Bertinet, Dough

Why you need a credit card in the kitchen

Vicky asked me to make a contribution as a guest blogger so here goes!

If you’ve never made bread before you don’t know what you’re missing and here’s why;

Firstly, it’s surprisingly cheap as well as being much better for you than most mass-produced breads you buy at the supermarket (don’t lie, you know you do). But, most importantly, it’s much more fun than you’d think and it’s even more fun making it with Vicky. Yes, she may be slightly odd at times but she knows two things like the back of her hand, one being cheese and the other, bread. So naturally, during a brief visit to Court Close, aka the best bakery in North Wraxall, I offered to help out a bit. I even got to wear an apron.

After being handed a pile of dough (ok, I lied a bit, I technically didn’t make anything seeing Vicky actually made the dough but no one needs to know this) and given some instructions I was pretty much left to my own devices. What was most interesting is the radical differences between textures. The rolls were much firmer than the focaccia for instance, meaning the actual shaping and kneading of the latter is a little bit harder but if I managed it’s safe to say it can’t be that hard to do. You also acquire the dough shaping technique quickly. That being said, it is a little tricky turning the dough inside out at first but I eventually got the hang of it thanks to Vicky’s credit card – yes, it must be true, one cannot live without a credit card in this day and age- and after a short while in the oven my little poppy seed rolls were finished. What’s more, I am pleased to say they were actually sold at Vicky’s market the next day. Hopefully no one will come back to complain…

All in all it was much more fun than I’d have thought and strangely satisfying.

Sophie the Pearl.

Vicky Writes: Why the credit card? Simples! Make a flattened disc of dough and with the short end of a credit card (clean of course, platinum is best though gold will do…) make a vertical cut through the centre of the dough. This should reach almost but not quite to the edge of the disc of dough. The next two cuts should be diagonals across the vertical cut. Very carefully lift the dough from the work top and push the centre of the cut up from below and turn the disc of dough inside out. You end up with a star shape with a central hole. Allow to prove and just before baking, brush with water and dust with poppy seeds. Richard Bertinet has a great description of this technique, with pictures, in his book
Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread on page 107.

Well done Sophie. It was a pleasure having you in the kitchen.