Monday, 18 August 2014

Lemon Honey Bread

So it was Sunday again and time for me to decide on my weekly breakfast. I was bored of all the healthy wholewheat goodies I have had in the previous weeks (sometimes, too many health food tend to mull down their worth) and wanted to try something regular yet interesting. I was curious about adding lemon in breads and was quite surprised to find out from Google that Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a very good dough conditioner and results in a very soft and moist crumb. I set about to experiment this new ingredient in my weekly bake and the results are for all to see!! 

3 cups all purpose flour (use 2 1/2 first and then add as required)
2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tbsp honey
200 ml warm water (a drop of the water on the back of your wrist should feel comfortable)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon rind
1/2 tsp salt
50 ml milk at room temperature
1 tbsp room temperature butter plus more for greasing
1 tsp vital wheat gluten/bread improver (optional)

Dissolve the honey and warm water and add the yeast. Give a good stir and let it stand for 10 minutes. The yeast should become foamy and frothy and the liquid almost doubled in volume. 
Mix the flour, salt and bread improver (if using) and make a well in the center. Pour the yeasty liquid and start mixing with a spatula, moving in a single direction. Once the flour starts coming together, add the butter and lemon juice and start kneading the dough. Add the milk little at a time as required. Add some extra flour little at a time as required while kneading. You may also grease your hands in between with butter if it gets too sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and continue kneading for 10 minutes. The dough should be non-sticky but soft, smooth and elastic. Grease the dough from outside and loosely wrap in a clingfilm. Put it back in the bowl and keep it in a warm place (I keep in the microwave) and let it rise until doubled, about 1-1.5 hours. 
Now take the dough out and punch it down in a lightly floured surface to release the gasses. Line a large loaf tin with parchment paper. Shape the dough into a rectangular log and place it in the prepared loaf tin. Cover and put it back in the warm place for the second rise until doubled, about 1 hour. 
Pre-heat the oven at 200 degree celsius and keep a pan of warm water inside in order to form steam. Sprinkle some sesame or flaxseeds on top of the dough and gently brush the top with room tempetature milk. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden, sounds hollow when tapped on the top and the internal temperature of the bread is between 90-100 degree celsius. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to a wire rack. Let it cool completely before slicing. 



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