So with the baking of #419 Cobb’s Bath Buns I’ve completed the Bread section of the Teatime chapter, and it has been a mixed bag. Looking back over the posts, very few have stuck in my mind; in fact I don’t even remember cooking some of them! I have no recollection of #81 Northumbrian Wholemeal Scones, for example. What is strange is that I seem to score the recipes quite highly. I think it was just the novelty of baking bread creating bias; for the first time my house was being filled with the smell of freshly-baked bread, and I was getting to taste real bread made with fresh yeast. Even if it was a slightly stodgy, under kneaded doorstop.
The totally forgettable Wholemeal Scones
Jane doesn’t give much advice to the total novice and assumes we have an idea of the bread-making process. When she does give advice, it is wrong; for #53 Electric Dough Hook Bread, she advises us to mix the dough only briefly. This does not create a good, fluffy loaf, though I was impressed at the time.
Electric Dough Hook Bread
The real star of the chapter is the #224 Basic Bun Dough recipe which can be used to make #370 Chelsea Buns and (my personal favourite) #370 Chelsea Buns. #104 Wiltshire Lardy Cake piqued my interest and I worked on Jane’s recipe to produce one that works well for me, appearing on a pop-up restaurant menu as part of a dessert. I feel I really need to revisit others of the same ilk such as #227 Wigs and #274 Saffron Cake from Cornwall.
The winning recipe - Chelsea Buns
Recipes that simply do not work are #401 Plum Bread and #419 Cobb’s Bath Buns.
Now you may think I am being critical – perhaps over critical – of my food goddess, but over and above what I think of the recipes within this part of the book, the end result is a chap who can now bake bread, knows what good bread is, and who will never, ever, buy a plastic-wrapped Chorleywood supermarket loaf ever again. Surely this is the point?
Wiltshire Lardy Cake
Here’s the full list of recipes as they appear in the book with their scores. The Bread recipes averaged out with a mean score of 6.9.
#257 Cinnamon Toast 7/10
#239 Rice Bread 8/10
#401 Plum Bread 3/10
#224 Basic Bun Dough 7.5/10
#370 Chelsea Buns 10/10
#237 Hot Cross Buns 9/10
#227 Wigs 6/10
#419 Cobb’s Bath Buns 3.5/10