Wednesday, 6 March 2013

TBP: Plaited Loaf

The last two weeks I have been busy getting stuff sorted for three months travelling/volunteering in Costa Rica, meaning I'm afraid I missed last week's baking project entry. Fear not, as I have been making a mess in the kitchen, but I must admit there has been a little cheating. Last week I baked twice. Firstly, some of my favourite vanilla chocolate chip cookies for J. as an Anniversary gift. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos, but honestly, they didn't come out as attractively as usual so I will wait until then next batch to photograph them!

Next I baked some simple scones, a spur of the moment bake. These only take 30 minutes, preparation and cooking, so are perfect for a quick teatime treat! The recipe I used made 7, which was the right amount for my mum and I. I could have cut them a little thicker I think, but with both baking powder and self raising flour, the end result wasn't too thin. 

This week I made Paul Hollywood's eight plaited loaf found in the Bake Off book. Bread's have always been a favourite of mine. For about a year now, I have made pizza at least twice a month and I have developed a technique with doughs. 

After mixing and kneading I had a silky, elastic dough. After an hour it had completely blown up, filling the bowl! I don't have a proofing drawer or box, but it rose just sitting in a bowl in the kitchen. 

Next I knocked it back and made the complicated eight stranded plait. I can barely plait my own hair into pigtails, and every time I try a french plait or fishtail my hair ends up looking like a confused, straggly octopus. I was under no allusions that this would be a work of art. 

Well this was the first attempt:

Not awful... just a little confused! 

My second attempt worked out a little better: 

After an egg glaze and 20 minutes in the oven, I was left with this monster of a loaf! The bread was also lovely, with a good crumb (I think...what does that even mean Paul and Mary?) The bread worked as a great sauce soaker with a chicken, chorizo and chickpea casserole, and what little remained was toasted by Mum and used for a sandwich by J. the next day. A good result all round with no waste!

S. x


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