Saturday, 7 December 2013

Essential White Loaf

I based the recipe from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess.

The instructions were very easy to follow, especially as I have seen bread being made many times. It was a very therapeutic process.

Based on what I remember of my mother's bread-baking, I decided to make a yeast solution, by combining the fresh yeast with 200 ml of warm water. I also decided to 'free-style' and add a teaspoon each of ground cardamom, and cinnamon to the flour.

I kneaded the dough by hand for around 20 minutes, left it to prove with a shower cap and tea-towel over the bowl for just over 2 hours, and proved it in its baking shape for around 40 minutes. I scored the top to make it appear a bit more rustic, plus I've heard that this gives the loaf a direction to prove and bake into.

The loaf seemed hollow when knocked after 36 minutes in the oven, however when cut, it was just that tiny bit doughy (see the second picture), so I think it could have been improved with perhaps 5 more minutes in the oven.

Cute, isn't she?

What I would change about the recipe is to use just 1.5 teaspoons of salt, rather than the recommended tablespoon. Nigella generally gives fantastic recipes that never need altering, however I think she likes a salty loaf; I found it a bit too much. In Nigella's defence, I have looked up bread recipes from other bakers that I also hold in high esteem, and they have also recommended around the same amount. I guess I'm just used to a less salty bread.
Slightly under baked at the bottom

All in all, I am happy with my very first attempt at making bread, and would definitely like to try it again.

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