Pitlochrie Cottages Recipes

Pitlochrie’s Summer Solstice Ivana’s Rye Bread

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages recipes. Here is Ivana’s winning recipe for Rye Bread.

Pitlochrie summer solstice 2020 Ivana's rye bread

This bread is relatively easy to make and you need time to rest the dough. I suggest a few tweaks to the recipe below the method.

  • 1.5 cups rye flour
  • 1.5 cups cake or white bread flour
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1.5 cups of warm water
  • Extra flour or mielie meal as needed

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and add the water to make a sticky dough. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or piece of plastic that you attach with an elastic band to the top of the bowl. Let the mixture rest at warm room temperature for 18 – 24 hours, longer if it’s cold. You want to see lots of bubbles on the surface of the dough.

First fold

Flour the surface of your counter well and flour your hands. Empty the dough onto the surface. It should be stringy and sticky. Quickly lift the outside edge of the dough inwards towards the centre to make a round shape, like you would with sour dough. You will be folding the dough over to the centre.

Put baking paper on a baking tray and cover with flour. Place the folded dough seam side down on the tray and cover the top with flour. Make sure you have floured your hands. Place a tea cloth over the dough and let it rise again for 2 hours. You want it to have doubled in size.

Preheat your oven 30 minutes before you bake the bread and put your oven on gas mark 8, which is about 240 C. Take a 5 litre oven-proof pot and place it on the lower rack in your oven. You want the pot to get hot with the oven.

When the dough is ready, take your pot out the oven and put your dough in it with the baking paper. It doesn’t matter if it is a messy blob because it will come together in the bake. Put the lid on the pot and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes take the lid off the pot and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes or longer, depending on your bread. When your bread is ready, remove from the oven and leave it on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy with lots of butter.


When I tried the recipe, my loaf had a fantastic crust but the crumb was a little dense. I decided the next time I make it I am going to try a double fold. This process will trap more air into the dough and make it lighter. The process will mean leaving the dough for 12 hours and then fold. Another 6 – 12 hours and then another fold, instead of the full 18 to 23 hours. Then the usual 2 hours and then bake. Watch this space for updates!

Pitlochrie Jake’s Kitke

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages recipes. Here is our recipe for Pitlochrie Jake’s Kitke.

Pitlochrie Jake's Kitke

During lockdown, we were lucky to have Jake home for an extended period although he kept on with his training for the Olympics. With all the family in the kitchen, Jake started making Kitke and now has perfected the recipe for this sweetly delicious sharing bread.

  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 5ml salt
  • 60ml sugar
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 eggs
  • About 1 cup lukewarm water Large handful of sesame seeds

Mix all the dry ingredients together (keep back about a third of the sesame seeds for baking) and then rub in the butter until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add two eggs and the lukewarm water and mix into a dough. You can use the mixer with a dough hook attachment or do this by hand. Knead the bread for about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a mixer. I always do a little hand kneading even if I have used the mixer. The dough should be soft and elastic.

Place kneaded dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic or damp dishcloth until it has doubled in size. Take the dough out and divide into two. Each half is then separated into three or four pieces which you gently roll into sausages. Plait the sausages to make two loaves.

Place the plaited loaves on baking trays, cover with plastic and allow to rise until double in size. The plastic does not have to be underneath the tray. Once the loaves have doubled in size, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle the remainder of the sesame seeds on the loaves. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C or gas mark 5/6 for 20 – 25 minutes. When it looks ready check underneath the loaves and flip and bake some more if needed. Enjoy with thick butter. This recipe is also perfect for buns and rolls.

Pitlochrie Jake's Kitke

Pitlochrie Matt’s Ciabatta

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages recipes. Here is our recipe for Pitlochrie Matt’s Ciabatta.

Pitlochrie Matt's Ciabatta

Like his father, Matt is a bread master. He introduced us to sour dough and played with these concepts to produce the best ciabatta we have ever had. The making is time consuming, but the results are extraordinary. You can also add flavours to the bread such as chillies, garlic, thyme, olives etc. Do this during the first fold.

  • 500g water
  • 500g strong flour (any will do – cake, white bread or brown)
  • Half a teaspoon yeast

In mixer bowl, put in water, then flour and then yeast. Mix by hand using the dough hook in your hand. Will be runny. Place bowl in mixer, and using dough hook, mix on slow first, and then medium. Aim is to mix it well and have no unmixed flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap (we reuse plastic and elastic band for this purpose). Leave at room temp overnight. Next morning the mixture should be bubbly and full.

Dough Processing
  • 500g water
  • 700g flour
  • 3 tsp salt (according to your palate – may want more)

Uncover bowl. Add 500g water, 700g flour, 3-4 tsp salt in that order. Again mix by hand with dough hook to ensure all flour mixes in and you get anything on the sides. Then put bowl back in mixer and mix on slow, and then highish. Leave hook in bowl, cover with plastic again and leave for 30 minutes at room temp to autolyse. After 30 minutes put back in mixer and mix on slow until you have a smooth mixture – will still have what looks like small lumps so doesn’t have to be super-smooth. Prepare your container.

Dough Preparation

Use a large square plastic container, approx. 35 cm square, or two plastic cake containers if you decide to add flavour to half the dough (you can also use a plastic cake container for the whole lot). Take olive oil and wet the bottom and sides of your container completely. Use your olive oiled hand and rub the extra olive oil on your surface – I use a stainless steel surface.

Wet your surface completely with water. Wet your hands with water – any touching of the dough must be done with wet hands because it is super sticky. With wet hands loosen the dough from the bowl and pour onto wet surface. You will be folding the dough one end to the other end like you would with sour dough. Do at least 6 folds, maybe more, changing from north to south folds, and east to west folds. Using a dough paddle that you have wet with water, scoop the dough into your container. Cover top of container with plastic and leave for about 40 to 50 minutes depending on temp. If it is cold leave it longer, warm, shorter.

First Fold

Uncover dough – you should notice the bubbles are forming. Wet hands. Fold in the container. Do four to six folds, north south, east west. Easiest is to put your hands in the middle of and under the dough and lift up so the two ends fall together and place down gently. Remember you are trapping air, so the more the better. Cover container with plastic and leave for another 40 to 50 minutes depending on temp.

Second Fold


Third Fold


Fourth Fold

Repeat. You will now see the dough comes together and feels light and airy – may already have on an earlier fold.

Preparation for baking loaves

Prepare two roasting dishes with a light dusting of flour and cut four rectangles of baking paper that will sit in the roasting dishes – you will place the dough into these baking paper rectangles. Flour your surface well. Flour hands and dough paddle. Uncover plastic container and turn upside down above your surface so dough falls out onto floured surface. Quickly shape into a square using dough paddle, and start cutting your loaves decisively with the paddle.

Place each loaf into the baking paper in the roasting pan once cut. Place pans on surface and use something to keep a draped soft blanket off them – I use coffee tins. Drape the blanket over the loaves so they are not touching the dough but loaves are completely covered and leave for 30 minutes. Put your oven on high – mine is gas, so I turn it to gas mark 8 – not sure what this is in c’s or f’s. Place two small loaf tins with water at the bottom of your ovens. Place two baking trays in the ovens on the lowest wracks.

Bake loaves

You will need someone to help you place the loaves in their baking paper on the hot trays so that you don’t squish them. Take hot trays out oven and transfer loaves in baking paper onto hot trays – two loaves per tray. Place in oven on lowest wrack. Turn oven down from gas mark 8 to 7. Bake for 27-30 minutes. Check loaves and bottoms. Will probably need to flip loaves and bake bottoms for a further 6 minutes. Take out oven and cool. Prepare yourself for heaven with butter!

Pitlochrie Matt's Ciabatta

Pitlochrie Joe’s all-purpose white bread

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages recipes. Here is our recipe for Pitlochrie Joe’s all-purpose white bread.

Pitlochrie cottages Joe's all-purpose white bread

Our family loves bread, we love making bread, we love experimenting with different types and boy, do we love eating it. Bread making is an art and it is important to get to know the feel of dough. It becomes an instinctual relationship when the look and feel of your dough will tell you how the bread will be. Breaking bread together is an important ritual for us and here are some of our favourites.

Joe is the original master bread-maker. His strength in kneading produces the best, pliable dough and of course, the most delicious breads. Here is his easy white, that can be used for bread, focaccia, pizzas, and rolls. Remember if you want a sweeter bread, just add extra sugar.

  • 4 cups white bread flour (substitute with cake flour if you want)
  • 1 sachet instant yeast
  • 5ml salt
  • 10ml sugar
  • 100 ml canola oil
  • About 350ml lukewarm water
  • 1 beaten egg for glazing if you like

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, yeast and salt together. Add the oil. Dissolve the sugar in the water and add to the mixture. Mix it all together and cover with a damp cloth and let it stand for 10 to 20 minutes (to autolyse the dough).

Now knead well. You can do the initial knead using a mixer with dough hook. If you are doing this by hand, start in the mixing bowl and when the dough has come together properly, transfer to a lightly floured flat surface. You may find that you need to add more water, as you don’t want the dough too stiff. Knead until the dough is smooth and stretchy, this will take about 10 minutes if kneading by hand and 5 if using a mixer.

Lightly oil the bowl and put the dough inside. Cover with a damp cloth or sheet of plastic, I prefer to use plastic which I secure with an elastic band. Set this aside in a warm spot and let it rise to double its size. Remember the temperature of the room will affect the rising time – when it’s cold it will take longer.

Once it has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, shape the loaf and set it on a baking tray (you can put it in a loaf tin; use this dough for any shape you want – plaits, rolls, buns etc), cover again with the plastic and wait for it to nearly double in size.


Glaze with egg if you like and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees/gas mark 5/6 for about 20 to 25 minutes. If you think it is ready, turn it over and check that it is cooked underneath. If still undercooked return to the oven upside down for a few more minutes. We like a nicely caramelised crust. Remove from the oven and eat with copious amounts of butter.

You can flavour your loaf however you want – garlic, herbs, peppers, cheese etc. Remember, if you are adding a wettish ingredient, reduce your water. You will add these ingredients to the flour before adding your oil and water.

Pitlochrie Joe’s Deluxe Ice-cream

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages recipes. Here is our recipe for Pitlochrie Joe’s Deluxe Ice-cream.

Pitlochrie Joe's deluxe ice cream with chocolate torte
Joe’s deluxe coffee ice-cream with chocolate torte

The passion for ice-cream has led Joe to perfect his own recipe which takes a little more effort, but its worth it! Our favourite combinations are vanilla, coffee and strawberry. We also add our strawberry and elder flower syrup. Sublime!

  • 500 ml  long life cream (125ml for the custard 375 to be whipped later)
  • 500 ml full fat milk
  • 5 ml       vanilla extract
  • 6             egg yolks
  • 200 g     white sugar

Combine the milk, 125ml cream and vanilla in a saucepan, mix well and bring close to the boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. (If you are making coffee ice cream replace the vanilla with 5 heaped teaspoons of strong instant coffee that is dissolved in 50ml hot water.)

Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until they are pale and creamy.

Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture whisking all the time. This is where the custard can split so do not rush this step.

Return the mixture to the milk pot and heat over a low heat until it is about to boil. Remove from heat and cool. Standing the pot in a basin of cold water will speed up the process. Once cool put the mixture in the fridge to cool down even further. We find that it is best to make the custard a good few hours in advance of the final step.

When the custard mixture is cold, take the remaining 375 ml cream and whip to soft peak stage. Whisk the cream into the custard.

If you have a frozen desert maker pour the mixture into it and mix for about 30 min. Add the elder flower syrup or strawberries now if you want. If you do not have one, pour mixture into a 2-litre plastic container and place in the freezer. After about an hour stir the mixture with a spoon a few times, repeat this twice more. If you have used a desert maker just put it straight into the deep freeze. Either way you will have the most delicious ice cream.

Pitlochrie Easy Ice-cream

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages recipes. Here is our recipe for Pitlochrie Easy Ice-cream.

Pitlochrie Cottages recipes easy ice-cream

Paul Sephton absolutely loved his ice-cream and he has given this love to Joe. There is no popping out to the shops for us if we are craving something, so here is a quick and easy, no icicle recipe for Pitlochrie easy ice-cream. You can add whatever you like to flavour the ice-cream – nuts, caramel, fudge, berries and nougat.

  • 1 500 ml               long-life cream
  • 1 tin                       condensed milk
  • 1 tsp                      vanilla essence

It is very important that the long-life cream and condensed milk are chilled. We keep one of each in the fridge just in case we get the crave. Beat the cream to firm peak stage. The whisk must be making nice twirly’s in the thickened cream – I beat it until it almost looks like its on the verge of splitting. Stop the mixer and add the cold condensed milk and vanilla essence. Mix until stiff again and add the other yummies now if you want. Pour into a container and freeze.

I have been playing with this recipe for a while now and we think it beats Joe’s deluxe recipe. It is so easy to make and it never fails as long as you beat the mixture until it is stiff. To make a flavoured ice-cream, take a little of the long-life cream and heat it with coffee or chocolate cocoa powder. Once it has melted, put the mixture in the fridge so it is chilled like the rest of the cream. If you are adding syrup, honey, elder syrup, strawberries, fudge, you can do this when you are beating the cream.

Pitlochrie Elder Flower Syrup

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages Recipes. Here is our recipe for elder flower syrup which is perfect with ice-cream.

We are a family of cooks and love cooking for each other. It is a ritual. We inspire each other and are constantly finding new combinations and ways of preparing and presenting food and developing our Pitlochrie Cottages Recipes. And of course, we love eating! Here are some of our favourite recipes. Please share your favourites with us.

Pitlochrie Cottages recipes elder flower and strawberry syrup

Elder flowers are so delicious that we experiment with different ways of using them. One way is to make a syrup for ice-cream or berry tarts. It is healthy and has a tartish flavour that cuts through the sweetness of ice-cream. You can also use elder berries to make the syrup.

  • 4             elder flower heads
  • 300 ml  water
  • 200 g     strawberries

Remove the flowers from the stalks (the leaves, stalks and roots are toxic). Put the water in a pot and add the elder flowers. Bring the water to the boil and then simmer gently for 15 minutes. Slice the strawberries and add them to the liquid. Simmer the mixture for about 45 minutes until it is nice and syrupy. Serve hot or cold. It is delicious with vanilla ice-cream and a sprinkling of fudge!

You can also add the syrup to the easy ice-cream to flavour it. It is also great in tarts, mixed with strawberries or walnuts or red currants.

Pitlochrie Cottages recipes elder flower and strawberry syrup

Pitlochrie Elder Flower Cordial

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages Recipes.

Here is Pitlochrie Cottages recipe for elder flower cordial – thanks to the great Mary Berry.

Pitlochrie Cottages recipes elder cordial

We love elder flowers – they have the most delicious subtle, sweet, fresh flavour. They start flowering in late spring/early summer and we cover them to protect them from frosts. And boy, is it worth it! Thanks to Mary Berry we know that the flowers can be frozen which means we can make elder flower cordial all year round. Here is her recipe with our tweaks.

  • 2 litres water
  • 1.2 kg sugar
  • 25 elder flower heads
  • 2 lemons finely sliced
  • 50 g citric acid

Mary Berry also adds 2 Campden tablets to kill bacteria and inhibit wild yeasts but we have never used them and have not suffered for it.


Put the water and sugar into a pot and bring to the boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Switch the heat off and leave it to cool. Put the elder flower heads into a large plastic/metal container and cover with the thinly sliced lemons. Sprinkle the citric acid over the lemons and elder flowers. If you are using Campden tablets, add these now.

Once the sugar water has cooled, pour over the elder flowers and lemon and leave overnight or longer. We leave ours for 48 hours. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and bottle your cordial. Store in the fridge or freezer. Mix with cold still or sparkling water. Add a slice of lemon and/or a sprig of mint. See our recipe for elder flower and strawberry syrup.

Pitlochrie Fudge

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages Recipes. Here is our recipe for Pitlochrie fudge.

Pitlochrie cottages best Drakensberg farmstay recipes

The Pitlochrie Sephtons are legendary for their fudge making and here is the best Pitlochrie recipe for fudge. Using Gran Norah’s recipe, Jannis has perfected the art which she passed down to her children, especially Joe and Sarah. Her grandson Matt, and his partner Wiebke, have taken up the baton. The Farm House kitchen is the site of many fudge-offs and fudge-making forms part of our autumn equinox celebrations.

  • 3 Tsp                     butter
  • 80 ml                    milk
  • 1 tin                       condensed milk
  • 250 g                    castor sugar

Using a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter then add all the ingredients stirring all the time. Reduce the heat once the mixture is boiling but keep it bubbling all the time and keep stirring. Jannis says that when it looks like a slowly bubbling volcano you know it’s almost ready.

Joe cooks his for just over 25 minutes – we use a gas stove. When Joe runs the spoon along the bottom of the pan, the spoon makes a clear path. Some people prefer a lighter fudge, we like ours darker. The trickiest thing to make – add walnuts to make it extra special.

If you have a fool-proof recipe for fudge, share it with us!

Pitlochrie Gran Norah’s Mint Sauce

Welcome to Pitlochrie Cottages Recipes. Here is our recipe for Pitlochrie Gran Norah’s mint sauce.

Pitlochrie Gran Norah;s mint sauce

Gran Norah lived in the White House and the herbs and medicinal flowers you see were planted by her. We are lucky she planted old fashioned mint (M. suaveolens villosa) which is delicious raw or in mint sauces and jelly. I get a special thrill in using recipes that I know have been used for over one hundred years. It also keeps the memories of people we love alive.

  • 1                             heaped supper plate mint
  • 750 g                     sugar
  • 500 g                     apricot jam
  • 750 ml                  vinegar

Bring the sugar, jam and vinegar to the boil and then add the mint. Reduce the heat and let the liquid bubble for an hour or more depending on what result you want. Less time for a sauce, more time for a jam. The mint sauce pairs with any meat or sweet and savoury dish. Try it with our easy ice-cream recipe or spread it on Matt’s Ciabatta.

We also use it on toast, pizza and in hamburger patties and also add to our meat ball and meatloaf mixtures for an extra special zing. We use the same recipe to make chilli and onion jam. Reduce the sugar for your palate.