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Minnie bakes all her own bread, good and proper from scratch.  I’ve been using a bread maker for the past couple of years and implying to friends that the bread is made from scratch.  So, although meeting Minnie has been delightful, she inadvertently makes me feel like a fraud on the one hand, and inadequate on the other.

This is of course is my issue not hers and she’s kindly offered to teach me using her Sour Dough starter (what I call The Thing – it needs to be fed, grows, smells a bit and you can’t go away on holiday without getting someone else to look after it.)

So, I resolve to learn to make bread.  Minnie does a demo for me and another friend in her kitchen and makes it all looks so easy and do-able.  She manages to get a loaf mixed, kneaded and resting by the time her Molly has finished breakfast of a morning.  She knocks out at least two loaves a week and doesn’t grumble.

I can so do this. I am so excited I commit myself to buying two 16kg of flour, bought direct from the Mill in the Cotswolds after a gorgeous autumnal drive through the countryside and after a long and involved chat with the head of technology about which flour to get.   It’s all so perfect!  So Cotswoldy!  So Country! I love it!

To cut a long story short, I f*ck it up. After what feels like a back-breaking age of kneading, the dough never quite gets to that lovely silky stretchy phase.  I let it prove for too long and instead of rising beautifully, it does what blobby things do in vintage Dr Who – it expands and blubs over the side of the board and looks obese and horrid (see below)

Although the baked-result doesn’t look too bad, the texture’s wrong and it bears no resemblance to Minnie’s gorgeous fluffy loaves*. And I also forget to add salt.

So, my first post is to log a big fat bread failure.  I have, however, invested in 30kg of flour and am too stubborn to give up now.  Minnie will be forced to help me again and I think we might persuade Minnie to do a post on how to do properly.

She’s the expert after all.

Watch this space! I hope to post bread success soon.

*Apologies from the author.