Baking with cider

Cider loaf with three flours

This recipe rewards the effort that you have to into it. It’s based on one by Dan Lepard ( who makes the point that you don’t have to stick rigidly to the proportions of the three flours. You could just use strong white. The other flours give it a more compact texture and will help to keep it moist. It takes quite a lot of kneading so you may want to use a mixer with a dough hook if you have one. Otherwise it’s good exercise. For the sake of flavour, it’s better to balance out a dry cider with the syrup or honey than to try a shortcut with a sweet cider.

Preparation time: 3 hours 10 mins
Baking time: 40 mins
220C/425F/Gas 7


350g strong white flour
75g rye flour
75g wholemeal spelt or wholemeal wheat flour
1tsp fast acting yeast
2 tsp fine salt
1tbsp golden syrup or honey
175ml dry cider
150ml warm water
50g melted butter or vegetable oil


Mix the cider, water, yeast and syrup, then mix then quickly and evenly into the flours. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Clean the bowl and give it a wipe with a smear of oil or butter so that the dough won’t stick. Put the dough in the bowl, cover it with a cloth or a clean kitchen bin bag for 10 minutes. Take the dough out and knead it again for 10 minutes then return it and cover it. Do both again.

You’re about an hour into the project. Put the dough back in the bowl to prove for another hour. It should have gone puffy and risen by about half. Take it from the bowl. Pat the loaf into a rough rectangle than roll it along its length to make a scroll. Place it seam-down on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cover it and leave it to rise for an hour.

Heat the oven to gas mark 7 or equivalent. Slash the loaf along most of its length then pop it in the oven and bake it for 40 minutes. Tap the underside of the loaf to check that it’s done. It should sound hollow. If not, return it to the oven for a few minutes and try again.
Cool the loaf on a rack.


1) Mix the cider and water, stir in the yeast and the syrup
2) Put the flours and the melted butter in a bowl. Mix in the liquid.
3) Knead the dough for 10 mins.
4) Return the dough to the bowl. Cover and leave it for 10 mins.
5) Repeat steps 3 and 4 twice.
6) Return the dough to the bowl and leave it to prove for an hour or until it is puffy and has risen by about half.
7) Pat the loaf into rough rectangle. Roll it along its length.
8) Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
9) Put the scroll on the baking paper, seam side down, cover it and it leave to rise for about an hour. Slash the loaf along the centre.
10) Heat the oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas 7 (200oC for a fan oven).
11) Bake it for 40 minutes until it’s golden.

Walnut soda bread

Ideal if you’re short of time or want something to have on a simple picnic with cheese.

Preparation: 5-10 mins
Baking: 20-25 mins
200C/400F/Gas 6


200g walnuts
200g dried fruit
250g wholemeal flour
2tsp baking powder
5g salt
75ml apple juice
75ml water


Preheat the oven. Crush half the walnuts coarsely and grind the rest finely in pestle and mortar or blender. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, walnuts and fruit in a bowl. Mix in the water and apple juice. Knead briefly to form a firm dough. Flatten the dough to around 5cm thickness and cut a cross in it almost but not all the way through. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Tap the base. If it sounds hollow it’s done. Cool it on a wire rack.


1) Heat the oven to Gas mark 6.
2) Crush half and grind half the walnuts
3) Combine the flour, baking powder, nuts, and fruit in bowl.
4) Mix in the water and apple juice.
5) Knead the dough briefly then flatten it to depth of 5cm.
6) Cut a cross in the dough nearly all the way through to the base
7) Bake it for 20-25 minutes.

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