How to make Bread

Having spent six weeks working the early morning shift in a bakery in Co Kilkenny last summer, I knew I was not cut out for night shifts. My love of baking remained intact.

It being Spring here in Corfu, I find myself again with the baking bug. Seldom do I pick up a recipe for the first time and have success. I have carried around on my travels a hardback book by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou called ‘How to make Bread’ and had never before made anything from it. I chose the cinnamon rolls recipe for no better reason than I had the right number of eggs and cinnamon in the cupboard. I was so happy with the result I wanted to record it and share if not the taste, then the experience.

My first attempt, the ‘pre ferment’, failed to rise after an hour and I weighed out a second amount. This seemed to double in size after the correct amount of time. The smell of the cinnamon made the process a pure pleasure. I kneaded the dough the requisite five times, then left it for an hour.

My failure with the first dough had lingered but I resisted the ‘useless’ label I was about to give myself. So I was like a mother seeing her child walk for the first time when I saw that the earlier dough did eventually rise. I had left it in its bowl on the radiator and my spirits rose with the dough.

You can almost smell the
cinnamon

It was sheer pleasure then to knock the air out of the dough and lay it on the counter, baste it with beaten egg and sprinkle cinnamon over it.

Rolling it up and cutting it into whirls was easy peasy and fitting them into a floured tin was novel. The idea is that they merge into one another but they are suppose to again double in size, before baking. That was not happening quickly and I was tempted to put them in the oven which I had heated up but I thought fondly of the first batch which just needed time to rise. I turned off the oven and decided to wait. It was in any event the time of day to attend the cafeneion for a little something, given all the kneading and rising time I had devoted to my precious dough.

Back from the local, my patience was rewarded. The whole pan was now tightly packed with cinamonny, sugary rolls.

I lit the oven again and in fifteen minutes exactly, my triumph was complete. They looked great as they were, but better with melted butter basted on top. Not sure if the icing sugar improved the look, but the inside was perfection, if I say so myself, and I will say so because this whole post is a boast. Here’s to lazy, perfect Sundays when the dough rises.

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