Jane has been running wild with the bread vibe recently, all kinds of doughy goodness has been rising and getting crusty around the BHK. The most impressive is the most simple recipe, which is just the way things should be.
Jane has taken a few steps out of your average bread making venture and the result is a light and crispy loaf, with decent density. It makes a great base for regular bread making and avoidance of all that strange stuff made by big supermarkets etc masquerading as bread (when we really know that some strange practices have happened behind the scenes). When you taste good quality, homemade bread, you will not be hurrying back to buy some ‘fly away’ seeded loaf from a luminous aisle. This is the real deal. You also know what goes into your loaf, there can be some strange things done with wheat, bits taken out then added later, all kinds of additive and preservative action.
Whenever we turn the oven on, we pop a loaf in. It makes sense. Turning the oven on is a real event for us, not only does it heat our kitchen (where we have no heating!!!) it also gets our minds tuned into baked goods. What can we rustle up? Rustling things up is very prevalent in the way we do things over here on Tiger Mountain.
Last year we posted something like a ‘Simple Loaf’ recipe, but this takes things even further in the simplicity stakes. If you know of an easier way to make a decent loaf, please let us know.
Jane and I have both decided that bread is cool. We have tried going off it for lengthy periods, but in moderation, toast is a wonderful thing (especially with loads of Marmite lathered on). I don’t think either of us are gluten intolerant (although we all probably are to one degree or another). I am yet to find a decent gluten free recipe for homemade bread, I’ve tried a few, but many of them contain eggs and there is a limit to the way that silken tofu can substitute the richness and binding properties of an egg. I will keep trying though.
Serving suggestions. You have to love the way that companies incorporate a serving suggestion on most of their processed products. I was looking at a can of beans the other day and it was just a picture of a load of beans, underneath stating ‘serving suggestions’. Serve beans, as beans! Who knew!!!! Serving suggestions here are bowls of soup, try this one, or here’s another beauty or maybe a raw soup would be nice? You can of course go old school and just toast it up and spread on some bramble jelly of even make a little crostini, with chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil or oregano.
Have you tried spelt? This is my new favourite loaf and I will be posting a recipe for my ‘Roman Loaf’ very soon. Spelt has an awesome toasty taste and is filled with nutrition and relaxed gluten. Also barley is ridiculously high in fibre, natures highest in fact and makes for a magic crusty lump.
WHOLEWHEAT OR WHOLEMEAL?
When buying flour, try to get whole meal/ wheat. Stoneground seems to the the most traditional way of doing things. Sometimes ‘whole meal’ is not actually ‘whole wheat’ and this can mean a decrease in the nutritional value of your loaf. These terms change from country to country, but we are looking for wheat with all the bran and germ etc intact and certainly not removed. Some brown looking flours can be mixed with other grains, so its worth checking the ingredients. Also look for unbleached white flour, as bleach and food just don’t mix. In fact, bleach and life just don’t mix! You can easily make this loaf 100% whole wheat and experiment with different types of flour (see above). The white flour is only really there to make it lighter and tighter (if you catch my drift). As you all probably know by now, I’m the rough, crusty flapjack side of the ‘Beach House Bakery’ and Jane is the more frilly scone and tinsel approach. This loaf is a compromise of sorts…..
Over to Jane for the simplicity masterclass:
For one average sized loaf (you know that bread tin shape)
500g flour (roughly 300g whole wheat, 200g white)
7g fast action yeast (roughly one sachet)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown rice extract or barley malt extract
1 big handful of seeds (sunflower, hemp, pumpkin, poppy…….mixture of these?)
1 1/4 teas salt
Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl with your hands.
Dissolve the oil and sweetener into 300ml luke warm water. Stir this mixture into the dough.
Bring it together and turn out onto a lightly floured or oiled surface. Knead well for 5 minutes until the dough is mixed, add the seeds now. The dough should not be dry, and should still be sticky to the touch. Roll dough into a fat oval shape.
Pop into a pre-oiled loaf tin and press down into the edges. Leave in a warm place covered with cling film of a kitchen towel. After 1 hour the dough should have doubled in size. Make deep slashed on the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife.
Pre heat oven to 190oC and bake for 30-35 minutes, until dark golden and risen. Loosen the edges with a spatula or pallet knife and turn out onto a wire rack. If it is sticking, leave for a few minutes and have a go after its rested. It will come out! Tap the bottom of the loaf with your fingers, it will sound pretty much hollow when it is ready. If it still feels solid and dough-filled, pop it back in for 5-10 minutes.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes before diving in.
See the ‘serving suggestions’ above. Bread is of course best munched fresh out of the oven. We tend to slice up old bread for croutons or crostini and freeze them. You can do the same with breadcrumbs, which can come in very handy when making vegan bangers or burgers.
Wheat actually originates from South Western Asia and humans have been enjoying it for at least 12,000 years (and counting). We only got it in the West when Columbus came back from his pilfering missions.
When wheat is processed, at least half of the minerals and vitamins are lost. If we are eating pasta, breads, flours etc that are processed, we are normally getting very little of the good stuff that is present in natural whole wheat.
Wheat in its natural state is a very nutritious grain indeed, with bags of minerals like manganese and magnesium and barrel loads of fibre. Sourdough breads are normally a better choice if you feel a gluten intolerant, they also boast better nutrition. Interestingly, even though wheat is one of the fibre powerhouses of nature, raspberries still contain more fibre!!!! How cool is that! Maybe we’ll make a raspberry loaf next time……