I truly believe it when ‘they’ say bread baking in the oven will help sell a house. The aroma is heady yet comforting and oh so delicious. I’m sure the vast majority of Joe Public thinks making bread is seriously difficult, but it’s not, all you need is a spare two hours & some ingredients. Every Sunday in my house is baking day, I try and make as many loaves as possible to hopefully see us through the week, and further beyond if I have time. If you have the time to do this you should really try it, even just once a month would make a huge difference.
I started to bake my own bread a couple of years ago when I couldn’t find any bread that actually tasted or looked like the breads I had seen at farmers’ markets. I kept finding loaves with a very springy texture, almost like a sponge, yet when butter was added it just sat on top of the slice and wouldn’t absorb. So I took it on myself to change my habit, stop looking for bread to buy and start thinking about making it myself. If you can get into a regular habit and the right state of mind that this is not a chore but an enjoyable necessity then get baking!
I make various types of breads using flour from local mills here in Gloucestershire, but I know Waitrose also have an excellent range of baking flour too. My preferred loaves to make are sourdough and white with seed and grain but my favourite to both make and eat is wholegrain spelt.
Spelt flour is a very ancient relative of modern wheat and as my father always points out ‘this is what the Romans ate’. The finished effect produces a close texture with complex flavours and the great thing about spelt is it’s very filling so you don’t need as much and therefore the loaf lasts longer – what could be better?
Making bread is a very hands-on affair, so be prepared to get gooey and your fingers stuck together. You can make bread dough in a ‘kitchen aid’ but I think that loses the fun quality.
The recipe I use is apparently the same as those Roman legionaries and if it’s good enough for them then it’s good enough for me. Both olive oil and honey are in this recipe which I believe gives a lovely rich and sweet quality.
500g wholegrain spelt four
1 tsp salt
1 tsp quick yeast
1 tbsp honey
400ml warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
1) In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt and yeast.
2) Dissolve the honey in the warm water and roughly mix into the flour. Add the oil.
3) Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes. Either place in one 1kg bread tin or shape with your hands into a neat round ball.
4) Cover and place somewhere warm for the dough to rise, I use our airing cupboard. Leave for around 45 mins to double in size.
5) Bake in a preheated oven of 200c for 45 mins-1 hour.
6) Take out of the oven and pop the loaf out of the tin, leave to cool on a wire rack for 20 mins. Cut off a slice and smother in butter!
When the bread is ready it will be a lovely deep golden colour and will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
You could always make this into 2 smaller loaves if required.
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