Wednesday, 1 May 2013
... I was in the kitchen on Friday evening with a packet of very strong white bread flour and some fast action yeast at the ready, entirely prepared to make my usual low-knead loaves for the weekend consumption when the thought struck me to make something a little different... don't get me wrong, I love making this bread.... it's so easy and never fails me... but a change is as good as a rest and so I reached for all my bread baking books and then a thought struck me - why not chose the book and recipe randomly - this way I can both fulfil my need for something new whilst also giving me the theme for this months random recipes...
... i'm a massive advocate for home-baked bread and with the wonderful Paul Hollywood's inspiring Bread TV show coming to an end I am keen to pass my love for the stuff on to you lot and I think there is no better way to do this than via a challenge like random recipes where the choice is taken out of your hands... and yes I know that the thought of baking bread can be daunting but really it's all about confidence and following a recipe... and a word of warning here, if you're a novice you really MUST follow the recipe and the instructions to the letter with bread... I have come a cropper many times (including during this bake in fact) thinking I could go my own way... stick to what's written down and you'll be absolutely fine, I promise you...
challah in a cake tin
I came unstuck here as I used my low-knead method with someone else's recipe and whilst the bread itself tasted divine, the dough was too soft to hold the plaits so I have to pop it into a cake tin instead... my recipe was taken from the excellent Bread by Liz Herbert, a book I've cooked from many times with very few issues...
350g strong white bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
40g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fast action yeast
2 medium eggs, beaten
125ml warm semi-skimmed milk
in a large bowl lightly rub the butter into the flour, then add the salt and sugar
combine the yeast with the milk and beaten egg and let it dissolve for a minute or two then pour it into the flour mixture, bring it all together to form a dough
tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for roughly 10 minutes or until it becomes soft, then place it back into the bowl, cover with cling film and let it rise for an hour in a warm place
after an hour, knock it back by punching it with you fist, then pour it out onto a floured surface and divide it evenly into 8 balls
place each ball into a lightly oiled cake tin with one in the centre and the remaining seven around it, stretch the cling film back over the top of the tin and set aside to rise again for 30 mins
bake in a hot oven (190C ) for 25 to 30 mins until golden and risen, you may want to tip the bread out of the cake tin and place it back in the oven for another five minutes to firm up the underneath... the bread should have a nice hollow sound when tapped on the bottom
and so here's what you need to do
1 - gather all your bread baking books (or bread sections of books) together
2 - randomly select one book, then open that book at a random page
3 - cook the exact recipe on that page (dietary restrictions / availability / affordability taken into consideration) don't cheat - you're only cheating yourself!
4 - post about your recipe on your blog, linking back to my blog, including the random recipes logo
5 - email me the link to your post to dominic at belleaukitchen dot co dot uk
6 - tweet me @belleakitchen including the hashtag #randomrecipes and i'll retweet all I see.
7 - entry deadline will be Wed 29th May
well go on then, what are you waiting for.. get random recipes bread baking!