Not too long ago, I wrote about my most recent visit to Avoca, my favourite retail/cafe experience in Ireland. My sister, Beccy, usually does her Christmas shopping there which is behaviour I wholeheartedly encourage. After a conversation we had recently had on the phone I think she, her husband Jools and my nephews and niece, Dillon, Ben and Mollie were inspired to send me the Avoca Café Cookbook as a birthday present. Thank you guys and gals!
The recipe that most grabbed my attention was the White Yeast Bread. It just looked so delicious and light and crumbly and crusty. My mouth watering because of the vision in front of me, I felt utterly compelled to make a couple of loaves as soon as I had a few hours to spare. Years and years had passed since I last made bread by hand. The result, unfortunately, attested to my lack of experience. I have to practice a little more, methinks, before I entertain any ideas of opening Boulangerie de Breach.
I was already at the kneading stage (with a little assistance from the Kitchen Aid) when I realized what I kneeded most was a loaf tin. Luckily my recipe informed me I could make a plaited loaf instead. So I did that, as well as forming the other half into a crusty Bloomer. On the outside, my bread looked good. It was not lacking any salt, and the crust was superb. (How can a crust that requires the glaze to be made from a mixture of egg yolk and cream possibly fail?) The only thing wrong with my bread was its density. I dreamt of light and fluffy but what I created was almost as dense as a brick.
Dearest bread makers amongst my readers, if you have any tips on how to make my next loaf of bread have more feather-like qualities, please do let me know. And if you are going to scold me for having used a packet of dry yeast 8 months past the sell-by-date, instead of the recommended fresh yeast, then so be it...