I was super organised this week. Per my post last week I had already decided on what bread I would make, Ottolenghi’s Crusty White Italian Loaf. I would whip it up on Saturday and then commence the promised judging to determine a winner in the battle on the white loaves. I was quietly confident that a loaf with the dual commendations of being ‘Italian’ and from Ottolenghi was a shoe-in.
Eagle-eyed readers may be feeling confused. The context and the promise are all about this fabled Crusty White Italian Loaf, but the title clearly reads ‘Turkish Bread’. Surely, these fastidious readers are thinking to themselves, surely Rachel isn’t so clueless that she has muddled up a fancy Italian loaf with a rustic Turkish bread.
Well. I tried to make the fancy European bread. I started it late on Friday night. Maitland asked “do you really have to do that now? It’s 10pm”, but I had all the answers ready “it has to rest for 15 hours! And the prep only takes 7 minutes”.
The prep did not take 7 minutes.
I put all my ingredients for the ‘biga’ (Italian version of a starter, prepped the night before baking) in my machine, fitted with dough hook, as instructed. I turned on my machine, fitted with dough hook, as instructed. I mixed my ingredients for the biga for 7 minutes on a low speed in my machine, fitted with dough hook, as instructed. And where a tight smooth ball of dough should have been, instead there was:
So I mixed for 7 more minutes. And then there was:
I was feeling tired and angry at this point. I felt a bit like both Ottolenghi and the Italian people as a whole were mocking me and I also wanted to go to sleep. So I turfed the crumbly dough out into a bowl and decided to give it 15 hours to turn itself into the biga it was supposed to be.
It did not use that time wisely. When I came to inspect the bowl the next day, the biga had not changed at all. Instead of doubling in size as a ball of dough it had remained a crumbly unhelpful lump. I cursed it under my breath and then took back the power and threw it in the bin.
The whole exercise was vexing me. First off, I had promised my readers a white-bread bake-off and I was going to disappoint them. Secondly, I had wasted a bunch of time on this unsuccessful bread and didn’t quite have a full blog to show for it. Thirdly, I felt a lot more like baking something delicious and sugary then I felt like baking another dumb bread, which is quite a problem when you remember that this is a weekly bread blog.
So, I made this cake.
It’s from Ottolenghi’s Sweet book which was my extremely subtle way of protesting his Ottolenghi book and the way it had let me down. It’s hazelnut and chocolate and very nice and also completely antithetical to my goal of ‘getting into the best shape of my life for my 30th’ and not overly supportive of my less specific goal to ‘save money’.
I also made this Turkish Bread.
I’m not writing out the recipe because I just lifted it straight from here and also I think it needs more salt. It’s ok. It would look better if I actually had the nigella seeds that the recipe calls for. Instead I have basically every other spice ever created.
Also, while I’m bagging the bread, it’s kind of thin. All I want is to make a fluffy white bread and all I seem to do is make things that aren’t. Back to the grindstone next week, I guess.
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