Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bread.... and the book that inspired me

I've been making a lot of bread lately, and I've been so pleased with the results. I have been making no-knead bread like this for quite a while now, but still had that niggly little voice in my head pushing me to try making bread the 'real' way again.

So, for a bit of inspiration I bought myself this book -

Its part of the River Cottage series of book and I have to say, it is the best bread book I've seen (and I've borrowed A LOT from the local library!) It goes into a lot of detail initially about the ingredients and the whole process of making bread, as well as the history and why we should all try making our own, before it shares a whole load of recipes. I found it strangely interesting! It even has instructions at the back on how to build a clay oven ... something I would love to do with the ugly old brick bbq we have out the back.

I've been making Roti breads -fabulously quick and simple, great to make with kids. The whole process takes about 10 minutes from getting the ingredients out to flopping the big puffy pillows onto plates (or maybe 5 mins without children helping!) We were all cheering as they puffed up in the pan! Perfect with winter curries and casseroles and they cost next to nothing to make (flour, water, salt).

bread dough using 1kg flour (note my daughters hand for size!)

Then after making a batch of dough that could rival the 'magic pudding' story, we made 2 loaves and 4 large bread rolls with this lot above. I generally use both unbleached white and wholemeal flour, often around 3 parts white and 1 part wholemeal (or whatever I feel like!)

Some I left plain and others coated in oats. All turned out perfectly! The crumb of these breads is very different from my usual no-knead loaves, which is much more like a sourdough texture. The traditional bread texture is much more even and is much easier to slice and use for lunchbox sandwiches.

I think I much prefer the free-form shape, rather than baking them in a loaf tin. Perhaps its the more home-baked look, with each loaf taking its own shape :-)

I have made quite a few now, each working well, and trying different shape loaves and coatings. I have recently tried using bakers 'strong' flour, but actually found the cheap brand plain white worked better for me. I think I will try half/ half next time.

Last week we made pizza bases for the first time and it was so easy I am kicking myself we haven't been doing this earlier! No photos unfortunately, I forgot this time and the pizzas vanished so quickly, even though from 500g flour we got 8 smallish pizzas (about 15-20cm across)
I put out bowls of various veggies and pineapple, and the kids delighted in making their own combinations- all 8 different to each other. So different to greasy take-away pizza, much more like the traditional style.

I am looking forward to trying more recipes from my book, everything from focaccia to croissants, and poppy and caraway crackers.. mmmm!
I bought my copy from The Book Depository online- only cost me around $16 which was a bargain, (amount changes daily with the exchange rate) I've easily saved that in bread already, not to mention it was the only book that actually got me great results!


greenfumb said...

Looks yum and very professional. I have the RC Everyday book and that has some of those recipes too - we love the flatbreads - great to pad out curry leftovers. Takes 15 minutes with know all teenagers :)

Jacqui said...

Hey Lisa I love this book too! Great recipes. Just been catching up on your posts post-move and sounds like you have found yourselves a lovely home and are settling in very happily. Glad to hear the chooks made it through it all too and are laying. Our garden is a mess since we were away but we are slowly building up the energy to get back into it. Hope you didn't get hammered by the winds a few weeks back - there are trees down everywhere by the sounds of it. Jacqui x

Jan said...

Thanks for the mention of that book. I'm in my 60s and have been making bread and sweet breads etc since I was 10. I ordered the book and made bagels yesterday. A little over proved so they lost a bit of shape as I put them in saucepan for a couple of minutes but the flavour well and truly outclassed commercial bagels. I sat on my balcony this morning and had two of the smaller ones for breakfast with smoked salmon. Luxury. That book is certainly one of the best and I read all the theory through. Have a large container of dough in my fridge and will bake a loaf tomorrow.