Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Homespun Good Life ...

As a family we love to live as much of the 'good life' as possible and even the girls get involved.  We're always dreaming up little 'homespun' projects for the future like soap, cheese or ginger beer making and we all love cooking in the kitchen as a family.

This weekend after visiting our local poultry farm and reserving 2 new little rare breed chickens to join little 'Summer' later in the year we had a huge cooking adventure in the kitchen which included 32 jars of jam, 3 fish pies, cookies, stuffed veggies, homemade pasta, pavlova and a cake.  This week I thought I would share a couple of our favourite recipes.

Mr P. loves to make bread and every morning we sit down at breakfast to the wonderful aroma of bread wafting around the kitchen.  We 3 girls are so lucky that this is his hobby and his way of relaxing as we do get spoilt with all sorts of lovely goodies from the kitchen.

He follows the same plan of action every day and the photograph above is a picture of just one of the lovely loaves that he produces for breakfast each morning. 

Delicious seed loaf - Just in time for Breakfast:


500g Extra Strong White Bread flour (we use Waitrose organic flour)
6g salt (usually recipes say 9g for this size loaf - so you could use more if you think it needs it!)
15g demerara sugar
30g olive oil
6g yeast
1tbsp malt extract
315ml water
handful sesame, sunflower, linseed & pumpkin seeds (anything that you fancy really!)

Method (using a bread maker to prove & an oven to cook the bread)

If you have a dough setting for the bread maker then use this.  Our bread maker is quite old and does not have a dough setting for bread, only pizza and so this is how Mr P. creates the bread.

Put the ingredients into the bread maker just before you go to bed the night before (try not to let the yeast touch the wet ingredients or the proving process will start and you don't want that at this stage.

Set the timer on the bread maker to start the process early morning (about 5.30am for us - but you will need to play with your own machine - Our machine takes about 1.30 hours to mix & prove the dough before it starts to cook it). 

Set the oven timer to come on about 6.30am at 200 degrees Celsius to make sure that it has warmed up in time to cook the loaf when you are ready.  At about 7am when the dough is nice and large inside the bread maker take the dough and shape it (with a little flour) before placing it on a floured baking sheet.  Sprinkle a little flour over the top and make a deep cut in the top with a large knife.

Cook in the oven for about 25 - 35 minutes (until it sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom). 
25 minutes will give you a softer crust and 35 minutes will produce a super loaf with a chewy crust.

I know that this might sound like a lot of work but really it isn't and cooking the loaf in the oven instead of the bread maker produces a really tasty loaf which will rival anything that you could buy in an artisan bakery.

(Of course it would be even easier if your bread maker can automatically stop after the proving stage but if not you just need to remove the dough before the cooking in the bread maker starts just as we do!)

Hope you enjoy!

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