At last the truth about Niela’s Buttocks.

How on earth did a loaf of really tasty bread end up with such an usual name? I can assure you this isn’t the name given to this bread by Dan Lepard;  it is after all, his milk loaf that provides the inspiration for this loaf.

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Niela's Buttocks!!

Are you sitting comfortably? Well, let’s begin.
I am, the day is rather overcast, but the view and the cappuccino are excellent.

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Having a coffee at Fjaro café bar

My youngest son has been helping out and then working for Nielanell, at her knightwear studio in Hoswick, for about six or seven years. I have hopefully helped to instill in him a love of food, whether it’s a healthy or unhealthy interest I don’t feel able to comment on. However; I’ve seen a jar of chocolate or cookie spread disappear with frightening haste, how he is not the size of a a brick kludgey I don’t know. As usual, I digress. At less than busy times or at the end of a particularly tiring day, when their batteries need recharging, talk turns to food. Niela has been entertained, any one who has met Samuel will be able to confirm that he can be very entertaining. There has been chatter about chips; musings about macadamia macaroons and banter about bread. I’m sorry but I’m a sucker for alliteration.

A change of location, yet another café.

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Why worry if the skies are gray... So let's have another coffee.

Breadmaking is an absolute passion and there is usually a lump of dough lurking somewhere in the kitchen. To cut a long story short, I’m also a sucker for sneaking song titles or well known phrases into my writing as well. I digress! Not being blessed with the worlds largest freezer Niela often ends up with some bread to sample. She also provides me with very valuable feedback. A loaf which reminded Niela of a bread she had eaten during her childhood, was a white loaf I made where I substituted milk for the water and then, in my opinion, added too much butter. My thinking that the fat and the extra sugars  would help to give the bread a softer crumb and a darker crust. The first one I admit was a little too similar to a poor man’s brioche. Back to the burgeoning collection of bread making books. I finally turned to well thumbed copy of The handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard. As usual I made one or two alterations to the basic recipe. I did find that you have to watch this bread like a hawk during its final minutes in the oven as it easily over browns. If this happens just turn the oven down by 20°c I have a fan oven; trying to cover a loaf with tin foil just doesn’t work. The foil just hovers, decorously, above the still burning bread. My husband spotted this loaf cooling, commented on its unusual shape, and that is why it’s now known as Niela’s buttocks. I won’t repeat Niela’s retort on learning the new name of this loaf. It did cast doubts upon the marital state of his parents though

My version of a milk loaf.
475g milk , I always weigh liquid, if you don’t its  just the same amount in ‘ml’ instead of grams (I used some buttermilk and skimmed milk in the one in the photo)
2 TSP instant yeast
75 grams butter or sunflower oil
625g stone ground white bread flour
25g honey
2 TSP salt.

My method does take liberties I must confess.
In a large bowl
Mix the dry ingredients; flour, yeast and salt don’t combine until  you’re ready to make the dough
In a jug or smaller bowl
Mix the wet ingredients; butter – melted, honey and milk
Combine the dry ingredients and pour the milky mixture onto it. I get my hands in a mix together until everything is thoroughly combined. It won’t look very promising, all rough and rather sticky, shape onto a rough ball.
Cover with a damp cloth or cling foil and leave for 20 mins.
Oil or wet your work surface, you don’t want to dry the dough out. Tip the dough onto the work surface, rinse the bowl,  give your dough a light and gentle knead a half dozen stretches and folds should do.
Oil your bowl lightly. Place dough back in the bowl, cover and leave for another twenty minutes.
Do a total of three rests and kneads at 20 minute intervals. Leave for about 40 mins until the dough has nearly doubled.
Tip the dough onto your lightly floured work surface, divide into two equal portions. Grease 900g loaf tin, our local wholefood shop has a ‘quick cake release which is what I use.
Shape the dough into two buttocks balls and place in your loaf tin, side by side.
Loosely cover and leave loaf to increase by about 50%. 
Pre heat your oven to  180°c/ 160°c fan
Depending on your kitchen rising time will probably be on 40 – 60 mins.
Place in the oven and bake for up to 50 mins.
Allow to cool before tucking into it.

This lovely loaf can sometimes be found lurking in our nice new bread bin, not for long though. Which you can just about see it in this picture with a couple of my other favourite bits of kitchen paraphernalia: the pasta machine with electric motor and the sides of my Brod and Taylor bread proofer.

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A typical baking session.

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