Tuesday, 22nd April….
This morning began with a miserable blanket outside. No gardening for me today.
I began my day with my regular 45 minute exercise DVD (although I was a day late!) better a day late than to miss it. My exercise routine is; 3 times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, first thing in the morning before I do anything else.
The weekend had been full on and to be honest Monday is just a blur!
Tuesday was a better day to get myself into action. Looking out at the gloomy weather, I immediately felt I wanted to get baking some wholesome bread.
I made easy wholemeal bread. It can be shaped into rolls, a loaf of any shape or baked in a tin, basket or flower pot. I split the dough into two portions. One portion I baked in a flower pot, just for a change and I thought it would look nice. The second portion, I baked a simple round loaf and slit the top with three cuts, which also makes it look pretty.
BASIC RECIPE – WHOLEMEAL BREAD
225g strong white bread flour, 225g strong wholemeal bread flour, 2 tsp dried yeast, 150ml warm milk, 1 egg beaten, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp caster sugar, 1tbsp olive oil, 100-150 water.
In a large bowl mix all flour with yeast. Add sugar and salt. Make a well in the flour, pour in beaten egg, warm milk and olive oil. Mix together with a wooden spoon and, begin to form dough. Add water bit by bit, until the flour is fully incorporated into sticky dough but not too wet (you may not need all the water).
Now flour your work surface and knead the dough with the heel of your hand, stretch it out away from you, then roll it back towards you, move the dough around as you go. Keep sprinkling a little flour over the dough if needed. The dough will loose its stickness and, it will become smoother and smoother. Keep kneading for 8-10 mins.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to prove. It will take 1 hour and will double in size.
Now you can shape your dough. Knock it back, this will knock the air out. Knead 2-3 times and shape it. Put it in the baking tin, basket or flower pot. If you use a tin or flower pot, grease it and line it with baking paper, fill it half way. If you shape it, put it on baking paper on a baking tray, cover it again and leave it for a further 40-50 minutes in a warm place, it will rise again.
It is now ready to bake. You can egg wash the dough if you like and sprinkle the dough with flour or seeds. Heat your oven to 220C / 200Cfan / gas7. Bake for 25-30 mins for half sized portions until golden brown, 30-40 mins for one large loaf. If you tap the base of the bread it should be firm and sound hollow. Baking your own bread is very comforting and satisfying.
Serve this bread with homemade soup, or jams and marmalade. The family will love it.
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