Eve’s “No Need to Knead” Bread Recipe

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Kneading.  It’s the one techniques that holds the most mystique in the bread making process.  People agonize whether they’re doing it right, for long enough or with too little/too much firmness.  (Parallels with certain bedroom activities may be made at your own leisure, but not gone into further here…)

If you don’t have a mixer, or are befuddled by the hands-on technique, or maybe you plain just can’t knead full-stop (for whatever reason that may be), you’ll be glad to know that Eve discovered a recipe for bread that involves ZERO kneading effort at all – but still manages to produce a very fine loaf indeed.

It’s a good, solid, nourishing loaf that puts airy-fairy, crappy supermarket bread to shame.

Ingredients:

400g Strong White Bread Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Instant Dried Yeast
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt (Don’t skimp on salt quantities, this loaf needs it.)
300ml Tepid Water

Equipment:

Baking Parchment
A stout Casserole Dish

1) Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon until you get a wet-ish doughy looking mass, cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 12-18 hours at room temperature

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2) After 12 or so hours time (or up to 18, the dough is quite forgiving) get your oven on and warming up to as high as it will go (somewhere around 230C/450F is ideal)

3) Place a decent, solid casserole dish and lid in to the oven to warm:  Pyrex, cast-iron or whatever is ideal…as long as it can take the temperature.  The oven should take about 30 minutes to come up to baking heat

4) Now flour your work-surface with a fair dusting of flour – this dough can be quite damp.  Tip the dough out of the bowl and onto the floured surface.  Work the dough by gently pulling the edges out and folding them back over onto the dough ball.  You only need to do this a couple of few times.

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5) Now turn the dough over and form into a ball by putting the backs of your hands flat on the work surface and bringing them together smartly under the dough ball a few times until you get a rough ball shape.  Leave this to rest on the workstop until the oven and casserole dish are hot – you can cover the dough ball lightly with cling film if you like, but we don’t bother – as it’s a bugger when it sticks to the dough

6) Take the, by now hot, casserole dish out of the oven and remove the lid.  Put a square of baking parchment in the bottom and place your dough ball on top of that.  Flick a little cold tap water from your fingertips onto the top of the dough ball (or use a clean water spray/atomiser sort of thing, if you’ve got it) and quickly put the lid back on.  Water makes steam and steam makes crust…

7) Put the casserole dish back into the oven and set your timer to bake your bread for 30 mins.  Leave it alone to cook.  Don’t be tempted to peek.  Just let it do it’s thing.

8) After 30 mins, remove the lid of the casserole dish and put the uncovered loaf back into the oven for another 15 mins so that it will brown nicely.

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9) When the 15 mins have passed, remove the loaf from the casserole dish and leave to cool on a wire rack.

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10) Enjoy warm with butter and jam, or with a load of cheese – God bless our waistlines…

Orange Glow Oaty bread

As is the tradition these days, I’m handing over to Eve to give you another of her bread recipes.  I took the liberty of calling the recipe Orange Glow Oaty Bread a) because it’s my blog  and b) because I’m old enough to remember the Ready Brek adverts of the early eighties!

Ingredients

650ml warm water

30g warmed, soft butter
2tbsp sugar
150g Ready Brek or instant oats
850g white bread flour
2 x (7g) sachets of quick yeast
3 tsp salt
Olive oil, about 20ml in total (10ml for the dough and 10ml for oiling the work surface to prevent sticking)

Method

Add all ingredients to the mixer bowl in the order above, without mixing yet – and also keeping back the oil for a later stage, ensuring that the yeast and the salt are kept apart on different sides of the bowl.

Because all of the ingredients are layered in the bowl – with the water at the bottom and the yeast not getting wet and activated yet – I have found that you can leave it to sit for a couple of hours or so, allowing you to put children to bed/feed the baby/walk the dog, etc.

It also allows time for the warm water to soak into the oats.

Note: If you do decide to leave it to soak for a bit you might need to add a touch more water when at the kneading stage later on…

Using the dough hook, mix on speed 1 for about 3 minutes, stopping every now and then to scrape the dough off the dough hook.

If it looks dry add more water, if a bit wet add more flour.

When the dough, is smooth and elastic and starts to sticks to the dough hook, it should be about right.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, and pour a bit of olive oil (a further 10ml) over the dough whilst scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl with a rubber spatula.  If you can, try and coat the entire dough ball in oil, which will prevent it drying out.

Cover the mixer bowl with a plastic disposable shower cap and put it somewhere warm for at least an hour until the dough doubles in size.  The dough may be a bit slower than normal to rise as the Ready Brek is lower in gluten than the white bread flour, so it slows down the rising process a little.

My dough takes about an hour in the boiler cupboard.  Your mileage will vary…

Oil the work surface and your hands then tip the dough out of the bowl and divide into two.

Flatten each lump of dough into a rectangle and roll it up into a Swiss roll shape – being sure to tuck the ends of the dough underneath.

Place each rolled loaf into a oiled bread tin, inside an upside down carrier bag and put it in a warm place for the second prove.

It took my dough about 35 mins to rise the second time. So, pop the oven on to 200C (fan oven) about 20 minutes into the second prove.

When fully risen, remove from the bags, slash the top of the loaves lengthways and place in to the oven gently, cook for 30 minutes or until the top has a nice nut brown colour and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

When cooked, remove from the tins and allow to cool down on a wire rack.

Enjoy the lovely moist texture and subtle oaty flavour of the loaf.

Eve’s Fruit Bread in a Kenwood Mixer

20131031_070741I’m going to take a little break from writing this next piece, as it was supplied in whole by Eve, my wife.  (I can’t ever say “my wife” without feeling a bit like a bad 70’s comic telling a joke – a la Monkhouse, Dawson, etc…)

I had a couple of slices of this for my breakfast, this morning and it was spot on.

 Eve’s Fruit Bread

Warm 620ml full fat milk in microwave for 60 seconds

Stir in 2 tablespoons of muscovado sugar and pour into mixer bowl

Add 2x 7 gram packets of yeast,

Add 1kg white bread flour, 3 teaspoons of salt and 2 free range eggs.

Beat in the mixer at speed setting 1 until all is incorporated,then reduce down to the “min” setting – until the dough looks smooth, which will take approx 4 minutes or so.

Stop the mixer and scrape the dough off the hook every now and then with a RUBBER spatula, if the dough hook should get all clogged up.

You want a fairly wet dough, as the fruit added later will absorb some of the moisture.  If the mixture looks very wet, add more flour; if too dry, add more milk.

Don’t add your fruit yet, as this will slow down the rise during the prove

Remove bowl from the mixer and cover with a disposable plastic shower cap for an hour or so at normal room temperature, until the dough has doubled in size

Turn out the dough onto a oiled work top and flatten out into a rough rectangle, sprinkle a handful of dried fruit over the dough rectangle then fold into 3, cut dough in half, add more fruit and place one half on top of the other, repeat 4 times. I tend to use about 250g of fruit.

Finally, cut dough in half, then flatten each half into a  rectangle and roll up the dough into a sausage shape, tuck the ends in.

Pop each of them into a 500g loaf tin. Being sure to pick off any fruit from the top of each loaf as it will burn in the oven.

Cover the tins with an upside down clean carrier bag and let the dough prove in a warm place for 1/2 hr to 45 minutes. 

Meanwhile Turn on the oven to 200c and pop a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven.

When the oven is hot and the bread is risen and ready to bake, remove the plastic bags, brush the loaf tops with milk (to give a dark golden brown top) and gently slash the tops with a sharp bread knife and gently place in the oven

Pour a cup of water into the roasting tin and shut the door quickly and gently.

Set timer for 1/2 hour.

When baked and sounding hollow when tapped, remove from oven, pick off any burnt fruit (!!) and leave to cool on wire racks.

Eat with lots of butter.

Tip. If using a fan oven, turn the oven off before opening the door otherwise all the lovely steam and heat will be blown out by the fan.

Cheats Hybrid Sourdough Bread in a Kenwoood or Kitchen Aid Mixer

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Ah Sourdough.  The king of breads.  There’s nothing quite like its huge, chewy, delectable flavour.  Unfortunately it does take a heck of a long time to prove and can be be a bit a nightmare to shape…

Eve has this great method for getting a lot of that sourdough taste and chewiness in way less time and with much more of a rise!

Before we get to that we need to deal with getting the starter together:

Get a reasonable handful/cupful/half-a-mug-full of unbleached wholemeal flour – organic if you can; apparently fresher is better as this increases the chances of there being some good viable wild yeasts contained within it.

Add some tap water to the flour and combine until you get a sloppy mixture the consistency of thickish double cream.

Now beat the daylights out of the mixture with a whisk…you’re looking to really aerate it, this will give any yeast present the air it requires and also brings in any airborne yeasts that happen to be floating about.  Lastly put a couple of unwashed grapes into it…grapes are notorious harbourers of wild yeasts, so we’ll have some of that thank you very much.

Pour/spoon the mixture (and grapes) into a jar and cover with cling film/saran wrap -or whatever it is you know it as- and leave for 48hours.  Do check on it from time-to-time – Eve put this starter in a coffee jar, forgot about it for a bit and things went a bit awry:

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After 48 hours (shorter if it’s warmer, or longer if it’s colder) you should see some signs of activity and evidence that some yeast has taken and is working, normally that’s some largish bubbles on the surface – like this…

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…and a strong yeasty/sour smell.  Don’t be put off by this.  Although if it’s really rank -and believe me you’ll know when it’s off; the smell of dying yeast is unbearable- you should dump it, wash everything up and start again.

Assuming that everything is OK, you should divide the mixture in half and discard one half (plus the grapes) and make the volume of the remaining half up to a little more than where you were before with more flour and some water, this will give your little colony more food to eat.  Remember you’re still aiming for that double cream consistency.

You need to now halve and re-feed your starter every day for the next few days (about a week).

Once a week has gone by you can start using the discard half as a sourdough starter for loaves or  you can give it away to friends so that they can maintain their own sourdough starters.

Once you’re up to a reasonable volume of starter, you can keep it in the fridge and feed it occasionally – that means you’re slowing the fermentation down a bit and can use it whenever you need to bake, being careful to replenish as you use it with more flour and water.

To make a hybrid sourdough loaf:

You basically make the basic bread recipe here:

https://yeastismybitch.com/2013/05/16/making-a-basic-bread-dough-in-a-mixer-kenwood-kitchen-aid-or-otherwise/

…and replace some of the liquid content with the equivalent sourdough starter.  That’s all there is to it.  It’s a guaranteed, dependable rise and has a really lovely sourdough flavour….