Bread making has been an on-off affair in this household. In the early years there was Pete’s bread from the original Metfield Bakery and sold – ah, now there’s a memory – in Marion and David’s shop Beano’s in the early 1980s. Once Pete sold the bakery it was not the same. His was dense and damp and with a good weight to the loaf. Later it had a more open texture, more aerated, lighter. I preferred the former. But in those days there was no need to make it because Pete made it better than anyone.
For years income dictated that wherever we lived the houses were cold and draughty and not conducive to a rapid ‘prove’ in the dough. Then came the packed days of work, teenagers, long hours, unpredictable timetables. So another excuse not to make bread. The revelation was the purchase of a Panasonic breadmaker which was (is) marvellous – for cooked loaves, and dough for rolls, pizzas, ciabatta and focaccia. Then came the second revelation. Marion and Saskia kindly bought me a weird silicone thing called a LEKUE. You can still buy them in Lakeland and online. It couldn’t be simpler. You add all the dry ingredients to the bowl, then add water, mix around with a wooden spoon to a wet dough, no kneading, fold the top over, prove for two hours then put in the oven to bake in the same bowl. Couldn’t be simpler and I thoroughly recommend it.
450g wholemeal bread flour
150g white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
a glug of oil
1 tsp fast acting dried yeast
a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds
a handful of milled linseed
about 500ml warm water or sometimes I use part water part Kefir or plain yogurt.
Mix it all together, close the lid on the Lekue for an oval loaf or leave it open for a round loaf, prove for a couple of hours then into a hot oven (200c) for about 35 minutes, then slide the loaf out of the Lekue (careful it’s hot) and return the loaf upside down to the oven reduced to 180 for about 10 minutes.
The only problem with bread like this is that you have to eat it. And because it’s good bread, what better than butter. And Marmite? Try resisting it when you are working from home and tied to a computer screen the whole of January!