At the moment he's sticking to the mixes that we ordered with it. They're not bad, still experimenting with the settings, the wholewheat's a bit coarse so he mixes it with the white, but any bread that's made with simple and good ingredients and which you can smell while it's cooking and eat still warm is going to be delicious really. We've never made bread here much in the traditional way, largely because the place isn't consistently warm enough, especially not in winter when you most fancy doing it, and of course the quantities needed to be worth the making have always seemed too much for two of us, and you can buy good bread anyway. Having got the machine now, we are much more bread-minded, so when Tom came across the hot-cross bun recipe in the Radio Times he immediately wanted to make some, but quickly realised he wasn't confident of being able to convert it, and anyway, it would have to be half-quantities, and would that be enough when it came to hot cross buns?
So it was back to the kneading board, and out to buy bread flour and yeast. Flour here is given a number according to its strength and wholeness, basic white pastry flour is type 55, then you can get 60 and 80, wholewheat is usually 110, and in Brittany you can always get buckwheat flour, but that doesn't have a number it's just called sarrasine, and it doesn't have any gluten in it so you mustn't try baking with it. It's a little confusing; in the supermarket they had a lot of bread mixes and yeast but only type 60 flour, which the girl stacking the shelves didn't seem to think was any good for bread. So we went the extra couple of kilometres to the biologique shop, where they told us that in fact type 60 is OK for bread, but we were able to procure a big, 5kg brown paper sack of locally grown, stoneground type 80 organic flour for not great deal of money, which turned out to have that lovely wholesome unbleached pale buff colour, and we picked up a pack of Japanese incense at the till on the way out.
So Tom spent today mixing, kneading, proving, knocking back, etc etc. It took a long time and we ended up lighting the fire by lunchtime to get the temperature up enough to get things moving. But finally the cinnamonny dough was shaped into twelve balls, we'd freeze at least half of them, we said,
left to puff up one more time,
then the white crosses were made on them with flour and water paste, and about half an hour later, this was the result:
They were unbelievably, lusciously, sensuously good. I'm not sure how many the freezer's going to get.
If I don't speak to you again before, happy Easter.