Thursday, 26 July 2007

The Essential White Loaf

I can't let Bells have all the breadmaking fun, can I? - Rose Red

Inspired by Bells' delight in making bread from scratch, and her excellent results, I finally decided to give it a go.Look at that - how good does that look!!

The verdict:

Unusual or substituted ingredients: Just your standard breadmaking stuff - flour, water, bit of butter and salt. And yeast. I'm not down with that fresh yeast business, so I use instant yeast, and (while I've never used fresh yeast) this seems to work perfectly fine, and it keeps in the fridge for ages. And no fussing with little sachets which may or may not give you the right amount. Just measure out what you need.Special utensils or cookware: None. Nigella suggests using a mixer with a dough hook (which I have) but I really wanted to do it by hand. And it's not hard! If I was really busy and making bread, I might use the mixer, but for a lazy weekend pleasure, there's really no need. Except for the kneading bit (heh!! sorry, couldn't help myself). Kneading is fun. I'm not sure if I noticed the point at which the dough is supposed to become smoother and so on, but it seemed to work out ok.As for leaving it to rise, well, that was the hard part - I just wanted to cook it and have bread - I started making it a little too late in the morning - although it ended up being just in time for lunch. The question I had was whether the dough had in fact increased by half it's size again at the end of the allotted time (plus a bit). But I couldn't wait any longer!Repeatability: I would definitely make bread again. This white bread is really so so easy. And so yummy.Sauciness: But yeah, not saucy. As Bells has previously noted, bread is earthy, not saucy. It is a little messy, in the mixing/kneading stage, but licking your bread-doughy-fingers is not quite the same as when you are cooking, say, some type of chocolate delight!Overall pleasure level: Oh, this is fabulous. Making it was a pleasure, eating it was a pleasure. And despite all Nigella's warnings that the bread won't get crusty in a standard domestic oven, this bread was perfectly golden and crusty on the outside, soft on the inside - yum! I think that makes it a 10!