Friday, 18 May 2012

Bread Baking Take 2

Another hot morning gave me the energy to make my own bread. This time I used spelt flour, admittedly healthier than plain flour, though the bread is rather on a heavy side and doesn't rise a lot. It came out lovely - really crispy crust, and very interesting taste. I'm still astounded by how easy it is to make your own bread - and all the stuff about bread makers is rubbish. You need flour, yeast and water, plus an ordinary oven to bake it in, that's really it!

The ingredients I used for this bread:

0.5 kilo spelt flour
1 teaspoon of dried yeast
a pinch of salt
a pinch of sugar
a few table spoons of lukewarm milk

Everything starts with the yeast - pour it into milk (important - milk cannot be either hot or cold, or the yeast won't work). Stir the yeast until it dilutes, add sugar and leave in a warm place to activate. The mixture is ready to use when it gets frothy. Pour it into a large bowl with flour and knead, adding water as needed. The dough needs to be soft and flexible. Once you've got the right consistency, shape the loaf and bake in a hot oven (about 190-200C) for about 40 minutes.
The plait shape of bread, you can see in the pictures - courtesy of my husband :)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Olive Bread - Wonderful Breakfast Idea

It's been a good while since I last posted here. I've got quite a bit on my plate at the moment, and we're looking for a new place to live, so the 24 hours in a day often does not feel enough! Anyway, the May break (over a week off!!!) proved to be a good moment to slow down and indulge myself in cooking again.
The weather has been truly fabulous in the last few days - bright, sunny and the temperatures reaching nearly 30C, you may get the impression the summer has come! Not quite, but not far off either.

 Today, I got up and had a real craving for nice, crusty bread. As May 3rd is a bank holiday in Poland the shops will mostly be closed, and even if they're open, getting nice, fresh bread might be nothing more than wishful thinking today. I resorted to making bread myself - I tried a recipe for an olive bread, which disappeared from our plates in a matter of minutes, so I consider it a success! ;-)


For the bread you need:
0.5 kilo of plain all purpose flour
half a packet of dried yeast (5-7 gram)
a spoonful of salt
half a spoon of sugar
a sprinkle of olive oil

Mix the flour with yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl, add a sprinkle of olive oil and water and mix together until it makes a dough. If you're not sure how much water to add start with a small amount and keep adding more until all the ingredients have blended into a dough, Then knead the dough well for a few minutes, and when it's smooth cover the bowl with a tea towel and put in a warm place for about 30 minutes to grow. When it's grown, add olives and knead again, and put in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to the maximum temperature, line the baking trays with baking paper, or cover them with butter and sprinkle bread crumbs in it. When the dough is ready divide it in two parts (or more - depending what size loaves you want), form loaves, and place them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. This is actually the only tricky part - the actual baking time will depend on the oven - so it's good to keep an eye and check after about 15 minutes of baking how it's going. If the crust is golden brown take the breads out, place them on the bread board on cooling rack for a few minutes. When it's not burning hot, you can enjoy your breads. it tastes delicious on its own, as well as with butter, dipped with olive oil, or olive oil  and balsamic vinegar mix. It would probably go very well with pesto, and plenty of other things that I haven't thought about yet. however it is served, it is definitely worth trying!