I haven’t posted anything ‘foodie’ for quite a while so having been ‘multi-tasking’ today – doing a ‘grumpytykepix‘ post and making bread among many other things – I thought I’d pass on some thoughts from the bread-making.

Four delicious small round wholemeal loaves for 10 minutes of your time

Four delicious small round wholemeal loaves for 10 minutes of your time

I used to make all the bread in the traditional way but it is time-consuming and it became more and more difficult to find the time. I don’t think I’d have begun this blog, let alone a second, if I still made the bread in this way. But, wonder of wonders, I discovered the bread-making machine. Bought (a Schneider) from a charity shop for £10. 

A really good flour from a really helpful miller

No instructions, and I couldn’t find any guidance on the net at the time, so I’d no idea what recipe to use. However, I’d seen that a miller called Carr’s, in Cumbria just north of the English Lake District,  said they made flour especially for bread-makers. So I wrote to them telling them what machine I had. A recipe came back very quickly and, with small variations, I’ve been using it ever since.

And their flour; although the recipe works with others which I’ve had to use when I couldn’t get Carrs. I know their flour is reliable, but also their ‘customer service’ is so good I really want to support them.

However, I found that the loaf from the bread-maker was too large for the two of us at home; I therefore cut it in half and put one part in the freezer till required. Then I thought I’d try to divide it as dough and put it in the oven and that was a revelation – as you might expect, bread from the oven is better!

Dough made in the bread-maker is knocked back and shaped into four before leaving for the second rising

Dough made in the bread-maker is knocked back and shaped into four before leaving for the second rising

So now, I let the the bread-maker do the hard work (the 1.1/2hr ‘dough’ program). Turn it out and knock it back with a light kneading, a couple of minutes, divide into four and shape, leave in the warming oven for 1/2hr to rise then bake at 180degC (fan oven) for 15-20 minutes (till a knock on the bottom sounds hollow). 

It’s delicious!

Here’s the recipe:

1lb 1oz of Carr’s wholemeal bread flour

2 level tsp salt

2.1/2 level tsp sugar

2.1/2 level tsp of powdered milk (you can leave this out)

1 packet of ‘active’ dried yeast (I use Sainsburys, 57 gram in the packet)

Mix all the above in a bowl

Put 335 ml of cold water in the bread-maker

Add a knob of butter (Carr’s said 10g)

Spoon in the flour/yeast etc mixture 

Leave on the ‘dough’ programme (1.1/2 hours)

Lightly knead to knock it back. Divide into four. Shape and put on a baking tray sprinkled with semolina (only to stop it sticking – flour will do but I prefer semolina).

Put in a warm place, covered with a cloth, for about 30 mins till well risen.

Bake in a hot oven (180degC, fan) till it sounds hollow when knocked on the bottom.

Try not to eat it all while hot.

Feel free to mess about with some additions; I often add a handful of rolled oats to the mix, or a handful of sunflower seeds. Poppy seeds are good too. I like the soft ‘crust’ but you can brush with water, milk, egg or oil, to produce a different crust.

Same recipe as the 'plain' bread above but with the addition of a handful of sunflower seeds

Same recipe as the ‘plain’ bread above but with the addition of a handful of sunflower seeds

And it’s so easy, and great for the multi-tasker as your involvement in the process is five minutes at the start, and five in the middle.

That’s it!

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