Baking | Cornish Saffron Bread/Cake – An Airy, Aromatic and Delectable Bake
The vast open Saffron fields in Jammu is worth a visit for any traveler in India. I was amazed to see these tiny plants with no prominent shoots and leaves, but just large bright violet flowers with crimson colored stigma or saffron as the main plant body. Acres of farm land could yield just a few grams of Saffron. No doubt the hard work that goes in cultivating Saffron makes this spice rare & pricey.
In India Saffron or Kesar as is called in Hindi, is extensively used in making milk based desserts and for cooking aromatic basmati rice Biryani. Though I don’t use saffron in my bakes, these popular Indian saffron cookies - Nankhatai are my favorite.
When Maitreyee from Vav Life science sent me a sample of their new product (yet to be launched) pure saffron extract for testing I wanted to try out a loaf using the same. I remember watching a Cornish saffron cake in a TV show some time back and after browsing for Cornish saffron cake, I came across this recipe.
Cornish saffron cake as is called in Cornwall England is actually more of a fruit loaf as it is not sweet and has yeast as the raising agent. The distinctive yellow color of the loaf comes from the saffron in the recipe. The loaf is served at tea time with clotted cream.
The recipe calls for APF and I wanted to bake my healthy version with whole-wheat flour. Whole-wheat Cornish saffron loaf came out pretty well and I baked a few APF loaves as well so as not to miss out on the authentic taste in the bread. The winner for me is my whole-wheat Cornish saffron loaf, I like the dense fruity textures in it which is filling and quite healthy as well.
- 2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 tbsp. organic palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1 tsp saffron extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup mixed dried fruits
- 1 tsp. dried yeast + 2 tbsp. warm water
Method; Grease a rectangular baking tin with oil and pre heat the over at 190 C for 10 minutes. Mix dried yeast in a small bowl of 2 tbsp. warm water and 1 tsp white sugar granules and leave it for 10 minutes to froth. Add milk in it.
Use saffron extract if you have or soak saffron strands in warm water overnight to get the best results.
Combine both the flours, salt, sugar and all the dried fruits in a mixing bowl. Rub in the vegetable oil with your fingertips to form fine breadcrumbs. I added Goji berries, black currents, blue berries and raisins as the fruit mix. You could substitute any with your choice.
Make a well in the flour mix and pour the frothy yeast liquid, saffron extract and milk mixture in it and knead it lightly for 10 minutes to make soft dough.
Place the kneaded dough in the greased baking tin and cover it with cling foil or a plate. Leave it for an hour or more to rise. Mine took 2 hours as I used whole-wheat flour in the recipe.
Take out the cling film and bake the loaf for 40-45 minutes at 190 C till the top is browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.
Let it cool before slicing it, serve it with butter or honey at tea time.
For making the APF Cornish saffron cake I used the exact recipe from here and baked 3 small loaves.
The loaves baked with APF or maida are light with airy and honey combed texture. A wonderful indulgence once in a while.
This is my first loaf using saffron as the main ingredient to flavor, the authentic recipe for Cornish saffron bread demands soaking the saffron strands in warm milk overnight. But as I used my saffron extract here, I avoided this step and used the saffron extract directly.
I have baked many a loves in the recent years, Oatmeal peasant boule, a pumpkin bread, savory loaf , wholewheat loaf, No knead bread, mango-banana loaf but nothing to beat this aromatic loaf of Saffron, a real treat for any saffron lover!
The aroma of saffron in this Cornish saffron cake is heavenly, just make sure to bake a few extra loaves..lest your neighbors start flocking you demanding the same.
- Use saffron strands if you don’t have extract, you need to soak the strands in warm water for several hours before use. Saffron extract reduces the soaking time and is easy to use.
- You may need a little extra milk to knead the dough if the flour you use is homemade and coarse.
- Add extra sugar if you like sweet loaves, this recipe has mild sugar.
- Too much of Saffron in the recipe will give a bitter tasting loaf.