1) Fresh yeast is not worth buying, goes off too quickly and is not for me.
2) Sourdough is fun, creative, my husband loves it but is a lot of effort.
3) Old large tubs of fast action yeast is not going to work well.
4) Fresh fast action yeast is indeed amazing.
5) My kitchen aid makes me nervous after two break downs... I will post on this later.
6) Kneading by hand is fun and rewarding but still the kitchen aid is easier.
7) Make sure you have the right size loaf tin... very important to avoid brick like loaves!
So we a renewed sense of purpose I have been researching how to perfect my bread. Yesterday I made an amazing loaf if I don't say so myself. I made a white loaf with the normal Paul Hollywood tin loaf recipe:
- 400g strong white bread flour
- 8g salt
- 7g fast action yeast
- 25g butter
- 250ml cool water
Now what I did differently was to hold out with my kitchen aid through the grinding noises and the head bouncing and let it knead it fully rather than to finish it off by hand. I also added less water to begin and more to pull i together rather than adding more in. I believe that as I didn't add anything to the dough like extra oil through kneading that is why it tastes so good. It is soft and moist where as lasts week loaf was dry and oily. Don't get me wrong my last load didn't drip with oil, but it had that texture that bread and cakes tend to have when oil has been added, the dry larger hole texture that oil in recipes bring.
I also read about glazes and topping on Gina's blog Home Joys and mixed up an egg (white and yolk with no water) and brushed this onto the bread before going in the oven and scattered on a mix of sesame seeds and black onion seeds. I had also wanted to slash he top to make it bloom in the oven but my knives are all fairly blunt so didn't want to ruin my bread and squish all of the air out of it trying. I think I will purchase a bread blade at some point, perhaps after starting a sour dough again.
I put a tray of cold water in the bottom of the oven to make the oven steamy as this is meant to improve the shine. If I am honest I am not sure I do notice the difference with this one. Perhaps I need to do one with and one without of the same dough to test it!
Finally I melted some butter (homemade!) in the microwave and brushed this onto the hot bread as I came out of the oven.
Doug and I will eat this at work for lunch with homemade soup, Carrot and Cumin. The recipe for this came from the New Covent Garden Food Co. A Soup For Every Day Book.