Just keeping in touch (1)

Toast bread pretending to be sourdough

Warm milk, bread flour, a little cornflour, a little wholemeal, salt and yeast together yield a soft and tender loaf that toasts beautifully, makes great rolls and has a lovely colour. It’s not sourdough and I’m wondering if you add cornflour to a sourdough loaf whether you will get the same soft crumb… I’ve added the ingredients list at the bottom of the page.

Not had one of these in the garden before!

This little being is a white wagtail – we usually get pied wagtails in our towns, but not these. We get a grey wagtail sometimes, they of course are yellow bellied.  This morning saw one of the jays from the woods come into the garden as well as the usual gang of finches, tits and starlings. The wood pigeons are getting fat, they will become sparrowhawk food if they carry on eating all the food we put out.

Better late than never!

Christmas cake, christmas cake, mix and put in tin. This is Mr Lepard’s caramel cake and I baked it today.  I really enjoyed the bit where the cream hits the caramel and turns to liquid fudge. I quite wanted to stop there and just eat the whole lot with a spoon, but I didn’t…

Glad I used a deep tin and made a cuff for this one

This is an 18 cm diameter tin and the recipe came to the top exactly!  The cake survived baking and I will think of something to put on the top tomorrow. I’ll tell you what it’s like when we cut it.

PS: Someone asked me how to make this bread. It’s pretty basic but here we go….

Zeb’s golden toast bread:

  • 520 grams of full fat milk warmed to at least room temperature (aiming for a dough temperature of about 76 F)
  • 700 g strong white (bread) flour
  • 50 g of cornflour
  • 50 g plain wholemeal flour (not the strong sort, but the sort you use for pastry)
  • 16 g sea salt
  • 15 g fresh yeast or 1 sachet of active instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp barleymalt (optional – gives a nice colour to the crumb and some easy food for the yeast)

Mix dough in your preferred manner. I used a Kenwood this time. Milk in first, followed by yeast, barleymalt, salt and flours. You should have a medium firm dough that is easy to knead. Mix for about 3 minutes on lowest speed. Hand knead briefly and into lightly oiled bowl to prove for ninety minutes. Divide the dough into two, shape 650 g boules, final prove in 750 g size round bannetons, until doubled,  dusted with flour. Bake at 220 C for 30 minutes, reduce temperature to 200 C for 10 minutes more. Cool on rack. This dough will also give you a nice baker’s dozen of 100 g rolls.

16 thoughts on “Just keeping in touch (1)

  1. bagnidilucca

    I worry about the poor little bird’s cold feet in all that snow. Have a great Christmas!

  2. Deeba @ PAB

    I love Dan Lepards recipes, and you had me at the point the cream hits the caramel…can’t wait to see how good this tastes!

  3. Suelle

    Just reading the Christmas cake recipe made me wish we needed a Christmas cake! I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it.

  4. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    @ Bagnidilucca Don’t worry about the bird’s feet, she wasn’t sitting there very long, as the wagtails never stop moving about. What I am puzzled by is what she’s eating as there are very few insects around… :)

    Hi Deeba, Suelle and Celia – I can’t wait to try this cake either – it feels when you press it as if it has a very soft crumb, must be the effect of the cream, do you reckon? I’m going to feed it a little Pedro Ximinez this morning and give it a marzipan top I think. :)

  5. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Marzipan top…could there be any other way? That cake looks like a hit thats for sure. A nip of green ginger wine to go with it?

    Going back to your top picture. There hasn’t been one occasion where I haven’t sighed a little contented sigh when getting a loaf out of the oven with the banneton flour circles…sigh, I love it.

  6. drfugawe

    Hey, I have the twin to your big Mason Cash bowl in the bottom pic. One giant bowl! I’m waiting -as we speak- for the indiv panettones to finish proofing (using the molds you sent). Very sloooooooo proof. Pics/post to follow.

    Happy, snowy Christmas!

  7. Christine

    Oooh, look at your backyard! Hard to think of you with snow…our weather is finally starting to warm up. Definitely great baking weather you have there – enjoy that cake!! :)

  8. C

    Loving the look of your bread and your cake mixture – yum indeed!

    Your little white wagtail is lovely – I think I’ve only ever seen pied wagtails. I love little birds in the garden, there’s something very uplifting about them.

  9. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Brydie, nearly there, slithered across the ice to the supermarket in search of green ginger wine. Success! Made a couple of 24 hour sourdoughs today, it’s been so cold that you can retard the dough in the garage without going near the fridge :)

    Doc – keeping fingers crossed for your panettone. A teaspoon of fiori found its way into the cake above.. ;)

    @ Christine – I think a warm Christmas has an attractive ring to it right now after a month of freezing temperatures

    Hi C – you’re so right about the birds in the garden, a garden without birds and insects is almost unimaginable :)

  10. jan trounce

    Hi Joanna, I love the picture of the plump ittle wagtail in the snow. I hope he survives the bleak mid-winter you are experiencing. Your cake looks fabulous and smacks of warm, Christmassy kitchen smells. I made minadott’s milk loaf yesterday – it was an interesting process, I liked the texture – and it resembled a loaf of bread – wrought by me! Merry jingle bells to all in your family, I’ve so enjoyed spending time with your blog this year and I wish you a bright and happily interesting New Year.

  11. heidi

    I love the look of that bread.
    And the cake.
    I’m supposed to help make up a children’s tea tomorrow.
    I’d rather make the bread.

  12. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Happy Christmas to you and your family too Jan, thank you for reading my blog and your lovely comments :D

    Heidi I’d love to be baking bread with you right now :)

  13. spiceandmore

    How did your cake turn out? I made it as well…but it was not popular here. It was a bit dry and I think the lack of alcohol was certainly noticed. It didn’t quite measure up to my standard christmas cake that has fruit soaked in alcohol for a couple of months. A pity really as it was so nice and easy and perfect for a last minute cake.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I cut it yesterday :) I will post some pics for you on a short post later on. Not dry, very gooey and sticky with all the prunes and cherries. And I did chuck some brandy over it once it had cooled and before I wrapped it up. Bit sweet for our tastes though.

  14. Pingback: 2010′s Christmas Cake is January’s Teatime Treat! | Zeb Bakes

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