Bread


Makes 1 large flatbread

1½ hours from start to finish (1 hour rising)

Ingredients

2 cups plain white flour – or strong bread flour

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

7-10g dried yeast

3-400ml lukewarm water

3-4 tsps of sesame & cumin seeds

Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add the water, bit by bit, mixing the dough with a spoon – not too slowly or you end up with an impenetrable ball of dough that shrugs off any more water. Keep adding water until you have a very soft and almost sloppy dough.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for an hour – our kitchen is usually warm enough. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 250°c and put a large baking tray in it to heat up.

When the dough has risen, remove the hot tray from the oven and sprinkle with a little flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and straight onto the tray (it’ll be too soft to handle) and gently press into shape.

Quickly spray or brush the loaf with a mixture of cold water and a dash of olive oil then sprinkle with the seeds.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 12 mins, then remove from the oven and brush/spray once more. Bake for a further 5 -8 mins, or until the bread is golden.

If you want a crusty loaf then cool it on a wire rack, but for the genuine Turkish Flatbread soft crust, wrap it in a teatowel.

We love eating it as toasted sandwiches, but it’s also great with our home-made hummus.

(more…)

I’ve finally tried the Real Bread recipe from my “Baking cheaper, better bread” post. I have to admit I was pretty sceptical. about a third of the yeast I usually use, no sugar to feed it and no butter? I put it into my standard one-hour breadmaker cycle and was expecting a flat, solid, uninspiring loaf.

Opening the breadmaker was not very encouraging, it had risen less than my usual recipe, but not by much:

It wasn’t a nice glossy brown on top, but it did look encouragingly bread-shaped:

Time to open it up then! The best reflection on taste and texture was that the loaf was half-gone by the time I managed to get a pic. It was a lot less crumbly than my usual  loaf, tasted nice, was pretty light, and sliced nicely. Pretty much all you could want:

So, it’s edible, how much does it cost? We’re using the same prices as my original “How much does it cost to bake your own bread” recipe, minus the milk, butter, sugar, and with the new Doves Farm large packets of yeast we’re getting from Waitrose – 125g for 99p.

250g Strong White Bread Flour 11p
250g Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour 16p
1 tsp salt 0.2p
5g yeast 4p
Electricity 3.14p
Total 35p

So this “Real Bread” recipe costs only 35p in comparison to my usual recipe’s 78p. That’s a pretty significant difference, so it’s our new favourite – until the next comes along! Any other suggestions?

Almost forgot to add – now it doesn’t use any chilled ingredients it’s even more green, and it can be made out of standard store cupboard ingredients – even better for our Peak Oil prep.

An interesting challenge this – a comment from Chris Young from the the Real Bread Campaign on my post on “how much does it cost to bake your own bread“.

Apparently I can make delicious bread without the sugar or milk – Chris gave a link to this Real Bread recipe. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but will do next time I have a chance to play again. I think the main issue may be the small amount of yeast combined with the rapid cycle I tend to use, which produces a loaf in under an hour. We’ll see!

Here’s the recipe:

500g Flour (wholemeal or a mix of white and wholemeal)
5g Salt
350g Water
5g Dried yeast (or 10g fresh yeast, or 3g easy-blend yeast)
15g Butter or olive oil (optional – makes bread slightly softer)

Unless your machine’s instructions say otherwise, pour the water into the loaf pan and, if you are using it, add the fresh yeast. Disperse the salt in the flour and then sprinkle this over the water. If you are using dried or instant yeast and/or butter or oil, place them – not touching each other – on top of the flour. Secure the pan in the machine, close the lid and press the start button.

I’ll post a picture once I’ve tried it.

In my quest for perfect bread, I’m starting to understand a little more about the science of bread making, spurred on by some disastrous loaves from my previously reliable bread recipe. The first main earning point is that all yeast is not equal. Originally we were using Sainsbury’s own brand yeast, but a move onto Allinson yeast proved a bit of a disaster I haven’t quite worked out what went wrong yet, but even after a lot of tweaking, the Allinson yeast is not giving us such reliable results. In playing with the recipe a little I realised that the extra yeast I was adding needed more sugar to reach its true potential!

So my new reliable bread recipe is this:

  • 310 ml of lukewarm semi-skimmed milk
  • 450 ml of strong flour (I use half white, half wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp sugar (I use golden caster sugar)
  • 25 g butter
  • Two 7g sachets of dried yeast

And here are the results:

It’s about another inch taller than my previous efforts, and is perfectly light and delicious – so maybe I can tick something else off my Aims and Achievements list.

Now we’re making our own bread I thought it’d be worth working out how much cheaper / more expensive it is than just buying standard wholemeal bread.

So here’s the standard pricing of all the ingredients – I haven’t started looking for cheap bulk supplies yet so these are just from Sainsbury’s.

310 ml semi-skimmed milk 20.77p
225g Strong White Bread Flour 10.35p
225g Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour 14.85p
1 tsp salt 0.2p
3 tsp sugar 1.49p
25 g butter 7.5p
2x7g sachets of dried yeast 19.75p
Electricity 3.14p
Total 78p

So in total it costs 78p, which is about the same price as a Sainsbury’s wholemeal loaf. Cost wise then it doesn’t make much difference – as long as you’re not making a separate journey to buy your bread, as once you start your car up the cost difference would be substantial!

I’ll keep doing it because it tastes great, means we never run out, and it’s a good skill to have learnt for leaner times. I might also look for cheaper bulk ingredients.

Never happy to settle for good-enough, I’ve been tweaking our easy, reliable bread recipe to respond to a little family criticism that it could be lighter. So here’s the new result:

IMG_0391[1]

It’s about an inch taller than the previous recipe but it is not as reliably pretty:
Home-Made bread

But I’ve used the new recipe three times so far and had no failures – just great, delicious wholemeal bread. It’s significantly lighter, and now there are not even the slightest complaints! It even seems easier to slice.

Here’s the revised recipe:

  • 310 ml of lukewarm semi-skimmed milk
  • 450 ml of strong flour (I use half white, half wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp sugar (I use golden caster sugar)
  • 25 g butter
  • TWO 7g sachets of dried yeast

Put the milk into the breadmaker, followed by the flour. Add the salt, sugar and butter into each corner, then make a well in the center of the flour (not all the way through to the milk) and pur in the yeast.

Run it on the breadmaker’s express cycle. In our case that takes an hour, and only 0.24kWh.

Anyway, that’s enough talking about it, I’m off to slice it up for breakfast – the smell is divine.

Home baked bread

This bread just gets better and better – haven’t had one dodgy loaf yet, and all for only 0.24 kWh.

Here’s the recipe again

After a lot of experimentation we’ve finally got a recipe that reliably produces delicious bread! It even looks like the real stuff, rises properly, slices nicely and tastes great. Don’t believe me? Here’s one I prepared earlier:

Home-Made bread

Now I know the recipe it takes me less than 10 minutes to prepare it, and it’s then baked in exactly an  hour. OK, you’ve guessed it, I am cheating – I’m using a breadmaker that we freecycled from my Mother-in-law. It’s a Kenwood Rapid Bake and has an express, 1-hour cycle – it uses only 0.24 kWh to bake a loaf. I have a feeling that’s less energy than it’d take for us to fire up the oven and bake it conventionally, and it does the kneading for us.

Kenwood BreadmakerHere’s the model we’ve got. Not sure how much they cost new, but definitely worth it if you can Freecycle one!

The recipe is simple:

  • 310 ml of lukewarm semi-skimmed milk
  • 450 ml of strong flour (I use half white, half wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp sugar (I use golden caster sugar)
  • 25 g butter
  • 7g sachet of dried yeast

Put the milk into the breadmaker, followed by the flour. Add the salt, sugar and butter into each corner, then make a well in the center of the flour (not all the way through to the milk) and pur in the yeast.

Then  just run it on the fast cycle and – one hour later – delicious bread!

As I was writing this I came across another great bread article – includign the cost of making it – have a look at it here: the only bread recipe you need.

I never thought life would get this bad 🙂 but I’ve been looking for a resilient alternative to Wheat, as I’m pretty sure we’re not going to be able to grow enough in our garden to feed my Wholemeal Bread habit. 

Prompted by an article written by Janaia from Peak Moment called “Make Like a Squirrel” I’ve found out that you can eat acorns (after quite a lot of preparation!) They were a key food for Native Americans, and can be incorporated into a range of dishes including bread. The most comprehensive srticle I’ve found is one from Peggy Spring at the San Antonio Natural Area Parks, who suggest these recipes:

 

Steamed Acorn Black Bread 
Mix together: 
1 1/2 cups Acorn Meal 
1/2 cup Acorn Grits 
1 cup white flour 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
Add: 
1/2 cup dark molasses 
1 1/2 cups sour milk 
2 tablespoons salad oil 

Wring out a pudding cloth in boiling water, spread it in a round bottom bowl and turn the batter into it. Tie the corners and suspend the bag over boiling water in a closed kettle for 4 hours. This should be served hot from the bag, and a steaming slab of this rich, dark, moist bread is just right with a plate of baked beans.


Apache Acorn Cakes 

1 cup acorn meal, ground fine 
1 cup cornmeal 
1/4 cup honey 
pinch of salt 

Mix the ingredients with enough warm water to make a moist, not sticky dough. Divide into 12 balls. Let rest, covered, for 10 minutes or so. With slightly moist hands, pat the balls down into thick tortilla-shaped breads. Bake on an ungreased cast iron griddle over campfire coals or on clean large rocks, propped up slightly before the coals. If using the stones, have them hot when you place the cakes on them. You’ll have to lightly peel an edge to peek and see if they are done. They will be slightly brown. Turn them over and bake on the other side, if necessary.

I can’t see these being a staple of our diet any time soon – but I’m dying to give this a go. I’d better keep an eye out for local oaks.