Thursday, 5 May 2011

'Companion: someone you share bread with'

Making bread is quite a tricky task, I thought.
Then I found him who thinks otherwise. 

Richard Bertinet, the author of 'DOUGH: Simple Contemporary Bread'.
He starts the book by introducing his love for baking, explaining why he thought this book was necessary. 
He goes an extra mile to talk about tools, ingredients, all the steps of bread making and what's involved for reasonably lengthy time before he showcases his beautiful recipes. He really makes you understand the fundamental basics of making the dough. His step by step approach to explain what it is that you are dealing with and how to play with them to make it do what you want, is simple and very clear.

I was quietly surprised.
For someone that who didn't really get the beauty of baking bread, not because I didn't appreciate flavoursome home baked bread but more because I hardly consumed or added bread as part of our diet, this was indeed educational.
And I think his book possibly changed my approach towards making, baking and eating bread.

I thought of welcoming my companions with freshly home baked bread.
Nice way to start the conversation passing the bread basket around the table. 
Everyone got involved and the first basketful went in no time.
Good job there was some more...

Caramelised onion and Cheddar Loaf

for caramelised onion
2 red onions, finely sliced
1tbsp dark brown sugar
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt
olive oil

for dough
150g strong white flour
100g strong wholemeal flour
5g yeast
3g salt
175g water

30-50g coarsely grated strong Cheddar cheese

This bread recipe I came up with the other day is so easy to make and very flavoursome. 
Don't be put off by the amount of time you may have to invest. It is well worth it.

Start by preparing the dough by placing both flour, yeast and salt into the bowl. Slowly and gradually add water and mix well. I use round scraper to bring those ingredients together roughly. Work the dough on your work surface to form a smooth and supple dough. 
Place it in the bowl dusted with little flour and cover. 
Leave it to rest for approximately an hour until it is twice in volume.

In the mean time, make you caramelised onion by gently frying the onion over low heat with little pinch of salt. when it is softened, add the vinegar and sugar. Let them bubble away until it thickens and leave them to cool once ready.

Now back to the dough, gently take it out onto the work surface. Flatten it down and add the onion mixture and Cheddar (make sure to save some to decorate the top). You need to bring these together by working the dough once more. Don't worry if it gets a bit messy to start with. 
By folding the edges into the middle you will create good sold base.
Place it in the baking tray and decorate the top with a little more cheese. 
Leave them to prove for around 45mins until it is twice in volume.

Preheat the oven as high as you can.
When ready, reduce the temperature down to 220ยบ and bake the bread for around 25mins or until it appears deliciously golden.

I served mine sliced with homemade garlic mayo flavoured with some tarragon.

Job done.

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