Zed’s bread

I seem to have got my bread recipe as we both like it now.  I’d made bread regularly until I turned the Aga off for the summer, three years ago, but I didn’t start again until earlier this year.  Mostly, this was because Tim and I were travelling to each other’s houses that first winter, and then it was general indolence, I suppose.  However, the snowy weather at the end of last winter somewhat disrupted food supplies to supermarkets and, though we didn’t actually have any problems ourselves buying what we wanted, it was enough to prompt me.

It turned out that I like rather denser, seedier bread than Tim does.  That is, it’s not that he doesn’t like it, but he does usually have some toast and marmalade at breakfast and it was more a bread for savoury food.  I’ve been tweaking the recipe ever since and now, with the addition of some rye flour, I think I’ve cracked it.  I make it in the food mixer with a dough hook. My days of kneading dough are over (that just autocorrected – a misnomer, of course – to cough).

So here it is.

200 grams white bread flour, 200 grams wholemeal bread flour, 100 grams rye flour.  10 grams instant yeast, 10 grams salt, 30 grams black treacle.  Up to 240 millilitres water, until the mixture comes away from the sides of the bowl and is slightly sticky but not wet; might need less water than that.

When that lot has mixed for a few minutes, add 100-120 grams of mixed seeds.  I usually do sunflower seeds, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.  When they’ve mixed in, i pour a few drops of olive oil at the bottom of the bowl, roll the dough in it, put a cloth on the top and leave it for 2 or 3 hours.

Then I put the mixer back on while I oil the tin, put the knocked-down dough on a floured board, shape it, bung it in the tin, brush it with water, sprinkle it with seeds – I usually use some sesame seeds and white poppy seeds, cut a slash down the middle and leave it for another hour or so, covered.  Bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes.

It doesn’t rise quite like a commercial loaf, but an “artisan” loaf costs around £3 to £4 and the ingredients for this, which tastes very similar, are around a quid.  Expensive breads started with sourdough, and I do see that is worth a premium for the effort involved, but I think there’s been a bit of bandwagon-jumping since then.

White poppy seeds have been a revelation.  Fond as I am of the black/blue sort, one does worry about them getting stuck in the teeth.  But these taste exactly the same and it doesn’t show, if it happens at all.

I’ve also made more tomato relish.  Tim says he’ll make more sauce tomorrow, because there are rather a lot of the fruit to use up.  I’m looking after some of the grandchildren tomorrow morning, which I’m very much looking forward to, and then starting work on the china catalogue in the afternoon, which isn’t quite so much fun.  Still, once I’m past the boring first stage of listing it, I enjoy working with the china.

3 comments on “Zed’s bread

  1. Blue Witch

    I haven’t seen white poppy seeds – either in shops or in poppies. Are they processed or do they grow like that?

    Do you use tins of dried yeast? I only ask because the sachets are 7g I think (well, the ones I buy in Lidl, Aldi, and Waitrose).

    My 100% rye bread recipe is quite similar to this, except that I use honey rather than treacle, and use the whey from the yoghurt (always made to your recipe these days, thank you) instead of water. it gives a sourdough-type boost to the yeast, and rye needs all the help it can get to rise!

    I can’t imagine making bread or coping with processing all the garden produce at this time of year without the Aga on. Even in the hottest weather it wasn’t unbearable, luckily, due to the through draft of doors/windows.

    1. Z Post author

      That’s how they grow. I bought a packet of seeds to grow last year, which I haven’t got around to sowing yet, and it said they’re good for cooking and that the seeds don’t fall out of the seed heads so are easy to harvest. I buy them at the Exotic Supermarket in Reading, at the same price as the ordinary ones, but I’ve never seen them in a regular supermarket either. If you’ve got an ethnic supermarket nearby, or a specialist spice shop, there’s a good chance they’ll have them.
      I buy Dove’s Farm quick yeast, loose in 125g packs, which costs £1.24 in my local whole food shop, and I bought scales that weigh in units of 1 gram to weigh tortoises – it’s good because I can also change it to pounds and ounces, as well as fluid ounces, so I can simply follow any recipe and don’t have to convert. The main reason for using treacle is to make it look less white. Whey is a good idea, if I happen to make yoghurt the day before I make bread!
      You’ve probably got a bigger kitchen and higher ceilings than I have. The Aga would have been impossible this summer. If it had been on, I just wouldn’t have cooked at all, anything not to be in the kitchen.

  2. Blue Witch

    I shall look for white onion seeds next time I am in the appropriate shop, thanks.

    Ditto yeast – I get annoyed with all the packaging on 7g sachets. I love my similar scales, for the same reasons! I used to use the little tins with plastic lids, but haven’t seen them for years. I don’t think 7g is enough to adequately rise 500g of flour plus additions, despite what the pack claims.


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