Sunday, May 19, 2013

Victoria Bread

In the end we're all Jerry Springer Show guests, really, we just haven't been on the show. – Marilyn Manson 

A welcome sight for guests in the morning. Warm Bread. Bring on the butter!

This bread is named in honour of the long weekend, Queen Victoria and house guests.

We had a fantastic visit this weekend – a friend from Dartmouth and her dog. So I guess you could say that Henry had company this weekend too.

In the evening before bedtime.
Company is nice. We’re really glad that they came. We hadn't seen them since we moved from the city. What we’re not so glad about was the lack of cooperation from the weather. After what seems like a two-week stretch of really warm weather, well, yesterday sucked.

We were lucky if it got above 10°C all day. Couple that with the wind – cold wind – and it made for a not too glorious Saturday. Did I say the wind was cold...?

When the going gets tough...
The tough go shopping. We made the best of yesterday. We went plant shopping. We hit up the usual spots plus a new one – Indian Gardens in Hebbville. It is celebrating 150 years in operation. They have extensive-looking orchards. It’s quite a business. I'm amazed I had never been there before.

Besides the usual plants and hanging baskets they also had many fruit and veggie starters, and a produce store. We picked up several veggies to plant: eggplant, kale, pink and yellow tomatoes. All interesting, and hopefully they will grow well for us.

In the morning.
But back to the bread. If you’re going to get up and go out into the cold to windy garden centres you need something homey for breakfast. That’s where this recipe comes in.

I don’t know how often I’ve told you how easy it is to make bread. Many of my recipes remove two of the most “worrisome” aspects that make bread making a frightening activity for many novice cooks: proofing the yeast and kneading.

How easy is it?
Easy. You literally throw everything together in a bowl about 9pm, mix it and forget it until the next morning. A brief kneading and shaping and you’re ready to go.

I’m up early, usually at 6am, so my bread was out of the oven by 8am.

This loaf uses unbleached white flour and red fife flour. I’ve written about red fife before. It is a red tinged whole wheat that has direct ties to Canada’s early years. It was the wheat that went with the white settlers as they opened up the West during Victorian times.

After shaping and 45 minutes. Very responsive.
The red fife adds a little nutrition that is lacking in the processed white flour. It also adds an interesting colour. As soon as it's wet you instantly understand why its name has "red" in it.

This is very much a country-style loaf. Feel free to use any combination of flours. Just remember that low gluten flour won't have the rising ability of white. So if you're tolerant of wheat use at least 2 cups of white.

Memories are a web of tastes and smells. There’s really nothing that makes a guest’s visit more memorable than something delicious fresh from the oven. Especially at breakfast time.

If you like the idea of the aroma of baking bread filling your house on a long weekend morning you should try this recipe. It’s dead simple and really, really easy. The result speaks for itself.

Victoria Bread
Prep: overnight + 1 hour  |  Bake 35 min  |  Yield 1 loaf
3 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup red fife flour
1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm (110°F) water

Mix together all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Knead briefly if you can (it will be very wet). Let sit, covered with plastic wrap and a towel, overnight.

In the morning, remove the bubbly dough to a slightly floured board. Knead for about a minute or two. 

Shape the dough into an oblong by flattening it and then tucking it over itself. (Kind of like rolling a towel.) You should have a loaf about 10” long.

Place on a floured baking sheet, sprinkle the top generously with a little red fife,  and let rise again for 45 min (until about doubled). 

Preheat the oven to 425°F with a pan of water on the bottom rack.

Once the loaf has risen, slash the top with 3 diagonal lines about 1/2” deep. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the water and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Remove the loaf and let cool slightly before cutting.


You know, I really like comments... I really do.

Questions? Comments? Derogatory remarks? Just ask! I’ll answer quickly and as best as I can. If you like this post feel free to share it. If you repost, please give me credit and a link back to this site.

No comments:

Post a Comment