Well guys, I tried, I really gave this Jeffrey Hamelman bread (Mellow Bakers – December) the full treatment.
I shopped, I bought ingredients, measured water and dough temperatures, weighed to the nearest gram, I mixed according to the times in the book, proved with the timer precisely, cooked at the right temperature….. and you know what, I don’t like this bread. It’s strange because I am a big fan of fennel seeds strewn over roast vegetables, and I’m dead keen on Dan Lepard’s semolina buns, so thought this one would be a sure thing.
I rolled and twisted breadsticks with half the dough and formed a nice S-shaped loaf like Cathy’s, because hers looked so pretty. I took loads of photos to share with you too.
I had proper Italian fine durum flour, organic fennel seeds, coarse cornmeal, millet; the only thing I couldn’t get was wheat flakes, so I bought spelt flakes which I thought were the closest thing. I left the soaker overnight so it could fully hydrate. I followed the timings exactly for once. Hey ho, can’t win ’em all – I’m mellow with this.
I feel almost as if this recipe is one that was thrown together as a ‘demonstration’ of using a soaker and an alternative flavouring. Anyway it’s done now, Brian won’t touch it and the dogs ran away from the breadsticks as if I had offered them something very nasty indeed.
Forget the bread, for supper I had that fabulous Ottolenghi dish with the chickpeas, roast butternut squash, spinach and brussel sprout tops (not chard this time) and the deliriously garlicky-lemon-mint drizzle that goes over the top of the dish which makes the whole glorious bowl come alive and sing in your mouth – tra la! and I wish I’d taken photos of that. Next time I promise!
It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry as we say in my family, and probably many other people say too. No more December breads for me, I’m passing on the ciabatta, I need to be calm and collected to tackle flamboyantly wet doughs like that, and I’m not interested in the least in Irish Soda Bread without the right flour to make it with, so I am going to move on now to some Christmas baking! Cookies to bake, cakes too, here I come….