Out of the Painfog and back to bread-making…

It’s great to have home-made bread again, and I’ve really got to break out of this rut I’ve got into (been pushed into by events beyond my control, rather), and bake at least once a week. This should be easier now my pain is under control.

First step is to order some of my favourite specialist flours from Shipton Mill (these guys do some really great flours; good people too), like spelt, emmer, and Khorason, as well as rye. That way my 50% loaf, as well as being half wholemeal (the other half white, of course), can be something more interesting.

Until this past week, when my new pain meds have come to their maximum effect, I hadn’t really appreciated how much pain had shut down my life, and not just the recently-acquired Lymphoedema pain, severe though it is (actually, when it wakes me, screaming, in the night, “severe” doesn’t even come close), but also the ceaseless, grinding, pain of ME, a constant companion for 27 years. And both now mostly gone.

Of course, the reason they’re gone is because I’m drugged to the eyebrows, mainly with morphine and Gabapentin, which cause their own problems, especially as the day goes on and the drug burden builds up – which is why I’m typing this at 07.30, mostly pain free and drug fogginess free too.

I’m not sure if my return to bread-making will result in any new recipes at this stage (though one follows), but here’s a note for any ATOS/DWP snoops who might be checking out this blog – all the grunt work is done by a stand mixer, not by me.

For those of  you considering a stand mixer, the Kenwood range offers the best value in terms of size and power – the much-vaunted KitchenAid Artisan being so small, and so underpowered, it’s little better than a very expensive ornament.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that using a stand mixer takes away none of the skills you’ve learned – it’s just that the application of them is different.

And so, on to the new recipe. This is a high-fibre oat bran loaf, intended to help me deal with the massively constipating effects of morphine and its playmates (and if you think codeine is a major problem, man, are you in for  shock if you switch to morphine or Gabapentin – you might want to think about adding blasting caps to your diet – hey, Kellogg’s, here’s marketing opportunity – chocolate-coated detonators!).

High-fibre Oatbran Loaf

Flours from Shipton Mill. Both the white and wholemeal contain the same types of wheat.


275g Organic Strong Plain White (701)

200g  Organic Stoneground 100% Wholewheat Flour (703)

150g Mornflake Oatbran

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

3 tablespoons milk powder (I use Tesco’s Dried Skimmed Milk – and I do mean powder, NOT Marvel)

1 ½ teaspoons Fermipan Red yeast**

Scan teaspoon barley malt

375g lukewarm water (60% hydration, plus 1 dessert spoon – and yes, it does make a difference!)

**I buy the yeast in bulk and freeze it – it keeps for years. For use, I open the vacuum-sealed block,  tip it into a plastic jar and store that in the freezer. Note that the volume will be greater than the sealed block so you’ll need a bigger jar than you might think.

Bake the loaf on a pre-heated stone at 200C for 34 minutes (based on the use of a 2lb loaf tin).

What, I hear you cry, is that it? No instructions? Well, no.

OK, I’m not really going to leave you in the dark, especially newbies, so if you follow the instructions in this post (or adapt them if working by hand), you’ll be fine. See this post, also, before starting.

By the way, despite the high level of bran (which can burst the CO2 bubbles in the gluten that make bread rise), the loaf still rose well, though oven spring was minimal, despite using a preheated stone. Perhaps preheating the stone with the oven turned up to the max, then baking at 200C would give better results? Something to try next time – should work in theory, at least, with reduced baking time to compensate for initial heat.

Here’s some pics of the finished loaf:-

Oat bran loaf

Cut loaf

13 thoughts on “Out of the Painfog and back to bread-making…

    • It’s surprisingly light considering all the bran that’s in it – that’s probably because of the milk powder. It makes light cakes so I thought it would make light bread – it does. Fruit cake coming up in a couple of hours.

        • Oddly, I seem to have been born that way, with a knack for knowing which ingredients go together, and how they’ll taste when they’re finished.

          It made me think about reincarnation when I was in my teens, as I had – and still have – knowledge I’ve never knowingly acquired. OK, some, inevitably, I must have read and then forgotten about, but there’s just too much, and it goes back too far in my life.

          I honestly don’t know what the answer is.

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  2. i think we often learn by watching as kids and young people . i know i did. if we had a workman doing anything, i.e. a new window was being put in and i sat and watched and asked questions. never have needed the knowledge but i might have done. who knew then?
    so maybe watching mum or playing with dough /pastry etc as a toddler stuck in your head. i learnt more watching mum than i ever did in school cookery classes, though they were handy too, so when i set out as a young newly wed i had a good knowledge of plain cooking and baking to build on.

    • Not in my kitchen. My mother was a fairly basic/crap cook, and any lingering in the kitchen was firmly discouraged. When I mostly took over the cooking, age 12, she was amazed to find that things like sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage actually had texture, and two of them were green, not the colour of mud.

      • ah! well my mum was a good cook and a good mother who,like me when i had my kids, believed it was our duty to teach our children all that we had learned ourselves about life.living, and the environment around us, historically, and generally.

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