Today’s loaf is a Rye Bloomer…

Marking what I hope is my return to breadmaking is today’s mostly organic loaf, a rye bloomer. Flour, as always, is from Shipton Mill, and I always use a stand mixer, in my case a 1200W Kenwood Premier Silver Chef (current version has been downgraded to 1000W for some reason). Without it I couldn’t bake at all – it does all the grunt work for me. You can, of course, make it by hand if you’re able.

My normal loaf is 50-50 white and some form of wholemeal. With rye, which doesn’t rise particularly well, I use more white than usual.

These are my scales, sitting on the cooling rack while my loaf bakes. Very accurate, £49.19 including a mains adapter. Runs on 3 AA batteries or the adapter. I’m still on the original batteries after 2 years or more. Go figure. If you bake a lot, it’s probably worth getting the adapter, it’s only a fiver.

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Making bread using a stand mixer…

As there’s not a lot of advice on using stand mixers for mixing bread dough, I though I’d share my experiences with you. I’ve covered the basics in this post – this is the detail.

Because of worsening health, even before my recent crisis, and spreading arthritis, some months ago I started using a stand mixer, a Kenwood Chef Classic (avoid the Kenwood Prospero, it’s cheap and nasty, and the dough hook is a piece of junk).

Kitchen Aid mixers, which in some ways I would have preferred, are gorgeous, particularly the special edition Candy Apple Red version, but they’re overpriced and underpowered – see footnote.

My first attempt at using the mixer was disappointing and very Continue reading

Making wholemeal bread…

Today I have a batch of organic, 100% extraction wholemeal flour, from Shipton Mill, so wholemeal bread is on the agenda. Here, as a teaser, is the finished product:-

Click pic for full size image, Back button to return. (The uneven bottom edge is just one of those things. An amorphous lump of dough will either conform to a right-angled tin as it expands, or it won’t. These didn’t, and it matters not at all.)

I like wholemeal bread, but my experience with it has been rather less than inspiring. The first time I ever made bread, from a position of almost total ignorance, was during the bakers’ strike of 1979. I sought a little advice from the staff restaurant manager where I worked but, beyond that, I was on my own.

I opted for wholemeal, probably a tad over-ambitiously, with hindsight. The result was certainly very tasty but – let’s be honest – a brick. Much like the Crank’s loaf you can buy in Sainsbury’s today, in fact. Still, at a time when it was hard to come by, I, at least, had bread.

So, this time, I’m . . .

To read in full, please click through to my bread blog. Thanks.

Shipton Mill flours – problems solved…

I’ve groused a bit here about the softness of dough (lower protein content than I was used to), made from Shipton Mill flour, and the unpredictability thereof – not any more, though.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of research of late, and one of the things I turned up is that very many pro bakers prefer a lower-protein flour than, say, the stuff you’d buy in the supermarket – which, of course, is what I’d been doing.

Shipton Mill 701 bread flour makes excellent bread, there’s no getting away from that, but it can be difficult to work with – the secret . . . read on at my Bread Blog

Making sourdough in real time…

This bread is made using the frozen sourdough culture that I described in this post. Despite the 9 weeks or so it’s spent in the freezer, the culture isn’t just viable, it’s remarkably vigorous. Unlike my first attempt, which took far too long, I’ve used two portions of culture, and I’m confident I’m not going to be waiting until 10 o’clock tonight to bake this time!  I’m also using 25% light rye this time, for a lighter loaf (last time I used dark rye which gave a crust that could have served as a wood rasp!).

All flours are Shipton Mill organic.

Monday

Midday: remove… Follow the complete recipe over at my bread blog.

Chestnut bread…

As with my sourdough loaf, this is written in real time, as I’m making it. All flour is from Shipton Mill.

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250g organic strong white flour No. 701

250g organic chestnut flour**

3 tablespoons e-v olive oil

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

336ml, 60% hydration, you’ll need it all.

1 teaspoon yeast, made into a starter as usual – in a mug put 200ml lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon flour (before adding salt), and the yeast, stir vigorously until lump free and leave until frothing almost to the top of the mug.

½ teaspoon yeast added directly to the flour

** The chestnut flour is quite Continue reading

Blending flour to your own specification…

A few days ago, I ordered some more flour. As I’d got the hang of the slightly problematic Shipton Mill type 701 strong white flour (or so I thought), I decided I’d go with that again, because it does make very nice, very light, bread even, as with my current loaf, with a hefty freight of oat bran. And then a loaf I was just about to put in the oven collapsed as I slashed it. Bugger, I thought – or something…

I’d talked to Shipton Mill about the apparently low gluten content of the 701, and they said Continue reading

50% Oat Bread…

The Hovis Hearty Oats loaf is being touted as the first ever loaf to be made with 50% wholegrain oats and 50% white bread flour. Claiming something as the “first ever” is always reckless and often, as in this instance, totally wrong.

I made my first 50% oats, 50% white bread flour about Continue reading

An emmer loaf…

Emmer (Triticum dicoccum), is a seriously ancient form of wheat, its first recorded cultivation dating back to around  9,000 BC, in south-east Turkey. These days, it’s the grain known as farro in Italy, though it’s also grown in other countries. Wikipedia will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about it.

The references to spelt in the Bible, are now known to be a mistranslation, and emmer is what was meant, as spelt was, geographically at least, very unlikely, while emmer was widely known throughout the historical Middle East and Mediterranean. Spelt, on the other hand, from its origins 5,000 years BC in Transcaucasia, moved westwards, and has always been primarily a European grain, before being carried to the Americas. (Pedant’s note – this is a simplification.)

Wikipedia also says, somewhat sniffily Continue reading

First adventures with sourdough bread…

This is a blow by blow record of the making of the first loaf made with the sourdough culture described in this post.

The culture yielded 10 portions, one of which I retained, the rest were frozen. I mixed the remaining portion with 100ml lukewarm water, and 50g each dark rye flour and strong white flour, both stoneground organic, from Shipton Mill.

Within minutes it was bubbling away and, after a couple of hours, I put it in the fridge to keep for the following day, when I made a loaf with it to this recipe (I’m actually typing this as I go, so you’ll get real-time details of its progress). I kept a portion so I could see if one would work, rather than the two I suggested previously.

So, take Continue reading