I have noticed that the word ‘intentions’ has been bandied about the internet a lot over the last few days. Resolutions are outdated and far too stone clad; intentions conjure a rosier picture for this fledgling year.
I am far too susceptible to buzz words, since The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year everything has been an ‘omnishamble’, but my new love affair is with the idea of ‘intentions’.
I start each year with a long list of every flaw I perceive of myself and a convolute set of bullet points of how I am going to rectify each one. This year I’m going to go a little easier on myself; does it matter if my nails aren’t painted in the latest in vogue shade if I have kept up with a nutritionally balanced diet?
My base intentions have fallen into three main categories: Body, Home and Blog.
I want to take better care of my body, give it the fuel that it needs and the exercise it requires.
I want every object in my home to have a place and be either functional or beautiful, and have no room for useless clutter.
I want to work on my photography (which is apparently the most common resolution of 2013), more specifically I want to take better care of my camera and work harder on my food styling – I’ve been scouring the DotComGiftShop Winter Sale for styling props, how cute are these ribbons and presentation boxes.
I also want to pull my writing’s focus back to what I have baked, I like that my blog has a personal aspect to it, but sometimes I seem to forget that food is my primary topic.
So back to food, as I mentioned last year after attempting to bake bread I’m not a natural bread baker, or so I thought. A couple of months ago my lovely boyfriend who had been craving home baked bread since my last attempt surprised me with a ceramic loaf tin which I found so much easier to use that I have been baking two loaves a week in it ever since. It creates a nicer crust where it comes into contact with the dough, and unlike the ‘non-stick’ tin I used it hasn’t stuck to the sides.
The ‘secret’ is (with a stand mixer at least) to start early and fit making it around a normal evening. Unlike a cake which requires quite a bit of attention bread is surprisingly low maintenance. Each stage only takes a few minutes and then you leave it to it’s own devices, which is perfect for after work baking.
The result is a delicious loaf that is so much more satisfying that it’s store bought alternative for a fraction of the price.
The Fabulous Baker Brothers White Dough Tin Loaf
from The Fabulous Baker Brothers
makes 1 small 1lb tin loaf
280g strong white flour
5g sea salt
150ml tepid water
10ml rapeseed oil (I used sunflower as it’s what I had in the cupboard)
2.5g dried yeast (or 5g fresh yeast)
Weight the flour and salt into a bowl.
Mix the water and oil in a jug, stirring in the dried yeast to activate it.
Create a well in the flour and add the liquid.
Bring together with a wooden spoon, then knead for 15 minutes by hand or for 10 minutes using a dough hook on an electric mixer.
Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until it’s doubled in size.
Well oil and flour your bread tin.
When the dough has risen (this is the tricky bit to explain!) stretch the dough out until you have formed a thin sheet about 1cm thick.
Fold into thirds – imagine you’re folding an A4 letter to go into a standard envelope.
Starting at one of the thinner ends, roll the dough towards you, using your thumbs to tightly tuck the roll so it stays taut, you don’t want any gaps in the roll.
Place the loaf in the tin, sprinkle with flour, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise a second time, for about an hour or until it’s doubled in size again.
About 30-40 minutes in, turn your oven on as high as it will go (mine was about 250C) you want it screaming hot. If you have a baking stone – I used my pizza stone – put this in the oven now too.
10 minutes before your dough is ready put a tray of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.
Remove the clingfilm and put the tin in the oven for and set a timer for 10 minutes.
When your alarm goes off, remove the water tray from the oven and let some of the steam out, and turn the oven down to 210C.
This is where my instructions differ from the cook book as my recipe is for a small tin rather than a 2lb tin. I found that my loaf was ready after 5 minutes cooking at a lower temperature – you can test this by removing the loaf and knocking on the bottom. If it sounds hollow it’s ready.
Leave to cool, if you can wait that long, and then enjoy!