I was contemplating what to write for this weeks blog post and was not coming up with an easy answer. Would it be on Cooking for Christmas, or Buying Local or even Apple Recipes from the amazing glut of apples there has been this year. I couldn't decide, none of these ideas were really inspiring me right now, although they are all topics close to my heart.
I don't know about you, but when I get stuck on a problem I find the best solutions usually come when I am not directly thinking about the issue, but am immersed in some other activity. So I decided to take myself into the kitchen, and make some bread. The act of kneading the dough is both soothing and invigorating all at the same time, and often gets my mental cogs turning over well. And then it came to me.... I would write about bread making!!
I love making my own bread - and am now quite evangalical about it! I rarely buy a loaf now - only at times when it just hasn't been convenient to make it. It is only in the last year that I have made bread by hand. Before that I had a breadmaker for a couple of years which I used intermittantly.
Then one day I decided to try it by hand. It was a true revelation! Not only was it much easier than I had anticipated, it was not time consuming at all! And the act of kneading the dough and feeling the texture of the dough change beneath my hands was wonderful. It is also a marvellous way to spend ten minutes, whether listening to the radio, singing or being absorbed in my own thoughts at the same time.
And of course the results are splendid - you can't beat home made bread - for smell, texture and taste! You know exactly what has gone into it - and you can try different flours and experiment adding seeds or oats etc. It is really economical too. A bag of flour - 1.5kg costs between £1 and £1.80 and you can get 3 loaves from it.
It is of course true that the dough needs time to rise and then be 'knocked back' and rise again - it is just a matter of fitting that into your day - and a loaf can be made over the course of an evening. A bit of kneading when you get back from work might do you the world of good!
My everyday recipe at the moment is Wholemeal Bread with Seeds. I had read about some of the nutritional benefits of linseed and sunflower seeds, so thought a good way to get them every day would be to add them to my daily bread.
Over time I have tried a several flours and now have some certain favourites but am always keen to try more. I like to try to buy some local flour when I go anywhere new.
Spelt flour is good to use if you are in a hurry as it takes less kneading and only one 'proving'. It can also be good for people who have a wheat or gluten intolerance. My favourite granary flour is from Otterton Mill. I get my wholemeal flour from Healthy Pulses in Sidwell Street.
If you have a favourite bread recipe and are willing to share it, I am always pleased to hear from fellow bread enthusiasts! Or if you make bread for the first time and are proud of your new loaf of bread! Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Member since: 25th October 2011
I am the founder and author of http://PennysRecipes.com. I am mostly found either cooking or writing about cooking. Member of Transition Exeter