Waking up this morning, the steady drip of the gutters made me almost think that the house had a tinny heartbeat - the ice and snow is no competition for the stronger warmth of the sunshine. And it's a brilliant sunny day here on the side of Gap Mountain ... the light is perfect for quilting and I have been alllllll about finishing up the binding on a major project. I spent the entire morning with the quilt draped over the dining room table and my needle taking little stitches around the outer edge while I thought a thousand thoughts and hummed along to music on the CD changer. It's amazing how much I got done when I wasn't thinking about just ... how ... many ... stitches it would take to finish the project!
My neck and shoulders, though, finally began stiffening up, so I had to stop. Tomorrow, I thought, you can finish it tomorrow! Then, I went off to make some bread so I could use my shoulder and arm muscles to knead out the stiffness ... am testing a recipe for possible potluck fare at next week's church supper.
... keepin' it simple with soup, bread, and cheese tonight ...
Our little church has started having a series of Lenten suppers for any and all who feel the need to find quiet contemplation and fellowship during this time before Easter. These are simple suppers ... just soups, salads, and bread. Done potluck style, there will be a short reading, a simple grace, and then warm soup and bread and a healthy salad. Small talk, communal clean-up, and then home for a quiet evening. Sounds relaxing and just what we need at this time of year... and it really helps with the cabin fever!
Yes, Nigel's Cider Bread will make one nice boule with a dusting of flour ... it will be perfect torn into warm hunks and handed around the table with soft butter and perhaps a hunk of cheese and some olives. What do you think?
Nigel Slater’s Cider Bread
with some slight adaptations in directions
Makes one 9-inch boule
2 c. spelt flour
2 c. bread flour
1 rounded tsp. Kosher salt
⅔ c. warm milk ( 109° F)
1 generous tsp. honey
1 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
1 c. dry cider (or dry apple wine)
Extra flour for sprinkling on kneading surface and on bowl and loaf
Making the Bread:
- Combine the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together well.
- Add the honey to the warm milk and stir to dissolve.
- Add the yeast to the milk/honey and whisk gently. Let rest for a few minutes.
- Add the milk/yeast mix to the flours with the dry cider and mix to make a shaggy dough.
- Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead for about three minutes. Dough will be sticky.
- Pop back into the mixing bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for an hour and a half.
- Punch down the dough, turn it out to a lightly floured surface and knead for two minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a greased and floured pie pan.
- Cover with the damp towel and let rise for one hour.
- One half hour before bake time, preheat the oven to 475° F
- Dust the top of the loaf with flour.
- Place a pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven.
- Place the bread pan on the rack above the water, spritz some water onto the walls and bottom of the oven and bake for ten minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 375°F and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes.
- Rap the top of the browned loaf …if it sounds hollow, it’s ready to take from the oven.
- Cool the bread before cutting … have it with soft butter and jam or cheese.
This bread took forever to rise, but it turned out beautifully. Cuts beautifully. Dense and with a very moist, soft crumb. It's gonna be a killer bread for toasting in the morning !!!!!
Oh! good morning, Nigel! Great toast and coffee this AM! Thanks for the hint in your cookbook !
... there's that dense crumb ...
... and the peach jam sweetening the deal ...
Got a bread that Nigel swears by? Make it, post it, and share it! I'll link it ...