Tuesday, 21 June 2011

With jam and bread... and bread... Milk Bread

This is my second recipe from Bread Matters by Andrew Whitely, and I am just loving getting back into breadmaking. In the same way as I'm enjoying preserving, there's something soothing and reaffirming into making something out of very little, about making things stretch, in the repetition, thought and work put in to this type of cooking. Unlike baking which always results in something demonstrably decadent, jams and bread are things you need. Things that by making yourself you don't have to buy, and are therefore good uses of my time, and ingredients I might otherwise not use. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Clearly I'm a displaced 40's housewife. With a veg box. It could happen!

What's really interesting about Bread Matters, is that it's not just a recipe book, as you progress through the recipe pages, you're learning about different techniques of breadmaking and why the yeast works as it does. Now for a science phobe such as myself - seriously, I'm completely phobic - my last meeting with science was my GCSE exam and all I remember is staring vacantly at my left hand trying desperately to remember what the rule was I was supposed to know about that linked to it, whilst not hyperventilating or vomiting. If people had linked science to food, art or musicals I would have been a scientist by now. Still my double B in science seems to set me up for understanding yeast.

In the milk bread, it's the full fat (still only 4% before those of you on diets have a coronary) milk that softens the crumb. It's noticeably different to the wholemeal I made last week. Soft and flavourful, the sort of bread that reminds me of childhood (why I don't know, maybe it's my misspent youth reading Enid Blyton novels). Clearly not my childhood. Whilst you can't taste the milk, there is a mild flavour of something different from the wholemeal. Mixing the strong wholemeal and strong white flours also makes the flavour milder.

Again it was such an easy, soothing way to spend an evening - I would say to anyone who hasn't made bread themselves to try it, Andrew Whitley's book really does give you a framework for home breadmaking, and also helpful hints and tips. All I'm doing is a recipe and a fair amount of nonsensical chat.

I should probably also state that I have nothing to do with Andrew Whitely, and bought the book myself, I am just this evangelical about home breadmaking.
Sorry, I went slightly off piste there didn't I? Erm where was I? Evangelical about good, home cooked bread. Quick and easy. If you have the money a breadmaker makes it even easier, if you don't - I personally prefer to do it by hand.

Recipe: Milk Bread

260ml Whole milk
5g fresh yeast
200g strong wholemeal flour
200g strong white flour
tsp salt

1 egg, beaten with a little milk for the glaze (not to self, I must get a pastry brush)

Dissolve the yeast in the milk
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, then turn out onto the worktop and knead for 10 minutes
Let it rise for 2 hours (as before, in the bowl, covered with a plastic bag)
Then divide the dough into two peices - one about 500g, and the other of the rest (about 150g)
Divide the larger peice into 4, stretch out to make small loaves and put in a loaf tin so they're touching (that'll make more sense if you look at the picture up top)
Have a go at twirling, plaiting or knotting the other bit, after making it into a longish sausage
Brush with the glaze
Leave for another hour to prove again
Preheat the oven to it's top temp and turn down to start baking at 210 degrees.
After 10 minutes turn it down to 190 and leave the loaf for 30 - 40 minutes, the twirly, knotty plait cooks quicker - in about 20 minutes.

This was really nice spread thickly with butter and (homemade, naturally) strawberry jam! The plait was demolished in two days by Mark and myself. That's fast.


Jules said...

Thanks to the title of this blog post I'm now singing the song with my hands clasped in front of my chest Salzberg Music Fest stylee.

I love this recipe. Haven't made it in a while, but it does produce such beautiful bread.

Pen said...

I expected nothing less from you!

It's just lovely and tasty and so soft. Although that said, it's making lovely toast now it's less soft too.


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