Bread – The Staff of Life

Those of you who me and know my baking will also know that bread is the bane of my life. I love the process of making bread, the measuring, the kneading, the fact that as the process happens, the bread becomes alive.

Sadly for me, so far, no matter what process I adopt, my bread fails to rise to the occasion. I have tried the dough hook in my mixer, I have kneaded by hand, I have timed myself with the oven timer, I have timed myself with a programme on you tube to make sure I knead enough in the first stage.

I have placed the dough in the larder to rise, in the grill pan ( grill off obviously), on the work surface above the radiator, even in the drawer under the bed. The first rise does work, often the dough seems to be escaping out of the bowl!!

I have then tried plaiting the bread, I have tried shaping into a round, I have tried baking in a tin. During the second rise, it always looks promising. A nice doubled in size shape, but, always without fail, the bread seems to deflate in the oven.

Today I tried again, having purchased some new extra strong bread flour, and once again all looked promising, and the bread has held its shape, but it still came out of the oven a little smaller than it went in.

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This looks more promising, I don’t think it will be as dense as my previous 1,000 loaves, the crust seems, well, crusty. My only fear is it didn’t sound very hollow when tapped on its bottom. Still, tomorrow, I will try a slice, loaded with Lurpak butter and possibly some raspberry jam and see how loaf 1001 turned out.

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My dream by the end of this year is to be able to make my own bread every few days. I am sure it will be healthier for us than the standard bread we currently buy from the supermarket and ultimately cheaper.

Look out for the update of the bread saga on Twitter or on a blog post soon.

An Update from Yesterday

You may have seen my Fear & Procrastination post yesterday. I have decided not to enter the form this year. Not through fear, but through timing. I know I need this year, this blog, to develop my signature bakes, get my ideas together and be ready to enter next year.

Though to get some practice in, I might try and find some local competitions to enter. Watch this space.