Wednesday, 8 April 2009

bread, at last: or why I regret giving up chocolates for Lent

Yes, I'm still alive. I had a rather disappointing beginning of March when my expectations were dashed by some rather inconsiderate people and it took all the optimism I had in me not to feel angry and hateful about it. Hey, life is tough, but there are so many good things about it as well.

Take handmade bread, for instance. After a long wait, I finally got my copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. After a few more weeks of trying to find the right equipment (measuring cups, loaf pans, a tub for the dough), I finally managed to make my first dough. I was craving for something sweet-ish, so I decided to make the brioche dough. I don't have enough fridge space for a big bucket of dough, so I halved the recipe. The initial preparation was surprisingly quick and easy. There were a couple of hours of anxious waiting for the dough to rise and fall in the mixing bowl, but that happened eventually and it was ready to go into storage.

I made this brioche loaf the next day. The smell that wafted from the oven was plain heavenly. I couldn't wait to taste the bread when I got it out. Best of all, the kids loved it too. And this is why part of me is annoyed with myself for giving up chocolates for Lent: this brioche is perfect with Nutella. My kids said so!

To get around this no-chocolates-for-Lent rule, I decided to make a cinnamon loaf with the rest of the dough. It wasn't a big hit with the kids (who are not big fans of cinnamon, except when it's in apple cake) but I loved it. Scrumptious, yummy bread.

I didn't get very good results with my next batch of dough, however. I tried to follow the American-style white bread dough recipe, but was too excited to notice that the flour I was using was labelled 'fine' so I ended up putting too much into the dough. The resulting bread wasn't as fluffy as it should be. Ah well. That's one mistake I won't be making again.

All in all, it was a great initiation into the world of making handmade bread. Once I get more space in my fridge, I'll prepare my next batch of dough.