Wednesday, 25 January 2012

It would be a good thing if being annoyed with a recipe used up all the calories that were in it...

I made another batch of the lovely Dan Lepard’s honey and multiseed bread (or is that Dan Lepard’s lovely honey and multiseed loaf) – double quantities based on the success of the first batch. It turned out just as yummy.
However, if anyone else is feeling inspired, I wanted to flag something very important – a health warning that no recipe book will ever carry, but really should in such cases. Here it is:

This recipe will make you very, very sticky and very, very messy, and also a little bit wound up. You will doubt yourself and the person who wrote the recipe. You will want to add more flour. You may shout at your children when they try to help, and there may be language. But then the bread will be very delicious and you will forget all about it. Until the next time – because there will be a next time because the result was so delicious. And then you will remember all over again.

That last bit is very important. That bit about forgetting. True, when I made this loaf the first time, I wasn’t really concentrating, mainly because I was hoping that I might get a beautifully risen loaf of wholemeal (I was doing 2 different recipes at the same time). I was also trying to make tea. As I re-read the recipe, alarm bells did vaguely ring – the bit that says ‘mix it all into a sticky dough’ (or something like that) – but clearly not loudly enough.

I had it all timed in my head – the various kneadings and restings, but frankly after the first knead the kitchen and I were covered in dough, and the dog had disappeared under the dining room table – usually a place he only frequents when the hoover is out. I think the wetness does improve the finished loaf, but it is a complete pain to work by hand, and I may well resort to the Kenwood next time.
Not quite in the same vein, but it’s another of my irritants which is recipes which seem to be a bit wrong. I think I’ve had a little rant before about recipes which promise that you’ll get so much out of them, only for me to be bitterly disappointed. Well, I discovered another one this evening – Dan, I’m waiting for an apology.
Oat and sour cherry cookies. Well, I didn’t have enough sour cherries, so they ended up being oat, sour cherry, a few dried cranberries and some chocolate chip cookies, but nevertheless, when a recipe promises 50 cookies (“makes 2 batches, each about 25 biscuits” is what it actually says), I’d expect to get at least 45. To be fair, I didn’t bake all of it – I put half the dough into the freezer for next week (ha ha – that is if I remember – more likely I’ll dig it out sometime next year and wonder what on earth it is because I didn’t label it very well), but the recipe definitely says to make the cookies using tablespoonfuls of the dough.

Now, I don’t know if Dan’s tablespoons are smaller than mine, but having scooped out 4 tablespoonfuls, it was quite clear that if I carried on I’d get about 12 cookies at most, so I moved on to dessert spoons. Much more satisfactory. I really must write him a letter and tell him about these little amendments he needs to make to his book, but Dan, if you did ever get to read this, I’ll admit that they are delicious!

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