A friend took pity on my inability to cope with small annoyances, and she sent me the hardback version of Dan Lepard’s “Short and Sweet”. I’ve not been able to keep my hands off it. I love books. I love my iPad but without doubt I do love books more. So I undertook my own Twitter #shortandtweet challenge this weekend, and selected the 2nd recipe in the book. The first one is Dan’s Easy White Bread, which is a good loaf that I bake often. The 2nd recipe brought back memories of childhood.
When I was a kid, I walked a mile each way to and from school. It was no easy walk – I was raised where the weather inspired the location for the Twilight series. Our toes were webbed and our skin often wrinkled like raisins from the rain and fog. Walking to school the rain lashed your face, and walking home it trickled down your neck. But not everything was soggy and limp on my daily walk toward higher education. Leaning against the trunk of a Douglas fir tree just a few metres to the left of the sidewalk was a man who wore a long beige raincoat. As my school chums and I walked by, he’d spread open his coat and stand tall into the wind and horizontal-driving rain. It all reminded me of Superman, the way he’d peel away his clothing to reveal a surprising big letter S underneath. This guy under the Douglas fir tree didn’t wear a superman suit. He didn’t wear anything. I often thought that guy must have been impervious to the cold and wet. Heck, maybe he was superman. I told me parents about the Douglas fir tree man. My mother said don’t look at him, which of course meant that I just had to because that’s the way my brain works. My father said he was flasher. “Flashing what?” I asked. I remember that my dad just looked down his nose at me and very wisely said, “Nothing it seems.” I could only recall that the Douglas fir tree man was all beige colour, his coat and chest. You see, the moral here is you have to be choosy about your target audience. If they don’t know where to look, then it’s all a bit of a limp, damp squib. Or squid or something like that, and the iPad version of “Short and Sweet” left me looking high and low for what I needed to find.
But there’s nothing limp nor beige about Dan’s Flash Loaf, and he’s certainly targeted a large audience with this recipe. It rises to the occasion thanks to a lot of yeast, easy to slash, and the crust is hard and crumb is moist and open. This loaf turned out much better than the wholemeal loaf I baked last week. I did however chuck it back into the oven for another 10-minutes (for a total baking time of 55-minutes) because the crumb was tooooo moist. The addition of grated potato keeps it tender and moist. I also used a combination of strong white flour (as per the recipe) with an added combo of 75/25% wholemeal/rye flour rather than one or the other. My husband likes the strong flavour of that combination. It’s possible that its protein percentage meant less liquid was absorbed into the flour. Not a problem though, as I just baked it a bit longer.
The only change I might make in the future is to shape it as an oblong loaf rather than a boule. I’m thinking it will bake faster as an oblong. And here’s the crumb shot. Well, sort of. I couldn’t squat down very far because my knee still isn’t 100% but I’m sure that you’ll get the picture.