Having failed to try a new recipe or bake any bread in March I was delighted that April turned into reasonable month of baking.
I started the month with Parsnip and Nutmeg bread, a recipe from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Bread Machine Baking. The smell of this baking had The Railway Modeller thinking I was making some comforting pudding, I think he was disappointed to learn the truth. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to eat this bread with, it was tasty but didn’t lend itself easily to sandwiches or toast; eventually I found it’s perfect partner, a hearty root vegetable soup. Slicing was also a challenge, it was just too soft and springy. I’m glad I tried it but to be honest it’s not a loaf I’m likely to bake again.
My next loaf was more experimental. I read through a few different recipes for loaves using the Italian bread setting on my machine but nothing jumped out at me saying “bake me next”. So I took the ratios of basic ingredients, added some extras of my own choosing and baked a sun-dried tomato and garden herb loaf. As well as chopped sun-dried tomatoes I included two generous teaspoons of sun-dried tomato cream giving me a richly orange loaf which was as beautiful as it was tasty.
Loaf three of the month was just a quick white loaf, as I’d forgotten to buy sandwich bread for The Railway Modeller. This didn’t quite scupper my plan of making a different loaf every time I bake this year, as I hadn’t baked this since late last year, but it came close.
We’ve hit the time of year when the yoghurt I like for my breakfast becomes temporarily unavailable, so loaf four was baked with toast in mind. Half strong white flour and half wholemeal spelt, this was a three seed loaf with sesame, pumpkin and sunflower. I borrowed the seed quantities from a recipe in the bread machine’s handbook for a seeded wholemeal loaf, I should have used more. This was a loaf which started to stale quite quickly, but being destined for toast that didn’t matter too much.
The wickedly indulgent creation in the photograph was my last bit of April baking. Perhaps not the most neatly presented Black Forest Gateaux, I discovered my spatula had a split in it so did my best to spread cream with the back of a spoon and a butter knife (I also discovered that grating chocolate makes more mess than I could have ever imagined), but lovingly made as a birthday cake for someone who once told me that their two favourite puddings are Lemon Meringue Pie and Black Forest Gateaux. This was my ‘new’ recipe for the month but I did deviate a little from the recipe as written. I only made two of the three cake layers and used half the recommended cream as I felt that it would be a lot of cake for two of us to eat quickly enough if I made it full sized, even my small version was generous for two people to eat in four days. I also used frozen cherries instead of tinned, simply because they taste fresher.