Thursday, 20 June 2013

Simple Wholemeal Bread

Bread? Why make Bread? I hear you ask; well let me tell you that there is something very rewarding about making your own loaf of bread,kneading the dough, knocking it back and taking the fresh smelling warm loaf of bread out the oven and buttering a slice whilst pipping hot. The best part is that its not as complicated as it sounds! In fact, if you are not into being precise like you would have to be if icing a cake or if you need to let of a little steam- kneading is great for this- then baking a loaf of bread is for you.

I was a bit skeptical about this recipe to say the least as it involved black treacle and warming the flour in the oven, both of which I had not done or ever thought of doing before -and believe me I have gone through a lot of bread recipes-. However, It was from Leiths Cooking Bible, a cookbook which I would go as far to say is one of my holy grail cookbooks so I definitely had enough trust in the cookbook to give this recipe a try.

The Recipe For Wholemeal Bread:
*Disclaimer: I am not passing this off as my own recipe, it is Leiths recipe*
Makes 2 Loaves:
550g-600g/1lb 4oz-1lb 6oz wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons buttermilk
290-340ml/10-12 fl oz warm water
15g/ 1/2 oz fresh yeast
1 tablespoon black treacle

1. Warm the flour with the salt in a large mixing bowl in the bottom of a low oven for about 5 minutes. Oil 2 x 675g/1 1/2 lb loaf tins.
2. Mix the buttermilk with the warm water. Add a little liquid to the yeast with a pinch of flour and treacle.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour, pour in the yeast mixture and nearly all the water and buttermilk. Mix to a dough. Add extra flour or liquid as required. Knead well.
4. Fill the tins three-quarters full of dough.Smooth the tops and cover with a piece of lightly oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until the dough has risen to the top of the tins.
5. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220 Degrees Celsius/ 425 Degrees Fahrenheit/ Gas Mark 7.
6. Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven temperature to 190 Degrees Celsius/ 375 Degrees Fahrenheit/ Gas Mark 5 and bake for a further 25 minutes.
7. The bread should sound hollow when it is tapped on the underside. If it does not or feels squashy and heavy, then return to the oven, without the tin, for a further 5-10 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

This loaf of wholemeal bread is definitely the loaf to make if you are in a rush as you only have to leave it to rise once for 45 minutes and the taste definitely isn't compensated as a result!

When this loaf of bread was in the oven it filled the whole house with the smell of fresh bread and made everything feel oh-so-homely. From that moment till trying the fresh homemade loaf was torcher. Waiting for the loaf of bread to cool was a task in its own as when you make a loaf of bread all you want to do is try some of your creation-even if it means burning your tongue in the process!

Once it had cooled down I cut a couple of slices out of the bread and buttered it generously, as the bread was still hot the butter melted, I don't know about you but melted butter on fresh bread is one of my favorite things to eat. I then topped the slices of homemade bread with Apricot Jam as this is mine and all of my families favorite jam, although top it with whatever floats your boat! Everyone loved the homemade loaf of wholemeal bread that I had baked and well, it didn't last very long. If I was to give you one tip it would be to eat the bread whilst still warm, as that is when it is at it's best, well for me anyway!

 My final tip would be that if you are lucky enough to have any left over for the next day wrap it in grease proof paper or baking paper to keep the bread from going stale.