Basic loaf: Nigella Lawson (Thu 11.02)

“The essential white loaf” from “How to be a domestic goddess” by Nigella Lawson.


  • 500 g white bread flour
  • 15 g fesh yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt (far too much according to me 9 g or about 1 teaspoon used)
  • 300 ml warm tap water or potato water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

The recipe encourages the use of old potato water as liquid. Alternative is water with 1 tabespoon of instant mash. Used the last option.


1. Put flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Use to mix the salt with the flour first, do not add fesh yeast directly on the salt. Pour in 200 ml water and start mixing. “be prepared to add more water”. The amount of water needed depends highly on the type of flour, this makes exact measures indeed useless to a certain point. But 200 ml water on 500 flour seems certainly too low. 300 ml is a good starting value.

Mix to a “shaggy mess” and add the butter.


Start kneading for at least 10 minutes. At max I did 3-5. Dough becomes smooth and silky.


Return to a clean bowl, and leave to rise for 2 hours. Interesting alternative with an overnight rise. Took the 2 hours option, but the dough doubled within 55 minutes.

2. Knock down the dough

Form into a loaf and put on a baking sheet.

Leave to rise for half an hour to an hour. Seemed OK to me after 50 minutes.

3. Bake in a preheated oven at 220 C for 35 minutes. Check if done by tapping underneath. I don’t understand the recipes starting to pre-heat the oven before the final forming of the loaf. Mine only takes about 15 minutes and not 60.

Nice recipe, good bread, works well. Too much salt to be healthy imo.

Certosino (Thu 24.12).

Panspeziale certosino (Carthusian bread ). Italian Christmas cake from Bologna. A combination of the recipes in “How to be a domestic goddess” by Nigella Lawson and “Gastronomy of Italy” by Anna del Conte. Third parameter was the availability of ingredients.


  • 75 g seedless rasins (I took some more)
  • 2 tablespoons/30 ml Marsala or sherry (I used some sweet french wine)
  • 150 g cooked apples (N.L. prefers 375g grated, I used 2 cooked apples +-300 g)
  • 15g blanched almonds (200g for N.L.)
  • 75g bitter chocolate
  • 150 g clear honey
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 1 tablespoon anise or fennel  seeds (left it out)
  • 140 g candied peel (left out by N.L. and me)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 350 g Italian 00 flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g pin nuts
  • 75g walnuts

1. Cook the apples (cleaner than the grating imo).

Leave to cool.

2. Soak the raisins in the Marsala (or white wine in this case).

3. Chop allmonds and chocolate (coarse).

4. (start pre heating the oven at 180 C)

Heat very slowly the honey, sugar, butter with 3 tablepoons water until all is dissolved.

5. Mix the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate.

6. Add the honey, sugar mixture to the flour. makes a soft dough.

7. Add the raisins, allmonds, chocolate, apples, walnuts, pine nuts.

8. Put in a greased spring-form tin (I line the bottom of the tin with baking paper).

9. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 C. Test after 1 hour by inserting a needle, if it comes out dry : OK. (mind the chocolate part will always be sticky)


10. When the cake has cooled it should be glazed with heated apricot jam (4 tablespoons) and decorated with clacé cherries, almonds, marrons, ….

I just store it as such in an airtight container.

Gastronomy Of Italy

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking