Sunday, 2 February 2014

The New Zealand Bread Book - Simon & Alison Holst

I have been baking lots of bread lately. My goal for this year is to reduce the amount of 'everyday' bread I buy and make as much as possible myself. Not only is it (arguably) healthier and cheaper, but I find it very satisfying to make something from scratch these days.

I recently bought The New Zealand Bread Book by Simon and Alison Holst. This book has almost instantly become one of my favourite things. What I love about the recipes is that they are not only simple to follow, but most can be made either using a breadmaker or by hand. They are specially designed for New Zealand conditions and ingredients. (I understand we have different yeast and flour to overseas, even Australia, meaning that many international recipes don't work so well here.) Some are labelled as good 'timer' breads, meaning they go well in the breadmaker on a delayed timed setting. These are the recipes that I might make during the week, especially in winter so I can look forward to coming home to a the smell of freshly baked bread. Mmmm.

There are tips and photo guides on shaping bread in various ways. I'm planning on baking these recipes during weekends and holidays when I have more time to wait for the whole rising process and can experiment with shaping at a more leisurely pace. The proof dough setting on my oven will be busy this year! There are also 'no knead' recipes and ones that use baking powder (or baking soda) as the rising ingredient - good for weeknights as they require less proofing time, such as Irish soda bread.

These cinnamon swirls were my first attempt at baking from the book. They were delicious and so easy to make. I have since followed them up with a cheesy beer loaf, yoghurt rolls and I have the makings of a beer braid dough whirring in the breadmaker right now. Hopefully it will be ready in time (after I have shaped and proofed it) for a late lunch.

Cinnamon swirls

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