Bread is one of those things that is still slightly mysterious to me. I don’t find kneading relaxing, I’ve never got to know the exact change in texture when dough is just ready, and who knows whether a loaf is over or under proofed. But when bread from scratch goes well it feels like crazy yeast-based magic. This means I tackled bread week on The Great British Bake Off with equal parts excitement and trepidation.
My first attempt went wrong. Badly, badly wrong. I melted rather than softening the butter and just mixed it in anyway – massive mistake. It took ages to rise and then collapsed during the second proof. The loaf turned out more like a dough puddle than two balls with a finger hole through them. Bread disaster.
In true bake off spirit, I decided to remake it. The second attempt was pretty wonky, but it was at least recognisably a Cottage Loaf. And the crumb was pretty good. That said, it’s a very impractical shape for anything other than dunking in soup. Does Cottage Loaf fit in a standard toaster? I think you will find it does not.
Overall this wasn’t the best week for me, but it has reminded me that to get good at bread, I need to make bread more often, so we can all look forward to that!