We’ve discovered something magical, unpredictable and pretty impressive – bread making. I’m not going to pretend to be any expert, (I think we’ve now made about 5 loaves) but bread making is turning out to be one of the most satisfying of things. Using only flour, yeast and water you can make something incredible! Up till now we’ve been suing a pretty basic recipe of 400g flour, 300ml warm water and 2tsp fast action yeast then using the Kenwood (Kenny) to bring it all together and knead it for 3mins or so, letting it prove for an hour, knocking it back, letting it rise in the tin and baking for 30mins at 200°C.
This week we followed Dan Lepard’s recipe to the letter (from ‘Short and Sweet’), same quantities as before but bring it all together, rest 10mins, knead briefly, rest 10mins, knead and rest twice more, then allow to rise for 45mins (this is an excellent excuse to have the heating on all day), finally knock back, roll tightly and rest for another 45mins on a tray, bake for 35mins at 200°C. This may seem like a lot more faff, but it really did make a better crumb, airy but with the crust keeping that almost tangy bite to it. It was possibly a bit dangerous leaving me in the kitchen with warm bread and salted butter…
Last night I came home with numb fingers and freezing ears, the railway stations may call it inclement weather, I call it just horrid. Rain with icy winds blowing through and all I wanted to do as curl up in front of the TV with a nice slice of hot apple pie and jersey cream.
We’ve had some sad looking apples sitting in the fruit bowl for a couple of weeks now, and after a visit to our local library and the ‘Economy Gastronomy’ epiphany, we couldn’t let them go to waste. My usual go to would be an oaty apple crumble – equal quantities of oats, flour, sugar and butter rubbed together and maybe some golden syrup added. But this week I fancied a change, I went back to the old classics, Mary Berry’s Apple pie.
This calls for a stork pasty base rather than the richer butter, it doesn’t make the pastry so short, but it does hold together a lot better especially when you are putting quite a lot of strain on with a kg or so of apples. First start with the pastry, rub 175g of stork through 350g of flour, when all the fat lumps have dispersed mix through 6 tbsp of iced water, bring together, wrap in Clingfilm and leave it to rest in the fridge for 30mins. I had dinner while it was resting and came back to it later in the evening (the pastry doesn’t mind being left in the fridge for up to 24hours). Peel, core and slice a kg or so of eating apples (tart ones which will hold their shape better are braeburns or coxes), toss them together with the juice of a lemon, 70g sugar and a tablespoon and a half of cornflour (to hold the juices from the apples better). Divide the pastry in two, roll out two discs, one for the base of the pie, another for the lid and assemble – making sure to pile the apples in a heap towards the middle. Decorate with pastry offcuts, brush with milk and bake at 200°C for 15mins and then turn the oven down to 180°C and bake for a further 35mins.
I’m sure it’s better if you leave it to rest for a little while so that the middle is not so molten, but I’m afraid it was getting late, and it was high time for pie, so ignoring the scalding mouths it was a really tasty pudding!
A fair amount going on over the coming week, hopefully some Japanese and Indian feasts with the odd bit of baking thrown in…
Have a good weekend!