Sunday, 26 February 2012

A light Pumpernickel loaf

Traditionally Pumpernickel bread is a dark, heavy bread made with coarse dark rye and after a long, slow bake at relatively low temperatures the result is a very dark dense loaf. The darkness is created through the maillard effect of the sugars in the molasses along with the chocolate and coffee. This recipe however is a lighter version and exceptionally delicious, but of course it is all according to personal taste. Try this, I promise you won't be disappointed.

You will need:
  • Dried active yeast (2 tbspn) and 1/2 cup warm water & a pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup Molasses (available from health food shops)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 4 tbspn unsalted buter
  • 1tbspn of treacle
  • Flours: Wholemeal (1/2 cup), Stoneground Rye (2 cups), White (4 cups) If you want a 'heavier' loaf than just reduce the amount of white in exchange for rye.
  • 1 cup of wheatbran (rich in vit B & folic acids)
  • 2 tbspn caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbspn cocoa powder (you can also use coffee powder)
  • 1 tbspn shallots chopped finely
  • For glaze: 1tbspn cornstarch + 1/2 cup water
tip: whatever ingredient you exchange (ie. cocoa powder instead of coffee powder), just make sure you have the same weight of dry mixture and wet mixture as the recipe states.

1) Start by preparing your yeast, I used dried active. Stir dry yeast into warm water with pinch of sugar and dissolve. Let stand for 10 mins (until frothy).

2) In a small pan heat 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of molasses, 1/4 cup of apple sauce, 4 tbsp buter,
1 tbspn treacle & set aside.
3) Mix your flours together: 1/2 cup w'meal, 2 cups rye, 4 cups white & set aside.

4) Combine 2 cups of your mixed flour (above) with the bran, seeds, salt,
cocoa powder, shallots.
5) Add your frothy yeast mixture and the warm molasses mixture.

6) Beat for about 3 minutes - until smooth

7) Slowly add the rest of your flour and combine

8) Knead the dough for about 3 minutes on a clean surface. You should be pushing
the dough away from you and shearing the dough with the palm of your hand so
that you work the gluten in the dough. Once the dough feels tighter, roll into a ball. The dough should have a
glossy finish and feel quite firm to touch.

9) Rest your dough for about 1hr in a well greased bowl. By sprinkling flour over the top you will notice the rise as the flour will
crack showing that your loaf has risen.

10) Your dough will be puffed up and risen to double in size. Carefully handle the dough by lifting out
of the bowl and scaling into your chosen tin sizes (I used smallish loaf tins so measured 480g of dough)

11) Shape and mould into your tins. Start with a rectangle shape and then pull over the left and right sides. Then fold over the top (see pic above) and roll neatly and fairly tightly into a roll shape for your tins.

12) Carefully place your rolled dough into your well greased loaf tins and leave to prove
for about 45 minutes.

13) Once risen you can glaze with your cornstarch mixture. Just bring 1 tbspn of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water to the boil and reduce hear stirring until you get a thick, translucent mixture. Then brush on to your loaves immediately before baking. Slash carefully witha sharp, serrated knife to allow air to escape will baking.

14) Finally, bake in a pre-heated oven at 210 for 20 minutes and then reduce to 190 for 20-25 minutes
This loaf is baked at a moderate heat due to the sugar and seeded content. If baked to high then the loaf may burn and the seeds taste bitter. The final loaf will smell amazing and fill the house with malty, cocoa & caraway smells. A loaf will last you all week - I have enjoyed with smoked salmon & cream cheese in the mornings and a spread of Colston Bassett stilton in the evenings with a drop of red. Delicious.

Monday, 6 February 2012

How to make bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou

This truly is a beautiful book. I was lucky to pick one up on my recent visit back to Welbeck and to make it extra special, Emmanuel (my former tutor) signed me a copy.

Saturday night I spent the whole evening reading through each of the recipes (there are more than 60) and savouring over every one of the photographic illustrations. I could literally taste the caramalised crumb as I turned each page. Having spent the last year learning from Emmanuel's skills and passion in bread making, I have a collection of over 2000 photos myself, so I could appreciate the work that has gone into creating this book down to every last crumb!

This book is perfect as an introduction to bread making in your own home. Emmanuel guides you through the process with a step by step approach. No bread machine required. The selection of recipes are brilliant and it is immensely rewarding to share your results with friends and family. A bread lovers must have!

...or even better, take a trip up to The School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate and purchase one from the man himself.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Winter spiced bread

My New Year's breakfast started around eleven in bed with some warm toasted cinnamon and raisin bread and much needed lashings of sweet homemade jams.

This is an easy loaf to make and a good way to use up your leftover ingredients from christmas cakes and puddings and whilst it bakes you can enjoy the spicy chrismassy smells filling the house once more.

When I am only baking one or two real bread loaves, I much prefer to shape the loaves raher than use a tin and fruit bread looks so pretty in a round ring with little dainty slices that are so incredibly moreish. Tip: To keep the middle from closing in during the prove, I used a little jam jar.

400g White strong flour
100g Light Rye
 10g fresh yeast (or 5 grams of dry / or 1 tsp)
 10g salt
350g water
250g raisins / mixed peel / nuts (whatever you have)
1 generous tspn cinnamon

1) Mix together to form the dough
2) No knead method means folding every 20 minutes x 4
3) Check gluten window by lightly stretching the dough until you can see through but it does not break easily.
4) Leave to ferment for 1 hour
5) Shape & mould into a round. Use your elbow to press down the centre of the round to make a ring shape. Place your little glass jar inside to hold the shape.
6) Prove for 1-2hrs or until doubled in size
7) Bake for at least 45 mins at 210 (fruit breads don't need such a high heat)

This loaf will keep all week and is excellent toasted.