Friday, 6 February 2009

Baking Bread

If you don't feel like going out because it is so cold, one of the nicest things to do is to make bread. If one has a new book then choosing new recipes to try helps to banish the winter blues. Bread guru: Vickie gave me 'The New Family Bread Book 'by Ursula Ferrigno, for my Christmas present. Ferrigno is a new author to me.

There are some lovely recipes and well written section on technique at the start of the book. The photographs are mainly of the raw loaves before going into the oven.

I decided to try Treacle and Date Bread and Rustic Walnut Bread. Having fallen into the slow bread methods, I decided to follow the recipes exactly, and used the airing cupboard rather than my usual slower room temperature method. Even allowing for these I felt that the timings of 20 minutes for the second proving was insufficient. I felt it was almost a typo error that under the Rustic Walnut bread, 20 minutes was quoted if proving the dough divided into two loaves, then only 10 minutes to prove if one loaf was made. In my experience the larger the loaf the longer the proving time. I conferred with Vickie and decided to follow my instincts. The second proving was more like 1 hr. The yeast was really fresh as was the organic strong flour from Waitrose, so I just think the fast rises in the book are rather optimistic, and I do hope that less experienced bakers will not be disappointed by heavy results.

All the bread was delicious. The crushed fennel seeds in the Walnut Bread added a spicy touch which was excellent with Stilton. Luckily there is still one of each in the freezer, ready to be used. I freeze bread for a couple of weeks at the most.

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