Sunday, March 14, 2010
Melinda is always telling me I'm not lazy enough to be a proper Lazy Baker, but I guess I'm showing her that my laziness bows to no man's. Or woman's. She has already posted hers and so has Oriana. Thank goodness Evil Cake Lady has a yeast phobia, or I would have to be last, and how my stubbornly competitive self hates to be last! (Sorry, ECL).
This bread comes from a most intriguing cookbook called Warm Bread and Honey Cakes, by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. If you leaf through this book, you'll wonder where on earth Pagrach-Chandra hails from because it contains such an oddly eclectic mix of recipes. It turns out that "where in the world" is pretty much right because she's got roots or connections all over the world. (She is of Indian ancestry, educated in North American and Europe). She's also an expert on Dutch baking, and is the author of the infamous speculaas-speculum cookie recipe that was another Lazy Bakers project.
Next step: egg wash and a whole lot of decorative slashing. It was pretty easy to cut the dough with a razor because it was still pretty stiff. I don't know why I have no pictures of this part of the process.
I didn't have any bread when it came out of the oven; instead, I waited dutifully until the next day to eat it, when the flavor is supposed to have mellowed. Even though I had my doubts about this bread all the way through the process, I actually liked it quite a lot.
The texture is fine, but still rustic-looking.
I believe that both Oriana's and Melinda's versions were aesthetically superior to mine, and the picture in the cookbook is quite amazingly beautiful. Even a second-rate version is impressive. (The pictures don't do it justice). If you want to impress people with your skill as a bread baker, this might be just the ticket.
Duivekater, or Festive Dutch Spiced Loaf
--from Warm Bread and Honey Cake, by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
500g/1 lb 2oz/ 3 1/2 cups bread flour
scant 2 teaspoons easy blend (instant) yeast
100g/ 3 1/2oz./1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
about 200 mls/ 7 fl oz/ 3/4 cup milk, warmed
75g/ 2 3/4 oz / 2/3 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg, lightly beaten
extra beaten egg for glazing
Put the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and spices in a large bowl. Add the milk, butter and beaten egg and mix with a spoon or spatula until the dry ingredients are well moistened.
If you are kneading by hand, turn out onto a floured surface or silicone mat and knead until elastic.
Alternatively, use a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead for about five minutes, or until elastic.
Shape into a ball and place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment.
Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead until once more smooth and elastic. Roll out to an elongated oval shape, about 25 cm/ 10 inch long.
Make a cut at the top, about 10 cm/ 4 inch long. Make a similar cut at the bottom.
Place on the baking sheet. Twirl the the cut pieces between your fingers to lengthen them a little.
Coil then inwards into a spiral. You will have two spirals at the top and the bottom.
Cover loosely with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in bulk.
pre heat the oven to 350.
Brush well with beaten egg and use a very sharp knife, or razor blade, to score a decorative pattern into the top. A series of shallow semi-circles goes well with the shape. Start in the middle, making the cuts the shape of a parenthesis- ( )- and then make 4 or 5 parallel cuts on either side.
Bake for 30 -35 minutes. The loaf should be a rich golden brown with the scored pattern much lighter. To test, tap the loaf sharply on the top and bottom; it should sound hollow.
Cool on a wire rack.