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Posts Tagged ‘braided loaves’

In my kitchen…

…are a kilo of spunta potatoes.  We’re planning to grow this variety, so we bought a kilo at the markets to try them.

The spuntas are white skinned with yellow, floury flesh.  To ensure a fair taste test, I pricked the skins and dry-roasted them in a hot oven.  They were absolutely delicious with a little butter and salt…

In my kitchen…

…are challah loaves, my contribution to the Mellow Bakers’ October bake-off.  This Jeffrey Hamelman recipe uses two whole eggs and four egg yolks, resulting in a golden crumb.  In addition, eggwashing the crust gave it an amazing glow – as Joanna pointed out, it’s a little reminiscent of polished antique wood!

In my kitchen…

…are two bone china mugs from the new Maxwell & Williams Kimono range, bought for my mother’s birthday.  Bone china used to be prohibitively expensive, but in recent years the price has dropped dramatically, and these gorgeous, dishwasher-safe mugs were just a tiny $10 each…

In my kitchen…

…are thick steaks being salted, according to a method taught on the Steamy Kitchen blog.  Don’t worry – the salt doesn’t stay on the steaks; it’s there to draw liquid out of the meat to ensure a tender finished dish.  It works well too, although it’s important to ensure the salt doesn’t stay on too long, or the meat becomes quite salty (even though it’s washed off after an hour)…

In my kitchen…

…are Syrian figs – a new discovery for us.  We love figs, but we’ve mainly used Turkish or Persian (the little wild ones) until now.  These Syrian figs are sun-dried, smaller than their Turkish counterparts, and very sweet.  Perfect for eating straight!

In my kitchen…

…are treasures from Roula and Mary’s stall at Flemington Markets.  Below are baby king browns, oyster mushrooms, and fresh shitake from Korea.  Roula also gave me a container of magnificent dried porcini – when I lifted the lid to take a photo, the aroma filled the whole kitchen!

Tell me, what’s happening in your kitchen this month?

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My last post about bread braiding for a while…promise!

A few people asked about the Winston knot design that I made in the previous post, so I tried the pattern again, taking photos this time.  The original instructions for this shape are in Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread.

Each of the loaves was made with a full batch of the braided bread dough recipe – approximately 850g each.  The dough was divided into six balls of approximately 140g each, and then rolled into long logs.

Note that the logs need to be looong, or you’ll run out of dough before the end.  Mine were about 60cm/24 inches each.  After rolling, very lightly dust the logs in a little flour to help improve definition in the finished loaf.

Step 1: Lay the dough out as shown below.  From now on, each group of three adjacent logs will be treated as a single unit. Note that when each group is woven, the rolls should not be turned over but simply rotated, so that the part that is face up continues to be face up for the whole process.  Please also note that I stuffed this up in step 2 (but it wasn’t too bad, as that bit ended up at the bottom of the loaf).

Step 2: Rotate group 1 down to lie adjacent to group 4.

Step 3: Rotate, without turning over, group 2 under group 4 and over group 1.  It should end up next to group 3.

Step 4: Rotate group 3 over group 2 and lie it next to group 1.

Step 5: Weave group 4 under group 1 and over group 3.  Nearly there!

Step 6: Bring what you have left of group 2 over group 4, then squelch all the bits together at the bottom.  Don’t worry too much about neatness, as this ends up on the underside of the loaf.

Step 7: Fold the bottom of the dough (the bit you’ve just squelched together) upwards to the middle of the dough.

Step 8: Now repeat with the top of the dough.  Squish the two bits you’ve folded in together, but be careful not to squash the dough down, or you’ll flatten out the design.

Step 9: Now turn the loaf over and admire your handiwork!  Place the dough on a parchment lined tray, then cover it with oiled clingfilm and leave it in a warm place to rise.  Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) with fan.

Step 10: To finish, brush the risen dough with a little melted butter, and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until dark brown and hollow sounding.  Reduce the heat near the end if it starts to brown too much for your liking.  Remove from the oven and immediately brush the hot bread with extra melted butter, before allowing to cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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