This turned out to be a breakthrough bread. The reason being that it is the first loaf that I have made that my mum would call fancy that she has actually enjoyed. Mum even taking some to work for her lunch which is high praise indeed. She didn't even realise that it was a bread that hadn't been kneaded so I was saved the look of disgust I received last time I tried the recipe. (My mother is a stalwart traditionalist. Not kneaded bread? What a notion!) I thought the original was fairly successful and with practice comes progress but as always I decided to mess about with the recipe instead of getting it just right first. However, this time I seem to have got lucky and didn't have a disappointment. I was so glad I waited to have my lunch until the bread came out of the oven because I was dying to try some warm, and particularly to get the crust. The hardest part was resisting the urge not to rip into it as soon as I took it out - it would have been burned fingers and mouthes all round.
|My rubbish photography doesn't show the lovely golden colour!|
It seems rather unfair to take credit for the whole recipe when all I did was to add a few extra ingredients. James from this years Bake Off is the original creator and the recipe can be seen here. I only used half quantities for my experiment and used a 1lb loaf tin because I really didn't know if my idea would work and I didn't want to be left with a large loaf to throw to the birds if it did turn out to be a flop. Warm or cold, it goes lovely with a little salted butter but I also reckon it would make a good soup acompaniment. Maybe tomato to go with the cheese? Or chicken or vegetable? I would've like to have tried any of these but I finished it off today at lunch so no can do. Now this is where about 50% of the population will hate me. For lunch I put it with Marmite and tomato slices. Remember now, each to their own!
Recipe - sort of.
At stage one of James' recipe, add 50g of grated cheese. I used mild cheddar because that is all we had in but normally it would have been Red Leicester. A mature cheddar would give a more pronounced flavour but I see no reason why you can't use your favourite hard cheese as long as it retains some flavour after cooking. Try to remember to put the cheese in at this stage. It's harder to incorporate it after you have mixed it together as for stage 2. I found that out.
Carry on as the recipe states, giving an extra 5 of the scrapes each time as described in stage 3. This isn't anything to do with the added cheese - I just thought I'd give the gluten a bit more chance to develop and it must have worked because Mum thought it had been kneaded as normal. The stated 15-20 sscrapes might be adequate for you - mine just might not have been as vigorous. Either way, you still save your arms much effort.
While waiting for your dough to reach the end of stage eight, grate another 30g of cheese and mix with 30g each of sunflower seeds and chopped walnuts. If you really like cheese you could easily add some more. Once your bread has finished prooving, gently brush the top with beaten egg. Try not to let it drip so far down it touches the tin if you are using one because you don't want to glue your bread into it. You don't want to have to rip it apart to get it out. Once coated, sprinkle on your crunchy mixture, scooping up any bits that drop off for another go. Now it's ready to go into the oven. I baked mine at 220C for 20 mins then 10 mins at 200C with the loaf out of the tin and directly on the oven shelf. Cool on a wire rack, waiting at the very least a good five minutes before slicing and enjoying.