what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Black pepper rye bread – Dan Lepard recipe

I’m killing time with baking things I like because I’ll be getting on with other things like preparing for the LondonSurrey 100 mile bike ride if the weather ever gets better. Today is a rest day because I did 50 miles yesterday.

Back to Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet book and an interesting loaf with a bit of a punch to it, the black pepper rye bread. Black pepper, and in my case fennel seeds, he gives you the choice of fennel, anise or caraway, are added to the mixture, and it’s all topped off with poppy seeds.

I have tried this once before and found that heating the coffee and the rye to boiling point means you get a really tough mixture and it doesn’t work too well. The good people over on The Fresh Loaf solved the problem years ago, which will teach me not to do the Googling before I get it wrong. Anyway, the recipe says “heat half the rye flour and the coffee until just reaching boiling”. DO NOT DO THIS. If it gets too hot and the mixture boils and is like polenta you’ve gone too far and you will need more water when you add the other flours, up to 75ml seems to be the quantity required. At least now I have the confidence to fix it when it’s gone wrong. If I did it again I think I might just use hot coffee and bypass the boiling bit. No-one seems entirely sure why you do it. I used fresh yeast rather than fast action yeast. I used milk instead of egg wash and slashed after I’d put on the poppy seeds.

Results – quite peppery, and browner than the book suggests. I used Bacheldre Watermill rye, maybe a light rye would not be so dark. It would be great with soft creamy cheese and/or smoked salmon as suggested by Dan.

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Almond gingerbread – ginger cake if you don’t like treacle

On the blog I wrote about pitta bread I linked across to The Yoghurt Book by Arto Haroutunian, which is a book I’ve had for a long time, and found useful for a range of dishes that use yoghurt. It includes a few recipes for breads and cakes, alongside main courses and desserts. One that I haven’t made for donkey’s years is the almond gingerbread recipe. The book has been reprinted so I shouldn’t give you the recipe, but this could give you a flavour for the kind of straightforward recipes included and I haven’t found it anywhere else on the tinterweb so here goes.

Oven set to 160C and you need a 7 inch square tin or 61/2 inch round tin, or any other size or shape you have. Grease and line, I use cake liners because I’m lazy.

Weigh out and sift together the dry goods – 8oz plain flour, pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda. Add 2oz ground almonds. Melt together 4oz margarine (or butter), 4oz golden syrup, 4oz soft brown sugar. Add to the dry goods with a pot of yoghurt and a beaten egg. Mix up nicely and then put in the tin and top off with 2oz of flaked almonds. Bake for about 55 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before taking out and leaving to cool.

The result is a fairly close and generally quite moist cake, that can be used as a pudding with some custard when it’s warm if you’re that way inclined.

I’m not a fan of treacle which finds its way into too many recipes that need brownness and stickiness and it is a taste I don’t particularly like. This is a great store-cupboard recipe which can be made quite quickly, and if you don’t have fresh ginger or lemon or any of the other things that seem to find their way into ginger cakes these days.

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National real bread maker week and disappointment in Waitrose

Just a little plug for the Campaign for Real Bread’s National Bread Maker Week.

“Real Bread Maker Week is Britain’s biggest annual, national celebration of Real Bread and its makers.

Its aim is to encourage people to get baking Real Bread or buying it from independent bakeries to support their local communities.

This year, as well as raising awareness for Real Bread, we knead your help raising cash.

The Real Bread Campaign has great new plans to help people who, for one reason or another, have a tougher time than most of us enjoy the social, therapeutic and employment opportunities Real Bread making offers, but we need the dough to do it!

Can we count on your support?”

If you’ve never made bread why not try – you’ll be surprised how easy it can be. I’ve suggested lots of recipes on various pages of the blog, or search for Dan Lepard’s recipes as a very easy way into making bread at home.

Still not convinced? Then why not try your local independent café or bakers or farmers market and see what they make and check out the difference between factory-made bread and bread made locally.

If you’ve never bought flour from a local miller, then why not search one out. To coincide with the week there’s a number of water and wind powered mills open. Check out this list and see if you can find one to visit this weekend. We had a fab visit to Mill Green in Hertfordshire recently, we learned a lot and got some great flour. If you can’t get out there’s some deals on mail-order flour on the campaign website.

Disappointment in Waitrose? They have opened a spangly new supermarket near us and it doesn’t have an in-store bakers. They’ve just got ovens to give factory prepared loaves a suntan. A real opportunity missed by Waitrose.

Me? I’ve been baking sourdough again – got a lovely sweet starter going right now and I bake it with white and wholemeal flour. The warmer weather still means it takes about 10 hours to do its stuff, but it’s been great, but doesn’t seem to hang about long enough to get a photo taken. And I’ve been doing a bit of biking too for my LondonSurrey 100 mile event, so haven’t had a lot of time at weekends to do much baking. But least I use the calories I’m scoffing the rest of the week.

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