Last December I was lucky enough to watch a Mary Berry cookery demonstration at my local Waitrose. Personally, I think Mary is an inspirational woman and her recipes are class, catering for both the beginners and the seasoned cooks! She showed us how to make a beautiful Salmon en Croute, with fried peppers and spinach, as well as a delicious orange sponge and trifle, which were all fitting with the Christmas season.
As one does, I had to pick up her latest cook book which was filled with some of her favourite recipes, from soups and starters to mains and breads. It’s a big old book with some scrummy things to try!
Now, for anyone that read my ‘Festive Fun’ blog, bread is the next thing on my list to make and master! I have never made bread before, to me it was always a bit daunting, knowing I need to make sure that the bread is left to rise for long enough and not to over knead or in-fact to over bake incase the loaf came out of the oven hard and dense! But I knew it was time to face my fears as after all, there is nothing better then a fresh loaf – the taste, the smell! And perfect for an afternoon sandwich!
Although there is only a small section on bread baking in Mary’s latest cookery course book, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start! As it says on the tin, the method was a simple, step by step guidance which would build confidence in any ability of baker. The recipe used few ingredients which I love! I found that I had almost everything I needed stashed away in my baking cupboard.
Me being me, I strayed away slightly from the original method, but then I think its important to make things work for you!For example, letting the dough rise – the book states an hour and a half, although for me, in an hour, the dough had doubled in size and after a bit more kneading of the dough, I had a feeling it was ready to start making into my loaf.
Lining my baking tin and tray (for the few rolls I thought I would try and make) I placed the dough in its tin and formed the rolls by shaping the remaining dough into small round balls, slicing into the top with a few strokes of a knife. Leaving to rise once more for another 20 minutes, it was perfect timing to get the oven nice and hot ready to pop it all in to bake.
I think, from personal experience, the time to bake hugely depends on your oven. The method in Mary’s book said 40 minutes – 10 minutes at 200 degrees, followed by 30 minutes at 180. I found after about 30 minutes in total, my bread had risen nicely and was a nice golden brown on top.
And lucky for me, after the loaf had cooled and was ready to cut, it was delicious (even if I do say so myself!).
Check out my “How To” page on how to make Mary’s classic farmhouse loaf (with my little twist of a cheesy top!)
Happy bread making!