Restore your belief in humanity: Cumbrian floods 2015

If you’re looking for a way to restore your faith in humanity, you should look no further than Cumbria. The sheer volume of people prepared to reach out and offer their homes, their rooms, their belongings, and their skills to those families and others who have lost everything in the devastation left by Storm Desmond, is testament to the pragmatic, down-to-earth attitudes and good will that is carried by so many Cumbrians and offcomers who live in the region.

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A Note to Bread Lovers:

Mentioned in an earlier post, the More? Bakery which is located in a small village outside Kendal has award-winning, stunning bread. One of their creations is a sourdough called Montezuma’s Revenge, presumably because it resembles a volcano with a lava flow crust of cheese rising from its centre. It also contains garlic cloves roasted inside the bread.

Sourdough is a simple but drawn out method of baking bread, a wonderful light bread that can be made from the same ‘starter’ over and over. It’s a great sandwich bread (doorstops only), being firm yet springy but Montezuma’s Revenge is just too special for sandwiches. It yearns to be ripped apart, still warm and devoured, sludgy with butter and high with the aromas of smoky garlic and toasted cheese.

Now, sourdough is wonderful, but breadmaking takes long enough as is. Having observed how the cheese sprang from the bread, I went straight home and made a Magpie Montezuma, not quite the same, but magnificent nonetheless.

Following the usual bread recipe up to the second rising and making loaves, not buns: Cut a cross into the loaf, about as deep as two-thirds the depth, almost an inch from the edges.

Cut a cross in the dough. It will widen out as it rises the second time.

Leave it to rise for its second session under a clean tea towel. When it’s twice its original size, the cross will have widened to a four pointed star, leaving a deep crevice in which to grate a serious amount of cheese (preferably emmental but cheddar will do).

Peel four (or more) garlic cloves and push them into the spaces between the points (see diagram), just making a tunnel with each clove, rather than squashing the dough.

Garlic and Cheese Dispersal

Grating the cheese all over the top of the bread is the general idea.

Cheese n Garlic Joy about to happen....

Stick it in the already preheated oven (200deg C) for 30-40 mins and smell for the moment when it’s time to rescue it. The lovely warm bread smell starts to become slightly acrid; but that’s in this kitchen and it could be different for other people.

Baked cheese n garlic joy

Eat and be happy.

***A note to commonsense: making buns may seem like a good idea at the time, but you can chow through a lot of cheese that way***