Bread making

One thing I’ve always loved doing, but never had much time for, is making my own bread. Now I’m Sabbatical Girl, I’ve been getting stuck in to making my own leaven (starter) and trying out some of the more intensive recipes from the bookshelf.

One of the coolest books I’ve read on the subject is The Art of Handmade Bread: Contemporary European Recipes for the Home Baker, by Dan Lepard. For starters, he’s a brilliant photographer, and there are some really interesting background stories on bread making all over Europe. But the recipes are bloody interesting as well – and there’s a range of breads you’ll recognise (soda bread, plain white sourdough) as well as some that’ll probably  make you go HUH?, like the lard cake, garlic and goose fat pancakes, and mustard and maize rolls.

I confess my last two forays into his recipes didn’t wind up particularly well, though both times it was my own fault (rushed off to something else and wound up leaving the loaves to rise ALL NIGHT, only to wake to gooey mess in the morning). But his soda bread is flawless and I love the white sourdough (which I’ve made in the past). If you’re interested at all in a more artisan approach to making your own bread, I heartily recommend you check out the book. (OK, OK, the link above is an Amazon Associates one, which I thought I’d try out seeing as I’m trying to come up with new ways to survive my sabbatical (more on this in another post, I think). Up to you if you choose to use it or not, but much appreciated if you do!)

Without further adieu, here are a couple photos from this morning’s mess:

the two startersThe two leavens (right: regular white, left: rye)

rye leavenClose up of the rye leaven

gooey messThe gooey mess after I turned it out of its tea towel (the other one was even worse). Note to self: don’t leave bread to rise overnight unless otherwise instructed!!!

the final productThe end product. Kinda sexy but not really what I had in mind!

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