Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Three loaves of hand made bread

Today I felt the urge to have another go at making bread (by hand).

The recipe was out of my NZ Bread Book by Mary Browne, Helen Leach and Nancy Tichborne. Start the night before as you leave the yeast mixture overnight.

I was quite pleased with the results, although I slightly burnt one loaf through inattention..oops! (I cooked them separately). This is what it looked like when sliced and it came up nice as toast:

300ml warm water
1 dsp sugar
1 Tbs dried yeast

Add sugar to water in bowl, then sprinkle yeast on top without stirring. Leave for 10mins to froth up.

Stir gently, then add 3/4 cup bran flakes. Stir, then cover with plastic wrap and wrap in a tea towel to keep warm. Leave overnight.

Next morning, drain the bran off using a sieve over a measuring jug. Check there is 600mls liquid, add more warm water if not. Add 100mg plain vitamin C. The recipe mentions using tablets (crushed) but I could only find flavoured ones, I managed to source vitamin C powder but it was 1000mg per 5ml (1 tsp) so I only used a pinch. Tip liquid into a large warm bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together 1kg white flour, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp sugar. Add 90% of this to the liquid, retain the remainder for kneading. Stir 4 or 5 times with a wooden spoon, then add 1 Tbsp melted butter and mix until it is too hard to stir. Then using floured hands (from the retained flour) mix and tip onto a floured board.

Knead for about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl and cover with plastic film. Leave in warm place for about 2hrs.

Punch down dough, using floured fist in centre of bowl.

Turn out onto board again and knead briefly for 1min, then divide into 3 and shape into loaves. Place on greased trays, and/or loaf tins. Leave to prove for about 30-60 mins until doubled in size.

Finishing: I brushed the plait with egg wash and scattered poppy seeds on top.

Bake for about 20mins, 200 deg C (depending on your oven, mine is a bit hot).

I will definitely try this again, there are lots of variations in the flour that can be used and shapes to be made.

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