Monday, 21 March 2011

Crown Loaf

Recipe Number Eleven: Page 286.

Mmmmm, bread, hard not to love it! The smell of freshly baking bread wafting from the oven is hard to beat. I decided to make bread as it is something we could incorporate into the day and not feel guilty about eating it! As I'd made a cooked lunch we thought the Crown Loaf would go well with tomato soup for tea.

I used to make loaves of bread quite a bit, but it is probably ten years since I made any bread. I can't believe it! I have never made a Crown Loaf and the picture in Mary Berry's book looked quite appealing.

Instead of reaching for a loaf tin, I was to use a sandwich tin, of which I have plenty. It must be becoming apparent that I have a mind like a sieve, so it will probably come as no surprise that the butter was still sitting patiently in the fridge. But hallelujah! It didn't matter as I needed melted butter! A snag I hadn't anticipated was that the measuring jug had missed the washing up and still had some gravy in it from lunch - nice. Neil called out and suggested I use one of our baby boy’s milk bottles, genius! So lazily I used this to measure the water instead of perhaps the more sensible option of just washing up the jug!! All the ingredients went straight into a bowl. I combined it all together with my hands and got into a right old mess, but quite enjoyed it. We have a bread machine but it was quite nice to knead the dough myself instead of letting the machine take the strain. The mixture started off quite sticky and I had to put quite a bit of flour onto the worktop. However, after about three minutes of kneading, the dough had become smooth and elastic. I had forgotten how satisfying it is to push and pull at the dough. It really is therapeutic. Just pretend it is a nasty old school teacher or love rat!!

The well pummelled dough was put into a large bowl, which I tightly wrapped in cling film and put in the airing cupboard, I hoped for it to double in size. This should take about an hour and a half. This gives just time to drink a cup of tea and sit down and entertain a small child. After the allotted time, I anxiously peeked inside the airing cupboard and was relieved to see that the dough had indeed doubled and was now about the size of a football. Neil was suitably impressed, but his face soon changed to disappointment as I put my hand into the bowl and pulled the dough out. With one touch it collapsed. I reassured Neil that this was perfectly normal! I had to knock it back for a few minutes. I hardly needed any flour this time as the dough was so smooth, it was really easy to work with and I could feel the air bubbles popping. I had to separate the dough into twelve pieces and put them into the sandwich tin. I then put it back into the airing cupboard for half an hour. When I went back to retrieve the tin, the contents was almost spilling over the edges. Neil was particularly pleased by this! In the oven it went. It looked well cooked after the suggested 20-25 minutes. However, when I took the Crown Loaf out of the tin, I tapped it on the bottom and it didn't sound hollow. (I remember doing this when I made loaves). I turned it over in the tin, bottom side up and gave it another five minutes. After this it sounded hollow, so I presumed that it was cooked.

When I pulled the loaf apart it separated into little rolls, perfect for soup. The edges were all lovely and crunchy, while inside the texture was soft and light. Little piggies that we are we ate the WHOLE Crown Loaf between us! I think that was a mistake as I felt uncomfortably full for some time!
More like a hedgehog than a crown!


  1. Looks great to me. Delicious with butter and soup.

  2. Thank you. It was scrummy, if I do say so myself :-)