All of a sudden the house feels a little too cool and the heat gets put on to take away the chill, if only for an hour or two. The rain comes more often and unpredictably, despite repeated checks of the weather app on your phone. Before you know it, summer is over and we have entered soup season. Salads of fresh greens and fragrant herbs move over to warming soups filled with root vegetables and pulses. And bread…the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. Slices of warm bread spread with butter (or dairy-free spread for some of us). There is just something so comforting about bread. Even in the days of the Atkins rage, when bread was the devil, it was a sore point of weakness.
I don’t eat bread nearly as often as I used to. My Spanish heritage would have me eating it at every meal. The types of bread I eat have also changed over the years. Or rather, I tend to eat more variety when I do have it. Even if I am watching the dreaded calories (of which bread really has so many for such an innocent food item!!) I will usually succumb to bread at some point. Even if I just have a small piece, and slice and freeze the rest of this temptation.
If you haven’t made your own bread, I really must beg you to do it at least once. Not only do you know what is going into your bread, but it is much, much easier than you might imagine. With the anticipated cold snap due for this winter, I think now would be the best time to try and get one in. Take a chance and make it.
I am starting you off easily. This is one of the easier types of bread to make, as it doesn’t require the time to rise as traditional breads do. You can easily mix the ingredients together and pop it in the oven to cook whilst you get on with making a comforting soup to enjoy it with. Honestly, it is that easy.
Note – I have tried making this with soya milk with success, but not almond milk, or other alternative milks.
Makes one loaf, 16 slices of bread
Adapted from Anne Lindsey
- 3 cups Whole-Wheat Bread Flour
- 1 cup Strong Bread Flour
- 2 Tbsp Caster Sugar or Honey
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 Tbsp Butter (or non-dairy spread), cold
- 1 3/4 cups (425ml) Buttermilk, or Milk (or Soya Milk) with 2 Tbsp Vinegar
Baking sheet, greased
Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350F.
In a large bowl or food processor, combine both the flours, sugar/honey, baking powder, sodium bicarbonate and salt. If you are using a food processor, add the butter/spread and blend into the flour mixture to form a crumb. If you are doing this by hand, use your hands and blend the butter into the flour mixture, like you would for making a crumb topping. Next, add the milk and mix it through to form a dough.
Prepare a work surface with a sprinkling of flour and knead the dough gently, about 10 times before forming it into a ball. Place the ball on the greased baking sheet and flatten it slightly into a dome shape. The middle should be about 6 cm (2 1/2 inches) thick. Take a sharp knife and score a cross in the middle, going only half a centimetre deep.
Place in the hot oven and bake for 1 hour. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean and knocking the bottom of the loaf should give a hollow sound. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing.
A loaf should keep for a few days, and can be easily frozen if you wish it to last longer.