Random food noodlings – bread flours, plus pickling chillies and ginger…

Right, then. Last year I was sold 5 kilos of something rather special. No, not drugs, something better – Swedish Spring Wheat Flour. Most of it has now been used, experimenting with it in various combinations with other flours and, on its own, in makes amazingly good rolls, with a surprisingly yellow crumb. One thing I failed to do, while I had plenty, was make a loaf using it alone.

Now, I have just one kilo left, and it’s pretty much too late.

Well, OK, I could make one loaf, but the problem is that I want to make a couple of loaves, but a kilo just isn’t enough for a couple of 2lb loaves, so I need to pad it out with something which will either have little effect on its character, or, perhaps, complement it.

I’ve a couple of white flours to choose from, both my Continue reading

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Keeping home-made bread fresh in summer…

And the rest of the year, of course, but summer is particularly problematic.

My home-made bread is, as I might have mentioned previously, excellent. It has a downside though – the keeping qualities of a Cameron  pre-election promise. Not a defect, except in Cameron, but I hate waste.

A loaf will last me a week, but by day three, especially in warm weather, it’s starting to smell a bit ripe, and by day five it’s furry and in the bin.

OK, not unexpected, as it’s Continue reading

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

Winter breadmaking tip…

My central heating (supported housing communal system, out of my control), has been playing silly buggers for a couple of weeks, and now the gas supply has failed, so now we’re at the mercy of those dozy buggers at Transco (that’s assuming the engineers are right, and as they’re still working, maybe they’re not – anyone’s guess right now).

So, even though yeast doesn’t need to be Continue reading

Chestnut bread…

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

.

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

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

Some thoughts on Shipton Mill flour…

Since switching to Shipton Mill from Doves Farm flours, I’ve had to modify my recipes, particularly those based on unbleached strong white flour.

The Shipton Mill (SM) flour has a different texture to Doves Farm (DF), feeling more finely divided, with obvious fragments of bran, which was a bit disconcerting before I figured out what it was. It seems to have a higher moisture content, too – about 10% higher (or the flour reacts differently when hydrated, for whatever reason).

SM strong white is packaged in 2.5kg bags (compared to DF @ 1.5kg), and in a more robust paper sack. Presumably, that, along with Continue reading

Creating a bread recipe…

For anyone interested in creating their own bread recipes, rather than just following someone else’s, this is how I work up a new recipe.

The first step – beyond thinking about if for a while – is to put together a recipe that should get you reasonably close to what you want to achieve. Some times you get lucky, and hit the perfect combination of ingredients first time. Mostly, though, it takes a couple of attempts.

You should, though, get something that’s Continue reading

Spring bread noodlings – sourdough update…

The San Francisco Sourdough Starter.

I made up my sourdough starter as instructed – three cups each white bread flour and lukewarm water, mixed together with the culture. That makes a mixture which, to my mind, is way too thin (single cream thin – a poolish rather than a biga). Were I making it again, I’d considerably reduce the amount of water – I think 2 cups at most, maybe even 1.5.

So what I propose to do, to rescue this slop Continue reading

Breadmaking resource info…

I’ve found a source for Fermipan yeast (I may have posted about this before, I’m not sure), sensibly-priced sea salt (similar to the price I used to pay when I sourced my salt in Liverpool), and something I’ve been trying to get hold of, without success, for over a year – golden sultanas (for cake and for fruit bread).

Fermipan Yeast Continue reading