Bread

Its been a while but after a summer and early autumn of gardening , pickling preserving ,winemaking ,foraging and generally non stop cooking my freezer and pantry shelves could take no more and neither could I, I was feeling a bit frazzled and I needed a rest away from all this cooking. After a fab holiday in the North York’s moors and a few weeks of knitting and sewing for pleasure I am ready for cooking again. A fellow allotmenter has been asking me about bread making so I thought I would demonstrate how I bake a simple basic loaf.

I started making my own bread a few years ago because I was disappointed with shop bread and bakery bread which is generally made from mixes. To me only artisan bakery bread tasted right and at £2.50 plus a loaf I thought I would start doing my own . I know exactly what is in my bread and I love experimenting with flavours and combinations. My home made bread is the perfect accompaniment to all the soups I make with the allotment veg, it just goes hand in hand.

Bread making is part of my weekly routine. I generally use a 1.5 kilo bag of flour at a time which makes 3 large 2lb loaves . I don’t see the point in putting the oven on just to make one loaf when it’s as easy to make 3. I put 2 in the freezer for use later. People say, “I don’t  know how you find the time”  But breadmaking takes no time at all especially if you have a mixer. It’s just about making it part of your routine.4C3B4A00-1C9E-402C-95D5-61891AADD164

I have a old Kenwood mixer with dough hook attachment that I use for bread mixing and it can just about handle a 1.5 k bag of flour. Sometimes I like to make bread by hand just to remind myself how it feels to properly knead dough and it’s a fab workout for the bingo wings. Every time I knead  a 1.5 kg bag of flour I think of tales of my great grandma , Esther Lane , who used to knead a stone of bread flour at a time to feed the large family she had, they didn’t need a gym in those days.

I use all sorts of flours ranging from budget supermarket to flour from artisan small producers. I have had good results with all. Sometimes I use fresh yeast but I find the dried yeast good but I don’t like the fast action yeast. D429B65D-76BD-4AAE-9F94-3C6B49C329BE

My loaf tins were my Grandma Hartley’s, they are fabulous tins , amazing quality and were probably bought when my grandma got married which was in the early 1940’s. Some of them still have the price etched in the side which Ithink is fab. I love using them and wonder how many loaves they have baked over the years.

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So off I go , creating bread, too me it’s exciting,it’s like magic turning flour,water and yeast into an amazing food and every loaf is unique. It just makes me feel happy and proud when I see my loaves lined up.

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I can think of nothing nicer on a winters day than to make beautiful bread , it’s so comforting and makes the home smell amazing.  Have a go , you won’t regret it because it knocks spots off shop bought and my large white loaf cost just under 50p to make. There are  millions of recipes online to have a go at or watch my little video to see how I do it and  there’s some good bingo wing action too. Recipe in photo below. Happy Baking.

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