Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sleepless white

About a year ago I was lucky enough to spend a day at River Cottage on one of their Bread making courses.  We learnt so much about technique, taste and baking enjoyment, that I now make all of my own bread to fill my daily toast and marmite fix.  Occasionally I do allow Jam to make its way onto the bread, but usually only when its fresh out the oven.  But heh, thats just me.  With marmite, you either love it or hate it!  I can't imagine a day without it.  By making a 1kg batch ( 2 or 3 loaves) you have one to eat and a couple to freeze, so you are not having to constantly bake your "daily bread"
Back to the point........ this weekend, we had friends to stay with their two young boys, so I thought it was a great excuse to make a batch of  "Sleepless White" bread.  This recipe actually comes from an article in one of the Sunday papers that my Mum very kindly kept for me.  Its by The Handmade Bakery, who sound just up my street.

You start the night before, by mixing your ingredients (1kg strong white flour, 2.5g dry yeast, 20g salt and 560g cool water) and giving at least a good 10 minute knead.  It has a fraction of the normal amount of yeast, as it is then left overnight to rise for 16 - 20 hours.

A huge frothing mass awaits you in the morning........

Its then divided into 3 (the recipe suggests 2 loaves) loaves, placed in proving baskets (I cheat and go cheap...pasta bowls and tea-towels are very effective) and allowed to rise for another 2 hours or so, until they look like this........

Then they get popped in a nice hot oven on baking sheets (i baked at 230c in a fan-assisted oven) for about 20 minutes.  Admittedly I did get a bit sidetracked on Ravelry and they got toasted for a few extra minutes than they should, but the final result ended up like this

Very scrummy and enjoyed by the 10 month old and 3 year old visitors as much as the adults.
I urge you to give baking your own bread a go.  The first attempts may be brick like (or soft and delectable), but the trick is usually in a good long knead.  A fab way to get the stresses of the day out, makes your house smell heavenly and you get to say.....i did that!
Happy baking

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