This week, I stumbled onto a bread-baking video that I like a lot:
- Tom, the baker, goes thoroughly through every item you need from start to finish.
- His method is very similar to mine – which, of course, I like. But he does a few things that are new to me – and I love them!
- I have a steel bench scraper, but now that I’ve seen various the ways he uses his plastic one, I’ll never be the same again.
- His one-handed kneading technique is cool.
- The ways he shows you whether the bread is kneaded enough are invaluable.
- He doesn’t oil the bowl for his first rise.
- The way he shaped the final loaf is easy and effective.
- Great tip: Proof the loaf on top of the oven while it’s preheating.
- The way Tom pronounces the word “perfect” is perfect.
I decided right away to incorporate some of his ideas into my next loaf.
Dense, hearty, sweet, great for breakfast, amazing toasted. Try it spread with cream cheese. Add a dollop of lemon curd if you want something really indulgent. You will clearly taste the coconut, though you won’t be able to detect its texture, and the cherries are perfect.
What you need to make one large (4-lb) loaf:
2/3 cups of dried cherries
2/3 cups of dried cranberries
2/3 cups of raisins
1 packet active dry yeast
2 generous tsp sea salt
3.5 generous cups white bread flour
1 heaping cup dried, shaved coconut
1 Tbs + 1 generous tsp rapeseed oil (or another neutral oil)
How to do it:
Place the dried fruits in a sealable container and add warm water just to barely cover them. Place them in the refrigerator and let them steep overnight. Next day, drain them – but reserve the liquid. Place the liquid in a measuring cup, and add water (or pour some out) to bring the total amount to 1 cup + 2 Tbs. Heat the liquid to 120ºF. Meanwhile, whisk the salt into the flour, and then the yeast.
Use the well method to combine all ingredients, or combine them in a mixing bowl, using a plastic scraper. Work the dough until you’re able to knead it. Knead it until it passes the windowpane test, about 20 minutes. Place the dough in a mixing bowl and cover it with buttered plastic wrap. Let it rise until it’s noticeably much larger, and feels soft and pillowy when you poke a finger into it. (This could take anywhere from one to several hours, depending on ambient conditions.)
Shape the dough into a loaf and place it into a well-buttered pan – preferably the one your Aunt got you from Poland for your wedding gift. Sprinkle the dough with flour and cover the pan that same piece of buttered plastic wrap. Let it rise until it clears the pan. (This could take anywhere from one to several hours, depending on ambient conditions.)
When you feel you’re about 20 minutes from a perfectly proofed loaf, preheat the oven to 450°F. (Optionally, slash the top of the loaf.) Use a spray bottle to spray down your oven walls and baking stone, using about 16 pumps. Place the risen loaf into the oven and spray about 16 more pumps.
After 10 minutes, lower the oven to 400°F. After 25 more minutes, remove the bread from its pan and tap the bottom of the loaf; if it sounds hollow, like a drum, it’s ready. If it’s not, return it to the oven without placing it back in the pan, for 10-15 minutes. When finished, the crust should be dark golden brown. If the bread seems to be browning too deeply, cover it loosely with foil. Allow the loaf to cool on a rack.
If you want to incorporate a starter into this (or any) bread recipe, you easily can. Look up any one of the Make It Like a Man! bread recipes (like this one) to see how to make a starter. To incorporate the idea, measure out all the flour, water, and yeast that you need for your bread, and then measure the starter ingredients out of that.
Credit for images on this page: Make It Like a Man! This content was not solicited by Hobbs House Bakery or anyone else, nor was it written in exchange for an all-expense paid trip to England plus tuition fees for one if not several of Hobbs House’s Cookery Courses, even though I’d do nearly anything for that. In doing research for this recipe, I found Joe Pastry to be helpful, as always.
Keep up with us on Bloglovin’