Saturday, 24 July 2010

a country loaf...

A few lovely folk have asked about the bread I bake.
Each day you can find me prepping the dough or baking a loaf. It's a constant in my day to day routine. I stopped buying bread from the supermarket quite some time ago. I just couldn't justify paying so much for something I knew could be made better & cheaper at home. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a gorgeous sourdough from the bakery... but down our way no such place exists. So homemade bread it is.
I've played around with lots of flours, messed with ratios & added other ingredients, such as grains. But let's not get too carried away just yet. This recipe is my basic recipe, the one I make when I can't be bothered experimenting. The one I know that will turn out great everytime. It's a variation of the many you'll find around the internet traps.
Dough just mixed, ready to rise.

Kitty's Country Loaf
1 1/2 cups plain bakers flour
(bakers flour has higher gluten, making it chewier. But regular flour works well too)

1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp instant yeast

1 1/3 cups water

Mix dry ingredients together, then stir in water

Finish off mixing with a wet hand to combine

Cover & leave for 10 hours or more

Heat oven to 250 degrees celcius & place a lidded cast iron pot in to heat

While pot is heating, form dough into loaf shape pulling in top edges to create cracks

Spread some fine polenta or wheatgerm over the centre of a clean tea towel & place dough top side down

Loosely wrap in towel & place in a bowl, leaving to rise for at least half an hour

Flip dough into pot, pop the lid on & bake for 30 minutes

Then take off the lid & continue to bake uncovered for another 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how dark & crusty you like it

Try & restrain yourself from cutting into it right away, let it cool first. Otherwise it will go doughy.
It really is so easy to make, it just requires a little foresight. I make the dough in the afternoon & bake it the next morning. One loaf lasts about two days in our house & I keep it in a tupperware container. On the second day it gets quite dense & heavy, so we toast it & it's still delicious.
The finished loaf (old picture, I couldn't wait til the morning to photograph the new loaf)
Let me know if you play around with this recipe & make something wonderful. I'd love some bread inspiration.


suze2000 said...

ZOMG I love fresh loaves. I only live in Ivanhoe. I'll be right over. If Nana Midge can find you, so can I. :)

Sue said...

Your loaf looks great. I dont like buying supermarket bread either, although our local Safeway has a bakery and they bake a wide tin loaf which is so nice and fresh and is cheaper than the other breads. I should be using my bread maker as it has sat in the cupboard and been forgotten about for quite a while. A few wholemeal loaves would be so yummy right now in this cooler weather. I might have to try out your recipe too.

teddybearswednesday said...

Oh Yum, I'm so impressed Kitty that you bake your own bread. I can't wait to try some of that ;)

Megan said...

that does look very extra delicious! I've never made bread from scratch (I'm quite sure a bread maker doesn't count!) so will have to give this one a try one weekend. You make it sound so easy!
I know what you mean about supermarket bread, I try not to buy it either. Our town is also not blessed with a bakery but luckily the town I work in is and they do a very yummy multigrain sandwich loaf.

Emma said...

Rather timely Miss Kitty, I have been obsessing over bread this winter and have gone so far as to research sourdough starter recipes, but your recipe looks like a good place to begin. Muchos Gracias!