Over at Arghh, Matt’s been baking bread, although he doesn’t say whether he wore a gingham apron for this process as is traditional. At least, my mother always thought it traditional unlike, say, gobbing in the dough while it was rising, which she was quick to reassure me was not at all part of the centuries-old breadmaking recipe.
I too tried to bake homemade bread a few weeks ago, using a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s normally reliable How to be a domestic goddess (which, if you eat everything she suggests, should really be called How to be a thirty stone barrage balloon), and it is this which prompts me to issue a warning. Do not use the tablespoon of salt that Nigella lists in the ingredients. Yes, yes, I know experienced breadmakers amongst you are muttering, “A tablespoon! That’s ridiculous. What kind of howling baboon puts that much salt in bread dough?!” It’s not my fault. I’d never made bread before. The recipe said “1 tablespoon of salt”, so I carefully measured out this mini-Everest of sodium chloride and merrily threw it in. If she’d said “Dump two sacks of raw salt from the local salt mine into a large bin and mix well”, I’d probably have done that. It didn’t help that Nigella also suggests using warm water with a spoonful of instant mash too - that’s instant mash with added salt. Yes of course, if you’re one of those pathetic wusses who reads the entire section in full before starting, thus noticing the bit about not adding so much salt if you use potato water, rather than plunging straight in while panting for the sweet but subsequently extremely salty taste of homemade bread, you would be forewarned. But life is short, particularly when you have a heart attack due to excess salt in your bloodstream.
Needless to say, the results were … well, my lips are shrinking and puckering into a tiny hole as I think about it. Suffice to say, I was able to de-ice the driveway and most of the street without the aid of a shovel, by simply running around screaming, “Get me a drink!!!!”
- The Graun tries a few recipes.