It’s all in the dough
Bread is one of the oldest food types that dates back over 30, 000 years. It is a versatile food which crosses all cultures, social classes and even has some religious aspects. The term ‘breaking bread’ is a symbolic term that speaks about uniting people. Its nutritional value are proteins, vitamins (such as thiamine and riboflavin) and fibre, mainly when allowed to be prepared with natural yeasts and proving methods, I’m not talking so much of the mass market produce that uses flour improvers!
My first fascination with bread began at a bread making workshop at a bartlett mitchell site where Chef Director Pete Redman and Development Chef Darren Collier demonstrated bread making from croissants to pretzels and sourdough.
One of my favourite types of bread is sourdough; this ancient method of bread making really connects with the environment, for me, in the way the naturally-occurring lactobacilli in the air ferments with the dough, which also happens to be highly beneficial for a healthy digestive system. It was only when I got stuck into making my own for the first time that I really felt connected to the sense of history and found it an incredibly satisfying process. The way the batch of dough rises naturally and the waft of fresh bread baking in your own home really makes all the effort worthwhile.
I have since experimented with raisins and nuts in my baking and my love for great bread grows. I had the privilege of visiting the bakery of ‘Poilane’ based in Belgravia years ago and learnt of their historical method of baking, used to this day. On another occasion whilst I was hanging out in one of my local cafés ‘Aneto’ near Peckham Rye, to my amazement, I discovered an ‘Oreo’ black coloured ‘boule’ (a round loaf) and was intrigued and eager to taste it. This turned out to be a bread made out of charcoal, this was absolutely delicious served with just pure salted butter. It had a slightly gritty flavour and it was a real hit straight away.
This journey of love of fine bread continues.
Finally, whilst encouraging all to give bread making a go, I’ve included an easy Soda Bread recipe from our Chef Director Pete Redman. Happy baking!
Easy Soda Bread
600g Oats, 40g sea salt
60g bicarbonate of soda, 40g honey, 40g treacle
2.5ltrs buttermilk or yoghurt or milk
- Mix all wet ingredients, mix all dry ingredients then combine.
- Quickly mix and do not work the bread or knead otherwise the crumb will be dense
- Adjust the liquid if necessary so the consistency is sticky and wet.
- Shape onto trays in 500g size, dust with flour and bake at 180C for 30-40minutes.
Until next time…..