November 2014 - Greenwich Pantry Blog
17 Nov

Beat Stress, Bake Bread!

Apparently today is ‘National Bread Making Day’.

Ok, if you’re the type to roll your eyes at the likes of silly days such as National Only Eat Tomatoes Day/ Have Burgers for Breakfast Day or my personal favourite happening on the 15th July, a long wait away until Summertime next year (*sighs*): Piña Colada Day. Or the countless number of other marketed ‘Food Days’, then FYI- today is also National Take a Hike Day and if you think these ideas (yes most from across the pond) are silly, then ok, I will.

However, why not counter your daily stresses and take out your frustrations on some flour?

I find that there’s nothing more balancing, zen inducing and stress relieving than baking bread.

I must admit, I haven’t always been a huge success at baking. On a previous attempt, trying to be virtuous and both fibre and flavour conscious, I tried to use a complete spelt mix and must admit I completely stupendously #bakefail failed. The loaf sounded hollow when I came to give it that satisfying final tap, but the cooled lump fooled me, proving it was nothing but an inedible weapon.

Still nothing ventured, nothing gained and having experimented more, I can share with you this recipe that after few experiments, produced a beautiful light and malty loaf. (If you like less of a rich malty flavour and doughy texture, you could omit the Rye flour and use 125g more Wholemeal Spelt Flour together with 125g more of the Farmhouse Brown Strong Wheat Flour.

Today I came home to my beau, the bonny bearded expert baker in my household, having spent the afternoon flexing his muscles teasing the glorious gluten out of some Gilchesters Organics flours and he baked this gorgeous loaf with this yummy recipe.

Dry Ingredients

  1. 250g 100% Wholemeal Spelt Flour
  2. 350g Farmhouse Brown Strong wheat flour
  3. 250g Rye Flour

Wet Ingredients

  1. 14g yeast (2 packets of the quick to mix store cupboard kind)
  2. a blob of natural yogurt

Method

1. (If you have an airing cupboard or a proving cupboard, skip this step) Turn the oven on to the lowest setting, about 30 degrees, it should only be a comfortable warm temperature. Place a saucer of boiling water in the bottom of the oven to add a touch of moisture to the atmosphere.

2. Mix the flours in a big mixing bowl, if you have a dough mat, pour the flour out in a heap in the centre of it, or of course on to a hygienically cleansed dry work surface

3. Separately liven up the yeast in a jug with about 225ml of warm water

4. Create a well in the flour adding the liquid little by little, then add a blob of the natural yogurt.

5. Get kneading! Think of your to do lists, that person that nudged you on the tube and didn’t appologise, that car that drove past you splashing you with an arc of muddy rain. Go on, let it out. Release that tension! It’s hard work so make sure to do some neck stretches every so often, circle your head from shoulder to shoulder. Then keep on cathartically kneading for about 15 minutes. The dough should be tacky so that it sticks to your fingers, but no so much you cannot knead it. You’re aiming to hydrate the flour just enough to release the chewy glutens. As you work the dough, the idea is that the grains will absorb the moisture and part from your fingers.

6. Lightly flour the bread tin before carefully thwacking the conquered dough into it’s bed to prove in a moist oven for about an hour and a half to 2 hours, this particular loaf, didn’t double but almost triple in size. Some bakers knead after the prove, but this one was simply scored across the top and put into a hot oven on 180 degrees (ours is a fan oven, so set to 200 degrees if using an electric/gas oven) for about an hour, until it’s golden brown.

A springy doorstep slice, a wall of wheat and spelt ready to be slathered in butter.

A springy doorstep slice, a wall of wheat and spelt ready to be slathered in butter.

The result was a house heavenly perfumed with the cozy anticipation of sliced bread with Jam, slices to be lightly toasted, buttered and dunked into comforting hearty warming soups or hunks just ripped right off to be gobbled with cheese and pickles. This enormous endorphin releasing loaf should last, so long as I don’t keep picking at it.

For other great recipes have a look at Gilchesters recipe pages

Try having a go at baking yourselves and tell us all about it at the Greenwich Pantry pop-up shop on Saturday 29th November!

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04 Nov

Joyce, Musing on Food and Music. Save Me a Slice of Yesteryear

There are “Millions of people swarming like flies at Waterloo Underground”.

Well, at least there always seems to be when I’m south-east bound heading home and that normally that fills me a sense of drudgery embarking on my commute, but after seeing the press night performance of the newly transferred musical, Sunny Afternoon; a clever catalogue of Kinks hits, it spine tinglingly transported me to a time I wasn’t even part of, the fresh bold 60’s.

The romantic idealists crashed through kerrangs of a familiar ripe rock score, making the hairs the back of my neck raise, with an ultimate moment causing my heart to swell along with a congregation of sighs in the theatre hearing the first few bars of the tinkling riffs of Waterloo Sunset.

Food is the new Rock n' Roll

Food is the new Rock n’ Roll

I have this song on my playlist, the bouncing strums frightfully nostalgic when I’m away from this sometimes godforsaken city, my beloved home town.

Leaving the west-end glare of steak houses packed with tourists and day trippers, for a change, I passed the frantic Waterloo tube and decided to stroll across the bridge in the evening’s mild air hoping for a glimpse of the sun dipping behind the Thames, my thoughts turning to dinner.

Nearer to home; queues of football fans line up for, even what I must admit is the comforting acidic vinegary whiff of the chippy. In the constant endeavour to find more exciting and healthy options, Fish Friday is a tradition I rarely observe now, but every time I pass a chip shop it blasts me back to my childhood taking me back to the memory of walking from the shops with my dad and a furnace of paper wrapped food under my arm, crispy battered haddock wrapped in newspaper and my gleeful nose tingling with the scent of Sarsons.

Aren’t the scents and tastes of this town brought from traditions far and long ago enough to make your heart soar with delight. Well it’s enough to make my heart as as mushy as those accompanying peas with wrapped chips when I come home to familiar smells.

When I was a child I could always smell that something delicious was happening in my house from 50 paces, amen to that extractor fan wafting smells of dinner out on to the street; Caramelising Onions, or simmering stocks for chewy chicken stew. If ever I smell the fresh comforting warmth of bay leaves, it takes me right back.

Sometimes it’s nice to want a slice of yesteryear, however, harking back to Sunny Afternoon’s groovy 60’s tunes and views, my dad reassured me that from the Swinging era I didn’t miss much culinarily; the rise in popularity of microwavable food, salmon mousses, inescapable prawn cocktails and the like. Fast forward 50 years and now this city is a gloriously diverse pot of delicious ingredients and smells, without an aspic mould in sight (well at least until the next trendy pop-up decides to bring it back, please don’t).

We’d love to hear what makes you feel all nostalgic? Is it the smell of fresh baked bread or more like Mum’s Sunday lunch? Get in touch @Greenwich pantry

Speaking of pop-ups, I’ll be at The Greenwich Pantry Pop-Up Shop on Saturday 29th November from 10.30-3.30! It’ll be great to chat about what gets you all nostalgic.

“Let’s hear those sleigh bells riii….” Sorry, too early?

Pop-Up Shop Details

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