Since I am now eating gluten I decided it was time to have a go at baking bread. Bread baking is part of my heritage. My nanna always baked bread, and then my dad took on the tradition. Maybe now it is my turn. I don’t have the family recipe (yet) so I decided to make my own recipe up.
Yesterday I set a challenge for myself. I am rubbish at doing nothing and easily get restless. But yesterday I determined to spend the entire day in our little flat, in my PJs (incidentally I failed at staying in my PJs all day). It helped that we are 4 inches (or more, I’m rubbish at estimations) deep in snow. However, I did not have the traditional bread ingredients to hand so I worked with what I did have, thus honouring my challenge to stay within the. same. four. walls. This challenge was greatly increased with the husband being home all day too since he’s on hols. I love him but our flat is very small, and sometimes too small. Anyway, onto the bread baking challenge. Oh, and this bread is vegan btw.
Wing-it Bread (makes one large loaf)
250g wholegrain spelt flour
250g plain/all-purpose flour
1 scant tbsp active dried yeast
1 tsp salt (v. important)
1 tbsp agave
2 tbsps olive oil
300ml hand-hot water
Mix all the dried ingredients together in a large bowl. Then mix the agave and olive oil into the hot water to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix all together with your hands until you have a sticky mass of dough. Next is the fun bit.
On a lightly floured surface knead the dough until it is stiff and no longer sticky. Put back into the mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm, draft-free place for an hour or two. The mix should double in size. Once the time is up go through the process of kneading again, but this time put in a large greased loaf tin and cover again for an hour or until the loaf has doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen for the second time place the loaf in a pre-heated 180C oven carefully; without knocking the tin as this can cause the air to be dispelled. Bake for 30-35 mins. Once ready, turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack and knock the base of the loaf. It should sound hollow when it’s ready.
Enjoy whilst still hot (although it is difficult to slice well)… and spread with butter (non-dairy or standard) and marmite… or leave to cool before slicing into it.
Now, my problem is that when it comes to baking and cooking I’m competitive. I have to produce the best “insert recipe” otherwise I’m not satisfied. When I was gluten-free and vegan the standards were, naturally, different. But now that I’m not, and I’m also inexperienced in these creative ways, the challenge is greater. Up until a couple of years ago, the only homemade bread Tom had tried was my dad’s (which is awesome, btw). However, a couple of Christmases ago Tom’s parents were bought a bread machine. This bread machine makes some of the best homemade bread. Aside from the fact that it’s using a bread machine, and so is cheating (sorry!), I still have to bake a better bread. Oh, and our friend John is an experienced bread maker. Whilst I am yet to try his bready creations, I’m sure they’re good. So, the challenge is an intimidating one. I’m not sure that these family and friends know about the challenge but I know they’re not shy of some friendly competition (plus they’ll find out once I hit “publish”). This recipe did not cut it (pardon the pun). So, the challenge remains. Watch this space.