Crackle glazed cobs

crackleCob3

A crackle glaze (sometimes called is almost all completely aesthetic, although the additional yeast in the glaze does add a slight touch of extra umami flavouring to the crust. It’s fun to do occasionally anyway!

This is a fairly standard 50:50 wholemeal and white mix bread dough, with a crackle glaze added.

I have made two smaller loaves, both hand shaped. You could do the second proof in a banneton, tip out the bread then apply the glaze, but I have chosen to hand shape and not use a banneton for this recipe.

Makes 2 medium sized cobs or one large

Equipment
  • Large bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Stand mixer if using
  • Dough cutter (not essential but makes life much easier)
  • Pastry brush
  • Cling film, tea towel or plastic bag
  • Baking stone or heavy duty baking tray
  • Small whisk (a fork will do though)
  • Boiled kettle of water (to create oven steam) and an oven proof dish
Ingredients – for the Bread
  • Strong plain white flour – 300g (plus a little extra for kneading)
  • Strong wholemeal flour – 300g
  • Fine salt – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Water – 350 ml
  • Fast acting dried yeast – 1 1/2 teaspoons
Ingredients for the glaze
  • Rice flour – 2 tablespoons
  • Cornflour – 2 tablespoons
  • Caster sugar – 1 tablespoon
  • Fast action dried yeast – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Water – enough to make this into ‘wallpaper paste’ consistency – roughly about 100 ml
Method
  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the bread into a sticky clump – and leave for 10 minutes
  2. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough turns from a rough texture to smooth and shiny. This will be about 10 – 12 minutes. Alternatively, put into a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment and knead for the same amount of time (dough mixers don’t speed up the process, they just take the labour away)
  3. Shape roughly into a ball and place back in the bowl (cleaned a little and oiled first)
  4. Leave to proove until around doubled in size, this will depend on the temperature (anywhere between 40 – 120 minutes)
  5. Test the proof is complete by pressing a finger lightly onto the dough – it should spring back and not indent
  6. Tip out of the bowl and knock back
  7. Reshape into two balls/cobs, making sure the dome is smooth and any pleats or folds are underneath
  8. Lightly flour your baking tray or baking stone (I actually use a heavy duty large slate tile I bought from a tile merchant – this does my bread excellently and only cost a few pounds)
  9. Place the cobs on the tray/stone and cover with a tea towel/cling film/plastic bag
  10. Leave to rise again for about 30 – 50 minutes until not-quite doubled in size
  11. While the second proof is happening, mix up the glaze: mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl
  12. The consistency should be like wallpaper paste – whisk it a little and leave until the bread is almost prooved
  13. Paint the glaze over the top of the cobs and leave them for another 10 minutes
  14. Put your oven on to 200˚C fan / 230˚C conventional
  15. Boil your kettle and put the oven proof dish in the bottom of your oven
  16. When the bread and the oven are ready, open the oven, put the baking tray/stone in and pour the hot contents of the kettle into the ovenproof dish. Immediately shut the oven door
  17. Bake for 35 minutes until the top is dark brown and crackled and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped
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