Now that I am at home a fair bit I’ve been busy with job applications and those jobs I’ve been putting off as well as catching up with people I haven’t seen for a while. I’ve really have had time to get into bread making a little more. I’ve given you my basic white loaf, which we make every 3 or 4 days and some others I have tried for fun and really enjoyed:
The farmhouse white is the most versatile, basically a slow-rise sandwich loaf and good for breakfasts, the wholemeal is your standard bloomer for lunches and snacks. My eight-stranded plait is really not as hard as it looks, though does require concentration and has a moist crumb due to the olive oil so would be better as a richer afternoon tea time bread. Finally the Black treacle loaf. Wow. This is quite some bread. Luckily it keeps for a while as it is not an all-purpose bread, with coffee, cocoa, treacle and caraway its flavours are pretty intense. It tastes far too strong by itself, but with the sweetness of a good chutney and the tang of some mature cheese it really comes into its element!
As you will see when you have a look at the bread recipes I use, they are with Dan Leopard’s (from his amazing book ‘Short and Sweet’ which is an encyclopaedia of baking, a few basics, but mainly more interesting things to do with bread, cakes, pastry etc. and Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ series on BBC which was a great intro to bread making).
Part 1. White Farmhouse tin loaf – Dan Leopard
Mix together 225ml warm water with 1 tsp fast action yeast and 174g of strong white flour – stir together until smooth and leave for 4 hours (or overnight) – this is called a sponge.
In a separate bowl mix together another 175g strong white flour and 1 tsp of salt and rub in 25g of lard (or butter). Pour in the yeast sponge and mix this all together. Cover and leave for 10 minutes, briefly knead the dough and leave again for 15 mins, knead and leave 15mins knead and then leave for 30mins.
Grease a 2lb loaf tin. Lightly knock your dough back and shape into a rectangle and roll up tightly to it the length of your tin. Leave to rise in the tin for about an hour and half.
Heat the oven to 220°C, fill a deep pan with water at the bottom to steam the oven. Dust the top of the bread with flour and with a really sharp knife slash down the middle. Bake for 20 mins, reduce the oven to 180°C and bake for a further 20mins.
Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.