Long-fermented bread…

OK then – sit up straight and pay attention. This is my first foray into long-fermented bread. The theory behind long (or slow)-fermented bread (fermented for a day or two in the fridge), is that it develops a much better flavour** than normal bread. And I have a batch of Canadian flour with a stronger than normal protein structure which, allegedly, is perfect for the job.

**My worry is Continue reading

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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 Continue reading

Technique change for breadmaking with a stand mixer…

As I said last time, the bowl supplied with my Kenwood Silver Chef Premier is rubbish, so I was reverting to the much better bowl from my Chef Classic.

Did that today, all the problems I’d had with the bowl went away.

I also changed my technique slightly. Normally I pour the water/vinegar/yeast starter mixture into the bowl with the machine running, then add the oil. This time, I Continue reading

Khorason bread…

Last Wednesday I made my weekly bread with 50% wholemeal Khorason flour instead of the normal 50% wholemeal, and it was a seriously strange experience.

Khorason, by the way, is an ancient strain of wheat that has remained unchanged for thousands of years – its origins are unknown, but it seems certain that it predates the Pharaohs. It is though to be a variant of Emmer which, itself, has been dated back to 7,000 years BC. The grain for my flour comes from the Khorason region of Iran, from which it takes it’s name (not Iraq as I might have said  in an earlier post or Tweet).

Khorason is grown commercially in the US under the 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

More thoughts about breadmaking…

I started making bread seriously something over a year ago, from – as I’ve mentioned previously – a position of minimal knowledge. I knew the basics, but there was still a learning curve. As with most things worth doing, that shows no sign of abating and, between then and now, I’ve read a hell of a lot – just not recipes – I might pick up ideas from books, but I almost never use anyone else’s recipes, whether for bread or food in general. And, the more I read, the more I realise that every writer believes Continue reading

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

Shipton Mill flour versus Doves Farm’s…

Prior to switching to Shipton Mill, I used Doves Farm flours for some years, and I was perfectly happy.

I switched to Shipton Mill mainly because of their extensive range of flours other than basic white, and because their strong white flour is described as untreated, whereas Dove’s Farm’s version contains statutory nutrients**, added in accordance with The Bread & Flour Regulations 1998: Calcium carbonate, Iron, Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and Niacin. It also contains vitamin C which, as far as I’m concerned, is unwanted. The 25kg bag has no vitamin C – so why foist it on the rest of us?

**As I’ve since been advised by Shipton Mill, so does theirs, against their will.

In addition, the 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