Bread again …

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The white loaf (in a round tin)

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The fruit loaf variation

So I’ve been delightedly making this recipe that Janet from Simply So Good has developed for the past few weeks/months. Not only is it really, really easy, but it works with variations. I’ll admit that I struggled counting to 12 (I did 24 hours the first time, combined with too much water I made a lovely version of turkish bread!) at the beginning, but once I’d ironed out a few issues I had following precise instructions (those of you who know me will smile knowingly at this point) it started to work!

I began by making it in the only ovenproof lidded dish I owned (a stock pot) … but it was so tall the likelihood of burning one’s self getting the bread in was very high and now I’m making it happily in a loaf tin covered with aluminium foil for the first 30 minutes.

I also do not have access to instant or rapid rise yeast so I just add my 1 tsp of dried yeast (yes, I double the recipe’s quantity, a hangover from making Turkish bread the first time) to 1/4 cup of water, sprinkle with flour and activate (wait till it bubbles) for about 5 minutes before adding it to the other ingredients.

Braver and braver with my successes, I’ve also played round with flours (using combinations of white wheat, stoneground wholewheat, spelt and buckwheat; the less white wheat, the darker and denser the end product … although still very eatable … just better toasted!). In my most recent loaf I added some pecans, sunflower seeds, cranberries, chopped dates, cinnamon and ground ginger – the resulting fruit and nut bread was very, very delicious!

One last note, having begun to learn the very basics of basic cheese making I’ve used the left over whey instead of tap water and this has worked quite nicely too!

The Artisan Bread Recipe (rewritten by me!)

Ingredients:
3 cups of flour
(To make it white, soft and delicious – use white. If you are okay with a nuttier result; a mixture of stoneground wholemeal, white, buckwheat and or spelt can produce interesting and very edible results)
1/4 cup warm water (just luke warm)
1 1/4 cups water or whey
1 teaspoon dried yeast
(make sure this is in date, it doesn’t work if its not)
1 teaspoon salt
(If you want to make the fruit toast variation add a handful of chopped dates, cranberries, sunflower seeds, chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon … any other combination of dried fruit, seeds and nuts would also work.)

Method:
1. Mix the dried yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water, sprinkle with a little flour and set aside till bubbling nicely.
2. Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the water and yeast mixture and additional 1 1/4 cups of water (this can be cold tap water).
3. Mix till combined and cover with glad wrap. Leave on the bench for 12-14 hours (it is good to put it on in the evening and then bake in the morning).
4. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 220-230˚C. Heat up the loaf tin.
5. While the oven is preheating, flour up a sheet of baking paper, pour our the dour and use a flour scraper to gently work some extra flour into the dough by lifting the sides of the dough over its self. Don’t kneed, just fold for a bit till the dough holds together as a lump*. Sprinkle with a little flour and cover with glad wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
6. Pour dough into baking paper lined baking dish (I like using a loaf tin) and then cover tightly with foil (to create steam, to create a good crust).
7. Bake for 30 minutes covered then 15 additional minutes uncovered.
8. Enjoy tasty delicious bread which is yummy both plain and toasted!

*Add fruit toast ingredients here!

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