The brilliant bread bake-athon begins

Published December 21, 2011

When I wrote my Life List, one of the first items on there was to bake the perfect loaf of bread. Then I watched two series’ of the Great British Bake Off and realised that I am never going to be a very good baker.

So, instead of making the same loaf over and over again in search of perfection, I thought I’d change the task. Instead, I’d like to try making a variety of different types of bread, settling for the adequate and tasty product instead of the marketable ideal. Who decides what perfect is anyway?

The team behind the Bake Off have released a couple of tie-in recipe books, but I’ve not bought them because they’ve been so flippin’ expensive on the Kindle. I managed to catch the second book in a sale, though, and immediately turned to their basic white loaf.

The kneading and rising all went off without a hitch. I was a bit concerned when I put it back in the bowl and covered it with clingfilm. It grew like a monster from the old horror films, and then stuck to the clingfilm at the top. Darn. It didn’t seem to do any harm though.

White bread

The second rising was okay, but I sort of ran out of time, so I’m not sure I left it as long as it should have been there. I also seemed to find the smallest baking tray imaginable, and trying to cram the two loaves on there - knowing they were going to stick together - was problematic.

I know for a fact I didn’t leave the bread in the oven long enough. It wasn’t quite the hollow sound I was expecting on the bottom, but I was concerned that if I continued to leave it in there, the top would burn. It’s hard work getting to know your oven.

White bread

It tasted good, and was yummy toasted, but really needed more time in the oven. I was impressed with my effort, because previous attempts at making bread have seemed cumbersome and resulted in overly yeasty bread. This seemed to work okay, and the process was far easier than I remember - it’s just a lot of coming and going. Do a bit, leave it for an hour, do another bit, walk away again.

I’ll try this again, and I’ll probably halve the batch so that I can a) fit it all on the tray and b) be certain that it will all get eaten.

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