Archive for the ‘Artisan bread’ Category

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.


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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 (more…)

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A few days ago, I ordered some more flour. As I’d got the hang of the slightly problematic Shipton Mill type 701 strong white flour (or so I thought), I decided I’d go with that again, because it does make very nice, very light, bread even, as with my current loaf, with a hefty freight of oat bran. And then a loaf I was just about to put in the oven collapsed as I slashed it. Bugger, I thought – or something…

I’d talked to Shipton Mill about the apparently low gluten content of the 701, and they said (more…)

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Emmer (Triticum dicoccum), is a seriously ancient form of wheat, its first recorded cultivation dating back to around  9,000 BC, in south-east Turkey. These days, it’s the grain known as farro in Italy, though it’s also grown in other countries. Wikipedia will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about it.

The references to spelt in the Bible are now known to be a mistranslation, and emmer is what was meant, as spelt was, geographically at least, very unlikely, while emmer was widely known throughout the historical Middle East and Mediterranean. Spelt, on the other hand, from its origins 5,000 years BC in Transcaucasia, moved westwards, and has always been primarily a European grain, before being carried to the Americas. (Pedant’s note – this is a simplification.)

Wikipedia also says, somewhat sniffily (more…)

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This is a blow by blow record of the making of the first loaf made with the sourdough culture described in this post.

The culture yielded 10 portions, one of which I retained, the rest were frozen. I mixed the remaining portion with 100ml lukewarm water, and 50g each dark rye flour and strong white flour, both stoneground organic, from Shipton Mill.

Within minutes it was bubbling away and, after a couple of hours, I put it in the fridge to keep for the following day, when I made a loaf with it to this recipe (I’m actually typing this as I go, so you’ll get real-time details of its progress). I kept a portion so I could see if one would work, rather than the two I suggested previously.

So, take (more…)

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I’ve read a lot about creating a sourdough culture from just flour and water, most methods are needlessly complicated, and one was plain wrong. In that one, you’re told to mix 70g flour and 100ml water together, cover with a centimetre of flour (to stop it going mouldy**), and wait until it started to bubble.

That’s actually far more flour than is in the mix it’s covering, and it will just suck the moisture out of it. In addition, as the stuff is buried under a thick layer of flour, you can’t see the sodding bubbles, so how can you tell if it’s working or not?

**If it’s going to work, it should do so long before it’ll go mouldy.

So I thought, sod it, I’ll try (more…)

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve bought a batch of stoneground, organic flours from Shipton Mill, and I did so before realising that storage would be a problem, as I would have far more flour than I’d usually have.

Storing flour for any length of time means finding somewhere cool and free from vermin. The coolest place is my bedroom, on the floor (I keep my mobility scooter in there, so no carpet). There is, though, a slight problem with silverfish (pretty harmless, easy to kill, but very hard to totally eradicate). I don’t know if they can (more…)

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