Wednesday

Home-made Bread


I'm sat here on my virtual deathbed. 50% of the population call it 'man flu'; 50% call it DEATH DISEASE. I'll let you, gentle reader be the judge of what I'm infected with. To assist in your deliberations though, this is me. Right now...





On to more important things. Bread. Now, I love bread. Nothing beats a nice crusty chunk of bread with some soup, or big, fat sandwiches for work. Also, nothing beats the smell of a bakery, which is a fact upon which I think we can all agree. I've been meaning to do an update on homemade bread for absolutely ages. Ever since I was given a breadmaker for my 28th birthday, in fact. So today, with the absence of work and a fresh loaf baked last night, I thought now was as good-a-time as any.

In the dark ages, y'know when women didn't have the vote, an honest job was working t'mines, Noel Edmunds was a popular TV celebrity and I didn't have my wonder-machine, I was never into the pre-sliced, bog-standard loaves that you could buy in bright polythene and tried, where possible, to get them from the bakery in a supermarket or, indeed, a bakery. I never quite realised however, to what extent actually owning a breadmaker would change my life. I make about 3 loaves a week, which sees to all sandwiches and toast and it tastes THE BEST.

Admittedly, being an impatient male, the 3hrs 24min it takes to make is agony - particularly in view of the smells emanating from the kitchen in the last hour - but it's so worth it in the end.

It took a while to get what I would consider to be, the perfect loaf. I'd used various recipes, with differing proportions of the ingredients, to varying degrees of success. I then tried various yeasts. There's the bread yeast which you just add in straight from the packet and then there's the yeast that you have to activate first in a sugar solution. This is my preferred version.

Anyway, onto the recipe. I have my breakmaker set to the following:

  • Dark crust
  • 500g
  • 3hrs 24min
I use the following ingredients for a basic white loaf:
  • 600g of strong white flour
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • A knob of butter
  • 13fl oz of warm water (split up to activate the yeast)
Add the ingredients together and press 'go'. You'll note that I use 600g of flour on a 500g setting. That's experience kicking in. That provides a more-dense loaf, which makes the bread easier to slice and use in sandwiches. Too airy and while light, it makes handling slices too difficult.

The great thing is of course, is once you have the basics down, the versatility of the bread is only limited by your imagination. Herbs (my personal favourite is dried rosemary), spices, oats, sultanas etc. It's just delicious.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Hello Marco,

I just discovered your blog through London Food and Drink. My name is Bethany and I write the blog http://www.dirtykitchensecrets.com here in London as well. A few other bloggers and I are organizing a conference on Food Blogging on the 28th of November, 2009 in London.

We would love it if you could join us. Depending on the number of food bloggers who RSVP, we hope to also have guest speakers talking about relevant issues to Food Blogging such as “How To Improve On Food Photography” or “What Makes A Good Food Blog” amongst others. In any case, it will be an opportunity to meet other food bloggers, some of which are coming from France, Germany and even India, and network, eat delicious food and have a good laugh.

For more information please visit http://www.dirtykitchensecrets.com/

We hope to see you there.

Bethany and the other organisers; Mowie Kay- Mowielicious, Jamie Schler- Life’s a Feast and Hilda Saffari- Saffron & Blueberry