As you can probably tell from the title, this is not a post about books, shock as that may be. This is instead a post about the various recipes that I will be trying and either succeeding or failing at. Why this new feature? I like cooking and I want to keep a record of what recipes that I have tried to make and my various opinions of what they were like to cook and how they came out at the end. This feature will probably only show up occasionally, as my opportunities for cooking are a bit limited by university and by living with four other people with wildly different schedules.
In any case, I’m starting off this feature with Mary Berry’s recipe for Honey-glazed Walnut Bread. Going into this my history with bread has been less than stellar: my last attempt in particular had me misread the recipe and put in about four times the required amount of yeast, resulting in a gooey mess that tasted of yeast and nothing but yeast. Considering this lacklustre history, I don’t think this recipe came out badly.
In terms of the actual process, it put me in mind of power-walks: you’re not necessarily working for all that long, but it’s a lot tougher than you would expect in that short period. This might just be the fact that I’m not all that in terms of upper body strength, but nonetheless I was surprised at the amount of pounding this dough needs. Speaking of the dough, there are a couple of things that I would do differently, were I to do this again. First, I would use more dry ingredients (in this case flour) because as it was, the dough was far too sticky to actually work with. The recipe does say that the dough should be slightly sticky, but this was just insane. The other thing I would do would be to flour the work-top liberally, instead of lightly as the recipe states. I must have added extra flour about four times because otherwise I’d have had more dough on the work-top than in the oven.
As for outcome, I think I should have added more yeast. Ironic, considering my previous history with yeast. I skimped on the yeast a bit because I only had self-raising flour, as opposed to the white flour stated in the recipe, but this caused it not to rise that much. Although I don’t think that this was a huge mistake, as the bread still tastes good; it’s probably a bit heavier texture-wise, but edible nonetheless. At the very least no-one has died yet, so I think my bad bread days may finally be over. Oh, and I would have included a picture of my culinary effort, but I left my camera back in my home town, and I’d feel like a cheat if I stole someone else’s photo of it.