I am still smiling. I cannot believe how easily I made this loaf of bread and how good it tastes.
This month, The Cook Book Guru is featuring English Bread and Yeast Cookery by Elizabeth David. I came across this book in the most unusual way. My young mate, Colette (you will note I stressed the word young), presented me with the book mid-last year. “Here”, she said, “I have a present for you.” “Why?” I queried. “I found it in my cupboard”, she said. “I think I must have bought it for you for Christmas and forgotten I had it.” 🙂
Fantastic! I got a Christmas present and a mid-year present and she is not much more than 40. Things are looking good for when she gets old and forgetful! 🙂
I have tucked myself up in bed and had a good read many a night with this book – Elizabeth David is such a good writer, it is so easy to do – but I have never made any of the recipes from it. Now is the time to try out a few of them.
I was dipping and dabbling in the book and then discovered The Grant Loaf. Elizabeth David advises that Mrs Doris Grant, through her book, Your Daily Bread, and other publications on sensible and wholesome diet, has taught English women to mix and bake wholemeal bread by the easy method, with no kneading of the dough and one rising only.
I was out to give it a go. It reminded me of batter bread that was very popular when I was young. It just goes to show how easy bread making can be. Seriously, this loaf took less than 10 minutes to make. It would take more time to go to the local shop and buy a loaf of bread, full of additives, chemicals, dyes, added gluten, etc.
My Grant Loaf turned out perfect. It is 100% wholemeal, has a fine yet crunchy crust, tastes great and is good for me. Not bad for less than 10 minutes effort. If you made two medium loaves, it would be, proportionately, less effort per loaf. Two medium loaves would last Maus and me a fortnight.
I made one small loaf as I didn’t want to be over-run with bread this month. Sadly, the loaf has nearly gone.
Two points which may have accounted for the success of my loaf: Firstly, I used wholemeal bread flour. The only readily available brand I know in Perth is All About Bread, although, I am sure, there are others. Secondly, I have good, upright bread tins. I think they are essential, but I may be wrong.
Postscript: I also heated up a tile whilst I was heating the oven and baked the loaf on the tile. I don’t know whether this had any noticeable effect but it may account for the evenness of the crumb..
2 medium or 3 small loaves 1 small loaf
- wholemeal bread flour 1.5kg 450g
- water 1.2kg 350g
- salt 15g 1tsp
- honey 3tsp 1tsp
- dried yeast 3tsp 1tsp
- Grease your tin(s).
- Weigh the flour and the water.
- Zap the water until it is 35-38°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, put your finger in. If it doesn’t feel cold or hot, it will be perfect.
- In a small bowl, place three tablespoons of the water.
- Sprinkle the dried yeast on top (I actually used instant yeast). Leave for two minutes or so.
- Add the honey, mix well and set aside for 10 -15 minutes.
- Put the flour and the salt in a large bowl.
- Add the water then mix with your hand.
- Add the yeast mixture, mix for a minute or so, working from the side to the middle, until the dough feels elastic and leaves the sides of the mixing bowl clean.
- If making the larger quantity, divide the dough into either three loaves for tins 17.5cm x 10.5cm; or two loaves for tins 24cm x 10.5cm. If making one loaf, just plonk the dough into your tin.
- Cover the tin(s) and put them in a warm place for an hour or so (the recipe said 20 minutes but that is way too short) or until the dough is about one centimetre from the top of the tins.
- Preheat your oven to 205°C.
- Bake in preheated oven for approximately 35 minutes for small tins or 45 minutes for the bigger tins.
Looks fab and such a wonderful golden colour! I just pulled a loaf out of the oven with same wholemeal bread. It looks nothing like that 😛 Have you thought about replacing the yeast with SD starter? I’d be interested in what you think. Might play with this next round.
Hi Deb, I don’t think a SD version is the go. This loaf is all about quick which SD is not.
For a long time I resolved not to buy Glenda a cook book for Christmas- oh no, I would find something much more interesting, creative and thoughtful. But the woman has everything including a love of cook books! These days, I am happy if I can find a cook book which Glenda hasn’t got! So when, in about July one year, I spied a book on bread-making that I didn’t recall gracing the shelves of the Maureen/Glenda household I snapped it up and squirrelled it away. Of course my best made plans came to nought and I forgot all about it until I re-discovered the ‘christmas box’. I might try and look for it again to see what else I can find. Glad you are enjoying the book. Your not-so-young but very forgetful friend, Colette.
Hiya Colette, it was a win/win situation for me. If there are anymore cookbooks in that Christmas box send them my way 🙂
Wow, that’s a tall bread pan, isn’t it! I’d love to see it – don’t know that we’ve got any like that. Nice. I’m using a new discovery -for me- an heirloom whole wheat called Red Fife – I believe it was developed in Canada in the early 1800s, and as mass production hit the baking industry, it lost its appeal – but it’s re-emerging in all its glory, and is becoming very popular again.
I have Eliz David’s book too – bet I’ve had it 25+ years – never made a thing from it yet, but you’ve motivated me to give it a try.
Hey doc. I hope this link works. They are standard bread tins, I am sure you would have them. Sounds like this recipe would work with your new flour. Give it a go, it is on page 272. It is so easy. I am sure it would be better still with less yeast and more time to prove. It is good news that old varieties of wheat are re-emerging. Modern wheat varieties and commercial bread making techniques appear to cause problems for some people. G
Yum… I’ve added English Bread and Yeast Cookery to my Book Depository wish-list – I’m a fan of Elizabeth David, but this is essentially how I make my spelt loaf – because I’m such a novice I ascribed to the less I mess with it the more chance of success I have – minus the honey which I’ll add next time.
Hi Ella, I have an old 70’s bread book that has a whole chapter on batter breads. They are so easy to make, it makes you wonder why we bother with the kneading, stretching and folding etc.
Reblogged this on The Cookbook Guru and commented:
This month it is all about bread and Glenda at Passion Fruit Garden has kicked us off with what will possibly be the easiest loaf of bread you will ever attempt to make.
It sure was easy Leah
Wow how exciting that it’s that easy to make good bread. At $5 a pop for even average overprocessed loaves this must be not only nutritionally better but also far more economical. Great contribution for this month. Thank you.
Leah, home made bread is so much cheaper than bought bread and when it is this easy, it makes you wonder why more people don’t make it .
I so agree. I’ve been obsessed with soda bread because its so easy to make but it is very dense and sometimes I want something lighter. I’m going to definately give this recipe a try 🙂
Great loaf Glenda. I went to bread making classes when I was a young Mum and this is essentially the loaf I was taught to make. It never failed and it was the only bread my family ate for a couple of years until I got hooked into the spell of sourdough. It does make you wonder about all the fuss!
Sandra, it does! I certainly didn’t expect it to look so good. I thought I would be scraping it off the sides of the pan.
That loaf looks really good – and so easy to do! I suspect, no matter how much we resist, we are going to be over run with bread this month. It is such a great book.
Hi Debi, I really didn’t expect it to turn out. It makes me wonder why we normally go to so much trouble making bread.