Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a rustic loaf

Most days during the week, my alarm goes off at 7 a.m. and I lurch into three layers of clothing (in this freezing weather at any rate) and go for a run. But today my running partner cancelled, so there I was, basking under the duvet at 8 a.m., reminiscing about running along the white-hot sand in Western Australia - young and tanned and lissom of limb - when into this reverie burst BB with: "Get up. There's a sale on. We're going shopping for cupboard doors."

Cupboard. Doors. Can you imagine anything less tempting, anything less likely to lure you away from the kaleidoscope of memories of your 22-year old self under a relentless antipodean blue sky - terraced pub lawns overlooking the Indian Ocean, sun cream and salt, the pounding of the surf, jazz notes, the clinking of cold beer glasses?

So I rolled over and continued daydreaming and playing with my cat's ears, making them point sideyways like a gremlin, until BB reappeared and said: "If you don't get up now, I'll go on my own - and buy formica doors."

Eek! The "f" word. That got me up sharpish.


Bread. For years I've been making it in a machine, with dramatically bad results, until I tried making it by hand. Well, what a success. It's a completely different beast to that flat brick that emerges from the bread machine, looking like an offensive weapon and requiring one to cut it with. Ebay for the machine.

Rustic loaf
650 g bread flour (I use a mix of plain and cereal)
2 generous tsp salt
1 x 8 g sachet dried yeast
1 tsp sugar

1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a cup of warm water. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the dissolved yeast mixture into the centre and using a knife, bring in the dry ingredients until the yeast mixture is all soaked up. Then add warm water a little at a time and keep mixing until all the flour has been incorporated and you have a moist dough.

2. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, folding and pushing, then place the dough in a clean bowl with a little flour sprinkled in the bottom, cover with greased clingfilm and leave in a warm place to prove.

3. When the dough has doubled in size, knock it back by punching it to knock all the air out for about a minute then shape the dough to whatever you like, sprinkle the top with a little flour and re-cover with clingfilm. Leave in a warm place to double in size again. Preheat the oven to 425°F/225°C.

4. When the dough has doubled in size again, gently place it in the oven and leave for about 25 - 30 minutes until cooked (if it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom it's cooked). Leave to cool on a wire rack.

♫ Cook along to: Bread Guitar Man


Anonymous said...

She's BACK !!! yippee. missed your blogging.

Chele said...

Hope the 'f' word hasn't casued you too many issues (although it did make me laugh)!

I lov emaking bread by hand. Other people talk about feelings while laying on a couch but I make bread ;0)
Will be trying this recipe for sure.

Kathie said...

Glad to see you back online after lo, these many months! Hope you're all doing OK.

Punxsutawney Phil, the world-renowned groundhog (woodchuck) in the county immediately to the north of us purportedly failed to espy his shadow on Feb. 2 -- though with all those klieg lights, it beats me how anyone could miss it! -- thus allegedly portending an early spring here. Amazingly, our local TV weather entertainers, er, meteorologists, are forecasting temps a week from now >50°F (= 10°C), although tonight we're having another minimum in the single digits Fahrenheit (brrrr!) in the four-state area.

Re "650 g bread flour (I use a mix of plain and cereal)":

Please give some examples of what you mean by "cereal" -- oatmeal? wheat germ? mixed seeds?

Sarah said...

Chele, I know what you mean. I find it very theraputic.

Kathie, I use a mix of plain white bread flour and mixed grain flour (which includes sunflower seeds and sesame). Delicious!

Neil King & Carol Duncan said...

How do you pronounce Punxawotsit?

Kathie said...

"punk-suh-TAW-nee" :-)

Janet said...

We have Wiarton Willie in Canada and he proclaimed the same thing. An early spring this year. Yeah!!

I'm one of those people with a bread machine just sitting there doing nothing. I feel a yard sale coming on this spring. ;-)

Sarah, welcome back!!

Hils said...

Knock, knead,tap, punch!
Then GENTLY place it in the oven!

Sarah said...

Thanks Janet!

Kathie said...

"The French Alps Sans Skis":

Anonymous said...

Hurry up!

Kathie said...

Totally off-topic, but I need help translating a sentence in a short-story:

Do you or any of your other UK friends know if there was there ever a gastronomy star in the British Isles, possibly back in the '80s, named Kate Dunne? (Mind out of the gutter, please). Here's a rough translation of the sentence, which is about "massa sovada" (round sweet yeast bread typical of the Azores):

"Was it not true that this genuine product of the Islands had even managed to enter the menu of a star the magnitude of Kate Dunne?"

I've Googled on the name as well as on spelling variations of it, but can't find her. Of course, it being a work of fiction, the author may have simply made up the name ;-) But if you can locate a reliable URL, I'd be most grateful if you'd post it here.

Kathie said...

P.S. Have missed your blog posts in recent months. Hope you're all OK, and just keeping productively busy. Look forward to reading more of your ruminations on the blog, whenever you find the opportunity.

Sarah said...

Kathie - All well thanks, just busy. I'm afraid I have never heard of Kate Dunne. Sorry I can't help.

Kathie said...

Re "Kate Dunne": Turns out "my" author, upon being asked, said he might have been thinking of Katharine "Kate" Hepburn, who lived in Connecticut, where she was exposed to some local Azorean immigrant cooking. Guess all those Anglo names sound alike (LOL!).

Anonymous said...

It's a bit quiet here..... Isn't it time for a new culinary post ?please...

Nicola said...

Hi Sarah,

When do we get the next installment?

PatsyAnne said...


We're all waiting for you to come back to us - its Summer Soltice today and I would love a posting from you soon - what is "650 g of bread flour" translated to in US terms?

Miss your posts, please come back to us - maybe once every month or so...

Anonymous said...

Darling ( oh yeah ? ), it's been way too long since you've posted something new.
The last post was early February.... Are you on holiday all these months, or maybe too busy doing up the house or are you back in Scotland? What are you up to ?
You must also eat - why not post some of those nice dishes you always make? Please....

Hope to see some ne blogging soon!

Anonymous said...

Blog,blog,blog,blog,blog,blog...... Please. Real soon... Please!

Kathie said...

Oh how we miss you. We really need some new recipes for the cold months. We received an unseasonable 2" (= 5 cm) of snow this past Saturday. Bah, humbug!

P.S. Did you make it to the Azores this year? We didn't, but had some other travels.

Interior Design Pro said...

Another perfect addition to my recipe collection. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

Sarah, just a quick question.....
Is this blog 'dead' or.....??
It would be nice if you have some time to update this nice blog again!

christine said...

Oh my that loaf looks DIVINE. I can't seem to make bread without it completely screwing up. Will have to try this though.

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