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Recipe Development: Batch Bread

Have a watch of how Kerry came up with her batch bread, as she plays around with temperature, animal fat, steam and kneading techniques for a pillowy texture.

Development Stages

Stage 1: Key Components

Texture - by choosing to use a water bath, Kerry creates a steamy environment in the oven which creates a crisp, airy crust. Through the long kneading process, Kerry really works the dough which contributes to the pillowy texture of the bread making for an ideal sandwich loaf.
Appearance - Kerry achieves the distinctive blackened crust of the batch bread from the high placement in the oven and the high temperature. The second proof of the dough creates the characteristically high rise and the high gluten content flour which is high in protein and sugar, caramelises at the high oven temperature contributing to that iconic blackened crust.
Flavour - the beef fat gives a fuller flavour throughout the bread and because of the sugars in the fat, it again aids this caramelisation process that gives the crust its dark intense flavour.

Stage 2: Teachings

1. Kneading - Learn how to knead and work with this wet dough, developing the gluten over a prolonged period of time.
2. Proofing - Begin to understand the science behind proofing dough and why we do it!
3. Enriched Dough - Learn to make this enriched white loaf with beef dripping.

Stage 3: Make It Your Own

1. Fat - make a vegetarian version using vegetable shortening or you could use pork instead of beef fat, or even use butter to make a more brioche-style loaf (it won't affect the caramelisation of the crust).
2. Shaping
- instead of 4 loaves you could make one long loaf like a traditional sandwich pan.
3. Flavouring
- you can make a sweeter loaf by adding currants, cinnamon and swapping the beef fat for butter, which would be delicious sliced and made into French toast. If you're sticking to savoury, you can try some chopped fried bacon or diced seaweed for extra flavour and texture.
4. Local Influences
- Kerry uses beef fat which holds historical significance in the Irish kitchen but you can pull on your local geography exploring the flavourings where you are.

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Lizzy Andersen
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James Haward
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Philip Reyes
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Milly Braxton
Kerry Harvey
I've worked in Michelin kitchens around the world including Ireland's Chapter One and I'm keen to make Irish fine dining more accessible.