Thursday, 22 January 2015

Anything but brown...

Whenever I am asked at a restaurant if I'd like brown bread or white, I squeal white even before the question is completed. 

Yeah yeah, I know it is unfashionable to eat food that's low on the wholesomeness scale, but I'd rather eat wholesome than talk wholesome (most of the time anyway). I know that the brown in brown bread (a lot of it) comes from colourants like caramel, food colouring, molasses or coffee. And if that's wholesome, I am a cordon bleu chef.

The loaf above shows what real wholewheat bread looks like. I should know, I baked it yesterday with just 6 ingredients - wholewheat flour, water, salt, yeast and oil and sugar. 

Here's the recipe:


Wholewheat flour: 450 g 
Salt: 1 tsp
Dry yeast: 1/2 tsp
Oil: 1 tbs, plus a little more for lining the bowl
Warm water:  450 ml
1 tsp sugar


Dissolve the sugar in 250 ml of water and throw the yeast in. Cover. 

When the yeast starts looking foamy and unappetising, add the flour and stir in. 

Warning: The dough will look unkempt and... well... doughy... it needs to rest, covered, for about 10 minutes. 

After 10 minutes, add the salt, and most of the water. This time, you need to get your hands in.

Knead until the dough starts looking smooth and elastic. The amount of water you use will depend on the flour. I used 400 ml, you might need a little more or less. 

Work the oil in (I used olive oil, because the bottle was open and my hands were too doughy for me to open another one. But I have used sunflower oil and peanut oil in the past and it hasn't made any difference to the final product.)

Splash a little oil into the bowl and roll the ball of dough around to coat all surfaces. 

Cover the bowl and neglect for hours. 

When the dough has doubled in volume, knead again briefly, and tip onto a board. 

I rolled out a third of the dough to a thickness of about an inch, and stamped out eight 5" circles. 

I shaped the rest into a loaf. 

After an hour, they went into the oven. 
For the loaf: 10 minutes at 250 degrees Celsius (pl pl someone tell me how to get a superscript to make the little 0 that denotes degree)  and then 25 minutes at 200 degrees.
For the baps: 20 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius.


The bread had a crunchy thick crust and a soft, chewy inside. The aeration was good, but would have liked to see bigger air pockets. The baps could also have been browner.  

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