Saturday, May 17, 2014

Real Bread Maker Week 2014;

So I am a little late getting this post in for the Real Bread Maker Week which finished yesterday, 16th May, but I did at least bake my bread during the week and all these special days and weeks are mostly a bit frivolous though I do hope the bread maker week encourages more folks to try baking their own bread or seeking out a specialist baker.  For more information about the campaign for real bread take a look at the website here: National real breadmaker week

So instead of trying to tackle something challenging I have chosen to show you a really simple bread roll recipe that is well suited to having hot baked rolls for breakfast on a weekend with minimum fuss and mess.

The recipe comes from Swedish blogger Annes food and I have made it three or four times now. The idea is to mix up a fairly wet dough the night before, leave it to rise in a cool environment overnight and then a quick shape and minimum proof before popping into a hot oven for about 15 minutes. You really can have have bread rolls out of the oven within an hour of getting up and just as wonderful a gorgeous aroma of baking bread to start the day.
The recipe title is Cold Rise Breakfast Bread and it was posted a few years ago but is one that I go back to as it is a really simple no knead easy weekend bread roll recipe. If you are tempted please click over to Anne's blog for the recipe which is set out really clearly. I only had quite soft/low gluten spelt flour to hand when I made these and I really think they come out better with some strong bread flour in the mix. The rolls were a little damp and less 'springy' than when I have made them with higher gluten flour but hot bread from the oven is a real treat even when not perfect so do have a go.
The dough is a very basic mix of flour, salt, yeast and water. No fat, egg or flavourings and because the dough is quite a wet (high hydration) mix it is easy to just bring together in the bowl with no kneading. So the night before you weight out, mix up and then leave to grow.
I was taught to cover dough with a tea towel but that never seemed to benefit the dough much so now I use a bin liner. The dough is left overnight but if like me you get hit by insomnia you might find yourself up in the wee hours taking a peek.
In the morning the oven is turned on and the bread is turned out of the bowl and shaped into a long rectangle.
A dough scraper is very useful here for handling the wet dough.

 The dough is divided into rolls which are then transferred to a baking sheet and sprinkled with seeds of your choice, or not if you want them totally plain.
I like seeds, so mine had a mixture of sunflower, sesame and linseed on them. The oven should be thoroughly heated before the rolls are put in, so wait a little if you think it is not up to temperature. If the dough has lost a lot of air while you were shaping it you might want to leave the rolls for a further short proof. Try to handle the dough as lightly and minimally as possible while you are shaping.

So into the oven and the magic begins.
I like quite a  deep coloured crust on rustic style breads so I left mine in the oven 5 minutes longer than stated in the recipe. So here they are all baked up and smelling rather good.
Wait a short but polite time before tearing into them for a hearty breakfast.
  Now if any sort of yeast cookery fills you with trepidation you might want to try making a soda bread for your easy weekend bread fix. Not the same as a yeasted loaf, but when freshly baked and slathered with butter really not a bad second choice, and there are many ways to add flavourings to liven them up. The loaf below is an Apple and Raisin Soda bread , the recipe for which I found on the web site of great British Bake Off contender Brendan (brendanbakes). The loaf also has caraway seed in it which I was hesitant to add but it really did work. If in any doubt you might want to leave this out as the caraway flavour is quite strong.

The method for soda bread is just like that for scones and if you do not have buttermilk and the recipe calls for it I would use half milk and half yogurt. The loaf is best eaten the same day but does make quite good toast too, if you have any left the next day.

 Here is the baked loaf.
I like to bake whole loaves inside a cast iron pot as it really does seem to improve the crust colour and texture. The first stage of baking is done with the pot lid on and then it is removed for the final stage when the crust colour really develops. This methods worked well on the soda bread too.
The photo of the cut loaf gives you an idea of how thin the crust is. 

I would allow a soda bread a little longer to cool than the bread rolls above so a little more patience required here but freshly baked this makes a very easy.

I honestly think both of these recipes produce bread that is far better than much of what is on offer at my local supermarkets and the ingredients are far more nutritious too and I love the smell of freshly baked bread.

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