A slightly unsuccessful month as my yeast was past its best, which was unfortunate as I had bought some new organic flour from the Farmer’s Market which was from Claybrooke Mill near Lutterworth in Leicestershire, only 40 minutes from where I live. However, I was able to use the last of the bag with a new packet of yeast with much better results.
Nevertheless, I made the most of this month by trying different shaped loaves: a stubby cylinder, rolls and a baguette-type stick.
All recipes are per the basic loaf recipe in River Cottage Handbook No. 3: Bread.
Stubby white loaf
Shaped by flattening the rounded loaf then rolling it tightly towards you, making sure you tuck it in. You then need to flatten and stretch the dough until it is about twice the width then fold one end in by a third and the other end over it. Flatten this into a square then roll up tightly and make into an even shape.
Weigh/slice the dough into even portions then shape each into a round. Because of the yeast-issue, these rolls were quite heavy – they reminded me a little of scones. I used half milk-half water in the dough as the milk makes the dough softer and whiter.
White baguette with poppyseeds
To make this shape loaf, I flattened the dough then rolled it up tightly before gently stretching it out. Unfortunately, the crust browned too quickly – the first time this has happened to me! – Nevertheless, the crust proved to be thinner and crispier than other loaves which made it particularly enjoyable to eat. The bread itself was also very light with a delicious taste of poppyseeds, despite a holey texture indicating, perhaps, that it was over-proved.