Wednesday 28 October 2009

Fresh from the oven - Edible bread bowls and focaccia

A while ago, Jules over at Domestic Goddess in Training mentioned that the baking group she is part of were looking for new members. I have started to really enjoy making my own bread, as followers of this blog will realise by now! but I wanted something to push me out of my comfort zone (T take note!) and joining a baking group seemed like a good way to do it so I jumped at the chance! I am now a member of Fresh from the Oven.

My first challenge was hosted by Corry of Bake It Off and was to make edible bread bowls, based on a recipe by Richard Bertinet and published in his book 'Dough'. I actually have this book, and have opened it and admired the lovely photography and creative ideas many times but had only baked once from it (a plain white loaf if I recall correctly), so I was really pleased to get another chance using a different recipe. Edible bread bowls sound like a nice idea, but I wasn't honestly sure how well I could get them to work, and my fears were well founded. The dough came together well, and was easy to work. I have a confession to make though, I'm afraid that I have tried Richard Bertinet's method of working dough in the past and found it messy with the dough being sticky and difficult to work, and I didn't find that the dough became smooth and pliable, remaining obstinately sticky when I tried in spite of watching the very helpful DVD that came with the book (and can be found here online - he is making a sweet dough in the video, but the technique is applicable to all dough) so I defaulted to my chosen Dan Lepard technique for the dough, which worked perfectly.

I had difficulty in shaping the dough around the bowls and found that the edge ended up significantly thicker than the base, which is annoying if you're planning to pour soup into it - the base needs to be strong and thick, not thin and weak! I think that resting the dough for a little after knocking the air out of it might help for the future. So my bowls were never graced with soup, I have to admit that I broke them up and used them as chunky croutons, which worked really well! The other problem I encountered was that the insides of the bowl were very pale in comparison to the exterior, as you can see by comparing the photos above and below. I'm not really sure how to recify this though.

I'm sure other people will have made much more successful attempts at this great idea than me though, so check out the round up over at the Fresh From The Oven blog for better pictures and more inspiration.

However, one of the benefits of owning this lovely book was that I could look at the original recipe. The book is divided into four main sections, covering four doughs - white, olive (used for this challenge), brown and rye. At the start of each section is an inspiring double page photographic spread of all the breads Bertinet will show you how to make with that particular dough. In the olive dough section are tempting delights such as pizza, pancetta and mixed olive bread and ciabatta, along with one of my favourites, rock salt and rosemary focaccia. How could I resist using some of my dough to make one of these lovely breads? Well, I couldn't and it was much more successful than the bread bowls!

I used dried rosemary I as find fresh tends to burn, and I thouroughly enjoyed this focaccia. The texture of the dough was superb - moist and tender and just slightly chewy, just the way I like my focaccia. A perfect accompaniment to a risotto or a lovely bowl of soup - enjoy!


Corry said...

C. Thanks for doing the challenge. At least the bread is edible if the bowls don't turn out. I don't think I'll make them in a hurry again but I had fun doing it once.

My bowls were also pale on the inside. Once they are removed from the bowls that you cook them in, put them back into the oven for a few minutes and the insides will brown up.

Anne said...

I didn't manage to make my bowls on time for the challenge, hoping to make them soon but quite wary! Will have to be careful when making..

The foccacia looks fab though!

Jules said...

Glad you enjoyed this months challenge. Shame they didn't work as bowls, but it sounds like they made great croutons.

The focaccia looks great. This is one of my favourite breads.

Chele said...

Welcome to the ganag ;0)

I found the dough a bit different to work with too - defo on the sticky side! But the concept was good fun!

See you next month ;0)

The Caked Crusader said...

Edible bowls? I'm all for that..more things should be edible.

Jennifer Farnell said...

I had the exact same problem, the dough was so much thicker around the top edges of the bowl than in the middle. I must have spent 5 minutes on each bowl trying to pat out the air pockets and get the thickness right.

And, just like you, I used half the dough for some of the other recipes from the book in the same section :)


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