For this week’s Short and Tweet challenge, we were given a plethora of picnic breads from Dan Lepard’s “Short and Sweet” to choose from. As my store cupboard overfloweth at the moment, I am currently on a bit of a ‘use up’ mission. Therefore I was pretty chuffed to find that I could make both the soya and linseed loaf and the ominous sounding black bread with just the purchase of a carton of soya milk and a single carrot.
I think I have got a bit blasé about making bread ‘the Dan Lepard way’ and as a result, I wasn’t really concentrating when I made the soya and linseed loaf. I had an epic brain fail and lost track of how many times I had done the kneading and resting thing so as a result, I think I might have pummelled the bread more than was necessary. I also figured that the instruction to “leave until risen in size by half” (which I always take to mean “leave about an hour”) would coincide with a good time to walk the dog. However, I forgot to take notice of the time so when I got back, I just chucked it in the oven anyway.
In hindsight, I probably didn’t leave the dough to rise long enough as the crumb was a little tight once baked and not quite as “soft and moist” as Dan says it should be. However, it was quite a handsome looking loaf and I loved the addition of the linseeds and oats. I shouldn’t really eat bread as (without giving too much unwanted information) it messes with my IBS something crazy but with the added fibre in this loaf, I could kid myself it was doing me good. It also got the thumbs-up from the OH who said it made “good butties” the next day (that translates as “sandwiches” for us southern softies).
Now on to the black bread. Sorry Dan, but I have to say that the recipe sounded pretty disgusting, containing as it does cocoa powder, coffee, black treacle, fennel seeds and grated carrot. But of course, the perverse part of me had to bake it just to find out how all those ingredients work together. If you are going to make this bread, I strongly urge you to read the recipe thoroughly before you start as sneaky Dan has hidden lots of extra stages of heating and cooling which means it takes AGES. I misread the instructions when it got to the resting part as I thought I was looking for the dough to double in volume. It was only after an hour and a quarter with not much doing that I realised it was only meant to increase in size by half. Oops!
The resulting loaf was certainly no looker. I don’t think the pale sesame seeds really worked with the darkness of the bread and next time, I would go for a simple dusting of flour. As to the flavour, I reckon this is one of those breads that will divide opinion. All those random ingredients come together to create a loaf with a deep, complex flavour that is very far removed from your everyday sandwich loaf. Me and the OH both enjoyed it and it was also still good and moist the next day. In fact, I am enjoying a hunk of left over black bread and a mug of homemade soup as I type. I am not sure that black bread will be a regular at my table but if you are looking for something a little different, this certainly delivers.