Posts Tagged ‘Make your own bread’

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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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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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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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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For anyone interested in creating their own bread recipes, rather than just following someone else’s, this is how I work up a new recipe.

The first step – beyond thinking about if for a while – is to put together a recipe that should get you reasonably close to what you want to achieve. Some times you get lucky, and hit the perfect combination of ingredients first time. Mostly, though, it takes a couple of attempts.

You should, though, get something that’s (more…)

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The San Francisco Sourdough Starter.

Update, April 25: After writing the last update, below, and while waiting for a flour delivery, I added another cup of white flour to the mix, which was fermenting reasonably vigorously. Not only did that fail to thicken it as I’d hoped (why?), the whole thing died. My advice – forget it.

I made up my sourdough starter as instructed – three cups each white bread flour and lukewarm water, mixed together with the culture. That makes a mixture which, to my mind, is way too thin (single cream thin – a poolish rather than a biga). Were I making it again, I’d considerably reduce the amount of water – I think 2 cups at most, maybe even 1.5.

So what I propose to do, to rescue this slop, (more…)

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