With a blink of an eye week 3 of GBBO has passed.
I have to confession. No, I’m not warming to Neil Fielding, but rather I was in two minds whether to bake along with the show this week! You see, as much as bread is very much a staple in our household, particularly for Mr E, and despite the fact that I love making our own homemade bread by hand feeling the change in the dough as it morphs from a craggy lump of flour and water to a glossy and stretchy dough, my increasingly unstable & painful wrists have other ideas. And as for the stand mixer which was bought specifically to help me make bread, let’s just say it definitely needs some lessons from Mr Paul Hollywood despite arriving with a dough hook!
My bread making efforts this past year have largely been restricted to no-knead loaves, so just as I was beginning to think that I would be watching fellow bloggers bake from the side-lines my knight in shining armour (rusty!), Mr E, took hold of the bread making reins to make this Cottage Loaf flavoured with pesto.
Over to Mr E.
I made sure I fingered my loaf well! ?
Seriously though, even though there was a lot of hilarity about this in the episode on Tuesday night as well as An Extra Slice, Angela explained that it helps to secure the two balls of dough together. It turned out to be a really tasty loaf with a wonderful crust and I must admit it wasn’t particularly difficult to make. Though, a bit of extra practice fingering my loaf would probably make it sit up straight!
A couple of tips and thoughts when make homemade bread:
- Don’t be afraid to allow your bread to proove in the fridge, either overnight or throughout the day. Although most recipes state to place the kneaded dough in a warm place to encourage the yeast to work, creating carbon dioxide and therefore allowing the dough to rise, by placing it in the fridge this process still happens. Yes it’s a much slower proove, but that extra time not only allows you to get on with other tasks as well as producing a much tastier loaf!
- Use something other than clingfilm to cover your dough when it’s set aside to proove. We all know that plastics are causing serious harm to our planet, so why not use one of the many other alternatives. A shower cap, purchased just for making homemade bread which can easily be wiped clean and used time and time again, can be used to cover both small and large bowls. Alternatively use a plate to cover the bowl or even a clean teatowel. A large upturned mixing bowl is also a great item to cover a shaped round loaf, like this cottage loaf, during its second proove.
- Be aware that it’s entirely possible that you may need to knead your bread dough for longer than 10 minutes (or what ever your recipe suggests). It all depends on your technique and speed. Use the windowpane test to check that the dough is ready to be prooved.
- The windowpane test checks to see if the bread dough is ready to be prooved. Simple take a lump of dough a little smaller than a golf ball and begin to gently stretch the dough between both of your hands. Turn the dough a little as you do so. If the dough becomes paper thin without tearing, almost thin enough to see through, just like a windowpane, it is ready to be prooved . Check out this Youtube video showing the windowpane test in action. And this Youtube Video takes the windowpane test to another level, explaining the role of gluten in breads and other baked products.
So, here’s how to make a Cottage Loaf with Pesto
ball positioned ontop of the other and is baked in a hot & steamy oven to
create a wonderful crust. This Cottage Loaf recipe with added Pesto contains
the delicious flavours and aromas of pesto making it perfect for cheese
sandwiches, or even served with a tomato soup, for instance.
Hands on time 30 mins Bake time: 45 – 50 min Yield: 1 loaf
- 500g Strong White Bread Flour
- 10g Instant Yeast
- 7g Salt
- 20g Butter, unsalted & softened
- 330ml Water, lukwarm (bloodwarm)
- 3 tsp Pesto (see note d below)
- drizzle Oil, for kneading
Notes: a) Consider covering the dough with alternatives other than clingfilm, such as a showercap purchased solely for baking, a plate or clean teatowel. b) Place the bowl somewhere convenient, but out of a draft. Allowing it to proove in the fridge for a number of hours will produce more flavour due to the slower rise. Though if you’re wanting the loaf quicker place it in a warm spot. c) A large upturned bowl is perfect for covering the shaped loaf. d) If baking for a vegetarian do ensure you use a vegetarian pesto. We used Sacla’s Organic Vegetarian Pesto.
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