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Making bread in the cold…

A tip for stopping dough getting chilled by cold worktops is posted on my main blog. Sorry for the necessity of doing that, but it’s an unfortunate fact that it will get far more attention there than if I posted it here.

And yes, I really have Continue Reading »

I started making bread seriously something over a year ago, from – as I’ve mentioned previously – a position of minimal knowledge. I knew the basics, but there was still a learning curve. As with most things worth doing, that shows no sign of abating and, between then and now, I’ve read a hell of a lot – just not recipes – I might pick up ideas from books, but I almost never use anyone else’s recipes, whether for bread or food in general. And, the more I read, the more I realise that every writer believes… Read the full post on my main blog

Apologies if this is the reverse of the system you’re used to, but the fact is that my bread posts do better when published on my main blog. Still, it’s only a click away… You’ll find it has a different title there, for the purposes of not confusing Google.

Careful buying loaf tins…

Loaf tins (pans), have just one function – they hold the dough in a specific shape while it proves and bakes. It follows, then, that they don’t have to be massively robust, though a degree of robustness is desirable for durability. They should not, for example, flex in use.

I have a pair of 2lb tins which are very robust, but not quite deep enough, so I ordered another two. They’re slightly shorter, but wider and deeper, which will give me a slightly larger loaf for the same amount of dough (currently, it’s in the oven way before it’s finished rising, so a bigger loaf is achievable), and a decent-sized slice.

They arrived today and what struck me first was Continue Reading »

Real-time wholemeal bread…

Today I have a batch of organic, 100% extraction wholemeal flour, from Shipton Mill, so wholemeal bread is on the agenda. Here, as a teaser, is the finished product:-

Click pic for full size image, Back button to return. (The uneven bottom edge is just one of those things. An amorphous lump of dough will either conform to a right-angled tin as it expands, or it won’t. These didn’t, and it matters not at all.)

I like wholemeal bread, but my experience with it has been rather less than inspiring. The first time I ever made bread, from a position of almost total ignorance, was during the bakers’ strike of 1979. I sought a little advice from the staff restaurant manager where I worked but, beyond that, I was on my own.

I opted for wholemeal, probably a tad over-ambitiously, with hindsight. The result was certainly very tasty but – let’s be honest – a brick. Much like the Crank’s loaf you can buy in Sainsbury’s today, in fact. Still, at a time when it was hard to come by, I, at least, had bread.

So, this time, I’m Continue Reading »

I’ve groused a bit here about the softness of dough (lower protein content than I was used to), made from Shipton Mill flour, and the unpredictability thereof – not any more, though.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of research of late, and one of the things I turned up is that very many pro bakers prefer a lower-protein flour (like SM), than, say, the stuff you’d buy in the supermarket – which, of course, is what I’d been doing.

Shipton Mill 701 bread flour makes excellent bread, there’s no getting away from that, but it can be difficult to work with, and to prove – the secret Continue Reading »

Real-time sourdough…

This bread is made using the frozen sourdough culture that I described in this post. Despite the 9 weeks or so it’s spent in the freezer, the culture isn’t just viable, it’s remarkably vigorous. Unlike my first attempt, which took far too long, I’ve used two portions of culture, and I’m confident I’m not going to be waiting until 10 o’clock tonight to bake this time!  I’m also using 25% light rye this time, for a lighter loaf (last time I used dark rye which gave a crust that could have served as a wood rasp!).

All flours are Shipton Mill organic.

Monday

Midday: Make the starter; remove Continue Reading »

Chestnut bread…

As with my sourdough loaf, this is written in real time, as I’m making it. All flour is from Shipton Mill.

.

250g organic strong white flour No. 701

250g organic chestnut flour**

3 tablespoons e-v olive oil

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

336ml, 60% hydration, you’ll need it all.

1 teaspoon yeast, made into a starter as usual – in a mug put 200ml lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon flour (before adding salt), and the yeast, stir vigorously until lump free and leave until frothing almost to the top of the mug.

½ teaspoon yeast added directly to the flour

** The chestnut flour is quite Continue Reading »