Recently I started a new project. I’m following James Morton’s marvellous book, ‘Brilliant Bread’. James Morton was the young medical student from Glasgow who reached the final of Bake-Off in 2012 – the one with the Shetland jumpers and big specs and winning ways. His book is incredibly well written – he convinces you that bread-making is easy and then shows you how. I didn’t quite believe him as I have sticky memories from long ago – up to elbows in goo and not enjoying it at all. But this time I have followed his step-by-step instructions and am delighted to report success on all fronts.
I’ve now come to the end of the first chapter, which is an easy intro with recipes that require no kneading. My very first effort was a hit and I’ve repeated it several times, positive that it must have been a fluke … but it wasn’t!
On the other hand, I wouldn’t claim that my bakes have quite the same star appearance as the master’s. The rolls pictured here are a case in point: all different shapes and sizes. They tasted good but I’d have liked them to be a bit rounder. It’s a learning process. My pittas were the same – like a bag of rejects from Woolworth’s in the good old days. I’ve now read on to Chapter 2 and see that I must face up to the kneading challenge – this apparently gives a bit more control over the dough, evening out the gluten and making for a more uniform rise. Oh how I love it: I just know that Young Doctor James would never mislead me and that I will continue turning out great bread!
Last night I made focaccia and it was wonderful but somehow I can’t get the photo out of the camera, so I’ll save that story for another day …