Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Garden Pea loaves

Garden Pea loaves
'Dalmatian' (left); mashed (right)
After a break for the summer, Dan and I have been inspired to new invention by this week's school science project - a diary of all the bread he eats across 7 days. Well, we couldn't have that and not include a Bread Factory original, could we?

And so ... Garden Pea loaves were born.

I wouldn't say that peas are Dan's favourite green vegetable. That accolade probably goes to cabbage (which made a pretty successful foccaccia), or to green beans with garlic (which I suspect would make a nasty bread) or maybe even to broccoli (which we are emphatically not going to introduce to dough any time soon). But he does like peas very much. As do I. Sweet-succulent little kernels of loveliness that they are.

I wanted to use frozen peas, but wasn't sure whether to mash them or put them still-frozen into the dough - so I did both, of course. I'd planned to make a malted bread but left Dan to measure out the flour while I fannied about with something else and, when I came back, found he had put a perfect 500g of strong white flour into the bowl. So a basic white bread dough it was, to which we added ...

Special ingredient
300g frozen peas, 150g defrosted and mashed; 150g kept frozen
(Or at least these were the intended amounts. It's not what actually happened, as you will soon see.)


Normally, when you read a recipe, you expect the method described to be the best way of making the dish and assume that the writer intended it from the start.

Well, neither of those things are true in this case. The summer break made me stupid in the presence of dough, so that I made a different rookie mistake with each loaf and didn't anticipate either one until the moment when I had to make up for the difficulty I'd created.

Loaf 1 - mashed peas
Things seemed fine at first because I thought we were on safe ground - making a white bread dough to which we would add extra ingredients after the first proving. Of course, I'd forgotten that mashed peas would bring lots of additional water and that, in fact, they should have been added to the original mix, with a reduced amount of water. As it was, I added the mash to the risen and knocked-back dough and had to add a load more flour to counteract the wetness as I shaped the loaf. In the end, I could only get about 80g of the mash to bind into the dough. During the second proving, I kept adding a little flour between the base of the loaf and the baking tray, to stop the bread from sticking, and also gave the top a few additional dustings. When proved, the loaf went into a preheated oven and baked, as usual, for around 30 minutes. Phew!

Mashed (left); 'Dalmatian' (right)

Loaf 2 - frozen peas ('Dalmatian' loaf)
'Dalmatian' (left); mashed (right)
The idea of using frozen peas - which came from our friend Rachel, along with the exciting new kneading technique - was to keep them whole and round during kneading, so that we'd get a loaf with green spots through it. (Hence Dan's announcement that we were making 'Dalmatian bread!')

BUT ... I forgot that adding frozen peas would chill the dough and retard the second proving. That was easily remedied, as I simply left this loaf to prove for about 3/4 of an hour longer than the other one. The real problem was trying to get the darned frozen peas to stay in the dough. They kept popping out and launching themselves across the kitchen or landing under foot. Yet again, I only managed to incorporate around 80g. Phew two!

Dan's thumbometer - double yum
Despite all these problems, the loaves were ... not bad, which just goes to show how forgiving a bread dough can be. And as you can see, Dan has enjoyed them. Both loaves baked well to make a perfectly good white bread and the only disappointment was not enough pea flavour. I hope to remedy this next time by adding 100g of very drained mush to the original dough mix (accompanied by a reduced water content) and then adding another 50g after the first proving so that we get a bit of tasty marbling. Frozen peas will not feature. Will report back on the result - which I guess will turn out to be Green Bread mark 3.