Posts Tagged ‘Artisan breadmaking’

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 (more…)


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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.


Midday: Make the starter; remove (more…)

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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 (more…)

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The Hovis Hearty Oats loaf is being touted as the first ever loaf to be made with 50% wholegrain oats and 50% white bread flour. Claiming something as the “first ever” is always reckless and often, as in this instance, totally wrong.

I made my first 50% oats, 50% white bread flour about (more…)

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PLEASE NOTE: I have been needlessly critical of Shipton Mill flour but, as it turned out, there wasn’t a problem with the flour, just a matter of getting used to a new product and gaining experience.

Ignore what I say below about it, there is NO discernible difference in moisture content  – hydration has for some time standardised at 60% water plus 20ml Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar as an anti-mould measure (it also improves the texture as yeast loves a slightly acid environment). It has no effect on the taste. Previous posts where I’ve been critical have been deleted, not because Shipton Mill have complained, they haven’t, but simply because they were misleading. I’ve left this one though, as it contains other information that is reliable! (more…)

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I’ve found a source for Fermipan yeast (I may have posted about this before, I’m not sure), sensibly-priced sea salt (similar to the price I used to pay when I sourced my salt in Liverpool), and something I’ve been trying to get hold of, without success, for over a year – golden sultanas (for cake and for fruit bread).

Fermipan Yeast (more…)

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And yes, I do know I’m fickle. . .

Well, I’ve been making bread with my mixer for a couple of week now, and I’m not happy.

Its performance does leave something to be desired – in a nutshell, I have to intervene so much, to make sure all the flour is scraped down and incorporated into the dough, I may as well do it my bloody self. It’d be faster anyway. Seriously – by the time I’ve fed the flour a bit at a time into the mixer (as per instructions), I can have the damn thing mixed, kneaded and set aside for its first proving, doing it by hand

A mixer may come into its own when making several loaves at a time but, for one, not worth it. It’ll be good for high-hydration breads, when the dough is hard to handle, but for my normal 60% hydration loaves, it’s a tad pointless, I’m afraid.

I haven’t yet tried tossing everything in at once – that’s for another day.

Anyway, bread guru Peter Reinhart says (more…)

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