I wanted to do a flour stencil on bread, so I decided to try it on this buttermilk and honey loaf. I sprinkled oats around the edges of the loaf for decoration and added some into the loaf too.
Makes 1 loaf
Difficulty rating **
Prep time: 30 minutes
Rising time: 2 hours
Baking time: 35 minutes
500 g (1 lb 2 oz/31/3 cups) strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
7 g (2 teaspoons) fast-action dried yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) buttermilk
125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) water
45 g (11/2 oz) butter
30 g (1 oz) rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
Milk, for brushing
Stencil of choice
Put the flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, making sure the salt and yeast do not come into contact. Add the honey, buttermilk and water and knead for 4 minutes. Add the butter and oats and continue kneading for a further 2–4 minutes. Alternatively, you can knead by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer.
Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave it to rise slowly overnight in the fridge – alternatively, you can let it rise at room temperature for at least an hour.
In the morning, leave the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Tip out onto a floured worktop and shape it as you wish – I decided to make a round loaf (see figure 1), but you can bake it in a tin if you prefer.
Brush the loaf with milk and place your chosen stencil on top. Sift over some flour. Remove the stencil and use a paintbrush to tidy up the pattern if needed. Sprinkle oats around the edge of the loaf. Place on a baking tray and set aside to prove for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Slash the dough with a blade around the edge – this will stop the loaf from splitting on the top where you have the stencilled pattern. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Recipes and Images from Aimee’s Perfect Bakes by Aimee Twigger (Murdoch Books). You can buy the book here.
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