Remember me? Little Miss 'I think I'll try and post something once a week? Maybe every month...year...decade?'
Yeah...baking and blogging regularly turns out to be quite a challenge. I don't really know why - I mean they're both fairly enjoyable feats, so it shouldn't be that hard to motivate myself to do it. So, here we go again. No harm in giving it one more shot, is there?
A lot's changed since my last post. I've moved to Cheltenham, started studying again and am working for a lovely tutoring agency. There seemed to be a lot of change all in one go, so I turned to baking for a little bit of comfort. And nothing says comfort quite like homemade bread. It's definitely something to do with the smell.
It felt quite strange baking in a new kitchen - I'm not quite used to the oven yet, or remembering where I've put things, or remembering if I packed them at all...! So this bake was a bit of a rough job. Delicious nonetheless, so here's the recipe for my wonky wholemeal loaf!
100g strong white bread flour
400g wholemeal bread flour
7g sachet dried yeast
2tsp light brown sugar
350ml warm water
2tbsp olive oil (plus extra for greasing)
150g sunflower seeds/poppy seeds/pumpkin seeds
1. In a large bowl, mix together the two flours until they are well combined.
2. Add the yeast, salt, brown sugar, oil and the water to the flours and bring together with a butter knife until you have a shaggy ball of dough.
3. Flour a surface with a mix of the two flours and knead the mixture for 5-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. It should lift away from the surface easily and
look fairly shiny.
4. If using the seeds, halfway through kneading lay them on the surface in small batches and work into the dough. Leave a small handful for decorating.
5. Oil a large bowl and plonk the dough in there to double in size. If you cover it with a damp tea-towel and leave it at a warmish room temperature, this should take about 40-45 mins.
6. When the time is up, whack the oven on at 220/210 fan/ Gas Mark 7 and place a large roasting tray on the bottom shelf.
7. Shape the dough into a large rectangle/oval/octopus, whatever floats your boat, and put on a well oiled baking tray to proof for another 35-40 mins. Before you cover with a tea towel, slash a cross into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
8. If you're using the seeds and honey, at this stage mix the honey with a little water to create a glaze. Brush over the top and sprinkle with the seeds.
9. After time's up, open the oven and quickly chuck some cold water into the roasting dish. This will create a little steamy sauna for your bread when it's cooking, so you get a crispy crust.
10. Pop in the oven for 35-40mins, or until smelling beautiful. The loaf should have a lovely oaky brown colour and sound hollow when tapped. Be careful if you are using the honey glaze as this can start to catch - if so, cover the loaf with a little foil for the last 15mins.
11. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
12. Feel incredibly smug about the fact that you have made your own bread when you crack open your lunchbox for your sandwiches at lunch time.
I hope you find this recipe useful - it's so easy to do and the loaf lasts for a long time if you wrap it in foil and store in a dry place.
Thank you for reading my little musings. I promise to try and pop back for more!