Band of Bakers – Paul Hollywood’s Sicilian lemon and orange sweet bread

For Band of Bakers recent 1st Birthday party I decided to bake Paul Hollywood’s Sicilian lemon and orange sweet bread. I felt is was quite apt, as this was the episode of Hollywood’s bread that the baking club starred in, and in which I had 3 appearances!

Now me and dough are not great friends, but I think we have found a mutual respect following the attempt of this recipe twice, with no major disasters, which usually come as standard with my baking.

The only thing that is a pain about this recipe is the proving time – 4 hours in total! Do not attempt to do this the night before an event, unless you want to stay up till 1am! Cough Cough!

Paul Hollywood Sweet Bread

Paul Hollywood Sweet Bread

The recipe is taken from Bread by Paul Hollywood (£20, Bloomsbury)

Serves: 8

• 400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
• 7g salt
• 40g caster sugar
• 10g fast-action dried yeast
• 120ml tepid full-fat milk
• 4 medium eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked
• 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
• Finely grated zest of 2 lemons and 1 orange (unwaxed)
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 100g flaked almonds
• 100g mixed candied peel
• 100g dried cranberries

• 2 medium egg whites
• 25g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 25g ground almonds
• 50g flaked almonds

1. Put the flour in a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the milk, eggs and the butter, in small pieces.

2. Mix on a slow speed for 3 minutes, then on a medium speed for 4 minutes, kneading to a soft, elastic dough.

3. Tip the dough into a bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

4. Grease a 23cm round, deep springform cake tin. Mix the lemon and orange zest with the lemon juice, almonds, candied peel and cranberries. Add to the risen dough and use your hands to incorporate it well.

5. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball. Put into the prepared tin and place inside a large, roomy plastic bag. Again leave to prove in a warm place for 3 hours, until the dough has reached the top of the tin.

6. Heat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6. Bake the sweet bread on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for the topping, in a bowl, stir the egg whites, sugar and ground almonds together to make a paste.

7. Take out the bread, spread the almond paste on top (some will run to the sides) and sprinkle with the flaked almonds and a little sugar.

8. Lower the oven setting to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4 and bake for a further 20 minutes, covering loosely with foil towards the end of cooking if it appears to be over-browning.

9. Leave the sweet bread to cool in the tin for ten minutes, then release the sides of the tin. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool completely.

Harley's Sweet Bread

Harley’s Sweet Bread