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I need to learn to bake in smaller quantity. It goes against the grain a little, I grew up learning to make efficient use of my power units and to fill every spare inch of oven space when it was on. Switching on for just one loaf? Oh, how I wish I had the ever-ready AGA at hand. Thus it is that I  have longings to bake, but a freezer filled with the fruits of previous baking sessions.

We are eating our way through the backlog. Yesterday evening we made egg muffins – the girls are back in the full swing of production and there is nothing like a properly fresh-laid egg simply fried up and served in home made bread. I took two of my muffins from the freezer and took note of the traditional way of serving them:

And when you eat them, toast them with a Fork crisp on both Sides, then with your Hand pull them open, and they will be like a Honey-Comb; lay in as much Butter as you intend to use, then clap them together again, and set it by the Fire, when you think the Butter is melted turn them, that both Sides may be butter’d alike, but don’t touch them with a Knife, either to spread or cut them open, if you do they will be as heavy as Lead, only when they are quite butter’d and done, you may cut them across with a Knife.

The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy, Hannah Glasse, facismile first edition 1747 [Prospect Books:Devon] 1995 (p. 151)

Toasted first on the outside and then split (I tore, he cut) they made a splendid case for a fresh egg and, I confess, a cheese slice.

Yesterday saw the arrival of 8 kilos of Bacheldre Watermill Rustic Country Bread Flour. Our little flour-buying circle was in the main disappointed by Bacheldre’s malted flour and asked to try this one in small quantity before committing to a large sack.

Well, it is a good excuse to bake, isn’t it? Especially when I have no real need.

I followed the recipe on the flour packet, to give it a fair go. The initial five minute’s mixing was done in the Kenwood while I cleared and re-filled the dishwasher and knocked up some Yorkshire Pudding batter for lunch (Toad in the Hole today!) I used honey instead of sugar, took the 25g butter option, and actually used some Dove’s Farm dried yeast instead of my real yeast.

After five minute’s rest, I kneaded, Bertinet-style for somewhere between five and ten minutes.

Then I popped my bread on top of the Rayburn to rise for an hour. On reading the packet again I see that the recipe calls for shaping and rising then baking, and misses out the second rise.

It won’t take any harm from a second rise.

The plan is to bake this loaf in my new ceramic loaf pan. I am nervous about this – the instructions require proving of the bread after shaping and the risen dough to be then placed into the loaf pan once it has been pre-heated.

I foresee difficulties challenges.

Bacheldre Watermill Rustic Country Bread Flour 1 kg (Pack of 8)

Recipe uses 500g flour, 300ml water, 25g butter, 9g dried yeast, 1tsp salt, 1tsp honey.

Update later.

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