This year, I have decided, will be the year that I conquer my cookery kryptonite. I can spend many a happy hour pootling in my kitchen baking, steaming, roasting, pan frying, chargrilling and the like, but the one thing guaranteed to rattle me is yeast… or more specifically, dough. I was taught how to make bread at school (which was pretty easy on reflection considering they were brave enough back in the day not only to allow us access to sharp objects but to let us use pressure cookers and attempt choux pastry too!). However like many things I learnt at school, post exams, it has been filed away, forgotten in some recess or other of my brain with the other relics like algebra (!) until called back into action in adulthood, usually to help the Junior Ns with their homework. Some things bounce back super-fast – I can recall most of my English Lit A level quotes – whereas others, for example the past participle and it’s function in Spanish language, two step equations and their ilk are slower to resurface, and then there’s dough, flatly refusing to be recalled and coaxed back into action.
My good Twitter friend and fabulous shopkeeper, Louisa at Sugden and Daughters (do catch up with her fab blog https://sugdenanddaughters.wordpress.com), also had a bit of a bread block until recently; she has just been on a one day sour dough course with the inspiring Vanessa Kimbell (http://www.sourdough.co.uk). Our back and forth chattering on social media has led to us setting ourselves a little challenge for this year. And lo! Project #12breadChallenge was born! We have decided to conquer dough and bake a different loaf each month, sharing honest snaps of our successes (and flops) on our blogs and Instagram accounts.
So as January draws to a close, I decided soup night at Nicholas Towers would be the night I got started on my first loaf in a very long time. I chose a focaccia from the Jamie Oliver stable of straight forward ‘super easy’ recipes. The middle child decided that she had to help too, so was in charge of measuring and a bit of mixology – because ‘I love science and you always say baking is a science Mummy’ (huzzah! She does listen to me… well, where food is concerned, less so with the request to do homework/ chores!). After much excitement and willing the dough to rise, it did just that! Blow me, I made a focaccia, and a flipping tasty one at that! Needless to say, Miss N has taken the majority of the credit for the success…and is propping up her bed with loads of recipe books trying to decide what we’ll make next.
So dear readers, what’s your cookery kryptonite? Do you have any top tips or fool proof doughy recipes for me to try with my able assistant?
Mrs N x