Over the years I've made numerous attempts to bake my own bread. For some reason these rarely come out quite right.
For example, I tried to make a sourdough loaf last summer (for those of you not familiar with the term 'summer' is when the rain is slightly warmer that it is the rest of the year) and it was so solid that even the birds left it alone. I suspect the problem was largely due to the fact that, no matter how long I left it, the dough just didn't seem to want to rise although the starter gave off plenty of gas so the yeast was presumably alive.
The other day I decided to try a soda bread loaf on the basis that that would be more likely to rise. I chose the version from the New Year edition of Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers as this was supposed to be foolproof. Well, it may have been had I been able to follow the recipe properly. You see, I have this little problem (but enough of my medical history): the thermostat in my cooker doesn't allow the oven to get warmer than 180C which is rather cool for bread making. That being so, I decided to use my halogen oven instead. That presents, if anything, the opposite problem in that if I use the same temperature as in the original recipe things tend to burn. Sure enough, the top of my loaf started getting too dark for my liking so I took it out, turned it over and turned the temperature down 10 degrees or so. This stopped the loaf burning but I ended up with a loaf that was OK on the outside but undercooked in the middle.
For my next attempt I'll use a recipe from the book I got with the halogen oven.