Bread recipes

These handy suggestions for cooking with bread come from Ruth Quinlan at the E5 Bakehouse. Note that the recipes work best with stale bread.

Crostini (for canapés, breaking onto soups) and cooked breadcrumbs (for sprinkling onto gratins, macaroni cheese etc):
Slice bread thinly and evenly. If making canapés, cut into mouthful-sized pieces. Place slices on baking tray (not touching each other). Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake at 160 degrees C (or leave in a cooling oven) until dry and golden. (Prod them with your finger. There should be no “give”). Leave to cool. Store in an airtight container. Whizz briefly in food processor or put in a bag and bash with a rolling pin to make breadcrumbs

Fresh breadcrumbs (for treacle tart, apple charlotte and various other puds):
Cut off the crusts and process in a food processor. Freeze until required.

Ribollita (Tuscan white bean, cabbage and bread soup)
Best made the day before you eat it. If you are using dried cannellini beans then you’ll be soaking them 2 days before you want the soup.
For 2
large onion
stick of celery
two cloves of garlic
tsp of tomato purée
bay leaf
finely chopped sage or rosemary
sprig of thyme
salt & pepper
half a tin of good-quality chopped tomatoes
tin of (or preferably home-cooked) cannellini beans (about 80g if dried)
finely shredded Savoy cabbage (the crinkly, dark one: the darker the leaves, the tastier)
stale bread
olive oil
Gently fry the onion, carrot, celery and garlic (all finely chopped) in olive oil until golden, soft and delicious-smelling. Now add the tomato purée, a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, some sage or rosemary and salt and pepper plus the tomatoes (discard most of the juice first). If you have any saved parmesan skin, throw in a piece. It adds beautifully to the flavour.
Let this mixture simmer for 10 minutes or more and add the cannellini beans and then the Savoy cabbage. Once the cabbage is cooked, add a thick slice of stale bread, ripped into pieces. Add water if necessary, though this is a thick stewy soup. Taste, season and serve, adding a generous grating of parmesan and good olive oil to each bowl.

Bread and butter pudding
For 2
250ml milk
A scraping of lemon zest (optional)
2 thick slices bread (Hackney Wild or raisin and walnut would work best for this)
20g butter
50g raisins or any dried fruit (chopped if larger than raisins)
1 egg, beaten
35g sugar
Butter 2 large slices of bread. Halve them. Grease a small ovenproof dish (about 2 pints capacity). Place the bread in the dish, sprinkling each slice with sugar and dried fruit. Place in layers or a single layer, depending on the dish. Mix egg and milk and gently pour over, pressing the bread lightly into the milk.
Leave to soak at least 5 minutes. Dust with a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg if you like.
Bake at 180ºC for about 30min or until the custard is lightly set and the top is golden.

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