Limited shopping opportunities mean many of us are baking bread at home for the first time – or at least, for the first time in a long while! So here’s a quick round-up of recipes and techniques to give you some extra ideas and inspiration.
“But I can’t get…” Some advice on ingredients and making do:
Flour and yeast seem to be ingredients in short supply at the moment, so some creative baking may be required.
If you can’t get bread flour, you still have options if you have other flour types available.
- Chapati (Atta) flour works well as a bread flour, it makes a slightly dense but very tasty wholemeal loaf. I recommend using a bread tin for this.
- Soda bread and flatbreads are more forgiving than traditional loaves – you can make pittas, tortillas, chapatis and all sorts of lovely things.
- You can bake with any mix of bread flours – combining rye, spelt, or wholemeal flour with strong white gives a tasty satisfying loaf which rises better than these flours will on their own.
If yeast is the problem:
- Get cracking with that sourdough starter!
- In the meantime, experiment with soda bread.
- Old expired yeast (those packets in the back of that cupboard!) will be sluggish and produce poor results, but can often be brought back to life. It will take a little care and attention – activate the yeast in some warm water with a bit of sugar before baking, even if the instructions say this isn’t necessary, and use more than the recipe says. Be prepared to give it extra time to prove – time is flavour so this is not a bad thing!
- If you have a little bit of yeast, you can make it last (almost!) indefinitely by making a ‘fridge dough’, which maintains a live yeast culture in the fridge for batch after batch of baking. This is what traditional bakeries have done for centuries, and works really well – store the live dough in the fridge and plan to bake two or three times a week to keep it refreshed and active.
Good luck and happy baking!
No Weigh! – the bake-anywhere, traveller’s loaf
A basic, white bread recipe and technique which requires no special kitchen equipment – if you have flour, water, salt, yeast and oil, access to an oven and some sort of a baking tray, you can make this loaf.
Don’t be Sour – a dalliance with yeasted ‘quick’ bread
A good basic ‘pain d’épi’ loaf recipe that can be adapted for all sorts of different flour types.
Roast Garlic & Rosemary Bread
A lovely fougasse-type bread ideal for serving with pasta.
Pain de Savoie, from Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ – Cooking the Books, week 2
This is a filing, savoury loaf with which is a meal in itself – made with bacon (or ham) and cheese, it really hits the spot.
Milk Loaf, from ‘How To Bake’ by Paul Hollywood – Cooking the Books, week 14
Something a little sweeter and more sophisticated – if you’re missing posh breakfast breads this simple but delicious milk loaf might be for you.
Sourdough (and semi-sourdough) baking:
Sourdough Saga: Episode 1 – failure to launch
How (not) to create a sourdough starter.
Sourdough Saga: Episode 2 – keep calm and carry on?
We got there in the end!
Sourdough Saga: Episode 3 – good things come to those who wait!
My basic sourdough recipe.
Sourdough Saga: Episode 4 – cheese and sun dried tomato bread
A nice recipe variation.
Sourdough Saga: Episode 6 – awesome home-made sourdough pizza
This is a really good replacement for take-away!
Sourdough Saga: Episode 8 – semi-sourdough baguettes
Not a ‘novice’ bake, but one I’m really really proud of. These baguettes are the business!
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