Friday, 24 August 2012

Brown Bread.

Do you remember when I told you about how to make White Bread and how it would make you feel all smug and proud? Well I did, and do you know....people actually listened, AND accccctually followed the recipe and made some and even ate it. Whoooo’d have thought it.

You see I just assume that I write these words and take these photos and pop them up here in my little corner of blog-dom and you sometimes stop by to humour me and some others stumble across to look at the pictures but then leave and get on with the rest of their day, unmoved. This is what generally happens when I talk in real life actually; smiles and nods and ‘very goods’ and then onwards. But turns least 2 whole people listened to what I told them and made the Smug White Bread. You cannot imagine how exciting this feels.

So here I am again, in a wholly selfish capacity you understand, to try and get people to do it again so that I can feel all famous and important and a teeny bit like Queen Nigella. Here we’s time for Brown Bread and my oh my do I feel qualified to tell you this recipe. I made A LOT of brown bread before I managed to create a loaf that wasn’t the texture of a brick (yeah thanks Delia) and that was suitably soft even for sandwiches.

Yes, it has one additional step to the white bread recipe and from start to finish takes longer, but it’s not effortful, in fact you’re involved in a tiny portion of the time it actually takes, and I wouldn’t tell you to do things if I didn’t they were necessary for yummyness. So if you’re staying in this Saturday, give it a WON’T mean you can’t do anything else for the whole day but it does need you to be nearby at certain points and it WILL reward you with more smugness and especially lovely toast for your Sunday breakfast. Promise. With Loaves (genuinely just wrote that instead of ‘love’ by mistake, so thought I’d leave it...HA) and Cake.

Brown Bread.

A few notes:
  • The process involves what is called a sponge first of all. This is just a paste of flour, water and yeast that you then incorporate into the main dough which gets all the action started....just so you don't get confused about cakey words ending up in the bready section.
  • Don't worry if this loaf doesn't riiiiise up as huge and billowing as a white one, it just seems to be that way when you go down the wholemeal's a denser crumb as the experts would say.
  • You'll notice that the water measurements are listed in grams. I just find it a bit more accurate to measure the water out with my digital scale but g = ml when it comes to water to if that's easier for you just measure it in a measuring jug like normal if you want.
  • For a few other bread making tips look at my White Bread recipe, they make a difference I promise.
Makes 1 loaf
You will need

A small-ish loaf tin, greased and lined

For the sponge
1 tsp dried yeast
140g warm water
160g strong brown bread flour

For the rest of the loaf
260g strong brown bread flour
2 tsp salt
170g hand hot water

  • First for the 'sponge'. All you do is stir together the yeast, warm water and flour so you have a paste, cover the bowl with clingfilm or a tea towel and leave it to do its thing for between 4 hours and overnight.
  • After that time the 'sponge' should look nice and bubbly. 
  • Now add then rest of the flour, salt and hot water to the sponge and get you hands in to mix everything together to form a smooth dough.
  • Tip the dough out onto a clean might look like you should dust everything with lots of flour to stop sticking, but resist the temptation, added flour with change the texture of the dough and the dough will naturally lose it's stickyness as you knead it, don't worry.
  • So yes, time for kneading, lots of stretching and refolding the dough so it gets nice and shiny. Make sure you do this for at least 5 minutes...if you can manage 15 though, go for it.
  • Pop the dough back in its bowl and  leave somewhere cosy and draft-free for around 1 hour or until it's doubled in size.
  • Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a clean surface, I find a light dusting flour helpful at this point and knead for a minute or 2 to smooth everything out again.
  • Roll up the dough into a loaf shape and pop it in your tin.
  • Pop the loaf back in its cosy place to rise again for around another hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c and when it's ready, bake the loaf for 20-25 minutes, when the top should be bronzed and crusty looking.
  • Remove the loaf from the tin and pop it back in the oven, straight on the shelf, upside down for 5 minutes so the bottom can crisp up.
  • It's ready when you knock on the bottom of the loaf like you're knocking on a door and it sounds hollow.
  • Leave to cool on a wire wrack...or munch straight away with lots and lots of butter.

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