Apr. 8th, 2017

Daily bread

Apr. 8th, 2017 09:52 pm
shewhomust: (bibendum)
I continue to bake my sourdough loaf if not daily then never less than weekly, and sometimes more. I haven't posted much about it lately because there doesn't seem much to say - it's a routine, it doesn't demand much effort and the results are pretty reliable. Good toast and good coffee for breakfast, it's worth the effort. "Good," of course, means "the way I like them," but that's the point of the exercise.

I have been meaning, though, to record that my default loaf is currently quite a plain mix, containing a proportion of buckwheat flour, which gives it a slightly nutty flavour and a satisfying crunch. Yotam Ottolenghi remarked in The Guardian that buckwheat and walnut is a classic combination; he was talking about grains for salad, but since walnut bread is another favourite, I gave it a try. It didn't work. It wasn't horrible, but the two distinctive flavours cancelled each other out.

Despite which, I am writing this now to record that I may, finally, have cracked the saffron loaf. After two not-entirely-successful attempts I was nervous, but I followed the quantities I had noted in September, which made a very dry, rather sluggish dough. When I couldn't delay any longer, I put it on the lower shelf of the oven at mark 4 for 20 minutes (until the cottage pie on the top shelf was ready) and then moved it up a shelf and a gas mark. After 50 minutes it was smelling wonderful, and I decided it was done. This really does seem to have worked: good, if not spectacular rise, great saffron flavour. I had added a handful of citron peel and pistachio nuts: I thought I had been overgenerous with these when I was trying to knead them into the load, but they are well dispersed in the baked loaf - and if anything have risen towards the top of the loaf (the opposite of what fruit does in cakes).

I'm hoping there will be time for a batch of spice buns before we set off on holiday...

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