So after work today I came home and made some bread. I have really got into making my own bread recently. I didn’t use to eat it that much as I was never really keen on shop bought stuff; too squishy. Also I have been reading up more about where food comes from (I like Michael Pollan’s books) and recently read “Not On the Label ” by Felicity Lawrence. She has an interesting chapter about bread made in factories. Sometimes we would buy some nice ciabatta bread which could be heated up alongside dinner, but it was pretty expensive and still had additives and stabilisers in. So I decided to get some bread flour and make it myself. Since then I have made loads of breads (including tear and share garlic bread, cinnamon raisin bread and sun-dried tomato bread- yum) and people always assume when I say I made it that I use a bread-maker. But I make it properly using my own fair hands! It doesn’t take that long so I think we should all have a go. When I got home I popped the kettle on for some warm water, then weighed out the flour (Dove’s farm Malthouse), added the yeast and salt, and mixed it all up. Then (because I was making tomato-basil bread) I added a tsp olive oil, some basil and some tomato puree. I kneaded it for a few minutes, then left it in a bowl to rise. I went out on a walk (what a lovely evening) and while I was doing the rest of the dinner I made it into the loaf shape and left it on the tray to rise again. So although it takes some preparation (e.g. I can’t bung it in the oven straight away) it doesn’t take long actually doing it, it just needs time in between to rise. But not that much time! Plus now I have the right measurements I don’t get really sticky messy hands.
I have been getting a little carried away with different types of flour. I have strong white, strong wholemeal (makes a nice pizza base), Malthouse, Wholegrain Spelt and Rye. The rye flour is the only one that I have found difficult to use as it seems very dry. It is much lower in gluten than other flours (the gluten is what you stretch when you knead and it is what makes bread springy), and it is recommended to make a loaf using half rye and half normal flour, which I have done and it is ok but not nice like rye bread that you buy!
It’s also pretty ecomonical to make my own bread- a 1.5kg bag of flour would make 6-8 loaves (I usually use 150g flour for a flatbread, 200g flour for a loaf) and to that I need a teaspoon of yeast (I use a little bag of dried yeast which is 99p and lasts for ages) and then any other flavours that I have at home anyway. So £3 for 7 loaves of fresh bread isn’t bad.
So I urge you all to get on and do some good old fashioned bread-making! It is therapeutic to knead the dough, and quite exciting when a “mess” or flour and water suddenly comes together into a proper dough. Plus the house smells so good when it is baking. And you can add your own flavours.
The cranberry orange bread I made was very sweet, so I think I might try it again but next time make cranberry-pecan instead. I had some of this when I was in Vancouver and it was so good.
Now I am so excited because on Facebook Natural Balance Foods have mentioned that New cocoa nudies will be coming out soon! As you all know I do love Nak’d bars, and have a hard time deciding my fave flavour. The oats ones (apple pie/ berry/ cocoa) are good for a snack on the go, filling with the oats and only 99 cals (small bars) so can be a light snack. The nudies ones have a better texture, more like a brownie, and amazing flavours (gingerbread is heaven, cocoa orange is amazing) but with the nuts they are higher in cals so not so easy to squeeze in. But as the fats are healthy fats from the nuts they are a good thing to include (gotta love those healthy fats).
Earlier on they asked for new flavours- I think I had such a long list! I wanted a chocolate mint one, a chocolate cherry one, a carrot cake one, a peanut butter one (like a mini trek bar without the crispies) and a peanut butter cherry/ peanut butter chocolate one.
So I am very excited to hear that they are going to release new flavours- can’t wait to see what they will be!
Back to the bread baking- because this weekend I have the half marathon on Sunday I am going to have pizza on Saturday night (home-made dough)- I might even take some pictures of the steps as I go along. Then Sunday I might make some dough for flatbread before we leave, so I can cook it once I get back.
The kids in my class are all so excited about Sunday- there is a kids fun run and so many of them are taking part! I love it that they are all so excited about it.
This evening after dinner I had some mango sorbet- it was so good! Such a taste of summer. Although it did make me think that with my frozen raspberry/ yoghurt combo I could adapt and use frozen mango chunks to make my own. Once I finish the tub I may well investigate this further.
Well I am off now to finish watching some of the football- Hooray for the weekend!