Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Today's Batch

Having said that we had plenty of bread and that I didn't need to make any more, I then went ahead and made loads. I think I felt a bit sorry for my poor shunned mothers. Or something.

I got a bit of an itch to try tiger bread too. Though it looks reticulated to me, not stripy as such. Anyway, I did a lot of searching online until I found a recipe I liked the look of, then based things on that (it was here, in Sandra's Cookbook). I did without the sesame oil and just used the recipe for the topping rather than the bread itself. The topping is yeasted, and you have to leave it to mousse up while the dough is in bulk ferment. Once you stir the topping it falls back to a batter kind of consistency, which I applied half way through the prove. This bread was a big hit with the family and with the Brazil Nut who was the beneficiary of one of the three loaves.

Peg got back from the States a few days ago and ordered me to make her a caraway seeded sourdough. And it was mum's birthday, and not able to think what to get her, I decided to make her a stollen. And then there were other sourdoughs to make while I was feeding my mothers...

I decided to do a feed before bedtime and an ambient bulk fermentation, but because I was a bit more organised than last week I fed the mothers nice and early so that I was able to start baking at 8 and didn't spend the whole day at it.

The normal sourdough was mostly white flour with the end of a packet of Half and Half in it. I held the water back a bit too, because dough I've made with that mother in the past has always turned out too loose.

The caraway seed sourdough was from a recipe in Andrew Whitley's book - it used a rye mother, some white rye flour, some Half and Half and some white bread flour. The smell was amazing and I couldn't wait to cut into the bread to see its texture but as it was for someone else I had to restrain myself. But I took my camera to her house so that I could sneak a snap if she started on it while I was there. She did, and I got a taste too - delish and definitely a do-it-again!

The stollen was another of Andrew's recipes, and I spent most of the time referring back to the recipe to convince myself that I'd used the right amount of ingredients as the lump of dough seemed pitifully small. It was right, and it all turned out right in the end, even though I didn't have any ground almonds. I did have some flaked almonds and a coffee grinder which only smelled a bit of curry spices. The marzipan was pretty sticky but this seemed to work well within the stollen as it merged into the adjacent dough. I soaked the fruit overnight in a combination of Cointreau and cherry liqueur which worked really nicely, and I substituted dried apricots for the candied peel he specifies. There's something horrid about candied peel, I'm ok if I know it's there and can pick it out, but if it catches me by surprise it renders every subsequent mouthful a) a minefield and b) tainted anyway by that ghastly, pervasive and revolting taste. The recipe didn't call for any spice and was very nice without, but I might be tempted to add a spot next time.

I clearly still need a bit of help with my slashing and shaping. The white sourdough was a much firmer dough than usual and I was far happier with it. It rose nicely in the banneton and turned out without deflation. I made several slashes along the top but only in one direction, which I think was my undoing. The boule I made from the rest of the dough I slashed in a a curved spoke type manner but I did it half way during proving which I think was a mistake. The top of the loaf looks lovely but sadly the slashes didn't allow enough escape and the loaf suffered a tectonic consequence...



White sourdough

Rye caraway seed sourdough

Lovely peel-free stollen

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