Oh my. Where to start???
I’ve got to tell you about some successes but also about an epic fail. Let’s start with the good bits.
I made Dan Lepard’s Alsace Loaf again. This tims I cooked the rye grains just five minutes longer and it made all the difference. Unfortunately, when I doubled the recipe, I forgot to double the amount of salt so it lacks a bit of flavour but it’s still the best bread I’ve made and a bread the kids love – which is more than enough reason to keep making it. In double quantities…
Here’s the cooked rye grains:
Two of the loaves on the baking tray after the second prove:
The finished loaves, again only two of them:
The recipe suggests to divide the dough into five batons or sticks but I find making two slightly larger loaves works better for me. They need five minutes longer in the oven and freeze rather well.
So that was a success (if we forget about the salt issue…). I’ve got another one…
Today I made pizza for lunch. I think it would best be named the Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn pizza. I made my usual pizza base, this time with some parts wholemeal flour. Instead of a pizza sauce, I used a jar of preserved vegetables which I made last month (pictures here). I’d only made three, the hot vegetable stew was filled into sterilised jars and then canned in a water bath in the oven. The lids had gone “pop” and all that but two jars had already gone off and I had to bin them (so much work and great produce wasted!). I didn’t want to risk the third one going off too so I used it up. I mixed it with a can of tomatoes to bulk it out. We had some leftover green beans and carrots (from the garden too) so I scattered them over what was now a pumpkin-tomato base, topped it with salami and tomato slices. I put mozzarella on the tomatoes and goats cheese (because it goes really well with pumpkin) in the gaps. Absolutely lovely. Very gooey though with a soggy bottom, I’m afraid.
And now for the cake disaster.
On Saturday, I decided to try out yet another Dan Lepard recipe. This time it was the Layered Apple and Custard Loaf. I liked the following bit from the introduction to the recipe:
[It is] the sort of fruit-bread that children seem to understand so well.
Knowing my children, this should be a winner!
It is made from a sweet yeasted butter dough which has to rest in the fridge for at least 18 hours. It was rather squidgy and hard to work with but I got there in the end.
Then there’s a custard, properly made, no powder involved here. It’s very sweet even though I used a third less sugar. But it’s easy enough to make so no problems.
For the layering, we’ve got three layers of dough, three layers of custard and three layers of apple slices sprinkled with sugar.
The recipes for dough, custard and cake can be found here, by the way.
It looks promising, doesn’t it?
Out of the oven came this, a lot paler than the picture in The Handmade Loaf but still nice:
But, unbeknownst to me, disaster had struck:
The cake was not even anywhere near underbaked. It was unbaked. It was raw. Apart from about two centimetres along the outer edge. If I’d paid attention, I might have noticed that – even with an initial 10-minute blast at 200°C – the cooking time of 35 minutes at 170°C could be a liiiiiiittle bit on the short side. I’ve found similar recipes, with less layers, on the internet (only after the event, of course) that have the cake in the oven for 85 minutes. Harrumph.
I inverted the cake back into the tin and put it back in the oven for another half an hour. It still wasn’t properly cooked through but looked much better:
The edible bits were actually rather nice and I can (still) imagine that it could be a very nice cake – that my kids would love. So far I’ve had issues with too high temperatures and baking times that were too long in The Handmade Loaf (and that only once, really) – I never in a million hears expected this. And it seriously annoyed me. It was a lot of work that went into the making of this cake – and then that!
I’m in two minds over whether to give it another go or not. But with an adapted baking time I should be fine. Oh, I don’t know. You’ll hear about it if I do…