. Behind such differences lies the universality of bread. Communities around the world have always adapted their own styles to whatever fits their particular culture of farming and feeding. It is a theme evocatively explored by Elisabeth Luard in her classic mid-1980s cookbook, The Rich Tradition of European Peasant Cookery. She is yet another iconic food writer who has been compelled to put into words how she feels about bread, and for her it is important precisely because it offers such a connection across societies. As she writes about a tradition of Sicilian breads where the loaves are ‘put to bed’ by being covered with shawls and blankets, who among us doesn’t at that description yearn to do as she tells us the locals do, and pile into the hot bread not with butter but with olive oil, salt, pepper and grated cheese?


THERE IS GROWING UNDERSTANDING OF THE FAILINGS IN THE FLAVOUR AND NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF PROCESSED BREADS, AND THE PLEASURES OF WELL-MADE BREAD. WE ARE AGAIN EMBRACING BREADS THAT AGE RATHER THAN JUST GO OFF

Happily, many international heritage breads remain just as popular today as they ever were and carry with them still the resonances of their origins. Rye breads, for example, have a distinctive flavour and texture that speaks of the hardy rye cereal grain from which they are made. The low gluten content of the rye makes these breads harder for the baker to work and results in denser textures that suit the cooking of the regions they are associated with, such as Scandinavia and parts of Russia or Germany, where more delicate wheat grain doesn’t survive well. When you think about what to serve with the intensity of pickles and smoked fish, or with hearty soups, the depth and weight of a slice of rye starts to feel straight away like just the right thing. Sometimes what you want is a flatbread that can be wrapped around your food as you eat, or used to scoop up meat, vegetables or pulses cooked in a delicious sauce, thereby bringing you tangibly closer to the pleasure of food. It isn’t cold metal but warm bread and your hands that deliver the food to your mouth. Depending on what you are eating – and how you are feeling – your choice of flatbread could be one of so many international options. Maybe an Indian naan, a Georgian khachapuri, an Italian focaccia, or its close cousin the French fougasse, which has more rustic elegance to it than many of the breads I have mentioned so far. Mention of French breads takes me back again to the classic baguette with which I began. It is one style of bread you couldn’t easily bake at home even if you wanted to – it is simply too long for domestic ovens. That could be what makes it such a special delight

to see crusty baguettes piled up on a baker’s counter. They stir memories for me of summer holidays in France, where the proliferation of independent bakers and roadside baguettevending machines are sure signs of a country that takes its relationship with bread very seriously. What a joy it is – as I write that last sentence – to be able to go on to say that in Britain there has been a tangible shift for the good in how we feel about bread. There is growing respect here for ‘proper’ craftsmen bakers alongside growing understanding of the failings in the flavour and nutritional value of processed breads, and then the pleasures of well-made bread. We are again embracing breads that age rather than just go off. Okay, yes, they all go off eventually, but before they do so, the bread undertakes a journey of aging that offers even the most moderately-resourceful of cooks the chance to keep on enjoying every last crumb and not waste any of its fabulousness – revived by oil, water and vinegar in a panzanella salad, sunk deep into custard for a bread and butter pudding, or simply whizzed up into breadcrumbs. We are rediscovering, too, our own British heritage loaf styles. My favourite of those is the cottage loaf. Imagine two round loaves baked on top of each other, with the top one smaller than the bottom, and you are on the right lines. It can’t really be easily sliced or toasted – it’s another bread for satisfyingly ripping and dunking – but whenever I see one I can’t help smiling. And there is much to be said for any bread that makes you feel happy.


BREAD AHEAD SOURDOUGH Matt Jones Ingredients

Method

To make the starter (day 1): 50g good quality wholegrain rye flour 50g water

To make the starter, add the wholegrain flour and water to a bowl and mix together until smooth. Cover and leave on top of your fridge. Repeat the steps for day one on day two, three, four and five. Your starter should be nice and lively with some bubbling and a slight alcoholic aroma. You can store your starter in the fridge now for up to two weeks, untouched.

Additions to the starter (days 2-5): 50g flour 50g water Final addition to the starter when you are ready to bake: 100g flour 100g water To make the sourdough: 1kg strong white flour 700ml water 300ml of your starter 20g salt

When you want to make your bread, simply take the starter out of the fridge and feed it with 100g flour and 100g water. Leave out at room temperature for 8 hours, then you are ready to get baking! To make a simple loaf of bread, gently mix all of the ingredients together, cover and place in the fridge for 8-24 hours. Bring out of the fridge and fold the dough. Leave for two hours. Shape the dough into a banneton (a proving bowl). For best results place in the fridge again for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Bring out of the fridge and leave to prove for 4 hours. Bake in a hot oven at 220C for 30 mins. Take out and enjoy your first creation!

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PORRIDGE BREAD Jenny Chandler Makes 1 loaf

Method

This loaf really is child’s play – my young daughter can throw it together in minutes. It’s great for using up any random seeds you might have in the cupboard. You could add nuts, too. Keeps well for a couple of days.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 2-pound (900g) loaf tin. If in doubt about the size of your tin, it should hold 1 litre of water. Don’t worry too much about greasing the ends: a rectangle of paper lying across the bottom and sides will do the trick.

Ingredients 500g plain yoghurt 1 tbsp treacle 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 350g medium porridge oats 50g mixed seeds such as poppy, flax, sunflower, sesame or pumpkin

Pour the yoghurt, treacle and olive oil into a large bowl and stir until well combined. Sprinkle over ½ tsp salt and the bicarbonate of soda, then add the oats and most of the seeds. Stir well until you have a wet, sticky dough, then tip into the prepared tin. Flatten the top slightly with a damp spoon (making it wet stops the porridge from sticking to it). Sprinkle with the remaining seeds. Bake in the oven for 50-60 mins, checking after about 45 mins that the crust is not getting too dark (you can always cover it with a piece of foil). Turn the bread out of the tin onto a wire rack. If the bottom still feels a little soggy, turn the bread upside down onto a baking tray and put it back in the oven for another 5 mins. Allow to cool before serving.

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KIM LIGHTBODY


RYE & SPELT LOAF Beca Lyne-Pirkis Makes 1 loaf

Method

Rye is high in fibre and as it has a low glycaemic index, it can help keep blood sugar levels steady, meaning that this nutritiously dense loaf will keep you fuller for longer. Enjoy at breakfast simply toasted and served with unsalted butter and homemade marmalade or some softly scrambled eggs, avocado and hot sauce. Make a delicious Scandi-style open sandwich with smoked fish and pickles for lunch, or how about a deli sandwich of salt beef, sauerkraut and mustard? This is easily my favourite bread of all time. The cacao powder and treacle don’t add taste or sweetness, but are there to give the loaf its distinctive dark colour. Don’t use sweetened cocoa powder unless you fancy a sweet loaf – and in which case add in 100g raisins for extra sweetness and texture.

Add both flours to a large bowl, along with the yeast and salt on separate sides of the bowl. Add the cacao powder, caraway seeds and the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients 250g rye flour 250g strong brown bread flour 10g fast action yeast or 15g fresh yeast 10g salt 30g cacao powder 3 tbsp treacle 1 heaped tbsp caraway seeds, plus extra for the topping 3 tbsp seeds (I used sunflower and pumpkin seeds), plus extra for the topping 385ml water, hand hot 1 egg white

Measure out the treacle into a jug using a spoon that has been warmed in the hot water to make it easier. Add the hot water to the treacle and stir to dissolve. Mix the dry ingredients until evenly combined, then add in the liquid and bring the mixture together into a sticky ball of dough. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can start the process off in the mixer and finish by hand, bypassing the sticky stage. If you’re making the loaf by hand, persevere through the sticky stage. Knead the dough on a clean surface to get the gluten working. Rye gluten is less elastic than wheat, so you will need to work the dough much longer than normal. Once the dough is smooth and elastic to touch, dust a small amount of flour onto the work surface and bring the dough together into a tight ball. Place back into your bowl to prove. Leave to prove until double in size – allow at least 3-4 hours. Once proved, dust your worktop with a little flour and scrape out the dough. Lightly grease your loaf tin with the smallest amount of rapeseed oil. Shape the dough into a sausage the same length and width as your tin and place into the tin to prove for a second time – around 1-2 hours. Preheat your oven to 220C. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg white then sprinkle over the extra seeds. Bake for 30 mins. Once baked, leave to cool completely before slicing.

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OLIVE OIL FOCACCIA Jenny Chandler Makes 2 loaves

Method

This recipe will create enough dough to make two flat focaccia breads, or a standard tin loaf and a large focaccia. You’ll require a plastic dough scraper and a 5-litre bowl.

Pour the flour into the bowl and stir in 15g salt. Measure out 475ml water – it needs to be around body temperature. Now add the yeast to a few tbsp of your measured water, stirring to combine it well. Tip into the flour and give it another stir. Add the remaining water and the oil to the bowl and gradually bring the mixture together using the plastic scraper, turning the bowl as you go.

Ingredients For the dough: 750g strong flour 20g fresh yeast or 10g dried 75g extra virgin olive oil For the focaccia: Fresh rosemary or thyme leaves, removed from their stalks or a handful of fresh wild garlic leaves 100ml extra virgin olive oil ½ tbsp coarsely ground or flaked sea salt

Once there is no trace of dry flour in the bowl, tip your wet, almost porridge-like dough onto the counter. It will look terrifyingly sticky but hang in there and do not dust the surface with more flour. Now scrape the dough into a pile and begin to work it (kneading won’t be an option) by pulling the dough towards you and then placing it back on the table like a rolling wave. You will get sticky, but just keep going, scraping the dough up into a pile again after every five or six stretches. Once the dough has come together to a silky smooth and elastic ball, set it aside to rest in a lightly floured bowl covered with a tea towel for at least 1 hour, until it has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 220C and divide the risen dough between two large, greased baking trays with plenty of olive oil, prodding it out to 3cm thickness with your fingertips rather than pressing out all the life and bubbles. Sprinkle with herbs and about half the olive oil, then leave to prove for at least 45 mins. Just before baking, poke a few dimples into the surface, sloshing over some more olive oil, and dot with coarsely ground or flaked sea salt. Bake for about 30 mins until light golden brown and then splash with a little more oil as it cools.

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CAULIFLOWER CHEESE SCONES Kathy Slack Makes 9-10

Method

Cauliflower cheese, my favourite thing, made portable. These savoury scones are perfect with soups or just lathered in salty butter and served with a hunk of cheese. Best eaten on the day they are made, which will not be a chore.

Preheat the oven to 210C. Combine the flours, baking powder, a pinch of salt, cayenne and mustard powder in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles sand. Stir in the cheese.

Ingredients

In another bowl, whisk together the egg and milk then pour into to the flour mixtures. Use a knife to cut everything together to form a sticky crumble.

50g plain wholemeal flour 100g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting 1 tsp baking powder A pinch of cayenne pepper A pinch of English mustard powder 25g butter, room temperature 60g cheese, grated, plus extra for topping 1 egg 2 tbsp milk 100g cauliflower

Chop the cauliflower into small florets and whizz in a food processor to create a course crumble. It’s important not to over process the cauliflower or it will become mushy and make the scones too wet. Tip the cauliflower into the bowl and bring everything together into a doughy ball. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and press it out to 2-3cm thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut nine or 10 scones out of the dough. You can re-shape the dough as much as you need to use all the off cuts. Place the scones on a lined baking tray, top with a little more grated cheese and bake for 15-20 mins, until golden brown.

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KATHY SLACK


ORLANDO GILI

Olivier Favrel of Olivier’s Bakery


LABOUR OF LOVE: INSIDE OLIVIER’S BAKERY Clare Finney

“There’s no love in a roll,” proclaims Olivier Favrel, over the steady thwump-thwump of the mixer turning fat folds of dough. At first, I don’t understand him. Olivier is a baker: surely a bread roll inspires as much love in him as one of his large pain de campagne loaves? “Bread is for sharing. Break bread around a table, and you will feel a connection that’s quite different to sharing a salad or a chicken,” he explains simply. “Pay close attention, and you will see there is a difference between people passing bread to one another, and passing the salt.”

and your method, but no one’s in control once the process has started. You do it together: you and your dough.” Working with organic flour from Shipton Mill in the Cotswolds, Olivier finds that every week tells a different story. “Every batch is unique. One week it’s strong, the next it’s weak, the next we have to add more or less water.” To stick to the same recipe and do everything by machine would be “a complete disaster. You need to get to know the flour, and it changes each week because they mill in small batches.”

That’s the first reason you won’t find bread rolls on Olivier’s stall at Borough Market. The second is more technical. “Good bread comes from slow fermentation. If you want to make good bread, don’t make 2,000 little rolls of it. It doesn’t work so well,” he says. You can make bread without slow fermentation – bread that’s not sourdough, that is – but “sourdough is the most beautiful way to make bread, and the most natural”. Olivier strictly means bread that takes a full day to prove, using the bakery’s own starter culture, not the so-called sourdoughs you’ll find in certain supermarkets, produced at an industrial speed and quantity. “This is terrible,” he says, French r’s rolling dramatically. “It is totally inappropriate and commercial. Sourdough is a slow process. You have to care, you have to focus – and there has to be a great connection between the baker and the bread.”

This means that each Monday demands a careful renegotiation of the relationship between the bakers and their dough. “You see the colour, you see how it is going to absorb the water, you see how it reacts in the mixer and how it relaxes.” Only once an understanding between a baker and his dough has been established can he set out with confidence on the “small journey” that is baking sourdough.

The production of sourdough, he says, is not something you can control at scale. In fact, it’s not something you can control at all – even at Olivier’s level of operation, which he has deliberately confined to selling through markets. “You’re in control of your ingredients

This connection is all important. The effects of mood on the creative process have often been expounded upon, but rarely as starkly as when Olivier observes that “a happy baker will make good bread. An unhappy baker will struggle.” A chef can feel love for their ingredients, he says, “like a nice carrot, a leg of lamb or beef – but I don’t think they have the same relationship as bakers do. It is a living thing, dough. It is beautiful.” Olivier’s starter is now over 10 years old. “We feed it twice a day, every day. If you go on holiday, someone has to feed it. If you don’t, you won’t have the life to give to your bread.” It’s like a pet, I observe. “No, it’s like


MY UNCLE WAS A PASTRY CHEF AND EVERY SUNDAY HE WOULD ARRIVE AT THE END OF OUR FAMILY LUNCH, BEARING A CAKE HE HAD MADE FOR US. IT WAS ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL – AND IT ALWAYS TASTED AMAZING. WHEN I SAW THE FACES OF EVERYONE EATING IT, I THOUGHT, THIS MAN IS MAKING ALL OF US HAPPY. IT IS BETTER THAN THE LOTTO

a partner,” Olivier laughs. “If you look after it, it will give you the best bit. If you don’t, then you will get trouble.” Sitting in a large plastic tub, the gloopy beige starter culture may not be a looker, but it smells rich and full of life. The mixture is malty and warm, bubbling and fizzing as the yeasts and bacteria work their magic. Its potency is palpable. This is a potion that can undermine even the most precise instructions. “I often contrast baking to the work of a pastry chef. With pastry, you follow the recipe and it is fine. If you need to take a break, or stop and change something in the middle, you can easily do it. With the baker, things will never be that precise – and you cannot leave it and then come back to it. Once you start, you have pressed the button and started this living thing, which you have to stay with. You have to keep focused.” Olivier was aged just 13 when he started his own career as a pastry chef in his hometown of Saint-Malo, Brittany. “I didn’t like school. My uncle was a pastry chef and every Sunday he would arrive after his shift, at the end of our family lunch, bearing a cake he had made for us. It was always beautiful – and it always tasted amazing,” Olivier smilingly recalls. “My uncle usually went straight to bed after presenting it, but when I saw the faces of everyone eating it, I thought, this man is making all of us happy. It is better than the Lotto,” he continues. “When you win the Lotto, people fight, but people are happy sharing cake together.” He left school at the earliest opportunity and started as an unpaid assistant at a patisserie down the road. The following year, he was diagnosed with a wheat allergy – “which is why I wear gloves,”

he says, holding up his flour-dusted gloved hands. Needless to say, this didn’t faze him and his eyes light up as he describes his subsequent apprenticeship at a bakery a short cycle away from his home town. “Every morning I would stop at the port on my way into work and listen to the masts clinking and the waves sounding. It was very poetic. I loved the silence of being the only one awake at that hour. Then as I approached the bakery and smelt the bread – it just took me.” Fast forward a few years and he was working in Greenwich, his London-based chef brother having convinced him to take a job at Didier’s Patisserie, official supplier of fine cakes and pastries to no less a customer than the Queen. “We made her a birthday cake, and patisserie for her garden parties and other events, like Wimbledon,” recalls Olivier. “My brother went back home after a few years, but I remained in London.” In France, a pastry chef can only ascend through strict hierarchies – “if you are number three, you can only be promoted to number two. If you are number eight, you can only go up to number seven” – but in London Olivier found that, in the world of macarons and madeleines at least, meritocracy reigned. “If you have the talent, you can rise up to the top very quickly, and I preferred the culture here,” he says. “Coming from a small town where everyone knows everyone, it was so nice to be somewhere where you can be what you want to be and wear what you want to wear.” He’d fallen for his wife, Valentina, and he’d fallen for the city he now calls home. Olivier’s eponymous bakery was born out of a curious coincidence of good fortune and good principle: the latter on the part of Olivier


and Jan McCourt of Northfield Farm, a now fellow trader. “I’d left my previous job as head baker because the company had been sold and things were changing. They started using pre-mix,” Olivier whispers with the appalled tone of a man describing a crime. “It was not for me. I left with no job to go to – but in a few months, an events company that Valentina and I were in touch with asked us to do a market in Nottingham, and we agreed.” He had no oven. He had no mixer. But he knew Matt Jones, now of Bread Ahead, and he knew that at the time Matt was doing some work with Northfield Farm, which is in Nottinghamshire. “I asked Matt to see if Jan would let us borrow his oven and mixer, and he welcomed us. So, there we started. For the next four days of the market, I think I slept less than six hours. In total.” Olivier loves his adopted country, but if there is one aspect in which he remains resolutely French, it is his attitude toward baking. “I must say it was a bit of a shock to me when I arrived 20 or so years ago. I came here with £50, and all I could afford was a 24p sliced white loaf from Safeway,” he shudders. By the time Olivier’s Bakery launched, changes were already afoot, with small artisans spreading sourdough across the urban peripheries. But the bread culture in Britain was still nothing compared to that of a country built and powered by boulangeries. “The French eat bread every day, with every meal. There is not one flat, house or restaurant where you will not see bread on the table,” says Olivier. He had come here as a pastry chef, and could have made more money by remaining so, “but I got back to bread because I felt I needed to help create change here, a little.

I felt people deserved better bread, bread that was good for them, not full of additives and preservatives and other rubbish.” The feedback from British customers was remarkable. “They came back. They supported us. Even today we still have many of the same customers.” Selling good bread in London has never been too hard – “there are plenty of Spanish, Italian and French people living here” – but it was when the Brits started coming that Olivier knew that something was starting to change. “I don’t know why the food was so bad for so long, but I have seen it change. London is the best place in the world for food now.” He still gets the odd complaint about the price of bread – “only the other week I was in a pub and a guy was complaining. I asked him how much he’d paid for his pint, and he said a fiver. I pointed out that a loaf of my bread was £3.50 and would feed him for a week” – but the majority of Olivier’s conversations with customers centre on how much they enjoy his produce. Besides, as far as quality sourdough bread goes, Oliver’s is not expensive, not by any means. He respects his bread and the colleagues who make it with him, but he wants good food to be as accessible as possible. “I am not looking to steal money from people. I didn’t go into baking to get rich. I am a rich man already,” he smiles, taking out his phone. He swipes through his photos until he arrives at a picture of two young twins, their heads together, grinning at the camera. “See? I am done. I can’t get richer than Oscar and Ophelia. Valentina and I live humbly, we pay the bills, we spend time with the kids and we bake for people. I am a rich man indeed.”


FIG, POLENTA & ALMOND CAKE Ed Smith Makes 1 cake

Method

This polenta and almond sponge is gently but definitely spiced by ground cinnamon and cloves, with a caramel and fig topping lightening proceedings a little. I enjoy it on its own with a cup of tea, but I’d also serve it as a pudding with yoghurt or creme fraiche – it’s particularly good if served warm, perhaps about an hour after you’ve made it, or covered with clingfilm and returned to a low oven (100C) for 20 minutes while you’re eating your main course.

Line the loaf tin with greaseproof paper and pre-heat the oven to 190C. Cut the hard stalk from the top of each fig, then slice each fig in half around its middle (not through the stalk). Place the fig halves face down in the loaf tin.

Ingredients 1 x 900g loaf tin 100g golden caster sugar 80g water 40g butter 5 fresh figs 50g plain flour 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cloves Grated zest of 1 lemon 5g baking powder A pinch of sea salt 180g ground almonds 100g fine polenta 170g salted butter at room temperature 140g golden caster sugar 2 large eggs 2 tsp orange blossom water

Put the sugar and water in a non-stick frying pan or small saucepan. Slowly heat until the water boils away, the sugar syrup turns dark brown at the edges and a golden brown colour spreads across. Add the butter, stir and remove the pan from the heat. The caramel will foam and bubble. When the foaming dies down a little, pour the caramel over the figs. Now make the cake. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and spices together. Add the lemon zest. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and light, either with a stand mixer and paddle attachment or a fair bit of elbow grease. Add one egg. Beat. If you’re using a mixer, use a slow-medium setting. Ensure the egg is incorporated into the butter and sugar mix before adding the second. Then add the orange blossom water. Again, beat until incorporated. Add the flour and spice mix. Then the almond and polenta and continue beating until the well mixed. Spoon the cake mix on to the fig and caramel base. Ensure that it is level and pushed into all gaps and corners. Place the tin on a tray with sides and bake in the centre of the oven for 55-60 mins until the cake is golden brown. You can tell it’s done if a skewer or sharp knife can be inserted and removed without any cake mix sticking to it. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning the cake out onto a board or cooling rack as if it were a tarte tatin. Cool completely before peeling the paper away and slicing.

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ED SMITH


LEMON & ELDERFLOWER BUNDT CAKE Juliet Sear Makes 1 cake

Method

Bundt cakes are brilliant because their magnificent shape and structure create a wow factor without needing too much effort. This bake is gorgeous simply drizzled with some delicious elderflower icing. I’ve used some lovely lemon-coloured sugared almonds from Maggio’s Confectionery to decorate, along with some gorgeous edible flowers.

Heat the oven to 190C and prepare your bundt tin by brushing the inside with melted butter, dusting with additional flour and shaking out the excess (or you can use cake release spray if you have that).

Ingredients For the sponge cake: 300g butter 275g golden caster sugar Zest of 2 lemons 1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste 5 medium eggs at room temperature 250g self-raising flour 75g ground almonds 2 tsp baking powder For the elderflower fondant topping: 280g fondant icing sugar 40g elderflower cordial Juice of 1 lemon Sugared almonds Fresh edible flowers For the lemon curd cream: 300g extra thick cream 200g good quality lemon curd

Cream the butter, sugar, zest and vanilla together in a stand mixer or by hand until very pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs gently one by one until fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, lightly mix the almonds, flour and baking powder to distribute evenly, then gently mix into the wet ingredients until just combined. Don’t over-mix or your sponge may be tough. Spoon into the tin, level off and bake for approximately 35-45 mins until cooked through. Use a skewer to check it is fully cooked in the centre. Leave in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out and leave to cool on a rack. Meanwhile, mix your fondant sugar, elderflower cordial and lemon juice until smooth and lump free. You might need a little extra water depending on the amount of lemon juice yielded. You need a dripping (but not runny) consistency so it can flow nicely over the cake. Use a piping bag if you want to be very precise with how the icing falls over the cake, or use a spoon if you prefer a more rustic finish. Decorate by dotting around the flowers and sugared almonds. For the lemon curd cream, simply add the ingredients to a large bowl and gently swirl together to marble the curd through the cream. Serve a little dollop alongside each slice of cake.

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KIM LIGHTBODY


CHOCOLATE & CHESTNUT TORTE Ursula Ferrigno Makes 1 cake

Method

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm deep round cake tin. Dust with flour.

25g soft plain white flour, plus extra for dusting 100g bitter couverture chocolate or good, high percentage cocoa butter chocolate 100g butter 4 large eggs 300g canned, sweetened chestnut puree 1 tsp natural vanilla essence ½8 tsp cream of tartar 50g caster sugar Icing sugar, for dusting

Break the chocolate into a bowl, and add the butter. Place over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Take care not to overheat. Separate the eggs. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the egg yolks, chestnut puree, vanilla and flour and whisk together. Stir in the chocolate mixture. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then gradually whisk in sugar until stiff. Do not overbeat. Fold a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then the remaining whites. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 40-45 mins, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out moist but not sticky. Leave the torte to cool in the tin on a rack. It will have risen and then dropped slightly in the centre so level with a palette knife. When cold, turn out and dust with sifted icing sugar. Note: During cooking, the torte puffs up like a soufflé but then sinks in the centre when left to cool. Don’t worry – it’s supposed to! The torte should be stored at room temperature and is best if made at least one day in advance. It can be frozen and kept for up to three months.

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RHUBARB CRUMBLE LOAF CAKE Juliet Sear Makes 1 cake

Method

This pretty loaf cake is a little bit special. You can make this without the crumble and roast rhubarb for an easy everyday loaf, but the addition of the sweet, crunchy topping takes it to the next level. Serve with extra roasted rhubarb (which you can cook at the same time as baking the cake) and delicious creamy mascarpone. It’s a real treat.

Heat the oven to 180C. Beat the sugar and butter together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or with a wooden spoon) until light and fluffy. Add the orange zest, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the polenta, baking powder and ground almonds.

Ingredients For the loaf cake: 100g golden caster sugar 100g butter Zest of 1 orange 2 medium eggs 80g polenta 1 tsp baking powder 60g ground almonds 120g rhubarb (chopped into 2cm lengths) For the crumble topping: 40g plain flour 20g slightly salted butter (cold and cut into cubes) 30g golden caster sugar For the roast rhubarb (optional): 200g rhubarb cut into 8cm lengths 20g caster sugar Mascarpone

You will need a small 1lb loaf tin, greased and lined with baking parchment, sitting on a small baking tray to catch any crumbs. Spoon half the mixture over the base of the tin and spread it out with a pallete knife or the back of a spoon. Arrange the chopped rhubarb over this layer of cake mixture, then drop the rest of the mixture over the top. Smooth with a spoon or palette knife. Bake for 20-25 mins. While the sponge is baking, prepare the topping by rubbing the flour and butter between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs, then mix in the sugar. When the cake has been baking for 20-25 mins and is set enough to hold the crumble, remove from the oven. Turn up the heat to 200C. Crumble the topping onto the partbaked cake, creating a single layer. Bake for a further 20 mins until the cake is cooked through and the crumble is lightly golden. While the crumble-topped cake is back in the oven, place the rhubarb in a small roasting dish, sprinkle with the caster sugar and toss through with your hands. Cover with tin foil and bake for 15 mins, then remove the foil and roast for a further 5 mins. Leave the rhubarb to cool in its syrupy juices. When the loaf is cooked, leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then fully on a wire rack. Serve in slices dressed with a couple of pieces of roasted rhubarb and a generous sprinkling of crumble, finished with mascarpone.

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KIM LIGHTBODY


FLOUR POWER: A BAKER’S BUYING GUIDE Ellie Costigan

Unless you’re a particularly enthusiastic home baker, you’d be forgiven for thinking wheat flour falls into just two categories: plain and self-raising. In fact, there’s much more to this simple staple than you might think, and an impressive array to be found among the stalls of Borough Market. “We source all our flours from the Enrici family, who have been producing them since 1933 at their small stone mill in Azeglio, Piedmont,” says Sam Wallace of From Field and Flower. “There are no additives, preservatives or bleaching agents involved. They take care of their crops, and quality is checked throughout the production process. They won’t accept anything substandard.” The stall has four types of baking flour: 00 flour; pizza and focaccia flour; il tuo pane; and soffice. When it comes to Italian baking, 00 is the panacea: “It’s highly prized in Italy because it’s milled in a special way to make it beautifully powdery and light, which gives a superior dough,” Sam continues. “It’s good for all baking – cakes, breads, tarts, biscuits. It doesn’t use as much water as other flours and that helps keep the texture of the bake super light.” Soffice flour, meanwhile, is made up of a combination of 00 flour and corn starch, “which makes for superb cakes, even without a lot of experience!” says Sam. “In Italy, it’s used to make cakes known as pan di spagna, which are typically moist, light and high, but it can be used for any cake; we’ve used it for apple cakes, chocolate cakes and more.” From Field and Flower’s pizza and focaccia flour is also made up of 00 flour, but with added starches to make for a stronger and

more elastic dough. “The secret is proving the dough for at least four hours – and up to eight hours – and ensuring it is moist enough, with the right amount of water in the mix.” The il tuo pane flour, or bread flour, meanwhile, is a 0 grade flour – a coarser mill than the 00. Happily, it works equally well in an oven or a bread maker. “Though flour is a common thing, it can really affect the quality of what you’re baking – so it needs to be good,” says Sam. Over at Gastronomica, the resident pizza flour is farina di grano tenero tip 0, produced by Giuliano Pediconi in the Misa Valley. “We’ve been using the same producer for more than 10 years,” says stall manager Germana Forlenza. She also sells semolina di grano duro, a coarse flour made from durum wheat, which can be mixed with 0 flour to make bread (“you have to follow a recipe because it’s important to get the proportions right and that depends on the bread”) or used on its own to make sweet desserts such as torta di semolino. Since lockdown and the explosion of interest in making bread at home – which Bread Ahead has helped facilitate through regular online baking classes – Matt Jones and his team have begun selling a range of top-notch flours to the public, “all of which are grown and milled in the UK,” says Matt. Sourced from a family-run mill in Essex that’s been going since 1824, you now have all you need to recreate the best of Bread Ahead at home, including rye and strong white bread flour, plain white flour for cakes and pancakes, wholemeal for brown breads, spelt for suffusing sweet nuttiness into your bakes, and self-raising for the best scones and cakes.


ROGALYKY (CURD CHEESE BISCUITS) Olia Hercules Makes 24

Method

Ingredients

If you are using ricotta and it’s too wet, try to drain it a little. Mix the cheese with the soft butter until well-combined. Sift the flour and baking powder together and stir through the cheese mixture. Knead the dough briefly. You should end up with a firm dough. Wrap it in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 mins, if you have time.

80g butter, softened 200g ricotta or Polish twarog 200g plain flour 1 tsp baking powder 125g apricot conserve (or any other jam) 50g raw cane sugar A pinch of flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a large baking sheet with silicone paper. Cut the pastry in half. Flatten one half with the palm of your hand into a rectangular shape, then roll out until 2mm thick – you should end up with a 30cm x 20cm rectangle. Slice the rectangle in half, the cut each half into six equal-sized triangles, like you would for a croissant. Now pop 1 tsp of the jam on the wider part of each triangle and roll it up – they will look like mini croissants. Repeat with the other half of the pastry ball. Finally, mix the cane sugar with a tiny bit of crushed sea salt in a small, flat dish. Then Brush the tops of the rogalyky with some water and dip them into the sugar and salt mixture. Pop the pastries on top of the silicone-lined flat baking tray and bake for about 15-20 mins, until they are golden and caramelised. Enjoy with some black tea with lemon.

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KIM LIGHTBODY


SALTED LAVENDER SABLES Angela Clutton Makes 9

Method

These wonderfully buttery sable biscuits are decadently served with a small pot of rich chocolate to dip them into. They deserve to be made with the best butter you can get hold of.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and ¼ tsp salt, then mix in the egg yolk, the flour and lavender. Work into a smooth dough and shape into a flat circle. Wrap that disc of dough in clingfilm and chill for 1 hour at least.

Ingredients For the sables: 75g salted butter, at room temperature 60g caster sugar 1 egg yolk 110g plain flour, sifted 1½ tsp lavender 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water For the chocolate sauce: 200g dark chocolate 200ml whole milk 2 tsp cornflour Equipment: 6cm round biscuit cutter

Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper to ½cm thick. Using a 6cm round biscuit cutter, stamp out nine biscuits then carefully lift each onto the baking tray, keeping space between each one as they will spread. Chill for 10 mins. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the beaten egg. Use the tines of a fork to imprint lines across the top of each biscuit. Bake for approximately 15 mins, until they are just turning brown – you might need to rotate the tray halfway through for even baking. Lift the biscuits onto a wire rack to cool. For the chocolate sauce, break the chocolate into a bowl sat on top of a pan of simmering water. As the chocolate starts to melt, whisk in the milk and cornflour. Keep whisking for about 5 mins. Pour into espresso cups. Serve straight away with the sables, or wait for the chocolate to set a bit firmer.

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JOHN HOLDSHIP

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The Borough Market Guide to Baking