Saturday, 26 November 2011

a loaf by any other name

...don't tell The Viking but i've fallen in love with Dan Lepard... the man is a god... he knows it... I know it... everyone knows it... and don't let anyone tell you otherwise...

... Dan has managed to turn simple ingredients into a thing of beauty... well, I did the turning, he told me the method via his fabulous new book Short & Sweet... which I recently won in a book giveaway by the lovely Choclette via her Chocolate Log Blog... not that I need to tell you because the book is everywhere, on every blog in the UK and in every book store, but if there is one book you buy this Christmas make it this book...

... because its not just the fabulous recipes... it's the method... ahh the method... you read it and it makes perfect, clear, sense... like a veil of cloud is lifted and you think to yourself... 'of course.. makes perfect sense to do it that way...' or  'so that's how it's done'... and if you follow the method you will not fail...

... and I thought I knew my bread making... I started this bog a year and a half ago with what I thought was a pretty decent loaf... but I had no idea that with the same ingredients and less kneading... yes, less kneading... I could get a spectacular, artisan loaf, like the kind you pay top dollar for in those fancy bakeries, full of air, with a crusty crust... and you can sit back and proudly say...'I made this... and it was fucking easy!'

Easy White Bread
I realise the protocol is a little blurry over reproducing recipes from books but i've decided to go ahead with this one as it's pretty much a basic bread recipe, flour water and yeast... but you really must go and buy this book, I cannot stress enough that you need to read about the method, something I can barely touch upon here.

400g strong white flour
1 teaspoon fast action yeast
1 teaspoon fine salt
300ml warm water
oil for kneading

I doubled the above recipe and made 1 large loaf and 10 small rolls

- put the four, yeast and salt in a bowl, pour in the warm water and stir everything together into a sticky, shaggy mess, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it for 10 minutes

- lightly oil your work surface, turn the bowl over and empty the dough onto the surface and very gently knead the dough 8 times (that's 8 classic 'stretch then heel of hand then quarter turn... repeat...) then cover and leave for 10 minutes.

- repeat this gentle 'knead and leave' technique 3 times

- then after the last gentle knead return the dough to the bowl, cover with a cloth and leave it to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

- pre-heat the oven to 200C fan

- sprinkle your work surface with flour, turn the dough onto the surface and pat it down into an oval shape.  Roll it up tightly and lay it seam down onto a floured baking tray.  Let is rest again for a further 45 minutes.

- flour the top of the dough, cut a slash down the middle and bake for 35-40 minutes.

serve it warm with scrambled eggs and mushrooms... it's the law... oh and eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. Perhaps one day I will overcome my aversion to baking (bread, cakes, cookies). It's not going to be today. If I could spend a day with you in the kitchen I'll bet it would be as good as a 12 step program.

  2. The law huh? Oh alright then, if I must. Looks spectacular, and you're right, everyone seems to be talking about this book (but it's yet to make it to our shores...huff).

  3. I'm just wondering if I can wait 'till Christmas for this book!!!

    I think you have the "magic touch" with bread though.

  4. Haha love that you said it would be easy. It looks fantastic , particularly with that egg and mushrooms! Perfect breakfast accompaniment

  5. This time of year, lets just say all year round it is great to find a bread that is easy to make and fills the home with wonderful aromas!!

  6. Yes I know that technique ~ after years of kneading, I have an old recipe that my gran used to use that is practically NO kneading at all! And you get that wonderful chewy artisan texture as you found out! That loaf looks wonderful Dom and I WON'T tell The Viking if you send me a loaf right now!

  7. I love Dan too...seriously...hhahaha! Loaf looks great, I can't believe that with a killer cold you managed to whip that up (and so late at night!) xx yum yum

  8. I've bought Dan Lepard's book and it's great. His straight forward approach to all the recipes makes you believe that you can make anything, even macarons! I have been making bread for a while, like you but perhaps I'll give this recipe a go and see if my results are better. GG

  9. I was just reading Short and Sweet tonight as I was waiting for my supper to be cooked. Reading all the bread recipes made me quite excited. I made Dan's Plum Pudding and as there was a bit left I cooked it in a ramekin (will blog later), it is unbelievable and that is before it has a chance to mature. Dan IS the MAN!

  10. Nice bread n scrambled, but no brown sauce?

    I'll have a go at that Blogger's unplugged thing (thank you very kindly) if I ever get my hurdy - gurdy fixed.

  11. Welcome aboard, Dom - you're a little late in joining the appreciation society but I'm sure you'll enjoy the journey now. ;)

    Definitely don't tell the Viking!

  12. Agree with Suelle - where have you been?!? ;-)

    I've long been a fan of Dan's method of not kneading very much, it's great if you're lazy like me and the results are just as good, if not better, than loads of kneading.

    Think Dan is pretty much instrumental in my bread baking journey - I would have given up long before now without his recipes.

  13. Sorry Dom you CAN NOT claim exclusive right to Dan, we are all in love with him and that poor neglected Viking of yours! Sorry not to have seen him last week, was hoping for a glimpse of that horned helmet ;-)

    Bread looks fab. I have not yet tried this method, but know he is famed for it. Eggs and mushrooms takes it onto another plain entirely. Hope it's sorted your cold out - that Jewish penicillin just doesn't pack enough punch. Either that or you're not eating enough of it!

  14. Agh. Stupid Blogger lost my post :( I was just saying that it's perfectly fine to be in love with Dan Lepard, and that I am yet to try his method of kneading (even though I own several of his books) but I will next time I make bread because it obviously works!

  15. That looks like my kind of breakfast!

  16. I will have to look on Amazon and see if you can get this book over here. The loaf looks easy and I love the light kneading.

  17. The bread looks divine, and I love the way you dressed it!

  18. Amazing!!!!!! you know I love baking bread and I will have to try this new recipe!!!! shame I just saw your update...because I've just finish to knead my bread.

  19. Dan's bread recipes are super and really work, yesterday made the sour cream sandwich loaf, very impressive. Yes, you can buy the book on Amazon for £14.

  20. Lovely loaf. I can almost smell it all the way down here in Sussex.

  21. Love a nice crusty knocker smothered in butter! Have put Dan's book on my Christmas List thanks to you.

  22. Dom is right - I am amazed that not more people bake bread Dan Lepard's style (see also his firt book, the homemade loaf)- it's so easy, all you need it trust his recipes and allow time for the dough to work its own magic.I've never looked back since learning it - have been lucky to bake with Dan on a workshop at the London Cookery School, fantastic! Oh, and anohter of Dan's tips: freeze small blobs of your sourdough, so you never have to lose Lucretia or whatever you call it again!

  23. Hi Dom! Lovely baking - happiness is an easy loaf of Dan Lepard bread. I've just been baking sweets from the new book, a new venture for me and I am very pleased with the results we got :)

  24. I think this is where I should start with making my first loaf of bread. It looks amazing and does not look as difficult as I think it would be.

  25. Your loaf is something to admire!
    I have read about Dan's technique before but not yet tried it as I keep reaching for the Kitchenaid and it's trusty dough hook.
    Now, I am going to have to give it a go to get a loaf looking like yours!! Xx

  26. That bread looks delicious!! Whenever I try to make anything with yeast, it seems to go wrong, so it really intimidates me and I've yet to try making bread. I really want to though, so perhaps this recipe (and tips!) will be the magic one that works…!


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