It's funny how when you mention food on a blog you get lots of comments! So I thought I would expand on my bread making a bit today.
I am really enjoying the bread making, when Sharron was away in the USA I decided that from now on I would bake all our bread, partly as a way of de-stressing (kneading is a good workout) and also because it tastes better. I am not only baking loaves but also things like Pizza's, Roti and Naan. I also used some of the butter I made and eggs from our hens to make some fantastic shortbread biscuits, which went down really well at Sharron's office.
I thought I would show you some of the stages in my breadmaking and just how easy it is.
I use locally grown and milled organic flours in all the bread I bake.
This is important to me as it means not only no additives, pesticides etc, but also less food miles.
I have been using as my main reference Bread by Daniel Stevens which is No3 in the River Cottage Handbooks, this is one of the best cookery books I have read and the recipes work. One of the things I have learnt from it was to make a sourdough starter, this is a culture made from wild yeast that you keep growing and use in just about all yeast breads to get them going.
I am preparing all my breads by hand as I think this gives a much better result than a bread maker. The most important thing is to knead well and to let the bread rise well.
I place my dough in a proving basket (a split cane basket) for this stage as it lets the dough breathe better than a bowl.
Once it has risen and been 'knocked back' or gently kneaded a couple of times it is ready for it's final proving before baking. I allow it to double in size before transferring it to a baking sheet or a pizza 'peel'. I then shape it, cut the top to allow it to expand, brush or spray it with water and dust it with rye flour to give it that rustic look.
To bake it I use a pizza stone in the oven which I place above a tray of water as the steam helps keep it moist. The oven is turned up to full heat (about 250c, 450 f, gas 9-10) for the fist 10 mins then turned down to 200 -170 c for about 45-50 mins.
Allow it to cool, slice and serve with homemade butter and marmalade.