You may remember that yesterday I was planning to make a harvest loaf but life got in the way! I left the dough in the fridge to rise and this was the beautiful sight that greeted me when I came down this morning:
I was going to do this as a step-by-step tutorial with photos but my fingers got too sticky with dough to take any pictures so you’ll have to use your imagination for the steps inbetween!
1: Roll out the dough until it is about 1cm thick.
2: Use your dough scraper to cut the dough down to the size of the baking tray. Pull out the corners to make it roughly the shape of a bundle of wheat.
3: Cut small strips from the remaining dough and stretch them out to the length of the base layer. Keep doing this until they cover the base, these will be the stalks of the wheat.
4: Cut more small rectangles, using a knife make a series of small cuts at an angle along each edge. gently stretch the pieces a little so the cuts open out then lay these in two lines along the top of the dough as the ears of the wheat.
5: Stretch out three long strands of dough and weave them into a plait, place this across the middle of the sheaf, tucking the edges underneath each side.
6: Cut out one more long strip and roll it flat with a rolling pin. Place it along the bottom of the sheaf to cover up the ends of the stalks.
7: Use a further bit of dough to fashion a mouse, I used fennel seeds for his eyes although one of them popped out in the oven. I know I said yesterday that I would make a superhero mouse but after a couple of attempts I decided that it was beyond my artistic capabilities!
8: Bake the loaf in a fairly hot oven for about half an hour. Last year I glazed it with egg first to give it a darker finish but because this loaf used a mixture of flours including granary flour and Swiss dark flour I thought (correctly it turned out!) that it would colour more in the oven so I left it as it was.
(p.s. After all the kerfuffle about not having enough flour yesterday I ended up with about twice as much dough as I needed! I used the rest to make a few loaves which we had with soup at the harvest lunch at Church. All’s well that ends well, as they say!)