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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 24 November 2020
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Time for baking bread: Try seeded loaf and Guinness and treacle bread from The Cake Cafe

Baker Ray O’Neill shares his views on Level 5 restrictions where he says supporting local is vital. He has two delicious bread recipes for you.

Ray O'Neill

DURING THE FIRST lockdown I spent days trying to figure out how we could get through this horrendous time as a business.

The doors had been shut for weeks and there was no revenue coming in, with the bills still piling up.

We had always been renowned for not only our cakes (the clue’s in the name!) but for our savoury food which we make fresh each day including three types of bread and a selection of cakes each morning.

Pre-Covid we had quite a large tourist clientele as we are featured in most guidebooks. One of the things that featured over and over again in reviews was our afternoon tea offering which got me thinking of ways to bring this service to people directly in their homes.

Afternoon Tea has always been a treat for people….to mark special occasions, a birthday, first communion or just to be nice to oneself – lord knows we need that at the moment.

So with the restrictions in place earlier this year, I thought that people would want to treat themselves in their own home. Sure where else can you do it during shutdown phases? With that in mind, I set up an online ordering system making everything myself from scratch from the breads each morning to the individual cakes and cookies. 

I proceeded to deliver our Afternoon Tea packages, which include mini sandwiches, cakes, a selection of teas and a Prosecco cocktail directly to peoples homes starting firstly on weekends, then extending the delivery service all week long from Tuesday  – Saturday. 

Before long it started to become more and more popular so I had to get some staff back in to help me, which was great to be able to re-employ people again and it gave me hope that we could get through this.

Some of the images people had sent into us enjoying their treats in the garden and making the most of what they had was really heartwarming. It was also encouraging to realise that there’s hope, as a business, with getting through these unprecedented times.

It’s such a difficult time for people, especially now with the Level 5 restrictions in place so to be able to bring a bit of joy (even in the smallest of ways) to people is an appealing thing.

We’re constantly hearing about the importance of shopping local and supporting small businesses in our community and I think it is vital now more than ever to do just that.

Go to your local greengrocer, search online for local suppliers for gifts, toys or whatever else you need. There’s never been a better time to support your community as they really need it.

Today I’ve attached recipes for two types of bread that we use in our Afternoon Tea, one is a Seeded Yeast Bread and the other a Guinness and Treacle bread. I hope you enjoy.

Ray’s bread recipes

image1 Source: Cake Cafe

Cake Cafe Seeded Bread

450g Strong Flour
65g Mixed Seeds
12g Caster Sugar
5g Salt
14g (2 sachets) Dried Yeast
35g Butter
1 Egg
265ml Warm (tepid) Water

Method

Put the yeast into the warm water and leave to sit for a few minutes. Make sure the water is tepid as it will kill the yeast if it is too hot.

Weigh the rest of the dry ingredients including the butter into a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mix until there are no more lumps.

Crack the egg into the flour mix and start to mix.

Once the yeast has been in the water for 8-10 mins stir it thoroughly and pour into the mix, ensuring to scrape the sides so there is no yeast left in the jug.

If you have a kitchen mixer use the dough hook to knead the dough on a medium setting for 10 minutes.

If you are doing it by hand, knead the dough by pushing it away from you on a floured counter for 12 – 15 minutes.

First rise

Place the dough into a clean bowl rubbed with a little sunflower oil and cover with a tea towel.

Leave the dough in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes – the dough should double in size.

Once the dough has risen take it out of the bowl and “knock it back” with your hands.

This can be done again on a floured countertop, the dough will go back to its original size.

Shape the dough into a loaf, making sure there are no air bubbles inside and place into an oiled bread tin.

Second rise

The dough should again double in size and have a dome-like effect on top (approx another 30 mins).

Bake at 180 for 25 mins or until it’s a light brown colour then take out of the tin and bake for another 10 minutes.

Place a skewer or sharp knife through the middle of the loaf and if it comes out clear without any crumbs it is ready.

I love to eat the heal of the loaf while still warm and smothered in butter. Enjoy!!!

Guinness Bread(1) Source: Celine_Braga

Guinness and Treacle Bread

300g Wholemeal Flour
75g Plain Flour
40g Oats
15g Soft Brown Sugar
1.25 teaspoon Bread Soda (bicarbonate soda)
.5 teaspoon Salt
20g Butter – really soft
240g Milk
140ml Guinness
150g Black Treacle

Method

Mix all of the dry ingredients with a whisk.

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Add in the butter and whisk again.

Mix the Guinness and Treacle and whisk together.

Add the wet mixture in and whisk again until combined.

Pour into a lined bread tin and sprinkle with some oats on top.

Bake at 180 for 50-55 mins.

Test with a skewer in the centre of the bread and if it comes out clean without any crumbs your bread is ready.

Enjoy!

Ray O’Neill owns and runs The Cake Cafe and SLICE in Dublin. 

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