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.