Saturday, 16 June 2007

Brainy bread

Well, bread with seeds that are supposed to be high in Omega-3 and Omega-6. We have had a series of bread machines and I know people do find them really great but ours have been terribly variable. We had a good one but it broke, and when we bought a replacement it was never the same and in particular I couldn't get a decent loaf out of it.

About 6 months ago I found a recipe by Dan Lepard for low effort handmade bread and since then I've made most of our loaves and rarely buy any these days. The best thing as far as I'm concerned is that there's hardly any kneading involved - in all hands on time is less than five minutes start to end - no exaggeration. I've made all sorts of variations, trying locally round flour and so on but the most successful by far is this variation on the basic recipe.

Sponge:
200g strong white bread flour
200ml warm water
2tsp dried yeast (not fast action; I use the Dove Farm yeast in little tins)

Mix the ingredients together - at this point it looks quite sticky & unpromising:


Leave for a couple of hours (or up to overnight) until it looks bubbly. I just leave it on the kitchen counter.


Loaf:
Add 200ml cold water
1tsp salt
400g bread flour - I use all white, or a mix of white & malted, or white & wholemeal, fiddling with proportions

Mix it all up with your hands till it forms a soft dough. You may need to flour your hands, or add a bit of sunflower oil (that goes for all kneading stages).

Add some seeds if you feel like it - I keep on my shelf a jar of sunflower, pumpkin and linseed (hemp) that I have run through the food processor briefly just to smash the seeds a bit. I add a good handful, I never weigh it.



Knead it briely - I do literally 20 kneads with only 1 hand, and I do it all in the mixing bowl, because I am lazy like that. Let it sit for 15 minutes.


Repeat the brief kneading and 15 minute rest twice more. Get some help if you have some :-)


(If I have misjudged the amount of wholemeal I have been known to leave it rising a bit longer till it is nice and puffy)

Now it's time to shape the loaves - Bear did it this time as I had to go to the shops so there are no photos - but it's easy. Divide the dough in half, stretch it into an oval and roll it up tightly like a swiss roll. Put the loaves on a baking sheet to rise for about 45 minutes till they're about doubled in size.

Slash the loaf end to end with a very sharp knife, then bake at a high temperature - 200C or so - till the loaves sound hollow when you tap the bottom. In my oven that's 20-25 minutes.


Try not to eat it all at once ...

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!!! it looks like the bread you get abroad - proper bread!! I am DEFINATELY going to try this. x

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