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Archive for May, 2014

This was one of the first successes I had. It’s a basic white loaf recipe, I think from before I got the James Morton book to be honest – possibly this one by Paul Hollywood.

The main recipe I use now  has about 50ml more water, no butter and only one sachet of yeast and it seems to do the job.

This was also before I understood the benefits of scoring the bread. I always assumed it was purely aesthetic but I’ve since found out it’s a bit more than that. The way you score the bread changes the way it rises in the oven and influences the shape of it. From what I’ve read the way I scored the bread here possibly led to a slightly flatter loaf that if I’d scored in a slightly simpler way, such as one slash down and one across.  One thing I’ll try for a future post is to score two similarly shaped loaves in different ways to see how it affects them. How’s that for an enticing promise eh? Try to contain yourselves.

A term I’ve discovered recently is the “crumb” of the bread. I was only familiar with bread crumbs before, but the crumb also refers to the inside of the bread, in particular the size and distribution of the holes. Whilst reading about it online I found out there are people who get slightly obsessed about the crumb of their bread (obsessives on the internet? Never!). They seem to get all aquiver over the size of each others holes… Disgusting.

I believe that the amount of water is a major contributor to the hole size – more water = larger holes.  Anyway, the crumb in this bread seemed to have fairly small holes and an even distribution. The bread I’ve made more recently has more water and no fat, so I think that has caused my more recent efforts have a more uneven crumb, which I actually quite like. As time goes on I’m sure I’ll start to understand more.

Also this bread was kneaded – in the James Morton book there are some no knead recipes which I was sceptical about but they really do work. I’ll post a picture of a no-knead one as I was surprised how easy and effective it was.

So this was number one of my white loaves, I’ve made many since and I’m sure more will make their way to this blog in due course.

 

Bread Bread2

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First off, I should probably acknowledge this is my first post for over a year.

Hello.

I stopped blogging initially as I was teaching myself various software packages and I didn’t really have enough time to do this as well. Well nothing really came of it all (although at least I can now do some basic 3D modelling and I know a little bit more about about Adobe Flash and Illustrator) and for whatever reason I never got round to starting this again.

Well recently, as the title suggests, I’ve been trying my hand at baking. Specifically baking bread. Turns out it’s pretty fun! I’m in the early stages so I’m still doing fairly basic recipes but I’m hoping to build up to sour dough breads eventually.

I thought this blog would be as good a place as any to document this exciting journey. The journey of a man who can’t bake bread to a man that can sort of bake bread. The type of journey that people will talk about for years to come and will inspire great works of art.

To help me on my way I decided I needed a book. Paul Hollywood was the first thought, with his steely blue eyes and infidelity. Then I remembered seeing a book from James Morton who came second on the Great British Bake Off. I investigated more and it looked good for beginners like me. The book is Brilliant Bread, and it’s fantastic. I would heartily recommend it to someone just getting started as it thoroughly explains all the different elements of bread making in an engaging manner. I’ve not had it too long and a few of the pages are already splattered with ingredients which is always a good sign for a cook book.

I’ve got a few successes and a few failures under my belt already, and I’m sure I’ll have more of each in the future. Rather than ignore the failures I’ll include them and attempt to explain where I think it went wrong.

Here is a quick snap of the main things I have to help me bake bread – surprisingly little I reckon.

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1 – Recipes! Quite often with my cooking I just get an idea from a recipe then just wing it and hope for the best. I’m sure that will happen with the bread eventually as experimenting is all part of the fun. When starting out though, following some basic recipes is a definite. This is the James Morton book I got, but there are obviously also loads of recipes online –  I believe Dan Lepard is also particularly good.

2 – The only thing I had to buy apart from the book was the dough scraper. I would definitely say get a dough scraper. It really helps you handle wet dough and lets you scrape up every last bit of dough from your work surface. Dead handy!

3 – The scales are vital as you need to be accurate with all the measurements.

4 – I always seem to use clingfilm to cover my bread, I never feel like a damp tea towel does the job (although I’m sure it does and it’s just all in my head). Also oiling the clingfilm stops it from sticking to the dough, something you couldn’t do with a tea towel.

5 – A sharp knife is needed for scoring the bread – I’m going to buy a lame soon as a serrated knife can be a little harsh when scoring and it does catch occasionally.

6 – Big bowl – pretty obvious.

So the next post will be one the earlier successes I had with a basic white dough and then I’ll carry on with others. I’ll try and get some proper photos of some of the successes, but I’ll just get snaps of the failures. And I’m sure there will be many failures to come!

 

 

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