Beat Stress, Bake Bread! - 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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