Adventures in bread-making

This month’s Gourmet has a feature on DIY burgers, and when they say DIY they mean it: everything from the burger to the mustard and ketchup. The recipe for burger rolls looks great, but yields 18 rolls. Even halving the recipe is too much for just M and I this weekend, so that one is mentally noted for a bigger barbecue weekend. My fingers wandered along my self of cookbooks to Baker & Spice’s Exceptional breads, as they often do when I’m in the mood for bread-making.

Being the organised (aka obsessively plan and list-mad) cook I am, I’d mentally mapped out what food we’d be eating over the weekend while cycling up to Highbury Barn this morning, so I knew pizza was going to be lunch today or tomorrow. So I thought a half-batch of foccaccia would do double-duty as burger-carrier today, and pizza base tomorrow.

So I started with making what the book calls the sponge: half the recipe’s flour, yeast and warm water. Left for two hours, it does indeed look quite spongey.

This is mixed in with the rest of the flour, a little olive oil, what always feels like a lot of salt and a wee bit of sugar. 7 low-speed minute and 1 rattling-around-the-worktop-high-speed with the kMix and it looked like this:

Hmm, not quite “an elastic dough that is resilient to the push of a finger”. So I added more flour, mixed a bit more, added a bit more flour, mixed again and it came together much more to my liking.

Brushed with olive oil and it was off for another two-hour rest in the warm garden. Oh, for the life of bread dough.

After its leisurely two-hour sunbathe, the dough was divided in two and flattened out, after some flattening into a rectangle, and folding itself into three as the book describes…I think. Not quite sure how to fold something in three.

A further hour of resting followed….didn’t quite appreciate how long this recipe took when I read it this morning. Didn’t calculate that all this resting would turn into such a long process.

The dough on the right is now in the fridge where I hope it’ll keep fine until tomorrow’s pizza lunch. The left dough was poked, drizzled with oil and then salt and rosemary sprinkled on top.

After 10 mins on 250c, and 15 on 200c, this is what we got.

Quite hard on the outside, maybe a bit harder than I would have liked? But with the best burger ever (completely plain minced beef from our local butcher Frank Godfrey, lightly seasoned on the outside and grilled on the barbecue) wedged inside, and those delicious meaty resting juices dripping through……

Burger perfection.

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