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Cooking

Making Bread

I have made bread since I was a teenager. It has always been by hand following the same basic method.

Grease tins, weigh ingredients, mix, knead for 10 minutes, rise for an hour or so, knock down and put in tins, prove for 15-20 minutes, bake until the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it.

I always remember being given advice, especially about kneading, by the daughters of a family in Apperley who sold us eggs and chickens. They were very good at this sort of thing and always won prizes at local shows for jams, cakes and of course bread.

These tins have come from a variety of sources – I don’t think I have ever had to buy bread tins, but I did buy new clay flower pots when there was a fashion for flower pot bread and chicken bricks. I line the tins with greaseproof paper to help when it comes to tipping out the loaves.

The mixing stage below shows what the flour and dried yeast (plus a small amount of salt) look like once I add warm water and some oil. At the stage in the photo the flour etc combines with the liquid to produce a creamy mixture and as you can see, the yeast has already started the fermentation process. In the background there are some scones that I had made earlier – a baking bonanza that day.

The next photo shows the dough set to rise in a warm place protected by cling film. I stopped kneading when the dough started to pull away from the side of the bowl. I won’t say that it was no longer sticky – in theory that is the case but in practice I have always found it sticks to my fingers and has to be scraped off.

The next photo shows the dough after it has risen and I had knocked it down. It goes into the tins in fairly lumpy pieces that smooth out surprisingly well in the proving and baking stages.

Proving in the tins, prior to baking, happens in a warm place, again covered in cling film.

And once the dough has risen again it goes into the hot oven. As I had quite a lot of different things cooking I used the top oven as well as the lower one.

I don’t time the baking but make sure I notice what the smells from the oven(s) tell me and from time to time I have a look at how brown the loaves are. On this occasion they were slightly too brown!

This was the collection from the day’s baking, two Dundee cakes, scones and bread.

One reply on “Making Bread”

Just as produce straight off the allotment, however ungeometric or even manky-looking, always seems to taste better because it is ‘sun kissed’, so home-baked bread and cakes always give greater enjoyment because they are more immediate, personal, ‘saisisable’ and ‘real’ compared with factory-produced food…

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