Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Fig and walnut spelt bread

Spelt bread can't be hard, right?
I mean they sell the flour in ordinary shops and Dove's farm stuff is always nice.
I'll bet it works just like normal flour.
Well, it all depends whether you read the instructions before or after starting.  I'm a bloke so I have a little difficulty reading ahead.
I got all the way down to putting the dough on to prove the first time, cutting up walnuts and dried figs and soaking them in orange juice and was just about to go and do something else when I actually read the next instruction.
Apparently spelt proves faster that wheat four.  Yeah, whatever.  Maybe I'll take a look.  Oh.  The bowl is almost full.  I guess what they mean is that spelt proves a lot faster than wheat flour....
No worries.  I just took it out of the bowl, mixed in the figs and nuts and as much of the orange juice as I possibly could and then put it in a loaf tin.  Now what was I about to do....?
No, I never learn.  If the dough proves fast the first time then there's a good chance it's going to prove quite fast the second time.  Which is how it came to overflow the tin.
Note to self: when that happens, make sure you trim the excess before baking.  Or you'll have a really hard time getting it out of the tin!
Anyway, one of the reasons I like bread is that most mistakes turn out edible and apart from a slightly rustic appearance and a disappointing crust this was really jolly nice.
I'm putting the crust down to baking it along with the brioche.  I started out with a higher temperature than it said on the packet and think I paid the price.  That's what I'll do differently next time, anyway.  That and keep an eye on it.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Vegan Brioche

Let them eat cake she said - just like Marie Antionette...
Brioche.  That wonderful French concoction of eggs, butter and milk.   All the healthy stuff.  And pretty much none of it vegan.
So I was delighted to find this recipe for veganised brioche on the wonderful  Have Cake Will Travel.
I was a little bit apprehensive about the recipe.  When I boiled up the cornflour and refrigerated it I got a kind of solid block of jelly.  I threw that in the mixer along with the weird and wonderful ingredients and it produced a really stretchy sticky dough that is really very unlike bread.  Even worse, when I left it to prove it really didn't do a lot.  It remained quite small and distinctly unrisen.
Overnight int he fridge and it had actually increased in bulk a little and I split it up for the pan.  Not having any brioche tins (something else for the equipment fetish list) I popped 6 small balls of dough into cupcake tins and made the remainder into 4 larger balls of dough which I crammed into a small loaf tin.
After 45 minutes of "dough proving" in the oven, they were ready to bake.  By this time they had risen quite a bit and I was starting to become hopeful.
20 minutes later and the house was filled with a wonderful aroma of baked brioche.
We split a couple of the rolls for breakfast along with black cherry jam.  And all of a sudden all 6 had gone....
And the results?  Well when my vegan wife first tasted them she pronounced them the finest brioche she had ever eaten.  This was only slightly undermined a few minutes later when she added "well actually it's the only brioche I've ever eaten"...

I'm developing an obsession

6:30 am on a Sunday morning. I should be lying in bed. I really should be asleep.
I really, really should not be in the kitchen.  And I absolutely should not feel happy with myself for having 3 different types of bread proving.  On a Sunday morning.  At 6:30am.
But I am.
It appears I may have become obsessed.
It all started a week or two ago when I thought I'd have a go at making an olive and sun dried tomato stuffed bread.  i can't even remember why that suddenly popped into my head.  I've made bread before - solid wholemeal loaves the size, shape and often texture of a house brick.  Sometimes the taste too.  But this time it seems to be different.  I can spend a happy couple of hours scouring the bread blogs, looking at new crumb pictures, studying recipes and making plans.
And I seem to find myself in the kitchen at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.  Proving 3 different types of loaves (vegan brioche, fig and walnut spelt loaf and a house brick of wholemeal since you ask).  Obviously I'm taking pictures.  Well, for one thing I'm a photographer.
And it just kind of seemed natural to put them on a blog.
So here I am.  Hello World.