Friday, November 1, 2013

Nigel Slater's Cider Loaf


         Happy Friday! Yesterday was I bought some candy..and waited. Then waited some more. Then sampled some of the candy..and waited some more. Then I gave the family some candy and we waited some more. I was in bed by 9 with a bowl full of candy. No one came. I keep hoping trick or treating will catch on like it has in Amsterdam and other Dutch towns..but so far in the 7 years of living here, I haven't gotten one trick or treater. Oh well..maybe next year!

Halloween was still a great day though,mostly because of this bread! I got up this morning and baked another loaf to tuck away in the freezer for later on and already put down more dry cider onto my shopping list so that I can bake more of it. It's really that good. When it comes to plain bread..plain as in,no cheeses or anything else added, this has to be in my top 4. The dry cider adds a subtle yeast hint..almost like a beer bread but not as overpowering and I swear it makes the bread fluffier and crazy soft. The loaf is huge by the way and will disappear quicker than you think.

The recipe has you weighing your ingredients, and like I have said a million times before: Buy. A. Weight. Scale. Your life will change when it comes to baking. The hardest things you need to find for this recipe is dry cider and whole wheat spelt flour. It's worth it. I promise.

Cider Loaf

250 g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
250 g Bread Flour
1 tsp. Salt
150 ml Milk
1 tsp. Honey
2 tsp. Instant Yeast
250 ml Dry Cider

In a large mixing bowl,add your weighed flours and salt;stir to combine and set aside.

In a small saucepan,warm the milk and honey together. You want the milk just barely warmed up. Take it off the heat. Stir in the yeast and allow to stand for 5 minutes or until the yeast is nice and foamy. Pour the cider into the milk mixture and then dump it all at once into the flour. Grab a wooden spoon and stir until a rough ball has formed.

Tip out onto a lightly floured surface ( the dough is going to be sticky but DO NOT add anymore flour than what is needed.a sticky dough is ok in this matter. I think I only added 1 tablespoon of dough in the 5 minutes that I kneaded it.) Knead the dough for 5 minutes and then place into an oiled bowl,turning the dough once to coat it. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for one minute. Shape into a bowl and return to the bowl. Cover it with a tea towel and allow it to rise again for 25-30 minutes,until the dough has risen once again.

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius ( the original recipe has a much higher temp but I worried about it burning so I opted for a lower temp and it was just fine). Flour a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper and set aside ( I used parchment paper and baked it on a pizza stone. If you are going the stone route,pop it in the oven to warm up while you preheat your oven). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, Knead a few times and then shape it into a nice round ball;place onto prepared pan or parchment paper. Dust the top with flour,cover with a tea towel and allow to rise 15-20 minutes..about the length of time it takes your oven to heat up.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when taped. The dough seriously expands in the oven and will split around the bottom. It's ok. I actually thought I had done something wrong until I looked up other versions of this loaf and they all came out looking like mine. You can also score the top of your bread, and I did that this morning and it still split slightly.

Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Yield: One large beautiful fat loaf
Source: Kitchen Diaries 2