Spiced sourdough gingerbread, with added fruit, and nuts:
The Gingerbread recipe is on page 133, and was the challenge I set for the facebook page for early November, and would have been lovely for bonfire day. As it was I was in the midst of packing, and when I read through the recipe I felt it would have been a bit 'plain' for my taste, so added some raisins, chopped home made candied peel and topped it with some whole almonds. When I first made this, the neighbours were out decorating their home with lights for Christmas, and asked if they could festoon our tree near their garage...of course yes, and I took them out a slice of the freshly baked gingerbread.
It makes for a large loaf 20cm square, so having frozen some of it, some was defrosted today for Bun Friday, and it was delicious buttered, and topped with apricot and pistachio conserve.
I had not managed to use up all my flour supplies before moving, and was happy to find a kg bag of Shipton Mill's French Flour Type 55, so felt a good bake to choose for December was the Sourdough French Bread. Jane Mason gave us the link to her demonstration of a good shaping technique. I watched it a couple of times, and followed it for the shaping.
The shaping went well, and I used a lovely heavy linen vintage tea towel called a Huckaback. Its actually a large towel, from when towel were not woven in the loopy weave. I love them, and look out for them in vintage shops. It worked very well at keeping the loaves propped up whilst they were rising. However, the last two somehow got to sticking together...I must have pulled the wave down, whilst I was placed the first three baguettes on the baking sheets and giving them their slashes. The last two therefore got twisted together to form the large 'baguette'. I froze the three smaller ones, and have since defrosting and warmed one up. It worked very well, and we have been enjoying this with Somerset Saucisson, olives, goats cheese etc, everything from Somerset except the Olives which were bought from the market were imported from Morocco!
Shipton's flour worked very well...and I think after Christmas I shall treat myself to a fresh delivery, though I shall miss sharing my order with my Kenilworth baking buddy Tony. Maybe I shall meet someone locally equally nutty about baking in Wells who would like to share an order.