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.