Monday, October 09, 2006

Foolish Bread

Finally I’ve found out how to make a truly inedible loaf of bread! Most of my baking failures so far have still been ok to eat, maybe a little hard on the teeth but edible. Over the weekend I started a bread dough going though, with results that I’m even afraid of feeding to the chickens!. I’ve been experimenting with Nicolle’s Poolish Bread recipe over the last few weeks and the family love it. The extra stage of making the yeast starter does make it a long process, but I’ve worked out that if I start making it the day before, I can let it rise in the fridge overnight at any of the three stages, so that it can be baked in time for lunch the next day. The extra flavour it develops in this process rivals any professional bakery ciabatta, though mine never ends up looking so pretty. I’ve now made it with just white flour and with a mixture of white, rye and wholewheat, both of which were great.

Until this weekend....I mixed up the starter at breakfast time on Saturday, it then needs to be left for about 3 hours. Halfway through the afternoon I remembered it, oops! never mind it should still be ok It smelt just a little fermented, but I carried on regardless with the next stage. Added 3 more cupfuls of flour, salt, kneaded it and left it to rise again, till it would need knocking down some time after supper. Next morning I woke up and remembered – aaaagh! The dough was there in its bowl, trying to get out, a ripe alcoholic aroma pervading our Sunday morning breakfast table. Curiosity led me on to bake it anyway, so I knocked it down, reformed it into a loaf to rise again, then into the oven it went with the Sunday Roast.

We were having a family lunch of roast pork, roast potatoes, cabbage, baked butternut squash, broccoli and apple sauce. There was just room for the mutant bread in the oven, so it rubbed shoulders with the meat for half an hour. Released onto the cooling rack it looked a little strange, the crust softer and more matte than usual, but the scent of baked bread was still tantalising.

out of focus pic of a strange loaf indeed

In the flurry of preparation for lunch I forgot about it again and it wasn’t till supper time, (which after one of our family lunches is a snack meal of rice and baked beans for the children, adults usually still groaning from too many second helpings) that I looked at it again and plonked it on the table for us to try. One by one we bit into our slices. An initial yummm, turned swiftly to yukkkk as the after-taste kicked in – neat vodka. My eyes even watered as I sniffed the loaf, so potent was it! Only my six-year old was happily buttering her bread, content with the new sensory experience. We had to whip it away from her and replace the loaf hurriedly with the slightly stale end of the last loaf.

Now I have visions of chickens keeling over, the baby goslings’ death being on my head, if I dispose of the loaf into the chicken bin. Into the compost therefore it will go, but I’ll have to bury it or it could wipe out half the indigenous bird population here!

This is the subsequent loaf that I managed to remember, which was gobbled up in its entirety at lunch today


  1. I enjoyed reading about your alcoholic loaf as well as the image of chickens tottering about. I taught myself to bake two years ago (when pregnant with my son - one of his first words was "kek"), and have decided that this winter I am going to learn to make bread. I don't want to buy any equipment (no space in my European galley kitchen), but wouldn't mind a few tips on how to start out ... I'm a bit confused about the difference between fresh yeast and dry, and so on.

  2. I started out a couple of years ago with the bread making. No equipment needed, besides a large mixing bowl and muscle power. I've always used those sachets of instant yeast - fresh yeast is more variable in temperement apparently. I posted a WHite Bread Recipe back in May, which is the easiest to start with. If you want to try a half rye recipe check the article list in my sidebar for Rye Bread recipe. Once you get going the process is easy, just remembering about the dough merrily rising can be the hard part!

  3. Kit, you are a great story teller. I could smell your alcoholic bread. My parents used to make bread often. I have this potent lingering smell memory. But with all the great boulangeries around me, I doubt that I'll be baking bread.

  4. Your tale whipped up great images, I love how you told this story, the chickens, lol!! I think I would butter any hot bread and eat time throw it my way! ;)


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!