A plaited loaf



This is my new favourite bread recipe. It’s from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef cookbook slightly adjusted. You get two loaves for your efforts – which is always a treat and the texture and flavour are both lovely. I particularly like plating the loaf and then tearing apart to share and eat. The lower one was shared in communion with my mum-and-dad-in law, sparkling grape juice and all, whereas the top one was shared among a crowd over the Easter weekend as we celebrated another broken in our place. I love that bread is simple and complex, physical and spiritual all rolled up together.

500g white flour (ideally ‘strong’ bread flour)
430g spelt flour (the top photo has wholemeal spelt, the lower one had white spelt)
70g gluten flour
625mL water
30g dried yeast
2 tablespoons of water
2 tsp salt

1. Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mix master (if you don’t have one, a big mixing bowl is fine, you’ll just need to get ready to do some hand mixing and kneading).
2. Start adding the water and combining the dough, the dough hook for the mix master is a great help here, otherwise a wooden spoon gets you going if you are doing a ‘hands-on’ version of the recipe. Continue to add the water till a smooth dough forms – let the mix master start the kneading process for you. If you are doing without the mix master, once the dough starts to come together you may need to knead it by hand to make it smooth (either in the bowl if its big or on the bench adding flour if its sticky).
3. Knead for 4-5 minutes adjusting flour and water to ensure you have a smooth uniform dough.
4. Allow the dough to prove in the bowl, sprinkle some flour on top to stop it from sticking to the clingfilm as it grows. It will take about 30 minutes to double in size.
5. Punch the air out of the dough and divide into two. Plat each loaf and then set the loaves aside to rise again. It will need at least another 30 minutes resting and growing.
6. Bake at 180oC for about 30 minutes, it should sound hollow when tapped and will be golden and gorgeous!
7. Bless, break and eat.

“Our Lord left us a command to remember and receive him in the act of eating bread and drinking wine. Things matter. The physical is holy.”
Eugene Peterson, Answering God, p72.


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