Saturday 2 January 2010

New Year, New Bread

This Christmas I was lucky enough to be given Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf book. And an excellent book it is too.  Dan was a keen photographer and he then got into baking.  As well as writing all the recipes in the book he also took all of the photographs – and excellent they are too.  A photographer who likes bread baking -  that sounds familiar!

I have been getting a bit bored of the one no-knead dough recipe that I have been using this past year so I fancied a change.  So I tried Dan’s White leaven bread recipe and was pretty impressed.  It is not a short recipe because I needed to make the sourdough starter first and this took 6 days!  And once the starter was ready it took almost all of yesterday to make the bread.  In his book he suggests starting the bread at 8.00AM and baking the bread at 5.30PM.  As yesterday was New Year’s Day the 8.00AM start didn’t happen!  So at approx 11AM I started and had the dough in the oven at about 9.30PM.

Once it came out of the oven approx 30 minutes later it looked like this:

Dan Lepard White Sourdough (1 of 5)

I then left it overnight to cool and sliced it at lunchtime today to make a sandwich.  The crumb was certainly airy with lots of large holes:

Dan Lepard White Sourdough (5 of 5)

Dan Lepard White Sourdough (4 of 5)

And this final photo shows what the sourdough starter (what Dan calls the Natural Leaven) looks like after the 6 days of fermentation and one refreshment:

Dan Lepard White Sourdough (3 of 5) 

So how did the bread taste?  Very nice although it had already started to go a bit stale having been left out for over 12 hours so I don’t think I tasted it under the best conditions.  However, I am encouraged and will try out some more recipes from Dan’s book.

As well as Dan’s book I also spent some vouchers that my Niece Izzy kindly gave me for Christmas on another bread baking book.  This second book is by Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York, the inventor of the no-knead recipe that I have been raving about in the past year.  The book arrived today so I will look forward to trying out some of the recipes. So look out for some more bread photos in the coming weeks and months!


  1. Great pics and wonderful bread, well done!

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