I’m in my kitchen this chilly March with an electric heating pad, and four miniature ceramic loaf pans that each hold 250g dough. I can’t promise that I won’t be back again this month with more; March is still young, and Celia’s monthly feature at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial is so much fun.
THE HEATING PAD BREAD TRICK:
I first read about the heating pad trick on the internet, natch, and couldn’t wait to see if it worked. My worktops are granite, and in the winter they are extremely cold because of the large windows in the kitchen and lack of direct sunlight to warm them the surfaces. Setting a filled loaf pan on a heating pad to encourage the dough to rise seemed like a good idea, and I couldn’t wait to try it. The result? It works! Really, truly works. The medium setting was a bit too high, so I turned it down to low, and within 45-minutes the dough (500g) had nearly doubled in size. A few days later I tried it with the ceramic pans, too. Success there, also.
MINIATURE CERAMIC LOAF PANS
I bought these mini ceramic pans at Lakeland. I’d been salivating my way through their iPad catalogues and spotted them. They’re cute; petite; beige earthenware colour. One concern was that you must bake the bread in them from cold – so no preheating the oven because the suddenly temperature difference will crack the pans (so warns the instructions). You flour the internal surface as the method of release from the pan. I didn’t trust it entirely on the first go, so I used parchment paper.
The bread baked fine from a cold oven and released from the pan without problem. A few days later I tried baking soda bread in them without parchment paper, just floured the surfaces and plopped the sticky dough in the cold pans. No problems! Baked and released just fine. They are wonderful for single servings of bread with dinner.
And from my kitchen window, I’m enjoying this bright and cheery vision of early March flowers in my garden.
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