Tags

, , , , ,

This is my take on two recipes from Richard Bertinet’s Dough that I’ve had my eye on for some time. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make them both from the same batch of dough, which necessitated some adjustment to the recipes. His Honey and Lavender Loaf is made with a brown dough and is very big; mine is half the size and uses a rye dough. His Caraway and Raisin Bread does not contain any honey, but I thought it would not be ruined if it did.

As it turned out, both loaves were absolutely delicious, with a light texture and a good crunchy crust that did not go soft with keeping. In fact, the flavour seemed to get better after a day or two, particularly so with the lavender one. Even if you don’t like lavender, you might like this loaf, as the flavour is not that pronounced, and not at all like soap or perfume. In fact someone who wasn’t in the know might just wonder what that mysterious flavour was.

The Rye Dough

  • 400g strong white flour
  • 100g rye flour (dark / wholemeal – see below)
  • 5g quick action yeast (or 10g of fresh)
  • 10g salt
  • 30g runny honey
  • 350g warm water

In a large bowl, stir the salt and quick action yeast into the flours (if using fresh yeast, simply crumble it into the flour). Stir the honey into the warm water and then add to the bowl. Mix until everything has come together and there is no more dry flour in the bottom of the bowl.

Scrape the dough out onto an unfloured surface, and work or knead it for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Just before it is ready, divide it into two, and follow the directions below for the different loaves.

The Honey and Lavender Loaf

  • Half of the Rye Dough
  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender

Stretch the dough and scatter the lavender on top. Press it in gently, then fold the dough over itself and carry on working for a minute or two.

Form the dough into a ball and roll it in a little oil in the bowl. Cover, and leave to rise for about an hour, or overnight in the fridge. See my note below about letting both doughs rise in the same bowl.

If the dough has been in the fridge, take the bowl out about an hour before the next stage, so the dough can come back to room temperature.

Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten it gently and reshape it into a ball. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Press the dough gently into a disk. Fold it inwards four times to make a rough square, pressing each fold down to seal. Dust the top of the loaf with rye flour and place, folded side down, on a floured tea towel. Cover with another tea towel, or fold the rest of the same one over to cover it. Leave to rise for an hour or so, until doubled in size.

Just before baking slash a double cross on the top with a very sharp knife or razor blade.

The Caraway and Raisin Loaf

  • Half of the Rye Dough
  • 125g raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

Stretch the dough and scatter the raisins and caraway on top. Press them in gently, then fold the dough over itself and carry on working for a minute or two. You may find the raisins fly about a bit; just pick them up and press them back into the dough.

Form the dough into a ball and roll it in a little oil in the bowl. Cover, and leave to rise for about an hour, or overnight in the fridge. See my note below about letting both doughs rise in the same bowl.

If the dough has been in the fridge, take the bowl out about an hour before the next stage, so the dough can come back to room temperature.

Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten it gently and reshape it into a ball. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Fold and roll the dough into a loaf shape, about 20cm long. Dust the top with rye flour then turn it over, with the seam facing up, onto a well floured tea towel. Cover with another tea towel, or fold the rest of the same one over to cover it. Leave to rise for an hour or so, until doubled in size.

Before baking, turn the loaf over so the seam is underneath, dust the top with more flour if it looks a bit bare, and cut a leaf pattern by making one cut down the middle and four diagonal ones on each side, using a sharp knife or razor blade.

Baking

Preheat the oven to 250C / 500F / Gas Mark 9 (adjust for fan oven) and put your baking stone(s) or baking trays in to heat. Slip an old roasting tray into the bottom of the oven at the same time. Nearer to baking time, boil a little water in the kettle.

Transfer the loaves to the baking stones or trays as quickly as possible, and return them to the oven. Pour a half a cup of boiling water into the roasting tray, taking care to avoid the resulting steam cloud. Work quickly so that as little heat as possible is lost from the oven.

Turn the heat down straightaway to 220C / 425F / Gas Mark 7 (adjust for fan oven).

Bake for about 30 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the roasting tray, and turn the trays and swap between shelves if the loaves are browning unevenly.

Cool on a wire rack.

Notes

You could let the two dough pieces rise in separate bowls, but I made a sling-cum-partition out of cling film so they could go in the one bowl, as that was all I had room for in my fridge.

Bertinet’s recipe specified dark rye flour. I’m not sure if my wholemeal rye flour qualified, but it certainly gave a good flavour and colour to the bread.

The fan is so powerful on my oven that I prefer to use a roasting tray and boiling water to create a steamy atmosphere, rather than spraying water into the oven. It’s important to remove it after 10 minutes, as by then it’s done its job of keeping the crust moist while the bread rises, and beyond that it will actually have a detrimental effect on the crust.