Bathless Baking: Spotted Dick in a CVap®

It may be a surprise to some but bathless baking is possible in CVap®. We recently proved this cooking process on perhaps the most snicker-inducing food in the English-speaking world, Spotted Dick.

The etymology of this curiously named dessert is a bit hazy. It stems from the Victorian Era. There are theories that the name of this steamed pudding refers to its similarity in appearance to a spotted dog (spotted = raisins or currants, dick = dog (or perhaps, dough). Whatever the origin, the name continues to amuse those who have failed to achieve a sufficient level of maturity. Probably to reduce bawdy jokes, one local council in the U.K. has renamed the dish “Spotted Richard.”

Unlike the puddings that most Americans are familiar with, the spotted dick is spongey and only slightly sweet. Most of its sweetness is from the raisins, currants, or other fruits it contains.

Behold our grand experiment in British baking. Traditionally it’s prepared by steaming on the stovetop. We wanted to test it with CVap bathless baking, a safer process that still delivers fantastic results. You can find the base recipe on Tastemade.com. We tweaked the ingredients a little, and of course, for gentle steaming in a CVap oven.

bathless baking

Ingredients

  • 150 grams of Dried Fruit (Traditionally, you would use currants, but we used a blend of cranberry, blueberry, apricot, and golden raisins.)
  • 250 ml of Water
  • 250 grams Self-Rising Whole Wheat Flour (If you cannot find it at your retailer, you can “fudge” it quite easily; see below for ratios.)
  • 80 grams Sugar
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt
  • 100 grams of Shredded Butter (Pop a stick in the freezer for more effortless shredding.)
  • Zest of One Lemon
  • 280 ml Whole Milk

How to Make a Self-Rising Whole Wheat Flour

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tbs Baking Powder
  • ½ Tsp Salt

             Blend well before using.

The Bathless Baking Process

bathless baking
  1. Preheat RTV/CHV-05 ovens to 200°F Vapor/200°F Air.
  2. Weigh out all the ingredients according to the recipe amounts.
  3. Place the dried fruit into an oven-safe container, cover with water, and place into the preheated oven to rehydrate for about 10-15 (or until the fruits look nice and plump).
  4. Remove from oven, drain, and set aside to cool.
  5. While fruit is rehydrating, place butter into the freezer to firm before grating. Use the largest grain size on the box grater.
  6. The original recipe calls for suet. Suet is the raw, hard fat of beef, lamb, or mutton, for those unfamiliar. It often has a little flour added to it as well. The recipe said that butter is a perfectly suitable substitute for equal replacement. As suet is hard to come by in Kentucky, we opted for butter.
  7. Mix the dry ingredients and add grated butter, fruits, and milk until combined.
  8. Transfer mix to pre-sprayed pans (we used ramekins and silicone mini-bundt pans).
  9. Cook time will be dependent on the size of pans used:
    1. Silicone Mini-Bunt Pans – approximately 30 minutes
    2. Ramekins – closer to an hour
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan.

As mentioned before, spotted dick isn’t particularly sweet. To make it more of a proper dessert, they traditionally serve it with crème anglaise, a.k.a., English cream (or English vanilla custard).

bathless baking spotted dick

Bathless Baking Results

Preparing this dish the traditional way – steaming on the stovetop with extra bits and bobs- is inefficient and dangerous. Preparing it traditionally in a foodservice kitchen is particularly challenging. Creating this in a CVap oven is an excellent (and safer) way to bake this dish. Save yourself the time and trouble with CVap bathless baking.

All snickering aside, we thoroughly enjoyed our spotted dick. We made sure to accompany it with proper English tea, sipped with pinkies raised.

BATHLESS BAKING

Guinness Brown Bread in CVap®

Guinness Brown Bread
Guinness Brown Bread

In a recent Winston blog, we prepared a full Irish breakfast. One of the key ingredients of that breakfast was Guinness Brown Bread. We thought this wonderful, dark bread deserved an entry of its own. We based it on a lovely recipe found on Good Food Ireland’s website.

This recipe takes a few liberties with the traditional Irish soda bread. One might think of brown bread as soda bread’s denser cousin. The original soda bread had just four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. That basic recipe stems from the 1830s when much of Ireland was facing a serious famine. For many poor families, there would have been meals that consisted of only this bread. It kept them alive.

Soda bread also had the advantage of not requiring an oven to bake. It could be cooked in iron pots, or even directly on a stone over the fire. Yeast would have been hard to come but, not to mention expensive. Rather than using yeast for leavening, soda bread uses the chemical reaction between the baking soda and the acid in the buttermilk to leaven the dough. This works well with the soft wheat grown in Ireland.

Brown Bread vs Soda Bread

Guinness Brown Bread shares the same roots as soda bread. The key difference is the flour used. Irish soda bread is slightly sweet, (think scones). It uses white flour, which gives it a milder flavor. It’s a perfect snack or accompaniment to a hot cup of tea or coffee. On the other hand, brown bread has a nutty flavor that comes from the combination of Irish wholemeal flour and oats. It should be sliced think, and enjoyed with a schmear of Irish butter.

As is the case with any standard recipe, the standard baking settings needed a bit of modification for the CVap® ovens. We also needed to tweak the ingredients just a bit, since some ingredients aren’t easy to come by here in the U.S.

Ingredients (for one loaf)

  • 600g Wholemeal Flour (we substituted Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 150g Plain Flour (we substituted All-Purpose Flour)
  • 75g Oatmeal
  • 2 and 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2-1/2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 40g Butter
  • 480ml Whole Milk
  • 200ml Black Treacle (we substituted Molasses)
  • ½ Pint Guinness® Draught Stout
Guinness Brown Bread
Guinness Brown Bread

The Process

Mix butter with the dry ingredients until the dough develops the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Add the milk, molasses, and the Guinness draught.

Mix until you reach a wet dough.

The Settings

Preheat CHV/RTV-05 oven

  • Vapor Cook– 200°F
  • Air Cook– 350°F
  • Cook Time – 1 Hour

Portion the dough into standard greased loaf pans. Garnish with a few oats.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until done.

To speed the bake time, we portioned our dough into mini loaves. This shortened the bake time to about 25 minutes. We also prepared a batch of muffins, which only took about 20 minutes to cook thoroughly. To make this a perfect addition to the meal, we served the warm bread with Kerrygold Irish Butter.

The Extras

In case you’re curious, there is a difference between Irish butter and the butter we’re used to here in the U.S. It turns out, Irish cows live a pretty good life. They feed exclusively on the lush green grass of the Emerald Isle. As a result, the butter they produce is higher in nutrients like beta carotene and is a little higher in fat content. Although the fat is only slightly higher, it is a difference you can taste. In addition, that fat keeps the Irish butter-soft, so it’s much easier to spread without tearing the bread. We highly recommend that you splurge on Irish butter. It will make this dark bread that much more delicious.

Of course, the Guinness draught speaks for itself. It’s a wonderful, dark, creamy stout. We highly recommend it.

Guinness Brown Bread