Baking afternoon

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It’s been a really busy month at work, it’s made me appreciate my free time even more and really realise that when I do have free time, if I want to do more than just sit round checking my Twitter or playing Plants vs Zombies, I need to actively decide what I’m going to do. That’s not to say I can’t change my mind, I had envisioned a sewing day today but when faced with a messy kitchen and the knowledge that I really needed to tidy it up before I started sewing, I decided I might as well spend all afternoon in there, cleaning up because I’m about to start making something nice or tidying up because I’ve got some spare moments whilst something proves or bakes, is much much nicer than just clearing away the remains of breakfast and yesterday’s tea. Besides I needed to make a start on the Christmas cake, a Mary Berry recipe this year (you can find it on the BBC website). The below will be sitting soaking in my kitchen for three days.

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This and the very yummy biscuits above (oat and raisin cookies from a Rachel Allen book, me being thrifty, using up some of the remaining raisins from the packet bought for the Christmas cake), were all done whilst the below was going through more than the usual (in my experience) proving stages.

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It’s the wholemeal bread from James Morton’s book, I think due to the wholemeal-ness of the bread, there were more (but often shorter) proving steps, Morton writes about how this improves the gluten strands or something because otherwise the wholemeal bits get in the way. Well it seems to have worked because the resulting bread has a lovely crisp crust (helped I think by taking the loaf out of the tin half way through cooking time) and a lovely soft, airy interior. It could have been more wholemeal, I like my bread being properly brown and this loafs is about 3/5 wholemeal, 2/5 plain white, but I imagine maybe the resulting loaf, if all wholemeal, would be a lot more dense.

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