Aran is a beautiful cookbook from an artisan bakery in the heart of Scotland with the same name. In it, Great British Bake Off star Flora Shedden shares her simple, modern recipes and a window onto a picturesque life below the highlands, with stunning location photography and stories about the people and the place that inspire her creations.
With a clean and fresh design, Aran is both whimsical and contemporary, and would be a perfect gift or self-buy for beginners, established bakers, armchair travellers or any lovers of baked goods!
Sweet and savoury recipes take you from breakfast, through elevenses, through to your afternoon tea and after-dinner sweet treats, and include Poppy morning rolls, Twice baked almond croissants, Peach, chocolate and almond brioche, Poached quince porridge, Pork apple and sage sausage rolls and Banana, date and chocolate loaf cake.
Ninety percent hydration means this dough is wild and wet. This helps to contribute to a damp, soft, open crumb that is bouncy in texture. Wetter is always better for focaccia, so it is worth taking your time when it comes to kneading this dough. You want to build up the gluten as much as possible to form a brilliantly elastic dough -the result will be all the chewier for it.
You can keep it simple with just a scattering of sea salt flakes, but we like to vary it; our favourite toppings are caramelized red onion and black sesame seed, artichoke and sage, sun-blushed tomato and thyme, and rosemary and sea salt.
Makes 1 loaf
500 g (1 lb 19 02/4 cups) strong white bread flour
450 g (1 lb/144 cups) water
7 g (1 generous teaspoon) dried instant action yeast
10 g (2 teaspoons) salt
25 g (1 tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil plus extra for the tin and to serve sea salt flakes, for topping
Weigh out all of the ingredients, but only 400 g (14 oz/1% cups) of the water into the bowl of a free-standing mixer. This recipe is best done in a mixer, if you have one, as the dough it quite wet and difficult to knead by hand. Mix on slow speed for 4 minutes, then turn the mixer up and mix on high speed for 6 minutes. Let the dough sit in the mixer for 15 minutes, to rest, or autolyze, if you are being technical. Restart the mixer and add the remaining water. Mix for a further 4 minutes on a slow speed. Remove the dough from the mixer and prove for 1 hour, giving intermediate folds every 15 minutes. For folding techniques look at the method for the Classic sourdough (see page 28). Transfer to a plastic container or Tupperware and store in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, tip the dough into a lightly oiled 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 in) roasting tin, and with wet hands stretch out to fit the tin. Leave for 2 hours, giving the dough a stretch every 30 minutes.
Half an hour before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F/Gas 9). Add any toppings you fancy and sprinkle the top with salt flakes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on the bottom. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.