Baking bread in lockdown

Baking bread in lockdown post image

It’s a strange time to be a baker. Our isolation encourages a regression to more basic needs, more elemental things. We remember, slowly remember, some of the things we used to do, the way things used to be. Necessity is a great leveler and an excellent coach, and the sudden resurgence of people discovering the [...]

Food & drink

Pasteis de Nata, or Portuguese custard tarts

Pasteis de Nata, or Portuguese custard tarts post image

These little custard tarts present something of a problem. They’re best cooked very quickly, at very high temperatures, so that the top and the edges scorch in an attractive way. That means that ordinary ovens probably aren’t going to cut it, but that pizza oven out in my back garden might just. That thing is [...]

Food & drink

Scandinavian cinnamon and cardamom buns

Scandinavian cinnamon and cardamom buns post image

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a book, a massive seven hundred and sixty-seven page hulk of a book about Nordic food, perhaps unimaginatively entitled The Nordic Cookbook. My short review is that it’s well worth thirty quid of anybody’s money, and this is the first thing I’ve cooked from it and also one [...]

Books, Food & drink

All the water, all the yeast, half the flour

Bread dough pre fermentation

I’ve been making bread for a long time, mainly using a simple recipe that I know by heart. It’s very straightforward – a kilo of flour, 600ml of water, 20g of salt and 10g of yeast. It makes an unpretentious, dependable loaf, but has the flexibility to take on new forms. Substituting half the flour [...]

Food politics

Swedish cinnamon rolls

Swedish Cinnamon rolls

A few years’ ago, I did a one-day crash course in baking all things French and croissant related at the wonderful Handmade Bakery in Slaithwaite. It was a lot of fun, and the batch of croissants I came away with were the best I’ve ever managed, mainly because of the expert guidance on hand to [...]

Food & drink